dc comics

imagesGreen Arrow has had a pretty sordid creative history the last couple of years.  Following the characters return to prominence under Kevin Smith and then Judd Winick, DC decided to make Green Arrow the focus of of the ill-conceived “Cry for Justice” and the follow-up “Rise and Fall”.   Those series, I would argue, systematically stripped the character of the very qualities and supporting cast that fans had grown to love.

Then the New 52.  It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of the reboot as a whole, although I do read and enjoy some of the titles.  Oliver Queen is one of the titles that really seemed to suffer further under the New 52 banner, which was a big disappoint for me.  Sales have struggled and there hasn’t seemed to be a place for Ollie in the universe at large.  Thankfully, I can tentatively say that may be changing.

Green Arrow #17 introduces a new creative team – Jeff Lermire and Andrea Sorrentino.  I’ve been a fan of Lermire since his work on Superboy in the Pre-New 52 DC and his work on Animal Man has been impressive.  Lermire clearly has plans for the character and is pushing for an entirely new direction.

Lermire is, in essence, burning Green Arrow’s world to the ground.  The issue opens with well-orchestrated attacks on every facet of Green Arrow/Oliver Queen’s life – his inheritance, his friends, his reputation.  By the end of the issue Green Arrow is potentially wanted for murder, has lost his fortune, lost his support team, and has been utterly defeated by another archer.  Perhaps most intriguing, the issue is taking a cue from the excellent WB series, “Arrow”, and hinting at some deeper intrigue surrounding Ollie’s time stranded on an island.

I also have to give a nod to Andrea Sorrentino who I was not at all familiar with coming in.   Sorrentino handled both the art and colorist duties and the work is pretty striking.  He does a great job framing the action and using perspective and cues with the colors to draw the reader’s eye.  I particularly liked the way he’d fade out to black and white for certain parts of a panel using brighter colors (generally greens or reds) to a highlight a particular area of the panel.  It’s a well used technique.

Notice the first panel - black and white with the green accent on the building.

Notice the first panel – black and white with the green accent on the building.

So, final verdict?  Green Arrow #17 puts the right foot forward, stripping Green Arrow of all the trappings that have come to define the character in the New 52 universe.  I was actually pleasantly reminded of Mike Grell’s revamp of Oliver Queen in “The Longbow Hunters” which is one of my favorite mini-series, and one that I consider a must read for Green Arrow fans.  I’m intrigued.

(On a side note:  Bring back the Errol Flynn goatee, DC!)

9 out of 10

Well, it’s definitely a fuller week for my pull list.   Here are my highlights:

 

dec120180Green Arrow # 17

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Jeff Lermire

Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

It’s new direction for everybody’s favorite emerald archer spearheaded by a new creative team, Jeff Lermire and Andrea Sorrentino.  I’ve been a fan of Lermire’s work since his run Superboy in the pre-New 52 universe.  I’m a big Green Arrow fan and really haven’t cared for the direction of the character since Judd Winick’s run so I’m looking forward to what Lermire can do.  I’m guessing we’ll start seeing the comic move more in line with WB’s “Arrow”.

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dec120297Swamp Thing #17

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Yanick Paquette

It’s been awhile coming, but I’m guessing it will be worth the wait.  Scott Snyder is bringing the Rotworld storyline to a close and odds are no one will make it out unscathed.   Scott Snyder is currently one of the best in the business and this series is well worth your time.

 

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dec120982Red Team #1

Publisher: Dynamite

Writer: Garth Ennis

Artist: Craig Cermak

It’s no secret that Garth Ennis is one of my all time favorite writer, so I give basically anything he writes a shot.  Red Team follows the NYPD’s elite anti-Narcotics unit, they’ve been highly successful but a new case threatens to push them to their limits and likely beyond .  Given Ennis’ penchant for well-written ultra-violence eccentric characters, this title has a pretty good shot at snagging a permanent spot on my already crowded pull list.

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thumbnailDaredevil: End of Days #5 (of 8)

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  Klaus Janson

Daredevil was the book that catapulted Brian Michael Bendis into the spotlight at Marvel and his epic run  elevated Daredevil back to Frank Miller levels both in terms of character work and popularity.  If you are a fan of either Bendis (and his more existential, gritty work) or of Daredevil, then this book is one you need to check out.

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dec120622New Avengers #3

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Steve Epting

I’ve been a fan of Hickman’s work so far on the main Avenger’s book, but for money, New Avengers has been the stronger and more focused read.  This issue sees the Illuminati venture out to bring together the Infinity Gems.  The character work and dynamics so far have been superb and no one writes the Black Panther better than Hickman.

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nov120715Secret Avengers #37

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: Matteo Scalera

Rick Remender’s last issue and the conclusion of “The Rise of the Descendants”.  ’Nuff said.

 

 

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dec121268Shadowman #4

Publisher: Valiant

Writer: Justin Jordan

Artist: Patrick Zircher

Shadowman is probably my favorite series in the current Valiant line.  In the last issue, Jack has finally, if tragically, accepted the mantle of Shadowman and now all bets are off.  This issue promises a showdown between Shadowman and Twist.  This is a great series and definitely merits some attention.

 

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There you go.  My picks for the books you should check out this week.

Did I miss something?  Do you disagree with one of the picks? Do you agree with the picks?

Sound off below!

My Favorite 1/23 Comics

january marvel now new 52

My 1/23 Pull List

Marvel Now’s track record is really great with me so far! As I talked about on Episode 33 and 34 of our Podcast, Marvel Now has (for the most part) delivered on their promises. We’re getting important stories from new angles without gimmicks. The creator changes are the most important component as far as I’m concerned. Ed Brubaker on Cap, Bendis on Avengers, and Hickman on FF created some of the most definitive runs for those books but…it was time for a change. We’re getting that with Marvel Now.

DC’s New 52 has been around three times as long so it’s loftier goals have hard a harder time of staying pure. While I believe DC’s titles offer a more diverse subject matter, there percentage of great books are nowhere close to where Marvel now is right now. We’ll see how long Marvel can keep this up!

captain-america-thor-havok-remenderUncanny Avengers #3

Marvel Comics

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: John Cassaday

Before I get into the book, isn’t this cover one of the best cover’s you’ve seen in a while? It looks like it could be a movie poster! It’s so well composed and clean. Love it! Cassaday does so much for this book it’s a shame he’s also what holds this book back. With the other Avengers books shipping more often and this one coming out every other month, it’s tough for it to feel as relevant let alone the flagship of Marvel Now. This villain is the perfect foil to the new team’s mandate. I wish we could get to know the S-Men more but maybe that will come. My favorite part of this team is that it’s small enough to get character moments that matter (unlike Hickman’s Avengers). The tension between Havok and Captain America really has me interested in that relationship.

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sam-humphries-ron-garneyUncanny X-Force #1

Marvel Comics

Writer: Sam Humphries

Artist: Ron Garney

Like All-New X-Men, my reaction to this solicit was one of “Huh?” and “This won’t last” but it looks like I might be 0-2 with that line of thinking. This team seemed so odd and so unnecessary with the inclusion of Cable and X-Force and yet…this is the true successor to Rick Remender’s epic run on X-Force. Picking up where Remender’s run ended is no easy task. Taking the character to natural but unexpected places is what impressed me about Humpries’s story. This puts Pyslocke front and center in a way that makes me see it no other way now. This is one of those RARE X-Men comics that has enough explanation that new readers can jump on but also doesn’t bore hardcore fans like me. The major reason I wanted to get this book was because of the book’s future villain and he is barely in this issue. The fact that I enjoyed the book with only a brief appearance by him tells me that I’m in for more twist than just the last panel of this book.

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simon-baz-new-52Green Lantern #16

DC Comics

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Doug Mahnke

This is the issue that sold me on Simon Baz. The newest Earth Green Lantern (the first since the 1994 introduction of Kyle Rayner…which was almost 20 years ago!) is joining up at one of the most turbulent times of the corps. (if not the WORST TIME ever). His back story is different enough from the other Earth Lanterns that you feel like stories starring him will be unique. With so many different perspectives being told during the Rise of the Third Army, this new set of eyes is giving us an unexpected window on the whole war that is possibly the most engaging. We see that Simon is special even amongst Green Lanterns in a way that I hope gives us even more stories staring this character. This issue also takes B’DG seriously, which Geoff Johns needed to do after how he treated him on the Robot Chicken Special!

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kirk idw comic Star Trek Countdown to Darkness

IDW Comics

Writers: Mike Johnson & Roberto Orci

Artists: David Messina & Marina Castelvetro

Movie Prequel Comics are usually wastes of time. Many of the Marvel and DC Movie Prequels, for examples were obvious cash grabs that shed almost no real light on the movies that would appear on screen. Then came 2009′s Star Trek: Countdown. I really don’t think you can enjoy that movie fully without reading that prequel. It should be mandatory for anyone who watches that movie. Nero, especially, only makes sense as a three-dimensional character after reading his back story in that book. Which brings us to the Star Trek sequel’s prequel comic, Countdown to Darkness. This first issue seems to be setting the emotional stage of where we find the Enterprise crew before the new movie begins. Only being one issue in, I have no idea how this will stack up to the last prequel but I will say that like Countdown, this book is aimed at connecting hardcore Trekies to this new universe through the inclusion of a character only real fans would be impacted by. I’ll never miss a Star Trek Prequel comic again so I’m committed to reading this all the way through!

It’s our BEST of 2012 Podcast!

That’s right, it’s the first annual Boxies! We pick:

  • Best Comic of the Year
  • Best New Comic of the Year
  • Best Super Hero Movie of the Year
  • Best Writer of the Year
  • Best Animated Show of the Year
  • Best Genre TV Show of the Year
  • Best Artist of the Year
  • Best Fight of the Year

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Doing this really helps us move up in the rankings which means more people will find this show! We, obviously, don’t make any money on this. We are just doing it for the pats on the backs and power…MAN do we love the POWER

Have something you’d like us to discuss? Please email us question at info@shortboxpodcast.com with “Listener Topic” in the subject line and make sure to let us know if we can use your name on the podcast. Thanks for listening!

Comics You Should Have Bought!

We’re going to post short reviews for some of our favorite (and least favorite?) comics of the week starting this week. Let’s get into it!

All New X-Men #6

Marvel Comics

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: David Marquez

The oddest premise of any Marvel Now Book (including Superior Spider-Man) continues to defy expectations! This book is addicting and includes some of the best Bendis dialog in years. His jumping from the Avengers to the X-Men couldn’t have worked out better. It was time for something new for him and this is it! David Marquez jumps on the second storyline (already?) and really does a great job making the teen characters look and “act” like teens with his pencils. This time travel story still has me scratching my head with the continuity (Scott’s confusion about cellphones threw me too) but the characterization has been so strong I’m willing to ignore the confusing points. Kitty stepping up to Xavier’s role works in a way I wouldn’t have seen coming but Bendis pulls it off. This book is at the very top of my pile and seems poised to stay there.

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comic book review joker

Batman #16

DC Comics

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Greg Capullo

Everything that has worked for Death of the Family gets cranked to 11 with this issue. While the other Bat-books are telling some cool stories with the Joker, this is the book that matters. We get to REALLY see the world Joker has created for himself with this issue. The whole idea that Joker sees Batman as a king being worshiped by the criminals of Gotham is a refreshingly twisted new take on their relationship. This idea has been described a lot leading up to this issue but it is finally realized in the Joker-run Arkham Asylum equipped with the other rogues playing their parts. Greg Capullo has really taken advantage of the amount of time he’s had to tell this story because Joker’s face keeps getting more disgusting with each issue. Not knowing what’s on that silver platter is going to keep me awake for the next month. I have a feeling this story is going to have repercussions for years to come.

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Avenging Spider-Man #16

Marvel Comics

Writer: Chris Yost

Artist: Paco Medina & Juan Vlasco

This book now stars the Superior Spider-Man aka Doc Ock in Spidey’s body. Because of that, the tone of the book has shifted somewhat but the premise of a (now somewhat more) light-hearted Spider-Man team-up book is still in place. What surprises is that, so far, this depiction of Doc Ock as Spider-Man seems much more realized than his flagship title. I understand the mechanics of Otto’s access to Peter’s memories and what his goals are in this book much easier. This issue is exactly the type of stories we can only get with this new status-quo. Looking at Peter’s relationships from a different perspective (arrogant, older, and angrier) takes typical team-up stories and makes them VERY interesting. This book is worth picking up for no other reason than the Superior Spider-Man vs. Wolverine fight. Starting to understand where the Superior adjective comes in.

hickman black panther wednesday

New Avengers #2

Marvel Comics

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Steve Epting

Jonathan Hickman has established what this book is about and it’s place in a crowded market of Avengers books. This is a new Illuminati with it’s biggest detractor, Black Panther, front and center. Last issue was anything but a team book because it focused on Black Panther’s new position as the king of the dead and the threat that will bring this team together. Not a traditional super hero team book, this is the shadow group holds almost absolute power. The history and egos involved makes this book an important book to the whole of the Marvel Universe. It will be tough for it to continue to reflect continuity because it touches every corner of Marvel. The extra pages to set up the story (like Hickman’s Avengers) really do a lot to make the book feel epic.

Dateline San Francisco:  I was staring at the gorgeous and creepy cover to The Whistling Skull #1 so I picked up the issue and opened it.  Oh, wow! Tony Harris interior art that looked dense, lush and beautiful, I was drawn in immediately.  I added the issue to my stack and asked James Sime, owner Isotope – The Comics Lounge, if I needed any prior knowledge of the Skull to enjoy the book.  He said this comic was all new content and characters for the DC universe.  I think he mentioned something about it being a Vertigo title that wasn’t.  For $2.99 it seemed worth the risk.

The issue began with action and it ended with action and along the way we get more…ACTION.  I felt like a kid reading this book and studying each page for the clues and details that were everywhere.  The art has a steam punk feel that mixes in Nazis, monsters and a sweet battle bus. The crazy adventure seems plausible because B. Clay Moore pulls you so quickly into the world that you buy everything that comes at you willingly.  No time to question anything with all the action.  Tony Harris keeps you in the story with his lush and crazy lines.

I am looking forward to seeing how Moore and Harris fill out the Skull’s back-story.   There are hints that this Skull is not the first Skull so hopefully we will get more stories throughout history.  I also found this comic a great break from current continuity since I didn’t even need any JSA or DC knowledge to thoroughly enjoy it.  I really hope this book catches on enough to sustain it past the mini series.

In the end I ask, how can you not love a hero with a giant screw and steam whistle in his head?  For me the answer is easy, I can’t not love him.

Batwoman Reviewed

So what’s up folks? You’re saying you don’t know anything about Batwoman? Oh ok….this is what you need to know!

Yeah that’s not even the cover! The art in Batwoman by J.H.Williams III is ABSURD! His layouts are amazing and the style and painstaking attention to the aesthetic make every page almost literally a work of art onto itself. Many thanks to my good friend Travis for suggestion this title to me. I love it!

Now for those not in the know about Batwoman, the first and only fact you’re court ordered to know about her is that she’s a Lesbian, she used to date Gotham Police Department Detective Renee Montoya. Batwoman’s background and costume was first generated by Paul Dini and Alex Ross, she made her debut in DC: 52 (though this wasn’t when she was drawn by Mr. Williams) later she took over Detective Comics and this is when we get to see her grim backstory.

Like any good Bat-person Katherine Kane has one horrendously tragic back story!

If you’ve been reading the New 52: Batwoman (2012) you may already know some of the details of her origins which are well handled in flashbacks and call backs to her past. BUT! You really should read these 7 Issues of Detective Comics if you can. Like I said before it’s an amazingly drawn and handled mystery story which unfolds around the return of the Church of Crime to the streets of Gotham! Batwoman has a history of going against this group, their leader Bruno Mannheim even almost succeeded in taking Batwoman’s heart…literally!

But after surviving non-elective cardiac surgery Batwoman recovers and is now after the new “Patriarch” of the Church of Crime, Alice. The story follows Kane and this mysterious figure while pieces of Kane’s backstory and her previous exploits are explained in detail. Without spoiling it, her back story is pretty bleak! It’s handled very well at every turn, there’s a point when she’s expelled from the military for being Homosexual and her response to her father and her superior officers is actually really great and speaks well to her character of a ‘good soldier.’ Her entire encounter with Alice and her flashbacks on her tragic past are amazingly well handled by the writers Williams III and Hayden Blackman. I can’t say anything else really without spoiling it, so track these down.

Another thing worth mentioning and that’s handled well is her sexuality, saying she’s a “proud lesbian” is true, she is!

…but that conjures something else as I imagined what kind of character she is.

Kate is a proud lesbian, sometimes using her sexual preference to upset her step-mother and others but she’s mostly somewhat reserved with the way that she acts (After becoming Batwoman). And the times where there’s scenes of “intimacy” the artists did well to not overly sexualize the scenes, it seems like mostly real couples stuff and not like the artist just wanted to draw ” girls doing it.”

So I would SUPER recommend this story line in Detective Comics, it made me love this character, and I would definitely recommend her current tenure in New 52, in her own book. I haven’t read all my back issues but it’s great so far! So get out there!

Money Is The Best Super Power

Everyone knows the best super power is to be rich! These two box office stars can prove it. With all the Stark and Wayne money these two trust fund princes inherited, who do you think is the best super hero?

Comment below with who would win!

3rd wave reviews talon podcast

Adam and Nick discuss a group of their favorite (one one of their least favorite) issues of DC Comic’s New 52 Zero Month. To celebrate the first year of the New 52, each comic that DC published was listed as #0 and featured an peak into the the origins of these new versions of heroes. Mysteries were solved and new questions asked in this initiative that harkens back to the Zero Month that DC had in the 90s. We go over some of what we learned for the pleasure of your ears. Listen!

Listen to the episode directly here.

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The Dark Knight Returns

comic book podcast reviews

Widely considered one of the greatest comic books of all-time. This is THE Batman story that turned around the franchise. Without this Frank Miller Batman story, there would not have been a Batman film in 1989. Super heroes were started to be taken seriously again because of this and Watchmen. Adam and Nick discuss this classic story and spend a little bit of time talking about the sequel and part 1 of the recent DC animated movie.

Listen to the episode here

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