Saturday, May 25, 2013

Geoff Johns' Epic Green Lantern Concludes!

“I’m obviously ending my run with a little sadness because I love these characters, every single one of them. But I’m walking away feeling very proud of what we’ve done and very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with so many fellow creators. It’s that collaboration, and every reader out there, who have made this a truly special experience… Thank you again for reading- whether you started with REBIRTH or started with this issue- I sincerely appreciate your time and imagination.”
-       Geoff Johns,
reflecting back on his epic run,
in his final issue

Green Lantern #20. Wrath of the First Lantern, The Epic Finale came on sale this week, effectively ending Geoff Johns nearly decade-long run on the series. Along with Doug Manke the book’s art is divided among those who worked with Johns over the course of the decade. Notable names include: Ethan Van Sciver, Patrick Gleason and Ivan Reis, currently working with Johns on Aquaman. The book concludes the New 52’s latest story arc “Wrath of the First Lantern” while tying up any loose ends created over the past nine years, all within the story’s 78 pages. The story and the art come together to create one of the single greatest comic books I’ve ever read. 
      Everything comes full circle for Johns’ time on the book. References to REBIRTH are made and worthy conclusions are set for every character, giving each of them a deserving finale. ComicVine gave the issue 5/5 stars, while IGN gave it a 9.4/10 rating, along with dozens of other sites praising the book. Who wouldn’t?
       Looking back on all the greatest writers in comics and their most distinguished runs (Stan Lee on Spiderman, Brad Meltzer on Justice League of America, or more recently, Matt Fraction on The Invincible Ironman) Johns’ take on the series will go down as the most extraordinary of them all. From reviving a fallen character to making him more successful then Batman or Superman, to creating some of the most epic stories in comics, to creating literally a whole universe of characters and stories that we “cared” about and wanted to read more of each week.
      Johns’ run began with the mini-series titled: “Green Lantern: REBIRTH”, which explained the Corps’ greatest tragedy, and the truth behind Parallax, redeeming Hal Jordan of ever being considered purely evil. It was around this time that I was a kid, watching the Justice League cartoon every day. I always wondered why the role of Green Lantern went to John Stewart and not Hal Jordan. Of course at the age of ten the only comics I was reading were my brothers’ old, slightly ripped ones lying around the house. I was more of a cartoon/DVD guy, but I distinctly remember reading about REBIRTH and all the success it was receiving. I also discovered the details of Parallax and Hal Jordan’s unpopularity among fans at that time. I immediately realized the reason for his absence in the TV series. 
     For a while I kept up with the GL stories, reading about the wildly successful Sinestro Corps War, followed by Rage of the Red Lanterns, then Blackest Night. I bought a few issues of Blackest Night and instantly fell in love with the work. The art, the colors, the story, it was all intriguing and got me hooked on comics. I’d always loved superheroes, but now I was really into comics. I knew that the overall series was good, but I didn’t know just how good until about two years ago when I decided to buy all 67 issues in collected editions.
Upon reading stories like Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and Revenge of the Green Lanterns, something occurred to me: I’d always said that Batman or Spiderman were my favorite characters because of they’re the “coolest” or the most relatable, but there’s a bit of inaccuracy when declaring your favorite superhero. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

ARKHAM ORIGINS: Trailer and Details Revealed

The first official trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins has arrived. It was only days ago that we were given a teaser with quick flashes of the duel between Batman and Deathstroke. In this new, elongated version, we discover that mobster Black Mask is the man behind the 8 assassins coming to kill the Dark Knight. Confirmed among those eight are: Deathstroke and Deadshot (he was also featured in a side mission in Arkham City, remember?). Following the trailer is an advertisement featuring Deathstroke as a playable character through pre-order through Amazon. It is assumed that he will be playable in the same capacity as Catwoman was in City; with his own mini-missions and story. Or, at the very least, he is available to use in the challenge maps, similar to Robin and Nightwing.
     Overall, not a whole lot of new details are revealed, aside from a few little hints and unexpected objects like a bomb hidden inside a toolbox with a Queen Industries logo painted along the top. Of course this sparks any questions surrounding the involvement of Green Arrow in the game. Will he be a playable DLC character? Will he just appear in a cameo role much like Azrael in City? Or are they using Queen Industries because Wayne Industries would have been too conventional? Too many questions, too few answers. One thing is for sure: fans will welcome his inclusion in Origins considering his huge success in Injustice, which may be the creators’ logic for possibly including him in the game. Another reason could be because of Queen’s similarities to Batman. If the creators were looking for another DC superhero to include in the game, Green Arrow is the most logical, realistic choice, and would be on par with the playable capacities of the game (as cool as it would be, having Superman zipping around New Gotham doesn’t exactly stay true to what the two previous games created).
       Did anyone notice the way Batman took down the second thug? Yeah, obviously. Pulling someone through the floor isn’t something you regularly do, even if you’re Batman. If you recall, Arkham City’s first trailer showed Batman bursting through a wall to grab his opponent, which ended up being a usable takedown in the game, so I wouldn’t be surprised if, instead of busting open grates, we’ll be busting through wood floors to takedown our enemies.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meanwhile in Metropolis... (Apr.22)

Man of Steel Trailer #3
Any doubts or worries you’ve had about the Man of Steel are laid to rest with this new trailer. Compiled with footage we’ve seen in earlier teasers is a lot more footage we haven’t seen. Notable mentions include: more information on how Krypton was destroyed, Kal-el’s departure from his dying home world, more of Amy Adams as Lois Lane and more action sequences and special effects then released before. Now I know that judging a film based on its trailer can be just as misleading as judging a book by its cover but I must admit that this trailer has sparked my interest. This film marks the 75th anniversary of Superman, a chance at redemption after the disappointing Superman Returns, and the possibility of future sequels and a collected DC film franchise that rests on it’s success. Man of Steel looks to redeem the character and more importantly, give us a successful blockbuster Superman epic that we haven’t seen in over 30 years. And if you don’t believe me, see for yourselves:

Sunday, April 21, 2013

PREVIEW: All Bat-Related New 52 Releases of 2013

A preview of DC’s collected editions of all Batman-related New 52 series being released throughout 2013. Enjoy!

- Batgirl Vol.2: Knightfall Descends
Written by Gail Simone, Illustrated by Ed Benes and Ardian Syaf
- Batwoman Vol.2: To Down The World
Written by JH Williams, Illustrated by Amy Reeder
- Justice League Vol.2: The Villain’s Journey
Written by Geoff Johns, Illustrated by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
- Justice League International Vol.2: Breakdown
Written by Dan Jurgens, Illustrated by Aaron Lopresti
- Suicide Squad Vol.2: Basilsk Rising
Written by Adam Glass, Illustrated by Fernando Dagnino

MARCH 2013
- Batman Vol.2: The City of Owls
Written by Scott Snyder, Illustrated by Greg Capullo
- Catwoman Vol.2: Dollhouse
Written by Judd Winnick, Illustrated by Guillem March

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Everything We Know About BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS (so far)

     It was just a day ago that the newest installment in the Arkham franchise was announced; yet we already know so much about it. Batman: Arkham Origins is the prequel to Arkham Asylum (2009) and Arkham City (2011), which will take you back to the early days of the Dark Knight. The game is slated for an October 25th release date, available on PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii U. It will be developed by Warner Bros. Games Montreal instead of the traditional Rocksteady. However, WB Montreal promises to stay true to what Rocksteady has done with the previous two installments.
   There are several areas of interest involving Arkham Origins, namely: the plot, the characters, and the gameplay. Here is what we know about these categories so far:

      Taking place before the rise, or creation, of most of Gotham’s most dangerous criminals, players will play as a young, unrefined Batman as he faces a series of events that define him into becoming the Dark Knight. Throughout the game you will be introduced to many familiar faces for the first time while you establish friendships, partnerships and adversaries. The story opens on Christmas Eve, with 8 assassins coming to kill Batman. I’m already interested.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Meanwhile, in Gotham City... (Apr.5)

Injustice on the iOS
With Injustice: Gods Among Us just weeks away, the excitement and anticipation of many fans are at its peak. Just a few days ago the demo was released, giving us the opportunity to play as Batman, Wonderwoman or Lex Luthor. After completing the first “Battle Mode” we were given an extended sneak preview of the game, revealing some unseen footage and an exclusive look at S.T.A.R Labs min-games.
If that wasn’t enough to spike your anticipation, an iOS game for your iPhone and iPad was just released yesterday. The graphics look good, the gaming controls are simple, but fun nonetheless, and there is an overabundance of extras and collectables. The biggest surprise came when we realized that by completing certain tasks or challenges in the iOS version, you’ll be unlocking backgrounds, icons, portraits and new costumes for your console version. And since this game is free in the Apple App Store, you almost have no reason to get it. For more details and hints on this new mobile game, check out IGN’s video analysis.

The First Female Robin Returns… Kind of
Batman and Robin #19 is slated for release next week and the aftermath of Damian Wayne’s death isn’t the only thing causing up a stir in this issue. The Dark Knight Returns’ Carrie Kelley will make her debut in the New 52, as teased on the back cover of #19. Writer Peter Tomasi says in a recent interview with the New York Post: “She’s a college kid who’s got spunk and speaks her mind. This is not an alternate-earth Robin, this is simply a girl named Carrie Kelley, who we learn knew Damian, which in turn weaves her into the fabric of the DC Universe for the first time in 25 years.” At least this news can put an end to all those rumors about either Tim Drake taking over the position permanently. While Drake is filling in temporarily in the Batman and Robin series, and while Damian’s possible resurrection should not be rued out, it appears that Kelley may in fact be the Robin of the future.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Catwoman Vol.2: Dollhouse (Review)

Judd Winick has certainly captured the true spirit and fundamentals of Catwoman in volume 2: Dollhouse.

(Spoilers follow…)

The Selina Kyle of volume one seemed fixated on her “intimacies” with Batman, which led to a lot of her self-thought to be focused on him, what he’s thinking, or how a relationship between them would ever work. This is not what Selina Kyle should be all about.
If Catwoman is to ever have any real success in her own series, then Batman must not be involved. Sure, her stories take place in Gotham City, and certain events (Death of the Family, Requiem) can have impact on her story, but it should not be up to Batman to be the deciding factor in a “Catwoman” book. Now, Dollhouse is a much better collection of issues then The Game. Winick puts the focus on Selina and her personal life, as well as her cat-burglar career, both of which experience highs and lows, but mature and grow more complex and detailed. This is what readers want in comics.
Winick gives Selina a new partner in crime, one with superpowers too, and sets them both on a series of various criminal activity from stealing priceless artifacts, to getting themselves mixed up with The Penguin and even a Talon from the Court of Owls. What makes this volume so much better is the interlocking stories. When I read it, I really felt as though this series was finally beginning to develop its own world, full of new supporting characters and new environments, tailored to Catwoman’s persona and lifestyle.