Four Letter Nerd

Author - Bill Clark

4LN Comic Review: Batman #24

Series: Batman
Writer: Tom King
Artist: David Finch
Inks: David Mann, Seth Mann, and Danny Miki
Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Summary from Comixology:“Aftermath”! Gotham City is at peace…but a war is coming. Armed with the terrifying knowledge gained from the mysterious button, Batman prepares for the coming storm by making a proposition to one of his enemies—one that will change everything for the Dark Knight and his allies!”

Before you continue, there WILL be Spoilers below.

Tom King’s Batman has been a completely different exploration of the character compared to the New 52 Batman by Scott Snyder. Snyder looked at the complex roles of his rouges gallery on Batman’s psyche and how Batman compared against villains such as Joker, Riddler, and Mr. Blood. But, for Tom King’s Batman, the focus is primarily on the humanity and the mortality of The Caped Crusader. I actully have an article in the works about how Batman is the real identity and Bruce Wayne is the alias, and King’s Batman is a prime example of that theory. This issue focuses on Batman and Gotham Girl sharing a conversation during the day that leads to events with Selena Kyle (Catwoman) later that night. And, the events between “Bat” and “Cat” will forever change the history of Batman. Along with already leaving such a huge impact on the character, King has proven that he is the best writer when it comes to handling the dynamics of Selena and Bruce, and this issue solidifies that.

Along with King showing his true understanding of Bruce and Selena we also continue to see beautiful work by David Finch and Danny Miki. There are countless alluring splash pages in this book, and even callbacks to the great The Dark Knight Returns. And, along with Finch, yet again, Jordie Bellaire proves that she is the best colorist in the business, and continues to blow me away with the colors she uses to make images truly pop off the pages.

The beautiful thing about this issue is how King splits the script in two separate stories, “Tonight” and “Today.” Where King shows his true artistic talent in his ability to effortlessly intertwine these stories into one breathtaking issue that reads like a fantastic moment in a classic film. Gotham Girl is asking Batman what she should do with her life; does she become a superhero, or does she hide her power and try to live a normal life and what is a “normal” life? She’s seeking Batman’s approval because he’s Batman.. and he matters, even if Batman can’t see his own worth. While discussing Batman’s worth we learn that he is not happy, and everything he’s doing is an act. Not only is he the great detective, but he’s also the great stand-in for the life he wants. Batman also examines how he views himself as a failure since he’s scared, and along with that fear in the back of his mind, he has to wonder if he’s insane for dressing like a bat and living the life he does.

But, the story isn’t full of sadness and introspective views. While discussing his fear with Gotham Girl he realizes he must do something for himself, something for Bruce Wayne. Bruce realizes that there is one thing he knows for certain without a reason of doubt, and that’s his love for Selena Kyle. So, that night, on rooftops, Batman approaches Catwoman and Bruce Wayne confesses his love for Selina, and in the dark night’s rain, he tells Selina to marry him, with the ring she stole on the night they met. (And before you say “This will never last, Batman doesn’t end up happy,” Tom King has mentioned from the beginning he’s changing the story of Batman and wants the Caped Crusader to end up happy.)

Also, I just want to mention Tom King is now a hero of mine for this simple tweet regarding Kellyann Conway.

Music Pairing:

I could only think of post-rock music to listen to while reading this issue. You needed something that could be background music but just as beautiful as the issue you are reading, and for that, I could only think about Do Make Say Think, specifically their song Herstory of Glory.

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #1

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colorist: David Curiel

Summary from Comixology: “The most fearsome villain of all time returns with an all-new series! When Anakin Skywalker fell, both to the pull of the dark side and to the blade of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he rose back up, more machine than man. Having lost everything that was once dear to him, the former chosen one must take his first steps into a darker world…as Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith!”

This is a series I have patiently been waiting for since it’s announcement some time ago. If you have been reading this site for any amount time, you would know that Charles Soule is one of my top 5 current comic book writers, and if he writes something I’m going to pick it up. His work on Poe Dameron has been fantastic, and his mini-series Obi-Wan and Anakin was a refreshing look at the characters set between Phantom Menace and Clone Wars. It’s been a few months since we had a Darth Vader book (Kieron Gillen’s book ended in October of 2016), but this is already shaping up to be the most interesting book in the ongoing Star Wars series.

In the first issue of Charles Soule’s run on Darth Vader, we pick up immediately where Revenge of the Sith leaves us. Darth Vader is awaking from his surgery and operation that added his new armor, and in his rage he throws Emperor Palpatine into the wall and this sets Palpatine into a rage and he attacks Vader, forcing Vader to come to the realization that he no longer has his lightsaber, which Obi-Wan takes after his battle on Mustafar and later gives to Luke in A New Hope.

The first arc will more than likely focus on the story of how Darth Vader got his iconic red lightsaber, and this first issue goes into great detail explaining the significance of the red kyber crystal, and that alone is worth the $4.99 sticker price. I would love to go into more detail about that, but don’t want to risk spoiling anything.

Along with Charles Soule’s fantastic work, Giuseppe Camuncoli makes a triumphant appearance on a Star Wars book and his art style matches perfectly with a story exploring Vader’s quest for his lightsaber. Giuseppe Camuncoli has worked previously on other Marvel books such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man. His artwork is a little bit more animated compared to previous Star War books, but it works great with the story. I think one of the most memorable scenes of Darth Vader #1 would have to be towards the end of the issue when Vader is on a planet in the Mid Rim and he experiments with the different lenses inside his helmet and we see the planet through Vader’s eyes and it’s a truly unique view of the character.

Personally, I can not wait to see where this story is going to lead to. So much happened between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope that there is almost an endless amount of stories to tell. Nineteen years have passed and in that time, Darth Vader went from an unknown Sith to the most terrifying Sith Lord in the Galaxy, and I can’t wait to see the horrible things Vader has done in the unknown. Be sure to head down to your LCS and pick up a copy of Darth Vader #1. This is the perfect book for any Star Wars fan or any comic book fan, it’s also a great jumping on point because if you’ve seen Revenge of the Sith, then you will be able to follow this series without a single hiccup.

Also, the issue has an extremely dark minimalist bonus comic by Chris Eliopoulos and Jodie Bellaire that pretty much consists of Darth Vader killing everyone he has an interaction with. It was much darker than I expected and it even had me laughing a few times. It is definitely worth the short read, you’ll enjoy it.

Music Pairing:

John Williams, Imperial Death March because come on, it’s a Darth Vader book. What did you expect?

4LN Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Since I was a kid, I have always loved the character of Wonder Woman and the story of Diana Prince, a beautiful princess who gives up all she knows to journey into man’s world and do her best to save man from himself. I remember being a little kid and my Aunt would babysit me and she would turn on the Linda Carter Wonder Woman show and we would eat ice cream and watch this show for what seemed like hours. This was my very first exposure to the character and my first taste of comic books. It wasn’t until Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and the rest of the Dark Knight Trilogy until I truly fell in love with superheroes, but Wonder Woman leads the groundwork for that passion. I can proudly say I’ve read every Wonder Woman comic over the last 5 years and was even lucky enough to interview a creative team working on the Wonder Woman comic, Meredith and David Finch.

I have spent years waiting for an incredible DC movie, and even longer waiting for a Wonder Woman movie, and I am beyond excited to say that Wonder Woman is the movie I’ve been eagerly anticipating, and the one that DC desperately needed. Batman v Superman & Suicide Squad left a lot to be desired from most fans and had quite a large amount of controversy surrounding them. But, Wonder Woman offers a new slate that was desperately needed. I believe if this Wonder Woman film premiered before Batman/Superman, DC wouldn’t have had as many problems as they have been having.

Wonder Woman is the first major film for director Patty Jenkins, who previously has directed a few TV shows, and the 2003 film Monster with Charlize Theron, which she won an Acadamy Award for in 2004.  Along with an academy award, the film also grossed over 4 times its budget making it quite the success, and showing that Patty Jenkins knows what she is doing. After watching this movie, I seriously couldn’t think of better director for this film.

I’m going to do my best to keep this a spoiler-free review, but be warned that there may be spoilers following this section

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Official Synopsis from IMDb: “Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

From the moment this film starts, it doesn’t feel like your typical superhero movie, it’s 100% an origin story, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s an action-packed World War I movie, it’s about the innocence that’s lost by war, and it’s a film about true heroism. We are used to murders in alleys, bites from radioactive insects, super serum experiments, and aliens coming to Earth. The only superhero film I can compare this to is Thor, considering he leaves/is kicked out of Asgard and ends up in a small New Mexico town. But, there is something inherently different about Diana leaving Themyscira to journey into man’s world. There’s more valor and honor to it.

Patty Jenkins, along with screenwriter Allan Heinberg and producers Zack Snyder and Geoff Johns, did a fantastic job representing the difference between Paradise Island and the war-torn Europe. From the minute that Steve Trevor’s plane crashes on the island and German’s follow him into Paradise, we see the tone shift and colors change from bright and vibrant to dark and gritty. One of the biggest problems with Batman/Superman was the over saturated, gritty look of the film. Wonder Woman uses that darkness but also brings it to life in a way that the Batman/Superman team was never capable of.

One of the most unique and beautiful things about Wonder Woman is how Diana Prince looks flawless and the iconic Wonder Woman suit is 100% the focus, especially during battle. The color isn’t washed out or faded. If anything, Wonder Woman sticks out like a sore thumb when the battle rages in No Man’s Land and this makes her even more of a badass. While everyone around her is depicted in shades of gray, she’s brightly colored with reds, blues, and golds; as Wonder Woman should be.

The battle scenes are truly wonderful in this film, and it feels more like a Great War movie instead of a superhero film. Over the past year or two, I’ve talked with my fellow 4LN writer Stephen about how I fear the comic book movie bubble will burst soon. He always points to movies like Winter Soldier and Ant-Man because they are essentially just comic characters inside of genre films instead of strictly superhero movies. I can completely understand that now.

Diana has an innocence about her that makes the character unique compared to other caped crusaders, and this movie does an incredible job showing that innocence and its eventual loss caused by the horrors of war. At one point before Diana, Steve, and the rest of the crew make it to the front lines they pass a group of wounded, bloodied soldiers and you see the expression on Diana’s face drastically change. Gal Gadot sold that scene with nothing more than her eyes, similar to Johnny Depp’s work in Edward Scissorhands. There are quite a few times in the movie where Diana wants to save people but she must sadly come to the realization that not everyone can or will be saved in a time of need.

Everyone that was cast in this movie was a phenomenal pick from Gadot as Diana, Robin Wright as Antiope, Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, Danny Huston as General Lundendorff and finally Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison. It’s no secret that Marvel has perfectly cast several times and there are many actors from their films who completely embody their respective characters, but I am excited and proud to say that DC has that now in Gal Gadot. She IS Diana Prince. She stole the show in every scene she was in during Batman/Superman and she is equally as mesmerizing in her own solo film. Along with Gadot, Lilly Aspell plays the young Diana and does an absolutely incredible job with her deliveries of comedic lines and her bravery and mischief that you would imagine the daughter of a queen having. The chemistry between Chris Pine and Gal Gadot was absolutely fantastic and captured the dynamic of their relationship in a fantastic way. Watching their relationship unfold felt just like reading one of the origin stories from the comics.

DC has always been asking the question of, “What if Superheroes existed in our world?” They’ve not done the most compelling job of exploring that idea up until now. With Wonder Woman, what they do instead is move outside of the box a little and use their characters to ask, “What if the Greek gods existed in our world?” and that is truly what makes Wonder Woman a unique superhero movie. Trevor and his crew completely understand that Wonder Woman is “not of this Earth,” but does that mean that gods such as Zeus, Aries, and Hera could also exist still? Or maybe they always have existed… With such a simple question DC will be able to easily continue and turn Wonder Woman into a franchise. Frankly, It’d be a crime if they didn’t, seeing as to how they’ve already laid solid groundwork for it here.

I don’t have to tell you that seeing a Wonder Woman is a must. Even if you’re unreasonably skeptical, deep down you know that it is as good as everyone says, and then some. The biggest concern for a lot of people was whether or not Wonder Woman would be a mess like the few DCCU films before it. The greatest failure therein would be to see such an empowering female character flop on the big screen. You can rest assured that worry dissipates within the first 10 minutes of the film. So, you have no more excuses. Get your ass to the theater right now and watch the best damn comic movie this year.

4LN Comic Review: Jean Grey #1

Series: Jean Grey
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Victor Ibáñez
Colorist: Jay David Ramos

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Summary from Comixology: When a teenage JEAN GREY traveled through time and arrived in the present, she learned the terrible fate that befell her predecessor: Possessed by a cosmic entity called the Phoenix, Jean was trapped in an endless cycle of life and death. Determined to escape that future, Jean set out to write her own destiny. But now, she’s visited by a premonition that the Phoenix is coming for her…and in this new ongoing series by DENNIS HOPELESS (ALL-NEW X-MEN, SPIDER-WOMAN, X-MEN: SEASON ONE) and VICTOR IBANEZ (EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN, STORM), she’s going to fight tooth and nail to escape becoming its next victim!

The X-Men franchise has been having some turbulent times lately. The cinematic universe has been suffering heavy criticism, and Marvel/Fox have been fighting for rights for the characters, and for a while, the comic book community was  left in limbo about whether the X-Men universe would come to a halt as Marvel tried to strongarm the rights to the characters. But, as of right now, Marvel Comics is celebrating a renaissance with the X-Men. Books like X-Men: Gold and X-Men: Blue are capturing the classic feel of X-Men books, and know with Jean Grey launching into a solo series, we can continue with that classic feel, but also enjoy a new “millennial” take on the character.

Similar to what Sam Humphries is doing with Green Lanterns, I can see Hopeless really making Jean Grey his own. This issue starts with Jean in Kyoto Japan with a “Bamf thingy” named Pickles (think of a baby Nightcrawler). Jean and Pickles are enjoying some noodles when out of the blue comes a pretty gnarly wrecking crew that consists of three super strong and super invulnerable super criminals. Along with fighting these super bank robbers, Jean must also deal with the struggles of coming to terms with who/what she becomes with the power of the Phoenix, and even though she’s not “our” Jean Grey, she is still Jean Grey, so will the Phoenix still be her destiny?

My favorite part of this issue was actually the first two pages, and I mean that in an extremely positive way. The first two page of this series actually did a fantastic recap of the life and death(s) of Jean, and it had a call back to one of my personal favorite comic covers, Uncanny X-Men 135. Hopeless seems to have a great connection with Jean and it seems to be a very promising start to a new series based on a beloved character.

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Victor Ibáñez does a great job keeping this book bright, bold, and entertaining. There were a few moments where I audibly laughed because of situations Jean found herself in, and Victor did a fantastic job bringing that to life. Victor Ibáñez also did a fantastic job blending classic X-Men images with current comic book artistic styles. Ibáñez also did a first-rate job at capturing the angsty feeling of a teenage Jean Grey.

When you go out to your LCS tomorrow for Free Comic Book Day, be sure to pick up Jean Grey #1, especially if you are anyone who loves the X-Men franchise. This is a great start to a fun story and has a lot of promise for the direction it’s heading in, and it will be enjoyable to see Jean rise from the ashes of her past self.

Music Pairing: 

At one point in the issue, Jean uses her powers to give someone a near death migraine. As someone who suffers from chronic migraines, that was really not cool to do. That sh*t really hurts.

4LN Comic Review: Redneck #1

Series: Redneck
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Dee Cunniffe
Colorist: Lisandro Estherren

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Summary from Comixology: “The Bowmans are VAMPIRES who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cow’s blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface–making it impossible to separate man from monster! Critically acclaimed writer DONNY CATES (GOD COUNTRY) and artist LISANDRO ESTHERREN serve up the tale of a DIFFERENT kind of family just trying to get by, deep in the heart of Texas.”

I am a huge fan of vampires. Of all the horror characters, and classic monsters, vampires have always been my favorite. I think that may have something to do with the Hugh Jackman Van Helsing movie. Once I saw that, I became fascinated with the bloodsuckers. I absolutely loved True Blood, I shamefully read Twilight, and Scott Snyder’s American Vampire is a comic I am constantly recommending to new readers. I used to play Magic; The Gathering almost daily, and I had a mono black vampire deck that almost ruined friendships. When I heard that there was a new vampire comic coming out from the same guy who did God Country, I knew I would instantly love the series. And I do.

Living in the south, this comic was almost instantly relatable for me. The characters we are introduced to might be vampires but they could easily be your next door neighbors or friends you run into while grabbing groceries. Our main vampire in the story is named Bartlett Bowman and he was born the same day in the same year as the state of Texas declared its independence, December 29th, 1845. Barlett was at The Alamo, he was in the civil war, and he was everywhere between then and now. His family has lived in the town of Sulphur Spring since before it was even a town, and Bartlett believes that he’ll still be around long after the town is razed from the earth. Sticking with the southern feel of the book, Bartlett has a family feud with another local family named The Landrys; Think Hatfields & McCoys, but Vampires & Mortals.

I think my personal favorite thing about this comic is how it’s only issue #1, and it’s already painfully bleak. The artwork by Dee Cunniffe is dark and full of dark tones, and the use of a lot of blacks and dark blues. Cunniffe does a great job bringing this east Texas town to life, and it feels like a real place that you would want to drive through as quick as possible. Along with the town, Cunniffe, and Estherren do a great job with the character appearances as well as the main fight scene. In the fight, we don’t see much, but we can tell that major shit is about to go down, and it felt similar to the build up of the border crossing scene in Sicario. Along those lines, it was fantastic to see what happens to the vampires in sunlight and, unlike Twilight, they aren’t sparkling.

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If you love Vampires or just a good dirty, southern crime story, then this IS the book for you. Be sure to head to your LCS and grab this before it’s gone. I saw in a Facebook group that this is a hot book and going quick, so don’t sleep on this, you will regret it! Redneck is full of edge of your seat suspense that will leave you thirsty for more. It’s rare to find the first issue of a comic that grabbed my interest as much as Redneck.

 

Music Pairing:

Hunting Humans by The Misfits, because of obvious reasons. (Writers note: Misfits blow without Danzig. All hail Danzig!)

4LN Comic Review: Green Arrow #16

Series: Green Arrow
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist and Colorist: Otto Schmidt
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Summary from comixology: “EMERALD OUTLAW” part five! Implicated in the killing of several high profile Seattleites, besieged by a murderous cabal of crooked cops and demonized by a mayoral candidate willing to tear the city apart to get what he wants, all seems lost for Green Arrow. That is, until help arrives in the form of a long-lost ally. It’s the return of Emiko Queen!

Green Arrow by Benjamin Percy and Otto Schmidt has easily been the most consistently great series to come out of Rebirth. Batman, Trinity, and Wonder Woman have all been awesome (in my opinion), but Green Arrow is the only one that hasn’t had a low point or an issue that I thought to myself, “This isn’t necessary…” Percey is just one of those writers that instantly captures that tone and nature of the character. Like Scott Snyder with Batman, Jason Aaron with Thor, or James Robinson with ANY Golden Age character. I honestly think Percy will easily go down as one of the best Green Arrow writers.

Since the very first issue of this series, Oliver Queen has been a Social Justice Warrior, and that had some controversy around it because even the term itself tends to be viewed, for some bizarre reason, negatively, and is often used sarcastically. But, as I said in my Green Arrow #1 review, Ollie has always, and should always, be a Social Justice Warrior. It just fits his nature. The great thing about this issue (and series) is that it tackles political issues head on and without remorse. Hell, the alternative villain, the mayor-to-be of Seattle who ran his campaign based on fear and hate, is the spitting image of Donald J. Trump. I have to give respect to Percy for guiding the story to a place so relevant to today’s topics.

When it comes to art, Otto Schmidt is one of my favorite artist working with DC Comics. The more that these guys put out, the better the work gets and it’s already fantastic work. Schmidt does a incredible job with the colors and line work on every page. In the intense fight scenes, everything is clearly defined and easy to locate. I personally love the uses of dark colors such as blues, oranges, and greens. Schmidt does a great job using the color scheme to capture the tone of the book. Along with colors, Schmidt also does a great job with the facial characteristics and body language of everyone in the book.

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As I said above, Percy and  Schmidt have done amazing things with Green Arrow, and are only 16 issues into what I hope is a very long run on the character. They have re-imagined Oliver Queen as an modern-day SJW (and it works) and they are tackling real issues in a fantasy world. If you haven’t read any of their run, you are truly missing out. The first trade just came out, and this is only the 5th issue of the Emerald Outlaw story arc. So, do yourself a favor and head down to your LCS and pick up issues 12-16 and enjoy this great series as much as I do.

 

Music Pairing:

You’ll want something fairly political and fairly heavy. And for that I recommend the great Stick To Your Guns. Check out the song No Tolerance of the EP Better Dust Than Ash. And, if you dig them, check out our interview with their drummer, George Schmitz.

4LN Comic Review: Darth Maul #1

Series: Darth Maul
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Luke Ross
Colors: Nolan Woodard

462191._SX360_QL80_TTD_Summary from Comixology: “Bred on hate, fear, and anger…steeped in the ways of darkness…and trained to kill. Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows, but at last we will reveal his tale of revenge. From writer Cullen Bunn (DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, WOLVERINE) and artist Luke Ross (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, HERCULES) comes a tale of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the Jedi.”

I remember being six when Star Wars Episode I: The Phanom Menace first came out, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever (I know… I know…). The movie starred a young kid, my age, podracing, and one bad ass Sith. From the minute I saw Darth Maul, I was intimidated. The black and red face, the horns, the double-edged lightsaber, and the fact that Darth Maul was extremely quiet just added to his brooding nature.

If any writer was born to write Darth Maul, it’s Cullen Bunn. Bunn is just one of those writers that just does a great job with a villainous and anti-hero characters. He’s written Sinestro and Lobo for DC, and he has worked on Magneto and Deadpool for Marvel. He just has a natural ability with capturing the darker and more brooding characters. In the Phantom Menace, Darth Maul doesn’t say much; but, in the first issue of the mini-series he has quite a bit of dialogue. Darth Maul struggles with some inner demons and frustration directed at Darth Sidious, since he feels Maul is not ready to complete his apprenticeship.

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When it comes to the art in this book it tends to, at times, look a little more cartoony than the rest of the Star Wars books (not including Princes Leia)  have looked, and I certainly don’t mean that in a negative context. The cartoon feel actually adds a great amount of depth to the book and makes some of the scenes all that more bad ass. The book actually starts with Darth Maul hunting two of the most dangerous creatures in the galaxy, Rathtars(space octopus eyeball looking things). Darth Maul takes two of these beasts down in a couple swings of an ax, and its a great start to the series and helps show vicious Maul truly is. Luke Ross does an incredible job with the character designs for the leader of the Trade Federation, and also background characters on Coruscant.

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Bunn and Ross make a fantastic team, and this is leading up to be one of my favorite Star Wars mini-series. As I mentioned before Bunn does a fantastic job capturing a villain and, with a character that so little is known about, this is his time to shine with the ability to be able to add more lore around Darth Maul. Ross’s art really fits the book and I definitely look forward to seeing this creative team run off with Darth Maul.

My only downside to the book is Marvel sticking a $4.99 price tag on the book. Yes, it’s a #1, and yes there is a small bonus story by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire but I really think the $5 price will turn people away. If I wasn’t pulling EVERY Star Wars book, I would have probably passed on this book, but I’m glad I didn’t. And despite the $5 charge, I think you’ll greatly enjoy it too.

 

Music Paring:

Duel Of The Fates by John Williams. Because, duh.

4LN Comic Review: Planet Of The Apes/Green Lantern #1

Series: Planet of The Apes/Green Lantern
Story: Robbie Thompson
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Barnaby  Bagenda

 

 

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Summary from Boom: BOOM! Studios and DC Comics are proud to bring together two classic properties in a historic crossover event. When Taylor goes missing, Cornelius investigates and discovers an ancient ring, unlike anything the universe has ever seen.As its power echoes through the stars, the Guardians of the Universe must reveal to their Lanterns a secret they had hoped would remain buried. With the Green Lantern Corps, led by Hal Jordan, racing to get to the source of this power before Sinestro can get his hands on it, they will discover a truth that will change them forever on…THE PLANET OF THE APES.

 

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This has been one of the few comics that I have eagerly been waiting for. I absolutely loved “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes“, and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is one of my all time favorite Sci-Fi movies. Plus, with the Green Lantern being one of my favorite superheroes, how could I not love this?


This first issue is mostly world building due to setting up the rest of the 6 issues in the mini series. However, they do a fantastic job with characters such as Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and the infamous Sinestro. Bringing in Justin Jordan to work on this project was a great move for Boom/DC since he’s previously worked with a majority of these characters during his time on DC Comics New Guardians during the New 52.

 

I mentioned my love for the new franchise, but this book includes a few beloved characters from the original Planet of The Apes. Cornelius and Nova are the main apes, in this issue at least, and the story seems to take place sometime after the original movie ends. Cornelius ends sup finding some type of ring inside a crater and this ring just happened to once belong to the notorious Larfleeze. With the uses of Sinestro and Larfleeze this is already building up to be an epic story involving two beloved franchises.

 

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Barnaby Bagenda worked with Tom King during his run on the DC series The Omega Men and also worked on Evil Dead 2 by Space Goat Productions. Bagenda does a superb job with the art in this issues and makes it truly look at times like a watercolor painting but is still able to have a great amount of focus in the detail. Only one issue in and I am already itching for more of his art. I personally think that Bagenda and Jordan make a fantastic team, and I can’t wait to see what type of constructs and images these guys come up with.

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Justin Jordan does a fantastic job tying these two properties together, Bagenda’s artwork is phenomenal, and this has turned out to be the crossover I never knew I wanted. I literally couldn’t be more happy for it! If you are at your LCS this week and you see this book on the shelf, be sure to pick it up, especially if you are a fan of either franchise. Let us know in the comments below if you picked this series up and if you enjoyed it or not.

 

Music Pairing:

The Get Up Kids are a great band for this style of a comic, and their song Like A Man Possessed is a perfect pairing for this book. I would dare say Cornelius is a man possessed after this issue. I’m sorry, that was a terrible dad joke, but whatever. I made it and I don’t care.

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #25

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Page Count: 46
Price: $5.99

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Summary from Comixology: “It has all built up to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition in an ending you can’t miss!” (Not from Comixology but should be stated immediately, that cover is f*cking awesome.)

Darth Vader has been my favorite of all the Star Wars books since it’s release in February of last year. Darth Vader #25 is the perfect end to one of the best books being published. This book is a lot like Breaking Bad, I’m saddened that it had to come to an end, but I’m glad it didn’t drag out and become a chore to keep up with (*cough* Son’s Of Anarchy *cough*). Kieron Gillen understood the character of Darth Vader so well that he makes it completely unbelievable that Hayden Christensen could become the Sith Lord.

This issue was full of perfect conclusions for a 25 issue long story. My fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew and I agree that Vader Down had one of the most BRUTAL comic book lines in a long time, but I now believe that the most brutal line of Darth Vader was said in this final issue. There are two moments in this book that left my jaw literally hanging open because I just couldn’t believe how ruthless Darth Vader truly is. I want to go into detail, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers that will take away from the experience of reading this issue.

From beginning to end, Salvador Larroca’s art has been absolutely prepossessing and captures the grandness of space and Star Wars. From epic outer space light saber battles to intimate character designs, Larroca has thoroughly brought Darth Vader back to life in comics. When it comes to writing a villain, Kieron Gillen is truly one of the best writers for that bracket of characters. Gillen does a fantastic job of writing part of a story that we all know (I.E. Vader can’t die yet because we aren’t at Return Of The Jedi yet), but still leaving suspense and wonder with what will happen with all characters involved. Looking back on this book now that it’s over, I couldn’t think of a better creative team for it. Gillen and Larroca truly worked elegantly together.

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From issue one to twenty-five, Darth Vader has been one hell of a roller-coaster and full of surprises. I am really disappointed to see my preferred Star Wars book come to an end, but I’m also excited for whatever becomes the next on-going Star Wars book (crossing my fingers for Boba Fett or Kylo Ren).

(Writer’s Note: This review was written before the announcement that Doctor Aphra would be landing her own SW ongoing title)

Thanks for 25 distinguished issues of Darth Vader Salvador Larroca & Kieron Gillen. If you haven’t been reading Darth Vader, now is not the best jumping on point, since this is the epic conclusion; but, you will not be disappointed if you hunt down the previous issues (or trades) because they will be entirely worth the price. In my honest unabashedly biased opinion, this is one of the best final issues from Marvel. Ever.

Also, the book is $5.99 which really blows, but it is more pages than a typical issue, and part of that is an epic mini issue in the back about Darth Vader slaughtering Tusken Raiders while killing time on Tattooine waiting for a couple bounty hunters. Made it worth the extra couple dollars.

Music Pairing:
John Williams, like all Star Wars book reviews.

4LN Comic Review: Trinity #1

Series: Trinity
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Francis Manapul
Inker: Francis Manapul

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Summary from Comixology: “BETTER TOGETHER” part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes…but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?”

This is the series that I have been most excited for regarding the DC Rebirth comics. I was instantly sold on this book just by finding out that Francis Manapul was doing the art for the book. If you aren’t familiar with his work, then you need to pick this book up just for the art alone. For $2.99 you won’t pick up another book as beautiful as this one. For those of you not familiar with Manapul he’s known for his work on other DC books such as New 52 Flash, Justice League, and my personal favorite Batman Detective (Icarus). If you are a fan of bright colors and crisp sharp line work, then Francis Manapul is the comic book artist you’ve been looking for!

The story of Trinity could be a bit confusing for those of us not following the Superman comic at the moment. The gist of what’s going on with Superman is: He’s from a different timeline. When he ended up in this universe, he decided that he wanted to stay on the down-low. New Clark and Lois Lane have a farm in Califonia where they are raising their son who is beginning to learn that his father is Superman, and he has superhuman abilities. After knowing this, it will make reading Trinity all that much easier to understand.

I think my absolute favorite part of this book were the three full page spreads that each of our heroes received. Wonder Woman arriving on the field with a boar and her invisible jet was one of my absolute favorite scenes in this comic. I’ve always loved Cliff Chiang’s and Frank Cho’s take on Diana Prince, but after reading this issue… Francis Manapul might draw my favorite Wonder Woman. It’s just so beautiful, The Batman and Superman splashes are equally as beautiful but I think you’ll greatly appreciate seeing it for yourself instead of having me describe for to you. (See our Review of Superman #7)

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Besides the art, Manapul does a fantastic job with telling the story. This series starts with Bruce and Diana coming to the farm to talk to and get to know, Clark and Lois along with their son. Batman isn’t very trusting but Diana wants to accept them for who they are and believes in time they will become as close of allies as they were with the original Superman. Manapul also does a fantastic job writing some comedy into this book so that it’s not so rigid and series. Bruce makes a comment about Clark’s son sleeping and looking so innocent. I couldn’t help but laugh and imagine Bruce watching Damien sleep and thinking/wishing he was innocent and a typical 10-year-old. Also, Bruce Wayne in plaid is a pretty hilarious image. Along with comedy, Manapul also makes references to much older DC Comics events, and some of the very interesting style choices that Batman made in the 60’s.

Overall, if you are a fan of DC’s Superhero trinity, this is the book for you. Manapul leaves many questions when you come to the conclusion of the issue, and you are going to be coming back to find out what the answers to those questions are. And, you’ll be itching for more beautiful Francis Manapul art come next month. So, head down to your local comic shop and pick this up before you live to regret it!

Music Pairing:
One of my favorite bands in an instrumental post-rock band called Balmorhea from Austin Texas. Their album All Is Wild, All Is Silent is absolutely beautiful and matches the art in the book perfect. So, spin the opening track from that album while reading this book. It’ll be a perfect fit.