Tag: Tom King

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    Batman #23: The Brave and the Mold Review

    Batman #23 starts off with a bang – two bangs actually.

    Batman #23 Review

    We see a man reciting the lyrics to “My Wild Irish Rose” as he is being shot in the head twice. The man seemingly continues to recite the words after he’s died.

    The dead man, it turns out, is Swamp Thing’s father. The plant elemental shows up at the crime scene as Batman and Commissioner Gordon are trying to figure out how the killer came in through the 86th floor window. The resulting investigation is a superhero team-up for the ages.
    However, it takes a close second to the other dynamic duo – writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads, the pair behind the critically acclaimed “The Sheriff of Babylon.” As with that series, Batman #23 is a tale doesn’t disappoint.

    Batman #23 Is Swamp Thing’s Rebirth

    King spins a tight yarn complete with mystery, drama, revenge and a bit of pathos on the side. With his recent work on the book, King is proving himself to be a worthy successor to longtime Dark Knight scribe Scott Snyder. As compelling as the story is, it’s Gerads’ visuals that bring the story home. His Batman – normally the dominant figure in every panel – is dwarfed by Swamp Thing. It’s appropriate since ultimately, it’s really Swamp Thing’s story.

    Gerads shades each chapter with its own color – green when we first see Swamp Thing rising from a small plant, shades of gray as the man is being shot, browns to match the mahogany walls of stately Wayne Manor. It’s an excellent visual effect which really adds an extra layer of depth to this fantastic tale.

    The surprise ending is every bit as emotional as it is gruesome, leaving nearly every character as a victim. Everyone, that is, except the reader, who will be thrilled with this great story.

    Love Batman? Then be sure to check out Dark Days: The Forge!

    Batman #23, Marvel Comics, Released May 17th, 2017, Written by Tom King, Art By Mitch Gerads, $2.99

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    You Choose The Best Comic Book of 2016

    Best comics of 2016

    A lot of amazing books have come out in 2016. With Marvel revitalizing their line, DC’s Rebirth, to so many independent and creator-owned books dominating the stands, 2016 has certainly been a comic book year to remember.

    With that in mind, the staff at TFAW took a look at sales numbers, fan buzz, and our personal favorites of the year to create a list of the 25 best comics of the year. Now we want you, our awesome customers, to vote on this list to decide definitively what the best books of 2016 are.

    Voting will take place from Jan 1st through Jan 31st, so head on over to our  Facebook page  and cast your vote. Let your voices be heard and recognize all these amazing creators and publishers for all their hard work.

    Superman Vol. 01 Son of Superman
    By: Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason
    The New 52 Superman is dead, but hiding among us for years was the original Big Blue. Now, a world without a Superman is in desperate need for Clark to leave the good life on the farm with Lois raising their son. This story simultaneously brings Superman back to formula, but also takes him in a direction he’s never really been before.

    Bitch Planet Vol. 2: President Bitch
    By: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma
    Powerful and gut-wrenching, Bitch Planet continues to explore themes of patriarchy and non-compliance. A must read for SJWs, feminists, and people who truly appreciate comics as an artistic medium.

    Wonder Woman TPB Vol. 01 The Lies
    By: Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, Matthew Clark
    Wonder Woman has been interpreted in many ways over her 75 year existence. Instead of trying to hide this, Greg Rucka’s approach is to embrace this to try and get to the real heart of who Wonder Woman is. Not just a great jumping on point for new readers, but a definitive take on the character that will hold true for years to come.

    Black Hammer Vol 1: Secret Origins
    By: Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart
    Black Hammer is another in a long line of grand ideas by one of comics brightest stars, Jeff Lemire. This book has a unique take on superheroes and the art by Dean Ormston & Dave Stewart instantly ensnares the reader.

    Rough Riders Vol. 1
    By: Adam Glass, Pat Oliffe
    History in the making! Teddy Roosevelt, Jack Johnson, Annie Oakley, Harry Houdini and Thomas Edison make up an American dream team engaged in an epic shadowy war! Monsters and Mayhem folks!

    The Mighty Thor Vol 1: Thunder in Her Veins
    By: Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman
    Marvel is changing things up by casting Dr. Jane Foster as the new Thor. The goddess of thunder shines in this series as she comes to grips with heroism and her own mortality. Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman are the perfect pairing. Also: Loki.

    Divinity II
    By: Matt Kindt, Trevor Hairsine, Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic
    After Abram came crashing home in Divinity vol 1. Spending his entire life in the depths of space, Divinity II tells the tale of Myshka. Still beliving in the Communist ideal. She intends to play a very real role in the return of Soviet glory

    Old Man Logan Vol 1: Berserker
    By: Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino
    What happens when an older, more gruff version of Wolverine comes to the main Marvel Universe? A whole lot of fighting. He’s on a mission to to prevent a terrible future from happening. Andrea Sorrentino’s art is breathtaking.

    Detective Comics Vol. 01 Rise of the Batmen
    By: James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Al Barrionuevo
    Batman is notorious for being a lone wolf (bat?), but he’s always had his family behind him. Now it’s time to take the Bat-Family to the next level. Lead by Batwoman, Batman puts together a team of Red Robin, Orphan (Cassandra Cain), Spoiler, and Clayface to be ready for whatever threat comes Gotham’s way.

    Vision Vol 1: Little Worse Than Man
    By: Tom King, Kevin Walsh, Mike Del Mundo
    Vision has the perfect family: a wife, two kids, and a dog. Look elsewhere for over-the-top nonstop heroics; this book proves it’s the little moments that matter. Truly impeccable dialogue and top-notch art await!

    March Book 3
    By: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
    The third and final installment in civil rights activist John Lewis’ story in the battle for civil rights in the United States. 1963 was an incredibly turbulent time in America’s history, and John Lewis was not only in the middle of it, but a leader in getting us out of it, long before becoming a congressman. March will remind you there are real heroes in this world.

    Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol 1: Black Squadron
    By: Charles Soule, Phil Noto
    With crisp and clean art by Phil Noto, Poe Dameron is one of the most beautiful of Marvel’s new Star Wars comics. Charle Soule explores Dameron’s uncanny skills and matching bravado.

    Paper Girls Vol. 2
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang
    Continuing where Vol. 1 left off, the misfit group of paper girls from 1988 find themselves transported to present day. Our main characters are forced to look at who they are, and who they may…or may not become. This superstar team continues to tell one of the craziest sci-fi stories currently on the shelves, while staying focused on the heart of any good story, the characters.

    All New Wolverine Vol. 01 Four Sisters
    By: Tom Taylor, David Lopez, Bengal
    With the death of Logan, clone daughter Laura Kinney (X-23) steps up to be Wolverine and the best she is at what she does. This book is bloody, emotional, hilarious, and beautiful. This is one of those unique books that can present adult subjects in a way that people of all ages can understand. Clone or not, All-New Wolverine definitely has soul.

    Dept. H Vol. 1: Pressure
    By: Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt
    Not your average murder mystery! An in depth(see what I did there) story taking place on a deep sea research station. Family, lies, secrets and creatures make for a spectacular, well-paced adventure.

    Steven Universe & Crystal Gems Vol. 01
    By: Josceline Fenton, Chrystin Garland, Kat Leyh
    They are the Crystal Gems. They always save the day! If you think they can’t. Here is proof that they always find a way!

    Monstress Vol. 1
    By: Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
    A fascinating look at an alternate 1900’s Asia where monsters of god-like power are normal. Witness the journey of one teenage girl struggling to survive while trying to tame her own MONSTER.

    Black Panther Vol. 01 Nation Under Our Feet
    By: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze
    Wakanda under the microscope. On the brink of civil war, treason and terrorist attacks ensue in T’Challa’s homeland. Witness Black Panther fight to save his country from all fronts.

    Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol. 01
    By: Kyle Higgins, Jorge Corona, Goni Montes
    “It’s Morphin Time!” This fantastic new series starts after the Green with Evil Saga. Takes us through a different path from the show, one that keeps it at the top of my reading every month. Perfect for fans new and old.

    Saga Vol. 6
    By: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
    Set three years after the end of Vol. 5, our story opens with Hazel in kindergarten. For a story that’s followed a family on the run through space since issue 1, Vol 6 shows them living a domestic and stationary life for the first time…and it doesn’t go too well for them. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples continue to be a dominating power tag team.

    Sheriff Of Babylon Vol. 01 Bang Bang Bang
    By: Tom King, Mitch Gerads, John Paul Leon
    Currently known for his fantastic work on Batman, Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s The Sherriff of Babylon, is a suspenseful crime noir tale set in Bagdad circa 2003. King’s CIA experience in addition to Gerad’s life-like art style gives this series the accolades it deserves.

    Beauty Vol. 01
    By: Jason Hurley, Jeremy Haun
    The first STD that people actually WANT! In this world, The “Beauty”, transforms your body into its most beautiful version. People are literally dying to get it but the public is unaware of the side effects. Detectives Vaughn and Foster are on the case.

    Faith Vol. 01 Hollywood & Vine
    By: Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Jele Kevic-Djurdjevic
    Starting off as a side character in Harbinger back in 2014, we were given a full ongoing series of Faith Herbert this year. Written by the wonderful Jody Houser. This is a series meant for Fan-boys/girls, as Faith herself is as much of a geek as we are.

    Gotham Academy Vol. 03 Yearbook
    By: Brenden Fletcher, Moritat, Mingjue Helen Chen
    Our favorite students go back after their adventures last year, telling tales before everything went to chaos. Gotham Academy is an all-ages series perfectly suited for those wanting to move to Gotham, but are not old enough to drive there.

    Legend of Zelda Legendary Ed GN Vol. 01 Ocarina Time
    By: Akira Himekawa
    Viz does it again. While this is a reprint, if you’ve never read the Manga adaptation of the celebrated N64 game Ocarina of Time, this is a perfect time. Collecting vol 1 and 2, You get the complete tale.

    DON’T FORGET TO VOTE BY THE 31ST

    Honorable Mentions

    2016 had so many amazing titles that it was nearly impossible for us to narrow it down to 25. With that in mind, here are some honorable mentions of books that you should definitely check out. Odds are they made your own personal top 25.

    Batman Vol. 1 I Am Gotham
    By: Tom King, David Finch
    Gotham City has two new heroes, Gotham and Gotham Girl. With these super powered saviors doing what Batman can’t, is he really what Gotham City needs anymore?

    The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 04 Kissed Squirrel Liked It
    By: Ryan North, Erica Henderson
    I an age of dark and gritty superheroes, The Unbeatable Squirrel decides to have fun with the universe it lives in instead. Be prepared to smile.

    Dark Knight: A True Batman Story
    By: Paul Dini, Eduardo Risso
    Legendary Batman writer, Paul Dini, was beaten within an inch of his life. This autobiographical tale shows just how these iconic characters like Batman can get us through the darkest of times.

    Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse
    By: Chris Roberson, Georges Jeanty, Karl Story, Wes Dzioba, Dan Dos Santos
    Set after the events of the previous series, Leaves on the Wind, No Power in the ‘Verse continues the tale of our favorite Browncoats

    I Am a Hero Omnibus Volume 1
    By: Kengo Hazawa
    A slightly crazy artist, and one of the few people in Japan that actually owns a gun, is neck deep in the zombie apocalypse.

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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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    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: Batman #5 – The Pirate Broke Gotham

    Review for Batman #5
    DC Universe Rebirth - Batman #5 CoverBatman #4 opened with a gory scene showing 27 men lying dead at the hands of Gotham. The weight of responsibility for the safety of Gotham City and its residents is starting to weigh on the sincere rookie. He’s realizing it will take more than superpowers to be a hero. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that Gotham and Gotham Girl have had their emotions turned sideways by Psycho Pirate.
     
    In Batman #5, Gotham decides that the city of Gotham needs to be destroyed because he can’t save it. He flies to the center of town and warns bystanders to run as his eyes begin to glow red. Batman’s on the way, but won’t make it in time, so he sends in a decoy to stall for a few minutes. Alfred arrives on the scene in the Batmobile, wearing a Batsuit. That image alone is worth the price of admission.
     
    Batman himself is no match physically for Gotham, so he has called in some reinforcements. It quickly becomes evident that even The Justice League’s combined abilities won’t cut it unless they gain some understanding of Gotham’s unique powers. The only person who can provide said insight is Gotham Girl, who is currently in the Batcave with Duke, paralyzed with irrational fear courtesy of Psycho Pirate.
     
    I am Gotham #5 is a brilliant finale to the arc. Tom King has deftly established Batman as the only hero who can bear the weight of Gotham City’s sins. Bruce Wayne is Gotham City, for better and worse. Batman #6 will serve as an epilogue to I am Gotham, and then we get to see King write Batman’s first crossover of the Rebirth era in Batman #7. The Monster Men are coming!
     
    Batman #5, DC Comics, Rated T, released August 17, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by David Finch, Sandra Hope, Matt Banning and Scott Hanna, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, 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: Batman #4 – Everyone gets a Chance to be Brave

    Review of Batman #4

    Batman #4Tom King is a fan of callbacks. The flashback scene in Batman #3 that showed a young Gotham walking obliviously with his parents into a mugging, then being saved from that horror by Batman was a nod to Batman’s own origin story. While the results of the two incidents were vastly different, both boys were inspired to the same goal in adulthood, saving Gotham City from itself.

    Batman #4 opens with another callback. This one is a double whammy. In a setup reminiscent of a well-known scene from All Star Superman where The Man of Steel gracefully lands behind a suicidal girl on a rooftop and reassures her that everything will be all right, Gotham finds himself stationed on a ledge behind an apparently suicidal man. He recites the same words to the jumper that Batman spoke to Gotham as a young boy on the night he was mugged with his parents.

    “We just have to remember that everyone gets scared. But all that really means is everyone gets an opportunity to fight that fear. Everyone gets a chance to be brave.”

    Unfortunately, the same words that inspired Gotham to become a vigilante crime fighter inspired this apparent bridge jumper to complete a different task, much darker than was assumed by the green hero. Gotham city is starting to take its toll on the idealistic young hero.

    Tom King’s decision to largely leave Hugo Strange in the background of this opening salvo of issues is brilliant. We’ve seen the bad doctor a couple times, enough to know that he’s behind all these strange goings on in Gotham City, but we, as readers, are still as clueless as The World’s Greatest Detective as to what end.

    The art team, led by David Finch, continues to impress. The dark and twisty narrative is matched by imagery equally. The implicit violence in some scenes is just as vividly portrayed as the explicit violence in other scenes. This title is carrying a “T” rating for a reason.

    Batman #4, DC Comics, released August 3, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by Sandra Hope and Matt Banning, color by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, cover by David Finch, Jordie Bellaire, and Matt Banning, variant cover by Tim Sale, $2.69

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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    Review: Batman #3

    Review of Batman #3

    batman #3Gotham and Gotham Girl seemingly appeared out of thin air in I Am Gotham (Batman #1). Batman #3 starts to pull back the curtain on who these mystery vigilante crime fighters are and where they came from. The opening sequence is a flashback (with entirely too many “piss references”) where Batman saves a young boy and his folks from a brutal mugging. Back in storyline present, we learn the tale is being told to an incognito Bruce Wayne by Gotham & Gotham Girl’s parents. We’re following the story of the world’s greatest detective.

    Of course he figured out their secret identities. Although exactly how the pair achieved their superhuman abilities is still unclear. We only know it was expensive and it took place somewhere overseas. There’s a rabbit hole I’m sure we’ll head down eventually.

    “The Monster Men are… coming. Aren’t they…STRANGE…?”

    If you haven’t guessed by now, with the oh-so-subtle dialogue clues like the one above and two cameo appearances by none other than Dr. Hugo Strange himself, Tom King is setting us up to revisit one of the oldest storylines in Batlore, Hugo Strange and the Monster Men. King isn’t messing around with the “back to our roots” DC Rebirth concept. This story has its roots all the way back in 1940’s Batman #1.

    I am thoroughly enjoying Tom King’s take on Batman. We’re seeing more of Bruce Wayne’s sleuthing abilities and disguise expertise. The chapters haven’t been excessive in their use of action sequences, but the action is well planned and executed. The dialogue and setup is where King is really starting to shine. There are more than a couple times Mr. King effectively uses misdirection to poke at readers who have extensive knowledge of Batman and DC canon. Those are my favorite setups, where you aren’t sure you’ve been had until it becomes abundantly clear three panels (or three issues) later.

    Batman #3, DC Comics, released July 20, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by Danny Miki, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, cover by David Finch, Matt Banning, and Jordie Bellaire, $2.69

    Review by Brendan Allen

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    NCBD – Double dose of Harley, a Doctor and The Sheriff of Babylon

    NCBD reviews of Harley Quinn, Doctor Strange, Suicide Squad, and The Sheriff of Babylon

    With Suicide Squad hitting the theaters this weekend, New Comic Book Day Is give you a double dose of crazy with Suicide Squad Rebirth #1, AND Harley Quinn #1! Plus Doctor Strange concludes The Last Days of Magic arc, and we talk about an amazing crime series from The Wire writer Tom King – The Sheriff of Babylon. As always these were only a few of this week’s new releases that stood out from the crowd. Check out our other blog articles to 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.

    Suicide Squad comics at TFAW.com

    Suicide Squad Rebirth #1
    By: Rob Williams, Philip Tan

    There is a high profile Suicide Squad movie coming out at the end of this week, and with DC’s Rebirth taking place across their publishing line, now is a hotter time than ever to reintroduce the concept of Task Force X (the Suicide Squad’s official title) and a few of those characters!

    We are given the purpose of the team – and a structure is formed for brand new readers hoping to jump on board. We get right into it, with Philip Tan’s dynamic artwork that screams action from the start.

    Whether you are headed to or from the movie and looking to check out the comic book incarnation, you won’t feel lost at all starting out fresh, right here in this very issue of Suicide Squad Rebirth [Casey D. at TFAW.com]

    Harley Quinn #1
    By: Amanda Conner, Chad Hardin

    Wowzah! This issue is one for the books! Wacky Harley is back at it again with chaos, a good laugh and…zombies? That’s right folks, you heard me, Zombies!

    Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor are the creative team making this beautiful series and they use every wild card they have! This issue is all what you need to know about Harley Quinn: Her origin, Her triumphs, and that she’s freakin’ crazy! With small references from the ongoing Harley Quinn comic, new readers shouldn’t be too confused.

    Now Back to the zombies, yes…zombies. Harley Quinn and Red Tool run into an unexpected encounter with the undead. Instead of asking questions, they jump straight into action. As blades and hammers are flying and smashing, Red Tool is bitten by one of the undead. Harley, whose not going to lose her friend, chops off his arm to save his life. Then she catapults him in the air! What? Why do you ask? Guess you’ll have to read Harley Quinn #1 to find out! [Darcey M. at Universal City Walk]

    Doctor Strange comics at TFAW.com

    Doctor Strange #10
    By: Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, Kevin Nowlan

    It’s the finale of 6-issue event Last Days of Magic. Stephen is at his end, with no magic left to help him against Imperator – who seeks to destroy all magic and leave science to rule.
    This finale felt like a great conclusion to the fight that Doctor Strange had been engulfed in. With help from fellow Marvel mystics and mages Scarlet Witch, Magik, and others. Jason Arron was able to create a creative, action-packed, arc surrounding the idea of Science vs Magic. The art is hard-edged and painterly, just as I would imagine Doctor Strange’s personality.

    If you’ve been reading The Last Days of Magic arc as I said, this is a great final issue. If you’re just jumping on board, maybe wait until the next issue of Doctor Strange as things may be a little confusing for first-time readers. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

    The Sheriff of Babylon #9
    By: Tom King, Mitch Gerads, John Paul Leon

    Things start to collide as the third act starts in the 12 issue story The Sheriff of Babylon. I’ve been on board this series from the start. A crime comic smack dab in the middle of the 2004 Iraq war.

    Written by Tom King (Batman, Vision, and the hit tv series The Wire) this well paced episodic story feels like watching a 12 part tv series. Mitch Gerads (Punisher) has been leading the way in this visually stunning noir.

    I really can’t say enough good about this series. Everything feels real, as the twists come you don’t feel like they are out of left field – as if Tom King has already written out everyone’s lives and motives from the get go. The Sheriff of Babylon is only 3 issues away from finishing – and I’m not sure if I’m excited to read it, or sad that it’ll be over. [Martin M. at TFAW.com]

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

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    Review: Batman #2

    batman #2In case you missed Batman #1, Batman was poised to rescue the city of Gotham and passengers on board a critically disabled jet by diverting the jet into a large body of water. In the process of saving countless lives, Batman was prepared to lose his own. At the very last second, the plane slowed by an unseen force. As the nose of the plane lifted up gently, Batman mistakenly credited the assist to Superman before realizing it was someone else entirely. Two masked strangers introduced themselves as Gotham and Gotham Girl.

    Batman #2 opens with a fight between Gotham, Gotham Girl, and Solomon Grundy. This is the first good look we get at Gotham and Gotham Girl. By first appearance, the pair has Kryptonian abilities. They both levitate and fly in the manner of Clark Kent, and they also apparently have super strength. Later in the issue, we learn they also have enhanced vision and x-ray vision. The symbol they wear on their chests is even reminiscent of the Superman’s shield of The House of El.

    The fight with Grundy showcases the pair’s abilities, but also exposes a huge weakness. They haven’t been doing this hero gig for very long, and they’re green as grass. Batman is uncharacteristically trusting of the new duo. He agrees to help train them, either to make them into credible crime fighters, or so that he can keep them close for observation. The pair is extremely eager to please, which begs to question why they are so intent on getting close to Batman in the first place.

    I enjoyed the pacing of this issue better than the last. The last issue was all about establishing relationships and characters. This issue starts to move the Monster Men story arc forward, while still conveying a few important character developments. Tom King and David Finch have delivered another solid entry in the Rebirth mythos. I only hope that they are able to maintain this level of storytelling while pumping out two issues per month.

    Batman #2, DC Comics, released July 6, 2016, written by Tom King, pencils by David Finch, inks by Matt Banning and Danny Miki, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by John Workman, cover by David Finch and Jordie Bellaire, $2.69

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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    Review: Batman #1

    Review of Batman #1

    Batman #1It’s safe to say that Tom King and David Finch have some very big shoes to fill. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo did such an excellent job with the New 52 Batman series that readers have been waiting with great anticipation to see exactly what the new team will bring to the table.

    Batman #1 jumps right into the action and doesn’t let up until the final spread. In the opening pages, we see Batman and Commissioner Gordon in their familiar places on the rooftop, Bat-Signal illuminating the sky above their heads. Gordon is filling Batman in on the recent heist of three surface-to-air missiles, only two of which have been recovered.

    Just as Gordon slyly suggests the Dark Knight should entrust him with his cell phone number so these rooftop meetings would no longer be necessary, the missing rocket is launched in the background, striking a passing plane. In classic Dark Knight fashion, Batman bails on Gordon mid sentence to prevent the critically damaged plane from dropping in the middle of Gotham. The real time elapsed from opening spread to final teaser is only six minutes, but those six minutes are some of the most tense, action packed, and emotional six minutes I’ve read.

    This chapter nicely re-establishes the classic relationships we expect from previous series and introduces the new dynamic between Batman and his ally Duke Thomas. I’m calling him an ally for now, because we still don’t know exactly what Duke’s new role is in the family. We’ve been told in Batman Rebirth #1 that he isn’t going to be a new Robin and that Batman is trying something new with Duke. We also caught a glimpse of a yellow and black suit hanging in the Bat Cave.

    So far, all of the Rebirth titles have delivered, and Batman #1 is no exception. King and Finch appear to be very comfortable in their new roles. This offering is fresh enough to warrant the Rebirth branding, but remains familiar enough to keep fans of the Snyder/Capullo run interested.

    Batman #1, DC Comics, Released June 15, 2016, Written by Tom King, Art by David Finch and Matt Banning, Color by Jordie Bellaire, Letters by John Workman, $2.39.

    Review by Brendan Allen

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    Review: Batman Rebirth #1

    Review: Batman Rebirth

    batman rebirth #1I’ve been waiting months for Batman Rebirth #1 to be released. I wasn’t disappointed. Scott Snyder uses this collaboration to seamlessly pass the torch to Tom King, who will be taking the helm for the new Batman series releasing June 15, 2016. Snyder will move on to write All-Star Batman, releasing in August of this year. The story feels like a natural segue from the last issue of the New 52 Batman into the new series and teases some interesting developments for future installments.

    The story opens with Duke Thomas, from the We Are Robin series, standing at the door of Wayne Manor. The obvious assumption is that Duke will be taking up the green and red as our new Robin. You know what they say about assumptions.

    While some liberties have been taken with his appearance and abilities, Calendar Man is an appropriate villain choice for this transition from New 52 into Rebirth. This version of Calendar Man ages with the seasons, young in the Spring, growing older until he dies in Winter, to molt and be reborn the following Spring. Calendar Man has hidden spores of an unnamed biological agent all over the city and is using some mechanism to speed up the seasons so the spores will mature more quickly and disperse.

    There is a repetitive theme of seasonal change throughout the story. Seasons change, heroes and villains change, writers change, but in the end, we end up right back at the beginning.

    Overall, this is a very good chapter. The writing is very solid, although I am a little anxious for the new series to pick up so we can see how much of this story is Snyder’s voice, and what King will bring on his own. The artwork is some of the most innovative I’ve seen. Mikel Janin pulls out some tricks I’ve never seen. In one instance, he uses gutters and panels to form a bat symbol at the bottom of a two-page spread.

    If this issue is any indication of what is to come, I’m all in.

    Batman Rebirth #1, released 6/1/2016; writers: Scott Snyder and Tom King, art and cover: Mikel Janin, colors: June Chung, letters: Deron Bennett, $2.69.

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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    The Best Comics of 2015 – Part 3 of 5 – DC Comics

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

    Happy New Year from your friends at TFAW! Now that we’re in 2016, we want to stop and remember the great books that were released last year. What follows is the third in a series of five Best Comics of 2015 pieces we’ll be posting through January 6. Missed the earlier installments? Check out Part 1 and Part 2. Starting January 7, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in and help us crown the Best Comic of 2015!

    It all started with DC Comics. Superman. Batman. Green Lantern. The Flash. These are the heroes we’ve grown up with, and the ones who epitomize what it means to be a hero. DC was dogged by critics and fans this year, but the following comics demonstrate that the publisher still puts out great books month after month.

    The Best of DC Comics (in no particular order):

    Batgirl
    By: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr

    I’ve got to start by giving due recognition to Gail Simone. She’s an all-star writer who made me fall in love with Barbara Gordon and her work in the New 52 was solidly in the top of the class. When I first heard that DC brought on a new creative team for Batgirl, I was upset. Really upset. That being said, I cannot recommend the Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr Batgirl series enough.

    Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher’s take on Barbara Gordon is a revelation. She’s more complicated than most of the other heroes in the DCU. She’s confident, yet vulnerable. She’s a college student, a romantic, a caring friend, a superhero. This series could serve as a great character study in college classes across the country.

    Babs Tarr’s art perfectly matches the tone of the writing, and suits Barbara’s character. It’s fresh, fun, and cute (in the best way). The redesigned Batgirl suit is modern, functional, and steps a thousand feet away from hyper-sexualized female costumes we’ve seen time and time again. Tarr has a great eye for human form and visual perspective. Her consistent attention to detail in each and every panel shows how much love she has for the book and the medium. She’s a superstar, and I’m looking forward to following her work in the coming decades. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Sandman Overture
    By: Neil Gaiman, J. H. Williams III, Dave Stewart

    Sandman is back! Neil Gaiman has returned to one of his most beloved creations with Sandman Overture. One of the most anticipated books of the last several years came to its jaw-dropping conclusion in 2015 and is now collected into a hardcover that can join the Sandman collection on your shelf. We finally learn the story leading up to the events of Sandman #1 and how Morpheus came to be in the situation we found him in all those years ago.

    Revisiting a classic story is often risky. Comparisons to the original are inevitable and it would be so easy to fall short. Fear not! This is Sandman in every way you could want. Gaiman is able to pick up and dust off his characters as if it hasn’t been over 10 years since we last saw them. Reading Sandman Overture feels like going on a strange, new adventure and visiting with old friends at the same time.

    Sandman has always been blessed with amazing artists, but J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart will blow you away! With chameleon-like ability, Williams’ style can drastically change depending on the needs of a particular scene. His pages are full of hyper-detailed, realistic panels to psychedelic landscapes (and everything in between) all set in the most unique page layouts we’ve seen all year. [Jeff B. at Portland TFAW]

    Omega Men comics at TFAW.com Omega Men
    By: Tom King, Barby Bagenda, Toby Cypress, José Marzán, Jr.

    When DC announced that Omega Men would end with the sixth issue, fans cried out for more. Even though the series had comparatively low sales numbers, DC decided to publish the rest of the 12-issue run. That was great news for fans and new readers alike, because you don’t have to be well-versed in DCU lore to read this series. It’s driven by a compelling story with characters I wasn’t fully aware of when I started reading it.

    Starting off with a death of a well-known character is definitely a way to get attention, and it doesn’t happen all that often. After breaking the neck of White Lantern Kyle Rayner, the Omega Men pose an immediate threat to the Lantern Corps. The reader is instantly drawn into the series and we find ourselves trying to figure out where this series is going next. A really great series. [Martin M. at Milwaukie TFAW]

    Fables comics at TFAW.com

    Fables
    By: Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha

    Fables has the impossible task of living up to the stories that inspired these characters…and it does so in spades. Bill Willingham never pulled a punch in thirteen years of writing this series. Every character was filled with pathos and gravity. These were weighted characters in a fantastical setting and as a reader you couldn’t help but feel every victory, every death, every defeat. Every character had a journey, and a role within the story, and some of these played out over thirteen glorious years.

    While Willingham’s words were powerful, they were truly brought to life by his partner in crime — Mark Buckingham. He renders every emotion exquisitely. Most of the big name artists and books go for the big splash page, or action sequence and ignore the details. Not Bucky. His strength is in the real character work in each panel. Every character has their own unique expressions and the reader can’t help but feel what the characters are being put through. The rest of the creative team also made Fables truly great — Klein’s beautiful lettering, Leialoha’s inks, etc. Fables is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. No other series can compete with Fables‘ brilliant thirteen year run. Comics in 2016 is going to be a much darker place without new issues of Fables on the shelves. [Dustin K. at Universal TFAW]

    Justice League comics at TFAW.com Justice League
    By: Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Jason Fabok, Francis Mapul

    This is what superhero comics are about, and one of the biggest advantages of a shared universe. Massive threats to the entire DCU, heroes coming together to face seemingly impossible odds, epic throwdowns.

    Geoff Johns’ Justice League has been a thrill ride from day one, and this year’s Injustice League and Darkseid War have built on several years of strong storytelling. This is one of DC’s flagship titles, and they’ve put a lot of effort into pairing Johns with artists like Ivan Reis and Jason Fabok to produce one of the best books on the shelves every single month. These guys are all at the top of their game–just crack open an issue and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
    [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Honorable Mentions:

    Stay tuned to the TFAW Blog in the coming days as we’ll be posting two more Best Comics of 2015 lists. At the end, YOU will decide which one will be crowned as the Best Comic of 2015!

    –UPDATE: YOU CAN VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE ONCE PER DAY NOW THROUGH 1/14/16!–

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