Recently my local libraries had a massive upgrade as to what books they carry graphic novel/tpb wise. I found a diverse and downright impressive collection of books. Hence starting a new series for me here on the blog. As I got a massive pile of books the first one I decided to read was Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2: Cycle of Violence. I read the first volume of this ages ago and it was okay. Outside of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman I’ve not read a lot of Batman’s New 52 adventures. Hence why I decided to grab Vol. 2 with Vol. 3 to see more of what I missed from Gregg Hurwitz on this series. Hurwitz’s run has gotten a bit of acclaim so as it is the library, why not give it a go? There is nothing wrong in life with taking a chance on reading more of a series; especially from your local library. Anyway enough of the intro, let’s start up this Bat-tacular and see where it takes me.
Now Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2: Cycle of Violence is mostly stand alone from everything else. If you aren’t up to date on the Bat-Universe, this would be a story up your alley. I can appreciate the way Hurwitz did this story as it does require little to no previous Batman knowledge. Take note before diving into this, this is almost borderline mature readers territory. If you have a kid who may be wanting to read Batman, I wouldn’t recommend this. I give Hurwitz credit here as he pulled no punches with this story so for a teenager and on up; this is a perfect story. Hurwitz manages to write one of the creepier Scarecrow stories out there. There’s even rare moments where you can actually understand the Scarecrow. Hurwitz dives into the backstory of Scarecrow and managed to terrify me a couple times. Not easy to do by the way to actually make my eyes widen in shock, Hurwitz did this.
The Bruce Wayne segments with Natalya, Bruce’s girlfriend in this story, slow down the story a touch but they’re not bad either. They lead off to strong moments later on but they’re mostly tension break moments to balance the story. I do like the payoff of those scenes as they all contribute further into the focus of the story, fear in multiple forms. It’s a pretty multifaceted story diving into the fears of Batman and everyone in his life. Now that being said the fear exploration worked and didn’t work depending on the phase of the story.It’s also a vivid way to explore the Scarecrow and his alter ego Jonathan Crane. By the end of this story you’re going to understand the fears of our characters in ways you wish you didn’t know. As I said some fall flat but when they work, they’re haunting and beautifully done.
Here’s where things get more hit or miss with me, David Finch’s artwork here. In any sections where there was action involved, he was spot on. He’s great at translating the mood of Hurwitz’s scripts too. I loved his art on the Scarecrow, that was terrifying and the imagery involved won’t leave my head anytime soon. Overall Finch’s storytelling for The Dark Knight was solid. Just I learned that I am not big on how Finch draws his faces. If it’s Bruce Wayne, Batman, Gordon, and Scarecrow, the faces and designs look amazing. A lot of other characters suffer from stiff face syndrome as it looks as though all the life was drained from them. That bugged me more than anything else. Everything else art wise from Richard Friend’s inking to Sonia Obach’s coloring looks good overall. The curse of David Finch’s artwork as it does suffer from uneven moments but when it’s on, it looks great.
The #0 issue in the Cycle Violence collection is a different take on the Joe Chill and Bruce Wayne’s parents death story. It was a good way to place this story as it expands upon concepts Hurwitz brings up in his story. I found myself liking this story way more than I thought I would. The death of Bruce Wayne’s parents is one that’s been retold by many creators, this one is good though. Heartbreaking on the levels of Bruce Wayne’s suffering and also why their deaths happened in the first place. Hurwitz did a nice job conveying the absolute pain Bruce Wayne went through. I almost call it a mini version of Batman Begins. It didn’t hurt that Mico Suayan and Juan Jose Ryp did a good job art wise on this story. I would say #0 was a perfect way to close out this collection.
Now if Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 was in front of me to buy would I buy it? This would be one I could buy if it was at a discount somewhere. It was a good story but not so much that I’d go out of my way to own this collection. I will say if you’re huge into Batman, you may want to give this a shot. Especially if you’re curious about this take on the Scarecrow, it’s unlike anything else out there. If you’re at your local library and see this on your shelf, check it out. Uneven at times but I must say that this was a solid read.
After multiple years of the Original Sailor Moon anime being out of print and going for heavily inflated prices across the Internet, rejoice as Viz is bringing the series back to life! I cannot believe this myself as I read this announcement, it’s taken long enough for somebody to get the license for this anime. One of the most in demand anime on the planet that no one could get without paying an arm and a leg for is going to be seen again. Viz is doing the route of streaming it online via their own streaming service NeonAlley and Hulu starting on Monday, May 19, 2014. Now they are working a new dub and by the way it’ll be uncut, meaning all of the original Sailor Moon Anime will be seen the way it was meant to be. Yes all 200 episodes uncut, all three of the movies, and starting in the fall; the first time the series will be on Blu-Ray with a DVD release with half season sets.
Take a look at the trailer below to learn more on this as I get the feeling as I share this link with everyone else, the fanbase is going to be losing their minds.
Many of us out there that had been watching to watch Sailor Moon can finally see it again. The best part being if you want to watch it streaming you can do that to get yourselves pumped up for the fall release. Then the dub is being worked on for a release later in the year. If you want more info on just what Viz Media is doing with the Original Sailor Moon programming check out the interview Charlene Ingram and Josh Lopez did for Anime News Network here. The interview is well worth the read to learn the restoration efforts going into the series and their dedication to the material. Even further as to how they got the license to the original Sailor Moon in the first place.
I’m excited to finally see the series available in the states again. It’s been a long time coming for the Original Sailor Moon to return, now she’s back and better than ever. If you’re a new anime fan, I’d highly recommend watching the Original Sailor Moon to see what you think. For us old school anime fans can only say that Sailor Moon was a big part of our fandom, now it is time to show the new generation why it was a big part of our world.
The 90’s are all powerful and we are helpless to stop it, we embrace you 90’s overlords in all of your glory. Now you wonder why I make that statement. As I was reading Robot 6 today, I saw a story on Death of Wolverine and “Weapon Etched Holo Foil”, you read that right. As the 90’s gimmicks have been making a comeback, I will say that they’re being done with some level of heart to them. Like this “Weapon Etched Holo Foil” but Mike Marts, who is the Executive Editor, decides he really likes Steve McNiven’s cover and wants to give it the deluxe treatment. At least now it’s not just being done to be done, as I feel there’s some reasoning behind these covers making a comeback. I think it’s hilarious that these gimmick covers are returning the way they are.
Focus on this, if you don’t want the “Weapon Etched Holo Foil” you don’t have to get it. From what I can tell this is a pure variant cover so totally optional. Just another of the likely multitudes of variants that will be released with The Death of Wolverine. The creative team I was already behind, Charles Soule is a great writer who’s behind one of my current favorite series out of Marvel being She-Hulk, which you should all buy by the way. On the artist side Steve McNiven is an impressive artist who’s never been one to disappoint, now put these two together and you have an event weekly series in itself. This is the day and age we’re in though where variant covers are the lifeblood and the Death of Wolverine is going to be a huge weekly event in September.
I will be curious to see how McNiven’s cover is handled in this “Weapon Etched Holo Foil” format. I’m still going to check out the series because I admit I am curious. Yes we all know that Wolverine will be back from the dead after Death of Wolverine, if anyone thinks he’s actually dying then I don’t know what to tell you. At least Marvel is sealing the Death of Wolverine in “Weapon Etched Holo Foil” covers, because at least in this case it fits the situation. 1990’s you were a glorious decade in cover gimmicks, twenty plus years into the future your influence still remains strong.
Flash Fact: Following The Arrow Season Three finale, now the hype machine begins for The Flash Series premiere. The first trailer was shown last night during Arrow making it clear that the series is going to be a big part of Arrow’s universe. Just a sweet way to show that while Arrow and The Flash are two unique series, the connection will still be there and prominent. Even better showing the personalities of the two characters and how different but similar they are in their own way. Check out the fun trailer first, that I am going to show below. It’s a cool trailer that can give you a great idea as to how Barry Allen’s Flash is being trained.
The hashtag of Don’t Blink is perfect for this show, even the logo for The Flash screams fun for this show. The longer trailer shown today gives us more of an idea of the tone The Flash will have. You can see the full interconnected nature of The Flash and Arrow highlighted further and get an idea as to how the series will play out in the months to come. I love that they’re putting Weather Wizard in this as the first major Rogue, I am surprised they’re not using Captain Cold but that’s for the full Rogues later on. This is the trailer that made me excited for The Flash and made me realize that The Flash and Arrow are going to compliment in each other in a brilliant way. Check out the full trailer below and see what you think.
I’d love how Grant Gustin handled Barry Allen in the Arrow episodes he was in and he plays The Flash with that same energy. The suit in motion looks a lot better than what the still shots gave me. Now I am full speed ahead in being jazzed for The Flash. The CW putting this on at 8 pm on Tuesday bugs me a bit as I would love to have had the Arrow and The Flash power lineup. To speculate here, maybe the CW is going with splitting up the shows over two nights for crossovers and having more live eyes on the network. DVR views are huge but the live audience is huge and keeping viewers engaged for two nights of live programming would be huge. Of course the other speculation is not having two superhero shows in one night that could just be too much of a good thing to have right now. Either way, The CW is going to be a happy network this year I think.
Between Constantine, Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, Gotham, and now The Flash hitting the airwaves this fall, this is an exciting time. Prepare your DVR’s, your snacks, and whatever other preparations you need to make, we are in for one amazing fall season. The Flash is just one part of a sequentially beautiful year in comic book television.
(As per the Agents of SHIELD column, spoilers upon more spoilers shall be in this column. Please be advised that I hold little back when I discuss something that involves a spoiler. Your mileage may vary on spoilers but I just want to get this out of the way now. Warning is given and onwards with the writing at hand.)
If you may or may not known I did a column for Comics Crux and for a short time at Rhymes With Geek called Arrow Analysis. I ended up putting the column on hiatus to focus on other matters. Now likely next season for Arrow I’ll revive Arrow Analysis because the Season Two finale set the stage for big possibilities. If you deal with Agents of SHIELD, the uptick for that show happened just before and after Captain America: Winter Soldier. Season Two of Arrow was on a high from the beginning outside of stumbling a bit at the midpoint, mostly in Laurel Lance’s character development. Outside of any stumbling points in Season Two, Season Three of Arrow looks like it could be mindblowing.
By the way get your spoiler goggles on now, because this is where I pull no punches and start revealing extra stuff left and right. Spoilers are now officially on because if one warning isn’t good enough, two should be sufficient to get my point across.
Now that you’re still here now we can begin, Arrow’s Season Finale gave us multiple changes to characters and new situations to play with. Thea Queen now moving on to be with her Dad, Malcolm Meryln which will be the set up for more appearances from Malcolm in the future. I’m looking forward to Thea’s evolution as a character, I hope that the series spends time with her as she gets to know her Dad. The train station scene of Thea and Malcolm shows that she has a lot more in her than even she realized. I don’t think this will end up being the generic someone becomes evil, I’m thinking along the lines of Thea becoming a stronger version of herself thanks to someone who’s accepted who he is. That’s my own theory on this one as Thea Queen’s evolution has only just begun.
At this point I am begging The CW at some point to do a Suicide Squad spinoff because Amanda’s team needs more screen time. Deadshot popping up in that last bit near the end made me so happy. The next step towards a stronger presence for Deadshot next season, especially with Diggle about to be a Dad with Lyla’s baby on the way. That ties A.R.G.U.S. into Arrow’s universe even more. Now that the flashbacks are going to be centered around Ollie’s time with Amanda Waller in Hong Kong, we’re going to be getting tons of A.R.G.U.S time next season. I’m happy that we’re not going to see a different setting for the flashbacks next season. I was so burnt on The Island flashbacks it was unreal so a new surrounding for them is a breath of fresh air.
Of course The Island is still a factor, Deathstroke is now there in the beginning of the A.R.G.U.S. supermax it seems. That is a slick idea especially when you realize Waller and Oliver Queen already have a relationship of sorts, it makes all the more sense how The Island became known to her in the first place. That’s actually the clever part of this season finale, the threats are all around but in a new way and the possibilities of new allies in the process. You even have the Black Canary set up with Laurel Lance though we’re not going to see that for a long time, Sara only gave her the jacket and Laurel has training to do. I was shocked though at Quentin Lance’s collapse, I’m shocked at what went down there.
Now as for speculation for next season, Roy is now Arsenal/Red Arrow depending on what name they use. That’s about all you can dive into there as really now that Thea is out of the picture, Roy is going to be focused on that. Felicity probably got to be part of one of the best teases in Arrow history with that relationship fake out on Deathstroke. The confusion and cheering that was happening at that moment was wonderful that turned out to be a larger scheme. Of course now the next focus is Diggle and Felicity with friends likely enough to help Ollie get back his company. That is going to be fun to watch, Oliver’s Arrow life is stronger than ever just he now has to get his secret identity life back in order.
I’m hoping that they don’t do the year jump like they did last time, it would be fun to see Arrow spending the season rebuilding itself. I wouldn’t be shocked if Season Three did another jump in Arrow to set things in motion. I’m going to repeat myself though on this, don’t do the time skip again as that gimmick can only be used once or twice in the history of a series. I want to see Arrow built back up before my very eyes, I want to see all of third season happen in a way that blows my mind. Arrow Season Two blew Season One away, maybe Season Three will be the time I revive Arrow Analysis once more. Until then, here’s to Season Three of Arrow being even better than the second.
(Before we even start, this is going to be spoiler heavy as to what the season finale of Agents of SHIELD revealed. Turn back now because I’m not going to be holding back a single spoiler here. You have been warned.)
Agents of SHIELD has been on the uptick in the latter half of the season. After a good but uneven beginning no one can deny that the series ended on a strong note for the season finale. Captain America: Winter Soldier opened the doors for Agents of SHIELD to become the series everyone hoped it would be. Agents of SHIELD started as NCIS in the Marvel Universe and now the show feels like a true part of the Marvel Movie-Verse. I liked the show but could tell it was uneven in trying to figure out where it fit into the larger spectrum of Marvel’s plans. The NCIS comparison isn’t unfair because that’s how the series was promoted in a sense, I’m getting now it was the throw us off the scent as to what was to come. As they introduced the elements fans demanded to see, never seemed to work the way the show wanted. Of course the attitude started to change once Lady Sif made her first appearance, that’s when it all became evident that things were going to change rapidly.
By the way for all of those who are still reading at this point, this is where I start spoiling the season finale. The only way I’m going to be able to talk about this in any fashion is with spoiler theater. Now that the disclaimer has been put in twice, let’s begin the full chat. As the second season has opened up to Agent Coulson becoming Director Coulson and rebuilding SHIELD over the next season. Now that Nick Fury has at least explained why we’re not likely see Samuel L. Jackson much in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the door is opened for this daring new world. As Guardians of the Galaxy explores the cosmic side of Marvel Movie-Verse, Agents of SHIELD gives us the Earth side of things to set up Avengers: Age of Ultron. While the show can be used as a logical tie-in fest, the series has mysteries of its own to deal with.
I loved how John Garrett was handled at the end of the show, I couldn’t help but laugh. Laughing in a good way just when you think that John Garrett could be back after being smacked down with new technology, Coulson zaps him and that’s that. The way the scene was set had to be done to show everyone that Season Two would put Agents of SHIELD is a new direction. The mystery of Skye’s Dad revealed alone will be occupying a good part of the season it seems, why in the world was he dripping blood? Again more questions and exciting ones as the series is now on new footing. Of course now Coulson is doing that weird thing Garrett was doing in the finale with the graph of sorts, I’m wondering how that’ll play out in the next season.
As for everything else, please let Trip be confirmed as new cast member! I think he’s awesome and a great replacement for Ward on the team. Heartbreaking in this was FitzSimmons and the fate of that team, Fitz is not dead but that’s the only thing Simmons will say this point. Even further, yay Patton Oswalt is still on Agents of SHIELD! I swear the Koenings are likely life model decoys but whatever the case may be, Patton Oswalt still being on Agents of SHIELD is awesome. So many possibilities are being set for the next season, I can’t wait for it to begin. Now let’s all wait in anticipation for the next season and see just what the series has in store for us. I’d love to hear from you all on this so feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you all on this.
As Rhymes With Geek’s Kyle Overkill had a review of Nailbiter #1 up this week, I’ll link you to that for his views on it here. Now after I read it I’m not going to do as much of a review of the piece as more of my own perspective of writer Josh Williamson and artist Mike Henderson’s new comic from Image Comics. The lowdown of Nailbiter is simple, Nailbiter is in reference to Edward “Nailbiter” Warren who’s a serial killer from the town of Buckaroo, Oregon, which has been home to 15 other serial killers over the years. Now NSA Agent Finch is entering the town after his friend Carroll calls him about something he’s discovered, and Finch is drawn into an even bigger mystery. That’s the story summed up without spoiling anything, As for what I personally think about Nailbiter’s debut issue, I loved it so much it is unreal.
Oddly enough as someone who doesn’t watch a ton of horror movies, I read a lot of horror comics. That makes me laugh as my reading tastes are in a billion directions, horror is just one genre that I find myself checking out. The fact that Josh Williamson is a writer I dig reading anyway is a bonus on Nailbiter. I love Williamson’s sense of building the story and the town of Buckaroo, Oregon bringing this all to feeling like I’m part of this place. Mike Henderson’s art helps in creating this setting, the first introduction to Edward “Nailbiter” Warren is unforgettable and will haunt me in the best way possible. The way the characters are drawn fit the personalities that Williamson breathes into them. Finch looks like a legit tough son of a gun but you can tell he’s been through a lot of crap just in how he’s drawn. It’s that level of detail that I appreciate in reading a comic and helps to immerse me into the world.
I like how Williamson in one issue manages to set the hook of Nailbiter fast. By the time you get to that last page you at least have an early understanding of where each of these characters come from. I would say the way Williamson paces this with Henderson is a horror/crime drama. There’s even these moments of humor that can’t help but make me laugh. In such an unusual situation that Finch is entering into and meeting the townspeople, you get that Buckaroo is a strange place and they’re all adapted to it. Williamson gives the writing to the characters and the world and Henderson gives the life and building blocks to the rest of Williamson’s vision. Though that’s far from all that amazed me from Nailbiter, far from it.
Another factor into my immersion into Nailbiter is Adam Guzowski’s coloring, oh my goodness this is great. The beginning segment came to life in an array of orange hues and then muted darkness with the slightest touches of light, oh man intense and creepy all at once. As Nailbiter settles down, you see Guzman’s color sensibilities even more at work especially as you see Carroll and him standing in a graveyard, capturing the somber and worn atmosphere of where he’s at. As Finch enters the town you see the rain coming down with the neon lights being the only major illumination, it’s gorgeous. The Murder Store is one of my favorite sequences in capturing the mood. Finch wandering around this place with little flecks of light as he explores this twisted store, building up until you meet the jovial Raleigh for the first time. It’s all gravy from there and sets up the atmosphere for the rest of Nailbiter.
Henderson and Guzowski work well together in bringing Williamson’s Nailbiter vision to fruition. Williamson is so good with his storytelling in general on this, I’ve been a fan of the guy since Xenoholics and Nailbiter I feel is a big evolution for his writing, it is unlike anything I have read of his before. The next issue will be mine and I await seeing just what twists and turns are in store for me on this series. This is the kind of book where everyone works together seamlessly that you can’t help but be enthralled. That’s how I feel about Nailbiter right now, it’s got genuine scares and a great story in the making. If there’s any copies left at your local comic store or get it at whatever fine digital comic site you buy from, either way buy Nailbiter. I implore you not to miss this comic, I imagine it’s only going to get better from here.
As near the end of any given week, time for a good old Rhymes With Geek roundup of what I’ve been up to there. A lot of fun stuff, a lot of cool things, and it is all nifty. Look at these roundups as a way of me giving you bonus material as I process out my thoughts after the review. Enjoy.
Just posted up today on May 8, 2014 is my review of New 52: Futures End #1, which you can check out here to learn my further thoughts on that one. If you’re curious I’m likely going to check out the first month. Futures End intrigues me just enough that the first month might be worth it. I call this week my toughest two reviews to write, yes this is in the week following my most brutal review on the planet in Uncanny Avengers Annual #1. Of course considering the second review I did this week, while Futures End was a positive one, at least mostly, this one was a bit tougher to handle than I imagined.
The second review was Burn The Orphanage: Reign of Terror #1, and that you can see here as well. I’ve been processing that one, I think in my eyes that the Born to Lose trilogy in Burn The Orphanage was so strong that the monthly series had more to live up to. As this is a five issue series I am going to try out the next issue, confirmation from me on that one. Any kind of premise could have the potential to grow on me. I really want to like this though which is why I’m giving it another go. I still like the core concept so at least Burn The Orphanage hasn’t turned me off completely.
As for the final bit of Rhymes With Geek goodness, a crosspost of my Ant-Man piece from here onto the Rhymes With Geek express. Do read this one too, which if you want to check it again it lies here, and reads smoother too. Give a round of applause to editors by the way, Dante Jordan has been working with my stuff a lot when he can and he makes it sing. He’s a cool dude and I appreciate his chats with me. He’s helped my writing a lot even linking me things to help me out. If you have an editor out there fellow writers, tell them they’re awesome because they are.
That is the Rhymes With Geek roundup for this week. Thanks for catching up with my stuff there, I appreciate each and every one of you that reads my stuff.
I never in a million years thought I’d see Power Rangers getting a theatrical reboot. Lionsgate is now rebooting the original concept of Power Rangers and making them into a full franchise. Oh my goodness me, 90’s Nostalgia is in overdrive here. I love how Lionsgate announced this over their twitter talking about this reboot. That doesn’t mean the series is ending on TV, it’s just the original concept of the series. The teenagers with attitude and all that great stuff for a new generation of viewers. You know in a way I would think that by nature I would hate an idea but the original Power Rangers is cheesy to the max, why not reboot the concept? Haim Saban is involved so as long as it keeps to a PG rating to stay family friendly this could be a lucrative concept for Lionsgate to work with.
The goal here will be to keep the new Power Ranger films away from the cheesiness. Still have fun with the idea but make kids feel cool while watching it and teens have just as much fun with the concept too. Another goal in this is to keep the parents happy in the process, the 90’s Nostalgia here will be powerful. As long as Lionsgate and Saban keep what made Power Rangers fun in the movies, we’ll be fine. Bonus points for doing better in the new movies than you did actually bringing the Power Rangers to film last time. Now in my own case, I’m not sure if I’d rush out to theaters to see it myself, this would be a Netflix kind of situation for sure.
This all put into perspective, I’m mind blown I’m even talking about this. Never could have imagined seeing the Power Rangers reboot or otherwise on a theater screen again. I’m going to be watching this one for myself. Right now I wait for word for casting, plans, and that eventual trailer. Till then, now we know Power Rangers in the original 90’s form is making a comeback. Just remember cast members, avoid World Peace conferences and you will be fine.
(if anyone catches that reference, cool points for you.)