2016 Strikes Again – RIP Darwyn Cooke

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I try not to throw in with the public outpourings of grief when a person of note passes away but today the world of comic books has lost one of the greats. Darwyn Cooke is no longer with us and the world is a lesser place because of it.

darwyn-cooke-justice-league-37If you are not familiar with Cooke’s work it has a beautiful, timeless quality to it. So full of life, colour and joy for what the medium can do. During his time in the industry he set a high bar for what comic book art can do. Every book with his name on is worth buying/reading from the modern age classic of New Frontier, to his work on the Watchmen prequel comics, to his character defining work on Catwoman. All of it is required reading.

So yeah, I think a large part of my weekend will be spent revisiting some of his best work. Incidentally ComiXology are running a sale on some of Cooke’s work for DC Comics so now is a good time to jump in and celebrate the work of one of the best artists to ever work in comic books.

RIP Darwyn Cooke.

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Thoughts On Batman V Superman

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The online narrative around Batman V Superman is that it is the worst thing ever committed to film and that by watching it you are a terrible person. Like the worst. Especially if you found yourself enjoying it. If that happened then you need to revaluate your whole life and consider changing your name to something like Hitler. The film is just that bad you guys! In reality though it seems there is a disconnect between critical and fan reaction that I have not seen before.

The short-ish version is:

If you enjoyed Man of Steel, Batman V Superman is a good followup. It continues to expand the somewhat darker take on the DC characters that DC Cinematic Universe is building in a fun and very different way to the Marvel Studios movies and their slate of characters. Like Man of Steel it has a slower pace than other superhero movies and a lot of it is dedicated to building up the big conflict at the end of the movie. Ben Affleck makes a great Batman, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is different in a good way (for me at least) and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman steals the show in the brief appearances she makes in the movie. The film also does a good job of building out the DC Cinematic Universe in a couple of cool ways. It is far from perfect and it has its flaws like Man of Steel had but it is still a good and entertaining movie.

Personally I really enjoyed it and would say it is on par with the majority of Marvel’s movies. For me it is a case of the critics and reviews being overly harsh with a lot of them boiling down to “This isn’t the same as a Marvel movie so I don’t like it!”, “This is not how I personally perceive these long established characters to be or behave, therefore this film is a crime against nature!” or “I hate Zack Snyder and everything he stands for so I hate this movie by default!” There is also the typical regurgitation without thought of certain lines of thinking that seems to plague all discussion on the internet these days. So much so that you could make a bingo card and have some fun reading through the comments and reviews for Batman V Superman. (FYI: “Zack Snyder loves Ayn Rand!” is the free space.)

If you are interested in the characters or the concept of the film, go watch it and crucially, form your own opinions on it because it has been given a bad rap by many.

The long version is a bit more complicated…

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DC Rebirth First Info!

(Video Source: CBR)

“I love this world… but there’s something missing.”

That is the line that will be kicking off DC’s upcoming Rebirth event and initiative. In the above video Geoff Johns breaks down the general idea behind Rebirth. It looks like it is going to be a continuation of the New 52 but reincorporating the classic and iconic elements from the legacy of the older DC Universe. Pretty much what he did with Green Lantern and Flash Rebirth. However this is a line wide initiative that Johns is overseeing. Which is an interesting move.

At the centre of it all is a doubling down on DC’s most bankable properties. (Yay!) At the cost of loosing some of the more interesting side books and character. (Boo!) Lowering the price of all the books back down to $2.99. (Holding the Line once again!), Signing new teams onto books and gaining some new exclusive creator contracts. (Yay!) Taking Action Comics and Detective Comics back to their original numbering. (Yay!…I guess…) Then finally, shifting a large portion of their series into a biweekly release schedule. (Yay! but my bank account says nay!)

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The Pull List 03/02/2016

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Every week I throw my money into the bottomless pit that is regular comic book reading.

Here is what I will be entertaining myself with this week along with snippets of my feelings towards said books prior to reading them:

DC

  • Action Comics #49
    • The saga of powerless Superman continues!
    • This crossover of sorts between the various Superman books is surprisingly entertaining and is paying off on the last year’s worth of stories.
  • Batgirl #48
    • Bright, colourful and always fun to read.
  • Batman & Robin Eternal #18
    • The answers are slowly coming! Some a good, some are a bit…boring.
  • Detective Comics #49
    • Robo-Batman minus the Robo equals some solid detective work from Jim.

Marvel

  • Amazing Spider-Man #7
    • I love Dan Slott’s Spider-Man but so far this has felt like it is too big of a departure from classic Spidey for me.
    • It is like Peter Parker is trying a bit too hard to be Tony Stark.
  • Captain America: Sam Wilson #6
    • This book is crazy in a good way.
    • It is full of pulpy ideas and has great moments for both character and story.
  • Invincible Iron Man #6
    • Loving Bendis’ take on Iron Man, making him feel on the cutting edge again.
    • It will be interesting to see the contrast between Mike Deodato Jr. art for this issue and David Marquez’s from the first arc.
  • Nova #6
    • I love this book.
    • It is where the fun is at!
  • Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin
    • Issue one introduced us to an old fashioned adventure story that explores the Post Episode I Obi-Wan/Anakin dynamic.
    • I’m interested to see how it plays out.
    • + Steampunk airships in Star Wars!
  • Spider-Man #1
    • Miles Morales is finally getting his dues as a mainline Marvel Prime Universe character!
  • Uncanny Avengers #5
    • Its been a bit of a rocky start so far but I am willing to follow it for one or two more issues.

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  • Klaus #3
    • It is the Secret Origin of Santa Claus!
    • It is written by Grant Morrison!
    • It is actually a good read!
  • The Walking Dead #151
    • After finishing another calm before the storm stage The Walking Dead is getting exciting again!

The Pull List 27/01/16

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Every week I throw my money into the bottomless pit that is regular comic book reading.

Here is what I will be entertaining myself with this week along with snippets of my feelings towards said books prior to reading them:

Marvel

  • All-New Inhumans #3
    • I am semi-enjoying the new prime position status quo for the Inhumans in the Marvel Universe.
    • They are like the X-Men without the baggage of the X-Men continuity.
    • There is freedom for weirdness to happen which is great!
  • All-New, All-Different Avengers #4
    • I’m loving the new team but this series has not felt like it has got going yet. Hopefully this issue will fix that.
    • The cover is very kissy, kissy!
  • Star Wars: Kanan #10
    • This is the little Star Wars comic that could and I have really enjoyed it.
    • It is an interesting look at the background of one of the newer expanded universe  characters.
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4
    • The best comic on the shelves ever.
    • Seriously it is one of the highlights of my week when I get to read a new issue.
    • If you haven’t read it go read it.

DC

  • Batman & Robin Eternal #17
    • A bit of a slow burn of a series but the globe trotting adventure is starting to pay off.
    • All the Azrael is boring me to tears though, I really don’t like the character.
  • Grayson #16
    • Who knew Dick Grayson, Super Spy would be continue to be such a good book?!
    • I’m looking forward to seeing how the new post Robin War Dick Grayson handles his new….situation
  • Justice League of America #7
    • Beautiful art that make the book worth it.
    • The mildly confusing/boring story is letting the side down though.
  • Superman #48
    • Things are starting to come to a head for the underpowered Superman and it is exciting!
    • It has been an interesting ride but I am starting to get restless for Superman getting all his powers back.

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  • Saga #33
    • The best comic being published at the moment.
    • The.
    • Best.
    • Comic.
    • Read it!

DC…Rebirth?

Later this year the books that are still around from DC’s big New 52 Relaunch five-ish years ago will hit their 52nd issues. Which is a perfect time for DC to clean house and have another big push at selling people a bunch of comics. Especially when you take into account the DC Cinematic Universe taking things to the next level with Batman V Superman.

I’ve always been a fan of what the New 52 stood for despite some of the more questionable changes it lead to. For me comics are at their best when big epic things and change happens. So teasing of a big relaunch always has me interested.

However I doubt that this will be a big reboot on the scale of Flashpoint to the New 52. More of a soft realignment of characters and stories that have gotten out of whack with the rest of the setting and maybe pushing the overall house tone and style to fit with the DC movies and TV shows a bit more. All of which I have no problem with what so ever.

Until we know more I will just have to enjoy the rage and collective gnashing of teeth from the anger side of the comics internet. Which is always entertaining!

So yeah #Rebirth

The Good, The Bad and The Twee – CBS’ Supergirl

Overnight CBS unleashed a weird semi-condensed (but dressed as a trailer) version of the Pilot for their upcoming Supergirl TV show. My feelings towards it are mixed but mostly optimistic. It does some things right, others not so right and some….well….more on those in a bit.

Before I go any further it is worth outlining what exactly a Pilot Episode is in terms of US television and the role they have. They are a catch all, “Look this is the show we want to make!” 40 minute setup for what will hopefully be a full or part season order from a network. They paint the broad strokes of a show, its characters and overall tone. They are also used as a test bed for potential ideas or approaches which is why they can fluctuate wildly in quality in such a short space of time. More often then not things are chopped and changed from the Pilot to the production run of a show and I am guessing (read: hoping) that is the case for the more problematic aspects of Supergirl.

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The Dark Knight III: The Master Race – Announced!

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The next and I’m guessing last chapter of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight saga was officially announced yesterday, The Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

There are lots of accusations that this is a cash grab on Miller’s part due to his increasing ill health but even if it is the case I am still looking forward to it. The Neoconservative Batman of Miller’s books is a weird and wonderful beast. Slightly twisted and hypocritical but yet you cannot stop routing for him. Also I have always found it fun to see Miller’s growing contempt for the younger generations get louder and louder as time goes on.

This time around writer Brian Azzarello (Wonder Woman) is helping out so it looks like it could be a more focused story. I’m expecting some big crazy and incredibly stupid things from this book. I can’t wait!

Awesomeness: The New 52 Futures End #44

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The New 52 Futures End #44 – Cool cover for a cool book. The closer it gets to the end the more I realise Futures End is an underrated gem!

Awesomeness: Grayson #8

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Grayson #8 – Anyone else think that Kathy Kane is the new Agent Zero? That or it will be a huge red herring when the book comes back in June.