**spoiler alert** I watched Batman: Under the Red Hood recently thanks to Netflix’s streaming option. I enjoyed it for so many reasons, but that’s ano...more**spoiler alert** I watched Batman: Under the Red Hood recently thanks to Netflix’s streaming option. I enjoyed it for so many reasons, but that’s another post. After watching the movie, I wanted to read the source material that led up to the events in the movie. Admittedly, I’m more of a Marvel girl than a DC girl, but I do try to read the “iconic” comics on both sides of the fence. A Death in the Family is the arc that clears up what happens before the movie. I think the movie did a good job of giving the condensed version of previous events, but the arc fills the story out more.
I’m not sure how to say this, so I’m just going to say it. I don’t think that this is the best story ever—or rather, the story isn’t executed well. It’s just not as well written as other pivotal Batman arcs, such as The Killing Joke. It had plenty of potential, but was marred by the shaky writing and questionable plot direction at best.
Some of the word choices and phrases would have you believe that this was a comic written before its time. But that’s only when it wasn’t coming off as awkward and contrived. I asked myself plenty of times, “Who talks/thinks like this?” Too many of the scenes were just too convenient as if they couldn’t think of a better way to get important parts of the plot moving. I know a big part of storytelling in comics is how convenient certain things are, but they didn’t have to be so obvious. There was too much telling or retelling of the story in many of the panels where information could’ve been craftily revealed through dialogue between characters, action sequences, or not at all.
It wasn’t completely terrible, though, and pieces of it seemed to move beyond being just all right. I won’t pan it and say that it doesn’t deserve to be seen as a crucial story in Batman’s career. It had such a major effect on him that it would be silly for me to say that it isn’t important in the Batman mythos. The writing just hampered it greatly.
Writing aside, I liked how conflicted Batman was painted in this story. Batman is always so focused on stopping crime that it’s sometimes hard to see the humanity in his character. Often, it’s just about his struggle with good versus evil, but this arc gave him a new, different dilemma. In this story, his struggle with doing what’s right for the people and doing what’s right for his family (Jason) caused such a rift in his psyche. I loved how disjointed his thinking was as he tried to focus on the Joker, but ultimately having his thoughts drift to Jason, his issues, and how he (Batman) feels his actions factored into all this.
And Jason… I’m still not fond of his character. I didn’t care for him much in the movie. I thought I would feel more sympathetic for him after reading his story. I do in a way, but I think I feel more understanding toward him as he was portrayed in Under the Red Hood, but even in the movie, my heart wasn’t exactly bleeding for him. However, it was nice to have more details about what he was dealing with, and the death scene did tug at me a little. But while I understand his reasoning behind much of what he did in the comics and in the movie, he was just a hard character to sympathize with, and left me feeling like, in the end, his death was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.
Overall, this was an okay story. Not really the sensational arc I was expecting given how impressed I was with Under the Red Hood. I would like to say that I shouldn’t have set the standard for this so high after watching the movie, but I expected something on par with the movie, not a story that seemed amateurishly pieced together. I know some time had lasped between these comics and the movie, but I don’t think it was wrong for me to expect something much less clumsy.
Would I recommend this story to people? Yes and no. I’m a bit split. I think it is important for the impact that it had on Batman, but the writing is rickety and distracting.(less)
Brief, spoiler free summary. American journalist, Clint, tracks Selena down at a refugee camp in Norway. He wants to enlist her help in getting into L...moreBrief, spoiler free summary. American journalist, Clint, tracks Selena down at a refugee camp in Norway. He wants to enlist her help in getting into London, which has been quarantined, so he can tell the real story of what happened there.
How could that go wrong? End sarcasm.
I’ve already read the first five issues in this series. My goal was to read five by next Monday, but I’ve already beat that into submission in one night. The story started a little slow for me, but the pace quickly picked up.
I’m really loving how they’re using Selena as a lead character. Too bad there’s no Jim thus far. The readers are shown Selena’s life before the infection. It’s just glimmers of who she used to be intertwined with the action of the story and doesn’t intrude on the main storyline.
I’m not to keen on the artwork, but it isn’t terrible. And the cliffhangers feel too abrupt. I know they have to to keep you hanging on to come back for more, but they feel so premature. I’m not sure if this is intentional to match the hectic pace of the story or not.
Overall, it’s kept me interested. I’d devoured those five issues before I even knew what happened. (less)
I’m not entirely new to this series, but I’m mostly new. I have a friend who’s a fan of the series, and I’d thumbed through the first two or three iss...moreI’m not entirely new to this series, but I’m mostly new. I have a friend who’s a fan of the series, and I’d thumbed through the first two or three issues. Recent discussion on Google Buzz mentioned that Showtime had PICKED UP THE SCRIPT to Chew to possibly turn into a television show. From what I’d read of the series and discussed with my friend, this actually seems like the perfect series to adapt to television.
It’s full of dark, dry humor and its morbidity is in the same vein as Dexter while being something different from what’s already on television. It doesn’t have many elements that might make it an overpriced choice, and being that it’s Showtime, fans won’t have to worry about them trying to tone down the things that make it work.
So, I decided to pick up the comics and start getting a better feel of the characters and their world. The story revolves around Tony Chu, an ex-cop who now works for the FDA. Tony is a cibopath. That means he gets psychic impressions from anything he eats—except beets. He lives in a world where the FDA is now running things after a severe case of avian flu killed millions of people. Because of this, chicken is banned, replaced by a chicken substitute while the real thing is considered a black market commodity. Tony is recruited—but not entirely by choice—by the FDA after using his “gift” to bust a serial killer. They want him to use this same gift to help their special crimes division. And this is where Tony’s adventures really begin.
I don’t know what to say about my official introduction to this series without rambling on or spoiling it for other readers. I really like the cast of characters that I’ve met so far. Tony comes off capable, straight-laced, if not a little bumbling at times. You can tell he has the best of intentions and believes in following the rules faithfully. Tony’s new partner, Mason Savoy, is wordy, distinguished, a bit shady, and a man of many surprises. He’s helping the inexperienced Tony learn the ropes and learn to deal with their overbearing boss, Mike Applebee, who already has it out for Tony.
Tony’s love interest is introduced early, but it’s not instant love for her at least. Tony is taken by a food critic named Amelia Mintz, a saboscrivner, who can write about food so accurately she can give people the sensation that they’re actually tasting it. For the first time, through her writing, Tony is able to “taste” food without getting any psychic impressions. In his mind, he’s smooth and suave with her. In reality, he’s a mumbling mess where she’s concerned, a quality that adds even more to his likability. Tony’s brother, a disgraced chef, also makes a couple of brief appearances.
The premise of the series sounds a bit bizarre, but the story is well-written and fast paced. You’re not overwhelmed with information about this new world. It’s presented to you in bites (no pun intended). I found by the third part that I was totally immersed in this story and really laughing out loud at some of their antics. I have to applaud the writer for creating this imaginative world where food plays such an integral role right down the name of every character—both major and minor—in the series so far.(less)
**spoiler alert** While staying at the X-Bunker located in San Francisco with the team, Ororo receives a message from T’Challa about disturbing events...more**spoiler alert** While staying at the X-Bunker located in San Francisco with the team, Ororo receives a message from T’Challa about disturbing events taking place in a small village in Africa. There’s been a rise in the number of pregnancies occurring there, and many of these babies are being born with extraordinary powers and mutations. There are also reports of explosions being caused by these babies and a “devil” living in the bush.
Even though I am a Marvel fangirl (with the X-Men comics being my favorites), I’ve somewhat strayed from them in recent years and have started reading more comics from other companies. I’ve also started reading manga, so I’m being exposed to a whole new world of stories.
This is the first full arc that I’ve read in a while from Marvel. Was I impressed with what I read? No, but I wasn’t disappointed either.
This started out as a really interesting story, but soon became too easy to anticipate. A predictable story isn’t always bad, but the premise of this story held so much potential in my opinion. And even with it’s predictability, the story was solid. The writing was tight, moving. Despite the somewhat dark tone of the story, Ellis knows just when to bring a joke in without making it seem like it was too much.
The end was a bit too whipped up for my taste, but it was nice to see Emma get to shine a little bit. I’m an Emma fan, but she came off more air-headed than usual in this arc as if she were the butt (or should I say “the breasts”?) of some joke that everyone got but her. She just seemed really useless at first, but she made up for it. However, poor Hisako didn’t seem to get much play at all in the comics. She was just there.
Overall, this was a good story. No, it’s not memorable, but it isn’t horrible. And sometimes, given the state of comics now days, I think getting a solid story is a damn good thing. (less)
I didn't think this series could get any better than it's first arc. I was wrong. Was so glad to see John Colby back in the series. Would've given it...moreI didn't think this series could get any better than it's first arc. I was wrong. Was so glad to see John Colby back in the series. Would've given it 5 stars, but that ending was so over the top, even Tony mentions that was ridiculous. And it kinda left a few loose ends, but that may have been intentional. Full review later.(less)
OMG! Is Volume 4 out yet? This has to be the best one I've read so far. It introduced Tony's family (who is completely insane) along with more key pla...moreOMG! Is Volume 4 out yet? This has to be the best one I've read so far. It introduced Tony's family (who is completely insane) along with more key players. Not a lot going on storywise, but relationship wise there's a lot going on here and we learn a little more about Tony and where he comes from. It ended on a huge cliffhanger, though. And I just read Vol 4 doesn't come out until July! Guess I'd better hunt down single issues. (less)
Reread. Perhaps one of the darkest Batman stories I have ever read. Took such an interesting, morbidly dark take on characters that are often viewed a...moreReread. Perhaps one of the darkest Batman stories I have ever read. Took such an interesting, morbidly dark take on characters that are often viewed as goofy and laughable by most. Highly recommended, but not for those easily disturbed.(less)
A young woman finds herself in Batman’s crosshairs when she decides to mete out her own personal brand of justice against the men who are responsible...moreA young woman finds herself in Batman’s crosshairs when she decides to mete out her own personal brand of justice against the men who are responsible for her sister’s death. To protect herself, she acquiesces herself to Wonder Woman through an ancient ritual called “Hiketeia,” a custom from Diana’s world that cannot be refused without severe consequences, leaving Wonder Woman at odds with Batman when she accepts.
A Google Buzz friend recommended this when we had a discussion about essential reading for Wonder Woman. I’m still feeling my way around the DC world, so comics that I can understand easily without feeling overwhelmed with the situations and characters are high priority to me. While I do know a little more about Wonder Woman than a completely new reader who might know nothing at all, I think this a great primer for new readers no matter how new they are to the Wonder Woman mythos. Rucka really focused on the character aspect of Diana, and readers are able to glean important information about Diana—who she is as a person, where she comes from, her belief systems—and build a solid foundation to grow from.
The only complaint(s) that I have for this arc is that it’s entirely too short. It seemed like there was so much more that could’ve been said and done. I really wanted to see Batman and Wonder Woman struggle over the fate of this woman, to see how far each would’ve been willing to go to do what they needed to do. I wanted to see more conflict in Diana having to forgo her duties as a hero to satisfy the rules of the ritual. And I wasn’t too keen on this ritual being something they couldn’t refuse without consequences. However, if they’d given Wonder Woman a choice, I’m sure that she wouldn’t have harbored a fugitive.
That aside, Greg Rucka has become one of my favorite writers. If there’s one thing that I always complain about in comics, it’s writers who don’t handle characters with the respect they deserve. Sometimes, writers write characters with what seems like so little regard. Rucka does seem to respect the character and takes it to the next level by constructing such a fascinating story that really get to the heart of the characters. And while there’s plenty of action in this story (and the action scenes are great), the story seems to be more character-driven rather than relying on much action.
Excellent read. I recommend this to newcomers and vets alike for the terrific storytelling and character introspection. (less)
More like a 4.5. Some of the art bugged the hell outta me, which is part of the reason for the deduction. I think Cry for Blood was a much stronger st...moreMore like a 4.5. Some of the art bugged the hell outta me, which is part of the reason for the deduction. I think Cry for Blood was a much stronger story than this. But the history geek in me loved the backstory so much. Full review later.(less)
This was fantastic. This story left me satisfied unlike The Hiketeia. Now don't get me wrong, The Hiketeia was very well written, but just felt abrupt...moreThis was fantastic. This story left me satisfied unlike The Hiketeia. Now don't get me wrong, The Hiketeia was very well written, but just felt abrupt and like it could've benefited from being much longer. Did not get this feeling here. I'm still a novice in the DC world, but Rucka created another great starting point for learning about another character in the DC universe. In fact, I think she may have just become my favorite character. (less)
Really, this is probably a 2.5 in my book because I have mixed feelings about this arc, and even after rereading it, I'm still mixed. I liked where Cl...moreReally, this is probably a 2.5 in my book because I have mixed feelings about this arc, and even after rereading it, I'm still mixed. I liked where Claremont tried to go with this one, but it was a little shortsighted. I feel this is where X-Treme jumped the shark for me.(less)
This seemed to go on way longer than 320 pages. Started a little too stilted and factual for me (I know it was needed, but still), but it got better a...moreThis seemed to go on way longer than 320 pages. Started a little too stilted and factual for me (I know it was needed, but still), but it got better as it went on and added more human elements to the story. Some of the side stories were completely a waste of time (I'm looking at your Ra al Ghul), but they started to find better footing with combing this sense of urgency with chaos and personal stories. (less)
Does every hero, quasi-hero, antihero, and villain that resides in Gotham find themselves in Batman’s bad graces at least once in their career? It sur...moreDoes every hero, quasi-hero, antihero, and villain that resides in Gotham find themselves in Batman’s bad graces at least once in their career? It sure seems like it. Okay, I guess that’s a stupid question. I just find it highly amusing how self-righteous a man who puts people in traction, eagerly so might I add, can be about other people doing something alike (and sometimes worse, but mostly alike) to the same people. That’s just me, though.
This review is full of spoilers from previous arcs featuring Hitman that lead up to this one, so I’ll cut it here. Read more!(less)