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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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    Don’t Fear The Batman

    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.

    LEARN MORE ABOUT BATMAN DAY AT THINGS FROM ANOTHER WORLD

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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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    New Comic Book Day — Reviews for Spider-Woman, Hellboy Winter Special & Old Man Logan

    I’ve been looking forward to this week awhile now. With the Hellboy Winter Special and Old Man Logan #1 dropping this week, we’ve had some pretty good reading at the TFAW offices and comic book shops. We picked a few of this week’s new releases that we thought were standouts. This is the third of our seven-part series of New Comic Book Day blog articles.

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep as many spoilers under our hats as possible, but a nugget may sneak through to our reviews.

     	
Old Man Logan comics at TFAW.com Old Man Logan #1
    By: Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino

    The best description for Old Man Logan is if Marvel had a baby with Sin City. This story takes place right after the end of Marvel’s Secret Wars. With Jeff Lemire’s writing going hand in hand with Andrea Sorrentino’s art, you can definitely tell the dark tone this story gives off.

    Going through issue #1, you have just as many questions as Logan. What is happening? How is this happening? Where am I? Why did this happen?! Don’t worry true believers, your questions will be answered…on the last page. Old Man Logan is back and has found his one sole purpose in this Universe. Is it revenge? Is it Justice?! You’ll just have to read to find out! [Darcey M. at Universal TFAW]

    Hellboy Winter Special
    By: Mike Mignola, Tim Sale, Chris Roberson, Scott Allie, Chelsea Cain, Michael Avon Oeming, Michael Walsh, Dean Rankine, Dave Stewart

    I’ve been looking forward to the Hellboy Winter Special for some time now, and I’m happy to say that it does not disappoint. Tim Sale, folks. The living legend contributes the first of the four Mignolaverse vignettes contained in this issue. I fall in love with his art all over again all in a span of eight pages in Broken Vessels. Chris Roberson’s first ever Hellboy story, Wandering Souls, was incredible. I was captivated and am excited to see where he takes us in the months and years to come.

    Chelsea Cain & Michael Avon Oeming’s Mood Swings was a charming HB romp. Focusing on a young Liz Sherman and a bout of teenage attitude, this story put a huge grin on my face. Rounding out the issue was Dean Rankine’s fun Lobster Johnson short, Kung Pao Lobster. [Josh C. at TFAW.com]

    Spider-Woman #3
    By: Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodríguez

    Spider-Woman isn’t your the typical superhero book since it features a very pregnant lead. The eight-month jump in time post-Secret Wars allows Hopeless to skip over the how’s and why’s of Jessica’s pregnancy. It creates a realistic sense of danger and drama for the characters but there’s a good bit of humor in the moms-to-be versus a horde of Skrulls.

    The art is the clincher for why I’ll come back. I loved Rodríguez’s stuff when he was on Daredevil, but he’s raised his game to another level. The splash pages depicting Spider Woman’s route through the space hospital are fantastic and brought to mind the trippy epicness of Jim Steranko with a definite splash of Kirby. The Kirby influence is especially strong on his depictions of the Skrulls.

    A great combo of art and story, drama and humor, with guest stars and on-point characterization, this book has me sold on coming back for more. [Dustin M. at Universal TFAW]

    Cry Havoc #1
    By: Simon Spurrier, Ryan Kelly

    Cry Havoc had me sold at “lesbian werewolves” and thankfully the contents didn’t disappoint. The moment I opened the comic I was blown away by the art and had a vast appreciation for the change in art direction throughout the comic. The changes really bring you into the moment and make for a very immersive world. One moment I feel like I’m reading Jem and the Holograms with heavy saturation and bold color choices before being transported into the world of The Walking Dead with a muted color palate to accompany the somber mood of the scene.

    This first issue is all about getting our story set up and developing our world. The refreshing and unique take on the supernatural is something I cannot wait to dive further into. It’s all well and good for every werewolf story to have common themes but I have a feeling these werewolves will be unlike anything we’ve seen in mainstream media. This comic has easily left an impression on me and I look forward to seeing this world and its characters develop further. [Megan W. at Universal TFAW]

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

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