‘Justice League’ #8 Review!

'Justice League' #8 art by Neil Edwards, Daniel Henriques & Alex Sinclair

‘Justice League’ #8 Review!

'Justice League' #8 cover art by Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan & Alex Sinclair
‘Justice League’ #8 cover art by Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan & Alex Sinclair
  • Written by Bryan Hitch
  • Pencils by Neil Edwards
  • Inks by Daniel Henriques
  • Coloured by Alex Sinclair
  • Cover by Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan & Alex Sinclair

“OUTBREAK” part one! Someone is hacking into the Justice League’s computers, causing the Batcave’s weapons and security systems to turn against the Dark Knight and the Watchtower satellite to plummet to Earth-with Cyborg trapped on board.

Pickup your copy of ‘Justice League’ #8 at Comixology now!

After the disappointment that was the previous short story arc (reviewed here and here) ‘Outbreak’ has gotten itself off to a great start. This is a story with much more intrigue and with much higher stakes.

With ‘State of Fear’ writer Bryan Hitch tried to full off a story which brought the focus in on the characters but with only two issues to tell the story it came off very flat. ‘Outbreak’ instead opens in space and only seeks to grow in scale from there.

‘Justice League’ works at it’s best when it focusses on its core group of characters and pits them together against a villain of global proportions. Spending too much time focussing on any one member of the group strays off in to territory best suited to that characters solo series. Hitch perfectly balances this issues opening act by focussing on both Cyborg and Batman, the two characters likely to be most affected by the hack. As the virus begins to take over the League systems the story quickly grow to encompass the rest of the team before a splash page climax sure to have readers hanging on for the next issue.

This feels like a classic ‘Justice League’ story in the making, the first of this ‘Rebirth’ era. It’s not that previous arcs have been disappointing, they just haven’t felt like a classic story worthy of these characters. What is also quite interesting is how this story may tie back in to the previous arcs with the death of Diane Palmer. There’s a clear indication that her husband may be to blame for the computer virus but we’ll have to wait for future issues to find out.

For the time being we get a very action packed issue with some seriously high stakes. When Hitch lets himself go and allows himself to blow the scale up he writes some of his best work. The action sequences as the Watchtower falls to Earth and as Batman’s fleet of vehicles turn on him are written as cinematically as they are drawn. This is certainly a new high in storytelling for the series.

I’ve always been a little critical on the artwork for ‘Justice League’. This is mainly because it sticks to the industry standard rather than daring to be too unique in its look. This issue is no different. The difference here is that the artwork actually lives up to the story, the scenes of the Watchtower falling to Earth are nicely rendered and the chaos in the Batcave is equally exciting.

There are some good character models and the spectacle that is this issue is really nicely done. Rather than being content with the look of ‘Justice League’ #8 I would go as far as to say I’m happy with it.

Verdict

‘Justice League’ #8 is some of the best storytelling I’ve read in the series in months. A very intriguing opening gambit to a new story arc with a genuinely jaw dropping cliffhanger of an ending.

4 stars

'Superman' #10 art by Patrick Gleason, John Kalisz, Keith Champagne & Mick Gray

‘Superman’ #10 Review!

'Superman' #10 cover art by Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray & John Kalisz
‘Superman’ #10 cover art by Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray & John Kalisz
  • Written by Patrick Gleason & Peter J. Tomasi
  • Pencils by Patrick Gleason
  • Inks by Keith Champagne & Mick Gray
  • Coloured by John Kalisz
  • Cover by Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray & John Kalisz

“IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER” part one! For the first time, the Man of Tomorrow and the Boy of Steel team up with the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder in a father-son adventure you won’t want to miss! Damian Wayne has been hearing a lot about this mysterious new Superboy, and now’s his chance to find out who he is…

Pickup your copy of ‘Superman’ #10 at Comixology now!

Time for a particularly convoluted and complex issue of ‘Superman’. On the one hand it’s as complex as the young boys on whom it focusses. On the other hand it’s perhaps a symptom of a relatively contrived plot line to bring together DC Comics youngest heroes.

Jon Kent is the antithesis of Damien Wayne which I’ve said before. Much like their fathers the two character balance each other out very well. In many ways this issue is like ‘Batman v Superman: The Next Generation’. Only there’s just so much going on that it’s hard to decipher any meaning from it.

The plot essentially boils down to Damien spying on Superboy and the two ending up in a bit of a punch up when their fathers intervene and have issues of their own. The issue would probably work better if it were played for comedy rather than as a straight drama. Unless there was comedy which I missed. In which case it could just have been written better.

It’s not a bad issue it just gets too caught up in all of the action. Scenes are drawn overly intensely and the action is so much from such small characters that everything becomes a little lost.

The highlight for me was a conversation about pets where Damien is at his arrogant best when showing off his menagerie of animals. It’s a small moment in a very big issue and showed how the interactions between these characters could be played for laughs rather than as slapstick.

Patrick Gleason feels a little toned down at times here. This is some of his least distracting work for me and I like it. As the action escalates so does the artwork to the point where it begins to resemble ‘Damien: Son of Batman’ which is only fair given the subject matter. This book is also very red in colour, again possibly to match the appearance of Robin.

Its artwork is as complex as its story but as a whole the issue comes off as well produced just because the artwork compliments the story so well.

Verdict

‘Superman’ #10 is fun but convoluted. It’s most likely a consequence of the huge personality of Damien Wayne dominating the book so it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

3 stars

DCTV's heroes star in 'Invasion'

The CW Unveils First Clip & Images From ‘Heroes Vs Aliens’!

DCTV's heroes star in 'Invasion'
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow –“Invasion!”

Excitement is building for ‘Heroes vs Aliens‘. With only one round of episodes left before the crossover itself happens The CW has unveiled the first clip.

Presumably from ‘The Flash‘ the clip sees the moment that Supergirl first visits Earth-1 and meets the rest of the hero gang.

You can checkout episode synopses for each part of ‘Heroes vs Alienshere. The crossover starts with ‘Supergirl‘ on Monday 28th November before continuing in ‘The Flash‘ on Tuesday 29th November, ‘Arrow‘ airs its 100th episode as part of the event on Wednesday 30th November and things come to an end in ‘Legends of Tomorrow‘ on Thursday 1st December.

You can see the first clip in the player below:

The CW has also unveiled a gallery of over 70 images from each of the four episodes which make up ‘Heroes vs Aliens‘. We’ve got all the photos for you in the gallery below!

'Green Arrow' #10 art by Juan Ferreyra

‘Green Arrow’ #10 Review!

'Green Arrow' #10 cover art by Juan Ferreyra
‘Green Arrow’ #10 cover art by Juan Ferreyra
  • Written by Benjamin Percy
  • Art & Cover by Juan Ferreyra

“MURDER ON THE EMPIRE EXPRESS” part one! Queen Industries’ new Trans-Pacific Railway is an undersea vehicle that symbolizes world peace-which makes its maiden voyage the perfect place for the Ninth Circle to stage a high-profile assassination. Luckily, Green Arrow, Black Canary and John Diggle are on board as outlaw stowaways! 

Pickup your copy of ‘Green Arrow’ #10 at Comixology now!

Time for a dramatic shift in the look of ‘Green Arrow’ with this issue as Juan Ferreyra takes over from Otto Schmidt. I’ve been praising the last few issues of ‘Green Arrow’ for looking pretty stellar. This issue the style changes from a hyper stylised cartoon to something more akin with a classical painting.

The cover sets the scene for the issue perfectly. The action prominently features Black Canary and to a lesser extent Arrow himself. Diggle as rightly placed on the cover is also featured but to an even lesser extent than Green Arrow.

Ferreyra is a very interesting artist. His work is very smooth and colours are a lot more washed out that Schmidt so with this issue the series takes on a very green/blue tint. Characters are less consistent throughout which as you know is always an issue for me but the story more than distracts from it for even the most critical of eyes.

As for the story itself ‘Green Arrow’ #10 picks up right from the events of the previous issue (reviewed here) with the gang jumping on the high speed train from Shanghai to Seattle. All of the action takes place on the train as the heroes are caught up in a murder plot. It’s not quite ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ but the mystery is still there.

It’s lacking a little in intrigue but it makes up for it in action. Considering the constrained space and underwater setting it’s still a bigger story in scope than expected. After two issues of heavy characterisation this is a breather to spend time on more of the action.

This isn’t a story which can run much longer than the train journey so I imagine it will wrap itself up relatively quickly and the action will move back on land.

Verdict

‘Green Arrow’ #10 is a respite from the heavy character development and a chance to focus more on an action set piece. It’s got some good art and strong writing. If you’re on the fence about reading ‘Green Arrow’ this is a fairly good place to try it.

3 stars

‘Deadpool 2’ Finds A Director!

Poster art for 'Deadpool'
Poster art for ‘Deadpool’

After the perceived disaster of losing original director Tim Miller last month ‘Deadpool 2’ has found a new master. ‘John Wick’ director David Leitch is confirmed by THR to be taking over the reigns on the films sequel.

It’s been only a matter of weeks since Miller left production on the Fox sequel citing ‘creative differences’ as the reason for his departure. Reports at the time questioned whether production on the sequel would be able to continue without delay. The hiring of Leitch so quickly would seemingly keep production on schedule as planned.

Reports are also stating that Fox are looking ahead to production on ‘Deadpool 3’. The as yet undated release is reportedly looking for a different director.

How do you feel about Leitch directing ‘Deadpool 2’? Sound off in the comments.

[source: THR]

'TMNT' #63 art by Dave Watcher

‘TMNT’ #63 Review!

'TMNT' #63 cover art by Dave Watcher
‘TMNT’ #63 cover art by Dave Watcher
  • Written by Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
  • Art by Dave Wachter

“Chasing Phantoms” Part 3! With an ally in danger, the Turtles look for a new way to defeat the Street Phantoms. Will the Turtles be able to do what it takes to save the Foot Clan?

Pickup your copy of ‘TMNT’ #63 at Comixology now!

‘TMNT’ is high on a run of really spectacular issues. Issues which have thrown aside the rule book in terms of complex layered plots and cyclical storytelling for something much more akin to long story arcs with multiple subplots.

‘TMNT’ #63 is an example of the plot at possibly its most complex point both structurally and emotionally. Perhaps the most hard hitting is the emotional state in which we find the characters. As the cover suggests Splinter and his role as the leader of The Foot Clan has reached a point where it’s critically starting to come between him and his sons.

This issue finds Splinter and the Clan about to wage war on The Phantoms street gang. The Turtles themselves are uneasy with the decision and for the first time in a long time find themselves at odds with their mentor. The choice to take the story down this route continues to push ‘TMNT’ in to new territory and it’s territory that I think fans will really enjoy.

We’ve had several months of the gang separated from their traditional villain and this has proven to be a creative rejuvenation for the series, to potentially pit the heroes against Splinter will only serve to further push the writers.

Most of the complexities in ‘TMNT’ come from pulling the various threads of the story together. With Harold now a prisoner of The Phantoms thanks to Splinter there’s the plot around him being reunited with his wife and the problems that causes. This is then further complicated by the street war which engulfs the low level enforcers leading to the reappearance of Casey Jones.

There’s a lot going on here but its all connected and it all works really well. For once I’m not really able to say where this story is going or how it’s going to reach its climax and that is truly very exciting as a ‘TMNT’ fan.

As always Dave Watcher brings some insane artwork to the series. The cover is striking. The image of Splinter stood in front of all the Foot Clan soldiers really evokes the emotions of what is happening in the story within.

The action is, as always, the highlight. Seeing large groups of characters charging in to battle never ceases to amaze. The day when Watcher moves on from ‘TMNT’ will be a very sad day indeed.

Verdict

‘TMNT’ #63 is a hugely complex story reaching its peak, jump on board now or you will surely regret it later!

4 stars

'All-Star Batman' #4 art by John Romita Jr., Danny Miki & Declan Shalvey

‘All-Star Batman’ #4 Review!

'All-Star Batman' #4 Cover by Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. & Dean White
‘All-Star Batman’ #4 Cover by Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. & Dean White
  • Written by Scott Snyder
  • Pencils John Romita Jr. & Declan Shalvey
  • Inks by Danny Miki & Declan Shalvey
  • Coloured by Jordie Bellaire, Dean White
  • Cover by Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. & Dean White

“My Own Worst Enemy” part four! So close and yet so far from his goal, Batman must now wrangle Two-Face out of his own assassin-filled riverboat casino before it plunges over Niagara Falls to their deaths! The Dark Knight will have to go all-in on the most deadly gamble of his life if he intends to make it out alive.

Pickup your copy of ‘All-Star Batman’ #4 at Comixology now!

Consistency is the name of the game with ‘All-Star Batman’ and finally it is starting to happen. I’ve been tough on this series in previous reviews, really tough. The first three issues have been hugely overstuffed with various characters from the Batman universe. Odd for a series whose concept is based on taking Batman out of his normal surroundings.

Once again the story picks up directly after the last issue as we find Batman double crossed by Two-Face. I’m still a little confused as to why Two-Face has a group of Owls by him as he hasn’t previously been connected with the Court. There’s a lot of moments in ‘All-Star Batman’ which feel very contrived for the sake of the story. Batman’s suit in this issue, for instance, seems to be full of new gadgets which are perfectly designed to deal with the exact situation he has found himself in. Given that this story is written by Scott Snyder, the mastermind behind ‘Endgame’ and ‘Court of the Owls’ it feels like slack storytelling.

Still it’s hard to argue with how this story is starting to come together. Once the fight with Two-Face and the light aircraft sequence which follows it is over then ‘All-Star Batman’ finally starts to work. For the first time some of the supporting characters reappear in a second issue so KGBeast, Penguin, Great White Shark and Black Mask get the award for being more consistent than any other characters so far. With that there’s a plan, there’s a structure to what’s going on and finally this is beginning to feel like a Batman story.

I’m still not 100% sure what it is but its there.

With the story finally coming together I was a little less distracted by the artwork. In writing this review and focussing on it again it still bothers me and it still feels incredibly stiff compared to many other comics but with the story starting to work it’s definitely less of a distraction.

Verdict

‘All-Star Batman’ #4 is perhaps the issue we’ve been waiting for. It shows the series most consistent characterisation and storytelling and finally the Scott Snyder we know is starting to show his personality. Stick with it.

3 stars

'Batman-TMNT Adventures' #1 art by Jon Sommariva

‘Batman-TMNT Adventures’ #1 Review!

'Batman-TMNT Adventures' #1 cover art by Jon Sommariva
‘Batman-TMNT Adventures’ #1 cover art by Jon Sommariva
  • Written by Matthew Manning
  • Art by Jon Sommariva

When villains start to mysteriously escape Arkham, Batman seeks to track them down. What happens when he discovers that they have left Gotham completely… and entered the TMNT’s New York City?

Pickup your copy of ‘Batman-TMNT Adventures’ #1 at Comixology now!

Every now and then a series comes along which just works. Earlier this year we had the first crossover between the ‘Batman’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ franchises. Written by James Tynion IV it was a great read with some highly stylised but hyper realist artwork. Running high of the popularity of that series DC Comics and IDW quickly announced this followup which would instead mash up the animated versions of both franchises.

With this first issue of ‘Batman-TMNT Adventures’ all we really get to see is a huge amount of (required) setup. A hugely clever opening scene harking back to Michael Keaton’s days as Batman set the scene for a series which will mash up cartoon humour with comic book drama. The TMNT gang all showing off their personalities perfectly before leading in to some typical Batman action. Both franchises supporting casts are all there with moments for April O’Neill to appear with the turtles and a whole swathe of Bat-villains to be name dropped.

‘Batman-TMNT Adventures’ is still a simpler concept than its predecessor. This series would read perfectly for audiences of all ages rather than the more grown up story of the previous crossover. Still it’s a great read. At the moment we’re not sure what’s going on villain wise aside from seeing the Foot Clan square off against Joker and Harley in an alleyway at the issues end.

There’s action, there’s intrigue and plenty of characters and this is still only the first issue!

The artwork by Jon Sommariva perfectly mashes up the two animated franchises perfectly. The TMNT gang look just as they do in the current Nickelodeon TV series and Batman is squarely set in the world of Bruce Time. Joker fans will be pleased to see his design is firmly the original ‘BTAS’ incarnation and now the redesign of the later episodes which was less well received.

Reading this issue does feel like reading a comic tie-in for a TV series so already there is very little room for improvement.

Verdict

‘Batman-TMNT Adventures’ #1 is probably worth five stars but I’m giving it four in the hope that it will only get better as the story kicks up a gear. I shouldn’t even have to tell you how worth reading it is!

4 stars

'All-Star Batman' #3 art by John Romita Jr., Danny Miki & Declan Shalvey

‘All-Star Batman’ #3 Review!

'All-Star Batman' #3 cover art by Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. & Dean White
‘All-Star Batman’ #3 cover art by Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. & Dean White
  • Written by Scott Snyder
  • Pencils John Romita Jr. & Declan Shalvey
  • Inks by Danny Miki & Declan Shalvey
  • Coloured by Jordie Bellaire, Dean White
  • Cover by Danny Miki, John Romita Jr. & Dean White

“MY OWN WORST ENEMY” part three! Now on the run from both bounty hunters and cops, Batman and Duke must find a safe place to hide out with Two-Face before they can continue their journey to the cure. Batman might soon realize his worst nightmare: that Two-Face is right…and nowhere is safe.

Pickup your copy of ‘All-Star Batman’ #3 at Comixology now!

Finally things are starting to come together with the story of ‘All-Star Batman’. In my reviews of previous issues (here and here) I’ve spent some time talking about how Scott Snyder is using this series to break out of the confines of a ‘normal’ Batman story. The first two issues have very much been a road movie between Batman and Two-Face. A road movie framed with this strange mix of black comedy and drama with a cadre of assassins chasing them down.

Leading up to this point I’ve been critical of just how many assassin characters have been shoehorned in to this story. This issue is no less packed, starting out with KGBeast and also featuring Owls, Penguin, Black Mask and Great White Shark. The difference here is that we are starting to see a structure to all the madness. KGBeast is our leader here, his battle with Batman takes up more than a simple couple of pages and instead pushes the story on much further than any further character appearance so far in the series.

Overall ‘All-Star Batman’ is a very convoluted plot for such a simple concept. The mix of various flashback moments mixed with the travelling drama and overblown cast and at times it can be very difficult to follow.  This issue also continues to throw Duke in to the mix. Fully in costume which I still find slightly confusing as we have yet to fully seem him take up a sidekick role in mainstream ‘Batman’ comics.

By mile 222 I’m not sure that I fully understand quite why Batman was taking Two-Face to their destination or why he agreed to go. When the double cross happens and Two-Face is joined by some souped up Owls (yes from the Court of Owls) it’s a bit of a head scratcher moment. Still there is something about this story which is starting to feel right, I’m invested enough that I need to know where its going.

It’s worth noting that the backup story – ‘The Cursed Wheel’ – is actually outshining the main story in some way. The character portrait of Duke is a fun read.

The sticking point is still the artwork. This issues features a huge amount of action yet it never looks anything other than stiff. Characters look like heavily posed mannequins. I’ve said it before but it is just too heavily stylised to fit with the story. I’m not going to say it’s bad artwork but it really isn’t. It just does not work in the context of ‘All-Star Batman’. At this point it feels like the series would look better if literally any other artist in mainstream comics were working on it.

Verdict

‘All-Star Batman’ #3 is beginning to show what this series is capable of doing. The artwork is still an issue for me but the story is really starting to grip me.

3 stars

DCTV Crossover Episode Synopsis Revealed!

Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist & Stephen Amell
Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist & Stephen Amell

If you’re like us you are counting down the days until ‘Heroes vs Aliens’ comes to The CW. We’ve had two promos (see those here) and several tidbit articles from Entertainment Weekly but nothing solid on the story. Until now that is.

The CW has unveiled the episode synopsis for each episode that forms part of the huge storyline with The Dominators.

First up is ‘Supergirl’ kicking things off on Monday, November 28th with an episode entitled ‘Medusa’.

“Eliza (guest star Helen Slater) comes to town to celebrate Thanksgiving with her daughters. Alex (Chyler Leigh) decides it’s time to come out to her mother; Kara (Melisa Benoist) is shocked when Eliza suggests Mon-El (Chris Wood) has feelings for her, and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and James (Mehcad Brooks) consider telling Kara the truth about the Guardian. Meanwhile, CADMUS unleashes a virus that instantly kills any alien in the vicinity so Kara enlists an unexpected ally – Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath). The epic superhero crossover kicks off tonight when Barry Allen (guest star Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (guest star Carlos Valdes) seek Kara’s help with an alien invasion on their Earth.”

Next up is ‘The Flash’ episode titled ‘Invasion!’ on Tuesday, November 29th:

“When aliens called the Dominators attack Central City, Barry (Grant Gustin) speeds over to Star City to ask the Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell) for help in stopping them. Realizing the battle against the Dominators is bigger than they thought, they track down the Legends of Tomorrow, and Barry and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) create a breach to bring back a secret weapon – Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist). Once all of the super friends are assembled, they come up with a plan to attack but a shocking secret related to Flashpoint is revealed and suddenly no one is sure who they can trust. Meanwhile, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) wants to join the battle against the aliens but Iris (Candice Patton) tells him he’s not ready.”

Also titled “Invasion!” is the ‘Arrow’ episode on Wednesday, November 30th. It’s also worth noting this is ‘Arrow’s 100th episode!

“Oliver (Stephen Amell) wakes up to a life where he never got on The Queen’s Gambit. Robert (guest star Jamey Sheridan) and Moira Queen (guest star Susanna Thompson) are alive and well. Laurel (guest star Katie Cassidy) is his loving fiancée and their wedding is imminent. Everything seems perfect, but Oliver starts to notice small imperfections that make him question this new reality. Meanwhile, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and the recruits take on a new threat with help from The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin) and Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist).”

Finally, the ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’ episode that concludes the event on December 1st is also titled ‘Invasion!’. The episode is described as:

“After learning the Dominators’ plan for the world, the Legends must work together with The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin), Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist) and Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell) to kill them once and for all. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) figures out, with the help of others, how the team can terminate the Dominators, but is distracted by the aberration he realizes he created in 1987. Brandon Routh, Franz Drameh, Dominic Purcell, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Nick Zano and Caity Lotz also star.”

Which episode are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the comments.