Comic Talk: Nightwing Vol. 1 (New 52)

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Title: Nightwing V. 1 Traps and Trapezes
Writer/Illustrator: Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows
Published: October 10, 2012
Publisher: DC Comics.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Dick Grayson flies once again as Nightwing! And as he embraces his destiny, Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, returns to Gotham City: bringing with it murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront his past among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while uncovering a greater evil.

Collects Nightwing #1-7.

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This launch of Nightwing isn’t necessarily a re-telling though they nerf some of the history/canon. The hero of this story, Dick Grayson, former first Robin and stand in Batman is back in his place as independent masked vigilante Nightwing. Bruce has reclaimed the Batman cowl–and while there’s no ‘on-screen’ discussion, Dick seems to be okay with the demotion.

Note: I would read Batman Vol. 1 Court of Owls before reading this trade. There are some tie-ins and some things that won’t make a lot of sense.

Haley’s circus returns to Gotham, and Dick stops in to visit with the family he had before being taken in by Bruce. He reconnects with old friends, family and an old flame (he really can’t stay away from redheads can he?) And as this is Gotham, and DC nothing stays golden for long. The owner of Haley’s dies, and bequeaths the circus to Dick. While working on accepting that new role, a new advisory rises focused on destroying Dick.

With cameos from Batgirl, Alfred and the return of Bruce later in the trade this is a very character heavy story. Members of the circus are featured–fleshed out and given backstory that ties in with Dick’s. The action is fast paced and nearly continuous, though one of my major peeves with Dick is the fact that he talks.all.the.time. He even mentions in one panel that he talks too much, and yet continues to do so. I’m not sure if this is a characteristic of Dick, or a running gag within the series, but it’s not something that I’m really fond of. The art stands on its own, though at first pass it was a little difficult to differentiate between Raya and Barbara when they meet face to face. Other than that the characters are individual and have distinguishing characteristics. The story is a little predictable, but it’s decent. The end of this trade is leading into a massive plot arc which I like a little bit better.

Overall: pink3 Not terrible, good action and art make it decent. I won’t add it to my collection, but I’ll continue reading the story.

Top Ten Tuesday! FREE FOR ALL!!

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It’s that time again, for the weekly top ten countdown. This week’s topic is a ‘freebie’ week, meaning we can talk about whatever we want to. And since I’ve got to the comic book side of things, I’m going to talk about my top ten comics/graphic novels that I’m loving right now. Most of these are DC verse with a couple others thrown in. As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Broke and Bookish

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clouds10  Batman: Battle for the Cowl Tony S. Daniel, Fabian Nicieza Who has earned the right? Who thinks they deserve it? Robin? Nightwing? Jason Todd? Two-Face? Catwoman? Batgirl? Who will ultimately win the BATTLE FOR THE COWL?

One of the few Pre-52 volumes that I own and love, Battle for The Cowl is explosive, entertaining and really lays down some great Bat mythos and dynamics.

clouds09 23017989 Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool Gerry Duggan Matteo Lolli Once upon a time, champions emerged to fight the evil plaguing humanity. They fought for all that was good in the world. They were kind, generous and self-sacrificing. They were heroes. These are not those heroes.

I love this comic, and I’ve got a review of it coming soon. Working on a few things, but this is hysterically funny and it’s not really a VS in the true meaning of the word, but more of a team up.

clouds08 17737072 Nightwing: Death of the Family Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows, Andres Guinaldo, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo Joker makes his horrifying return to Gotham City! But even for man who’s committed a lifetime of murder, he’s more dangerous than ever before. The Joker sets his twisted sights on the members of the Bat-Family and attacks them all where it hurts—and for Dick Grayson, that means going after the family he’s built up for the past year at Haly’s Circus!

I’ve got a whole review of the Nightwing graphic novels coming up, so I’m not going to get too much into my feelings about Nightwing here. I do however really love the Death of the Family arc and the Nightwing volume was my second favorite when it comes down to it. Beautiful art, great story line and it really helps define a the Dick Grayson/Nightwing character.

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Comic Talk: Gotham Academy v. 1

Writer/Artist: Becky Cloonan, Branden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl.
Trade includes: Issues 1-6, alternative cover art, character design sketches.
Released: June 17, 2015 by DC Comics.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:

Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange as the students!

Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman Maps is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!

picadillypink: Stop what you’re doing right now, get yourself to the local comic shop, or the library and pick this up. It is a departure from the dark, heavily inked lines of the classic DC lines, the art here being bright and splashy with a watercolor overtone. Day scenes are bright and vivacious, with night scenes still maintaining that fresh burst of color, but being rich and deep in tone. The art alone had sold me on this comic before I even started to read the volume.

Then I read it. The characters are well rounded, vibrant and interesting. The main character is Olive Silverlock, a second year student who is tasked to show her ‘not boyfriend’s’ little sister around campus and be her mentor. Maps (or Mia) is one of the most refreshing characters I’ve seen in a long time. Overly excitable, a giant raging nerd–most of her time is spent creating her ultimate role playing team, and follows Olive with so much adoration that it’s hard not to love her. She and Olive stumble across a mystery that lurks in the shadows of the academy and decide to investigate further. Teaming up with the girl wonder team, is a kid who can get you anything you need for the right price, and a couple of bullies (who are later redeemed). The rag tag team which is a blend of Nancy Drew and the Scooby Do gang get into a bit of trouble, get in over their heads, and manage to save the day within the last few pages. I really love how each character has clear, distinct motives that differ from on another. Something that really stood out for me with this series is the drastic varying shades of gray that exist in the characters’ eyes. Things in Gotham are so often set in shades of black and white (I’m talking morality here right v wrong). It’s very fluid and an interesting addition to the Gotham/Batman verse. The villain that is introduced here has a very different side than what is presented in the main Bat verse. Not to mention Olive’s interaction both with Bruce Wayne, and Batman–not that I’m going to give any spoilers, but it’s really neat.

Overall: pink5 Beautiful art, great story with mystery, comedy and a bit of horror. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Comic Talk: Superman Wonder Woman (New 52)

Writer/Artists: Charles Soule, Tony S Daniel

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis: The Man of Steel and the Warrior Princess. An alien and a goddess. They come from two different worlds. But together, Superman and Wonder Woman have teamed up THIS world from all who would harm it.

And they’ve fallen in love doing it.

SO far, they’ve kept their relationship a secret, worried that the world isn’t ready to find out that its two most powerful super heroes are more than just teammates. But secrets have a way of escaping. And the very different worlds that the world’s greatest couple have inhabited are about to collide.

Wonder Woman’s actions on Earth have angered the gods of Olympus, and Superman makes for the perfect target for their revenge. And Superman is not the only being to survive the destruction of his home planet Krypton–the Phantom Zone prison houses an entire dimension full of criminals, killers and worse, yearning to break free.

Gods and monsters alike threaten not just Superman and Wonder Woman, but everyone and everything they care about. Will their love spell doomsday for planet Earth?

picadillypink I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS. I could not put it down, and I’ve got it on order from my local comic shop (I picked this up initially from the library) and the monthlys are on my pull list, because I don’t want to wait for the trades to come out. Their relationship built on respect and mutual respect/affection. The characters of Wonder Woman and Superman for me have always made sense together and I like the draw between them in this series–despite it being set up rather quickly. They gravitate toward each other and round each other out really well. Superman is a little brash/younger in this relaunch and Wonder Woman balances him out. I love that while their chemistry is off the charts–they do argue, and it’s done really well. So much so that Batman (who may or may not steal the comic, but we all know I’m a Batman fanatic) comes in and lays down some hard logic, and is the voice of reason.

Like all good secret relationships, the cover is blown, in a rather cliched way but it doesn’t bother me as much as it normally would. Their response to it is flawless, both Supes and Wonder Woman taking it in stride. Batman on the other hand has a temper tantrum and blows up a monitor broadcasting the ‘reveal’ again and again. As much as I like the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman, I really like how they both look to Batman as a friend, and for guidance. The power play between the three icons is something that fascinates me and it’s really nice to see them in a positive light here and working together.

There is outside conflict with Zod showing up, and Doomsday making his presence known. But beside this, this trade really is all about the relationship between the two powerhouse superheroes. They struggle to find time to themselves, and for each other. I really loved this.

Overall: pink4 I cannot get enough of this series. The art is BEAUTIFUL, the story really interesting and engaging. I’m curious to see where it goes.

Comic Talk: Batman Incorporated (New 52)

Title: Batman Inc vol. 1
Writer/Artist: Grant Morrison Chris Burnham

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis: Led by the Dark Knight and bankrolled by his civilian alter ego Bruce Wayne, Batman Incorporated has agents in every corner of the globe, fighting injustice no matter the geography. Now the war has come home to Gotham City–and the new Robin is caught in the crossfire.

Raised to rule the world by his mother Talia, the daughter of the villainous Ra’s al Ghul, young Damian Wayne rejected his tyrannical training and now battles evil alongside his father, the Batman. But her ever-growing cult, the global criminal conspiracy called LEVIATHAN, is on the verge of extinguishing the light of justice everywhere. And once she’s taken away everything the Batman cares about, she’ll take away his son too. Even if it means turning him into a monster.

Even if it means killing him.

And the price on the Boy Wonder’s head is nothing compared to what Batman will do to save his son.

picadillypink I’m probably in the minority when it comes to this story line. I didn’t care for the art at all– it is very sketchy with harsh lines, the colors are washed out/water color tone, and the over all toning of the panels was very dark, at times making it really hard to see what was going on. At times it made distinguishing characters visually very difficult to do. The main story arc drops the reader into an all ready in motion story, so at times I felt a little lost, and I spent some time on wiki a) spoiling myself b) trying to figure out exactly what was going on.

That aside, there were some things that I did like about this volume, and it’s enough to get me to pick up the second one. Though I will be picking it up through the library and not collecting it, because I don’t care that much. I really loved the redemption of Jason Todd without the drama and redemption arc ‘on screen’. It’s no secret that I’m a Jason fan–but I really like how Batman Inc handled his coming back to the bat-family without dragging the reader through the mud and beating a dead horse. I did also like the glimmer of humor that was in the story as well. The Bat-cow/Bat-steak panel made me laugh, and it’s probably one of the more iconic scenes in the first volume. Damian really shines in this story but on the other hand Bruce is really off (again, tying into the beginning arc that this story picks up on.)

Overall: pink2 An interesting Batman story arc, but not something that I’ll actively read.

Comic Talk: Batgirl Vol. 1 (New 52)

Writer/Artist: Gail Simone, Ardian Syaf, Vincente Cifuentes

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis: Three years ago, Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, nearly lost her life when the Joker shot her through the spine. Ever the fighter, Barbara not only survived but after years of sitting in a wheelchair found a way to walk again.

Barbara has reclaimed her life and regained her independence, but must prove to her mentors Batman and Nightwing, as well as her Police Commissioner father, that she’s capable of doing it on her own. Even more important, she must prove to herself that she can complete the long journey to recovery.

But getting back on her feet in Gotham City will become even more challenging when a very personal hit list is revealed in the hands of a new villain.

And Barbara’s name is on it.

picadillypink I have to admit that I’ve always been a Batman type of girl. I hadn’t ever read any of the Bat family–until I got sucked into the new 52 verse. Barbara Gordon due to a medical miracle has regained her ability to walk. She strikes out on her own, starting to regain her independence. Her roommate Alysia is awesome–while suspecting Babs is up to something, doesn’t push or go snooping around. One thing that I LOVE about this volume is that Barbara dons the batgirl cowl, but she makes mistakes, big ones. She struggles while fighting, being out of practice. I love the scenes with her and Nightwing and the retelling of their history and the love that they have for each other. The ending arc with Bruce/Batman was done really well, their interaction smooth and effortless. One thing that really stuck out to me is Barbara’s struggles especially with PTSD/night terrors. It shows that she is still effected by the events of The Killing Joke story arc. It’s a brilliant move by Gail Simone and I love it. The art for this volume is absolutely breathtaking, great colors, and easily read.

Overall I highly recommend this volume. Features a strong female lead, and great story.

Comic Talk: Static Shock (New 52)

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Writer/Artist: Scott McDaniel, John Rozum and Andy Owens.
Publisher: DC Comics: The New 52 (June 26, 2012)

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis: Virgil Hawkins may be a small-town kid, but his skills are Big Time. For he is none other than the smooth-talking, energy-manipulating teenaged superhero Static!

New Yorkers have taken note. So has a consortium of the city’s biggest underground bosses. When first the Slate Biker Gang and then the Piranha and the Pale Man (looking suspiciously like a certain psychotic clown….) lead an army of pharma-mutated thugs against him, Static and his family are in for a Big City welcome. Still, Virgil can’t decide what’s more shocking: these new enemies, or just how powerful he’s turning out to be.

picadillypink I really wanted to like this. There’s some really great positives with this series. African American lead character, with a good strong family backing him. Breaks social stereotypes for the most part and has the hints of an interracial romance–something that’s so severely lacking in comic books, and for the most part main stream media.

I had a few problems with this volume however. The story seemed patched together and really disjointed. I felt like I was dropped into maybe the fourth or fifth volume of this series–there was a lot of background information that was implied and never fully explained. I felt lost through a lot of it, and ended up turning to wiki after I finished it. This is the trade paperback, so it compiles all of the paper volumes together in one easier to read book, but I still felt really lost. The dialogue was off as well and some of the exposition just didn’t jive well with me. I’m not sure what’s missing, but I feel like it’s not complete. This paperback includes all of the issues of the Static Shock series that was released with the New 52 relaunch. The book ends on a short note, but if you enjoy the Static Shock character he meets up with the Teen Titans further down the line.

Overall pink2 Diverse cast, strong leaning toward an interesting story line, but lack of detail and background information makes this confusing. If you remember the short lived Static Shock cartoon a few years ago, the characterization is on point with that. I wouldn’t read him on his own again, there’s something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.