Monday, July 28, 2014

Batman #33 - A Review

Having read Batman #33, I cannot envision a more perfect comic with which to mark Batman's 75th anniversary.  Not only does it prove an epic conclusion to the Zero Year and Savage City storylines but it also proves a celebration of everything that makes a good Batman story.  We even get a new origin for The Bat-Signal in the bargain and get to see The Riddler defeated in a way that does nothing to mitigate his brilliance or his new-found sense of menace.

Scott Snyder's script pays tribute to the rich history of Batman while simultaneously exploring new ground.  While the concept that Bruce Wayne may be as crazy as the villains he faces each night is nothing new, Snyder explores the mental depths to which Bruce Wayne has truly sunk as no writer ever has.  Fans of the theory that Bruce Wayne is another victim of the madness that envelopes Gotham City and those who see him as one who has taken up the idealized path of the knight errant in the modern day will both find evidence to support their viewpoints in this story.

In a word, the artwork by Greg Capullo and Danny Miki is excellent.  Unlike the vast majority of Batman art teams in recent years, Capullo's pencils are light and airy and Miki's inks match them perfectly.  This is one of the brightest-looking Batman comics in history and that uniqueness makes it stand out all the stronger in a series where the artwork is usually drowned in ink.

This book should be on every comic-lover's pull list.

Invaders #8 - A Review

There's no small irony that James Robinson should focus so much of Invaders #8 upon showing the common humanity of his characters, given that the focus of the issue is upon characters who are - to one degree or another - inhuman.  That is literally true in the case of Toro - the Inhuman sidekick of the original Human Torch, who is in fact an android!  This sort of thing is Robinson's bread and butter as are the softer scenes where everyone's favorite fanboy, Agent Coulson, reveals a personal reason for holding Jim Hammond in such high regard.

The plot is a somewhat standard affair, with a sidekick being kidnapped to lure the hero into a trap.  But Robinson's command of the characters and dry humor do much to liven the proceedings up.  Robinson further accomplishes the impossible by doing something I can't recall any writer ever doing - getting into the head of Namor  in a way that makes the Prince of Atlantis sympathetic, painting him as a conflicted man who is nevertheless loyal to his few friends.

Steve Pugh's artwork is, as always, excellent.  Pugh is one of the best choreographers in the business and the book's action sequences are involved without being cluttered.  His panel layouts are also interesting with the differing thickness of the panel outlines subtly accenting key moments.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Superman #33 - A Review

Superman #33 is something unusual in that it is a Superman book that barely contains any action. The focus here isn't on big climactic battles or costumed madmen but upon the staff of the Daily Planet, who are as confused as the rest of Metropolis about the appearance of a mysterious new hero fighting alongside Superman.  Clark Kent is short on answers as well, but he intends to learn the origins of the mysterious man called Ulysses...

Writer Geoff Johns' love for these characters is apparent and it is good to see the Daily Planet staff back in action.  The scenes with these characters are enjoyable, introducing us to these characters without feeling over-expository.  Johns is famous for his gift for dialogue - and there is some good comedy here - but the most effective sequences in this issue may be the ones that are free of text.

There are a number of scenes  in this issue where the story is told purely through the pictures.  We learn more about Ulysses as a person watching him examine Clark Kent's apartment than we do in any of the dialogue.  There is also an effective silent sequence in which we see Clark putting his investigative skills to the test.

Superman #33 is fairly light on action.  And yet, it is one of the best Superman comics I've read in recent memory.  This book remembers that what makes Superman super is his infinite capacity for wanting to help other people and that doesn't always mean punching a bad guy.  If you like Superman, you'll love this book.  And if you don't like Superman, well, maybe this book will take you a step closer to doing so.

Arrow Season 3 Trailer. Ra's Al Ghul Confirmed As Big-Bad.

The cat is out of the bag. And among other things, the new trailer confirms that Ra's Al Ghul will be a major part of Season 3 of Arrow.

October 8th can't come fast enough.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Firefly Cast Returns for Firefly On-Line MMO!

Rumors of an MMO based on the world of Joss Whedon's Firefly have existed in abundance for a while. Many Browncoats remained skeptical even after pictures and video of the gameplay manifested. Now, there is no room for doubt. For it was announced at SDCC yesterday that not only is the game real but that the entire Firefly cast would be returning to reprising their roles.

 A new trailer explains it all.

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