“The Earth is under my protection.”

I wanna apologize to everyone for disappearing on you for the past few weeks. With school rounding out for the semester, I have been extra busy, trying to get all of this work done. Hopefully soon I will be able to return and get back to the comics! I appreciate your patience.

“Okay Brett, that’s all fine and dandy, but what’s with the picture of Superman punching a Dalek and the Doctor holding the head of Braniac????”

Oh yes, the other selfish reason I haven’t been on is that I have been bitten by the Doctor Who bug and have been marathon-ing the Doctor on my spare time. And holy shit has it been awesome. I will not spend the time to bore you with all the details. But I will say that if you love comics, science fiction and great writing, do yourself a favor and watch the show. It is absolutely brilliant.

Not to mention that as I have spent all this time watching the show, I have started to see the parallels between our own Superman/Clark Kent and The Doctor. I honestly see a lot of Superman in the Doctor. And it isn’t just the “An alien from another planet, landing on Earth and doing what he can to protect us.” As I am watching, I can see how he is very passionate about Earth and he cares very much for its people. He is always throwing himself into harms way, sacrificing himself for humanity, whenever they are threatened….usually it is in London and it is on Christmas…I’m diverting from the point.

That is all sorts of Superman. No matter how it affects them in the end, both Superman and the Doctor are willing to do what is going to hurt them if it means protecting the planet they hold so dear in their hearts. Both see the potential that the people of Earth have and want to make sure that they have the chance to act on that potential.

Just take a look at that quote I put in for the title. That is something that is actually said by the Doctor, multiple times, when he is facing down some extraterrestrial threat that is hellbent on taking over the Earth.

http://www.combom.co.uk/2011/05/doctor-who-comic-doctor-meets-superman.html

Dear DC Comics and IDW Comics, I would like you to bring back amalgam comics. I would pay good money to see a Superman/Doctor Who team-up book.

Hell, give me some time, get my writing chops going and I will freaking write this comic book! It would be an absolute pleasure and honor to be able to write about two of my favorite aliens.

I’ll talk to you guys soon!

Allons-y!

 


Happy Easter from me and the Amazing Zoo Crew!

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

…okay it isn’t exactly the Zoo Crew, but it is from me and the great Captain Carrot!

Am I the only one who imagines Captain Carrot when they think of the Easter Bunny? I didn’t get my Cosmic Carrot this year though….what a bummer.

When I have children, this is going to be their Easter Bunny, it has been decided.

captain carrot and hoppy

Either way, I hope you guys have a great Easter. I’ll talk to you guys soon!


Valiantly leading the way!

© Valiant Comics

© Valiant Entertainment

I’m going to Pun Hell I know, but either way, I wanted to share some great books that Valiant Comics is putting out every month.

To anyone who keeps up with the new comic books coming out every month, it is hard to miss Valiant Comics that have swept the stands for the past year. They made their return to the publishing ring in 2012, starting out with X-O Manowar, helmed by Mr. Robert Venditti and Cary Nord. And as time went on that year, every few months after that, there was another new comic coming out featuring other Valiant Entertainment characters such as: Harbinger, Bloodshot, Archer & Armstrong, and finally Shadowman. And without skipping a beat, they had thrown in with the big boys like Marvel and DC, going pound for pound on the superhero sales market.

The greatest thing about being apart of Valiant’s return is that we to see a complete fresh start and what is being offered. And it is wonderful because each title is different and unique in its’ own way. There is something for everyone; science fiction, horror, etc. And they are so well done, if the budget allows, you can also be adventurous and try something completely new from what you are used to and you will not be disappointed. The creative teams on all of these books are top notch.

Not to worry however to the older readers that remember when Valiant was first publishing books. These are perfect new returning points, giving your favorite characters new introductions and allowing them to grow in this new community that has gained many a new reader. Also with the fresh starts, we are also seeing that other characters that have not gotten their own books…yet are getting appearances in the already established titles. For example, Dr. Mirage appearing in this new story arc of Shadowman, The Geomancer and Eternal Warrior appearing in Archer & Armstrong, and Ninjak in X-O Manowar. Maybe soon, we could see them getting their own books?

I will be honest with you, as great as it sounds, I personally am financially strained and could not pursue all these wonderful titles, BUT I am picking up Shadowman and Archer & Armstrong. Which have been a pleasure to read each month.

© Valiant Comics

© Valiant Entertainment

If you are interested in horror titles that mix with the super, Shadowman is your book has Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher killing it on this horror superhero title. With both Jordan and Zircher’s words and Zircher’s beautiful artwork, it makes it an easy choice for me. As soon as I saw a preview without the lettering and just the pencils, I was sold. Zircher’s art is wonderfully detailed and is easy to follow, helping along the storytelling. The grotesque demons and spirits that our Jack Boniface has to deal with after gaining the power of the Shadowman are accented well by Zircher’s art and storytelling. I have become a fan of the horror genre since getting into comics and this book delivers the suspense so well that it is scary. (I know I know, another pun.) It was also an easy choice for me because I am a Justin Jordan fanboy and would read anything that he writes. *cough* Luther Strode *cough*

© Valiant Entertainment

© Valiant Entertainment

If you are looking for a fun, action romp, I suggest you look no further then Archer & Armstrong.  Archer was raised in a very strict and religious background…on top of being trained in all sorts of different fighting styles such as: tae-kwon-do, wu-shu, etc, being trained for his upcoming fight with his foe, Armstrong. But the two become fast friends and bury the proverbial hatchet. Taking two characters, from opposite sides of the spectrum, and pairing them together so that they can work to save the world from a cult that worships nothingness or the Null; genius. From the mind of Fred Van Lente comes quip and sass that you would expect from Spider-Man but instead you hear from Armstrong the immortal. And Clayton Henry does a wonderful job in showing the differences the two have between them, allowing personalities to shine, but also do well to show the budding friendship the two have.

Both of these books if you couldn’t tell come with my highest recommendation. They are wonderful reads each month and I look forward to when I can dive into another issue of each. But like before, the other titles: Harbinger, Bloodshot, and X-O Manowar have also been on par with each other and do well to give everyone of different tastes, something to great to read.

New readers and old! If you haven’t picked up an issue of one of these books off the shelf, do so and give it a chance. I doubt you will be disappointed.I can say with confidence that the steam that Valiant has built up is here to stay, based on the sales at my local comic shop and beyond. Everyone is loving the Valiant Entertainment line of books and is craving more.Keep it up!

I’ll catch you guys later

-Brett

 


“There’s always a way”

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

“…and Superman fights the impossible.” – Grant Morrison

Above is the companion to a quote Morrison gave at the end of an interview he did with Newsarama talking about the World’s Finest and who they battle. (He was also questioned about his last issue of Action Comics with number 18.)

If you haven’t read Morrison’s start of Action Comics in the New 52, I’m sorry that you missed out on one of the greatest Superman stories I have ever read. Do yourself a favor and go give it a shot, you will not regret it.

When number 18 of Action Comics came out last week, I told myself that I needed to go back and reread the entire run before I could treat myself to the end. Because if there is one thing I know about reading Grant Morrison, it’s that he doesn’t waste any panel space. Everything that happens in any of his books is as important as the beginning of his story or the end.

It was the best decision I made because right from the first panel of that first issue, I was already seeing characters being introduced and ideas being set up that would play out later on. It was wonderful to see Vyndktvx right on the first panel, already meddling in the life of our hero.

Mind you, since this was right at the start of the reboot, Clark had just started his “career” as Superman, taking on Glen Glenmorgan and his lackeys, trying to get him to fess up to the shady dealings happening in Metropolis. The scene in particular was very reminiscent of what took place in the original Action Comics. Morrison talked a lot about the “Sun God” (Superman) in his book, Supergods. And he focused a lot on how he foresaw the first appearance of Superman, taking on the gangsters of the early 1930’s, while doing a play by play of the issue, explaining what was going on. Comparing that to this first issue drew a lot of similarities and I noticed the influence that first issue had for him.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Throughout his entire run, he gives us past, present, and future Superman; all wrapped into one, main story. We see in the beginning where Clark began, young, brash, and a little sarcastic. That devil-may-care attitude that propels his career forward, not only in the good but also the bad. In a world where no superheroes had appeared, here came Superman, an alien from another world. Morrison shows the fear the people of planet Earth had in the beginning, not really trusting Clark as far as they could throw him. But he did the best he could, working as Clark Kent, writing for the Daily Star (the paper before Kent joined the Daily Planet), and then moving on to Superman when the need arises. And then right in the middle of his first story arc with Brainiac, we see Morrison inject the Anti-Superman Gang into the mix, just giving us a taste as to where his story was going. Which led us to the present and the introduction of the 5th dimension in the New 52. Which is whacky, but after spending so much time reading Grant Morrison’s work, it honestly is a great fit.

The future element is played out when the Legion of Superheroes; Saturn Woman, Cosmic Man, and Lighting Man come from the 31st century to warn Superman of the coming battle with Vyndktvx and what will happen to him and the rest of the future if he is to lose. So it is more to help win the day and allow Superman to triumphant. With their help, not only do they travel to different points of Clark’s past to help prepare him for what is going to happen, but also help in the coming fight when it is needed. This just doesn’t happen at one point in the story or in one book, but the Legion is spotted at different points of Morrison’s run, to help that story keep progressing, towards that inevitable battle with the Impossible, or what seems to be.

On that first time through, I got so lost. So many little intricacies just hiding there in each panel and I would miss them after each issue when they would be brought up again. But forcing myself to reread it, allowed me not only another chance to pick up on ideas that I might of missed, but also watch the story flow in waves, like music. Vyndktvx recruiting in the dark and appearing in each issue of Action in some way. Just reminding us that while these events are happening to Clark and it seems to be random at the present time, a 5th-dimensional wizard is masterminding the demise of the Man of Steel.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

If I had to pick a favorite issue, I would have to say that it is issue number 13. A story about a boy and his dog. Morrison does a fantastic job of not only creating the relationship between Clark and Krypto, but also forging it for years to come. Krypto is Clark’s guard dog and sacrifices himself multiple times in defense of his master. The issue shows the love that Krypto has for his best friend, but also shows the reciprocated feeling that Clark has for Krypto. You think that Krypto is going to be lost in the Phantom Zone while giving Clark the chance to escape, but then just as Clark promised, he pulls Krypto from the Phantom Zone and brings him back to Earth. This story sticks out in my mind most of all, because it is simply about the love that two best friends share and how they would do anything for the other.

I know I am not doing the story justice because it has turned into a tangent. It is just beautiful from start to finish. There is something that can be said when two of your favorite Superman stories are created from the same mind. Whenever someone asks, “What is a good Superman story?” I always pass along the same story that was passed on to me, All-Star Superman. But now, Morrison has outdone himself because now I have two different stories that I could possibly recommend. The fact that 5th dimension plays a major role in this story, I would have a harder time recommending it to a new reader because of how lost they could get. But there are so many genuine moments with this Clark Kent that make it a worthwhile read as well.

Back on Superman fighting the impossible, this story arc does well to show just how crazy things can get for the Man of Steel. He meets and battles Brainiac for the first time, an evil 5th-Dimensional wizards plots the demise of our hero on a grand scale, and even the world community, fearful of what the cosmic arena may hold with the inception of this first Kryptonian on Earth. He combats all of this with no thought as to how it affects himself, thinking only of the goodwill he will bring to the others of Earth that he cares so deeply about.

That is Superman to me. No matter what happens, he will do anything and everything for someone else, to make sure they are safe. He will put himself in harm’s way before allowing another to be harmed. I could only hope to scratch the surface on the good that Superman does for others, but damn me if I don’t at least try.

Hopefully you guys don’t think that I am crazy. I am just really passionate about my superheroes and Superman is definitely at the top of my list. To put it frankly, dude’s the role model for me.

I also wanted to leave you with a little fun 5th Dimension game, write down your name and then write it/read it backwards.

I’ll talk to you guys later.

-TTERB REMRAF

© DC Comics

© DC Comics


The price of magic and “Heckblazer”

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

“You take what you didn’t earn. But you pay for it. You always pay for it.”

I know that there are a lot of fans out in the community that didn’t get an early introduction to John Constantine, same as me, until the New 52 started. And since I started reading comics about 4 years ago, I have always been interested in Constantine and Hellblazer. But could never will myself to start because it was one of those series that were already over 250 issues in, that is an overwhelming amount of catch-up I would of had to endure. So I welcomed the opportunity when he appeared in Justice League Dark, almost two years ago.

After DC comics announced Hellblazer’s end at issue 300 and the new book Constantine coming out, there was a cry in outrage, asking as to why they were ending such a great book, just so they could fully integrate John Constantine into their new universe with no loose ends hanging in the Vertigo imprint. Many, MANY fans were worried that with Hellblazer gone, the mature content in turn would also disappear. There wouldn’t be a witty con-man indulging in chain-smoking, excessive drinking, etc.

I can’t say that I was one of those fans, but I did pick up Peter Milligan’s last story arc, “Death and Cigarettes” that wrapped up Hellblazer and was immediately inspired to go back and start from the beginning. I wanted to understand the John Constantine that others have been able to get to know for many years. So I dove in and started picking up back issues starting at #1 and was blown away. It was an incredible start to a series that I will collect and read to its entirety. I was able to get about 22 issues into Hellblazer, before Constantine came out this week and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of actually who he is.

But from the first issue of Constantine that I read  and comparing it to what I have read in Hellblazer, Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes, and Renato Guedes do their very best and prove that they care about this character’s true nature and it holds up quite nicely. I have seen on Twitter that Lemire has stated multiple times that he loves the Vertigo line of books and grew up reading them when he was younger. So having someone with that sort of passion on an already well-developed character proves to benefit us as the readers greatly because he isn’t going to do Constantine wrong. And with Fawkes as scriptwriter and working together to co-plot this new title just helps to soothe my worries. The powerhouse writing team strikes again!

From the first page to the last of this issue, I felt like I was reading  an updated version of one of my older Hellblazers. Ever the con-man, Constantine is all about one thing and that is himself. We have seen it throughout the New 52, stringing along the Justice League Dark to help put himself in a better position and it transfers right into this new series as well. All the way up til the end of the issue, when he is ready and willing to sacrifice another human being and “friend” mind you, at the hands of Sargon the Sorceress. All so he can slip away, unharmed with his prize, the magical artifact he acquired right before her appearance. Being the loner he is however, he knows that sacrificing his friend will cost him dearly in the end, but in the here and now is what he is focused on.

Mature themes be damned, the first issue of the new series does its best to stay with the original intent of Hellblazer, but doesn’t sacrifice the fact that they are trying to reach out to new audiences in the comic book community (that may not have the drive like I have) to start all way back at #1, 300 issues ago. They do their absolute best to give a great hopping on-point to John Constantine and give them the opportunity to start to understand the anti-hero himself.

I want to end this with saying to anyone who read Hellblazer and are boycotting this new series to at least TRY Constantine and read it with an open mind. With only one issue, you won’t get the full scope of where Lemire and Fawkes want to take the book, but if you at least try it, then you know whether or not its for you.

See, I told you I read more then just Batman!

Thanks for listening guys!

-Brett

 


Brotherly love and just what is under the Red Hood. *spoilers*

I know I focused on the impact of Robin and the death of Damian Wayne earlier on this week, but I wanted to spotlight some of the other issues that have been making the Requiem month a success. Besides Batman and Robin standing out on top as one of the best issues I have read in some quite time, there is something that needs to be said about Nightwing and Red Hood and The Outlaws that came out this week.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

I can say that I had very high expectations for the Bat family titles that were coming out this month because I was interested to see what sort of reaction we were going to get with the death of Damian in place. Most were honestly just okay. A lot of the emotion felt forced and thrown into the books, which I can only assume it was because there just wasn’t enough preparation time for the “event.” Which is fine because I couldn’t expect more for something that was supposed to be out of the blue and a shocker.

I will say that after reading Batman Inc #8, I set my standards bar pretty high for Kyle Higgins, writer for the Nightwing series, wanting to see how he was going to have Dick Grayson handle the loss of his best friend. And he delivered very well in my opinion. Obviously, he couldn’t halt his major story arc being prepared with Nightwing’s departure from Gotham and setting up his presence in Chicago. But it was nice to see that he devoted a good portion of the pages and time to Grayson dealing with Damian’s death, sending him flashing back to the time right before the events of Batman Inc. #8. The conversations they had had about the Death of The Family event and the problems they were having with trusting Bruce after the attack by the Joker.  Higgins did a great job of showing the love they both had for each other and trying to take care of each other in the end, making sure they did everything they could to cheer the other up. Mad props to you sir!

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

On top of Nightwing coming out this week, another shocker of a finale for Red Hood and The Outlaws as this was Scott Lobdell’s last issue with the team. And boy does he go out with a bang. I wanted to write about this issue because having Jason Todd deal with Damian’s death was an interesting twist. Instead of being on the wrong side of the crowbar (I’m sorry, I had to go there), he was watching as Robin was killed. But Lobdell’s story didn’t stop to show Jason’s reaction of Damian’s death. There were a lot of loose ends that needed to be tied up Todd’s end, before James Tynion IV took over, questions that needed answers. And honestly after reading the issue, I couldn’t see a better way for Lobdell to end his time on the book.

No doubt if you haven’t found out yet, Jason Todd is quite the tragic character. Being brutally murdered as Robin at the hands of The Joker, having life returned to you after being thrown into a Lazarus Pit by the al’ Ghuls, and then when finally being comfortable enough to see your adoptive father (Bruce Wayne/ Batman), finding out that he didn’t take revenge on your life and ended the Joker’s. He allowed him to live. Tragedy strikes twice. Long story short, Jason isn’t happy with this reaction and gives up trying to be apart of a family that he doesn’t feel he is a part of anymore, while being very angry with Bruce for not taking revenge for his death.

A long time passes as Jason takes up the mantle of Red Hood, doing what he feels should be done with the scum of Gotham. He is Batman if Batman didn’t hold back. He allows himself to kill the criminals because if they die, then they can’t keep coming back to do more, right? Enough ranting on Jason’s back history, I think you guys have the picture.

Flash forward to Red Hood and The Outlaws #18.

Following the events of Death of The Family, Lobdell has attempted in  a “Joker’s Last Laugh” to scar Jason permanently by lacing his mask with an acid that attempted to eat away the skin on his face. Bruce and Alfred do what they can to save Jason and set him up in the manor, placing him under intensive care. This is where we see how Jason, being unconscious and dealing with the demons that reside in his head and heart.

Throughout the Red Hood series, Lobdell has alluded to the fact that the Joker has been there, orchestrating these big events in Jason’s life, being a sort of silent “father” figure to Jason. Killing/getting rid of his biological parents, pushing him towards becoming the next Robin, etc. Just haunting Jason throughout his entire life, prior to Jason discovering this shocking twist. So he deals with the spectre of the Joker hanging in his dreams, laughing and goading him while trying to come back to consciousness.

All the while, his adoptive father and Alfred, sit and wait, trying to bring him out of the “stupor.” If you didn’t know, as much as Bruce loves his kids, Alfred loves them just as much and it is wonderful to see how caring Alfred is when taking care of Jason. Waiting patiently and hoping for Jason to come out of it. Even goes to defending Jason when Bruce becomes cold and reserved.

Jason looks within himself to find the strength to fight off the last remnants of the Joker and finally succeeds. His victory is at hand when he finally realizes, just how much he cares for the people in his life, Roy Harper, Kori, Bruce etc. He realizes that he wants the help, instead of just looking within himself for strength. We then see the same happening with Bruce as he begins trying to speak to Jason, not only trying to pull him back to reality but also let Jason know how much he means to Bruce. And how much he is sorry for what has happened between them over the years. We are finally seeing a change of heart for both of the most tragic of bat family characters and it couldn’t happen in a better moment then the two of them being together. The best moment happens on the last few panels as Jason comes back to consciousness, ready to redeem himself and apologize to Bruce, but all that is there for him is his father hugging him.

I can say that without a doubt, Lobdell killed it on these last two issues following the events that took place in Death of The Family. And has given Tynion plenty of room to work with when it comes to the “new” Jason and the rest of the Outlaws. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for them in the coming months.

Thanks for listening to me ramble again guys.

I SWEAR that I read more then just Batman comics. This month has just been a pretty big shock in the all of the Bat familys’ lives.

I’ll talk to you guys later.

-Brett


Creative changes and the comic community.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

It’s amazing how this gentleman can rock our comic community right to its foundation.

I figure if you hadn’t heard yet,  Mr. Stewart was at the head of some HUGE flak that has had DC Comics under fire.

On the heels of Andy Diggle leaving Action Comics before his first book was to be published was a big disappointment. (I myself was looking forward to what he was going to be bringing to the Man of Steel, paired with Tony Daniel) Came the news that also Joshua Hale Fialkov was leaving the Green Lantern universe. He was going to be writing both Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns. (another two books that I was definitely looking forward to with the creative teams that were announced.) Diggle said it was for professional reasons, while Fialkov had made the choice of leaving because of creative and editorial differences. It was very sad to here but I can understand when a creator says that they have to leave, they have their reasons.

Our community was in an uproar however when we heard a rumor, which was later confirmed as to why Fialkov had left his station in the Green Lantern universe. Myself included.

DC was rumored to be planning the death of John Stewart and had asked Fialkov to change who he had planned on killing, to John. I can understand not wanting to have your name on a book like that when it has such controversy right off the bat.

After reading lots of other community opinions on the subject and realizing that we are a spirited bunch and our opinions can also be spirited, I formed my own opinions once the initial shock ran through and discovered as well that DC has rumored to have backed down on that story idea, after a long day of what I can only imagine as a tsunami of hate mail and hateful comments.

There is something to be said about how powerful a tool the Internet can be. No matter what rants and hateful comments happened to end up in DC Comics corner, something must of hit them to make them rethink their idea. We mustn’t forget that they are a business and with that, they are out to make money. And nothing could make more money then a death. Let’s recall whats going on in the Batman universe with the death of Damian Wayne. Seeing the death of John Stewart would make a POP in sales for them. But I imagined that with Geoff Johns finishing up his 9 year Green Lantern run, ending with a huge bang would keep those sales high. It could be that they are planning for a sudden drop when creative teams leave after issue twenties.

Either way, creative teams have changed and we are seeing Charles Soule, whom is now writing Swamp Thing, will take over Red Lanterns while Van Jensen will take over Green Lantern Corps with co-plotting help from Robert Venditti.

Why I am writing this is not only letting everyone know what is going on. But also talk about the way we follow creators and characters.

I personally, once I find a creator that I love, do my damnedest to find a way to give them my money and support them so they can keep creating. Fialkov and Diggle are creators that I enjoy and wanted to see them take on characters that I also love. I am guilty of this and it took me all day to realize that I shouldn’t get so wrapped up in the tiny details like creators leaving books for their own personal reasons, but just make sure to follow them wherever they decide to go. I need to put myself in the hands of the publishers and hope that whom they pick to take over will do a good job and help me find new, exciting creators to give a chance. Just like I did with Fialkov and Diggle. It’s just easier when they are creating for characters I was always interested in. Now, I am not saying that I will not pick up a book just because a creator is on it or a new indie title they have started because I will always do that. If it wasn’t for Mark Waid (Happy Birthday by the way good sir!), I would of never tried a Hulk book. And that is a book I look forward to every month now. A good creator can make anyone a believer.

One other point I wanted to make is that even though I understand why a creator will leave, I don’t want it to become habit. With this situation, it felt like to me that DC is scaring away its indie talent that wants to create for these characters. If you don’t give them the chance to grow and build worlds for these characters to live in and exist, we will never be able to find the next great story. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Jeff Lemire, Scott Snyder, and Geoff Johns as creators and they are doing wonderful things in their books and I hope that they continue that. But we cannot place an entire universe of characters on their shoulders alone. We need others to take up arms and work with them to create a wonderful universe that we can look forward to every week.

I think I have finished ranting for one night. I just wanted to share my thoughts with everyone and I hope you all can let me know how you feel too.

Talk to you guys soon

-Brett