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.

The Trip to Qurac

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Red Hood and the Outlaws (Volume 2) #9
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art by Dexter Soy

The Outlaws travel to Qurac in this issue beautifully drawn by Dexter Soy. Put this artist on every book DC. He is perfect. While in Qurac, Jason naturally reminisces about his death at the hands of the Joker as the Outlaws try to get the Bow of Ra back from the person they believe has it. This issue seems almost ripped from the headlines in terms of what is going on with Syria except that instead of poison gas, we have this magical bow. It has to be a coincidence. I really can’t say one bad thing about this comic starring Jason Todd, who knew I would ever write a sentence like that.

Green Lanterns 1 – 19

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Green Lanterns #1
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Robson Rocha

As happy as I am to have a new Green Lantern book that is not starring boring old Hal Jordan, I can’t say I was excited to read this. Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz have not interested me one bit in the Justice League book. Simon just seems like a jerk and Jessica is so unsure of herself it becomes not sweet, but annoying. I was hoping under a different write I would feel differently. This issue did not win me over, but maybe future issues will because the art was good and I am interested in the Red Lantern sub-plot. Oh and Dex-Starr!

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Green Lanterns #2
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Robson Rocha

Now this was more like it! By focusing on Jessica learning about her ring with her sister, Humphries made me actually understand her character better and what she is going through. Hopefully we will get a similar focus on Simon. This series just got good.

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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.

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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Bane, Venom, and Good Art

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Batman (Volume 3) #18
Written by Tom King
Art by David Finch

It occurred to me for the first time while reading this comic that Bane using venom was completely absent from Dark Knight Rises. That is a pretty important part of his character…it’s almost like Batman without the batmobile. How did I not notice this till now? Maybe because Bane was off venom for a long time in the comics before that movie came out. He never used it during his time on the Secret Six that I can remember. I have to say that what made this comic book from merely okay to being very good was David Finch’s incredible art. Until I read this issue I never really thought about how awesome Bane’s original costume is. Finch even mimics Frank Miller and other artists from Batman’s history as we do flashback to the history of both Batman and Bane. (I wish there was Cassandra Cain though!) I was a little bit confused by the ending, Batman seems left for dead but then it seems like Batman and Catwoman have a plan for Bane after all? We shall see next issue I guess.

Harley Quinn 1 – 14

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #1
Written by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Chad Hardin

I knew that Harley Quinn seemed to be way more popular since I stopped reading comics just by looking at dccomics.com once in a while the last few years. At first I hated that they sexified her costume and everything but after reading this comic I can see why she has become so big. This is hilarious stuff! Connor and Palmiotti write Harley as if you can hear her accent and funny quips in your ears. The way the zombie outbreak gets started is so morbid but funny. And all of these side characters are intriguing – the gang of Harleys, Red Tool, etc…

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #2
Written by Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by Bret Blevins and  Chad Hardin

I did not enjoy this issue as much as the last but this is still a fun book. In this issue, it is mostly just Harley fighting the zombies in various ways and some of the jokes felt flat to me. But I loved the part in the bathroom.

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