Better Back-Up

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #23
Written by Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Paul Dini
Art by John Timms and Brett Blevins

Harley and Goat Boy takes Harley’s parents on a dinner cruise when the cruise is invaded by Clock King and Sportsmaster. Outside of the stuff with spoonsdale, I actually found this issue a tad boring and tedious. It seems like Conner and Palmiotti are being too wordy in each panel. Let the story breathe a bit. The backup Paul Dini was more fun with Harley overspending on her new headquarters for the Joker.

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.

Harley Quinn 17-22

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #17
Written by Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Paul Dini
Art by John Timms and Brett Blevins

The main story has the detective guy asking Harley and her gang to look into why homeless people are missing in New York and the dialogue was very funny. It seems that this series is a hit or a miss for me and this issue was a hit. The back up story by Paul Dini and art by Brett Blevins doing his best Bruce Timm – it reminded me so much of the old Batman: the Animated Series from when I was a kid it brought a smile to my face.

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Harley Quinn (Volume 3) #18
Written by Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Paul Dini
Art by John Timms, Joseph Michael Lisner, and Brett Blevins

The main story of the cannibals eating all of the Homeless is so sad but somehow they manage to write it all off as a dark comedy while not being offensive. That takes balls. The back up was filled with more Batman: The Animated Series style Harley and Joker goodness. This is a fun book to read again.

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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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Superman Batman 82-87

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Superman/Batman #82
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by ChrisCross

Is ChrisCross’s art always this gorgeous? I sure don’t remember it being this good. This was a fun issue as we see Superman in a future world where magic has essentially taken over the earth because of “the final spell.” Meanwhile Batman is back in time doing occult detective work with Detective Chimp and Doctor Occult. I can never get enough Detective Chimp. And then Klarion the Witch Boy shows up! This is going to be a wild ride.

superman-batman_vol_1_83Superman/Batman #83
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by ChrisCross

Another fun occult flavored issue finds Batman teaming up with the entire Shadowpact and fighting an evil cult. I loved it. Although I don’t know that I care too much about the Superman in the post-apocalyptic future part. It just has been done so many times before. ChrisCross’s art is beautiful!

 

 

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Written by Cullen Bunn

Art by ChrisCross

This issue concludes the Sorcerer Kings arc and it was well and good. The art was fantastic and there were some great character moments but I can’t say I was blown away by it. I never really enjoy alternate timeline stories all that much.

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Superman/Batman #85
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Adriana Melo

This was a cool start to this new storyline. A man washes up dead in Metropolis. It turns out this man was working for the Gotham Gazette and was about to expose who Batman really was. Clark is sent to Gotham to cover the story and also wants to help Batman clear his name for the murder.  It turns out the reporter figured it out because he found a gadget that Batman had forgot to take the Patton number off of that belonged to Waynetech. It shows that even Batman can make a mistake. The art fit the story well. Melo is a great artist for a Batman story.

superman-batman_vol_1_86Superman/Batman #86
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Tomas Giorello

A different artist draws Part 2 of this story. Tomas Girorello is just as good. He draws a beautiful Gotham City. Clark continues his investigation and interviews Lucius Fox who basically says Batman stole the tech. This whole scene is clearly inspired by the Nolan movies. In the comics, does Lucius  know that Bruce is Batman? I can’t remember. I am pretty sure that the Nolan movies came up with the idea that Lucius works on his gadgets and that is what he is show to be doing here but I wonder if they also brought into the comics Lucius knowing his secret identity. Anyways, this was a great issue as we see Superman and Batman doing their best detective work independently with a shocking ending I didn’t see coming. I mean I knew Mayne probably had something to do with it but the Joker came out of nowhere!

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Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Tomas Giorello

This is the final issue of Superman/Batman’s long run. It has been a hit and miss book over the years but this issue was a definite hit. The gorgeous art by Giorello and the wonderfully plotted story made it a hit in my book. They never mention it but I bet the Joker chose to kill the reporter because he did not want the Batman’s secret getting out cause it would ruin his fun. I always like the idea that the Joker does not really want Batman dead or unmasked.

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.

 

 

 

Action Comics 900-904

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Action Comics #900
Written by Paul Cornell, David Lindeloff, Paul Dini, Geoff Johns, David S. Goyer, Richard Donner, Derek  Hoffman
Art by Pete Woods, Jesus Marino, Ryan Sook, RB Silva, Gary Frank, Miguel Sepulveda, Matt Camp, and Brian Stelfreeze

This is the 900th issues of Action Comics and we get a special 96-page issue to celebrate. Some great things here. I loved that they actually mention Superboy’s tactile telekenisis power which has been ignored since the days of Young Justice it seems sometimes. Anyways, Lex Luthor is now a God and shows Superman some of the most emotional moments in the Man of Steel’s history, and then Lex finds out that Clark Kent is Superman finally! I love that Cornell has Superman confirming that the Kents made him who he is today. That is something that has been lost since Johns took over the Superman franchise and overemphasized Superman’s kryptonian heritage. The issue also shows how fundamentally wrong Lex is about Superman’s nature believing that he isn’t capable of human emotion which is the exact opposite because in many ways Superman is more “human” than Lex is. With all this look back at the death of Superman, would it have killed them to have the Matrix Supergirl/Linda Danvers involved instead of or in additon to Kara? That angers me but whatever. Anyways, Lex Luthor projects universal happiness well literally universally and we see even Death of the endless feel it. That was a genius moment from Cornell. Lex then learns that he can keep his new Godlike power and never kill Superman or do anything negative or he must give it up. Lex being the villain that he is chooses the second option and loses his memory of Clark Kent being Superman and the ending leads to what I don’t think looks that great called Reign of the Doomsdays. The rest of the book are smaller stories celebrating the 900th issue. Paul Dini, Geoff Johns, and David Goyer’s stories stood out. I loved Brian Stelfreeze’s final page art too.

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Action Comics #901
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Kenneth Rocafort and Jesus Merino

This continues the Reign of the Doomdays arc which is stupid but Cornell shows he is a good writer even when given a stupid story. The Doomslayer is a clever creation too.  I wish there was just Jesus Merino on this issue though. It looks like The Eradicator may be dead.

 

 

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Action Comics #902
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Kenneth Rocafort and Alex Gimenez

Wow! I was pleasantly surprised by this issue. Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, and Steel all work together and act like a real heroes. This is something that should happen on a regular basis and DC Comics but Paul Cornell really knocked it out of the park and had Superman not even want to have Doomsday die. I love that these are real heroes and I’m glad that they’re written that way.

 

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Action Comics #903
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Alex Gimenez

This was a great issue with plenty of guest stars including the Justice League and the Teen Titans plus more I really enjoyed it and I was surprised by that. Paul Cornell is a good writer he knows how to create good suspense.

 

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Action Comics #904
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Alex Gimenez and Ronan Cliquet

I’m very glad that DC is returning this book to its original numbering. This is the final issue before it relaunched under the new 52 Banner. It was a fantastic finale that it really showed Paul Cornell understands the character . I literally cheered out loud when Lois said Jonathan and Martha made Superman not Krypton. That was fantastic and it is the truth.

Detective Comics 875 – 881

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Detective Comics #875
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Francisco Francavilla

This was very good. I was very impressed. Snyder is making sure that the stories here in Detective Comics are true detective stories as Commissioner Gordon tries to solve an old case involving missing children while at the same time thinking back on his young son’s possible murder of a teenage girl. It is dark but that is always fine in the Batman corner of the DC Universe. I wonder if this idea that James Gordon Jr. was a tad nutty is ever referenced in a comic before. You would think Oracle would have mentioned her friend going missing.

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Detective Comics #876
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock

Snyder switches from Commissioner Gordon to Dick Grayson Batman for this issue when a dead killer whale shows up in a Gotham City bank one morning with a girl inside. One cant help but wonder are they bringing back the villain Orca? I always liked Orca but I am pretty sure she is dead. Anyways it was a really creepy murder. Snyder also mines continuity by referencing the murder of Dick’s parents; the bank owner is the daughter of Boss Zucco. Anyways, more Batman comics should be as cool as this.

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Detective Comics #877
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock

Scott Snyder pulls a  Paul Dini this issue and creates two new Batman villains; the Roadrunner and Tiger Shark. I like when writes understand the world they are writing and don’t try to change it into something else. Batman fight comic book villains and Snyder get that. Jock’s art was incredible as well. You really feel the scale of Gotham City in his art.

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Detective Comics #878
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jock

The Tiger Shark is truly a classic villain. He wears the skin of endangered animals, has henchmen, and Killer Whales. It is awesome. Dick meets with James Gordon Jr. in this issue as well and realizes that Boss Zucco’s daughter may have been using him.I called it in my head that James Jr would go after Ben Wolff otherwise this was a great issue.

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Detective Comics #879

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Art by Francisco Francavilla

Commissioner Gordon meets with Oracle to discuss her brother as they both want to find out if he truly has reformed. The shocking truth is that James Jr has created a pill that will turn people into psychopaths and is planning on giving it to Gotham’s Children. Francavilla’s art make the story doubly creepy – especially a scene with the Joker. The final scene brings things full circle and I won’t spoil it but it’s just good writing.

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Detective Comics #880

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Art by Jock

After he escapes from Arkham, Barbara Gordon Sr. is brutally attacked with Joker venom. This issue ends with the shocker that it wasn’t the Joker at all (who Snyder writes perfectly) but James Jr. I hope Snyder doesn’t make Oracle a damsel-in-distress the next issue because we all know she can hold her own. Otherwise this was an amazing Batman story. I look forward to the finale.

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Detective Comics #881

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Art by Francisco Francavilla and Jock

This is the last issue before the New 52 reboot but this series is not ending as the original numbering is coming back this month. Yay! I won’t be reviewing crap New 52 issues though and will skip ahead to Rebirth. Anyways creeper James Jr puts knives into Oracle’s arteries. I can’t help but wonder why the Birds of Prey aren’t in on this case. I love that Snyder chooses to have Red Robin help Batman here instead of Damian. Tim is the real Robin in my book. This was a tremendous finale to what has been a tremendous run on Detective Comics.

 

 

 

5 Years Later and I am back baby! So here is Gotham City Sirens 22-26

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Gotham City Sirens #22
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

It has been five years since I read the last issue of this book and I don’t remember what happened but I think this was a Batman crossover issue and therefore it doesn’t much matter. It sure as hell was a good one though. Calloway really played with Catwoman’s history here with her sister which shows he understands the character. Always interesting to hear Selena quote Jesus of all people. I missed the DCU! It is good to be back in Gotham.

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Gotham City Sirens #23
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

Look how old this comic is ! The Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie! Ew! Anyways, Harley tries to break Joker out of Arkham again and Batman sends Catwoman to stop it. I love that the Joker knows that there is more than one Batman running around Gotham and mentions it here. They really never had Joker and Harley together in the mainstream comics all that much. It is refreshing (and psychotic) to see it in this issue.

 

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Gotham City Sirens #24
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

This was an action-packed finale to this arc that ends with both Harley and Ivy locked up in Arkham but not before the Joker goes on a murdering spree. It is fun to see the Bat and the Cat fighting together again. This was a great issue. Violent. I had forgotten how violent these comics can be. But I don’t mind violence as long as there is still hope and optimism in the end. DC Rebirth restored that for me. Let’s hope the Didio doesn’t screw this up!

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Gotham City Sirens #25
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

Hats off to Guinaldo for choosing to make the borders between panels in this issue be actualy plant vines as it mainly stars Poison Ivy who breaks out of Arkham with Harley Quinn (I love that she goes between wanting to actually kill Harley and calling Harley her best friend throughout the issue) and with the help of the Penguin the duo traps Catwoman in Robinson Park. This is the perfect way to end a villain book, even sympathetic villains like these ladies. I look forward to the final issue.

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Gotham City Sirens #26
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

This is the final issue of the Gotham City Sirens as it ends before the New 52 disgusting no-good horrible reboot. So glad it is turning out to not have been a reboot at all.  I have to say it had some great character moments but I was a bit confused if Batman was really behind the entire Sirens “team” or if Catwoman was lying. It also ended abruptly. I wonder if the other titles do this before Flashpoint or if this was unique. The last panel was just blank. Sad.

Expectations

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Gotham City Sirens #21
Written by Peter Calloway
Art by Andres Guinaldo

 

This was another great issue of Sirens. Two in a row after a so-so opening arc for Calloway on this book! Harley succumbs to her love for the Joker after all. I loved it and I wasn’t expecting that but I should have! The story of the Guards’ kid was very sad and showed just how twisted the Joker really is. I didn’t expect Catwoman and Ivy to part ways in this either. Love the art as well!

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.