I didn't care for this as much as I have the other collections. It was all over the place and didn't feel very coherent. I think it suffers from the sI didn't care for this as much as I have the other collections. It was all over the place and didn't feel very coherent. I think it suffers from the same thing that all of these massive crossover events suffer from - too much bs. They decide to do one of these and then they have to fill up all these different books with content - it's just too much.
Pulling it altogether into a single collection like this is great - if the story is tight, which this one isn't. The only purpose of this storyline was to setup the next massive crossover event - Blackest Night - which you can tell. so it ends up being 192 pages of foreshadowing for the next event rather than a strong story in its own rite. Add to that the fact that this is VOLUME 2 and you can see how over bloated this story really is.
Sorry DCU - I love the Green Lantern, but this didn't do much for me at all.
**spoiler alert** Batman is dead; sacrificed for the greater good trying to stop Darkseid in Final Crisis. In the aftermath of his death, Gotham desce**spoiler alert** Batman is dead; sacrificed for the greater good trying to stop Darkseid in Final Crisis. In the aftermath of his death, Gotham descends into a crime wave. Once before, when Bane broke the Batman, Dick Grayson assumed the mantle of the Bat to bring order back to the city. Times have changed and so has Dick, but the responsibility is the same: protect the city, continue the fight, become the Batman.
It’s a brutal new world out there, and Gotham’s guardian is gone. Or is he?
A new team, with new tactics and new technology, has taken up the mantle of the Bat; Batman’s oldest ally Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne’s son Damian, who has turned from his evil upbringing, become Batman and Robin to clean up the streets and once again spread the Shadow of the Bat on the criminal underworld.
Thus begins Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn.
Batman Reborn is a trade paperback / graphic novel that brings together issues 1 – 6 of Batman and Robin originally published by DC Comics.
A lot has changed in Gotham since I last visited; Bruce Wayne is dead, he has a son now, Damian, the child of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul and thus the grandson of one of his most dangerous enemies, Ra’s al Ghul, who is determined to live up to his father’s legacy and not his grandfather’s. Tim Drake has gone his own way and become the Red Robin, Dick Grayson has stepped aside as Nightwing and taken up the cape and cowl again to become Batman and, of all things, Jason Todd, the most hated Robin of all time, is back, resurrected thanks to Superboy messing with time and a dunk in the ol’ Lazarus Pit.
Like I said – a lot has changed.
I have always liked the character of Dick Grayson, but I do not envy him. He has had a rough life, he has a tough gig and probably the worst boss in the history of all bosses ever. I mean, Batman is such an asshole and he is never wrong. You’re wrong. And stupid. And you should just do what he says without question and thank your lucky stars he’s bothering to put up with you. Loser.
Now with Bruce/Batman gone, Dick has to do something he doesn’t really want to do; become The Batman. Again. It’s sort of like growing up in the family business only to break away and do your own thing, then, one day, you get the call that it’s all yours. What do you do now? You have your life, your job, your business – and now you have dad’s as well?
Like I said, I don’t envy him.
Dick is not Bruce and he never will be; he doesn’t have the same cold determination. Dick is different, always has been. I think his childhood, though tragic in the end, lasted long enough and gave him enough grounding that he really is more emotionally developed and secure. He can joke, laugh, love. Batman is always so… intense. It makes it rougher than rough on Dick to fill that role. You have two very different and yet similar men who do things their own way yet accomplish their goals. As this book opens, Dick is struggling with that. He’s trying to be Bruce as Batman, and it’s not working.
It doesn’t help that Damian Wayne, as Robin, is such a little shit. You really want to have a K-Mart moment where you drag him out of the isle and start smacking his bottom. Seriously.
Dick is trying to get a measure of teamwork out of Damian but Damian isn’t biting. The lack of teamwork causes bad stuff to happen. Gotham is being Gotham; lots of crime, lots of new and different weirdo’s running around causing trouble. In the first few pages, Batman & Robin learn of a new threat to Gotham – an army known as The Circus of Strange, lead by someone calling themself ‘Professor Pyg’.
But on their first outing, Robin’s lack of teamwork causes all sorts of problems; four cops killed, six seriously injured. And he doesn’t believe he’s done a thing wrong. Honestly, he’s a loose canon and Batman is struggling to rein him in. During the fight, Robin runs off leaving Batman fighting alone. Robin chases after one suspect and uses excessive force to try and coerce information, leaving them in a heap with a concussion and who knows what else.
Following the fight, Batman confronts Robin and tries to make him see that this isn’t how they do things. They investigate but they don’t cross the line or else Gordon will come down on them. Damian doesn’t want to hear it.
The pressure quickly gets to Dick as Damian runs off to ‘do things his way’. Luckily for Dick, he has the same sounding board and stabilizing force in his life that Bruce has always had; Alfred Pennyworth.
Alfred points out that Dick cannot be Bruce as Batman, he can only be himself as Batman. Seriously good advice.
Re-energized, Dick takes off after Damian and we start to see a more comfortable Batman, one who starts to rein in his over zealous Robin and solve the crimes. But as soon as this happens, we see a new threat enter the arena – Red Hood.
You know, I love the artwork in this book, I really do (look at all the scans I did! For you!) , but someone, somewhere, should’ve pointed out to whoever designed this Red Hood character, that he looks like a giant tube of lipstick. I mean, honestly, could we have come up with a more ridiculous looking costume? So many bad comparisons come to mind when I see this guy. Ugh. Worst. Costume. Ever.
Anyway, Red Hood fancies himself as Gotham’s new protector and he even takes on a kid sidekick of his own, a girl calling herself ‘Scarlet’ who was a victim of Professor Pyg. Together they go around killing all the bad guys, which is a very un-Batman thing to do, which means Batman and Robin have to stop them.
Add to that mix a contract killer hired to also take out the Hood and you’ve got yourself the rest of the book; Batman and Robin trying to stop Red Hood, Red Hood and Scarlet determined to clean up Gotham by leaving a trail of bodies and a high death count and a killer named Flamingo hot on the trail of everyone involved.
Zorro the Gay Blade comes to Gotham! Um.. I mean, Flamingo comes to Gotham... Yeah...
The story here is really that of Dick becoming Batman and Damian becoming Robin. Everything else is just to move that story along. I like that Dick struggles, he should struggle, he is far more emotional than Bruce in that regard and it shows through. Damian is a brat and I don’t like him anymore than I cared for Jason Todd all those years ago. I get that he’s the son of a bad girl and the grandson of a big bad, I do, but he is such a little know it all snot that I keep looking for Dick to smack him. I want Dick to smack him. He treats Alfred like shit so I want Alfred to smack him too. Okay, everyone needs to smack him.
Dick’s hesitation and angst comes through in the beginning, so much so that Commissioner Gordon, Batman’s long time ally, feels it as well. He doesn’t know what to make of this guy in the cape and cowl. By the end, he knows very much who and what this guy is; he’s Batman.
Though I liked this book, I have to say that it is not my favorite Batman story. It has elements of those stories and I know what they’re trying to do in recapturing that feeling, I just don’t know that they pull it off fully. Yet. This is the first step along that path, of bringing Batman back to what he used to be so very long ago; a force to be reckoned with, a symbol, a hero.
Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn is available as a Deluxe Edition Hardcover for $25 at your local brick & mortar, or you can pick it up online for around $15.
**spoiler alert** October 1959; DC comics editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane introduce a new, Silver Age version of a clas**spoiler alert** October 1959; DC comics editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane introduce a new, Silver Age version of a classic comic character to the world – The Green Lantern.
Gone is the magically powered Alan Scott (the Golden Age Green Lantern), replaced by a fighter/test pilot named Hal Jordan who is the first human being enlisted by an interstellar police force known as the ‘Green Lantern Corps’. Assigned to patrol sector 2814 by the Guardians on OA, Hal Jordan is a hero. That lasts until the 90′s when stuff starts to go wrong for old Hal. First he gives up the ring for Carol Ferris, his long time love, only to find out she’s been living a double life. He finds he way back to the ring and, after the Guardians disappear for a bit, forms a new Corps on earth with some friends. When that goes sour, he goes back to being just another GL until his home city is destroyed, the Guardians return and put him on trial and he decides he’s had it and becomes something new and different: Parallax.
As Parallax, Hal causes all sorts of trouble and becomes an enemy to just about everyone and everything. Insane, he tries to rewrite history and it takes all the heroes around to stop him and kill him. End of story, right?
Hal’s spirit or soul becomes attached to or taken by The Spectre. Normally a ‘spirit of vengeance’, the Spectre likes that Hal wants to make up for what he did as Parallax, so he/it decides to let Hal continue to try and redeem himself, which eventually leads to why we’re all here: Green Lantern: Rebirth.
Rebirth is a trade paperback / graphic novel that brings together the 5 issue mini-series by Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver & Prentis Rollins.
Paperback: 176 pages Publisher: DC Comics; Trade Paper edition (March 28, 2007)
Keep in mind that I haven’t picked up a GL comic since Kyle Rayner took over in the 90′s. Rayner is not a favorite of mine at all, as I’ve mentioned before, and really all of his stuff came after I stopped with the comics on account I needed to pay my bills and my comic book habit was interfering with that. So, when I decided to pick up ‘Rebirth’, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the stuff above; that Jordan had gone nuts, that he’d died then come back, but didn’t know about the Spectre thing or that John Stewart was still running around with a ring. Didn’t even know that Guy Gardner no longer had a ring and was, instead, some sort of ‘warrior’.
So no matter what happened, I had high hopes for something entertaining. Sort of like seeing an old friend again after a long absence. I wasn’t disappointed.
You can’t keep a good comic book character down
Comic book characters, like The Master from Doctor Who, just won’t stay dead no matter how many times or how many different ways you kill em. That includes Hal Jordan.
A lot of times in comics, a ‘reboot’ of a character means they are either going to toss out the old mythology that you knew and loved in favor of a ‘new and reimagined’ version (Man of Steel, Ultimate Spider-Man). With Green Lantern, they sort of already did that with Emerald Dawn 1 and 2. A lot has happened since then so I was very happy to see that they weren’t just going to start over, they instead gave us a true ‘rebirth’ of the characters and the mythology but kept what we already knew, loved and in some cases, hated.
The first thing we see is Kyle Rayner doing his job, protecting the universe. Not just his sector, all the sectors. He is the only active Green Lantern left so it’s his job to protect everyone and everything. Tough gig.
Then he gets a translated message from some locals on the very edge of the universe itself that makes him go, “Huh?!”
Yikes, right?! I mean, that’s Hal Jordan! He was Parallax!
So now we see what old Hal is up to; he’s Hal, but he’s also The Spectre and there’s still a little bit of Parallax in there thrown in for good measure. Kinda crowded in his head, really.
The first dozen or more pages are a walk down memory lane and a treat for those of us who’ve been around and reading forever. We get to see the characters we’ve known while the new reader gets introductions and brief backstories. We even get to see an Abin Sur-like crash landing to kick things off (Kyle crashing home to earth).
The little jaunt down memory lane reintroduces (or introduces, depending on your knowledge of the mythology) us to Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Carol Ferris, The Green Arrow (one of my absolute favorites), the Green Lantern Corps, The Spectre &, of course, Parallax. If you aren’t familiar with the last ten years of mythology (like me), it’s a great quick and concise catch up that sets the foundation for the story.
We see that Hal still struggles with what he did as Parallax, that The Spectre isn’t content to just be a spirit of ‘redemption’ (he throws in some vengeance whenever he can), and that something bad is coming and coming soon.
The first clue is the message to Kyle Rayner, the second is when Guy Gardner’s new powers explode, the third when Coast City, Hal’s home town that was destroyed by Mongul after Superman’s death, suddenly reappears sans any people (something Hal tried to do but got blocked by the Guardians which lead to the whole Parallax thing in the first place).
Cameo’s from the Justice League show us that whatever’s afoot, Batman for one, is ready to blame Hal who, he says, “Always had an EGO. He never worried when things came crashing down. He never prepared. He just flew in. Damn the consequences. We should’ve known back then a man like him couldn’t be trusted.” This leads to one of the best moments in the book for me – John Stewart versus Batman that culminates in the following statement:
Brilliant. That sums up the Dark Knight so well.
Meanwhile, we’re taking a walk down memory lane with Hal and Carol who’re remembering their past together. Hal doesn’t seem to have any idea that anything weird is going on or that the Justice League is coming for him until they’re right on top of him. At this point, John Stewart goes nuts and starts attacking people. At this same moment, Hal Jordan’s old ring, now in the care of Green Arrow, activates and duplicate’s itself (which I didn’t know it could do!) and Guy Gardner’s condition changes and he becomes a Green Lantern again.
When John goes nuts and starts attacking the JLA, Hal tries to help but the Spectre says ‘no’ and takes him away for a chat where we learn the origins of Parallax (the ‘real’ origins). I won’t ruin it for you.
We also learn that the big bad has returned and who is the biggest & baddest for the Green Lanterns? Why, their greatest member, fallen into disgrace, of course. Sinestro:
As an aside, can I just say – I love Green Arrow. I love the smart-ass mouth, the attitude, the whole package.
I made a mistake when I bought this book; I thought they were resurrecting Hal Jordan which, really, they did – but that wasn’t the only goal here. See, they were very smart and very cool and they really resurrected The Green Lantern; the Corps, the Guardians, the Enemies, the Mythos – and it’s fantastic.
You start to think that it’s going to be a JLA story (what with all the cameos), and for a while, as Parallax returns, it’s the JLA who hold him back. But as Hal gets his ring on again, we see that it’s not about the JLA or Hal Jordan, but about the Green Lantern’s as a whole. Oh, and he has it out with Batman which is priceless. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bats, I do, but there aren’t enough people who just tell him to fuck off every once in a while.
He really should’ve seen that coming…
After this, the Corps gets the band back together to take care of business.
I’m being intentionally vague on these bits because I don’t want to be all spoilery on you. But here’s a clue:
Overall, Green Lantern: Rebirth is a very entertaining book full of stuff for the long time fan but is also a nice starting point for someone just picking it up. GL has always been full of scifi goodness and has a special place in my heart. It’ll run you $18 (cover price sans any discounts you might have) at a brick and mortar store but you can find it online for $10 and it’s well worth your time and money. The art and writing are fantastic but you won’t be able to read this one alone, oh no – you’ll find yourself wanting more…
**spoiler alert** So. Following reading Green Lantern: Rebirth, I wanted some more. It was nice to visit that universe again and the book itself, thou**spoiler alert** So. Following reading Green Lantern: Rebirth, I wanted some more. It was nice to visit that universe again and the book itself, though a ‘complete story’ (beginning, middle and end), really did have that ‘jumping off point’ feel to it. They were intentionally setting up what was to come and drawing a line from which new people could hop on and old fans like me could dive back in. Really, it was the precursor to the whole ‘Blackest Night’ mega event crossover thing (which I came to hate when I was collecting comics).
Luckily for me, the sequel event/story was also available in trade paperback / graphic novel format, so I picked it up to check it out.
For those not in the know, Sinestro is the greatest enemy the Green Lantern has ever had. He was also their greatest member a long time ago.
The story goes that Sinestro was the greatest Green Lantern of all time; the Guardians on OA held him up as an example for all other Lanterns to follow and emulate. When the very first human from earth joined the corps, the Guardians decided that their greatest Lantern needed to be the one to train him, so they sent Sinestro to find and train Hal Jordan.
Jordan and he clashed from the get-go. Sinestro believed in his own brand of order and justice, so much so that he conquered his own homeworld, Korugar, and ruled there for years as a dictator. Eventually he was tried by the Guardians and sent to the antimatter universe where he allied himself with powerful beings there who forged a yellow power ring for him, yellow being the one color that a Green Lantern could not defend themself against due to an impurity built-into their power rings.
Throughout the years since, Sinestro fought and was defeated time and again by Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns, so he was due a little retribution.
Enter: The Sinestro Corps War.
Paperback: 176 pages Publisher: DC Comics (May 5, 2009)
The Sinestro Corps War is a trade paperback / graphic novel that compiles the events seen in Green Lantern 21-23, Green Lantern Corps 14-5 & the Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special all published by DC Comics.
If you haven’t read Green Lantern: Rebirth, you may want to stop reading this right now because there are spoilers going forward. In order to explain this books story, I have to give away that books secrets, which I avoided in my review.
So, you’ve been forewarned.
Go forward, get spoilers.
Okay. So. The Green Lantern’s use power rings that are connected to a central battery on the planet OA, home to the Guardian’s. They created the battery, the lanterns that access it, the rings and the Corps. Originally, the Green Lantern Corps protected the universe sector by sector, one Lantern per sector. Today’s Corps uses pairs for each sector – so they’ve adopted the buddy system.
To use the power rings, one must have great willpower and little or no fear (or be able to conquer your fears). This is due to the yellow impurity within the rings energy, which is actually a living creature named Parallax. Parallax was able to infect Hal Jordan and do a ton of damage. A similar, willpower based creature also lived in the central core of the battery on OA, keeping Parallax in check at first and then, later, bonding with Kyle Rayner in much the same way as Parallax had infected Hal Jordan.
Thus, ION was born.
Kyle Rayner, once the ‘last’ Green Lantern, is now a beacon for the new Lantern Corps. When the story begins, we see Sinestro preparing something while Hal Jordan and the Justice League search for his whereabouts. Meanwhile, Ion comes across a yellow power ring making its way across the universe, then he realizes that it’s just one of many rings crisscrossing the universe in search of something.
Rayner captures a ring and then returns to OA where he finds the other Green Lantern’s from earth, Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Guy Gardner, all waiting for an audience with the Guardian’s. Suddenly the yellow ring, sensing Kyle’s despair over his mother’s recent death, goes crazy and captures him, transporting him to the antimatter universe and to the planet Qward where he encounters: The Sinestro Corps
Before the Green Lantern’s can mount a rescue, a coordinated attack happens all around the universe.
To their horror, the members of the Sinestro Corps, powered by yellow rings that the Lantern’s cannot defend against, begin killing Green Lantern’s all across the universe causing their rings to seek out new, worthy beings.
Back on Qward, Kyle Rayner is separated from the being that gives him his power as Ion and is instead infected by the creature known as Parallax.
The Green Lantern’s, lead by Hal Jordan, mount a rescue mission into the antimatter universe while the rest of the Corps, lead by Kilowog, try to counter attack the Sinestro Corps but their inability to fight off the yellow energy of Sinestro’s forces, coupled with the fact that the Sinestro Corps can actually kill where the Lantern’s cannot, means that they keep getting pushed further and further back.
Oddly, in the middle of all of this, Sinestro himself takes the time for a side trip to his home world, Korugar, where he confronts and defeats the current Green Lantern assigned to that sector, Soranik Natu. I say this is odd because it seems to kill the pacing of the book even though it’s a very Sinestro thing to do given that he used to rule that planet and the people there still fear him and any Green Lantern.
The Guardians decide that there is really only one solution if they don’t want to lose the war they didn’t even know was coming, one thing they can do to tip the scales and give their Lantern’s a fighting chance.
Lethal Force Has Been Enabled. Lantern’s all over the universe hear the same message coming from their rings. The gloves are off, the stakes set. War.
Having said all of that, I want to add – this is a much more disjointed story versus Green Lantern: Rebirth. I think that’s because this is the first act of a greater story (the whole ‘Blackest Night’ mega-crossover-extravaganza-lollapalooza-lillth-fair-ozzfest-icecapades-thingie). They had to cut it up to make it readable as a single volume and they did the best that they could, but, as with all of these massive mega-crossover events, there are too many threads to compress down. So, there’s a second volume to this that I don’t have yet and, of course, the whole ‘Blackest Night’ thing after that.
Because this is a disjointed story, it’s much harder to follow along versus Rebirth. I keep saying ‘disjointed’ even though, really, I mean – they put it all together in the order that it appeared, so I guess it’s not really disjointed, it just feels that way. Is that poor storytelling or do you really need to have all the subsequent volumes to see the whole picture and have it all make sense? Probably. But that’s the problem with the crossovers like this. I think they go too far, they try for too much and, in the end, they lose the reader because of it.
I’m a fan of Green Lantern and I enjoyed this book, but nowhere near as much as Rebirth. I think, if you’re not a fan, you’ll struggle with this one.
The Sinestro Corps War will run you $15 at your local store sans any discounts you might receive or you can find it online for around $10.
**spoiler alert** 3,964 years before the Battle of Yavin, the Old Republic was embroiled in a galactic war.
It is a time of upheaval for the galaxy. Th**spoiler alert** 3,964 years before the Battle of Yavin, the Old Republic was embroiled in a galactic war.
It is a time of upheaval for the galaxy. The Mandalorian Wars have strained the Old Republic’s resources to the breaking point.
With so many forces at the front, systems in the outer rim teeter on the edge of lawlessness – even the city-world of Taris, once a thriving commercial center. Here, as elsewhere, the Republic relies on the Jedi Knights and their students to help maintain order.
But some Knights, frustrated with the conduct of the Wars, argue for a more active Jedi role, appealing to others for support. Even from those Jedi – and their untried students – who are struggling to help maintain order at home…
Thus begins Star Wars-Knights of the Old Republic Volume 1: Commencement
Commencement is a trade paperback / graphic novel that brings together issues 0 through 6 of the Dark Horse comic-book series Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Paperback: 152 pages Publisher: Dark Horse (November 11, 2006)
When I was heavily collecting comics, the Dark Horse line of Star Wars books was on my list. They were putting out some fantastic stuff. They continued after I was done, of course and with the convenience of the graphic novel, I can pick up a ‘complete’ story from the series in a single book, which rocks.
The Knights of the Old Republic series is great; it gives us a glimpse at the Star Wars universe long before any of the events we know and love have taken place and is chocked full of Jedi and Sith rocking the Force (yes, I just said that. Well, typed it) in ways Luke Skywalker never figured out.
In Commencement, we meet Zayne Carrick, a young Padawan struggling to become a Jedi Knight. Zayne is clumsy, late all the time and seems to leave a trail of debris in his wake wherever he goes. The story begins with his trying to arrest a Snivvian named Marn Hierogryph – Gryph for short, a con man selling everything under the sun to whoever can buy it. Gryph is immune to Jedi mind tricks and, apparently, quite adept at escaping from Zayne whenever he manages to catch up to him.
On the day Zayne is to become a Jedi Knight, he manages to catch and hold Gryph. Eager to show his Master his success, and running late for the Commencement ceremony, Zayne brings Gryph with him, in cuffs, to the Jedi Temple on Taris. Rushing into the temple, an apology already spilling from his lips, he bursts into the ceremony to find…
…the Jedi Masters standing over their slaughtered Padawans.
“You’re late, young one,” says his Master, Lucien.
And if THAT doesn’t make you want to read this book, I don’t know what will.
From that point on, it’s a race as Zayne tries to first escape from the Jedi Masters who killed his friends, then figure out why they killed them in the first place and why they want him dead as well. He and Gryph are thrown together as fugitives on the run with the Jedi, the Civil Authorities and Bounty Hunters all tracking them. Gryph leads them into the Undercity and to the Junk Junction where they inadvertently draw Jarael & Camper, a strange pair with a ship who are hiding from the universe in general, into their adventure.
I have to say, this was an incredibly enjoyable book. It had all the elements of an excellent Star Wars story – heck, of -any- story; mystery, tragedy, adventure – you name it. The artwork is awesome, the story compelling. I also like the twist; The first few pages lead you to believe that you’re going to read a Master/Apprentice story. We are introduced to Zayne who can’t seem to get things right and then to his friends, all Padawan’s who have faced the trials and are soon to be Jedi. They sympathize with Zayne, who doesn’t think he’s going to make the cut and will have to watch them move on without him. The ceremony is set, the cast set and then WHAM! Twist.
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Volume 1: Commencement retails for $20 at your local book store, or you can get it online for $12 or so.
**spoiler alert** 800+ years ago, a man ran away; far, far away. Away from his people, from the responsibilities they wanted to heap upon him and from**spoiler alert** 800+ years ago, a man ran away; far, far away. Away from his people, from the responsibilities they wanted to heap upon him and from whatever destiny they saw for him that he didn’t want for himself. He stole a ship, a fantastic ship that allows him to travel not only through space, but through time. You see, his people, they mastered time long ago. They are called the Timelords and they live on the planet Galifrey.
Well, they lived on the planet Galifrey. Still do though no one can visit them and they cannot escape. The Timelords fought in the TimeWar, the greatest war ever known, that raged across time and space and only ended because he ended it by locking it all away from the universe along with the Nightmare Child, the Skaro Degradations, The Horde of Travesties, The Could-Have-Been King and his army of Mean-Whiles and Never-Weres and, of course, his greatest enemies – the Daleks. This left him alone, the last of the Timelords; alone to carry on their legacy. He doesn’t like to talk about it.
From the beginning, he’s been running, is still running, whether it’s away from something as it was in the past, or to something now, we don’t know – but he is still out there, running. Somewhere along the way, he fell in love. Oh, not the kind of love that you and I might experience one for the other, no – he fell in love with an entire planet: Earth.
Now on his tenth regeneration, a quirk of his people that allows him to live far longer than us, the man known only as The Doctor is still running, still traveling in his stolen TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space) and, if he notices you, maybe he’ll take you along for the ride…
Doctor Who: Through Time and Space is a trade paperback / graphic novel that brings together 6 one shot issues of Doctor Who originally published by IDW Publishing.
With his Ninth regeneration, The Doctor found a companion to travel with him who found a special place in his hearts; her name was Rose. He gave up one regeneration to save her life and, with his Tenth, she planned to stay with him forever. Then came the Daleks ( managing to escape the timelock ) and the Cybermen ( bleeding through from another reality caused by the Daleks escaping the timelock ) and Torchwood ( created by Queen Victoria to act as a defense for the Empire against the alien hordes ). Rose is transported to the alternate reality, leaving the Tenth Doctor to travel alone again. Or, perhaps with some new companions.
Doctor Who: Through Time and Space gives us six stories featuring the Tenth Doctor on his own, with Martha Jones and Donna Noble. Since the stories are not one, cohesive plot, I’m going to talk about each separately.
The Whispering Gallery by Leah Moore, John Reppion and Ben Templesmith
Our story opens with The Doctor and Martha traveling in the TARDIS. On a mission to find Martha some milk for her tea, The Doctor brings them to the wrong planet; Gratt. At first, Martha believes they’ve arrived inside an art gallery, but The Doctor tells her that each picture is actually the last words of one of the Grattites, the people of this world. They capture a piece of their consciousness and lock it away here, in The Whispering Gallery, preserved for all time.
Creepy Comic Book Doctor wants to know if Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka is hiring...
The Doctor explains that he traveled with one of the Grattites for a time, just giving her a ride really. Her name was Grayla and she told him that no one on Gratt ever smiles or laughs or cries. That’s why they created the Gallery, so they could say all the things in death that they never could in life.
When he finds Grayla’s portrait hanging in the gallery, her last words directed to him, telling him that the emotions she had sought in her travels were wrong, were bad, he decides to find out what could’ve possibly happened to such a free spirit since he last saw her, what could’ve changed her into the mournful, regretful creature hanging on the wall of the Gallery.
Leaving Martha in the Gallery, he goes exploring and finds that there is a very good reason the Grattites do not allow any displays of emotions, a reason that may destroy the planet ow that he and Martha have arrived, which is where our adventure truly begins…
On a close up like this, there's a lot of detail to the art - click to see it larger
A common theme for me throughout my reviews of these stories is going to be the artwork; it was very distracting. Overall, this was a decent story, but the artwork killed it for me in a lot of ways. Maybe I’m too set in my Marvel / DC ways where the art is pretty consistent throughout the book, I don’t know.
First – it seemed like they couldn’t decide what style of art they were going to use from panel to panel. This resulted in one panel looking very different from the next. In one, it looked almost like a half-finished sketch, on the next, some sort of half/real photo half/drawn/colored image. It just really distracted me from the story and a comic book’s art shouldn’t do that.
Second – I think they were going for ‘playful’ with the art, trying to capture the essence of Tennant’s Doctor and the humor that comes through via the art, but failed to deliver. The mish/mash of styles from panel to panel, page to page, didn’t feel playful as much as it felt ‘incomplete’ to me. Art is subjective, of course, so you could absolutely love it, I don’t know. I don’t, and that took away from the story for me – I couldn’t enjoy it for what it was because I was constantly thinking, “Gah! That looks terrible!”
on something like this, a 'further away' shot, they did a lot of detail on the TARDIS but Martha looks like a stick figure drawing
The Time Machination by Tony Lee and Paul Grist
The Doctor, traveling alone, brings the TARDIS to London in 1889. Apparently, the TARDIS is in need of fuel once again, but The Doctor can’t get her to Cardiff as he did with Rose and again with Martha, so he enlists the help of H.G. Wells and John Smith, a local physicist ‘of some renown’ to try and get her going again. Part of the trouble is that the Torchwood Institute is hunting for him under orders from the Queen, so he has to lie low and try not to be seen.
While The Doctor and John Smith discuss ways to refuel the TARDIS without actually moving her to Cardiff, The Doctor also keeps dropping hints to Wells about how he should write a book, something Wells does not seem very keen to do. “I told you Doctor, I’m not writing a book!”
Donning an outfit that looks suspiciously familiar, the three go off exploring only to run into folks from Torchwood!
The Doctor and John Smith escape, but Wells is captured and interrogated by the Torchwood Institute where he reveals that he has been in the company of The Doctor once before, though he looked very different.
In the end… well, I won’t tell you that. There is a twist to this story that I won’t reveal, but it’s an amusing story if a little confusing once everything is revealed.
I liked the art in this one better than the previous story. It’s completely different from the first story but consistent throughout which helped a lot and didn’t distract from the story which is in the same vein as the historical figure stories from the recent series (Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens). As such, it’s a lighter story, though it does have a decent twist and TWO references to Classic Who episodes that I caught – one in the middle and a nice little epilogue that ties the story to one of my favorites from the Tom Baker years; The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
The Doctor and Leela arrive in Victorian London for a little adventure.
Bonus shot - from the original and classic episode of Doctor Who-The Talons of Weng Chiang
Autopia by John Ostrander and Kelly Yates.
The Doctor and Donna travel to the closed planet Autopia. Millennia ago, the inhabitants mastered robotics and announced they were going to make an automated utopia. The robots would take over the task of keeping the planet going while they pursued higher goals like perfecting their minds and intelligence. They built planetary shields to keep the rest of the universe out so they could live undisturbed.
Of course, this doesn’t keep the TARDIS out. Together with Donna, The Doctor ventures out to explore Autopia and find its inhabitants.
First they run into robots who are definitely doing all the upkeep on the planet from gardening to security. Essentially, they’re arrested and taken to one of the inhabitants who seems both annoyed at being interrupted in her studies and indifferent at the idea that new people are standing before her. She simply wants to be left alone to keep ‘improving’, so she tells the robots to do to The Doctor and Donna what has been done to others who’ve managed to break through the planetary shield; kill them.
What happens next… well, that would be spoiling the story, wouldn’t it?
Of all the art throughout these stories, this one has my favorite. It’s light, fun – feels like an animated series might look. My only complaint is Donna herself; Catherine Tate is a, shall we say ‘curvaceous’ woman? Far more curvy than they’ve represented her here. I almost want to say that the comic book artist’s desire to make all women look impossibly thin and busty won through, which is sad. I don’t know – maybe they didn’t have the rights from Tate to her likeness so they decided to go with ‘Donna-like’ (or ‘Donna-lite’).
This is also my favorite of the stories, though I didn’t like the very last panel, which I won’t spoil here. It had a bit of the Ood flavor to it even though the aliens were very human looking.
Cold Blooded War by Richard Starkings and Gary Russel
The Doctor and Donna are off to a night at the opera. Both are dressed for the occasion and ready to go. Unfortunately, The Doctor has once again missed his landing slightly and they arrive on the planet Draconia, several million lightyears away from the opera.
They arrive in the middle of a civil war, one that many different powers throughout the galaxy have inserted themselves into in the interest of bringing peace to Draconia, a male dominated society where, for the first time in centuries, one of the royal houses has selected a female leader.
The Doctor is mistaken for an adjudicator sent from Earth to foster peace talks and Donna as a member of Earth royalty. No sooner do they arrive than they are split apart, The Doctor kidnapped by the forces opposing the rule of Empress Adjit Kwan while Donna is whisked away to ‘safety’ at the Empress’ court.
Now it’s up to them to bring peace to this world before the opposition executes the Doctor or the Empress is forced to allow Judoon troops from the Shadow Proclamation to occupy the planet as a peacekeeping force.
Ok – artwork. Again, I don’t care for it. Donna is drawn as a wispy thing once again.
Writing/story – if you’ve been wanting a non-human, non-London, non-Earth based Doctor story, this one delivers for you. Though the themes and settings mirror some of the things going on in our world today, the characters are all alien.
I think the writers went overboard trying to capture the Doctor and Donna through catch phrases they’ve used in the show and they did it way too much (this is actually true of all 6 stories, imho). Again, there are some references and tie-ins to classic Who (like the Talons reference from 2nd story).
Room with a Deja View by Rich Johnston and Eric J
The Doctor is traveling alone. Worse, he’s sitting in a corner of the TARDIS… Sulking?
Suddenly, the TARDIS picks up a distress signal and the Doctor lands on a ship deep in the void where there are no stars. He is arrested immediately and knocked unconscious.
When he wakes, he learns that the inhabitants of the ship are out in the middle of nowhere because they’re hiding from a plague that’s been ravaging through the galaxy.
Now that they know who he is, they want the Doctor not to help them fight the plague, but help them with a puzzling murder.
They know who the murderer us, they even know that he sent the distress signal that brought the Doctor to the ship, but they don’t know why and they aren’t having any luck interrogating the suspect. They hope the Doctor can help.
This is my least favorite of all these stories and it has my least favorite artwork.
Let's just see how ugly we can draw the Doctor, shall we?
The Doctor does a couple of things I deem to be ‘out of character’ for him; he crosses his own time stream and he SULKS in the TARDIS. Beyond that, the story itself, while clever, is difficult to follow. I get what they were doing (I won’t spoil it for you), what they were trying to accomplish and it’s bold, but falls flat for me. Again, if you’ve been looking for more non-human, non-London, non-Earth stories, this one will appeal to you.
Black Death White Life by Charlie Kirchoff and Tom Mandrake
Traveling with Martha, the Doctor plans to take her to Apple Records in January of 1969 to see the Beatles play their rooftop concert. Alas, this is not to be as the Doctor instead lands the TARDIS in 1669 where the plague is running rampant in a small village.
Only, the plague shouldn’t be running rampant anymore.
Upon hearing that there is a faith healer in a nearby church who is able to completely heal anyone suffering from the plague, Martha and the Doctor split up (Surprise!) to investigate.
Left alone, Martha is infected with the plague by the mysterious Plague Doctors and it’s up to the Doctor to figure out what’s going on.
This is an okay story; it has its silly bits and its serious bits and the artwork, though dark, fits the themes and the time period and isn’t terrible nor does it distract from the story.
So, there. Six stories, six very different bits of artwork, six very different plots. The trade paperback itself is very nicely put together for a softcover. It’ll run you $20 at a brick and mortar barring any discounts you may have or you can pick it up online for around $12.
Luke Skywalker; last of the Jedi. Destined to return balance to the Force. That’s a difficult legacy to beA long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Luke Skywalker; last of the Jedi. Destined to return balance to the Force. That’s a difficult legacy to be a part of.
Son of Anakin Skywalker and twin brother to Leia Skywalker, raised as an Organa, a lot was expected from Luke. You see, the Empire had overthrown the republic some years before and Darth Vader, a Sith Lord, had hunted down all of the Jedi and killed them – including Luke’s own father. One Jedi who survived the purge was Obi Wan Kenobi, ‘Old Ben’ as Luke knew him. He’d fought in the Clone wars, side by side with Luke’s father only to go into hiding when Vader started hunting the Jedi down.
When Luke comes of age, Obi Wan begins his training in the ways of the Force. Before he can finish training young Luke, Obi Wan is killed, murdered by Vader. Luke joins the Rebel Alliance against the Empire and, with the reluctant help of his new friend Han Solo, he manages to destroy the Death Star. But that was only the beginning. He soon found himself being trained by a second Jedi to survive the purge; Yoda. With Yoda, he learns much more about the Force and, with his new power, sees his friends in danger on a city in the clouds. Rushing forth, Luke falls into a trap set by Darth Vader. He is forced to fight Vader only to lose his hand and learn that Vader was, in fact, his father and that his mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi had lied to him.
To add insult to injury, Han Solo, his best friend, is captured by the bounty hunter known as Boba Fett and taken off to Jabba the Hutt, a criminal kingpin who rules his organization from Tattoine, Luke’s home planet. Along with his friends, they rescue Han and return to the Alliance only to learn that a new, more powerful Death Star is being built by the Emperor. With Yoda dead, Luke is the only remaining Jedi. He decides to confront Vader and his Emperor while the Alliance deals with the Empire. In the end, he reaches that spark of humanity left in Vader, that little piece of Skywalker still beating deep within his heart. Vader turns from the Dark Side, sacrificing himself to destroy the Emperor and save his son.
…the story doesn’t end there, nor does the Skywalker line. After the Empire falls, Luke meets and falls in love with Mara Jade. They have a son, Ben, who follows Luke into the new Jedi Order. Luke’s sister, Leia, also has children strong in the Force who become Jedi. The Skywalker line continues on until, 125 years after the events on the forest moon of Endor, Cade Skywalker becomes a Padawan…
Star Wars Legacy: Volume One-Broken is a trade paperback / graphic novel that brings together issues one through three and five through six of the comic book Star Wars Legacy originally published by Dark Horse Comics. Apparently issue four was a stand alone that didn’t fit in with this story, which seems silly to me (for them to do in the middle of series) but, oh well.
Paperback: 144 pages Publisher: Dark Horse (May 2, 2007)
You can’t keep a Jedi down. Wipe them out to near extinction and they come back. So do the Sith. They are two sides of the same coin, Sith and Jedi. Over a hundred years after the fall of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic, a new purge is underway and a new Empire is surging forth to seize power.
Darth Krayt has risen to power and, with an army of Sith following him, is striking out against the Jedi to purge them from the galaxy once and for all. He sends his Sith to Ossus to destroy the last Jedi Temple and kill all the Jedi and Padawans.
Kol Skywalker and his son, Cade, are among those fighting to survive. Master’s Skywalker and Sazen order their Padawans, Cade and Shado, to evacuate the younglings while they keep the Sith at bay.
When Master Sazen is cut down by the Sith, Cade rescues him and, enraged and afraid to lose his Master, uses the Force to heal him from the brink of death.
But using the Force this way somehow takes him dangerously close to the Dark Side. Seeing his father cut down by the Sith sends him teetering over the edge.
He hops into a fighter to cover his Master’s escape with the younglings, eager to kill as many Sith as he can manage. The last they see of Cade Skywalker is the destruction of his fighter.
Seven years later. Darth Krayt is now Emperor of a divided Empire.
A second Emperor, Roan Fel, holds together a ‘loyalist’ Empire not sworn to the Sith.
The Jedi are hunted by Imperials, Sith and Bounty Hunters, a massive price on the head of each and everyone of them.
Master Sazen and Shado, two of the few remaining free Jedi, are convinced Cade Skywalker still lives and are determined to find him.
Elsewhere, Princess Marasian, daughter of Emperor Fel, travels the galaxy seeking loyal Imperials to serve her father so they can overthrow the Sith, unaware she is being hunted by Darth Talon.
She falls in with a band of bounty hunters, her only protection from the Sith hunting her. They are good at what they do, but one may be more than he appears…
Well, what can I say about this one?
Tons of action, tons of adventure, tons of, well, everything. You have the developing character of Cade Skywalker; part of a legacy he wants no part of, struggling to become something, but he doesn’t know what. He’s running from his past and his future, haunted by memories and a destiny he refuses to embrace because he’s afraid that path will lead him to the Dark Side.
You have a compelling story of a galaxy in upheaval; the two Empire’s exist on top of each other with one Emperor on Coruscant and another constantly on the move. Each is trying to solidify their position.
You also have tons of Jedi and Sith; the Empire has ‘Imperial Knights’, including the Emperor Roan Fel and his daughter, Marasian.
So even if all the Jedi are hunted down, there are still the Imperial Knights to deal with. Gone is the ‘one master, one apprentice’ Sith rules, thrown out by Darth Krayt who sees strength in numbers as being more important. Plus, it gives him plenty of Sith to throw around and into battle.
You can probably tell by now that I really enjoyed this. The art was fantastic, the storytelling solid and engaging. I’ve already bought the second volume in this series. If you’re looking for a great Star Wars story, this is it. You don’t really need to know any of the expanded universe stuff to get into it.
Star Wars Legacy, Volume One: Broken will run you $18 at your local store sans any discounts you might receive or you can find it online for around $12.
This is rough. I tried and, I hope, succeeded in going into this with an open mind. I was just jazzed to see that someone was trying to do Buck RogersThis is rough. I tried and, I hope, succeeded in going into this with an open mind. I was just jazzed to see that someone was trying to do Buck Rogers again after a very long absence.
My memories of Buck Rogers are of spandex white suits and disco music, courtesy of one Gil Gerard and an 80′s interpretation of the character. But really, Buck Rogers has been around a lot longer than that.
Anthony Rogers first appeared in the pages of Amazing Stories waaaay back in 1928. He pulled a Rip Van Winkle, passing out in a cave and waking up in the 25th century. Gas in the cave held him in a sort of suspended animation, keeping him alive and not aging while he slept the centuries away.
Next, he was given the nickname ‘Buck’ and became the star of a daily comic strip, a radio serial and a movie serial – not necessarily in that order but work with me here. When tv came along, so did Buck, first in the 50′s and later on in the 80′s, which is the series I grew up with. I even had the lunch box and this iron version of Buck’s fighter complete with little orange missiles that shot out to choke little kids-er, destroy the enemy ships.
I also had a relatively fun strategy game based on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – still do (in a box somewhere). Think ‘Axis & Allies’, ‘Risk’ or ‘Shogun’ not ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ and you’ll get the gist of the game.
I’ve been thinking for some time now that there needed to be a come back for Buck Rogers, a retelling or reboot (despite my growing distaste and displeasure for the word ‘reboot’). I was aware of the web series in production (link?), but didn’t realize there was a comic book as well until I came across the graphic novel in a recent trip to B&N. (That’s not true. I think, now, that I remember reading something about it somewhere, sometime that I forgot about.)
Anyway, I picked it up and brought it home. Yes, yes, I paid for it first. Sheesh. You people and your thoughts sometimes.
Buck Rogers is a test pilot, he’s also a partner in a venture to build and test spacecraft capable of traveling faster than any ships before thanks to a new gravity drive they have in development.
Set in the ‘near future’, human’s have colonized Mars and are taking their first steps into a larger universe. Buck and his partners, aim to take Human’s even further – hence the gravity drive.
Only, trouble is a brewin’. The military (There’s always a military – usually with multi-billion dollar grants and seemingly endless buckets of money taking advantage of the poor scientists!) are now aware of and interested in the gravity drive and the experimental ship that only Buck can fly (thanks to genetic key codes and a slew of other safeguards built into the ships flight controls which, as a plot point, is pretty convenient).
Buck doesn’t know this, he has other, bigger concerns at the moment. Like bad navigational data and a slew of rocks right where he’d planned a test run of the gravity drive. He could test it anyway…
The military want New Challenger, though, and they aren’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer. So when Buck returns to earth and tries to say ‘no’ anyway, they have a counter argument ready for him:
When he wakes up again, Buck is told about a madmen who distributed a plague on Mars, a plague that caused the people there to go mad and kill each other. Before dying himself, the madmen launched a probe into deep space carrying genetic breakdowns of hundreds if not thousands of species from Earth, including humans.
Buck isn’t happy about being forced into Military service, but he also doesn’t see a way out and grudgingly agrees that maybe, just maybe, a probe full of earth species DNA floating around in space ain’t the best idea going. He agrees to use the gravity drive to stop the probe before it can leave the solar system, but something goes horribly wrong.
Instead of catching the probe, Buck Rogers finds himself returned to Earth hundreds of years later, crashing into a ‘Designated Game Preserve’ where humans are hunted, killed and slaughtered for meat…
…and where he meets, Wilma Deering.
I was very excited about this title. The cover art has a retro feel to it, like the old serials – heck, even the terminology is a throwback to the days of yesteryear (like ‘atomizer’, for example). But while the story was compelling, the back and forth way they told it wasn’t.
I gave you only part of the beginning in my little synopsis. Actually, they bounce back and forth between past and present in a way that almost makes you seasick. Well, makes me seasick, anyway.
One of the things I don’t necessarily care for in this re-imagining of the character is that Buck feels, at first, to be quite one dimensional. He’s a rebel, he ‘bucks’ the system, that is the entirety of his characters motivation in all things – okay, got it. When things get crazy and he gets shot into the future, there’s not really an ‘Oh shit!’ moment that I think any sane person would have. I’m reminded of John Crichton on Moya here – Buck should freak out. Granted, there’s tons of things going on, tons of dangers threatening him, but there’s also a moment when everything calms down that we don’t really see (before the next thing happens) – I think that’s when there should’ve been a freak out moment. A big one.
“Everyone I’ve ever known is dead!” Something like that. I mean, COME ON! Give him some emotion, some depth!
Other, revisted characters include: Wilma Deering, Princess Darla & Kane and Doctor Huer – all familiar and yet different in their own respects. They don’t do or say much to give us too much insight into who and what they are. Yet. Again, sort of one dimensional. Wilma’s a dedicated soldier. Darla & Kane aren’t to be trusted. Doctor Huer is the crazy scientist.
There’s a twist, a good one, that I won’t reveal. Suffice it to say, it’s the past coming back to haunt the future. It’s thought out but also pretty easy to spot once you get a little into the book. You see some stuff and your brain goes, “Oh. That’s why this and this is happening in the future. Got it.”
Part of me also wonders if it isn’t all just a dream that he’s having. Could go that way, not sure if it will. This is just volume 1 – issues 1-5/6 and there are more after this that I don’t have yet. This is the setup for the series – if it were a tv show, I’d call it the pilot. As pilot’s go, it’s okay, but not great. Maybe it builds from here, the story grows richer, the characters become more dimensional and relatable.
The artwork is clean and well done. There’s a retro feel to the future, if that makes sense.
The volume is available in hardback with gloss interiors that make the marketing guy in me smile, and it ain’t cheap – we’re talking $25 in a brick and mortar store, sans any discounts you might receive. Looks like you can get it for $17 online.
Although I am a massive Joss Whedon fan, and I love Firefly & Serenity - this book didn't do much for me.
I get the new marketing idea of a tie-inAlthough I am a massive Joss Whedon fan, and I love Firefly & Serenity - this book didn't do much for me.
I get the new marketing idea of a tie-in prequel comic, I do - gets the fan based all excited. This one had the flavor of Firefly without the taste, if that makes sense.
Sometimes I feel like, when they take something like this and translate it to comic form, they go too far. They no longer have budgets to worry about or actors who can get hurt doing stunts, so they go overboard and the realism of the show gets lost in the fantasy of the comic.
Can you give something a negative rating on this site? They should add that.
From Space Vampires to Batman breaking the one rule tWhat a terrible book.
Can you give something a negative rating on this site? They should add that.
From Space Vampires to Batman breaking the one rule that makes him who he is, this is a piece of crap cover to cover. Skip it. You'll never get the time back and you'd be better served spending that time on something more useful - like a root canal. It'll be less painful.