Batman: Gotham Noir Comic Book Review

Batman: Gotham NoirErica Gives This Comic Four Stars

Batman: Gotham Noir by Ed Brubaker
Art: Sean Phillips

After about a third of the way through this book, I actually started enjoying it. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I was going to in the first third. In the first third, I was a little bored. I didn’t care about drunk Jim Gordon who was kicked off the force and divorced Sarah. While I’ve always enjoyed the mob stories from Gotham City, this wasn’t pulling me in. And, of course, Jim was pinned for Rachel’s death. Way too easy.

And perhaps it was the Bat. My favorite thing about Batman: Gotham Noir is the way Phillips draws Batman. The Batman as a flat shadow except his eyes with those pointy ears was so freaking perfect. Phillips can draw my Batman every day. Continue reading “Batman: Gotham Noir Comic Book Review”

Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn Graphic Novel Review

Batman and Robin: Batman RebornErica gives this comic three stars

Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison
Art: Frank Quitely, Philip Tan, and Jonathan Glapion

I enjoyed this book much more as a study in how Dick and Damien are compared to who Bruce and other Robins have been in the past. I also liked it as a comparison of Dick and Jason and the possibility of what kind of psycho one can be: Damien or Scarlet. And who finds true redemption and goodness in the end.

What I disliked was the villains: Professor Pyg and the Flamingo. I’m not sure what Morrison’s obsessions with ripping off faces to either transplant new ones or eat them. Actually, I do know. Since this is all about identity, faces are the main source of identity, and well, I’m just not enthralled.

I expected the villains to be deeper than they are written. Professor Pyg rather reminded me a little too much of The Twilight Zone episode where the person has surgery to fix his face to make it that of a pig. Pyg seems to have no motivation to make his doll-people besides that he wants mindless automatons to do his bidding.

The Flamingo seems to be nothing more than an over-the-top gross villain who would make other bad guys shake in their boots. I’m really freaking glad that despite his flamboyant appearance that Morrison decided not to make him gay. Continue reading “Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn Graphic Novel Review”

Top 20 Issues in 2010

For my Top 20 Issues, I did not include any issues from my Top 5 #1 Issues or my Top 5 Miniseries selections. Instead, I chose stories I loved and reviewed in 2010. It was hard, especially as I know there were stories that I loved that didn’t make it here because the art didn’t live up to the writing or vice versa. It was hard to choose because it’s one thing to make a beautiful arc and another to make a kick-ass issue and have it fit into a beautiful arc. All these tales were ones that I could tell you immediately what they were about and why I loved them.

Here are my Top 20 Issues in 2010.

Spider-Woman #520. Spider-Woman #5 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev

I love the art in this. The scene where Jessica dives off the rooftop to land in a little puddle of water, the water coming off her body is brilliantly beautiful. I love the technique. Simply gorgeous. Oh, how I wish comic art was this pretty all the time.

Of course, Jessica tells herself that she was only going back for her stuff. It’s a good excuse that helps her feel hard inside. So she doesn’t have to feel partially responsible for those policemen’s deaths. Oh, the stories that Jessica tells herself.

Okay, now the Thunderbolts are after her. But why? Why do they care? Jessica’s just a rogue superhero in a place not under the rule of H.A.M.M.E.R. Not to mention it’s also full of corruption.

Read all my reviews for Spider-Woman and buy Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D..

Zatanna #319. Zatanna #3 by Paul Dini and Stephane Roux

This comic is becoming rather awesome. Zatanna knows what she’s doing and knows how to use her skills. I always love a character who use their brains as well as their powers. Likewise, I enjoy her team-up with Dale, because while Zatanna is the one to take down Brother Night, Dale isn’t running and hiding from him and isn’t going to be manipulated into backing off.

For an action-filled comic, the scenes were nicely paced. Roux’s does a great job with the art. I particularly love his page-layouts. The diamond-shapes bring a nice little reminder about Zatanna’s magical powers.

Zatanna has a lot of heart, and it’s really apparent when she saves her crew first. And that she takes the time to turn Mickey into her twin so Mickey can pull off the show Zatanna’s going to miss due to her fight with Brother Night.

I love Zatanna saving her father. I love her tears, while she maintains herself and her powers. A lesser hero would’ve folded under the emotional pressure of her/his father reappearing. The scene Zatanna has with him as she frees him, once again, is just lovely and perfect.

Zatanna’s take-down of Brother Night is likewise fitting. I love that she turns a powerless Brother Night into Dale, but knows that Brother Night will suffer more for the bargain he made with the devil.

Read all my reviews for Zatanna and buy Zatanna: The Mistress of Magic.

The New Avengers Annual #318. New Avengers Annual #3 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Mayhew

Thanks for the awesome birthday present, Bendis. At least, the way I’m looking at all the comics that came out on my birthday week is birthday presents for me. Well, the good ones anyway.

Finally, an all-girl rescue team. Seriously, those are some powerful women. They completely were overdue to shine in the light. Plus, Jessica back in her uniform. Though she needs to lose the earrings when fighting. Mine fall off when I’m changing my shirt, much less pumbling the Dark Avengers. Well, at least they’re all wearing flats.

I rather loved the scenes with Clint tied up naked and being tortured. But that’s just me. Not to mention I’m pretty sure he distracted Bullseye from his target by flashing him. Because for some reason they decided to take off all his clothes. Okay, it’s an approved torture method by the CIA/military, but still my birthday present from Bendis.

Bendis’ take on Bobbi and Clint’s relationship is endearing. However, really similar to Jessica and Luke’s. Except perhaps Jessica and Luke are better communicators than Bobbi and Clint, believe it or not.

Read my reviews for New Avengers and buy New Avengers: Siege. Continue reading “Top 20 Issues in 2010”

Top 5 Graphic Novels in 2010

I know, my blog’s been getting neglected as of late. Blame it on GeekGirlCon, or more importantly, donate to help us raise funds in order to secure our venue. We’re 50% of the way there.

Anyway, in the next couple of days, I’m going to be doing some best of 2010 posts. I should start with the big disclaimer that these are comics I reviewed in 2010. They may have been published earlier than 2010, but I published my review of them in 2010.

To start off: Top 5 Graphic Novels in 2010

Air Vol 15. Air: Letters from Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker

Air came highly recommended from several friends, and it held true to its hype. On the back cover, there’s a quote by comic author Jason Aaron saying Air is a “post-9/11 fairy tale, part Gabriel Garcia Marquez, part Lost.” Which I think is the best summation of the adventures of Blythe, the somewhat odd flight attendant with a panic attack-inducing fear of heights. Apparently, the Clearfleet employment recruiter gave her a good talk.

Blythe meets a strange man calling himself Javad/Niko/Manuel, and in the post-9/11 atmosphere, she assumes he’s a terrorist. In fact, when she stalls Javad, her friend and fellow attendant Fletcher even questions her ethnic profiling.

Read my entire review and buy Air: Letters from Lost Countries by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker

Madame Xanadu Vol 1 Disenchanted4. Madame Xanadu: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley

Madame Xanadu is just an awesome tale that spans centuries. Thanks to the staff at Dreamstrands Comics for recommending the series to me. You were right; I did love it.

Madame Xanadu starts off as the young Nimue Inwudu in the world of Camelot. She is the sister of Morgana le Fey and Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake, and they are descendants of the elder folk, each on having magical powers. Nimue is particularly connected to the earth. She’s able to foresee the future by using nature.

Nimue is also the lover of Merlin.

Read my entire review and buy Madame Xanadu: Disenchanted by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley.

Atomic Robo Vol 13. Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener

Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne is perhaps one of the most brilliant comics I’ve read in a while. Love it little pieces: the humor, the mixing of genres, Robo’s solution to everything being blowing it up. It just works so well.

I love the care and detail put into designing Atomic Robo. He doesn’t look like other robots. I don’t think Cybermen, Data, or Cylons. I think Atomic Robo, the wacky fighting scientist who’s pretty indestructible.

This story is smart in how it frames Robo’s first battle against Dr. Helsingard and how he becomes Robo’s nemesis. Actually, I like that it was by accident. I like Helsingard being the obsessive one and swearing revenge on Robo, but Robo not really caring. He’s almost taking down Helsingard’s evil plans by accident.

Read my entire review and buy Atomic Robo: Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood2. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is very engaging. I sat down and read the memoir in a couple of days; I couldn’t put it down. Satrapi’s story isn’t just that of a young girl growing up in Iran, but also a historical viewpoint on the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Satrapi’s art fits perfectly with the story. It reflects the youth in the story, and the stark black inking works well with the dourness of Marji and her family’s story. But at times, Satrapi’s illustrations are masterful with showing the warmth and love that Majri and her family have for one another.

Read my entire review and buy Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi.

Batwoman: Elegy1. Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III

Batwoman: Elegy is by far my favorite book of 2010, and one of my all-time favorite origin stories about a superhero. I love comic books, but face it, most of the time, they’re written for men. Batwoman is the book that I feel I’ve been waiting forever for. Like Batman, Kate Kane (Batwoman) is a socialite from Gotham City. But unlike Batman, she’s a bit of rebel with a rockabilly sense of style and a military background. Both of her parents were in the service, and she follows their lead. However, she is discharged from service under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and her sense of justice and service leads her to become Batwoman.

Elegy follows the story of Batwoman meeting her first villain Alice. Alice is a sharp contrast to Kate with her blonde curls, white outfits, and Lewis Carroll dialog. And since Alice and her crew are determined to sacrifice Kate to their otherworldly gods, Kate has no choice but to confront her. Rucka, a fabulous crime and mystery author, writes a tale of intrigue here, including a big secret about Alice herself.

The art by J.H. Williams III is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a comic book. It enhances the story in every way possible from giving hints to the mystery to switching styles when we see Kate in and out of her Batwoman costumes. Lush and gorgeous.

This is the perfect story for the reader interested in comic books/graphic novels, but doesn’t know where to jump in as Batwoman: Elegy is a self-contained tale. I’d also recommend it for fans of art, crime and mystery stories, military family tales, LGBT narratives, superheroes, and anyone who wants to challenge my assertion that Batwoman makes a better Batman than Bruce Wayne.

Read the original review on Ink-Stained Amazon and buy Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III.