Gotham Victims

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Batman (Volume 3) #26
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin

Ok what the hell Deathstroke is NOT a Batman villain. Why is he pictured with the Batman Rogues Gallery all of a sudden and showing up possibly in the next Batman movie – he is a Teen Titans villain who sometimes fights other heroes! But anyways the second part of the War of Jokes and Riddle was decent but I was surprised at how quick a read it was. It was good to see characters like Carmine Falcone and it looks like Batman has now joined the Justice League in his first year as a crime fighter which I don’t even think that was the case before Flashpoint so that is an interesting continuity change. The theme that I took away from this issue is that Tom King seems to be focusing on the innocent victims of the Batman villains and how Batman remembers their names to keep his crusade on crime going. I like that.

New Team Leader / New Art

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #20
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Stjepan Sejic

In this beautifully drawn issue by Stjepan Sejic, Harley Quinn is named the new team leader of Task Force X by Amanda Waller. It is about time that this book has had a good consistent artist – it has been the single thing that I think has hurt this series the most. The art turned an okay comic book into a good one.

The Name of the Team

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #19
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Neil Edwards

I always though Suicide Squad was just a nickname and they were really Task Force X – but they sure call themselves Sucide Squad a lot here and are even called that by amanda Waller. I don’t know why but that bothered me. As for this issue, it was okay. Nothing really of note happened except a fight with Zod who is a character that I have never thought was all that interesting.

The War of Jokes and Riddles Begins

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Batman (Volume 3) #25
Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janin

This issue begins a flashback story called the War of Jokes and Riddles. It begins with many violent hard to watch/read murders by both the Joker and the Riddler and ends with a great panel of a naked Batman looking pretty great next to Catwoman in bed as he tells this story. We still don’t know if Catwoman said yes to his marriage proposal last issue but who cares – we got to see Mikel Janin draw a great naked Batman! Yay! Jokes aside (no pun intended), this was a great start to what looks like a very cool past-Batman story which if done right looks like it could be on the level of something like the Long Halloween. Tom King is really good at dissecting these characters and his explanation of why the Joker and the Riddler do what-they-do (as told by the Riddler) is fascinating.

Suicide Squad 14 – 18

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #14
Written by Rob Williams
Art by John Romita Jr. and Eddy Barrows

Big shocker…Amanda Waller is not really dead. Actually, no one in this series ever stays dead so why call it Suicide Squad? I can’t say I enjoyed this issue all that much. It was just the Suicide Squad for some reason going after that Rustam guy and I don’t buy at all that they would stick together after being released from jail. This makes me miss how good Gail Simone’s Secret Six was. Remember when Deadshot had actual characterization?

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #15
Written by Rob Williams
Art by John Romita Jr. and Eddy Barrows

Okay I have to give it to Rob Williams he did write some funny Harley Quinn dialogue in this issue. At one point she yells a command, “Suicide Squad attack! Make defamatory comments! Use Sarcasm.” That gave me a chuckle. This was a much better written issue. Amanda Waller’s evil is always fun to read in a weird way. That being said, Romita and Barrows have very different art styles and it is jarring to see them both in one issue.

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Suicide Squad Rebirth 1 – 13

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #1
Written by Rob Willaims
Art by Jim Lee and Jason Fabok

Suicide Squad returns post-Rebirth with the exact same line up as the movie. Coincidence? I think not. I can’t say this was Jim Lee’s best work. I usually like his artwork (If not his choices for costumes *cough* Huntress * cough) but this seemed unpolished somehow or rushed. That being said, it was an interesting start as the Suicide Squad is sent to Russia to retrieve a Cosmic object of importance by Amanda Waller and they nearly die while dropping to Russia from space. I question how it is that Harley is living it up in Brooklyn in her own series yet somehow is in jail here? In the back up story, we focus on Deadshot and it looks like his daughter from the movie is being retconned into the main DCU. At least I know he did not have a daughter Pre-Flashpoint. Maybe she existed in the New 52, I don’t know.

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Suicide Squad (Volume 5) #2
Written by Rob Willaims
Art by Jim Lee and Ivan Reis

In this action-packed issue, the Suicide Squad helps a girl named Hack escape from her prison cell and she turns them into digital information to warp to where the cosmic item is – which turns out to be a sphere which acts as a portal to the Phantom Zone. And yes sure enough Zod escapes and it looks like he kills Captain Boomerang. Is he dead again? We shall see I guess. The back-up story focuses on Captain Boomerang as he tells a fake origin to Amanda Waller. It was good fun.

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Pandora Pits and Creative Teams

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Trinity (Volume 2) #7
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Clay Mann and Miguel Mendoca

Ra’s Al Ghul, Lex Luthor, and Circe are all called to “the Pandora Pits.” and fight a creature that comes from the Pits that is a fusion of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman; a representation of their greatest fears. In the end, they beat the creature and realize the power of the Pandora Pits is here. How this relates to the Pandora killed in DC Rebirth is unknown to me but this was an intersting start to this tory arc. Is Manapul now off this book or is Bunn just a guest writer? Is it always going to have rotating creative teams like Superman/Batman had? I really enjoyed Manapul’s work on this series before. I hope he is back.

Barry Allen 1 – 18

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The Flash (Volume 5) #1
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

I liked that this issue acted as a true #1 and introduced new readers to The Flash’s origin and everything and starts to fill out his supporting cast but I am not a huge fan of the art. I mean it is not bad but I am not sure it is right for a Flash comic. Also, I am unsure of what Barry and Iris’s relationship is now. Does she know he is the Flash? Why does Kid Flash not know Barry is the Flash? I guess I will find out. It also looks like the lightning has struck Barry’s friend August and gave him powers of some sort.

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The Flash (Volume 5) #2
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Carmine Di Giandomenico

In this issue, Barry trains Detective August Heart about his new speed force powers. He suspects he missed having Wally West (The original and real Flash) around and maybe the Speed Force chose August to be his partner. Meanwhile, the Black Hole is a gang of people working for Dr. Carver and causing Havoc for Barry and August. I am confused why young Wally (Can they just change his name?) says he is not a hero. Didn’t he debut as Kid Flash pre-Rebirth? Also, didn’t the lightning strike Barry after he had a bunch of chemicals on him. I didn’t think lightning alone gave him his powers? At the end of this issue, it looks like the lightning struck a whole bunch more people. This is getting interesting but I am still not a huge fan of the art.

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All-Star Batman 1 – 7

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All-Star Batman #1
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey

Scott Snyder wrote some good Batman comics before Flashpoint. But I never read his New 52 run he is praised for because well…it was the New 52. Of course I did not read that crap. So now after Rebirth he gets his own Batman series to play around with. In this first issue, Two-Face tells Gotham he is going to expose their criminal secrets unless one of them saves him from Batman…I guess that is what happened. I really did not like the art in this book. Was this Declan Shalvey or John Romita Jr.? It was confusing and the characters were ugly to look at. I could see it working in another comic but not a Batman comic. I am also very suspicious of any story that has Alfred betraying Batman. It also doesn’t help I find this new character of Duke Thomas hard to give a shit about. I am hoping Snyder turns it around and makes me understand the need for this character? We shall see. I can’t say that I was impressed with this first issue. The “stilling” technique was super gross.

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All-Star Batman #2
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey

Why is King Shark referred to as Trixie in this comic? I don’t remember that ever being his name. Anyways, the art continues to bother me. I like Shalvey’s art better than Romita but still they both annoy me. They aren’t right for this comic at all. I want to get excited to look at Batman, not be weirded out by it. Also, the non-linear storytelling in this comic is beyond annoying. What the hell is even going on? I thought people said Snyder was a great Batman writer? He sure makes Zsasz scary but so far that is it for me.

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Red Hood 1 – 7

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Red Hood and the Outlaws (Volume 2) #1
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Dexter Soy

I am one of those people that Jason Todd is a character that should be dead. He was a much more powerful character when he was dead and memorialized in the batcave and I think DC bringing him back was a mistake and too easy. That being said, I like this comic. I think it mainly had to do with the beautiful art of Dexter Soy who draws Gotham City like it should be drawn. The cover is a little misleading, Bizarro doesn’t appear and Artemis is in one panel. This was a Red Hood comic primarily where he goes “undercover” working for Black Mask. It seems Jason’s relationship with Batman has improved since I stopped reading comics because Batman is at least talking to him and asking him to do stuff. I love that Lobdell brought back an obscure DC character from the 80s named Ma Gunn who is an interesting Bat-villain. Yay continuity! I look forward to seeing what will happen when Bizarro and Aremis are explored further.

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Red Hood and the Outlaws (Volume 2) #2
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Dexter Soy

Artemis and Red Hood go from fighting to allies in this comic book while Red Hood is still pretending to be working for Black Mask and his gang. It was a great comic. Who is this Dexter Soy and why does he not do more art for DC?! He should be drawing higher profile books than this because he is incredible. I wanted to learn more about Artemis’s back story. Does she remember her time as Wonder Woman or was that erased by Dr. Manhattan or whoever is manipulating time in Rebirth.

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Batman Rebirth 1 – 17

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Batman (Volume 3) #1
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

In the first issue of this new Batman solo series, Batman prepares to give his life to save a plane full of people that almost crashes into Gotham. Spoiler Alert…he ends up not dying although he prepares to say goodbye to Alfred in a touching scene. The plane is actually saved by two Superheroes calling themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl. The idea of heroes showing up in Gotham with actual powers is an interesting thing. Would this make Batman feel useless? I guess we will see. I enjoyed the art in this. Finch knows how to draw Gotham City and its world well. Also, who is this new Batman protege Duke Thomas? I don’t know anything about

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Batman (Volume 3) #2
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

I love how Duke asks Batman if he trusts these new heroes of Gotham and Gotham Girl, and he says “I don’t even trust Alfred.” That made me smile. I thought this would make Batman jealous to have super powered heroes but I should have known better – Batman is a true hero and wants what is best for Gotham City. These heroes could stop things he cannot stop and he knows that. I loved how the Gotham Man is confused when Batman dissapears when talking to Commissioner Gordon. But who are these two heroes and how do they have powers that are almost Kryptonian in nature? I do not like how skinny Finch draws Amanda Waller. She is way too thin in this. But that is my only complaint about this issue.

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Batman: The Dark Knight 3-5

 

 

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Written by David Finch
Art by Jason Fabok

Holy crap is Jason Fabok’s art here beautiful to look at! We learn more about Dawn’s past and Lady Blaze shows up! I always think she must be a fun character to draw and draw Fabok does! I think this was the best issue of this series so far because I know it has been many years but I remember not being too impressed with this before. I will have to go back and look at my reviews. I was truly blown away by the artwork in this comic.

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Batman: The Dark Knight #5
Written by David Finch
Art by Jason Fabok

This is the final issue of this series before it was relaunched in the horrendous New 52 DC Universe.  Fabok’s art is candy for the eyes again. I rather enjoyed how he makes the Batsymbol on Batman’s chest glow. It was a sad ending where Dawn actually is killed. It is always interesting when Batman fails. And this is one of those times. I guess this series storyline remained in tact after New 52 becauase this issue ends with a clifhanger. I wonder if it is followed up on. I will probably never read it because I have no interest in the New 52.

Batman and Robin 22-26

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Batman and Robin #22
Written by Peter Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason

This was a great issue. I can’t get enough of Gleason’s art. Jane Doe makes an appearance from Paul Dini’s run on Streets of Gotham! I always liked her. Batman defeats the White Knight whose origin is revealed as a boy who witnessed his father’s murder at Arkham.

 

 

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Batman and Robin #23
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Guillim March and Andre Bressan

Judd Winick returns to the character he essentially created when he brought Jason Todd back to life as the Red Hood. I have to say Morrison wrote the character the best. I was afraid Winick would ignore Morrison’s work but he includes it in this issue even having Jason have light hair again. He isn’t in costume yet but the cover seems like he will be using the new Red Hood costume still so all is good. Honestly I have never thought it was a great idea to bring Jason back butit always seemed like Winick never got to finish the story he started when it got wrapped up in Infinite Crisis so I am interested in seeing where this goes.

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Batman and Robin #24
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Greg Tocchini

The art change in this issue was jarring to say the least. It wasn’t bad art but it is nothing like the previous issue. Anyways I am sad to say Jason does get a new costume in this issue that is more like the boring one he had before Morrison’s run. Scarlet also makes her return in this issue and Batman, Robin, and the Red Hood will have to team up next issue to save her so it isn’t all bad.

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Batman and Robin #25
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Greg Tocchini

This was an okay issue. Very mediocre really. But at least Scarlet and the Red Hood are team mates again. I wonder if she ever shows up in the New 52 because she is an interesting character. I liked the comparison between Dick and Jason but it has been done to death.

 

 

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Batman and Robin #26
Written by David Hine
Art by Greg Tocchini and Andrei Bressan

Okay this was a very disturbing but well done-in-one comic starring the Batman of France, Nightrunner, and Dick and Damian as the fight the Man Who Laughs who is almost as scary as the Joker! This was grotesque but very well done as only David Hine can do it.

 

 

 

Penguin’s Nose

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Batman: The Dark Knight #2
Written by David Finch
Art by Finch

 

That was a quick read for a comic book that is so incredibly late but whatever, it was still good. Finch’s artwork is fantastic and the story is interesting even if I have no idea on how it all connects just yet. Who is the Ragman-like monster killing homeless people and what is with this amulet? Oh and Finch draws a big nose on Penguin doesn’t he?

Streets of Gotham 19 and 20

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Batman: Streets of Gotham #19
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen

 

The House of Hush storyline seems all over the place here filled with time jumps but I don’t mind cause it has been a good story so far and I loved the Joker stuff in this.

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Batman: Streets of Gotham #20
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen

This was even more flashback to the Waynes and this time includes the Justice Society with Hippolyta on the team!! Despite comments by Didio and DCU Legacies, I knew she was still the Golden Age Wonder Woman! It is weird how Nguyen draws her here though.

Finch’s Gotham

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Batman: The Dark Knight #1
Written by David Finch
Art by Finch

 

And so debuts another new batbook this time the sole work of David Finch depicting Bruce Wayne dealing with darker, more occult side of Gotham City. I really enjoyed it and I was surprised how much I liked Finch’s artwork here. I loved how he drew the Batmobile like the one from the Burton films and the mystery of Dawn Golden is intriguing (Even if her name and retconnedness is a little hokey). Not a bad start at all.

Leaving Arkham

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Titans (Volume 2) #30
Written by Eric Wallace
Art by Fabrizio Fiorentino

 

It’s a shame this Arkham arc is coming to an end as this has been the best this book has been since the Villains for Hire thing started. Heck any comic set in Arkham is usually a treat but this setting really amped up the fun for this series which I found to just be incredibly depressing before. Osiris leaves and swares off killing for now, which is a good thing, although it was kind of abrupt and the confrontation between Dick and Roy was great cause I am glad to see that Dick still believes in his friend even if Roy has become a drug addicted mess. I wonder where this is going.