Morrison continues his redefining of the JLA, keeping his momentum going in this second volume, collecting issues 10-17 of the series, as well as some...moreMorrison continues his redefining of the JLA, keeping his momentum going in this second volume, collecting issues 10-17 of the series, as well as some things from JLA: Secret Files #2, New Year's Evil: Prometheus, and the JLA/Wildcats crossover. Most of these things are written by Morrison, outside the Secret Files story, and continue his re-establishment of the JLA as DC's premier team.
The biggest hooks of this book are the mega-epic 'Rock of Ages' and the JLA's conflict with Prometheus.
Rock of Ages is especially important, as it plays with some concepts that will prove extremely important to Morrison's later work on the series, as well as his later work on Final Crisis. In that regard, aspects of Rock of Ages are almost the 'blueprint' for what would become Final Crisis.
Rock of Ages is probably Morrison's first true epic on JLA, it plays with some heavier concepts, and juggles multiple plots over the course of six issues, sending parts of the JLA to the outskirts of the Universe, before plunging them into a dystopic future ruled by Darkseid. The conflict begins with a newly formed Injustice League, headed up by Lex Luthor, who recruits Mirror Master, Joker, Circe, Ocean Master, and Doctor Light. This ends up splitting the league which results in Aquaman, Flash and Green Lantern getting sent on an interstellar voyage through the Universe, which ends up with them getting dropped into a future ruled by Darkseid. Anyone who's read Final Crisis can definitely see some analogues to that, and several concepts are re-utilized in that story.
The other big conflict of the book is that of new villain Prometheus, he's introduced in a one-shot that establishes his, supposed, backstory, before setting him up as a villain intent on destroying the Justice League.
A few other ideas are peppered throughout, a big idea in this book also being the expansion of the team, bringing in new members Huntress, Steel, Zauriel, as well as bringing Barda and Orion as potential future recruits. Aztek also gets some screen time, as well as some more great Green Arrow moments. Morrison also works in several of the changes DC was implementing at the time, for better or worse, and flawlessly works them into the story. This includes the supposed Death of Wonder Woman, and her subsequent replacement by her mother, as well as Superman's miraculous transformation into his strange Electric persona. Morrison recognizes these changes, and manages to make them work within the team structure to great effect.
Fans of DC One Million will also start to see that story teased with references to Hourman, and the Justice Legion A showing up in the aftermath of Rock of Ages.
Howard Porter is back for the majority of the art, getting some help on a few issues, and his style starts to get bolder and more expressive, and a bit more stable. Some of the fill in artists aren't quite up to par, but overall the book holds together. It even features some early work from Yanick Paquette, who is reteaming with Morrison on a new Wonder Woman graphic novel in 2014.
Needless to say, if you enjoyed Volume 1 there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy this one either. Lots of big action and big stories with the best heroes DC has to offer. (less)
When DC relaunched Justice League, written by Grant Morrison, who apparently got the job after being denied the Teen T...moreAnd with that, the JLA returned.
When DC relaunched Justice League, written by Grant Morrison, who apparently got the job after being denied the Teen Titans relaunch at roughly the same time, the League was in a pretty bad place. Long gone were the glory days of the Big 7 in the 60s and 70s, and even more recently, gone were the days of the infamous Bwahaha era featuring the Justice League International. What we had instead was a collection of heroes that no one truly felt represented the best and most powerful of the DC Universe.
So in a strong back to basics approach, DC retrieved Grant Morrison, an interesting choice as, to that point, his mainstream DC work had been fairly minimal, being known mostly for his Doom Patrol and Animal Man work over at the Vertigo imprint. After this he would naturally go on to do defining runs on Superman, Batman, and a multitude of other things.
Joining him on art was Howard Porter. Previous he had worked on a short lived Ray series for DC, and the 'Underworld Unleashed' event with Mark Waid. Following JLA, which he'd draw for most of Morrison's run, he'd go on to work with Mark Waid on Fantastic Four, and a highly acclaimed Flash run with Geoff Johns.
So with the writer and artist in place, the goal was simple, re-establish the JLA as the pre-imminent representation of the best of the DC Universe, pitting them against truly the worst the Universe had to offer. This volume collections the first 9 issues of Morrison's run, and whew, it's a doozy.
While the comics of today are naturally seen as the classic decompressed 6 issue mega-arcs, Morrison actually plays things a bit smaller at first. He'd use the mega-arc format to it's best with some of his later stories, but he reintroduces the JLA in a big way in the first 4 issues of the series, pitting them against mysterious new heroes called the Hyperclan. Morrison immediately dived in head first, giving all the members of the Justice League some great moments to shine. His affinity for Batman is evident here, and you can see why he'd return to the character in such a big way almost 10 years later.
Following the first arc that firmly re-establishes the League as the big heroes, he immediately dives into some follow up arcs that waste no time introducing new members to the team. We get brief moments with Max Mercury, Hitman, before the League settles on a new member called Tomorrow Woman, who is not all she appears to be.
Following that, Morrison introduces us to Zauriel, who was, very clearly, originally intended to be a returning Hawkman, but for various reasons Morrison was left unable to use him. He constructs an Angels vs. JLA scenario, which sees Superman, in his weird electric state, wrestling in Angel in truly one of Supermans best moments.
This arc segued right into the next one, pitting the JLA against a newly re-awoken Key, and Morrison takes that chance to put the spotlight on the new Green Arrow, who had just recently taken over for his deceased father.
This is followed up by a short prologue that leads into the next volume of this series, and features another short story featuring this version of the League in it's formative stages, taking place before JLA #1.
Grant Morrison handles most of the writing here, with Mark Millar assisting on the short story at the end, and this is definitely where Morrison established himself as being able to handle the biggest characters of the DCU. You can even see some early foreshadowing at ideas he'd later explore in All Star Superman and Batman.
Howard Porter is on board for most of the art, with Oscar Jimenez coming in on the two issues featuring the Key, as well as the short story at the end. Porter definitely firms up his style over the 7 issues he contributes here, his early issues can have some anatomy hiccups, but he really starts getting into his stride by the end of this volume. The Jimenez issues are done in his own style, but are visually similar enough to Porter that the transition is a fairly smooth one.
Long story short, this book is what truly re-established the JLA as the team to watch in the DCU. So if you're looking for some truly iconic Justice League stories, this is a great place to start. (less)
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, after giving us the epic 'Court of Owls' storyline, up the stakes the only way they can, by bringing in a new, even mor...moreScott Snyder and Greg Capullo, after giving us the epic 'Court of Owls' storyline, up the stakes the only way they can, by bringing in a new, even more sinister version of the Joker.
After missing for nearly a year, Joker returns to wreck havoc, and it's up to Batman to stop him. Featuring a powerful narrative by Snyder, great artwork from Capullo and Jock, Death of the Family is a great Batman story, and a fantastic Joker story. (less)
Bruce Wayne: Murderer, and the subsequent Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, was the major Batman story during 2002. Crossing in and out of all the various Batman...moreBruce Wayne: Murderer, and the subsequent Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, was the major Batman story during 2002. Crossing in and out of all the various Batman titles at the time, all kicking off with a specially priced 10 cent issue.
This first volume gets all the pieces in play as Bruce Wayne finds himself inexplicably accused of murdering his former girlfriend, Vesper Fairchild. His cohorts are immediately taken aback and work to clear his name, despite Bruce asking them not, also caught up in the mix is Sasha Bordeaux, Wayne's bodyguard who gets accused of being an accessory to said murder.
The mystery is only deepened during this volume, and answers don't start coming until the later 'Bruce Wayne: Fugitive' volumes, but the talent involved creates for a compelling story. Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker, both known for their Batman work, as well as subsequent other work at DC and Marvel lead the charge by writing Detective Comics and Batman, while fellow stalwarts Chuck Dixon, Devin Grayson, and Kelly Puckett all assist with writing the various tie in issues. While the art is handled by an immensely talented group including Rick Burchett, Scott McDaniel, Trevor McCarthy, Steve Lieber and Rick Leonardi.
While the lack of answers, and the need to immediately jump into another volume lead this to be a mildly unsatisfying read on it's own, it works extremely well as a primer for the story to come. So if you're a big Batman fan, you'll probably dig it. Even more if you're a Nightwing or Robin fan.(less)
Bruce Wayne: Fugitive Vol. 1 begins the proper storyarc after the setup seen in 'Bruce Wayne: Murderer.' The basic gist is as such, after being accuse...moreBruce Wayne: Fugitive Vol. 1 begins the proper storyarc after the setup seen in 'Bruce Wayne: Murderer.' The basic gist is as such, after being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Vesper Fairchild, Bruce and his bodyguard Sasha end up in prison. While his team immediately tried to figure out what happened and who is responsible, Bruce seems very passive during all of it. That is until Bruce Wayne escapes from prison. The end of Bruce Wayne: Murderer sees Bruce escape, and tell his team that the Bruce Wayne identity is no more, as he stages a scene indicating that Bruce has fled the country, while he will continue on as Batman, without the Bruce Wayne identity.
This volume immediately picks up on that, as his team is not having it. Oracle, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Spoiler, Black Canary and Spoiler all continue to work to try and figure out who framed Bruce for this. This volume has a heavy emphasis on the supporting cast, so if you are a big fan of them, definitely check it out as it showcases all of them doing what they do best. Nightwing finally begins to crack the case of how someone was able to, seemingly, infiltrate Wayne Manor undetected, while Robin discovers the security tapes have been doctored. Meanwhile, Oracle, with the help of Black Canary, finds out that all of Vespers documents have all been altered. Expanding the plot even larger than they expected.
All the while, Bruce continues to be detached from them all, just continuing on as Batman, operating out of a backup Batcave he has set up. He remains detached until a heartfelt moment with the man who comforted Bruce all those years ago after his parents got shot finally naps Bruce back into reality.
This volume is much more satisfying read as some answers start coming together. The first volume is all questions, and here we finally see some things come together as Batman starts to realize the error of his ways as his team starts to finally get together some evidence on what is happening. This all sets up a big change as they enter into the next volume of the story.
Most of the creative team from the last volumes return, as their various issues are featured, allowing the story to unfold chronologically.
Overall, the story finally begins to pick up steam as things start falling into place and Bruce finally puts himself back into the game.(less)
If you're looking for a great book with superpowers that isn't a Marvel or DC book, definitely investigate this. Sharp writing and great art harkening...moreIf you're looking for a great book with superpowers that isn't a Marvel or DC book, definitely investigate this. Sharp writing and great art harkening back to some of the pulp classics of the 30s and 40s makes for a fantastic read.(less)
Thom Zahler's superhero sit com Love and Capes is a fresh light approach to superheroes that puts a nice twist on a genre that's repeatedly being told...moreThom Zahler's superhero sit com Love and Capes is a fresh light approach to superheroes that puts a nice twist on a genre that's repeatedly being told it's run out of new ideas. I don't necessarily agree with that statement, but this is still a good read. (less)
It definitely doesn't re-invent the wheel, but the book builds a unique cast of characters in a very well fleshed out city town that adds a nice level...moreIt definitely doesn't re-invent the wheel, but the book builds a unique cast of characters in a very well fleshed out city town that adds a nice level to the mystery. Plus, includes some pizza recipes in the back! (less)
Having seen the Exorcist on the big screen roughly a year ago, I've been meaning ever since then to read the novel the film was based on. A few weeks...moreHaving seen the Exorcist on the big screen roughly a year ago, I've been meaning ever since then to read the novel the film was based on. A few weeks ago I picked up the book and decided to dive in, please note that this is the 40th Anniversary Edition which apparently makes some additions and polishes up the dialogue in the novel. Having never read the original, I can't say what these changes were exactly, but the broad strokes of the story remain unchanged.
If you've seen the film, the plot of the book is roughly similar, but the character emphasis changes slightly. Karras is given a major push throughout most of the novel, as we deal with his wavering faith, and his attempts to stay strong throughout the course of the exorcism. While Chris and her daughter are also given major pushes as Chris struggles and suffers as she is helpless to watch her daughter deteriorate before her eyes.
The novel relies more on heavy suspense and a slow build to really build the pay off. Some scenes are almost identical to the film, while others, such as the infamous spider-walk scene are downright bone chilling. Blatty balances the elements extremely well, and it's not hard to see how this novel is as regarded as it is.
If you're a fan of the film, I definitely recommend jumping into the novel as well, it gives the story a much sharper image and really dives into the characters even more and Blatty conveys their struggles and doubts very well. Overall, I think that's where the real terror of the book is, not so much in the possession itself, but slowly watching the characters spiral deeper and deeper into a hole that you aren't sure they'll come back from. You feel their pain, you feel their struggle, and that makes the book all the more scary. (less)
When it boils down to it, this is a book that really got Batman back to his roots. While this takes place in a possible future where Batman has been r...moreWhen it boils down to it, this is a book that really got Batman back to his roots. While this takes place in a possible future where Batman has been retired for 10 years following the death of Jason Todd, the portrayal of Batman slowly worked it's way into the modern books turning Batman back to his dark and shadowy roots and away from the more colorful, fun portrayal he'd had since the 50s.
That said, if you are a Batman fan, or even more, if Batman is your favorite character, you will likely love this book. This is a Batman story for the Batman fans. You see the hero return triumphantly, punching down everything in sight, taking no names, and kicking tons of ass.
Originally published back in the 80s, this is seen by many as Frank Miller's opus, while he went on to do many other things including Sin City, Batman: Year One, 300 and more. Dark Knight Returns and Daredevil are the things he will be remembered for mostly.
Overall, the story is great, if at the end of the day it isn't all that surprising. Through his return to Gotham, Batman has inspired many problems that crop up in the city including gangs, and eventually the return of the Joker, who naturally goes on a mad killing spree. This eventually sees the government sending in Superman to deal with the problem. Which is one of my biggest issues in the book, the portrayal of Superman. Gone is the hero who stood up for the people, in his stead is a government stooge.
The book is also known for the well publicized Batman vs. Superman fight, where Batman manages to hold his own against the Man of Steel, though admittedly, a massively underpowered Man of Steel. This all plays into conclusion, which set up a potential future that didn't get followed up on until almost 20 years later when Frank Miller returned for 'The Dark Knight Strikes Again.' Do yourself a favor and pass on that one.
Frank Miller provides the art and gives us many classic images that have been staples of Batman comics ever since. From the lightning silhouetted Batman jumping through the sky, to the classic Batman and Robin pose, the art in the story lives on. Though sadly towards the end you can see the work start to get a bit scratchier, but the storytelling remains solid.
Overall, it's not hard to see why many view this as THE definitive Batman story. It gives fans of the character everything they'd want to see. Including the Dark Knight besting the Man of Steel. So despite some occasionally scratchy artwork, the fairly straight forward plot and the annoying portrayal of Superman, this book stands solid reminding everyone why Batman is an icon in the first place. (less)
Damon Lindelof writes the introduction for this book and describes it as one of the best episodes of the 'Twilight Zone' ever written, and the descrip...moreDamon Lindelof writes the introduction for this book and describes it as one of the best episodes of the 'Twilight Zone' ever written, and the description ends up being pretty apt.
This book has basically been Jeff Lemire's pet project for the last several years, starting in 2008 and only just recently completing it. When reading the book you can clearly see this book is a very personal story, and I'm glad DC/Vertigo were able to work with him to get him the time to finish it.
We are introduced to our lead, Jack Joseph, the titular Underwater Welder, quickly we find out the basics of his life, he lives in a small town, he has a very pregnant wife who is due in less than a month, and he works at an offshore rig, usually for weeks at a time. Though as the story moves forward, we find out some haunting details of his past.
While at the onset the story seems pretty straight forward, it soon starts to take on a different vibe altogether as Jack is forced to deal with a past he never quite got over, and in the process finally take some responsibility for the life he has now.
This is one of the best graphic novels of the year, it touches down in all sorts of genre's by crafting a mystery, some drama, some human interest, with a tinge of sci-fi as well, combining them all together into one great story that shouldn't be missed. (less)