Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Flash #25, Catwoman #25 and Blue Beetle #9

Well what a difference one writer and one artist can make! (As always, Blue Beetle is audio-exclusive.)

After dreading the Catwoman #25 Zero Year tie-in, I came to understand that John Layman (who writes the unfathomably good Detective Comics title) was given the reigns for this book. Yes, Ann Nocenti's supernatural-based, completely out-of-its-element Catwoman was not present this month.

In her place is a Catwoman that actually seems to fit in better as a cross between Anne Hathaway's and Arkham City's. I'm also fairly certain that her origin has gone from "depressed girl who gets brought back to life by magic cats" to "golden-hearted kleptomaniac who practices her way to greatness and doles out vigilante justice while stealing."

And I am REALLY OK with that.

Additionally, Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert teamed up to produce the art, and not only is it far more tasteful and classy than every other New 52 Catwoman, but it actually added to the story and had a great attention to detail.

I really can not say it's totally worth a buy because next month, the book returns to its borderline insane story arc, but hey, a good Catwoman story is rare! Take advantage!

As for Flash #25, it's a solid outing from the writing and art team that will be taking over Detective once Layman and Jason Fabok leave.

The detective work is nice and the art is fun to look at. It's biggest issue is that it is a really small-time story arc among the ocean of madness that is the Zero Year. It feels really tangential and Barry Allen's bland personality doesn't help matters.

I like Barry, but he's not the guy you go to for an interesting story. Especially this one, who is so idealistic and by-the-numbers that you will wish he had the Speed Force just so an interesting effect will happen.

One thing that worked, though, was the first meeting of Barry and Iris West. I kind of wish that had been the whole issue.

Anyway, the detective work is good and it's a nice taste of what kind of writing and art you'll get once Layman and Fabok are gone. But there's no urgency to buy it.

We're back to normal next month! Woo!

Follow me at and like my page at

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Batman '66 #5 and Samurai Jack #2

Easily the two best books this week had nothing to do with the DCnU, and that's somewhat unsettling.

Eh, who cares? It's good reading material.

The Sandman and the Eartha Kitt Catwoman made their debuts this week (and no, they give no explanation why Julie Newmar is suddenly Eartha Kitt, and it's hilarious because of it).

The art is bright and is perfect for setting the mood of the Silver Age and the TV series. The writing feels perfectly in-character and is constantly funny.

This book was very clearly written with love of the old TV series and with the intent to entertain, and that's what makes it so good. It's not trying to be deep; it's trying to tell a good story within the world that has been created and be fun, and it's doing its job to the letter.

Samurai Jack is the book trying to tell a real continuation of a deep universe, and it's doing the job unbelievably well.

The writing and art feel exactly like the series and I feel like I'm having the voice actors doing a reading of the storyboard of an episode.

This is a very quick read, but less is more with a series like Samurai Jack and it is quickly rising up to being a book I count the days for each month.

I highly recommend both titles to you and hope we can get these numbers to spike up. If any two titles deserve to move up 20 spots in the buyrate rankings, it's these two.

Follow me at and like my page at

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Batman and ... #25 and Blue Beetle #8

Batman & Not Robin has been much less fun since Damian has been removed, and the truly great issues have been few and far between ever since the silent Issue #18.

This arc hasn't been bad, but I certainly haven't been wowed by it. And with a whole bunch of quality books on the market, it needs to pick up its pace and fast. What specifically went on? Take a listen to the audio and find out.

Follow me at and like my page at

Comic Book Reviews: Batwoman #25, Birds of Prey #25 and Red Hood & The Outlaws #25

I was as surprised as anyone to find out that there was a Batwoman Zero Year tie-in. Why is it here? Because the creative team quit and this was the only thing they could do to fill time.

How did it hold up? Well... it was a book. That's about it. Nothing special that would make you think the new creative team is going to make the book great; nothing so outrageous fans of the book should feel the characters are being bastardized.

It's a cookie-cutter, by-the-numbers plot that will most likely do nothing to add an audience to the character. The art has been greatly downgraded, but it's not bad. It's just... a generic Batwoman title. And I'm not sure that's a good thing for it.

Birds of Prey was solid, but nothing you'd jump up and dive at. The Black Canary origin set-up here is more jarring than anything for those who were used to the old origin, but it's executed well. The art is solid enough.

Ultimately, it's not strong enough on its own to make you want to see what is going on in BoP, and considering it's in Gothtopia's crossover in January, next month's book probably isn't new-reader friendly anyway. But it's good enough to get me interested in the Gothtopia tie-in, and if that goes well, I could see myself picking up the book.

RHATO is the best title this week for sure in terms of tie-ins. It's still not a must-buy, but it does plenty to add intrigue to Jason's origins with the All-Caste, sets up his time with Talia al-Ghul and introduces a Joker who is between identities at the moment from the looks of it.

The art is almost as good as the BoP art and the story itself is the best of the three, if for no other reason than Tynion had plenty to go on from the Scott Lobdell era. He appears to be good at understanding the characters, just really awkward when it comes to advancing a plot.

Anyway, none of these books are pick-ups you NEED to make, but none of them will outright upset you if you buy them, and depending on your tastes, you may actually be glad you picked them up. As for me, I have better books to recommend to you over the next two comic review blogs.

Follow me at and like my page at

Friday, November 15, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Batman #25 and Nightwing #25

I have Zero Year tie-ins backed up all over the place today! Let's talk Batman and Nightwing. Mostly, it's in audio, but I'll leave brief thoughts below as well.

Batman #25 is an excellent elevation from where the last issue left off.
It chooses to focus on Dr. Death of all people instead of Riddler, but the villain surprisingly holds his own. I also now feel intrigued as to what happened between Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon. The art is amazing and it is definitely the best book this week.

Nighwing #25 is a colossal disappointment and comes off feeling like filler. There's nothing wrong with the story told. It's just astoundingly generic and has no true tie-in to the Batman story. None of the three this week really do, but at least you're dealing with the psychology of the people in Gotham. Here is a story just about Dick and nothing of real consequence at that (save maybe the relationship between the Maronis and the circus being started). Nothing terrible, but nothing worth buying or even glancing at.

Arrow Season 2, Episode 6 review

This week's Arrow wasn't as good as last week's, but it was still the most addicting thing on TV. And on that note, I give you my review!

Follow me at and like my page at

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Search Part 3 review

Better late than never for a review of this comic... and better this comic than any of the prior Avatar: The Last Airbender books.

In spite of the fact that I strongly disliked the last two parts of this story, the conclusion did as well as it could given the framework it was given. It's kind of like Revenge of the Sith in that sense. Yeah, the two prequels before it were awful, but what followed turned out to be as good, if not better than what should have been possible.

My full audio review is below, but much like the Korra episodes I've been reviewing, I'm leaving some SparkNotes-style bulletpoints below.

-- Aang was written much better this go-around than he has been. The character - who last issue was taking a beyond cold, 'screw your family and identity crisis. I need you to possibly defy Fire Nation law and lead the country regardless of your blood status' stance - has finally remembered that he needs to respect spirits, fight for the downtrodden, and be a friend to Zuko.

-- Sokka and Katara, while still only providing incidental dialogue to the plot (seriously, why are they even here?) were much better written and Sokka even got in some decent lines.

-- I find it interesting that the Mother of Faces crafts every face in existence with great care and feels insulted that people want to alter them. But with the one request thing, it's whoever asks first and not what the group wants? So she's basically Shenron in Dragon Ball Z? [SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT].

Still, it was nice that once Koh was revealed as the one who took away the brother's face, and we found out the MoF is related to him, she very graciously agrees to both favors and even offers Ursa her memories back.

-- I have two HEAVY complaints with this story. One is the fault of Parts 1 and 2 of this story because it set up this terrible situation.

Ursa basically pulls a Peter Parker in Spider-Man: One More Day, voluntarily giving up all her memories of her children to a spirit. And why? Because she can't handle knowing them, and obviously, leaving two children without a mother randomly won't affect their psychologies or leave them on a lifelong search for answers.

Heck, I was going to say this is worse than OMD because at least Peter did his stupid move to save his aunt's life. This wasn't a necessary part of the deal. This was a 100 percent selfish move.

BUT... Ursa does recover from this situation at the end when her memory is restored and she is apologetic to Zuko. Let this be a lesson to all parents: If you leave, fine, but you owe your children an opportunity to confront you later.

-- My other complaint is discussed at length in the audio blog. Let me get this straight: The MoF puts her full efforts into every face she crafts, but then tests Ursa by offering her a face that is 'more plain' than her current one? So all faces are equal, except when the spirit decides that some are better looking than others.

This raises so many rage-inducing issues. 1. If this spirit has beauty standards, why don't all the faces look like Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry? 2. How does the spirit decides who gets the beautiful faces? Is it random or is she trying to figure out who will do best with it?

And 3. Avatar: TLA is a show that pretty much lives by the 'don't judge a book by its cover' mantra. Toph is small and blind, but also the toughest person on the show. Azula's a better firebender than Zuko, and he has a scar, but he's the better human being by far. Even though the Earth Kingdom sided with Aang's side, plenty of people in the Earth Kingdom were corrupt, and plenty of Fire Nation citizens were good people.

The reason I bring all this up is because this plot point not only reinforces superficiality to the kids and adults reading this book, this world actually writes it into the universe as established fact. The spirits outright have a set idea of what is good-looking when the faces are designed. There is literally a universal pretty and ugly.

And don't tell me she only makes the new faces. She says specifically that she is insulted when people ask to replace her "precious gifts" and tell her that her "work is inadequate." Well if you submit that you make faces better looking than others, OF COURSE PEOPLE WON'T BE HAPPY!

In our world, we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord. In Aang's world, spirits decide which men and women look good and which look ugly. And there is a right answer. Beauty is only skin deep, but there is a right answer.

Seriously, between all the people in The Promise Part 3 using all the "fat guy gets pretty girl" jokes King of Queens didn't burn, and this spirit setting forth a universal formula to beauty, Gene Yang is beginning to rival Frank Miller in terms of sheer superficial objectification. It's a good thing all the female characters already had backstories

-- All that aside, though, the sequences in Ursa and Ikem's family home made this comic a must-buy. From Zuko simply being happy knowing his mother is happy, to Ursa's apologies to Azula and Zuko, to those final panels where Zuko asks to know his mother's story, everything is done to perfection.


-- Well, there is still the whole "Ozai thought Zuko wasn't his kid" thing. Admittedly, the damage was minimized, but there is still an additional layer to the original story that now leaves me with an unsavory taste in my mouth. I'd rather Ozai just not like Zuko because he is weaker in his mind. I don't need this convoluted situation where he is mean to Zuko out of spite to his wife.

(Speaking of, Eminem once wrote, "Even if I hated Kim, I'd grit my teeth and I'd try to make it work with her, at least for Hailie's sake." How hard would you read a comic in which Slim Shady busts into the Fire Nation throne room and goes ballistic on Ozai?)

So yeah, most of the flaws are just a byproduct of bad writing in the previous parts and are done as well as you could imagine given the circumstances. A new layer of the Avatar universe was added that I despise, but it's small enough in terms of this story that it doesn't hurt it too badly.

I can honestly rate this a must-buy and must-own. When the writing staff added that "Where's my mother?" scene into the finale when it could have easily been left out, I firmly believe they knew it would elicit a reaction. It ultimately led to people buying Avatar comics, and them making more money.

And for what it's worth, even if I hate certain elements in the writing, I love the art. I love the universe. And I'll gladly keep supporting the product.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Batwing #25 and Blue Beetle #6

And at long last, we have come to an end of the parade of comic reviews this week. Incredibly, I was not disappointed by either issue. (That may be due to a lack of expectation, but still... )

Follow me at and like my page at

Comic Book Reviews: Detective Comics #25 and Green Arrow #25

It's time for part 3 of this week's comic reviews. Batman is finally in a book with his origin story! Granted, it's only for a few panels in each book, but here we are.

Follow me at and like my page at

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Forever Evil #3 and Green Hornet #7

Part 2 of my very busy weekend of comic reviews are here! Let's talk a couple of limited series: one very good (Green Hornet) and one that's... eh (Forever Evil).

Follow me at and like my page at

Legend of Korra Book 2, Chapter 10 review


That's one way to ensure your episode works out. Needless to say, I was thrilled with what was put in front of me with this most recent Korra episode. Audio is below, but my brief bullet point thoughts are below.

-- After a rough start in Beginnings, the last two episodes have been to form animation-wise. Last week's was on par with the best of Book 1, and I'd say this episode was the best of the series.

-- Bumi has led a fleet of United Forces. He's clearly a good strategist and should have good hand-to-hand combat skills. Do Tenzin and Kya really think so little of non-bending fighting capacities that they'd only be able to think of "positive attitude" as his only ability? Uncle Sokka would be ashamed.

-- Every instance of the Spirit World in A:TLA was in this brown river area. When did the place become more colorful than the physical world?

-- Korra is back to "something is in my way. IMMA PUNCH IT!" mode. I feel like Korra was turned into Kid Korra because she was acting too immature for her age so she aged down. When she grew up mentally over the episode, she grew up for real. Not sure if I'm accurate, but I'm really hoping that this is the end of Loose Cannon Korra.

-- IROH AND WAN SHI TONG! I knew the spirit would be back, but I was amped when I saw Iroh. I've never been so glad I watch this on DVR and can pause until my geek-out moments phase out.

-- So Iroh decided his work was done and so he Quantum Leaped his way into the Spirit World? If people could do that, why aren't more of them around?

-- Jinora is basically Penny from Inspector Gadget here: Doing all the legwork to solve a problem and yet being made into bait for the main character. To be fair, though, Jinora is still much younger than the main cast and this is a good baseline for her. If they work her in more in later seasons, this could be seen as her first steps toward true badassery.

-- I REALLY don't like that the Spirit World is effectively powered on Good Vibes. Further, I DESPISE that this spirit bending thing is being treated as good spirit therapy instead of evil spirit mind control. Their wills are being affected by everyone but themselves.

-- I will say that Wan Shi Tong played a great bitter, psychotic spirit here. When he suddenly let Jinora browse the library, I thought it was out of character, but that's why you wait until stuff plays out before you critique.

-- However, if Jinora was SO knowledgeable about the library to the point that she knew how people used to access it and the name of the dead professor, HOW ON EARTH did she not think Wan Shi Tong might be a little peeved at the Avatar and his descendants for what happened that day?

-- Much like how I thought Beginnings Part 1 was better than Part 2 because it let the characters breathe and process what was happening, The early part of this episode was better than the end. It's like we went from 10 mph to 70 mph in a matter of seconds.

-- How did Korra escape the Spirit World from the air like that? If she could do that, why couldn't Jinora? Does she have to go unconscious first? Why did we burn an episode in the Spirit World and not use any of the spirits we were introduced to in Beginnings? If the Harmonic Convergence needed both portals opened, why did they go into the Spirit World at all? If it was to close the other portal, would she have known how to close it anyway? Why does every episode of Korra need the Val Kilmer, "It just raises too many questions" clip?!

Anyway, outside of the flaws I mentioned, this was a solid episode, and one that may compete for best of the Korra series. Should we be concerned that a character from the previous series was needed to put it over? Maybe, but the story has finally become something worth anticipating, so I'm more than happy with what I'm getting here.

Stay tuned this weekend for my review of "The Search Part 3," where I will have to eat some crow.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Action Comics #25 and Superman Unchained #4

I've decided to spread my comic reviews into 4 parts over the course of a couple days because my blog is going to be post-crazy for a little while. First up are a couple of Superman books! Good news: the Man of Steel has some legit stories being told again!

Follow me at and like my page at

Arrow Season 2, Episode 5 and Korra Book 2, Chapter 9 reviews

It's been a week, and I'm behind on Korra, so I'm putting its review in with my latest Arrow recap. I hope you stick around for both reviews on this audio blog, because both shows deserve attention.

Anyway, here you go!

Follow me at and like my page at

Friday, November 1, 2013

Comic Book Reviews: Nightwing Annual #1 and Blue Beetle #5

Nightwing finally got an annual a mere two months before "Forever Evil" catches up with his book and proceeds to throw his book into madness.

This is a 'shipper-heavy issue, focusing on Dick Grayson's on-and-off relationship with Barbara Gordon. I personally 'ship Nightwing with Starfire, but given what I've seen of this reboot and Dan Didio's thoughts, it looks like a Dick-Kori canon relationship is a pipe dream until we reboot again.

For what it is, it's a good issue, though I'd say it's right on the borderline of being worth its price. If you want more detailed thoughts and my review of Blue Beetle #5, check out the audio.

Follow me at and like my page at