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  • Elektra Hunts Phil Coulson in Agents of SHIELD #9

    Agents of SHIELD #9 at TFAW.com

    Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show started back up this week and it was great to catch up with the gang. The thing is, they never went away. Imagine a world where there was no summer hiatus and no months of anxiously waiting for your favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents to come back. Agents of SHIELD #9 is a testament that these characters never truly went away.

    At this particular moment in time, the team is embroiled in Marvel’s Civil War II, which sees longtime teammates on opposite sides of a moral dilemma. You don’t need to concern yourself with the details if you haven’t been following along because this issue is just plain fun. Newbies are welcome.

    Agents of SHIELD #9 at TFAW.com

    Enough with the background. Marc Guggenheim wastes no time picking up where the previous issue left off. Fitz finds himself on the wrong end of Elektra’s sai and things look pretty bad. You’d think that she’s the villain, but you’d be wrong. Elektra is (once again) a member of S.H.I.E.L.D., and she’s taken over for Phil Coulson. Ward is back, Daisy is on the outs with the team, Coulson is being hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill, Simmons is in a struggle for her life — things are upside down, and I love it.

    If you’re a fan of the television show and you’re not reading this series…you’re missing out, bub. The Agents of SHIELD comic book series is unencumbered by a television budget or film rights to certain Marvel characters — we get a ton of action in each issue, which makes this series well worth the price of admission.

    Leaving off, it must be said that whoever put series artist Ario Anindito and color artist Rachelle Rosenberg together should be promoted. They’re a great team who’ve given us one hell of a comic. Order your copy of Agents of SHIELD #9 today!

    SEE AGENTS OF SHIELD COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

    Editor’s Note: Grant Ward is the worst. Even though I despise him for the whole Hydra thing, I find myself hooked by his role in this issue (no spoilers here, folks) and am interested in seeing how things play out in future issues. Great job Guggenheim!

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  • Review: Aliens: Defiance #4 — Gonna Get Yourself Killed

    Review of Alines Defiance #4

    aliens defiance #4 reviewIn Aliens: Defiance, Episode 3: Mutiny, we see a second mutiny aboard the Europa. While Davis-01 is tending to Hendricks’ injuries, the rest of the Davises forgo their new mission and reactivate the Europa’s “nearfield.” Weyland-Yutani uses the ship’s local network to remotely reprogram the synthetics and issues the directive to kill Hendricks and Davis-01 and to return to the original mission.

    In Aliens: Defiance, Episode 4: Casualties, we learn that the only two survivors of this second mutiny are Davis-01 and PFC Hendricks. When Weyland-Yutani transmitted new orders for the Davises via the nearfield network, personal communications for Hendricks were also transmitted.

    A couple official messages confirm what Hendricks already suspects, she’s been tried in absentia and has been found AWOL. There’s also a message from Hendricks’ personal doctor, claiming there’s a loophole that would allow Hendricks to return to Lunar Base: Tranquility as a medical patient and not face any of her criminal sentence.

    Hendricks must decide who to trust, and quickly. Dr. Emi Yang offers an attractive option, if it isn’t a ploy on behalf of the Colonial Marines to trap Hendricks should she step foot back on Lunar Base: Tranquility. Davis-01 may not be all he seems. He claims to have reprogrammed himself to be completely immune to the influence of Weyland-Yutani, but his actions when he’s alone suggest that may not be the case.

    This is possibly the most interesting chapter yet, and there are no (living) Xenomorphs to be found. Brian Wood serves up a lot more of Zula Hendricks’ backstory in Episode 4. We get to see the battle where Zula sustained her injury, the awful way she was treated by her superiors after being the sole survivor of her first firefight, and the weight of her survivor’s guilt. The issue is a little heavy on exposition and light on action, but it feels like a natural transition. We got to know our protagonist a little in the first three chapters, but this chapter really sets the hook and makes us care about her.

    Aliens: Defiance, Episode 4: Casualties, Dark Horse Comics, released August 31, 2016, written by Brian Wood, art by Tony Brescini, colors by Dan Jackson, letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot, cover by Massimo Carnevale, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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  • Review: Batman #7 — The Monster Men are Here

    batman 7 rebirth review

    batman-7-rebirth-coverThe first crossover of the Rebirth era has arrived! Night of The Monster Men kicks off in Batman #7. A hurricane is on target to destroy Gotham. Batman calls on Batwoman, Nightwing, Spoiler, Orphan, and Clayface to help him avert disaster and ensure that no Gothamites fall victim to the approaching storm. The forces of nature aren’t the only adversaries the Bat family will find themselves up against. As the storm grows near, Doctor Hugo Strange is ready to unleash his army of daikaju on the citizens of Gotham.

    Since Tom King took over the flagship Batman series in Rebirth, we’ve been seeing a lot more of Batman’s leadership abilities, mentoring and guiding his team. This welcome theme continues into Batman #7, even though King has taken a back seat to Steve Orlando in this installment. Having Orlando write all of the Monster Men crossover scripts while consulting with the regular writers of the individual titles should lend a nice level of continuity to the crossover itself, but the writing here is noticeably different than King’s solo efforts in the series thus far.

    Riley Rossmo’s artwork has a gritty, throwback quality to it. I probably could have gone my entire life without seeing Hugo Strange’s hairy backside, but the Monster Men themselves are exactly what they should be, monstrous abominations. Colorist Ivan Plascencia brings a muted palette offset by flashes of bright color that sets the table brilliantly for the oncoming storm(s).

    This first chapter of Night of the Monster Men nicely sets up the second installment, found in Nightwing #5, also released September 21, 2016. Part three can be found in Detective Comics #941, releasing September 28, 2016. Parts four through six will conclude the storyline in Batman #8, Nightwing #6, and Detective Comics #942, all releasing next month.

    Batman #7, DC Comics, released September 21, 2016, Rated T, plot by Steve Orlando and Tom King, script by Steve Orlando, pencils and inks by Riley Rossmo, colors by Ivan Plascencia, letters by Deron Bennett, cover by Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn, variant cover by Tim Sale.

    Review by Brendan Allen

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  • Frank Castle Takes Down a Drug Ring in Punisher #5

    NCBD featuring Punisher, Cyborg, Trinity and Aliens

    Has it really been a week since our last New Comic Book Day comic book review? Man, time flies. Here are a few of this week’s new releases that stood out from the crowd. Check out our other blog articles so see our thoughts on other books. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Aliens comics at TFAW.com

    Aliens: Life & Death #1
    By: Dan Abnett, Moritat, Rain Beredo, David Palumbo

    The Aliens comic book series joins the Life and Death crossover story in the shared Aliens/Predator/Prometheus universe. While we’re coming in later in the story, Aliens: Life and Death #1 doesn’t make a new reader feel like they’re late to the game. Sure, this issue drops us in the thick of the action, but isn’t that where you want to be when you’re reading a crossover? I would say yes.

    Dan Abnett’s story shines here — the pacing sucks you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat as the action unfolds before you. If you’re a fan of the Aliens films, underdog stories, or bloody action and gore, this story is for you! [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Trinity comics at TFAW.com

    Trinity #1
    By: Francis Manapul, Clay Mann

    Since the launch of DC’s Rebirth, a question that’s been on everyone’s mind is how the original Superman is going to fit into a world that’s not his own, and how will he interact with a Batman and Wonder Woman that were a friend and lover to their world’s now fallen Superman.

    To force the confrontation of this question, Lois invites Batman and Wonder Woman over for dinner to Superman’s surprise. What unfolds is a rekindling of friendships that never really existed as each character reminisces on things that the other has no recollection of. What we get from this is an acknowledgment that no matter what reality each character came from, at their core they’re still the same person.

    Where I think most writers would try to bring these characters back together with conflict, Francis Manapul brings them together like people, solidifying the mission statement of the Rebirth movement, that it’s about legacy, not reinvention. Combine his writing with expert art, what we get is a book that I think will be one of the key titles to follow over the coming months as the big picture of this world develops. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]

    JOIN THE NEW TRINITY SERIES TODAY!
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    Cyborg comics at TFAW.com

    Cyborg #1
    By: John Semper Jr., Will Conrad

    Within Cyborg #1 we get a quick glance at what may be our main villain, an unnamed assailant that looks like a failed attempt at Cyborg. Our hero is doing what he does best, stopping Detroit’s worst from committing crimes. Afterward, his father makes him go through tedious diagnostic tests to make sure everything is working properly. While not coming out with his anger we can tell that something is wrong with Cyborg, emotionally. We find out that he his questioning his humanity and whether he has a soul. The fact that his father is struggling with these same existential questions adds a healthy dose of family drama.

    John Semper Jr. does a great job getting us up to speed with the character, who he is, his environment and how he works within it. The storyline is an old one, but one that is never tired of being explored — Am I Human?.

    Artists Paul Pelletier, Tony Kordos, Scott Hanna, and Guy Major give this issue a greatly detailed issue that harkens back to the standards of superhero comics. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    LEARN MORE ABOUT CYBORG BEFORE HIS BIG SCREEN DEBUT

    Punisher comics at TFAW.com

    Punisher #5
    By: Becky Cloonan, Steve Dillon, Frank Martin
    Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire

    Becky Cloonan’s Punisher story has been intense. Frank is out to take down a drug ring being run by a mercenary outfit called Condor. He’s run into people from his past, had a run-in with a couple of D.E.A. Agents, and now it’s time for him to get to do what he does best — Punish wrongdoers.

    The Punisher #5 is a strong issue. Cloonan packs the book with some fantastic (read: violent) moments, and Steve Dillon has a chance to be realy expressive. You can see the psycho behind the eyes of the issue’s main protagonist, Face. Colorist Frank Martin knocks it out of the park — identifying light sources to inform shading, including little things like textures on walls and floors, and his use of the rich red hues from blood. I’m a fan.

    With all of the action and major revelations this issue brings, I’m SUPER excited to see where team Punisher takes us next. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    CHECK OUT EVEN MORE PUNISHER PRODUCTS

    What did you think of these books? What should we review next week? Let us know below!

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  • Britannia Shows a Side of Rome You’ve Never Seen

    Britannia #1 review

    Britannia comics at TFAW.comRome has a long, and storied history of dominance across the world stage. Britannia is set during the rule of Emperor Nero, and follows a Roman Centurion named Antonius Axia.

    Political intrigue winds its way through the threads of fate for Antonius, set in motion by the Great Vestal Virgin, Rubria who appears to have plans that run much deeper than any of the cast could imagine. Antonius is being steered toward the land of Britannia, while a cult following the Lord of the Cave, Orkus appear to be looming in the shadows, out of view.

    Antonius is bestowed a codex, some greater depth of knowledge by the Vestals and it seems as though they are the ones truly guiding his path ahead. To what end? There is a dark, supernatural force lurking beyond Orkus, and the cult who revere the deity.

    This book has gripped me, though I strongly urge that this is strictly for mature audiences only. If you enjoy tales of characters such as Conan, Valiant’s own Eternal Warrior, and the like, you should definitely check out this new title by Peter Milligan (Animal Man, The Discipline) and Juan Jose Ryp (Clone, Wolverine).

    Crisp, direct, and expressive artwork was popping on the uncolored review copy which I read, but with the depth that is sure to sweep through the title in final copy, you can bet that the series is going to dig hooks in to you and draw you back for more.

    With this introduction, you need not worry about having to have read any previous comic titles as this is setting out an all new path that is so often claimed in comics these days, but unlike other titles, Britannia actually delivers.

    Swords and sorcery tales typically have a very different feel, but with Britannia being set during the Roman Empire, the series is set to deliver new feeling to the genre entirely. What are the Vestal Virgins attempting to do with Antonius, and Nero? Looks like we will have to wait and see as details emerge further with each new issue. I am ready for this journey.

    ORDER BRITANNIA ISSUES TODAY

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  • Review: Uncanny Avengers #12 – Pymtron vs. Hulkbuster

    Review of Uncanny Avengers #12

    uncanny avengers #12 coverThe Avengers erroneously believed that Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, was lost forever, killed by his diabolical creation, Ultron. After Hank returned to Earth, claiming that he and Ultron had merged peacefully, it didn’t take long for the sinister Pymtron to attack the Avengers. The Unity Squad called on the original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, and Vision for backup and initiated the mysterious Project Icarus, which begins by summoning a massive Hulkbuster Iron Man to join the battle.

    The Uncanny Avengers #12 opens right where the last chapter left off, with Hulkbuster Iron Man and Pymtron squaring off. After Pymtron loses the scuffle and is contained in the Hulkbuster armor, half the team jumps into a spaceship with their oddly restrained captive.

    It doesn’t take long before Pymtron begins busting out of the improvised prison. Whatever Project Icarus is (there’s a huge hint in the name), it doesn’t stand a chance of working if the Avengers can’t keep Pymtron neutralized long enough to reach their destination.

    This issue wraps up The Man Who Fell to Earth. While the story hit all the major points, I feel like the arc could have been drawn out over several more issues. It only took until the cover of the second chapter in the story for the nature of Pymtron to be revealed. The only explanation I can think of for the rushed development of high spots in this story is the inclusion of The Uncanny Avengers in the Marvel Summer crossover event. The Uncanny Avengers #13 will see the team take on Captain America Steve Rogers in Civil War II.

    The Uncanny Avengers #12, Marvel Comics, Rated T, released August 17, 2016, written by Gerry Duggan, art by Pepe Larraz, colors by David Curiel, Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover art by Ryan Stegman and Richard Isanove, variant cover by Alanna Smith, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen

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  • Review: Batman #6 – I Can Help with the Pain

    Review Batman #6

    batman #6 coverIn Batman #5, we saw Gotham Girl give up the goods on her brother Gotham. Not only did she spill it, giving up the secret that gave her and her brother Hank their super abilities, she actually killed Gotham herself in order to save Gotham City. That’s enough to make anyone go 2007-bald-Britney crazy.

    In Batman #6, we see Claire running all over Gotham City battling such low level jobbers as Colonel Blimp and Kite Man. The trouble is, while she’s flying all over Gotham fighting crime, she is trading her life for these small victories. The deal that Gotham and Gotham Girl made takes years off her life in exchange for hours of super abilities.

    Batman is at a loss for how to help Claire deal with her grief, but knows that if he doesn’t intervene, she will be dead within a couple weeks. Batman knows all about grief, but maybe isn’t the model of emotional health when it comes to grief management. Alfred delivers the best line of the series when Batman asks him how he helped Bruce deal with his own grief.

    “…each night you leave this perfectly lovely house and go leaping off buildings dressed as a giant bat. Do you really think I helped you?”

    This issue does an excellent job wrapping up the emotional fallout from the I Am Gotham storyline. It also sets up the next story arc, Night of the Monster Men, where we’ll see Batman working with Nightwing and Batwoman in the first crossover of the Rebirth era. Hopefully we’ll also get to see Duke finally leave the Batcave.

    In case you missed it, Tom King just won the 2016 Harvey Award for Most Promising New Talent. Well deserved, sir. Congratulations!

    Batman #6, DC Comics, rated T, released September 7, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by Ivan Reis, inks by Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, and Scott Hanna, colors by Marcelo Mailo, letters by Deron Bennett, cover by David Finch, Danny Miki, and Jordie Bellaire, variant cover by Tim Sale, $2.69

    Review by Brendan Allen

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  • Review: Avatar: The Last Airbender Vol 13 — The City Gets an Upgrade

    avatar the last airbender #17 north and south review

    avatar: the last airbender - north and south part 1 - coverKatara and Sokka have been away from their village and the Southern Water Tribe for three long years. Three years when lots was happening for these Airbenders (see Smoke and Shadow for the immediate prequel in the Avatar storyline). While they were absent, the village has grown dramatically from a circle of igloos to a thriving metropolis, completely with dozens of Northern waterbenders.

    But that’s not the strangest thing! Even more surprising to the two siblings is that their father Hakoda is now the head chieftain of the entire Southern Water Tribe too. But he’s not the same man they left, and it’s quite possible that power and promises of even greater power whispered in his ear have made Hakoda forgetful of their humble roots.

    The children stay with Auntie Ashuna who helps them come to terms with all the changes that have turned their little village into a city. If they can survive eating some of her famous seal jerky, at least.

    The city might have Katara and Sokka’s father as chief, but it’s really Malina, a powerful waterbender from the Northern Water Tribe, who is pulling the strings behind the scene. But what are her motives, and why is he in the Southern city in the first place? And why is Maliq so upset when a couple of local children steal his briefcase that contains plans for the palace they’re proposing be constructed so that Hakoda can be given the respect required from other nations?

    Avatar: The Last AirbenderNorth and South is the fifth graphic novel that continues the story original presented in the Avatar: The Last Airbender TV series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. If you’re following the overall story, The Legend of Korra occurs seventy years after North and South.

    Whether you’re an Avatar: The Last Airbender super fan or just curious about this much loved series, North and South is a fun story of siblings, family, adventure and the growth of nations in a world ruled by magic as much as by logic.

    Avatar: The Last Airbender #13 – North and South Part One TPB. Written by Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, and Bryan Konietzko, art by Gurihiru. Published by Dark Horse Comics on Sept 14, 2016.

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  • Review: Doom Patrol #1 — Gyros. It’s all about Gyros.

    doom patrol #1 review

    doom patrol #1 variant coverDoom Patrol has a long pedigree in the DC Universe, appearing first back in My Greatest Adventure #80 back in June of 1963. The familiar story is of a group of misfits with super powers whose gifts were both cool and problematic, causing them to be isolated from the rest of humanity. The series ran as Doom Patrol through 121 issues, finally being killed off in October 1968. Since then, Doom Patrol has shown up time and again with different groups and members. All but Robotman, who has somehow managed to survive all the reboots.

    In this latest take on Doom Patrol, the story revolves around perky and peculiar Casey Brinke, a daredevil ambulance driver who relaxes by playing the retro video game “Galactic Matador”. She works with single dad Sam and when they’re not rescuing people, they’re engaged in metaphysical musings about the universe.

    During one meal break, Sam opines that there’s always an unknown world hidden inside what we can see, and points out that there are untold mysteries even inside a simple Greek gyro. In fact, Casey fires back, we might all just be inside someone else’s gyro.

    With the weird and surreal world of Doom Patrol, we then learn that there is indeed an entire universe hidden within the gyro, a desert planet and a robotic battle that ends with an explosion so massive that the gyro itself explodes in front of Casey and Sam.

    Meanwhile, at a bland hotel in nowhere, USA, a group of strange humanoid creatures are meeting to talk about the business of meat. It’s hard to know what the heck is going on, but at one point we learn that they’ve identified a “sentient organic generator sprawl” that should be a limitless supply of meat and that the aliens suggest it be called Danny Burgers.

    Casey encounters a metal man, just in time for him to be destroyed by a fast-moving garbage truck. Or is he destroyed? She takes all the parts home, just to get a knock on the door. It’s Terry None, and she’s singing and tap-dancing, a singing telegram happy birthday. Except it isn’t Casey’s birthday and the end of the song involves Casey’s roommate blowing up. Awkward. Fortunately Terry can move in!

    That’s where this first installment ends, and it’s definitely on the more peculiar side of comic book stories. It’s a long way from the original Doom Patrol, that’s for sure, but there’s a certain wacky charm in Derington‘s bright style and Way‘s storyline. Check it out, and you might just get hooked!

    Doom Patrol #1, written by Gerard Way, art by Nick Derington, colors by Tamra Bonvillain, letters by Todd Klein, cover by Nick Derington, James Harvey, Brian Bolland and Sanford Greene. From DC Comics, published 15 Sept, 2016.

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  • This is the Suicide Squad We Deserve

    ncbd914

    Every Wednesday, we pick a few of this week’s new releases that stand out from the crowd for our New Comic Book Day series of blog articles. If you’re looking to join a series or want to know what’s happening in today’s best comics, keep reading!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    Action Comics at TFAW.com

    Action Comics #963
    By: Dan Jurgens, Patrick Zircher, Arif Prianto, Clay Mann

    Action Comics #963 kicks off the new “Superman Meets Clark Kent” story arc and picks up with Clark Kent investigating (read: I mean breaking into) a company named Geneticron. When I say Clark, I mean Clark, not Kal-El. No, it’s not Superman pretending to be an ordinary human.

    Lex Luthor’s Daily Planet newspaper recently outed Clark Kent as being Superman, but as true as that’s been in the past, at this moment in the DCU, it’s not. In all the confusion one thing for sure, this Clark Kent is not OUR Superman.

    Dan Jurgens gives us a well-paced issue with flashbacks that help provide context to the story. This is an exciting issue for any Superman fan, and a wonderful place to jump into the Action Comics series. The story has a very Golden Age feel to it. Patrick Zircher and Arif Prianto both do a great job with the art and colors, and exemplify what we’ve come to expect from DC comics. Great layout, bright colors, and solid linework. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

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    The Strain comics at TFAW.com

    The Strain: Mister Quinlan – Vampire Hunter #1
    By: Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, David Lapham
    Edgar Salazar, Keith Champagne, Dan Jackson

    Born as a mistake of a powerful vampire known as the Master, Mister Quinlan seeks to destroy the monster that sired him. This gory feud has lasted ages and can be traced back to the ancient Roman Empire.

    If you’ve enjoyed The Strain novels, television series, or comic books, you’re going to fall over yourself to learn more about Mister Quinlan in the new five-issue The Strain: Mister Quinlan – Vampire Hunter miniseries.

    The thing is: you don’t have to know anything about The Strain to enjoy this book. Lapham and team lead the reader down a journey of one boy’s birth in blood toward his destiny. It’s a fun and entertaining story in its own right and actually serves as a good entry into this universe — be careful, you will be drawn into this story.

    On their own, Salazar, Champagne, and Jackson are tremendously talented in their own right, but together, their art comes together in such a way that you can’t help but take a second look at the book once you finish. My only criticism is that I have to wait another month to see the next installment of The Strain: Mister Quinlan – Vampire Hunter. This is the best book I’ve read this month. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    SEE THE STRAIN COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS AT TFAW

    Suicide Squad comics at TFAW.com

    Suicide Squad #2
    By: Rob Williams, Jim Lee

    The Suicide Squad is once again on a mission they can’t hope to survive. From the emptiness of space to the frigid waters of the Artic Ocean, Task Force X can’t seem to catch a break. They’re hunting a cosmic artifact and — of course — they aren’t told what it is. When they find out what it is, we see that they were sorely unprepared for it!

    The team has gotten out of more dangerous situations than this in the past, but Rob Williams may have just caused Task Force X to go extinct. Suicide Squad #2 also includes a short story that gives us insight into Boomerang’s past. It’s a fun piece by Rob Williams, Ivan Reis, and Marcelo Maiolo.

    Things are just starting to rev up, but it’s not too late to join the Suicide Squad! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

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    How’d we do? What comics did you enjoy this week. Join the conversation by commenting below or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.

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  • Don’t Fear The Batman

    Batman and Robin #1

    The third annual Batman Day is September 17th, and who deserves a day of celebration more than the Caped Crusader? No one. It’s hard to overstate the impact that Batman has had on comic books.

    Quite possibly the most recognizable comic book character, Batman has appeared in more than ten thousand issues to date. He’s a genius detective who dedicates his time and incredible resources to the pursuit of fighting crime in his beloved Gotham City and beyond. He’s a complex and nuanced hero, whose story has been told again and again, subtly reforming in the same way that we build myths.

    For long time fans, Batman has changed significantly over his nearly eighty-year run, and with each new capitulation, he brings exciting new storylines. But for casual fans, or for those who have never picked up a Batman comic, the call of the Bat-Signal can be intimidating. Those thousands of issues represent quite a big backlog of reading to catch up on!

    So, in honor of Batman Day, we bring to you a new reader’s guide to the very best that Batman has to offer. Below, you’ll find several titles that help a new reader to gain some insight on the Dark Knight so that you’ll become a shining star on your Batman trivia team.

    Batman: Year One

    Batman: Year One

    As the title suggests, Batman: Year One chronicles the very beginnings of Batman as he starts out to become the savior of crime-riddled Gotham. Written in 1986 by Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) — who had already gained quite a reputation by then — and drawn by Dave Mazzucchelli (Daredevil: Born Again), Year One was the reboot that everyone had been waiting for after DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths event.

    The story itself follows Batman as he struggles to gain footing as a vigilante and slowly rebuilds the entire story of the Caped Crusader. As this title was DC’s attempt at restarting Batman’s legacy, it is essential to read and a perfect starting place for a new fan. From here, you’ll know enough about the dynasty to explore even the most loose canon titles.


    Batman: The Long Halloween

    Batman: The Long Halloween

    By Jeph Loeb (Superman Batman, Fallen Son: Death Of Captain America) and Tim Sale (Hulk: Grey, Grendel), The Long Halloween is the quintessential Batman series, now collected into a beautiful graphic novel. Long heralded as one of the best Batman storylines, Long Halloween is a great starting point for new readers because it features the character at his best.

    The story unfolds as Batman hunts down an evasive serial killer who strikes Gotham on holidays, coming to critical mass at the titular Halloween. This story reminds the reader that Batman is a master detective and it artfully illustrates the relationship between Batman’s alias, Bruce Wayne, as the action unfolds before you. (Pro tip: Check out the awesome Batman Noir edition that came out in 2014. It’s absolutely beautiful and this is the exact story that’ll make you glad for investing in a nice copy.)


    Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

    Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

    Written by comic legend Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Creatures of the Night) with art by Andy Kubert (Dark Knight III: The Master Race, Flashpoint), this is an unlikely pick for new readers to the Batman saga because it takes place right after Bruce Wayne’s death. Many new readers shy away from this particular title because of its place right in the middle of a major story shift, but it’s easily one of the most critical pieces of the Batman mythos. It is the narrative answer to a recap for Batman’s extensive history, featuring appearances from every major character from the comic series’ past.

    While it is not a typical Batman story, preferring poetics and a shifting narrative, it examines the character deeply and in a way that is liable to make even the oldest Bat-fans fall in love all over again.


    Batman: Arkham Asylum

    Batman: Arkham Asylum

    Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Doom Patrol) writes and Dave McKean (Violent Cases, The Sandman) illustrates this intense and psychologically challenging series that casts a long, dark shadow on the Batman story.

    Set within the heart of the legendary Arkham Asylum, where Gotham’s most disturbed villains have started a riot, Batman must face both his classic foes and himself to save the day. Arkham Asylum has a visceral story and Dave McKean’s surreal art leaves a lasting memory of the darkness that Batman has to face during its telling.

    This comic is essential for those readers who understand the importance of well-crafted villains for heroic storylines. While we don’t recommend this title as the very first Batman story you read, it should definitely be picked up shortly afterward.


    We Are Robin Volume 1

    We Are Robin vol 1

    Even more than Batman’s villains, the Caped Crusader’s allies are hugely important to his story, and there are none more so than his perennial protégé Robin. Writer Lee Bermejo teams up with artists Rob Haynes and Khary Randolph to explore another side of the city of Gotham through the eyes of several aspiring teenaged vigilantes, who all take up the mantle of Robin.

    This series reinvents the character of Robin, placing it not as the moniker for a single side-kick that works alongside Batman, but as a call to arms for the youth of Gotham. We Are Robin is cathartic and refreshing, reminding the reader that Batman doesn’t exist in a vacuum, because his influence inspires a generation of young people to take action against the corruption that they have uncovered in their city. We Are Robin is diverse and not at all pandering, while it discusses the themes of everyday heroism that began the Batman legacy in the first place.


    Batwoman: Elegy

    Batwoman: Elegy

    Batwoman is in many ways the true successor to Batman himself, and in Batwoman: Elegy, she is at her best. Perhaps the seminal work of Batwoman’s library, Elegy also happens to be one of the best works that helped to define Gotham outside of Batman himself. While his influence is felt throughout the story, the true hero featured here is Kate Kane, an heiress who chooses to use her vast resources to better Gotham by taking on the Bat cowl.

    During an investigation into a crime-worshipping cult, Batwoman faces off with a new villain who emulates Alice in Wonderland’s title heroine with a deadly obsession. Her encounter with Alice sends catastrophic ripples through Kane’s entire life and cuts to the core of what made her become a hero in the first place.

    Acclaimed writer Greg Rucka tells this engaging, fast-paced story which is brought to life by award-winning artist J.H. Williams III’s breathtaking work. Elegy is sparkling with action, and you’ll find yourself torn between dying to read what happens next and wanting luxuriate in William’s genre-defining layouts. Most importantly, Elegy introduces new readers to Kane’s own legacy and illustrates the lasting power that the cowl wields.

    SEE THESE AND OTHER GREAT BATMAN PRODUCTS AT TFAW.COM

    So what do you think? What is your favorite Batman comic? Join the conversation and leave your suggestions in the comments or hit us up on Twitter and Instagram at @TFAW.

    Batman Day at Things From Another World


    Visit any of our four locations for Batman Day to get in on special Batman Day savings on graphic novels and more. Plus, bring the kiddos so they can participate in fun Batman Day activities.

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  • Review: Aliens: Defiance #3 — For the Sake of Humanity

    copy-of-760px-x-425px-untitled-design-1

    aliens - defiance #3“No weakness. No mercy. No hesitation. Go twice as hard, Hendricks. Three times as hard. Then they’ll respect you.”

    PFC Zula Hendricks’ mantra has gotten her through battles in the past, fighting through barriers of sex and race. Now, she’s using the same mindset to overcome a new kind of discrimination. She is desperately trying to get the Davises to see her as an asset instead of a liability, to look past her humanity and disability. She has started making some traction, but her heroics at the end of the last chapter have left her bruised and broken.

    Aliens: Defiance, Episode 3: Mutiny opens with Davis 1 tending to Zula’s injuries. During this exchange, we gain insight into how the current situation is even possible. There is a local network on board the Europa called a “nearfield” that keeps all the synthetics synched with Weyland-Yutani. Davis 1 disabled the system, allowing independent thought among the drones. He also made modifications to his own system that would block directives from the nearfield should it be reactivated.

    The rest of the Davises have decided this charade has gone on long enough and reactivate the nearfield to receive orders from Weyland-Yutani. The new directive is simple. Weyland-Yutani orders the loyal synthetics to get control of the ship, kill Hendricks, kill any remaining rogue Davis units (Davis 1), and to continue broadcasting the ship’s current location.

    Brian Wood has left me impressed yet again with his choices that stray from the formula in order to deliver a fresh, exciting tale. There are no shortcuts or cheap pops in this series thus far. We’re a quarter through the 12-issue run of this title and we are still getting deep character development and unexpected plot twists.

    Aliens: Defiance, Episode 3: Mutiny, Dark Horse Comics, August 17, 2016, script by Brian Wood, art by Riccardo Burchielli, colors by Dan Jackson, letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot, cover by Massimo Carnevale, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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