DC Relaunch Revisited: 52 More Words on 52 Titles (Part 2)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

52 More Words on the DC New 52

A year and half ago, just after DC Comics announced their New 52 initiative, I wrote a two-part column called "52 Words on 52 Titles," offering 52-word impressions on each series. This past Tuesday, to celebrate Collected Editions' completion of all the New 52 Vol. 1 collections, I'm offering 52 more words on the initial New 52 series, reconsidering my earlier remarks or examining how each series turned out.

The original 52 words come first, followed by my new remarks in bold. You can read part 1, or here's part two. I welcome your general thoughts on how the first year of the New 52 shaped up, too.

Review: Transformers: Robots in Disguise Vol. 2 trade paperback (IDW Publishing)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Transformers: Robots in Disguise Vol. 2[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at Hell Yeah '80s Marvel!]

When I used comiXology to catch up on the two Transformers ongoing series, I already owned the second volume of More Than Meets The Eye. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I purchased the “digital” version of Transformers: Robots In Disguise Volume 2. How different would it be from getting the individual issues? Well, apart from a slight savings in price, the digital trade also includes all of the extras from the regular trade. In this case, these include the trade’s credit page and numerous alternate covers. Compared to MTMTE, there aren’t a lot of fun extras, but this matches with RID’s more serious tone.

DC Relaunch Revisited: 52 More Words on 52 Titles (Part 1)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DC Relaunch Revisited: 52 More Words on the DC New 52 (Part 1)
About a year and a half ago, after DC Comics had announced their New 52 titles but before any of them had been released, I wrote a two-part column called "52 Words on 52 Titles" which, you guessed it, gave my take on each of the 52 new titles in 52 words or less.

Re-reading these columns now, it's interesting and amusing to see especially the confusion that existed early in the process -- I make references to some titles continuing from Brightest Day, for instance, which as we know didn't happen.

I didn't note it at the time, but Collected Editions has now reviewed all the DC New 52 Volume 1 collections (with two exceptions); we've reached our first anniversary, of sorts, of the DC New 52. To recognize this, what follows is 52 more words on the first New 52 titles -- the original 52 words, followed by a 52-word retrospective in italics, either commenting on my initial thoughts or discussing how the title ultimately shaped up.

Review: Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers hardcover (DC Comics)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers (DC Comics)[Guest reviewer Greg Elias writes for Speed Force]

DC Comics continues rolling out handsome hardcover collections of notable artistic runs with Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers. Featuring the balance of Rogers' work on the Dark Knight, including his classic Detective Comics run from 1977 to 1978, the book presents a full view of an artist considered to be one of the all-time Batman visionaries, though the collection is hampered somewhat by production issues.

The late Rogers is perhaps best known for his Batman work with writer Steve Englehart. Rogers penciled and colored six issues of Englehart's ten-issue Detective Comics arc, with inks by Terry Austin. Rogers' rendering of the Gotham Cityscape was the foundation for his elegant designs and layouts, reflecting his education in architectural studies.

Batman: Death of the Family, Justice League and Shazam, Superman: H'el on Earth, Green Arrow by Mike Grell, more in DC Late 2013 solicitations

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Joker: Death of the Family collectionSolicitations for DC Comics trade and collected releases for the end of 2013 are rolling out, and there's some big stuff being announced! The Batman: Death of the Family books -- yes, before the end of 2013 -- are only the tip of an iceberg that also includes Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Shazam!, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis and Justice League America, Superman: H'el on Earth aaaand Green Arrow by Mike Grell, Deadshot by John Ostrander and Kim Yale, Superman: Dark Knight Over Metropolis (one of my personal favorites) -- and still more!

[Find out about stories like these before everyone else by joining Collected Editions on Facebook]

Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family
Joker: Death of the Family

The Joker book, collecting the "Death of the Family" tie-ins, comes out in October; Batman Vol. 3 comes out in December -- the end of 2013, yes, but the fact that these books will be out this year is exciting news nonetheless.

UPDATE: now looking like both of these books will be out on October (yay!). The Joker tie-in trade here collects Catwoman #13-14, Batgirl #13-16, Suicide Squad #14-15, Batman and Robin #15-16, Nightwing #15-16, Detective Comics #15-16, Red Hood and the Outlaws #15-16, and Teen Titans #15-16. The Batman book collects #13-17 of that series; see the comments for some discussion of what happens to the issues between Death of the Family and Year Zero.

Joker: The Clown Prince of Crime

No other details on this one right now but it sounds like a "Greatest Stories Ever Told"-type collection. Hat tip to helpful commenters -- this is a collection of the 1975-1976 Joker series.

Batman Incorporated Vol. 2

The second New 52 Batman, Inc. collection ought include has issues #7-12, which includes you-know-what. This one is scheduled now for November.

Batgirl Vol. 3: Death of the Family
Batman & Robin Vol. 3: Death of the Family
Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 3: Emperor Penguin
Batwoman Vol. 3: World's Finest
Catwoman Vol. 3: Death of the Family
Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 3: Death of the Family

Deviating in part from how the "Night of the Owls" books were collected, many of these seem to carry the "Death of the Family" name right up front.

Of note, the Batman & Robin collection is reportedly issues #15-18, the Annual, and Batman #17. The Catwoman collection includes the Catwoman story from Young Romance. The Red Hood collection has Teen Titans #15-16.

Aquaman Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis
Justice League Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis
Justice League of America Vol. 1
Shazam! Vol. 1

Big doings in the Justice League collections at the end of the year -- two-times the "Throne of Atlantis," plus the first Justice League of America collection, and finally, the collection of Johns and Frank's Shazam back-up stories, scheduled now for October in hardcover.

UPDATE: Some controversy in the comments section that the Aquaman collection is issues #14-18 of that series, and the Justice League collection is #13-17 and Aquaman #14-16. This means one would have to buy the entire Aquaman collection really to only get two issues. UPDATE REDUX: Actually, it's even worse than this, at least as currently solicited. See comments below ...

Green Lantern: Rise of the Third Army
Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3: Rise of the Third Army
Green Lantern Vol. 3: Rise of the Third Army
Red Lanterns Vol. 3: Rise of the Third Army

Unless the "no volume number" Green Lantern collection is New Guardians, then it looks like "Third Army" will have its own crossover trade plus the individual trades. Note again all the collections now carrying the crossover name (are inter-family-title crossovers the future of DC Comics?).

The main Third Army collection contains Green Lantern Annual #1, Green Lantern #13-16, Green Lantern Corps #13-16, Green Lantern: New Guardians #13-16, Red Lanterns #13-16, and Green Lantern Corps Annual #1. The Green Lantern and Red Lanterns volumes collect each series' issues #13-20 and their zero issue; the Green Lantern Corps collection is #13-20 and the annual. Here again, one might question the necessity of the crossover collection at all.

Superman: H'el on Earth
Superman - Action Comics Vol. 3: At the End of Days
Superman Vol. 3

We'll see the end of Grant Morrison's Superman saga collected before the end of the year, plus the Superman/Supergirl/Superboy "H'el" crossover.

Animal Man Vol. 3: Rotworld: The Red Kingdom
Swamp Thing Vol. 3: Rotworld: The Green Kingdom

... and also the full "Rotworld" saga.

Dizzyingly, the Animal Man collection is issues #12-17 and Swamp Thing #12 and #17-18; the Swamp Thing collection is #12-18 and Animal Man #12 and #17.

All Star Western Vol. 3: The Black Diamond Probability
Deathstroke Vol. 2: Lobo Hunt
Flash Vol. 3: Gorilla Warfare
Green Arrow Vol. 3
I, Vampire Vol. 3: Wave of Mutilation
Savage Hawkman Vol. 2: Wanted
Suicide Squad Vol. 3
Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Iron
Worlds' Finest Vol. 2

The "best of the rest" of what's coming for the New 52. Glad we see a third Wonder Woman collection in 2013, Iron; I wasn't expecting I, Vampire to go to a third trade, but I'm there. The third Green Arrow trade will have issues both by Ann Nocenti and the beginning of Jeff Lemire's run.

DC Comics One Million Omnibus

As announced before, but now available for pre-order, all the DC One Million tie-ins in one collection.

Deadshot: Beginnings

Collects the four-issue John Ostrander/Kim Yale Deadshot miniseries from 1988 (and more?). Too much to hope this will get the ball rolling on those classic Suicide Squad collections again?

Green Arrow Vol. 1: Hunters Moon

Congratulations, Collected Editioners -- I know you've been waiting for this one for a while. "Hunters Moon" is the first arc of Mike Grell's Green Arrow series that launched in 1988 following Longbow Hunters. Hopefully this'll be the first of many ...

Superman: Dark Knight Over Metropolis

Technically this is Superman #44, Adventures of Superman #467, and Action Comics #654 by Jerry Ordway, Dan Jurgens, and Roger Stern, collecting one of the first major post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman/Batman crossovers (and a darn good mystery story!). There's years of Superman stories that built up to this one, and I hope some of those make it in here too.

JLA: Earth 2 - Deluxe Edition

In retrospect, it kind of makes sense this should have a Deluxe edition ...

Absolute Joker/Luthor

The newly announced two-hardcovers-with-slipcase Absolute by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo.

Batman Unwrapped By Andy Kubert

Hush Unwrapped was Jim Lee's art without dialogue; this looks to be in the same vein, with Andy Kubert's art from Grant Morrison's Batman and Son and Neil Gaiman's Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader.

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight

I believe this is the digital series (not a collection of the "old" Legends of the Dark Knight series from start to finish, which would be cool), though it's interesting the (perhaps temporary) cover art says "The New 52!" on it. Wonder if that'll stick.

Deadman: Book Four

Continuing the series of collecting Deadman's 1970s appearances around the DC Universe. By Len Wein and Jim Aparo.

Doctor Mid-Nite

A new printing of the Matt Wagner Dr. Mid-Nite miniseries. A great book, though I wonder why it's getting a reprint, unless that portends something for Earth 2.

... and just a couple more:

Joe Kubert Presents
Our Army at War: The Joe Kubert War Collection

Ame-Comi Girls Vol. 1
Arrow Vol. 1
Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Book Eight
JSA Liberty Files: The Whistling Skull
Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo Vol. 2
Smallville Season 11 Vol. 3: Haunted

Wow. Green Arrow by Mike Grell. Dark Knight Over Metropolis. "Death of the Family" in 2013. Good, good stuff here. What are you most looking forward to?

Review: Batman Vol. 2: City of Owls hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

3 comments | Tags:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Batman Vol. 2: City of Owls (DC Comics)Scott Snyder’s Batman: City of Owls (the collected name for the Batman issues of the “Night of the Owls” event) strongly evokes Grant Morrison’s Batman RIP. This is meant positively for City — Snyder’s book is a rousing tale with great action and a compelling mystery. But while the shocks and surprises in City will still bring a smile to fans' faces, it’ll only take a moment to realize how familiar all of this feels. Maybe the best Batman stories are worth re-telling, but this is one that’s been told now too many times.

[Review contains spoilers]

The good news is that Batman: City of Owls is a fine story that reads well from start to finish, with all the main parts drawn by Greg Capullo. Despite the “Night of the Owls” crossover that may have received the larger fanfare (collected itself in the Night of the Owls book, City is mostly self-contained; there a quick mention of events that take place in Detective Comics that might confuse some, but everything story-wise that the reader needs is right here. In fact, the “Night of the Owls” crossover may have worked against City, leading the reader to expect some epic, full-blown Bat-family story when really City is just a Batman story, epic in its own right but probably not having needed ten other titles carrying its banner.

Review: Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye Vol. 2 trade paperback (IDW Publishing)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye Volume 2 (IDW)[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at Hell Yeah '80s Marvel!]

When I first read the second volume of Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye a few months ago, I was surprised by just how dense the storytelling was. Since then, I’ve gone back and read older comics like Walt Simonson’s Thor and Larry Hama’s GI Joe, and I came to a realization. This is how comics used to be written. Did the spread of the trend of waiting for the trade lead to a shift in writing? To a degree, yes, but there are reasons why such layered storytelling works for the Transformers franchise. It’s also why I enjoyed catching up with the series using comiXology.

Review: Catwoman Vol. 2: Dollhouse trade paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Catwoman Vol. 2: DollhouseThe shame of it is that Judd Winick’s Catwoman: Dollhouse gets good only right at the end, when Winick leaves the title. Leading up to that point is a passable Catwoman story, but one that seems to play a little safer than Winick’s previous, outrageous Catwoman: The Game, and that’s a disappointment.

I can’t help but wonder, however, whether the story in Dollhouse would fare better too if Darwyn Cooke or Cameron Stewart were drawing it, instead of Adriana Melo or Guillem March. The model for the New 52 Catwoman appears to be costume unzipped, cleavage exposed; Catwoman’s chest ends up in every panel and there’s no in-story reason for it (especially since she went through so many of Ed Brubaker’s Catwoman issues with her costume zipped up) besides a paltry attempt at titillation. In this way, the book’s art does its story a disservice.

DC Trade Solicitations for June 2013 - Absolute Luthor/Joker, Avoiding Spoilers, Marvel/comiXology, and More Odds and Ends

Friday, March 15, 2013

Absolute Luthor/Joker by Azzarello and Bermejo (DC Comics)Not a whole, whole lot to report from DC Comics's June 2013 trade paperback and collections solicitations, but let's look at them anyway; I'm also going to take this opportunity to sound off on some various and sundry items I've been thinking about this week.

• I am not spoiling what's happening in the DC titles now, if there's anyone out there who doesn't know (is there anyone out there who doesn't know?), but I've been struck how DC didn't seem to try at all to keep this secret -- the spoilers were at the top of news articles and in copious places around DC's site. I guess on the business end of things, having lots of press about this event is better than having no press, but I was surprised the extent to which business trumped reading experience this time around.

• Not to sound like a grump, but I hate, hate, hate DC's new update to their company blogs. I especially hate this split between the "Fans" and "Press" blog. "Fan" blog has on it at the moment some praise for Earth 2 and a DC Collectables caption contest -- OK, that's interesting to me. "Press" has on it the first looks at some Bat-family titles and also a post about the Teen Titans Go! cartoon -- also interesting to me. Why would they link the latter wouldn't be interesting to "fans"? Why split things so readers have to go back and forth between the pages to get all the information?

• Couple articles out there suggested some sort of epic badness on comiXology's part in not being prepared for the Marvel free comics onslaught. I can't get that worked up about it. It's not like comiXology has regular server problems (this is the only time I recall hearing about something like this), and even more so than we fans who can't reach our comics when they're down, they can't make money when they're down, so you know comiXology cares about being up even more than you do. Yes, this underlines the issue that when you license digital material, it can be taken away from you at any moment, but this isn't a case where comiXology took something away -- they simply crashed. And now they're back up. And they were nice about it. I have trouble throwing brickbats at that.

• The Star Wars: Clone Wars finale was very good, but I sat through that godforsaken droid arc and they're not even going to finish the show on TV?

And now on to the solicitations ...

• Absolute Luthor/Joker

This is a good use of the Absolute format, in my opinion, pulling together Brian Azzarello's two villain tales with Lee Bermejo. The stories are good one-offs, and thematically related; I may not be running to pick this up myself, but this is the kind of unique, "special" use of the Absolute format that sounds right to me and will certainly look good on someone's shelf out there.

Camelot 3000 TP

I generally like Mike Barr's work -- I like Batman: Year Two! -- and I've heard about Camelot 3000 for years but never read it. Worth a look?

Silver Age Teen Titans Archives Vol. 2 HC

I'm pretty surprised to see an Archives back on the list. What's the trade dress for these any more? What DC Comics logo are they using?

Savage Hawkman Vol. 2: Wanted (not on the June 2013 solicitations list)

This book is coming. I may be the only one excited about a Deathstroke/Hawkman/Green Arrow/Rob Liefeld mash-up, but I am.

Flash Vol. 2: Rogues Revolution HC
Justice League Dark Vol. 2: The Books of Magic TP
Nightwing Vol. 2: Night of The Owls TP
Supergirl Vol. 2: Girl in The World TP
Team 7 Vol. 1: Fight Fire With Fire TP

Team 7 will turn out to be a done-in-one series, which is unfortunate because I thought the concept was interesting. I'm glad the same is probably true for Sword and Sorcery, however, because I wasn't as excited about following an Amethyst book long-term, but I'm happy to read a single trade of those issues.

Like I said, not a big month in terms of collections releases, but still some things to talk about. What's on your buying list?

Review: Animal Man Vol. 2: Animal Vs. Man trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Animal Man Vol. 2: Animal Vs. ManThere’s a striking similarity between Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man Vol. 2: Animal Vs. Man and Scott Snyder’s first volume of Swamp Thing, Raise Them Bones. It’s in Animal Vs. Man that Lemire most directly revamps the Animal Man character, revising his origin and making him more specifically Lemire’s; Snyder did the same thing right away in Raise Them Bones, presenting a Swamp Thing significantly different than what had come before. The change, however, is easier to digest in Animal Vs. Man, given that Lemire gave us a volume of “traditional” Animal Man before he began to alter things.

While Animal Man Vol. 1: The Hunt largely introduced Animal Man Buddy Baker’s supporting cast and set up the direction of the series, Animal Vs. Man is much more Buddy’s book — Lemire hones and enhances Animal Man before the “Rotworld” crossover to come.

Review: Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon trade paperback (Marvel Comics)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon[Review by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at Hell Yeah '80s Marvel!]

My name is Doug Glassman, and I am no longer a wait-for-trader . . . at least, not in the traditional sense.

This is a review of the issues that will be collected in just a week or so in Hawkeye: My Life As A Weapon, though I own the book in single issues. Hawkeye was the first comic to suck me back in to monthlies after fully dropping them for space and cost reasons; I’ll discuss my changing trades reality a little more over the next few reviews.

Marvel/comiXology Free Comics Recommendations -- Where to Start

Monday, March 11, 2013

UPDATE: As you've no doubt also heard, comiXology has decided to suspend the Marvel promotion for the time being, promising to roll it out later on. Oh, well. Bookmark this page if you like, and when the sale comes around again you can refer back to Doug's picks on where to start in each category. Thanks.

ORIGINAL POST: You've no doubt heard by now about Marvel's giveaway of over 700 #1 issues, free on comiXology until Tuesday (though, with comiXology's server crash, one imagines this deadline is going to be extended).

Pause a moment to cheer for the comiXology folks, who are going through a tough day with considerable aplomb. Their Twitter feed, especially, has been a model of customer service, both funny and reassuring; I have no doubt everyone who wants these comics is going to get them.

Once these books do come online, if you're new to the Marvel universe (like me), our resident Marvel guru Doug Glassman has put together this list of nineteen recommendations from each category of Marvel comics that comiXology is offering for free. That still leaves you over 650 comics to sort through, but maybe this list will help you (and me!) know where to start reading. Take it away, Doug!

• Marvel NOW: Avengers Vol. 5 #1. I’ll be reviewing this in trade form soon enough, but Jonathan Hickman has elevated the Avengers to new heights over the last few months.

• Acclaimed and Noteworthy: Castle: A Calm Before the Storm #1. I know it’s free, but if this can get people to buy more of Peter David’s work and help him get through his medical issues, it’ll be worth promoting it here.

• Avengers: Avengers Vol. 3 #1. The Busiek and Perez Avengers run remains one of the team’s highest points -- possibly the highest until Hickman’s run -- with a great balance of nostalgia and new concepts, plus awesome artwork.

• Avengers Vs. X-Men: A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1. I’ve called this the greatest single issue of 2012, and once again, I stand by that statement.

• Captain America: Captain America Vol. 5 #1. Brubaker and Epting’s run is a modern classic.

• Cosmic Marvel: Thanos: The Final Threat #1. This is the prequel to Silver Surfer: Rebirth of Thanos and Infinity Gauntlet, and short of waiting for an IG Omnibus, this is the best way to get it.

• Deadpool: Deadpool Vol. 2 #1. When people talk about the greatness of Deadpool, they often mean Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness’ brilliant run on the book.

• Fantastic Four: Fantastic Four: 1234 #1 (link to come). I’m only leaving off FF #1 because it’s better read with Hickman’s preceding F4 issues. Grant Morrison and Jae Lee’s foray into Marvel’s First Family is dark and intricate.

• Hulk: Hulk vs. Hercules: When Titans Clash Vol. 1 #1. If you’ve ever been interested in Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente’s Incredible Hercules, this is a fun way to start on it.

• Iron Man: Iron Man: The Inevitable #1. This is a bit of a precursor to Invincible Iron Man which reinvented a lot of the old, lame Iron Man villains.

• Marvel Events: Secret Invasion: Thor #1. Yes, this is a bit of an odd choice, but it’s a Thor/Beta Ray Bill team-up mini-series. I have to promote it.

• Marvel Heroes: Immortal Iron Fist #1. In retrospect, IIF seems like a dry run for Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, which lost this spot only because I’m reviewing the first trade soon.

• Marvel Zombies: Marvel Zombies Vol. 1 #1. I’m not an MZ fan, but if you’re interested in it, you might as well start at the beginning.

• Punisher: Punisher: War Zone #1. Speaking of characters I’m not a fan of . . . this is only on the list because Greg Rucka wrote it, so it’ll at least be well-written.

• Spider-Man: Venom: Lethal Protector #1. This is more or less a protest vote because Untold Tales of Spider-Man isn’t on comiXology. Plus, it’s the start of the crazy vigilante period of Venom’s life, which is my favorite era.

• Thor: Thor: God-Sized #1. Note: make sure you read Walt Simonson’s Thor before you read this; otherwise the impact will be lost.

• Ultimate Universe: Ultimate X-Men Vol. 1 #1. Out of the “classic" Ultimate titles, this was always the one that I enjoyed most.

• Wolverine: Wolverine Vol. 1 #1. At the end of the day, you just can’t beat the original Claremont and Byrne mini-series, especially since it’s the basis of the new movie.

• X-Men: Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2 #1. Whedon and Cassaday’s AXM is a modern classic.

Doug says that he specifically excluded titles that he's done trade reviews for (save one), since he considers the reviews to be implicit recommendations. Feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments -- after all, the books are free!

(Marvel just gave away 700+ free comics. Paging DC ...)

Review: Suicide Squad Vol. 2: Basilisk Rising trade paperback (DC Comics)

Suicide Squad Vol. 2: Basilisk RisingThis may come as a shocking confession, but inasmuch as I didn't like Adam Glass's Flashpoint entry "Legion of Doom", when I finally got around to reading Glass's Suicide Squad: Kicked in the Teeth, I actually liked it quite a lot. The book starts roughly, with the infamous page after page of torture, but even this has a purpose; once the story starts rolling, there's an authentic "hard luck anti-heroes" vibe to the book that echoes, indeed, the efforts of Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, and John Ostrander before them.

[Review contains spoilers]

Glass's followup, Suicide Squad: Basilisk Rising, is more of the same fun. Glass left the team in a troubled place at the end of the last volume, and the first issue is a striking collection of character moments dealing with "The Hunt for Harley Quinn" -- with very little "shoot 'em up" -- before the story gets underway. Amanda Waller gets the focus as Glass demonstrates how she bullies, cajoles, manipulates, and perhaps even shows mercy (but probably not) on the Squad members. The last two chapters of the book are especially Waller-centric, too; the cover of the included Zero Month issue, with Waller in the forefront and the Squad behind her, is another reminder that this book stars Waller just as much as it does Deadshot, Harley Quinn, or the rest.

Review: Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 6 hardcover/paperback (DC Comics/Vertigo)

Friday, March 08, 2013

Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 6 by Alan MooreSaga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 6, the final collection of the series, is by far the most lyrical and ambitious of the bunch. The tone of the book changes, as artist Stephen Bissette promised it would in his introduction to Vol. 5, with new artist Rick Veitch's preference to draw science-fiction rather than horror. Writer Alan Moore rises to the challenge, however, peppering Swamp Thing's journey through space with some of the most bizarre and heartfelt sci-fi I've ever read in a comic book. I'm surprised, ultimately, by what's not included in these adventures, but that's got nothing to do with what's truly a stellar collection.

Review: Justice League International Vol. 2: Breakdown trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Justice Leage International Vol. 2: BreakdownThere's a point in Dan Jurgens's Justice League International: Breakdown where Booster Gold and Guy Gardner are sparring, when they're talking about the "other" Justice League, or even when Batman's being threatened by a prominent pre-Flashpoint foe, that it's easy to forget this all takes place in an "alternate" New 52 reality. Yes, Guy and Ice haven't dated quite as long and yes, Booster and Fire aren't as good of friends, but as one might've expected would happen, at some point there comes a certain "leveling out" in which these same characters, with similar personalities and in similar situations with the same teammates, simply revert to their pre-Flashpoint selves.

Review: The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion graphic novel by Will Eisner (W. W. Norton & Company)

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Will Eisner[Doug Glassman celebrates Will Eisner Week with this review.]

Will Eisner’s final graphic novel, The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is an atypical book for the graphic novel genre. It was published after his death and may not have been fully completed. The best way to explain it would be to call it an “illustrated textbook.” There’s no real main character, apart from Eisner himself, who narrates some of the final portions of the book; instead, the book details the complex and convoluted history of the world’s most dangerous hoax through a variety of vignettes.

Review: Batwoman Vol. 2: To Drown the World hardcover/paperback (DC Comics)

Monday, March 04, 2013

Batwoman Vol. 2: To Drown the WorldIt's a testament to how closely tied J. H. Williams's art is to the Kate Kane Batwoman that even though Batwoman Vol. 2: To Drown the World is still written by Williams and Hayden Blackman, it doesn't always feel like the same team as before without Williams on the art. To Drown the World is still nicely complicated as Batwoman stories are, and the end will whet any fans appetite for the third volume, but the book lacks the verve of Elegy and Hydrology. Indeed, Batwoman even seems a bit out of character at times, which ought not be the case because the voices behind her are the same; it's only the visuals that are different.

Review: Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 5 hardcover/paperback (DC Comics/Vertigo)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 5 by Alan MooreThe first thing I noticed about the library's copy of Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 5 is that it feels slimmer than the Swamp Thing books that came before it (also it's the first one where the significant black ink seems to have smudged the pages). Indeed this book is only 166 pages, whereas previous volumes have been 200 pages or more.

[Spoilers, spoilers]

The six chapters here, however, are distinctly all of a piece, perhaps more so than any other volume in the series (Vol. 3 comes in second), and the fact that there's just six adds to and enhances this. The volume is far from self-contained -- in fact, it reaches back to the Martin Pasko stories that preceded Alan Moore's more so than any other volume so far -- but it lacks the single-issue stories and diversions of the previous books; Saga of the Swamp Thing Vol. 5 tells one story, very taut and methodically, through to its conclusion.