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.

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.

Fanboyninja Weekly Comics Review (Oct. 13): Return of Bruce Wayne, Victorian Undead Special


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Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #5

Time-traveling Bruce Wayne comes closer to the present as he finds himself in a Gotham City that very much brings to mind classic Hollywood noir-era crime dramas in the 1940’s. This issue reminds me a lot of Batman: The Animated Series back in the 1990’s. But apart from the period setting, I really like the idea of Bruce investigating his mother’s death. Hired by Marsha Lamarr, a close friend of his mother’s, Bruce is about to find out if his father was indeed responsible for his mother’s murder. All the detective work that he does brings out the Batman in him, minus the cowl.Return Of Bruce Wayne #5

I would also like to mention that both Ryan Sook and Pere Pérez did a great job in the drawings. I’d go as far as saying that the art, in itself, can hook any die-hard DC Comics fanboy.

Untold Tales of Blackest Night

Untold Tales of Blackest NightIndeed, the Blackest Night series is just like the Black Lanterns – it just won’t die down. I know, you probably thought that this issue is a cheap shot at scraping the bottom of the Blackest Night mythos barrel. But reading the untold tales of the Ragman, Donna Troy, and Sinestro Corps member Karu-Sil only rekindled my fondness for last year’s biggest event from DC comics. The other tales in the issue may have been included only to serve as fillers, but the stories about the three characters I mentioned above make this comic book a worthy read.

Victorian Undead Special #1

Victorian Undead Special #1The hit series from Wildstorm Comics returns. Just as everyone is reeling from the recent attack of the undead (courtesy of the diabolical genius we all know as Prof. Moriarty), a new menace has been set loose in the streets of London. It’s up to Sherlock Holmes and his loyal associate, Dr. Watson, to uncover the one responsible for the grisly murders in the city. If you love Sherlock or you simply enjoy detective stories, this issue will surely give you a good fixing. If you love the classics like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, then this comic book written by Ian Edginton, with art by Horacio Domingues, will hit that little lover of literature inside you.

Justice League Generation Lost #11

Justice League Generation Lost #11It’s Justice League International versus the Metal Men. If you ask me, that’s reason enough to get hold of this comic book. The action packed panels make this a good ish. However, a number of my friends say that they find this issue a bit unexciting because the big skirmish against the Metal Men only involves Rocket Red, Fire and Ice spread across 90% of the comic book. If you’re wondering where he other JLI members are, well they sort of stumbled upon Maxwell Lord’s OMAC assembly area and they are only shown in a handful of panels. Still, all the punching, kicking, flying and throwing in this book provide a welcome relief to the series. Plus, someone in the Justice League will undergo a big change that will most probably affect that character’s storyline permanently.

Magnus Robot Fighter #2

Magnus Robot Fighter #2I just love comic book stories that are set in a future (specifically, 4000 AD) filled with things that may well be described as ‘retro’ in our current space-time continuum. Think of The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) or Star Trek: The Original Series. Magnus comes from that same retro-future where heroes wear nothing but boots and a really chunky belt over a very short shift dress…with scales(?). Oh, it is also a future where women are dressed in really skimpy clothes that Victoria’s Secret will truly be proud of. In this issue, our hero rescues Leeja and other humans from a black market empire that sells humans to aliens who have developed a taste for human flesh. Magnus Robot Fighter is old school sci-fi comics at its best.