Geoff Johns loves writing comics. That should just be the beginning of every article involving comics because seriously….the dude writes A LOT. And I am not complaining cause he is still one of the best around. So it should come as no surprise that DC just announced a new title being written by Johns along with art by David Finch and they are going to be bringing a new Justice League team into the New 52 world.
Justice League America is launching next year and has a very….varied….cast of members. Let’s look at the rundown.
Green Lantern- not Hal Jordan but Baz who will be replacing Hal in the upcoming months.
Steve Trevor- Wonder Woman’s old boy toy who I guess isn’t dead.
The new JLA will release next year and you have to think that they will tie in big with the upcoming Trinity War next year. David Finch will be leaving The Dark Knight to do this series which kind of sucks cause he has done such good work on the series.
The Walking Dead #101- 8.5
Nightwing #12- 8.5
Catwoman #12- 7.5
Green Lantern #12- 9.0
Saga #6- 9.0
Before Watchmen: Rorschach- 8.5
Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe #3- 8.0
Ok this was a great week comics wise. There really wasn’t a weak title in the bunch. The Walking Dead had an emotional and satisfying followup to their huge 100th issue. The final page leaves you with a sadistic smile on your face knowing that maybe some messed up stuff is coming. Catwoman and Nightwing each had villain reveals this week as Selina found out who Dollhouse was and Dick uncovered the secret of Paragon. Nightwing had a stronger issue because the Catwoman reveal left a little to be desired.
Rorschach got off to a brutal start as it should. Lee Bermejo’s art is always so stunning so it is good to see it done with a character I like so much. I would place the title in the upper tier of the Before Watchmen titles with Minutemen still remaining the best even after these couple of months.
The best titles of the week were definitely Saga and Green Lantern. I still don’t know how to describe Saga after six months but I do know that it is such a trip to read and so freaking imaginitive. Marko and Alana finally get off the planet as Prince Robot IV happens to make the wrong kind of enemy in The Will. Brian K. Vaughn is writing some seriously good stuff.
I think my title of the week has to go to Green Lantern. This issue sets up something HUGE for the forseeable future. Like HUGE HUGE and I cannot wait to see how it unfolds. Needless to say the Green Lantern annual is going to be a must read in a few weeks. Oh Hal, you poor bastard. Can never catch a break.
The Dark Knight Rises Review
Let’s just go ahead and answer everyone’s question right up front. Is The Dark Knight Rises better than The Dark Knight? No it is not. But that in no way is a negative judgment against Christopher Nolan’s last Batman adventure. Not a lot could top The Dark Knight. It was a force of nature four years ago and still is today upon repeated viewings, so if you go into the theater expecting a better movie you may leave a little disappointed. What you will get is a long, ambitious epic that puts a perfect cap on Nolan’s Bat trilogy.
It has been eight long years since Harvey Dent went a bit on the crazy side and tried to kill Jim Gordon’s family while Batman took the fall for the fallout so that the city could hold up Dent as their savior and use his death to pass an act that has cleaned up the city. With major crime effectively under control Bruce Wayne has retired from being the Caped Crusader to become a recluse who nurses his battle wounds and lives in regret over the death of his love, Rachel Dawes.
But like with any hero Bruce cannot escape his need (or want) for Gotham to have the Batman again. When he is robbed by a lovely cat burglar named Selina Kyle, played very capably by the scene chewing Anne Hathaway, he begins to slowly come out of his shell eventually getting back into the cape and cowl despite his butler Alfred’s insistence that he should stay away.
As happenstance would have it, the return of Batman comes about at the same time a new big bad known as Bane is setting his master plan in motion to take over Gotham and complete Ra’s Al Ghul’s vision. Bane is viciously played by Tom Hardy who is not as scene stealing as Heath Ledger’s Joker but is much more of a physical threat to Batman. This is one thing that helped the movie immensely. While Batman Begins had Ra’s and Scarecrow and The Dark Knight has the Clown Prince of Crime, none really seemed like Batman’s physical superior. That is not the case here. Bane is a physical specimen and much more dangerously is just as smart as he is strong. If you are read up on Bane’s history in the Bat universe then you know basically what is coming about halfway through the movie but the event is still powerful and brutal.
I really had no problem understanding Hardy’s unique voice during the movie. With stories floating around since last December about his performance being lost in the muffled voice behind the mask I had a few concerns going in but it looks like Nolan did heed advice and clear up Bane’s dialogue which is great because Hardy’s nuanced performance adds so much to the story. It’s not just the voice (which yes does sound like Goldfinger) but the emotions he is able to convey with his eyes and body motions that complete the character.
Now don’t get me wrong the movie is not without flaws. But most of them are so small that they don’t merit mentioning but one that I do want to mention is Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon. He has plenty to do in this movie but after having him be such an integral part of The Dark Knight he does seem to get lost in the shuffle of the massive story and the number of characters that are given screen time. Oldman is still wonderful in his scenes but Gordon had much more of a meaningful role in The Dark Knight.
Everyone else on the roster has brought their A-game as you would expect. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake does not seem like a thrown in character. Much of the first half of the movie is from his perspective yet it feels completely at home in the Nolan Bat-verse. Morgan Freeman is his usual witty self and Michael Caine puts an exclamation point on the statement that he his the best version of Alfred ever, comics or film. Seriously, dude had me tearing up in two scenes. In a Batman movie.
This is a big, robust movie that is like most of Nolan’s work. It gets so big with so much at stake that you feel that it may collapse on itself but in the hands of a great director it transcends just being another Batman story and speaks on many levels including political unrest, the loss of hope and how anyone can become more than a man.
Where The Dark Knight felt as a stand alone movie this feels like a companion piece to Batman Begins while also bridging every character from all three films. It succeeds in bringing to a close the greatest super hero trilogy ever and avoids the pitfalls of most third films (see Godfather, Spider-Man) by giving a true emotional payoff for the characters that we have been investing ourselves in since the summer of 2005.
When I look back I would probably say that The Avengers is still the greatest comic book movie ever made but The Dark Knight Rises may be the better movie.
Nerd Rating: 9/10
Warner continues it’s Dark Knight Rises blitz with this 13 minute feature that goes behind the scenes with the actors and producers to give everyone a better understanding of what Christopher Nolan’s trilogy ender is all about. Of course if you don’t realize where the characters fit in the moral compass of Bruce Wayne’s life by now after five hours and two movies then you may not be Nolan’s target audience for this movie.
And fear not this special is completely spoiler free so nothing will be ruined unless you really, really, really like waiting on the home release to see how movies are made.
Also, maybe it is just me but as much as I love Christopher Nolan’s films (tell me Insomnia isn’t great) everytime I hear him interviewed I just get the feeling he would be a really kind of douchey guy if I ever happened upon him one day. Of course I hope I am totally wrong and he would be super nice and I would have to print a retraction of my previous statement in my book entitled “My Handshake With Chris:One Fanboys Wet Dream”.
The Walking Dead #99
Rick and the rest of the community begin to deal with Abraham’s death. This affects everyone in different ways with Rick wanting to see if Hilltop can provide any assistance and many of the residents wanting to leave the group altogether. Kirkman must have something big and bloody planned for next month’s milestone #100 with the setup that you have felt coming in the whole “Something to Fear” storyline. Let’s just go ahead and get the death pool up and running.
Before Watchmen: Comedian #1
This was one of the Before Watchmen books that I was worried about the most. I wasn’t sure if they would try to humanize one of the most famous assholes in comic history. Brian Azzarello has walked a good line with this first issue showing Edward’s relationship with the Kennedy family (including quite the favor done for Jackie) while showing that he was a tool of the government that is good at killing. Minutemen is still the shining gem so far but this was a very good start.
Ok now this is a little more what I expected. Not saying this was a great issue but to me things at least seem to be moving along at a brisker pace. I know, I know, I have been giving this series a hard time and for good reason but I am surprised that I didn’t feel a headache coming on after reading this issue. The Phoenix Five are remaking Earth into Utopia and The Avengers still have a problem with it (douches) and decide to kidnap Hope which, durr, pisses off Cyclops and that may not be a good thing seeing as he is almost a God now.
Score: 7.5/10 (a strong 7.5, I couldn’t justify an 8)
Spider-Men #1 (of 5)
Had to wait a week to pick this one up and it is a great read. Peter monologues about how much he love NYC while stopping thieves (you know Spidey stuff) when he notices a mysterious light that leads him to Mysterio who appears to have found a way to merge Peter’s universe with the Ultimate universe. And this being a comic Peter crosses over which will be somewhat of a problem since, you know, he’s dead in the Ultimate universe. I loved the final panel with Peter and Miles happening upon each other. Pick this up.
Winter Soldier #7
Two months have passed since last issue and Leo, Bucky’s old protege, has now killed five people with Bucky and Black Widow always a few steps behind him. After Leo kidnaps a Russian professor there is a great fight in an RV of all things and Bucky finally learns what Leo has been after the whole time. The series started off strong and hit a little lull at the end of the first storyline but so far I am liking the first two parts of this new story. Great action.
Now that the Night of the Owls is over (at least on Nightwing’s end) we get back to Dick being wanted for double homicide. Can’t forget about that even if you do have a massive attack and murders on city leaders going on. Nightwing investigates and leads him to Paragon, a new baddie with a cult following that is aiming to end our hero. Also adding to Dick’s dilemma is that he wants to reopen a historic piece of old Gotham and chooses to get help from Tony Zucco’s daughter seeing as she runs the biggest bank in Gotham. Life of a superhero. Kicking ass and negotiating mortgage rates.
Oh Selina, just when you seem to want to be bad you always find a good cause to latch onto. Someone is abducting hookers and street rats and Selina is determined to track them down even if it means alienating everyone that has been trying to help her these past few months. On a side note, I really wish they would drop the Alvarez character all together. He reminds me of Benjamin Bratt from the Catwoman “movie”. And I really do not like thinking of that while I am trying the enjoy a comic.
The Shadow #3
Lamont and Margo meet up and wait for Kondo’s assassination attempt at a lovely restaurant. The Shadow gets the drop on the hit men and proceeds to pull off a headshot clinic. He finds Kondo’s hideout but only finds a lot of pissed off Nazi’s and you guessed it, obliterates them with a tommy gun. Look, it’s Garth Ennis, he can get a little long winded but he makes up with it with plenty of bloody action.
That about sums it up.
Alana and Marko work on their small relationship problem from last issue but the real meat of this issue is when The Will decides to fly to Sextillion for a little naughty R&R and things get weird. Like weird weird. Quick. There is a very satisfying death that makes you cringe a bit also. This is one of the most unique comics out there and you should give it a try.
That was a big week if I do say so myself.
Dick faces off against his great-grandfather, the greatest of all Talons, while we learn how the name Grayson came to be and how Haly’s Circus has been involved with his family for generations. This team has done a great job showing that Dick may be Bruce’s protege but he may end up being the better of them both.
Catwoman and Spark fight a disgraced Talon who is out to kill Penguin. It is really great how every writer is seamlessly weaving Night of the Owls into their existing stories. And Penguin has quite a great moment as well.
Justice League #9
Batman, Supes and Cyborg handle a riot at Arkham as Col. Graves is taken by a new villain and tortures him into giving up all his secrets about the Justice League. Glad to see Jim Lee back with a full issue.
Alana makes a deal with one of the Horrors to save Marko’s life as Prince Robot interrogates a prisoner to find out where the new family is trying to escape to. Perfectly trippy.
Winter Soldier #5
Bucky, Black Widow and Doom make their way to Lucia’s bunker to stop her from launching Latveria’s nukes. How many times do you get to see Doom fight gorillas with machine guns? I’m guessing not very often so just enjoy it.
Logan finds Hope and gives her a chance to prove that she can harness the power of the Phoenix. As they land on the moon both the Avengers and X-Men show up to complicate things again as the Phoenix arrives. Better than the last few but not great.
Next week I will be going through and dropping some titles that have been consistently disappointing. If anyone has any new title to pick up that they believe I would enjoy please let me know.
Night of the Owls starts out in an awesome way with Dick trying to save Mayor Hady as the Court of Owls begins its assault on Gotham. The story is a great link to the Gates of Gotham story as well. The big Bat event of the year could not have started better.
Bruce, who barely escaped the Court, is put on the run in the mansion when the Talons come knocking. Such great action and even Alfred gets some of a Court member. It’s like Home Alone: Batman Breaks Your Face Edition. Another month, another Scott Snyder gem.
Man there is a lot of stories getting together in this issue. Selena and Spark are scoping out Penguin to finish a heist and get caught up with a psycho kidnapping hookers and packing massive weapons. Meanwhile the Court of Owls has Penguin on their list. I smell a team uuuuuup.
Justice League #8
Green Arrow (who looks too much like a Smallville character to me) finally gets in the mix and tries to jackass his way onto the team. Interested to see what his past with Aquaman is and we get some Martian Manhunter next month. Good stuff.
This has to be the most conflicted I have felt about a single issue comic in I don’t know how long. Cap vs Cyclops, Namor vs Thing, Red Hulk vs Colossus. The action is good. Yet half the script is dopey and the other half ok. And the art just makes me feel like its 1988 so it must be Romita Jr. Ugh.
Score: 7.5/10 (for the fights and part of the script) 5/10 (for the rest)
The Shadow #1
Oh wow! Garth Ennis has taken The Shadow and made him completely and utterly amazing. Taking the character and entrenching him in the grimy world of pre-WW2 America and adding that healthy dose of violence Ennis is known for. Pick this book up!
Also finished up a few trades that were equally as good as this week’s crop of monthlies.
Hack/Slash Omnibus Vol. 1
Hack/Slash Omnibus Vol. 2
This is my new current addiction. You can not get any better than your heroine teaming with the likes of Chucky and the Suicide Girls and fighting an endless array of slashers including Re-Animator. Vol. 2 is slightly better to me with all the family drama involved.
This story is the definition of tense. You want more but if there was more I think it would hurt the overall sense of horror in the book. The greatest thing a writer can do is leave you to finish the story in your own mind. And with me that may not be a good thing cause it’s a effed up place in there.