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May’s Recaps in the Comic World

My, what a busy month this has been for comic books.

Thank you all very much for keeping up with our reviews, synopses, and discussions on the various comic topics this month. We cover not only new comics, but also the not-so-new, for anyone who is looking for anything new to read, or something to discuss with us.

That’s not to say we will only cover comics. I’m waiting for Kay to throw down on her favorite television shows and films soon enough to you.

With that said, feel free to catch up on any of the topics you might have missed this month by clicking below:

Batman, Vol. 1 (New 52): The Court of Owls

Daredevil: Out, by Brian Michael Bendis

The Marvel Comics classic, Infinity Gauntlet

Daredevil #6, part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative

The Korean manhwa, Seduction

New 52’s Justice League, Vol. 6: Injustice League

DC’s critically acclaimed event, The Death of Superman

Harbinger, by Valiant Comics

Uncanny Avengers #9 (All-New, All-Different Marvel)

Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, and my critique on the controversy of Steve Rogers’ Hydra membership

May was exciting, but get ready for the comics, manga, manhwa, and other media we may cover in June.

Stay tuned!

 

–Kay & D.C.

The Death of Superman

Hey everybody this is Kay G. coming at you. Today I’ll be discussing “The Death of Superman.” This story is by far one of the best I’ve read by DC so far. The story is filled with action, loss, and so much emotion in every page, that you can’t put it down.

In “The Death of Superman”, Superman engages in battle with an unstoppable killing machine named Doomsday in the streets of Metropolis. The comic opens with a gloved fist punching a steel wall, accompanied by the caption that’s says “Doomsday is coming!” Following this the Justice League international(Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Maxima,Fire, Ice and Bloodwynd) responds to a call from a smashed big-rig outside of Ohio, and follows the trial of senseless destruction that leads them to a confrontation with the mysterious creature. This creature, Doomsday tears he team apart, starting by throwing a tree trunk through their aircraft. (The International League I’m not quite familiar with, but seem to be quite interesting. Maxima’s powers to me seem to be the most powerful.)

When Superman finally arrives, and the other members of the league follow the threat to a home of a single mother and her kids, where the battle with Doomsday destroys their home. All of the leagues powers by this time are exhausted out and it’s up to Superman to defeat Doomsday. Within their non-ending the city starts going in shambles.  Doomsday at point is driven below the ground, where he ruptures gas and electrical mains, leveling Newtown, a large section of Metropolis.

Superman and Doomsday strike swings at each other with all that they have. They use so much force that the shockwaves from their punches shatter windows. In front of the Daily Planet building, each fighter lands a massive blow upon his opponent. The two of them collapse and moments later, Superman succumbs to his battle wounds and inevitably dies, in Lois Lanes arms.

All the while this is happening in the story; press is surrounding Superman and Doomsday like vultures. Trying to get every detail, every shot, every blow captured for what will be the greatest and saddest story told in Metropolis. In the final moments of Superman’s death, fear is swept all through the town. Nobody expected Superman to fall.

This story is epic, a great storytelling to Superman’s final battle. A story I highly recommend to anyone interested in Superman or anyone who just wants a great read.  I know while reading this I had quite a few questions. Mostly about whom the International League was along with Supergirl and Lex Luther. (All answers that could be found by my human wiki, you all know him as D.C Jackson ha). Overall I liked the story; it had great writing and storytelling. Plus even if it was an older comic, the art was pretty well down too.

This is Kay G. over and out. Thanks for reading.

Batman: “The Court of Owls”

Hey everyone this is Kay G. coming at you. I know its been awhile, life got busy lol. Today we are discussing Batman’s “The Court of Owls” written by Scott Snyder.  Snyder does a great job writing for Batman, capturing the real crazy that coincides within him.

The Court of Owls is an ancient conspiracy that has controlled Gotham City for centuries. Hiding out within the architecture, these “owls” are a highly-trained breed of assassins known as Talons. The Talons are controlled by the court and are awakening when the court needs them for service.

Their legend is told by whispers and nursery rhymes that are said many times within the story. The story focuses a lot on Bruce Wayne’s history along with the Gotham itself. It talks about Alan Wayne, Bruce’s great-great grandfather who was Gotham’s elite architect. Alan plays a lead in the story with the court of owls, in the end it’s what saves Batman’s life in more ways than one.  It’s his beautiful designs and structure in the buildings he built that the court hides in, lurking about in the shadows.

In “The Court of Owls” the story of Bruce’s life is threatened in a message, left by the Talon. After the second attempt to Bruce’s life, Batman begins investigating what happened to Alan and more about the court. Batman goes into the sewers where Alan’s body was found; in a catatonic state years ago only to be abducted by the Talon who surprises him.  Batman is trapped in a massive labyrinth for over a week with no food or contact, where he eventually begins to hallucinate. When Batman walks into a room the Talon comes up from behind him and stabs him.  With the court egging on this battle and with Batman being so weak, he almost loses hope and gives up. Beaten to near death, Batman finally finds his wits and strength and fights on.  Batman beats the Talon savagely, and escapes.

Batman going crazy

“Beware the Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them or they’ll send a Talon for your head.”

Batman fighting back

The real shock to this story besides seeing Batman so vulnerable and desperate is when examining the body of the first Talon who tried to kill him, Batman finds out that he was a descended to Dick Grayson (Robin). Back into his cave, when Robin checks in on him, Batman tells Robin that if it wasn’t for him adopting Grayson he could have been made into a Talon too.

This was a very fast past, quick and amazing read by Snyder. Snyder in my opinion is one of the few best Batman writers; he uses captions and narrates the story well enough even if there was no visual work, but the visual is half the fun.  In this story the visual is just as vivid and central to the story. As Batman goes crazy so does the pages, they are turned sideways and upside down so that you feel like you’re going crazy right along with Batman. It was exciting to see Batman lose his cool and calm interior. I’m so used to Batman tough and nobody can break him, well as much as I know that’s not true, this was my first taste into seeing him like this. Part of me even believed that he wouldn’t make it through this, nobody could. Batman pulls through though, but even when you think he’s won and the story is over another Talon is awoken.

This is Kay G. over and out. Thanks for reading. Hope you all pick up a copy and enjoy.

 

 

Civil War…”Whose side are you on?”

Hey everybody this is Kay G. coming at you.

So I finally got my hands on Civil War. It’s been on my list for a long time now and I finally read it. First of all it’s a much quicker read then I anticipated it to be, but then again there are many tie-ins to this story that I have not read yet.

 

Civil War by Mark Millar, by far exceeded my expectations. Civil War as we all know has been marketed like crazy because of the movie that is coming out, and any of you who are interested in reading it, it’s going to be well worth your time. Civil War tie-ins can also be found in and all over the bookstores right now. Because as always the marketing is so big for one of these movies, that you find it everywhere you turn. Now for those of you who may think, “oh I want to read this before the movie comes out” beware: This is not the movie. Civil war the comic and Civil war the movie will very much be separate. That all has to do with movie and character rights within production. Marvel as I’m sure most of you know is owned by Disney these are Avenger films that we’ve been seeing, and X-Men who are also Marvel, FOX  owns the right to those characters; hint can’t mix up the two. So that means that movie will not fall in line with the way the actual story plays out.

In Civil War, the U.S government passes a Superhero Registration Act that is designed to have the superheroes under official regulation, but not all agree to this law that’s about to be passed. The two against each other is none other than Captain America and Iron Man with poor Spider-Man caught right in the middle. Captain America believes in keeping his identity and others safe in what they do, secret identity and keeping their lives separated is very important to him. While on the other hand Iron Man, believes that the law should be passed and that they should be working with the government along with identities known and the public feeling more comfortable with who they are. The war becomes a conflict between freedom and security, the main theme of what Civil War is all about. Civil War is all about “whose side are you on?”

Civil War is good story that shows you what law and conflict can do, even to superhuman beings. This registration has two great iconic figures split right down the middle.  Iron Man (Tony Stark), pro-registration also had Mr. Fantastic and Hank Pym on his side arguing that changing the political map meant that resisting the law was pointless and it was reasonable for heroes to have proper training and oversight in what they were doing. Captain America (Steve Rogers), against the registration had Luke Cage and Falcon arguing that heroes required security in order to protect aspects of their lives outside of being a “hero”, such as their spouses and children.

Spider-man, who I said was caught in the middle made the decision to go along side Iron Man, a man he very much idealized. Peter Parker reveals his identity to the public but this decision soon falls out, when certain circumstances arise and a team member on Captain America’s side is killed. The death of this character brought the war to be more epic and more forceful then either of them could imagine. This moment brought together more heroes to Captain’s side and even Punisher joined his team.

Civil War is an iconic story, and I’m very interested on how they will take this story and represent it in the film. Characters will be different, some story lines I’m sure will be changed in order for it to fit the movie script. Overall, this is amazing read packed with emotion and action and real look into what order and chaos can do to these incredible super beings. I very much loved it, I know my partner D.C will recommend it as well (and yes he had read the tie-ins). This comic is gripping and there is never a dull moment in the reading, and is a great story that I’m looking forward to reading tie-ins to.

Also, if anyone is curious if I had to pick a side, I think it would be Captain America. I think his points are valid in wanting to protect their identity of who they are and protecting their families. Whose side are you on?

This is Kay G. over and out, thanks for reading and let me know who’s side you chose.

Shedding Light on Shadowman

D.C. here for a little throwdown.

I’ve had a somewhat growing dissatisfaction with the big two comic publishers (Marvel and DC) for some time. They seem to have forgotten it means to put out good, meaningful work. Marvel in particular seems to have developed a recent habit of hiring artists whose work, in my eyes, is atrocious.

So, to that end, I’d made an effort to expand to other publishers and even other work in Marvel and DC that I hadn’t considered tackling in my youth.

At Wondercon, I bought this:

Shadowman

Valiant Comics’ Shadowman is the work of creative team Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher. Unlike DC and Marvel, I know next to nothing about Valiant Comics’ universe. What made me pick up Shadowman was in the cover above. Shadows? Demonic looking creatures? Death? Action? Count me in!

And so I read it.

Shadowman is pretty decent, in my opinion. Jordan really hits the ground running in storytelling. We get a sufficient background into Jack Boniface’s parents just prior to his birth, and the fate of his parents. Nothing was terribly obvious, except for the sacrifice inherent in Jack’s family history, and the power he was going to inherit.

 

Years later, we quickly see Jack as a charismatic, yet somewhat guarded, young man. He works at a museum, but he’s not a curator. I don’t think it’s clearly stated what his occupation is. And I don’t know why Jordan had me wondering this minor detail, haha. But it’s a curious thing, nonetheless.

The stage is set when Jack throws away a keepsake of his father’s, an amulet that concealed his presence from the forces that have hunted him for his entirely life. And from there, the action just pours out of the storyline.

Emotional decisions…d’oh!

Now, I’ve seen some strange mess in comics, but a talking monkey in a realm of the dead? That made me raise my eyebrows, and not in a bad way. It was a funny quirk that adds even greater mystery to the series. The monkey seems duplicitous to me, at least at the end of Volume 1. I look forward to seeing what his history and motivations are, because none of that was made clear.

That funky monkey

The cast introduced in Shadowman each seemed to have had their own personal histories set, so character background was minimal. Which is fine, because it’s not their story, so much as it’s Jack’s. Their background need not be so fleshed out so early on. Nonetheless, the supporting cast in Shadowman were portrayed sufficiently and adequately.

You can’t help but be intrigued by what appears to be the primary antagonist in this series, the Brethren, a bunch of middle-aged and old fart businesspeople. It’s obvious they have clout and standing that will be a problem for our Shadowman, but is there more to them, aside from their worshipping a demon?

This all screams cult or religious fanaticism, two things I’ve always been into in literature.

I enjoyed Justin Jordan’s explanation of magic in this series. It’s not too much different from other comics that theorized magic as just another advanced science, but Jordan nonetheless makes it explained well enough in the first volume that even those without scientific backgrounds can understand. We see the magic applied in Volume 1, but it’s clear that Jordan has more in store in terms of the full aspects and understanding of magic, since Shadowman is only just learning his abilities.

Patrick Zircher’s art is nothing earth-shattering to me, but that’s just fine. Zircher shows how effective his art is when aided by Bob Layton’s coloring skills to capture the dark, magical aspect of Shadowman. I’m torn between deciding if the art gives the book a biblical feel, supernatural feel, or a horror aspect. Perhaps it’s all, or neither of these? Nonetheless, I like it because of its effectiveness.

Yeah, do not mess with this mess…

I’m honestly not sure how I felt about Shadowman. There wasn’t a lot of information given in the first volume. The full explanation of magic, Jack’s past, the backgrounds of his supporting cast and those of the antagonists…that damn monkey in the Deadlands. All we got was a set-up. Is that good enough? It all depends on the delivery. All these things will hopefully get addressed adequately in later issues. Hopefully they will have impact on the character and the Valiant universe.

As a story, I didn’t get a terrible lot from this first volume, but I appreciate the creative team’s obvious set-up of Shadowman’s mythos.

END THROWDOWN.