Batman Incorporated #13
Written: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC Comics
Review Written By: Jarad Stiles
In the end Grant Morrison is a man of his word. I am certain that an
inordinate number of people will hate this issue, but I do not find
myself among them. It is very difficult to separate and review this
issue in a vacuum. This is not some bombastic over the top spectacle
befitting of the celebration of Batman that Morrison has crafted for
the better part of a decade, but it is an end. All the usual
tropes accompany the ending: the sword fight, the femme fatale, the
ultimatum. In spite of the tropes it is still well written, and I’d be
remiss if I did not compliment Burnham’s art and the layout of this issue.
Satisfying? No, but I do not know if that is possible when the bar has
been set so high. It is easier to do a one off Batman story than a
prolonged tale. That is why Jeph Loeb’s Long Halloween, Dark Victory, and Hush are such revered tales. What Morrison did was more ambitious; he has written Batman continuously over seven years, and the quality has not diminished. This was not decompressed, there were always plenty of balls in the air, and action abounded with nuances that paid off. We even have a surprise appearance of a character from early in his Incorporated run that ultimately provides the perfect amount of pop to the issue.
Morrison introduces a new Robin, Damien Wayne who was literally the
son of Batman and the house of al’ Ghul, kills Bruce Wayne, kills
his son, makes Dick Grayson Batman, makes all of the weird sci fi silver age stories relevant, and introduces a Bat Cow. He does this with a straight face, and in my opinion the Bat Cow is second only to Dex Starr in the pantheon of animal characters this millennium. This book has been about family.
I really believe that Morrison has told his tale and
said everything he wanted to say in regards to the caped crusader, and
I’m sad that there isn’t more. This is one of the few books I looked
forward to every month, and was one of the first I read. I think
readers should be happy when someone chooses to go out at the top of
their game, rather than continue to go through the motions.
In time, will any of this run matter? With characters
like this, almost every imaginable story had already been told, Grant
Morrison found a new way to tell them. I fully expect to see Damien
Wayne, Talia, and Doctor Hurt again; unfortunately, it will not be
penned by Grant Morrison.
In summation, Talia and the Leviathan make their final move, Batman
defeats them. Bruce Wayne may be beaten and bloodied, but Batman is
unshakable. In the end, Batman always wins. There are some ideas here
that may never be picked up again. But, I for one, love the idea of someone
using Ninja Assassin Man Bats, Professor Pyg, Smiling
Automatons, a Japanese Batman, and Super Young Team.
It is infinitely harder to write an ending than anything else. People
want it to be tied up with a nice bow, but much like life, things are
not clean. Batman never dies, the concept is universal, you may break
the man, but never the symbol.
Goodbye Dark Ranger, Wingman, Man of Bats, Shy Crazy Lolita Canary, Squire, and Sunny Sumo. It has been fun.
I, like many others find Grant Morrison to have had the definitive runs on such
disparate franchises such as Justice League (JLA), the X-Men (New X-Men), Superman (All Star), and now Batman. This is a time of sadness to say goodbye to old friends, I fear that not many writers will utilize the new characters Morrison introduced or reintroduced, but they are
all in the writers’ toy chest now.
“So what’s it all add up to? It’s hard to say. But me, I’d say this was a test…. And I think they did all right. Up against, Good, Evil, angels, devils, Destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well… isn’t that kinda the whole point? No doubt – endings are hard. But then again… nothing ever really ends, does it?” Chuck Shirley- Supernatural 5:22 Swan Song
4 out of 5 Nerdskulls for this issue.
5 out of 5 Nerdskulls for Morrison’s entire run.
B.P.R.D. Vampire #5
Writer: Mike Mignola, Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá
Artist: Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá
Publisher: Dark Horse Publishing
Review Written By: Jarad Stiles
This really is not an end, it is the beginning of another miniseries
featuring Simon Anders, the erstwhile former B.P.R.D. Agent, and
current vampire. There is not as much gravitas as I was expecting, but
it would be hard to ante up after the action in the last issue. This
served as an epilogue rather than a proper conclusion. Something that
particularly bothered me was that there was no reason for Anders to
wait around feasting until the Professor arrived. The Professor made a
transatlantic flight from the United States to Czechoslavakia (this is
after all set well in the past, specifically Fairfield, CT, to Český
Krumlov), to confront Simon. The Professor goes to clean up a mess of
his own making, but he is too late, and woefully inadequate to finish
the task. The Professor knows this, yet trudges on out of a sense of
duty, which would be admirable if it were not so daft.
Simon, a former B.P.R.D. agent, channels his inner Bond villain, and
explain his entire plan to the Professor, he has decided to eradicate
all vampires no matter the cost. Simon also acknowledges a life debt
to the Professor and spares his life and considers them friends, even
though he is now an extremely powerful vampire. Anders descent into
madness seemingly accelerates. This little display shows there is no
redemption available for this creature. As B.P.R.D.: Vampire followed 1948,
there will be another series that follows up the trials of the former
agent of the B.P.R.D.
Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba have yet to disappoint me with the quality and devotion to their craft. If you enjoy their work, you will be thrilled but this art style isn’t for everyone. I wish this issue had more substance and better pacing but as a bridge book, it did an adequate job.
3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Drag queens, magical drugs, and mysterious psychics, oh my! This is a very interesting issue to jump into and it covers a lot of ground. The first few pages were rushed and moved quickly to the important part of the story. I felt that the reveal of Terry and Jasper’s alter egos could have waited until another time; it was unnecessary and a forced introduction. The backstory of Jasper’s superpowers were also rushed and the story became messy. Jumping from Jasper being a lab experiment, to a car crash, to his super suit, I felt the writer was trying to put too much information onto one page.
There is also a conflict of themes happening within this story; not only is Jasper struggling to figure out his new super identity, but he is now under the influence of magical weed which lets him travel to other places and times. These two plotlines clash and I quickly lost interest due to the lack of flow. This review is short and sweet. I am sorry to say this series won’t be added to my collection and I am giving The Bounce #3, 1.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Writer: Neil Gibson
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Review Written By: Kit Kendall
The story seems to follow the ordinary life of a young male trying to make a living as a mail man, but after work hours Luke and his friends use his mail route to rob the rich. After stumbling into a murderer’s house, this comic turns creepy really fast. The issue ends with a gory twist and a few young adults left to figure out what their next move will be. After reading the warning that Fin receives in the mail, I will say that our mysterious killer sure has pretty handwriting!
My only wish is that the art accompanied the dramatic plotline, but having this ordinary story turn into a horror movie made up for that. I felt some of the suspense was lost because of the simplistic art style, but I am hoping this murderous story will be able to keep my interest peaked. Until issue two, I am giving Tabatha #1, 2.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Captain Midnight #1
Writer: Williamson, Joshua
Artist: Dagnino, Fernando
Cover Artist: Ego
Publisher: Dark Horse
Review Written By: Jimmy Palmquist
I read this book two days ago and still can’t decide if I like it. Cheesy concepts can be good and I get the sense after one issue that this book is meant to be exactly that. I mean, seriously, it’s about a World War II uber-hero who disappears and returns via the Bermuda Triangle 70 years later looking as if not a day had passed. This also sets up a lot of similarities with Marvel’s Captain America. But that didn’t bother me because the writer, Joshua Williamson, took care to lay the foundation of today’s reality, while also setting up the ridiculous circumstances taking place with Captain Midnight’s return.
Also laying the foundation of tension, the United States government is none too thrilled at Captain Midnight’s return as they aren’t sure of his motives. Is he still the good guy they relied on so long ago, or has he returned for some nefarious reasons?
And of course, what would any superhero’s story be without a super villain? Once again, we have a Captain America type villain in the form of Fury Shark who runs Sharkbyte Tech. Sharkbyte Tech is in direct competition with Albright Industries, the company Captain Midnight’s alter ego, Jim Albright, founded all those years ago. Fury is an ageless beauty who is also a holdover from the World War II Nazi regime. Not to mention, Captain Midnight killed her father, so she has it out for him anyway. Her henchmen have infiltrated the top levels of some U.S. special forces and have sabotaged the government’s efforts to peacefully apprehend Captain Midnight. Oh yeah, they also have glowing green skulls.
If you accept this book as a B-movie set up with like minded storyline and embrace that cheesiness factor, it is most definitely a fun read. If the tone of the book is meant to be serious then I fear the book is a horrible failure. I’m not sure we’ll know until we read more. For that I’m going to give Captain Midnight #1, 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls with the extreme hope that the series develops as I hope it will and embraces the schlock!
Planet of the Apes #1
Writer: Gregory, Daryl
Artist: Barreto, Diego
Cover Artist: Azaceta, Paul
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Review Written By: Jimmy Palmquist
I am a huge fan of the film series and have read the occasional comic book. I enjoy the renewed attention the franchise has gotten with the prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the fact they kept the original timeline and history intact. The events of Planet of the Apes Spectacular fall in the vast space between Rise and the original film. We see an unlikely alliance between man, ape and the mutants (the mutated telekinetics from Beneath the Planet of the Apes). Of course none of them want want to be aligned with each other, but must as a result of an invasion against the city of Mak by the armies of Ape City. Some of the relationships are a little confusing , specifically the role of young Julian.
I was also slightly confused by what I think was a flash forward to show future Julian taking on wild humans. The underlining tone throughout shows a very tenuous existence among the three species. We know apes survive. We know mutants move underground and worship a nuclear missle. We know humans survive but devolve into speachless experiments by the time Taylor arrives. This book appears to start the events in motion that bring us the Planet of the Apes we’ve come to know and love.
This is promoted as a one-shot, but the book ends with a “To be continued…” Plus the cover is numbered “#1”. So I am not convinced this is a one-shot as I believe they are setting up for a big saga. The art was just okay. And ss I mentioned before the time jump was slightly confusing. But the story they seem to be setting is very exciting. If I didn’t know anything about the series I think I would be completely lost and bored. Luckily I do know a lot of the story so I can fill in the gaps and speculate where they will go from here. For that reason, if you’re a fan of the franchise I highly recommend giving this a read. I give Planet of the Apes – Spectacular 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #24
Writter: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz
Artist: Mateus Santolouco
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Review Written By: Jasper Gonzales
Issue 24 of the City Fall story arc is one that I’m loving. Never in the 1980’s cartoon or comic book series at least that I can remember has ever taken this route. And that’s why this is so great! The writing team of Eastman, Curnow and Waltz has me hooked with this issue.
Even though the issue itself is really an interpretation through the eyes of the brief interactions with Karai and the Shredder, Casey Jones and Angel as he recovers from the hospital, and Old Hob with the Turtles. The main storyline is with the conflict between longtime enemy the Shredder and more shockingly his new right hand man.
Eastman and the group focus on the family bond the turtles have with their father Splinter and the bond between one of them is dramatically altered and the turtle are torn between friend and foe. The artwork that Mateus does with this issue is superb. From the interactions of each supporting character, to the intense action panels with the turtles as they fight Shredder’s right hand guy and the foot clan.
It’s hard to not spoil this issue seeing as this story is one that I have been waiting for a long time! The turtles have never had an equal combatant when it came to fighting skills and this is the big difference and a major shift in the City Fall arc that has you glued to what the outcome may be!
I highly recommend this to new time readers and the regular fanboys of TMNT. Just read the issue and you’ll see my conflict on how I couldn’t spill the beans and ruin this book!
I’m giving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle #24, 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls!
Half Past Danger #3
Writer: Stephen Mooney
Artist: Stephen Mooney
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Review Written By: Jason Applegate
Nazis, ninjas, and dinosaurs! Oh my! Half Past Danger is Indiana Jones meets Jurassic Park meets Sgt. Rock. It’s the equivalent of dumping out your toy bin on the floor and letting the sound effects and molded plastic fly. In issue three, Sergeant Flynn has joined Captain John Noble, Ishikawa, and MI6 Agent Huntington-Moss, have discovered that the Nazis are wrangling dinosaurs so that they might develop a vaccine for a the virus they plan to use to win the war. But more importantly we get Captain Noble’s back story. It’s not surprising to discover that he is a super soldier (he’s a dead ringer for Captain America), but it is surprising that he was born superhuman and that the army used Noble to create a Noble-derived growth hormone. Flynn finds that he and Noble have the shared experience of losing their comrades while sharing a few drinks before going on a suicide mission to release the dinosaurs and destroy the Nazi base.
Some of the elements of Half Past Danger might be interpreted as cliché or predictable if the reader doesn’t understand that they are really a tribute to the genres to which the story alludes. Like much of pulp fiction, comics, and films that hailed from the 1940s, this book is jam packed with action and adventure (and a little implied sex to boot). The series isn’t meant to have a deeper meaning, nor is it meant to shock you. It’s just rewards readers with a fun story that moves quickly and seamlessly complimented by vibrant yet gritty artwork. Half Past Danger is to action/adventure pulp and film what Sin City was to Crime novels and film noir. The layout of the cells compliments the pace of the story. My favorite cell of issue 3 is the full page splash of Tyrannosaurus combating Triceratops. It’s like it was pulled directly from my imagination when I had the two plastic drug store behemoths battle on my bedroom floor when I was nine. This comic has just the right amount of the outrageous. I give it 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
And yes, I still imagine T-Rex battling Triceratops.
Uncanny – Season of the Hungry Ghosts #1
Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colors: Bill Crabtree
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Review Written By: Jason Applegate
I’d warn you that there are spoilers in this review, but the story is so predictable that you really see it all coming anyway. Uncanny is the story of a grifter named Weaver who has the ability to read a person’s knowledge and ability by simply touching him. I say read, because he doesn’t exactly absorb it like Rogue of the X-men. What makes this power somewhat interesting is that his power is either beginning to fail him or it isn’t foolproof because he mistakenly bluffs in a poker game and later misses that the man he is fighting is also armed with a knife. The story involves his escape from the crimelord he lost to in the poker game and ends with him being rescued by a mysterious girl on a motorcycle.
While I found the story to be fairly uninteresting and the character difficult to engage, the premise of a flawed character using flawed powers for self-indulgence might be intriguing enough to give this title a couple more issues to see if something develops in both character and story. The art and writing are both a little stiff but not so much so that it’s distracting. I’m hoping issue two gives me something more to write about. Uncanny gets 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.