Friday, December 21, 2012

Doomsday & Beyond's Last Minute Gift Ideas

Batman Vol.1: Court of Owls

Scott Snyder is becoming a definitive Batman writer by displaying his unique talents in the pages of the New 52’s Batman relaunch. Court of Owls is the first story arc in this new series, which details the rise of a secret society that has existed since Gotham’s origins. Batman: Court of Owls is considered arguably the best story arc since the start of the New 52, and only continues to get better as the series shifts into The Night of Owls and then into Death of the Family, which is currently being told. Snyder describes Batman the way we all picture him, in a dark, realistic world. Be sure to get the first collected edition of what is sure to be a legendary DC Comics series for many years to come.
Batman- Detective Comics Vol.1: Faces of Death
It’s a rare thing when one person writes and draws for a comic book series, and its even more rare when that series is absolutely fantastic. Written and illustrated by Tony Daniel, Detective Comics has been one of the best series that has emerged from the New 52 reboot and gets better with every issue. The series launches with a seven-issue story arc called Faces of Death. It shows us classic, dark Batman in a world full of gritty, detailed imagery they wouldn’t even show in a movie. A new villain is introduced, calling himself the Dollmaker. His specialty involves taking the faces of people, like the Joker. Oh, and did I mention the Joker and the Penguin appear in this volume? Detective Comics also places a lot more focus on Bruce’s personal life, including his personal relationships and friendship to Commissioner Gordon. Horrific, but mesmerizing art, combined with story-driven action makes this first volume of Detective Comics a “must buy”.
Green Lantern: Blackest Night
Blackest Night is an epic event that spreads across nearly every major comic series from Batman to Superman to Green Lantern and the GL Corps. This collected edition brings together the complete story arc from the Green Lantern comic book series written by the imaginative Geoff Johns and beautifully illustrated by Doug Mahnke. An evil force from the Guardians’ past resurfaces and brings the undead with it. Black Hand and the rest of the Black Lanterns rise from the ground, forcing all the other colored Lanterns to work together, meaning Hal Jordan and Sinestro must once again be partners. Johns brings all the best qualities from throughout this GL series and puts them into overdrive for this story, which has become a modern classic. This series may be a few years old, but it is certainly a must have for any DC Comics fan.
Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin
Morrison proves that a Batman series can be successful, even if Bruce Wayne is not a part of it. Taking place after the events of Final Crisis and Batman R.I.P (both written by Morrison), Batman and Robin examines the hardships of Dick Grayson filling the shoes of the Dark Knight while attempting to train and discipline Bruce’s long, lost son Damian. New villains are utilized like Toad and Professor Pyg, while old ones return like the Red Hood. This is one of the most unique series because it is so rare. A Batman series that focuses on the symbol of Batman, rather then Bruce Wayne himself. This is certainly one of the best comic book series that took place before the New 52 reboot, and while the New 52 is awesome, it’s a shame that it had to put at end to a series like this one. Go get this rare series just in time for Christmas and enjoy the new, yet old, dynamic duo.
Frank Millar’s The Dark Knight Returns
This is considered the best graphic novel of all time, and it’s all because of Frank Millar’s superb writing style and his gritty artwork that works perfectly for the particular piece. The story focuses on a 55 year-old Bruce Wayne who has hung up his cape and cowl, retired from crime fighting for the past 10 years. Written at a time when Batman was considered a “lighter character” or a “respectable crime fighter”, and not a vigilante, Millar reinvents the character for a new generation. He truly created “The Dark Knight” in this story, giving us a story that every comic fan must read at least 3 times… I’m not kidding, it’s just that great. Every time you read it, you will understand something new about the story. Batman returns to a dark world that has forgotten him, with a new, edgy attitude and a darker way of displaying justice. Superman also returns to oppose him and bring the vigilante to justice. And the Joker also returns, with one last trick up his sleeve. What more can you ask for? Well, you can ask for a lot more, but this graphic novel should definitely be on your Christmas list.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #699

Full spoilers of issue follow…

Not great. Not bad. Just average, but necessary nonetheless. #698 left us with one of the greatest cliffhangers in recent Spidey memory: Spiderman reveals himself as Dr. Octopus, controller of Peter Parker’s body, while the real mind of Peter lies in the dying body of Doc Ock. I had big expectations for this issue, but maybe I expected too much. I imagined them going farther with the story then they did, so they must be saving all the good stuff for #700. As usual, Humberto Ramos provided excellent, animated artwork, especially the close-up shots of Dr. Octopus, which were very detailed. Writer Dan Slott did good too, but not quite “amazing”.

I don’t blame Slott himself, in fact, the story that he has created and the finale he is leading up to has been, and is sure to be, nothing short of spectacular. My biggest concern with this issue is that it was basically an “in-between” issue; a filler story that briefly gave us some insight on the secret of how Dr. Octopus switched their minds, as well as how Peter planned his escape with the help of some of his old foes. As I said, Slott didn’t do anything poorly, his only crime was holding off on the most important aspects of the story arc until the climax next issue.

There wasn’t much Slott could do dramatically with his title character lying motionless in a life support machine, barely able to speak, but he was able to come through some pretty decent content. As we all know, Spiderman is famous for having great thought-bubbles and narration, which was proven here. Peter imagining all the horrible things Doc Ock is doing in his body, as Spiderman and as Peter Parker, combined with Peter’s new ability to tap into Ock’s hidden memories added some good panels, giving Ramos opportunities to draw character sand situations other then a dying Ock.

Overall, this story was a great filler issue that took us another step closer to the big #700, which, as I stated earlier, should contain all the great action, storytelling and artwork that we’ve been waiting 699 issues to see. I give this issue:

7.5 / 10

The Amazing Spiderman #700 hits the stands December 26th.
See you then, true believers!