Comic Book Review: Time Masters Vanishing Point #6 – Passageway

Cover Art for Time Masters Vanishing Point #6

Story and Art: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Hi-Fi Designs

In a Nutshell

Time Masters Vanishing Point, a limited series from DC Comics, has come to an end. The storyline basically relates what Hal Jordan, Superman, Rip Hunter and Booster Gold and Skeets were doing to find Batman who, thanks to Darkseid, was hurled into different timelines.

This finale issue offers a couple of surprises. One, the Reverse Flash suddenly appears. Apparently, he’s also looking for Bruce Wayne so he can take advantage of the Omega energy that sent the Dark Knight into several eras in the past. Two, this issue heralds Supernova’s comeback and introduces a new character along the way. Lastly, this issue reveals what happens to the Black Beetle, who has been a constant menace to both Booster Gold and Rip Hunter.

What's Cool

  • Comicbook readers who love suspense will have a field day here in Time Masters Vanishing Point #6. In the last page, a number of gripping occurrences or events in time are supposed to happen, as written on Rip Hunter’s chalkboard. These events involve many of the most popular characters in the DCU. Clearly, someone has messed up the timeline…again!
  • The artwork by Dan Jurgens for the entire series has been remarkable and inspiring. It’s one of the reasons why I saw the series through to the end.
  • Apart from Jurgens, the color work done by Hi-Fi is also impressive. The vividness provides a perfect backdrop for the storyline.
  • The series effectively sets up the stage for Flashpoint, billed as the next big event from DC Comics.

What's Crap

  • As a Batman fan, I was quite disappointed with the seemingly small part that the Dark Knight played in the entire series.
  • I am particularly upset because this limited series was supposed to be a tie-in to Batman’s return. Well, not only did it show Bruce Wayne in bit parts, but the series extended well after Batman has already returned.

The Bottom Line

If you look at the series only as a part of the bigger picture, that of Batman’s return, you will surely think that all six issues are trite and downright unnecessary, that they would have been more appropriate as part of Booster Gold’s own series rather than as standalone. But I enjoyed reading Time Masters Vanishing Point because it uses a classic comicbook formula. You know, a healthy dose of good guys fighting bad guys, with the heroes ultimately and against all odds attaining their objectives. And for me, that’s the biggest reason why I love comics. So see you in Flashpoint.

Comic Book Review: Batman the Dark Knight #1 – Golden Dawn, Part One


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Cover Art for Batman The Dark Knight #1

Story, Pencils, and Cover Art: David Finch
Inks: Scott Williams
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Dave Sharpe

In a Nutshell

And so Batman the Dark Knight begins! In addition, this is also the opening issue by David Finch as writer and artist for the newest ongoing title about Gotham City’s Dark Knight. In this first issue, a new character from Bruce Wayne’s childhood days is introduced. Her name is Dawn Golden. She’s the daughter of a Wayne family friend and Bruce – still engrossed with all things that fascinate young boys – did not like her that much.

Fast forward to the present, Dawn Golden has disappeared and Batman is following a lead into who’s behind such unfortunate event. Much to the Dark Knight’s surprise, an old enemy appears and it is a good bet that this ‘fowl’ one masterminded Ms. Golden’s abduction.

What's Cool

  • Ever wanna see Bruce losing his cool after getting bullied….by a girl? Well, it’s in this issue.
  • The art is just plain awesome, reminds me why I’m a David Finch fan. I think my eyes are melting.
  • I love the dark tones, it’s very Batman-ish. If you love the art in Batman: Hush, you’ll surely love David Finch’s work here.
  • Batman the Dark Knight #1 has the most detestable rendering of Killer Croc in recent comicbook memory. I love it!

What's Crap

  • While I’m fascinated with the artwork on Killer Croc, I can’t say the same thing for Penguin. Sure, Penguin here looks sooo evil, but I find the drawing a bit too messy, if not overly cartoonish.
  • After Batman Incorporated, the Dark Knight’s equipment has also become globalized in a manner of speaking which, according to Alfred, means each part of Batman’s toys are now tagged using international codes, so how come some low-level henchman was able to crack the Batmobile codes and take it down offline?

The Bottom Line

Frankly, Batman the Dark Knight #1 is a great issue. And with David Finch on the helm, I think comicbook fans can expect another celebrated title from DC Comics, both in terms of story and artwork. I just hope that Dawn Golden does not become another girlfriend-turned-villain who gets to stab Bruce Wayne in the heart. Now, aside from Scott Snyder’s Batman Detective, I’ll also look forward to every issue of Batman the Dark Knight. Keep it up David Finch.

Comic Book Review: Detective Comics #872 – The Black Mirror, Part 2

Cover Art for Batman Detective Comics #872

Story: Scott Snyder
Art and Cover: Jock
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

In a Nutshell

In the main storyline of Detective Comics #872, Batman (Dick Grayson) finally infiltrates the creepy organization known as the Mirror House. This secret society auctions off illegal materials and possessions that were once owned by Gotham’s most notorious criminals. At first glance, the group’s activities would seem harmless, but just imagine what would happen if the deadly weapons once used by hideous villains fall into the wrong hands, just like in the previous issue.

In the back-up story, Commissioner Gordon suffers a bigger headache as his murderous son James is back in town.

What's Cool

  • Batman gets to use the Smart Mask, a high tech disguise developed by Lucius Fox allowing the wearer to impersonate just about anyone. Think Cobra’s Zartan minus the painful injections. This is one of the newest enhancements in the Batman Incorporated arsenal.
  • The words by Etienne Guiborg aka The Dealer. His belief that evil is humanity’s divine spark is just so… biting. If you like stories where the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted, then this issue is definitely a must-read.
  • Scott Snyder’s style of interweaving real-life history into his stories never ceases to amaze me, just like in American Vampire. This time around, a notorious 17th century priest named Etienne Guiborg graces the pages of Snyder’s Detective Comics #872.
  • Excellent colors in this issue, the mood in each panel truly matches that of a hard-boiled detective story.

What's Crap

  • Aw c’mon, this is a Scott Snyder story. I’m a big fan of the guy from American Vampire. You can’t possibly expect me to have any cruel commentaries and I’ve already mentioned that I’m impressed with the artwork. Plus, it’s Batman we’re talking here. ‘Nuff said.

The Bottom Line

This one’s a very dark issue, both in the narrative and graphical aspects. That makes it a perfect addition to the Dark Knight mythos. How often do you see Batman setting a trap and falling into that same trap in one sitting? Clever twist, isn’t it? I wonder how Dick Grayson will get out of this tight spot. If you are a Batman fan and you still do not have a copy of Detective Comics #872, I suggest you go to your favorite comics shop and grab one now. You’ll thank me for it.

Batman: Arkham City Teaser Released

Batman: Arkham City video game trailer gets Dark Knight fans all stirred up. On top of the big reveal of Hugo Strange as one of the main villains, the trailer boasts of phenomenal animation. No offense Christian Bale, but I like this Batman more (played by longtime Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy). The much awaited second part of the 2009 hit action stealth video game Batman: Arkham Asylum will once again require the player to covertly navigate through the darkness of Arkham City to complete primary and secondary objectives like evading the bad guys or avoiding detection. The game has single player and multi-player capabilities.

Batman: Arkham City will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and Microsoft Windows. Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics, the video game has been developed by Rocksteady Studios and is expected to be released in late 2011.

Comic Book Review – Detective Comics #871: The Black Mirror, Part 1


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A whole new chapter opens in Detective Comics series. A horrible string of murders again besets Gotham City and the GCPD is far from solving the crimes. As a matter of fact, there are indications that some members of the police force are involved in these bloody killings. It must be pointed out that the murders occur after the much awaited return of Bruce Wayne and the start of Batman Incorporated, where Dick Grayson has been designated by Bruce Wayne as the ‘official’ Batman to watch over Gotham.

Cover Art for Batman Detective Comics #871

So, needless to say, Dick Grayson’s knack for detective work will be put to the test. Will he come close—or even surpass—Bruce Wayne’s detective skills? Better yet, will Dick be able to fill in Bruce’s shoes as the city’s Dark Knight? Well, it remains to be seen. But if there is anything that can be said about these brutalities, it’s that Dick will have to face one of the oldest evils lurking in Gotham City.

Rising comics star Scott Snyder and celebrated artist Jock has finally teamed up for the ongoing Detective Comics series. And if that’s any indication, this long-running serial from DC Comics will surely break the state of affairs in the Batman mythos. Snyder is known for his dynamic storytelling style, particularly in American Vampire series from Vertigo Comics. Jock, on the other hand, is admired for his dark, unrealistic but gorgeous artwork in The Losers.

In the co-feature story entitled Skeleton Cases, also written by Snyder, a vile mystery stares Commissioner Jim Gordon in the face. It all started out in the Gotham City Aviary and may soon lead into the police commissioner’s personal life. Color and art for the second story is by Francesco Francavilla.

Brightest Day #14: Acrobats

“I just hope there’s more to life than a good cheeseburger.” — Boston Brand/Deadman

This Brightest Day chapter focuses on one character—Deadman. Not only will comic book readers know what happens to Boston Brand’s quest to find someone who will replace him as the bearer of the White Lantern ring, but more interestingly we get to see the origins of the ghost in the red acrobatic suit.

Brightest Day #14

Thinking that Batman is the worthy guardian of the Earth–and hence the perfect bearer of the White Lantern ring–Deadman goes to Gotham City. But things turned bad, when he finds himself right in the middle of a heist masterminded by Mr. Freeze. While Batman will definitely be in the pages of this issue, I believe the cover art is a bit misleading. Still, fans will definitely find themselves thunderstruck after reading this ish.

Again, Geoff Johns delivers a great story. Now that Brightest Day is halfway through to its conclusion and the main characters have been fully developed and set, I’m sure that readers can expect more energetic installments from Johns. It is also worth mentioning that right from the start, the art by Ivan Reis perfectly captures the strength of Johns’ writing. For this issue in particular, Reis did an amazing job in Deadman’s movements and facial expressions.

Batman #704: Eye of the Beholder


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“That was a total Bruce move. And now, the Grayson finish!”— Dick Grayson/Batman

This issue bursts with mysteries, right from the opening pages and all thru the end. First, there’s a gruesome murder of a member of some secret organization. Then, we see Batman, Robin and Catgirl exchanging blows with the Reaper. What’s more intriguing is that a wealthy organization, represented by a woman named Sasha Lo, is bent on buying a few blocks off Crime Alley, which is owned by Bruce Wayne.

Batman #704

But the thing that really stirred up the hornet’s nest in this issue is seeing Batman hot on the heels of a character known as Peacock, who’s actually Ms. Sasha Lo clad in some colorful outfit that mimics the appearance of, well, a peacock. The only problem is a group of well-trained Oriental assassins are also on the hunt for Ms. Lo. Well, it does not matter anymore if Peacock a friend or foe. Sure enough, Batman will be caught in the crossfire.

With the numerous Batman storylines right now, you would think that this issue is yet another huge piece of the puzzle for fans who want to stay informed with what’s happening with the Dark Knight right now. But surprisingly, Batman #704 actually signifies a fresh chapter in the lives of Dick Grayson as the Caped Crusader, Damian Wayne as Robin, and the citizens of Gotham City. After the return of Bruce Wayne, who now has bigger plans in his head, this book—I believe—will be Dick Grayson’s domain. So far, the storyline has got me hooked, but let me tell you right off the bat that the art work is very impressive as well. Tony Daniel returns as writer and artist.

Batman Incorporated #1: Mr. Unkown is Dead

Speaking of perfect jumping-on points in the world of Batman, well this comic book is another issue written by Grant Morrison that new and old fans of the Dark Knight will find to be straightforward and painless to read. A whole new story is presented here, in which the globe-spanning mission to fight crime that Bruce Wayne has set in motion begins. This issue is brisk, vigorous, action-packed and a bit macabre in the opening scenes. When compared to Batman: The Return #1, also written by Morrison and out this week, this issue definitely has a bigger oomph! For one, this first issue of Batman Incorporated digs deeper into Bruce Wayne’s global agenda.

Batman Incorporated #1

The opening pages take us to Japan, where Mr. Unknown—the erstwhile Batman of Japan (more like The Question for me)—has been murdered by the crazy villain known as Lord Death Man. No doubt, Mr. Unkown would have been the first international recruit for Batman Incorporated. Meanwhile, Batman and Catwoman break into one of the laboratories run by Dr. Sivana. Apart from the action, comic book readers can look forward to the prominent part that Catwoman plays here and definitely in later issues. The chitchats between Batman and Catwoman while they work are amusing, even hilarious at times.

Yanick Paquette provides the artwork for the series. His work is amazing, with lots of dark lines and detailed character expressions.

Batman: The Return #1 — Planet Gotham


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“Starting today, we fight ideas with better ideas. The idea of crime with the idea of Batman.” – Batman/Bruce Wayne

Bruce Wayne is finally back. And he’s not only ready to suit up as Batman, but he’s also taking the Dark Knight’s brand of crime fighting to a whole new level. This comes as a result of something that Bruce has seen while he was lost in the timestream. This one-shot issue lays down the groundwork for how the Bat Family will operate in the years to come.

Batman: The Return #1

Here, we see Bruce Wayne setting into motion his grand master plan called Batman Incorporated, which basically creates an empire of Bat-men who will operate all around the world. Bruce also sets down the new roles that will be played by Dick Grayson (Batman 2), Damian Wayne (Robin), Stephanie Brown (Batgirl), Tim Drake (Red Robin) and Barbara Gordon (Oracle) in this new evolution for the Bat Family. Apart from the bigger mission, Batman and his friends will meet new allies and face new foes. And that’s what makes this issue all the more electrifying.

Well, this could be another fantastic new idea from writer Grant Morrison. My only concern is that, if other crime fighters across the globe are given the Bat-franchise and are then literally allowed to wear the exact same Bat suit, some fans may see the Dark Knight mythos being diluted, if not totally weakened. Are we seeing the transformation of Batman’s story into something similar to that of Iron Man, whose armor designs have been acquired or stolen by other individuals besides Tony Stark?

True, many comic book fans find Grant Morrison’s work on Batman to be overly cerebral. Well, this issue is quite different. As it defines a new Bruce Wayne, this comic book is the perfect jump-on point for Batman fans, especially those who were not able to keep up with the major Dark Knight story arcs written by Morrison in the last four years or so. This one-shot comic book has tons of action. The art by David Finch offers dynamic and magnificent details that complement the intensity and rapid pacing of Morrison’s story. I particularly like the first pages that tell the story of a bat that’s just not that eager to die even if it’s already staring at the end of its 40-year old life.

Weekly Comic Book Review (Nov. 11): Comic Book Guy Saga Ends, Return of Bruce Wayne Finale

This week’s comic book review really drained my wallet. It’s one of those weeks where most of my favorite titles come out simultaneously. What did me in was the deluge of Thor comics, which have steadily increased in number recently, owing to the fact that a Thor movie adaptation is scheduled for release in 2011. Anyway, here are the titles that made my top list for this week:

American Vampire #8

Writer Scott Snyder never ceases to amaze me. In this issue, he presents a new take on vampires by letting it slip that they actually have several breeds (not just covens). Each breed has its own unique weakness that hunters can use to their advantage. But more than that, I believe that future issues will be jam-packed with battles not just among vampire families, but among different breeds.

American Vampire #8

Many characters in the comic book have already appeared previously, but new ones are also coming into play. Issue #8 is biting (no pun intended) and interlaced with new revelations that American Vampire fans should not miss. Pencil work by Rafael Albuquerque and colors by Dave McCaig add more vibrancy to an already intense storyline.

Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #6

Return Of Bruce Wayne #6

This is an epic end to an epic series and just what fans can expect from the great Grant Morrison. This is the story of how Batman finally arrives in the here-and-now, which we’ve seen in Batman and Robin #16. As a whole, the issue is an analysis of what makes the Dark Knight the greatest superhero in DC Universe. Here we see Batman, yet again and singlehandedly, getting ahead of the Justice League and rendering them defenseless. And with everything that exists depending on him, Batman fights Darkseid in a contest of intelligence and wits. Of course the Dark Knight wins. Indeed, for as long as Gotham City still needs him…and the night’s not over, Batman’s here to stay.

Ultimate Comics Thor #2

Ultimate Thor #2

Impressive pacing, great art, and intense revelations are packed in this issue. First, Dr. Donald Blake conducts a thorough examination of a man who believes he’s Thor. Our good doctor—who’s actually the real Thor—finds out that the man’s claims are actually coming out from memories and not from some schizophrenic episode. The question is, if the man’s recollections are valid, what would that make Dr. Blake?

Next, we see Thor, Balder, Loki and The Warriors Three in a friendly gladiatorial match among themselves. It happened ages ago as the Asgardians celebrated their victory against the Frost Giants. Even Loki was such a good sport and it would seem that peace ruled the home of the gods in those days.

Finally, the comic book pages transport readers to scenes during World War II. We see Baron Zemo successfully harnessing the power of the Norn stones and opening the gates that allowed the Frost Giants to cross the time stream into the 1940’s. Together, the Nazi war machine and the Frost Giants launch an attack on Asgard, even killing one of its bravest citizens. Again, the question is who’s the guy wearing the hood of Baron Zemo?

Victorian Undead II: Holmes vs. Dracula #1

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes Vs Dracula #1

Professor Moriarty and his zombies are done for. The destruction that they brought upon London has been cleared away and life in the city slowly gets back to normal. But a new menace has been washed ashore. As Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. Watson have been commissioned to look into the mystery behind what remains of the ship Demeter, a bad moon is rising. Count Dracula is at large, not only in the streets, but also in the highest rungs of the British monarchy. This is a new arc in the Victorian Undead saga and a perfect starting point for new readers of the series.

Chaos War Thor #1

Chaos War Thor #1

This special tie-in to the Chaos War saga gives Thor fans a deeper, even a bit philosophical look into the God of Thunder. A cosmic battle with a demon-god named Glory hurls Thor back to earth, landing in his mortal form known to us as Dr. Donald Blake. For me, the battle scenes are actually the best part of the issue. But there’s more to the story.

Being cared for by Becca Steinhardt, a widow and polytheist, we see the amnesiac Dr. Blake locked in a discussion about faith in the eyes of an average believer. To a certain extent, the drama in this comic book can be profound as two individuals try to heal themselves – Thor trying to get his memories back and Becca looking for comfort and hope after her family perished in an accident years ago.

Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #5

Comic Book Guy #5

It’s another finale of epic proportions. Comic Book Guy’s saga has come to an end and the revelations that occurred will definitely shock fans. By far, this is the grittiest issue in the series, featuring a history of Comic Book Guy that spells out what makes him THE Comic Book Guy. Well, at the very least, Springfield gets its famous comic book store back under old management. But this is not to say that the characters in The Simpsons will drift down into normal lives. I hope not.