Tales From the Pull List (Jul. 27th): A New Hope (Larson)

Hello Revuers. This week marks another big victory for the DC Rebirth initiative. Once again I found my pull dominated by DC comics. I counted and I have purchased more DC comics in the last two month than I did all of last year. What has changed with this initiative? There’s hope. Well that, and the comics have been consistently good across the board. I haven’t read a single title that I didn’t like. This week I have three to review. A bit of a light week for me.

 

Pick of the Week

Batgirl #1: What I disliked most about the New 52 was the grit and darkness. With rebirth there’s hope figuratively, and in the case of Batgirl literally. New writer Hope Larson brings with her a freshness to Barbara and a new direction for the character and title. While the previous volume of Batgirl (worth a read) was set in Burnside, this volume has Batgirl gallivanting across Japan on what she thinks is a vacation. But as we all know, superheros don’t have vacations. Barbara runs into her old childhood friend Kai, when she discovers that he is her roommate at the Hostel she is staying at (what a coincidence). Kai asks Barbara what she is doing in Japan and we learn it’s to meet a childhood hero of hers named Fruit Bat. Fruit Bat was a Japanese superhero from the 20’s who is still alive and lives in Japan with her son. Fruit Bat was Barbara’s idol and she is determined to find and meet her. Barbara and Kai do just that (after a series of hi-jinks and comedic situations). However, upon meeting Fruit Bat a stranger attacks Kai ask vaguely for the “formula”. Batgirl intervene and defends Kai, but she is too slow. The assailant would have gotten away if not for the 104 year old Fruit Bat who proves that she still has the moves. Blocking a thrown ninja star and causing the villain to flee. After the skirmish Fruit Bat collapses and Batgirl rushes to her side. Fruit Bat states that Batgirl needs to let go of her past and find a new teacher. This leads Batgirl to…..MMA? We will find out in the next issue. The creative team is rounded out by artist Rafael Albuquerque and color artist Dave McCaig. The artists bring a creative shift from the previous volume of Batgirl, allowing this new volume to shine in it’s uniqueness. The art from Albuquerque is fantastic, helping the reader gather a real sense of emotion from the facial expressions and creating a sense of motion with great line work. The color from Dave McCaig is high contrast, with many panels featuring bright backgrounds behind earth tone figures. This causes the characters to pop and adds a sense of motion to the art. Rating 8.5/10

 

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The Flash #3: This issue features the emergence of many speedsters in Central City. Not all of them want to be good, as the issue tells us. In fact some want to use their new found powers selfishly. The Flash struggles with what to do with all the new speedsters in the city, as he feels responsible for creating them. As he finds out that the speed force storm that created all the new speedsters was drawn to Central City by him. At the end of the issue we are introduced to a new villain named Godspeed. Who almost August, The Flash’s new sidekick. Unlike all the other new speedsters, Godspeed appears to have some control over his powers. Implying that perhaps these powers aren’t new to him. This issue saw some character development for Wally West and a cameo by Iris West. It also showed August learning and adapting to his powers. The most interesting aspect of the issue though was how much The Flash enjoys being a mentor and enjoys teaching others how to use the Speedforce. With the introduction of more speedsters this role for Barry, mentor and teacher, really solidifies him as the main character of this book.  Rating: 8/10

Nightwing #1: This issue opens up with Nightwing completing a mission for a international version of the Court of Owls. In the Nightwing Rebirth issue we learned that this new court of owls had manipulated Nightwing into working for them by threatening to kill Robin via a bomb that they had implanted into his head. What the Court doesn’t know is that Nightwing was able to remove the bomb, and now is only pretending to work for them in order to learn more about their organization and bring them down from the inside. In this issue we learn that the Court of Owls is unhappy with the results that Nightwing has had the last few missions and have acquired a partner for him. A mysterious new character named Raptor. Nightwing goes to the designated meeting place planning to tell Raptor that he has no interest in a partner, but is promptly beat down by this new character. At the end of the issue Raptor tells Nightwing that everything Batman had taught him was wrong, and that he needed a new mentor. Overall the issue was quick paced and intriguing. Rating:8/10

 

 

-Andrew

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Pick of the Week (Jul. 20th): Justice League #1

Justice League #1

Writer: Bryan Hitch

Pencils: Tony S. Daniel

Inks: Sandu Florea

Colorist: Tomeu Morey

Justice League #1 marks the beginning of the new Justice League after the events of Rebirth. This reiteration of the Justice League has many of it’s usual staples: Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern(s), Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash. While this team may have familiar elements to previous incarnations, there are some slight differences. For example the Justice League now has two lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, instead of just one. Another noticeable absence is the new (old) superman. The New 52 Superman died in the events leading up to Rebirth and his old pre-New 52 was found alive in the current timeline (if you think that’s confusing well…..you are right). However, Batman does not trust this new superman and has chosen to keep him at arms length distance for now. I am sure though that the events that transpired in this issue will lead to the Justice League accepting Superman back into the fold.

The issue opens up with Wonder Woman on what was supposed to be a peace keeping mission fighting rebels in Russia who ambushed her. Things quickly escalate as the ground rumbles in a massive earth quake that destroys Wonder Woman’s attackers. The Rebels blame Wonder Woman for the earthquake but it becomes clear that it did not originate with her. We then read a news report that states that the same thing has happened all across the globe. With all of Earths fault lines activating at once the Justice League is tasked with keeping civilian casualties to a minimum. The team is spread across the globe with the Lanterns in Asia, Cyborg in New York, Wonder Woman in Russia, Batman in Gotham(where else?) and The Flash on the West Coast of America. Just when it appears that the League has everything under control-ish, the civilians (and the dead? Maybe?) around them begin spouting philosophical speeches and attacking the League. They say that the heroes of this world have stolen their powers and that they are false Gods. They warn them that The Kindred are coming. While the League attempt to fight off the zombies(? maybe), Batman discovers that an alien ship has crash landed in Gotham and with it strange insect creatures that are attacking any humans within striking distance. While the league may be the most powerful beings on the planet are they a match against natural disasters and The Kindred? We will have to wait until next time to find out.

While the plot is interesting and well paced, it’s the art that really shines in this issue. The art team of Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea really bring the action in this issue. Moving from panel to panel at almost break neck speed. Keeping the reader entertained and breathless with frantic action and beautiful splash pages. The splash page featuring The Flash is a beautiful feat of art. In what is a busy two pages Daniel and Florea use panel arrangement to guide the readers eye and help the reader follow what’s happening. The color art by Tomeu Morey is spectacular. He uses a lot of earth tones to ground the scene and bright contrasting colors to make the heroes stand out above the scene. Really making the pop. The shading work he did during the subway scene with Cyborg helped add depth to what could have been a very flat scene. All in all Justice League #1 is a great soft reboot to DC’s signature team and another fantastic addition to the already stellar Rebirth initiative at DC. Below are the two covers this title shipped with.

Rating: 9/10

 

-Andrew

 

Tales From the Pull List (07/14/2016): Here in a Flash

Hello Revuers it’s time for another edition of Tales From the Pull List. This week I’m posting a day late because I was not able to pic up my books until today. Overall a solid week with Rebirth continuing to impress over at DC. I currently have 5 titles on pre-order from DC comics, which is way higher than I have ever had on a pull list from them before. Another oddity about this weeks pull is I had no Marvel titles on my list. Usually my list is dominated by Marvel titles but this week they are completely absent. Looking ahead that changes next week. Enough about next week though, let’s take a look at this weeks pull list.

 

Pick of the Week

The Flash #2: This weeks continuation of The Flash by Joshua Williamson (writer), Carmine Di Giandomenico (artist), and Ivan Plascencia (Colorist) gives us our first glimpse of Central City’s newest speedster. In the last issue we were reintroduced to Detective August Heart, a friend of Barry’s, who at the end of the issue was struck by lightening (much like a certain Scarlet Speedster). In this issue we see Detective Heart learning how to use his powers with help from Barry. This also serves as a way to familiarize new Flash readers to some of Barry’s powers without having to slow the story down by going through a list of his powers (remember this is technically a reboot so being only the second issue they needed a way to showcase some of Barry’s powers). We see Wind Vortexes, Phasing, creating a tornado, and of course running. After the training montage we get our first glimpse of our new Kid Flash, young Wally West (not to be confused with old Wally West). We also get introduced to Iris in this issue. The middle of the issue serves as a philosophical debate with the morality of what the speedster can do and what they should do being questioned. Barry begins to wonder why the speed force chose to make more speedsters and what it means for his future. At the end of the issue there’s a surprise that I won’t ruin for you. Just go buy the book! The story by Williamson is fast paced and intriguing. The premise of what speedsters can do versus what they should do is also an interesting concept to explore. The art team of Giandomenico and Plascencia deliver a beautiful issue full of lightening and burst of color. If you only buy one book this week, this should be it. Rating: 9/10

 

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The Wicked + The Divine #21: This third story arc continues with a bang. Finally the lines are crossed between the “good” Gods and the “bad” Gods (good being relative). The good Gods with Persephone to lead them charge into Ananke’s fortress to save a fellow God from being a sacrificial lamb. The excellent story telling continues fueled by the best creative team in the business: Kieron Gillen (writer), Jamie McKelvie (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist), and Clayton Cowles (letterer). Plus this issues features Woden using his Valkyries to create a giant energy sword wielding robot. Rating: 8/10

Horizon #1: A story about an alien crash landing on earth paves the way for a story that is unpredictable and exciting. The team of writer Brandon Thomas, Artist Juan Gedeon, and Colorist Frank Martin deliver an interesting and unique story of alien invasion of earth. Or is that what it really is?  Rating 7/10

Batman Detective Comics #936: How exciting is it to be back to the original lettering for Detective Comics? With a release date of twice a month, they could presumably reach issue 1000 by 2019. This issue focuses on Batwoman, and Batwoman fighting her inner demons in order to lead the team. We discover who is behind the new team hunting the bat team, and learn some of Batwoman’s backstory. All in all a solid issue. Rating 7/10

 

-Andrew

 

The Voice is All: A Manifesto (Of Sorts)

Hello Revuers. As I am sure you have seen already, there is a new kid on the block. That kid is me. I am that kid. By way of an introduction, I thought I should write a few brief thoughts on comics. What I think of them. What draws me to them (or not). What I look for in a great comic. My plan is that this post will set the tone a bit for my contribution to this site. Andrew (who was so kind as to ask me to write for DR) will continue all the great stuff he is doing – the week to week stuff, the interviews, the cons, etc. – while I will tend to gravitate toward the bigger picture, both literally and figuratively as I will be writing about comics, writ large, graphic novels (and trades), and about comic book films, which have turned what was once a throwaway entertainment to one of the most popular mediums in the world. This is my first post here, so thank you for reading this far. I’ll try not to lose you.

I would describe myself as a comics agnostic. I am not a zealot, and I do not think I am a heretic (though some may disagree). There is a ludicrous amount of comic books, and comic related films, produced each year. Some of them are good. Some even exceptional. Most of them are not very good. This is true of every artistic medium, especially in an age when we can create something and then release it to the world in mere seconds.

So here is what I love: Sandman, Calvin & Hobbes, Fables, Watchmen, Essex County, Blankets, The Long Halloween, Peanuts, Kingdom Come, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Persepolis, Marvel 1602, Hellboy, The Far Side, All-Star Superman, Tintin, Maus, The Dark Knight Returns, Bone, Garfield Minus Garfield.

I love Jacques Tardi. I love Sam Raimi’s Spider-man. I love Nolan’s Batman. I love del Toro’s Hellboy. I love Ang Lee’s Hulk. I love Donner’s Superman. I love Batman: The Animated Series. I love The Incredibles.

I love that Miles Morales is Spider-man. I love that Riri Williams is Iron Man. I love that Amadeus Cho is Hulk. I love that Jane Foster is Thor.

What unites these things, and what separates them from the many comics I have read and merely liked, or read and not liked at all, is the strength and singularity of their creators’ voices and their unwillingness to play by the usual rules of comics. They mess with tradition. They forge new territory. They take creative risks. Above all, they tell good stories. Comics as a storytelling vehicle works best when a strong, individual voice, meets a distinctive visual stylist. This is why Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther is so exciting and wonderful. It’s why things like a prominent essayist for The Atlantic writing a mainstream comic book should happen more often. Call it an auteurist theory of comics. Call it heresy. Call it whatever you like. I call it comics at their best.

Forget the canon. Forget what comics are “supposed” to be. Once we begin to reach uncharted waters, that’s when I start to get interested.

So that’s what I’m here to write about. And hey, if you know where to find more good stuff, I’m always looking for recommendations. I’ll be around.

 

-Ian

The Future

Hello Revuers! I have some Exciting updates to share with you. First off we have a new writer. His name is Ian Maxton and he comes to D.R with tons of writing and blogging experience. We are lucky to have him and excited for his contributions to the blog. Next starting August 1st we will be posting at least 1 blog post a week. Often times more than that. So be sure to be on the look out for all of our new posts. Also we will be changing the format of the blog a bit. We will be expanding to also include movie reviews (comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy related), and we will be starting (for real this time) a podcast. The schedule for the podcast is yet to be decided, although most likely it will be monthly due to scheduling issues. There will be more announcements in the near future so stay tuned. I also want to thank you for your continued support of Deja.Revue, thanks to readers such as yourself we have grown and are able/ready to take the next step. If you have any questions, would like to be a part of Deja.Revue, or have any ideas of content you would like to see drop us a line below. Have a great week!