Batman: Joker’s Daughter #1

DC

Release Date:  2/5/14

Words:  Marguerite Bennett

Pictures:  Meghan Hetrick

The Sitch:

Meet The Joker’s Daughter in this One Shot that sheds some light on who this interesting new villain is, or may be.  Yea, unreliable narrators are interesting like that.

The Confession:

I understand that he Joker’s Daughter had a villain spotlight during the whole DC Villains month and I have to admit I missed that one.  When I asked people about it many were not all that impressed so I never followed through.  It must not have been an introduction like this one because this one is pretty good.

I am always uncomfortable giving my confessions of the major supers of The Big Two because there are so many people out there reading this stuff for so much longer than myself that I feel inadequate, a poser.  Catching up on all the story-lines and gimmicks from these two worlds seems impossible.  That doesn’t stop me from trying.

I didn’t know what to expect in this book.  I hoped for something dark and complicated, for sure.  On those notes I was not disappointed.  Bennett weaves a nice little introduction story to an interesting and complicated terror who calls herself The Joker’s Daughter.  It was creepy and disturbing, just like the character herself.  She is such the unreliable narrator that it only adds to the erratic danger that makes her who she is, a terrifyingly unpredictable menace to Gotham.

Hetrick’s art is also creepy and disturbing.  She makes Gotham look like Gotham on Wonderland… I like it.  She pays attention to detail beautifully from The Joker’s Daughter’s grotesque mask to depicting Gotham around her, and the handiwork she leaves in her wake.  The first splash page of the burning bus is pretty and twisted, setting the feel of the book as a whole.

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I know this is a one shot that sets the stage for whenever and wherever the powers that be deem it necessary for this character to be seen again.  It does so in solid form but I would really like to see this team of Bennett and Hetrick go further with this character and her story.  If they do, I will gladly add it to my pull list.  Go get your dose of sweet madness now!

jd

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Harley Quinn #0

DC

Release Date:  11/20/13

Words:  Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti

Pictures:  Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Charlie Adlard, Art Baltazar, Becky Cloonan, Darwyn Cooke, Tony S. Daniel, Sam Kieth, Bruce Timm, Jim Lee, Stephane Roux, Tradd Moore, Chad Hardin, Adam Hughes, Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian, Jeremy Roberts, Walter Simonson

The Sitch:

Harley Quinn breaks the fourth wall in this #0 issue intro to her new series as she imagines what it would be like to be the center of her very own comic book.  The approach to making this book is as schizophrenic as Harley herself, using the wide range of various artists showcasing their unique styles of Harley in all her crazy violent mayhem making.

The Confession:

This was the most fun book of the week.  It is very cool to have so many artistic renditions of Harley in one book.  The writing itself is smart and light with the potential to go dark and serious.  I look forward to seeing what these creators have in store for Harley, who happens to have always been one of the more intriguing Gotham characters to me.  I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite but I have to say I really enjoyed this page on so many levels by Tradd Moore:

tmoore

If you haven’t already, go get this one.

Batman Beyond Universe #1

DC

Release Date:  8/21/13

Words:  Kyle Higgins / Christos Gage

Pictures:  Thony Silas / Iban Coello

The Sitch:

Terry McGinnis dons the cowl in the Batman Beyond half of the book in which he must deal with his existence as a freshman at Gotham University being threatened when the mayor is murdered.  Meanwhile the Justice League must deal with Superman whose powers are out of control.

The Confession:

Okay… I’m a bit lost here.  I did watch Batman Beyond when it was television.  I was not faithful enough to follow every episode but I did enjoy what I saw and watched more than a few with my daughters.  For this reason Batman Beyond with Terry McGinnis behind the cowl is familiar enough with me, as are some of the villains involved in his story.  I was not aware of the digital comics of either the Gotham side or the Justice League side until now so my musings may be not informed enough.  For that I apologize.

As someone who is just jumping on board I can say that I did enjoy the Batman Beyond more than the Justice League story.  Batman Beyond felt more clean, more true to the original classic tv show.  Time has passed and things have moved along in a way that is easy to follow.  The artwork is replicated from the show perfectly.  I like the angular look of Terry’s look and Gotham’s as well.

As for the Justice League half I was left more confused.  Since I’m not familiar with this part of the Beyond Universe, I wasn’t even clear that it was part of the story at large.  When I finally understood what was going on I felt a bit bored as the story of Superman losing control has been done a lot lately and I did not really want to read another one.  I saw the small tie in/crossover of the two stories but it felt awkward and choppy.  The artwork is not bad at all, clean and bold like most Superman books but it did not stand out as much as the Batman side.  That’s just a matter of personal preference.  By the time I finished this part of the book I was a little irritated and confused.  Was this two separate books I read?  Is there a point in having these two books together?  Oh wait…. are these two halves a part of a whole?  What’s the connection again?

Maybe a devout follower of these stories or the show could enlighten me.  Until then I will suspend judgement until at least the second issue comes out and hopefully clears some things up for me.  That is not to say that it is not worth the read.  It is definitely worth a try to see where this goes, especially if you are a Batfan.

Batman Superman #1

DC

Release Date:  6/26/13

Words:  Greg Pak

Pictures: Jae Lee & Ben Oliver

The Sitch:

Clark Kent heads out to Gotham to seek out Bruce Wayne in his investigation of the deaths of several Wayne Enterprise employees that took place in Metropolis.

The Confession:

As a pop culture fangirl I have always enjoyed the interaction of Batman and Superman.  It’s just plain fun.  These two are the icons of comic book fandom.  Speaking as a sort-of-newbie, its a nice introduction to these two characters.  Unless you live under a rock, you know who these two are from the get go.  If you don’t, Pak does a good job of showing the reader the motivation behind these heroic men as well as the parallels and differences between them.  I like how the two meet as Kent and Wayne before their alter egos.  And when the alter egos do meet, it’s just plain fun.  I admit, I remain a Batman girl.  His darkness is just so appealing to me.  Plus, I suspect the long, dark cape speaks to my “thing” for mysterious men in long, dark coats.

The art is stunning.  I am a fan of Jae Lee from his work on The Dark Tower books.  His style is so mesmerizing that I want to coat my walls with it.  Gotham has never looked more beautiful.  The fluidity of it and the color palette is perfect.  That is not to take away from Olivers work in the last portion of the book.  I’m not sure why they do this, splitting the art up like that.  Maybe they used it to punctuate the abrupt turn in the story.  It works fine and his art is very cool, too, but it is noticeably jarring.  Not necessarily in a bad way, I am just partial to Lee’s work.  I can’t get enough of it.

I say get this one.  The artwork alone is well worth it.

I’ll leave you with this little gem, just because I can:

Batman #21: Zero Year

DC Comics

Release Date:  6/12/13

Words:  Scott Snyder

Pictures:  Greg Capullo

The Sitch:

This is a fresh Batman origin story that does not step on the toes of Batman Year One.  As one who is jumping back into Batman after a very long break, it feels like a nice, clean start in the trusted hands of Scott Snyder.

The Confession:

Zero Year’s focus is that of the transformation of Bruce Wayne into Batman.  There isn’t a lot of The Batman in this issue, but a whole lot of Bruce Wayne.  We get to see how he develops his moral center and his sense of justice.  The story begins six years ago in what looks like a post apocalyptic state of Gotham.  Then the story cuts to five months earlier in which a disguised, guerrilla warfare Bruce is fighting the Red Hood Gang.  Another time cut depicts a young Bruce Wayne exploring his love of Gotham City.  The reader gets to see a touching moment between Bruce and his father.  At the end, the arch nemesis is revealed.

Trust Scott Snyder with a good story.  It’s really that simple.  He has a respect for his characters that shows in how he takes his time to build character development and still stay true to the past history of the lore.  He can pack a lot of information into just a few pages.  Also included in this issue is a back-story that solidifies Bruce’s sense of justice and capability of heroics.

Greg Capullo has strength in depicting Batman in all his glory, from the wide eyed inquiring mind of little Bruce to the determined justice seeking Bruce out to take Gotham back from the Red Hood Gang.  He has also managed to make Gotham a character, too.  I liked how the issue opened up with a fairy tale feel.  Gotham looks like a city under a twisted spell and The Dark Knight is the one to come and wake it up.

I’m a sucker for any story with the hint of a fairy tale in it.  I also have a soft spot for Batman.  I can’t see how anyone could be disappointed in this one.

 

Superman Unchained #1

DC Comics

Release Date:  6/12/13

Words:  Scott Snyder

Pictures:  Jim Lee

The Sitch:

Dude, if you read comics and don’t know what the sitch is, then you are greatly out of touch, my friend.  It’s Superman’s 75th birthday.  The “Man of Steel” movie is out this week.  Duh.

The Confession:

Okay, I’ll say it.  I really enjoyed this one.  I have to confess that I am looking forward to the next issue of… Superman Unchained.  I can’t believe I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into the DC universe.

Scott Snyder has quickly become a favorite of mine.  He tells good stories.  I appreciate his character development.  I never realized Superman was smart.  Granted, I have never really read Superman.  (I know right?  What kind of blasphemy does she speak?)  I admit my Superman knowledge is limited mostly to mainstream pop culture stuff and the couple of vintage comics I found in the shed one summer as a kid.  This Superman is really interesting.  He’s articulated.  He’s well read.  He’s got convictions, a solid moral code, and a love for the human race despite all their flaws.  This alien among us is an actual humanitarian.  Good thing because he can be kinda scary, too.

Jim Lee is… awesome.  That’s an obvious given with the four page poster inserted into the middle of the story.  It sure is pretty.  Lee can really do cinematic on an epic scale.  More than the poster gimmick thing, I like how he can make superman look like the kind hearted farm boy one minute and scary super powered alien the next.

Lee’s art combined with Snyder’s storytelling comes off easy and natural.  It’s a nice homage to Superman’s past in all media while setting off a strong start to a story worthy of such an iconic character.  I won’t spoil this one for you at all.  Just read it.

The Movement #1: Eaten From the Inside Out

DC Comics

Release Date:  5/1/13

Words:  Gail Simone

Pictures:  Freddie Williams II

The Sitch: 

Set in the new fictional town of Coral City where crime and police corruption run rampant, a group of young heroes rise up to protect their own.

The Confession:

Right away the reader is thrown into Coral City where crime and corruption is out of control.  The Movement is the town’s answer to protecting the people of their community from without, as well as within.  It is made up of powered and non-powered members who reign vigilant over their own.  Weapons of choice for those not as super inclined are the donning of a camera equipped face mask and a cell phone, or otherwise mobile tech device, hooked up to social media.  The Movement exposes and fights the wrongs imposed on the people they have sworn to protect.  It’s sort of like Teen Titans meets Anonymous.  I’m willing to give this story a chance because I’m curious as to where Simone goes with the story and its characters.  I’m always happy to see such diversity in team stories, especially with strong women of color.  I’m already interested in where these characters come from and how did they come to work together and why.

Williams’ art is bold and gritty.  There is good use of those splash pages hiding under small panels.  The panels themselves are packed with dense action.  My favorite of the pages being the beat down Katharsis gives to one of the dirty cops.

I’m willing to give #2 a read before deciding if I follow this one to the end.