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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.

Bat for Brains: A 4LN Interview with Scott Snyder!

I really got into comics right around the time that New 52 started, and I was pulling every Batman & Bat-Family book that there was. Unfortunately, slowly but surely, I lost interest in those books. All but one… the Batman proper book by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. It easily became my favorite comic that was being published, and not long after that, it became my all time favorite comic. I have every issue except a #1 first print, I picked up the second print not realizing it. Soon, I started to explore Scott Snyder’s work before Batman. I picked up The Black Mirror, a story from his Detective Comics run. This was seriously one of the darkest Batman stories I had read since Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, I couldn’t believe the things that were happening in this book.

Not longer after I became a Scott Snyder fan boy, we started FourLetterNerd and I set a goal for myself; I somehow wanted to interview my favorite writer. I even wrote an early article talking about how Snyder was the Stephen King of Comics. I wanted to talk comics with someone I admire, someone I aspire to be like, and one of the people that has made me want to become a comic book writer, or a writer in general.

This week Scott Snyder released his new ongoing Batman series, All Star Batman, and I was able to sit down and talk about this book with him. I was beyond excited. I had achieved my main goal with FourLetterNerd, and I couldn’t be more excited and stoked to share this with you. Guess my unabashedly biased reviews got me somewhere Stephen Andrew.

Below you will find my interview with Scott Snyder!

Scott, after having written Batman for so long, do you feel like you understand who Bruce Wayne is at this point, or do you find that you’re still exploring his psyche?

Scott Snyder: I have so many questions about him, he’s so deeply fun to explore. I write each arc like it’s going to be my last one and I would always say to Greg [Capullo,] or whoever I was working with, “You know, this might be the last one…” [laughs] And try to make it something that would make me feel good leaving it on each time, making it personal and about things that you feel passionately about. With that said, with this one I felt like it was almost a new beginning are sort of deciding not to do just one story that was different, but instead do an entire series of stories that approach Batman’s mythologies, and villains, and Bruce and all of it from a completely different angle. Where it wasn’t necessary a big epic storyline. I wanted to be able to break it down into separate prisms of series where I could say I want to do this villain with this artist, and this villain with that artist. So in doing so, we will have this whole new perspective on Bruce as well. Where all of these things are sort of looking at him as a character that I didn’t expect, like his relationship with Alfred, the whole Robin mantel. All of the stuff that wasn’t really in the outline for the book has been emerging. And I really feel like, really hope, it’s some of my best work. So, I’m really excited to see what you think.

 

Will this version/depiction of Batman/ Bruce differ from one we saw in you New 52 run, or will he be inherently the same?

Scott Snyder: I always see him as the same character, New, Non, Pre52. I mean for me I think it’s more you just have a version of the character in your head and it’s almost like your own creator owned version in your head. I was talking to Tom King (Writer of Batman) about this and you know, it’s almost like if you’re doing rebirth, or New 52, or anything, it’s sort of your vessel. The thing with Grant [Morrison], whatever he was doing on Batman, it was always his Bruce. So, I see him as one long consistent conversation almost between me and the mythology of the character that way it differs from the 52 version. But, this series I’ve made a really big effort to be a shock to the system for the readers given what I have been doing with Greg [Capullo] because I tried to do that every arc with Greg. The last thing I wanted to do was for it to seem like I was playing it safe given all the risks we took doing Batman proper.

 

Are there any artist that you are excited to work with?

Scott Snyder: Oh yeah! So many great artist. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to Danny and Dean for just doing incredible work on the feature, but also Declan Shelvey and Jordie Bellaire who are doing the backups and the Robin History with me. Paul Pope has become a good friend and I can’t wait to work with. Sean Murphy who is one of my dearest friends in the world, you know, he and I have worked together before and I can’t wait to bring him over in the Batman world. We always joke around about it, but in his creator owned works there is normally a character that is like me, who is like “Draw Batman! Draw Batman!” It’s a joy being able to bring artist in that haven’t had the spotlight from a major book and you can help them, and feel very inspired by them both as people and as talents. So for me, it’s the opposite as what I was doing on Batman, in some ways, and in others it has very similar DNA. The similarities are, I like big bombastic over the top high stakes stuff. I always have. I try to make each story very personal to me, where every villain is sort of re-examined in away that hopefully positions them in a modern and scary but true to core, and slightly tweeked. But maybe something more contemporary. And being outside of Gotham for the story allows me to do wilder takes and experiment a bit more and not be so concerned about what’s happening to the city constantly, and it’s in very good hands with Tom. So, it gives me room to breath and think bigger and write crazier.

 

Dean White is doing the colors on this book, and I personally think he is one of the best colorists in the industry. How do the two or you play off each other? Do you mention what colors things should be, or does White just take the ball and run with it?

Scott Snyder: Danny I have worked with for a long time, because he was on Batman with me and Greg, but Dean who is new to me at least, and who I have admired for a long time, I just made it a point to talk and we wound up having similar sensibilities and  taste in music and so we really got along. What I always try to do isn’t so much tell them specifically what I want but to tell them what the book is about and say Listen, I want this story to really feel like, say, this is the end of times, the end of society, and the end of all these kinds of restrictions we put on ourselves that we use to hide who we really are, those are going to fall away. I want it to feel like this quante beautiful landscape we have never been in before, but also kinda threatening and oddly scary like Halloween on a farm but with bright blue skies, and you never know what’s in the cornfield. That kinda stuff, and I’ll say that and they will come up with something that is incredibly vibrant and enhances those ideas tremendously. There really aren’t words that describe what these guys have done on this book, so I would just encourage people if you pick it [All Star Batman #1] up, and you like what they are doing, just tweet them both, or on Instagram, because colorist and inkers are often total unsung heroes and are letterers of the books, and editors I suppose. [Laughs] Go find them and tell them what a great job they are doing.

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I think a lot of people would define your writing style as horror, so I’m curious, do you identify as a “horror” writer?

Scott Snyder: I’m really proud to be known as a horror writer. I wear it really proudly, horror is my favorite genre if I had to pick one, by far. I grew up on horror movies and I don’t know if it was wanting to see the cool kids get attacked [laughs] or it it was something deeper at first when I was little but they always spoke to me. Night of the Living Dead is one of my favorites, Frankenstein is my favorite book, so yeah I think at horrors core, it’s about a very pure form of conflict. It’s you up against something like a monster, or something that is a reflection or extension of your fears about yourself or the world around you, when it’s done right or well. It’s almost like a burned down, turned up to 11 volume form of the best kind of conflict and drama, so yeah!


Any plans for Scarecrow?

Scott Snyder: I do. I do have plans for him. I actually had Scarecrow in this arc. But then I realized I didn’t think I was doing him justice because he came and went pretty quickly. I just feel like he deserves a bigger role if I’m going to do something with him. So I do have an idea for something down the line. This series is truly ongoing where you know I start with John for five issue and then I have some one shots and two shots with Jock, Paul Pope… and then I have Sean Murphy and this big story and then I would really like to do this one with Lee Bermejo. So I have plans to stretch for almost two years, at least a year and a half. Which is as much as I ever had on Batman Proper. So my hope is to keep it going and do stuff about all the villains. You know, all of them big and small. I would love to do something with Scarecrow, I had an idea for fear gas in issue three but just thought it wasn’t right to knock him out of the story that quick.  

 

Just real quick, Batman with a chainsaw is one of the greatest things I have ever seen.

Scott Snyder:[Laughs]  Thank you! They tried to cut that at one point. My editor Mark, who is one of my best friends, was like “Listen to me, there might be like one thing that might be a little bit too dark for people, and that might be the chainsaw.” I was like “We are not moving or getting rid of the chainsaw, no matter what.” I really fought him on it and he was like “Whoa, whoa, whoa, OK alright.”

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It’s fun, and it’s silly, and it’s grindhouse; but, it’s the spirit of the series, which I think is that Batman is going further than he’s gone before with Two-Face, and you never know what’s coming form the corners of the page. You don’t know what villain is going to pop up, which hero will pop up, even completely certain of an unfamiliar situation that ultimately is landscaped by a psychological projection of what’s going on between these characters. So, having a chainsaw is almost like Batman is willing to sort of shock you and be even more aggressive and badass than you expected, but what comes back at him a few pages later, is even worse, and it’s raising the steaks in the bet that Two-Face is making with him every few pages.

 

Final question, in the show “Gotham” they introduced The Court of Owls last season and it appears as if they’ll have an ominous presence on the story this season. How does it feel to have created something in the Bat-verse that’s impact is so significant it’s being adapted to live-action?

Scott Snyder: I can’t even begin to tell you.. When Geoff Johns told me they were doing that, I was out in Burbank [California] and he was like “I have something to show you.” And he showed me clips from the promos from the season two introduction of them and I almost teared up because I was so excited. So, it’s a huge thrill honestly, and DC has been incredibly kind to us about it. But Greg and I had one stipulation, we wanted to be Owls in the back, giving the thumbs up wearing the masking and everything, no, no, we are very grateful. When I started Batman, or even Detective Comics, six or seven years ago, I never thought in a million years I would be doing it this long or have been able to be so embedded in the mythology and able to create characters and anything that would stick. It’s hugely rewarding, and cant thank the fans enough for all their years of support and letting us do everything we’ve done in the books.

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Thank you so much to DC Comics, and Scott Snyder. Be sure to head to your local comic shop and pick up All Star Batman #1 which is on shelves now, and if you are in the Middle Tennessee area, head over to Game Cave 2 and pick up this book! You don’t want to sleep on this series.

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4LN Comic Review: Suicide Squad Rebirth #1

Series: Suicide Squad
Writer: Rob Williams
Pencils: Philip Tan
Inks: Jonathan Glapion

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Summary from Comixology: “Soldier. War hero. Traitor. Captain Rick Flag was one of America’s greatest military commanders before he was banished to a secret military prison. But after years of isolation, Flag’s life changes forever when a woman called Amanda Waller offers him redemption in exchange for taking on the single most dangerous job in the entire DC Universe: keeping the Suicide Squad alive! ”

Man, what a coincidence that this comic is coming out right before the Suicide Squad movie hits theaters on Friday, you would almost think that was planned or something. But seriously, it makes perfect sense to drop this comics this week. You have people picking it up this week out of hype, and next week, if people like what they see, hopefully they will come into a comic shop and pick this book up. I personally think this is a great starting issue, as well as a great jumping on point for literally any level of a fan. Life long Suicide Squad fan, this book is for you. Just saw the trailer and want some light reading, this is the book for you.

In this issue, the Squad consist of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Boomerang, and leader Rick Flair Flag. This issue is a great “origins” story for the team. We don’t get flashbacks of who Harley, Deadshot and Boomerang were before joining the team, we just know they were bad. We don’t see action ready combat hero Rick Flag fighting overseas, but we do know shit hit the fan for him and he’s now in Guantanamo Bay for terrorism. And, we find out that in the last months of President Obama’s presidency, he finds out about Amanda Walker and Task Force X. For those unfamiliar, Amanda Walker is the government agent that leads the top secret task force.

I think Rob Williams does a fantastic job capturing the feel of these characters. Williams really seems to understand the characters of the team, and he does a fantastic job capturing the dialogue between them. I love how he has Boomerang singing soccer hooligan songs while in combat. Speaking of combat, the fight scenes are absolutely intense in this book. Boomerang slices a guys hands off, Harley and Deadshot shoot a guy in the head (each hit a different target) and the Suicide Squad has no problem detonating a bomb in a metropolitan city.

I really enjoyed the art in this book. It was very clean, but also had a gritty feel to it. A lot of dark colors and dark tones were used, which is important in a book like Suicide Squad. Everything seemed very well-organized on the pages, and the panels were easy to follow. There were a few pages that I just really enjoyed solely because of the page layouts and how the book flowed together. Philip Tan also did a fantastic job on making people look real. What I mean by this is, when looking at President Obama, I knew it was President Obama, and that’s not always the easiest thing to do in the comics medium.

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If you are excited for the movie, or just want to read a book about super villains doing badass shit, then this is totally the book for you. Williams and Tan do a wonderful job at bringing this team alive on the pages. Don’t sleep on this book, and for $2.99 what do you have to loose?

Music Pairing:

Harley Quinn being a badass is awesome, and I feel like you could safely call her Miss Murder. AFI is the perfect fit for a book like Suicide Squad, and their song Miss Murder does a good job as the soundtrack.

4LN Interview with Writer of Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps, Robert Venditti

We got the chance to sit down and talk with comic book writer Robert Venditti (for the third time) about his upcoming DC project, Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps, which hits shelves tomorrow! Be sure to grab Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 because we promise, this won’t be a series you will want to miss. So, without further ado, our interview with Robert Venditti!

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Are you excited to be working with former comic collaborator Rafa Sandoval?

Robert Venditti: Absolutely! I have worked with Rafa before for about 5 issues during X-O Manowar for Valiant. It was a great collaborative relationship, and he does so much so well. Especially when it comes to cosmic/sci-fi/space-oriented books. He does a lot of alien races, and a lot of ships. He’s fantastic when it comes to design, and those kinds of things. When DC told me about Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps, I asked if I could have Rafa Sandoval on this book. I just love working with the guy, and DC went and got him.

How does working with Ethan Van Sciver compare to Rafa Sandoval?

Robert Venditti: Ethan is somebody that I’ve worked with in a very limited capacity. We did one issue of Green Lantern together, during my run, but he’s somebody that brings so much weight and experience to the title. He’s an artist whose synonymous with not just Green Lantern mythology, but with the concept of Rebirth. And so to be able to work with him, who literally co-created a lot of the stuff that we are going to be dealing with, he has such an enthusiasm and a love for the characters. He’s very knowledgable and easy to talk concepts with, and if you are writing a book as part of the Rebirth initiative which embraces the long legacy of the DCU. I can’t think of a better artist to have on that for Green Lantern than Ethan, because in a lot of ways he represents that legacy. Him and Rafa together are just a great 1-2 punch… I couldn’t be happier.  

How does Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps work with the theme of Rebirth? (Are you bringing back classic elements/characters while moving forward)

Robert Venditti: Absolutely! Yeah, I mean, that is Rebirth in a nutshell. It’s to embrace the long legacy of these characters, and embrace everything that has come before, but push forward and look towards the future and new directions as well. That’s exactly what we are doing. When you look at our opening arc, it’s going to be Hal and the Green Lantern Corps vs Sinestro and the Sinestro Corps. It’s green versus yellow. It’s will versus fear. These are concepts that go back to the earliest beginnings of the Green Lantern mythology. We are embracing that, but we are also doing some new things with that. If you read a lot of the books of the Rebirth books that are already on the stands, you’ll see that that is what the incentive is pretty much about. It’s a concept that I feel I am really suited for and it’s something I’m really excited about, and I hope people are excited for the stories when they see them.

 

Will Hal continue being a rogue lantern and using his  power gauntlet, or will we see the return of the iconic leader that we have been so used to?

Robert Venditti: When we open the Rebirth issue, Hal is in the possession of Krona’s gauntlet, and it has an affect on him where it’s changing him into a being of will. So what that’s beginning to do will have a profound affect on the series going forward. But what he does aside from that is he makes a decision with the Green Lantern Corps absent, he is going to reclaim his mantle as Green Lantern and be the last green lantern in the universe. He’s going to try to go find the corps, find out what happened to them, save them, and bring them back. Hal doesn’t know what the situation is yet, but he’s going to go searching for the corps and trying to protect the universe while he does it, all while being the standard bearer of the Green Lantern Corps. Coming into that at the same time, with the void of the Green Lantern Corps being absent, Sinestro parking War World in Sector Zero and becoming an established police force in the universe. So now you have Hal and Sinestro sorta on this collision and that’s where our story is going to begin.  


Are you excited to write different members of the corps besides Hal?

Robert Venditti: It’s such a diverse cast, you know? So many different lanterns who have been introduced over the years and one of the things that I’m doing is really trying to embrace that wider taprecy of DCU, with all the various planets, cultures and civilizations. And the lanterns who often times come from those cultures and civilizations. And with each of those civilizations comes different lanterns and with different character point of views. The diversity of that is what can really separate the Green Lantern mythology from a lot of other mythologies.  

With all the different characters in the Green Lantern series, will we see the return of B’dg?

Robert Venditti: [Laughs] I get a lot of B’dg and Ch’p questions. Yeah, B’dg is still there and he’s on the table, but I’m not doing a B’dg centered story anytime in the near future. But yes, B’dg is definitely still around.   


4LN: My personal favorite Lantern is Kyle Rayner, do you have any special plans for him?


Robert Venditti: Yup! Yes we do, it’s interesting. I don’t mention Kyle a lot in interviews, and we haven’t shown him in a lot of promo art, because what we are doing with him is really secretive. So when he does get introduced, it’s going to be for a very significant reason. To do something that only Kyle can do. And where the story then goes from there, it’s going to take a turn in a different direction. Kyle is definitely going to be there, but I have to be more secretive about him and other things because of what we are doing.    

4LN: What has been your favorite part about writing Green Lantern so far?

Robert Venditti: I would say just being able to work with these characters in the cosmic nature of the DCU, which is really the Green Lantern’s domain. There are so many worlds, so many different space race villains, and space race heroes, and alien cultures, and all these types of things. It’s such a rich history, and so much imagination, all these elements being introduced by different writers over the decades, so to be able to have all of that to play with and to mine for stories… It’s just a huge honor, and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. It’s always enjoyable.

 

We’d like to thank Robert for taking the time to chat with us! Below we have some previews of Hal Jordan & The Green Lanterns Rebirth and Issue #1!

 

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4LN Comic Review: Titans Rebirth #1

Series: Titans Rebirth (One Shot)
Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciler: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund

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Summary from Comixology: “Friends. Teammates. Titans. Donna Troy, Arsenal, Garth, Lilith and Nightwing were all that and more until a mysterious force erased their memories, forcing them to forget what they could accomplish together. Reunited with their memories returned, the Titans must destroy the interdimensional demon that broke them apart and threatens reality itself.

THEY SAID IT: “Grayson and Donna were a couple of the characters I first worked on at DC, so it feels like a homecoming for me,” explains penciller Brett Booth. “I’m beyond happy!”

WARNING: Do NOT read this issue until after you read DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1!”

This is a book I picked up due to the recommendation of a friend, they said this was one of the best books they have read in a while, and I personally really like Dan Abnett, so I figured I would give it a try, and I’m also trying to read all the Rebirth one shots. I don’t know why DC is doing this, but all of their books are so goddamn emotional! I get it, you guys are killing it with these Rebirth books, but come on, let me have a book that doesn’t choke me up.

Take heed of this warning, if you haven’t read Rebirth #1, you need to stay away from this book, and stop reading this review, because there WILL be spoilers starting below.

Remember how in Rebirth Wally West plays a huge role with getting Flash to remember him? Remember how damn emotional and rough that was? Well, that’s just how Titans Rebirth is. This entire issue is about Wally getting The Titans to remember who he was, and in those memories, we see flashbacks to the most intimate moments between Wally and each character. The interaction between Wally and Nightwing had to be the most emotional, followed by his memories with Lilith Clay. Imagine if all the people you loved forgot you even existed, imagine a world like Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, that’s been the world that Wally West has been living in for the last few years.

Dan Abnett has been putting out superior work the last few months, with his work on Aquaman and Titan’s Hunt has been fantastic, and now that he’s bringing out favorite Titans Back, I’m just more and more excited for his work. I think DC did a great job by signing him to an exclusive deal, which is fairly rare for DC to do. Abnett is a fantastic add to their creative department and, I think with his work on just this book alone, I am unbelievably excited to see where he’s going to take this book, and I have a feeling it’s going to become a great mystery read.

I have no shame in saying that I wasn’t very familiar with the artist, Brett Booth. But after some quick research I discovered he’s worked on Spider-Man and X-Men for Marvel, and he did a bit of work with James Robinson on Justice League of America. Booth does a fantastic job of capturing the raw emotion, and the feeling of remembering something when it hits you like a dam breaking. His line work is incredibly clean, and even in the multiple fight panels, and splashes, everything is still extremely clean, and easy to follow. Which is not an easy task.

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If you are looking for a read that will put a smile on your face, and possibly even a tear in your eye, then this is the perfect book for you. The cast of characters have so much history together, and there is so much pre-existing history, but it’s still a great jumping on point for any new reader. It’s good to see Wally back, it’s good knowing that people remember him, and it’s good knowing that The Titans are going to figure out what happened, and they are going to do it together. And hopefully, Wally and Lilith will end up together…

 

Music Pairing:
Two Years by Have Mercy is really the only song I could play while I was reading this issue. It just fit perfectly. It’s about loosing the ones you love, and hoping they will remember you years later. “I had a life, and I had friends. And I miss all of them.” I think this is exactly what was racing through Wally’s mind.

4LN Review: Green Arrow #1

Series: Green Arrow
Writer:Benjamin Percy
Art & Colors: Otto Schmidt
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: 2.99

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Summary from Comixology: “THE DEATH AND LIFE OF OLIVER QUEEN” Chapter One

As Oliver struggles with how he can fight “the man” when his huge fortune makes him the man, he and Black Canary uncover a deadly new threat to Seattle that cuts the Archer to the bone.

THEY SAID IT: “My touchstones are [former GA writers] Dennis O’Neil and Mike Grell, while trying to make the series my own,” says writer Benjamin Percy. “Green Arrow will be a politically and culturally relevant series. Expect stories that aim a broadhead into the zeitgeist, that are ripped from the headlines.”

This has been one of the Rebirth titles I’ve been most excited about. Green Arrow has always been a character that I’ve found interesting, but never really dove into. I read the Jeff Lemire New 52 series and absolutely loved it. So, I was pumped when DC announced Rebirth and that it would be a good starting point for new readers. Of all of the Rebirth one-shots Green Arrow has been my favorite (but damn was Titans good), except for when Black Canary calls Oliver a Social Justice Warrior… Cause you know, SJW’s are really annoying (I.E. Tumblr). But, the more I thought about it, Green Arrow has always been a SJW, and that’s what makes him interesting. He’s always dealt with social commentaries such as drugs, race, and sexual harassment which were tackled by the character in the 60’s/70’s. This is just Benjamin Percy’s way of bringing the character back to his roots, and honestly, as much as it pains me to say, I’m excited to see the SJW version of Green Arrow.

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(From Green Arrow: Rebirth #1)

What I really liked about this issue is that it reminds me a lot of Batman: Court of Owls, and I mean that in the most positive way. Green Arrow and Black Canary have stumbled upon a secret Seattle society (say that 10 times fast) which buys and sells homeless people on the black market. It’s a really cool concept and has the potential to be a very memorable story. What’s unique about this version of Ollie is we see how much he struggles, how he doesn’t have friends, and how he’s almost a lost soul. Ollie has lost a lot of things over the years, but one of the most painful things was his iconic relationship with Black Canary, but with this issue and the Rebirth special, that relationship is slowly rebuilding.

Benjamin Percy does a fantastic job at capturing the sarcastic and smart ass tone that Oliver has, but he also does a wonderful job of writing a story that’s dark and gritty (reminiscent of the Kevin Smith era for the character). Besides that, Percy does a fantastic job of pacing this issue and making sure the twist and turns surprise you like a roller coaster you’ve never been on. Like most #1 comics, this leaves off with a big cliffhanger, and it’s one of those that you just don’t want to believe (like how in the f**k is Captain America in Hydra?!?!?!?!?!).

I want to take a minute and talk about Otto Schmidt’s art. How have I never heard of this guy? He’s a perfect blend between Jock and Andrea Sorrentino and that’s a combo you don’t want to mess with. I absolutely loved his uses of orange, purple and red to blend it all into a beautiful 24 page book of art. This is truly one of the most beautiful books from Rebirth that I’ve read so far. Percy and Schmidt make a truly fantastic creative team, and I can’t wait to see the rest of this story unfold.

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Be sure to pick this comic up next time you head to your LCS, because this is not a book you are going to want to sleep on. If you hate the direction that Arrow has gone, then this needs to be your new Green Arrow fix. You wont regret it. And be sure to keep coming back this week for our Seven for Seven comic book review, seven new reviews in seven days.

Music Pairing:
This is a pretty heavy and intense read. So you are going to want to jam some heavy tunes to this read. And I can’t think of anyone better than the great Every Time I Die.

4LN Comic Review: Batman #1 (2016)

Series: Batman
Writer: Tom King
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Matt Banning
Colors: Jordie Bellaire

Summary from Comixology: “I AM GOTHAM” Chapter One

No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight?

CAN’T MISS: Superstar artist David Finch returns to Batman alongside writer Tom King for this five-part storyline.”

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I have anxiously been waiting for this book since Tom King’s announcement as the head writer for Batman. King’s work on Omega Men, Grayson, and Vision were all truly brilliant, and his first issue on Batman was one hell of a ride. The issue starts with a young boy looking out a window of an 747 airplane as it approaches it’s descent into Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman and Commissioner Gordon are having a rooftop meeting, and that’s when the issue picks up.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but this is seriously one of my favorite Batman issues in a while; and, that’s coming from an unabashedly biased Scott Snyder fan. You seriously need to make sure you pick this up while you are at the LCS today or tomorrow, because I’m predicting this to be a huge series, and another long run on the character.

It’s wonderful seeing David Finch back on Batman, this is where his best work shines. Finch did a fantastic job capturing the emotions between both Batman and Alfred. Besides the intimacy that Finch captured, the action scenes in this book were fantastic. There were two splash pages focusing on the new design on the suit, and they were absolutely stunning. Jordie Bellaire and David Finch seriously make on of the best artistic teams in comics. It’s hard to believe that this is the same David Finch who worked on Detective Comics and Wonder Woman (New 52). His work on those books weren’t bad, they were actually beautiful, but the art in this book is just so much more different than what we have seen form him in the past.

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I think we all expected this book to start with a bang, but I don’t think it would be as emotional as it was. It wasn’t as devastating as DC Rebirth #1, but man, this issue was still rough. There was a particularly emotional moment when Batman asked Alfred if his parents would have been proud of him. I didn’t think this issue would be THAT much of a tug on my heartstrings, but damn if it was. Besides the emotional aspect to this book, King also introduces two new characters (It’s not a spoiler, they are on the cover) and its uncertain if they are heroes, vigilantes, or villains. Either way, these new characters definitely have a certain vibe to them that makes it feel like they will be a serious threat to our beloved caped crusader.

If you are a Batman fan, Tom King fan, or just looking for a new series to get into, Batman #1 is a fantastic jumping on point. This will be a wonderful issue to pick up if you are a lifelong Batman enthusiast, or just jumping into the world of comics. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up. And, if you are in the middle Tennessee area, go pick this up from our friend Dave at The Game Cave in Hendersonville, and tell him 4LN sent you!

 

Music Pairing
I actually struggled with figuring out what music would fit this book best. Then it hit me, “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings really fit this book. It’s just a fun sound that has some noise rock/distortion vibes to it. So it’s easy reading music.

4LN Video Podcast – Episode 1: Warcraft, E3, and Favorite New Comics

Welcome to the first ever 4LN Video Podcast! This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and after getting our feet wet with a couple of unboxing videos we decided it was time to give it a shot! We brought our good friends Tyler and Dave along to chat about the new Warcraft movie, what we’re looking forward to from E3, and which comics from the past week we really dug! Check it out and enjoy!

 

(Editor’s Note: This podcast was recorded on Sunday, June 12th, so make sure to check out our E3 coverage from the past couple of days here and here.)

4LN Comic Review: Batman: Rebirth #1

Series: Batman
Writer: Tom King and Scott Snyder
Artist: Mikel Janín
Publisher: DC Comics
Page Count: 26

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Summary from Comixology: “Longtime Batman and Eisner Award-winning writer Scott Snyder co-writes with rising-star writer Tom King!”

EVIL 365: “Gotham City faces the threat of the Calendar Man!”

This is one of the Rebirth books I have been looking forward to the most. I mean, Tom King and Scott Snyder working together? What’s not to love about that? Tom King has been one of the best writers working in the industry at the moment. His work on Vision, Omega Men, and Grayson has all been critically acclaimed, and most people refer to Vision as one of the best science fiction stories in the last five to ten years. Tom King is a phenomenal writer, and this single issue proves that Batman is in great hands after the epic conclusion to the Scott/Capullo run.

There were two things that really stood out in this issue: one being Duke Thomas, and two being Calendar Man. For those of you who didn’t read the previous Batman run, Duke Thomas was a character introduced in Zero Year, and eventually became a Robin. But, this issue continues the story of Duke and his teaming up with Batman. With Duke as a new fan favorite, and people wondering what would happen to him, it’s rewarding to know that he’s in good hands and that Tom King will continue with a new chapter of his story.

Besides Duke Thomas, the other thing I felt that was remarkably well done was Calendar Man. Julian can be very “hallmark and seasonal” compared to the others in the Batman rogues gallery. The only good representation that comes to mind is his portrayal in Long Halloween. But, after reading this issue, I can definitely say that there are two great Calendar Man depictions. Sure, this is just a first issue; but, if Tom King can do a great story with a character like Julian Gregory Day, then the sky is the limit for characters such as Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze.

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Mikel Janín’s art in this issue is phenomenal. It made Calendar Man feel more intimidating as a villain. It was a little sad to realize that he wasn’t staying on this book. No disrespect to David Finch, who is the main artist starting next issue, but Janín’s art really stood out to me. I would love to see more of his work in the future, but I’m looking forward to seeing Finch return to the Batman world. His work on Wonder Woman was enjoyable, and Finch does his best work while in the bat-verse.

The first issue on King’s run is a great start. Snyder’s influence is lingering, but it’s safe to say that in time, Tom King will take Batman and run with it, making it completely his own.

Music Pairing:
Time Is On My Side by the Rolling Stones because why not.

4LN Comic Review: DC Universe Rebirth #1

Series: Rebirth
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist(s): Gary Frank, Phil Jemenez, Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC
Page Count: 81
Price: $2.99

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Overview from Comixology:

It all begins here. Do not skip to the last page. Do not let a friend or message board ruin this comic for you. The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!THEY SAID IT: “Rebirth is about focusing in on the core of the character and their respective universe,” says writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. “It brings back what has been lost: the legacy of the characters, the love and the hope of the DCU!”
I have been eagerly waiting for this issue since it was announced at this years WonderCon. And, of course, it comes out while I’m on vacation in California. I couldn’t get to a shop on Wednesday, so I had to wait until Thursday. I was lucky enough to be able to check out Southern California Comics in San Diego, but unfortunately they were sold out, which I expected. So I had to resort to picking this book up digitally, and avoiding Reddit and Facebook like the plague. I haven’t had the combination of internet and free time until today (May 30th), to get around to reading this book. But goddamn am I glad I waited to read it instead of trying to rush through for a quick review. This is honestly one of my favorite single issues in a long time.DC’s New 52 had a lot of ups and also a lot of downs. People tend to shit on The New 52, but I liked it and it helped me get more into comics, so for that I’m biased towards it. But, I can already tell that Rebirth will fix the wrongs that New 52 created, and it’s paving a way into a new era for DC Comics, one that I think will bring back a lot of old readers. I think the best part of this event is, you don’t need to know 30+ years of back story to understand Rebirth, it’s a great jumping on point, and it’s easy to follow. “Obscure” characters are focused on, but the Johns does a great job of making this an easy read, and building background in just a few panels.I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Mammoth California as I read this issue, and it had me feeling so many different emotions, from pure joy to a heartbreaking sadness (I may have cried a little bit in this shop…) and everything in between. I was very skeptical of this book, and I didn’t know what to expect, but i can’t stress enough how fantastic this book was. I think one of the fantastic things about this book is you don’t need to know the previous 30 years of DC legacy, but Geoff Johns was able to work in one of the most iconic comics of all time, and it worked. It made sense. I think one of the most special things about this book is how well Johns writes internal narration. It feels like you are actually inside the mind of a character, and a lot of the times this is where a writer can truly fall flat and ruin the momentum behind a book, but Johns truly hit a grand slam (I am not calling it a f–cking “Papa Slam“). If you are skeptical of Rebirth, or if DC has previously left a bitter taste in your mouth, trust me; this book is only $2.99, 80 pages long and will restore your faith in DC.I also want to mention how beautiful the art is in this book. You can tell a lot of time was put into this book, and the several artist who worked on it really meshed well together. In my personal opinion when multiple talents work on a book, it tends to get chaotic and or messy, but with Rebirth every page flows easily into the next. And the attention to detail is incredible, and answers you might have towards the end are explained in the small details when a character visits Batman for the first time.9e373dea795b0702e022bf660b0ad551._SX640_QL80_TTD_Overall, I can not speak any higher about this book. It was a fantastic issue that will start the next chapter for DC Comics, and I think everyone should check this book out. And come on, it’s only $2.99. You can barely get a cup of coffee for that price. Do yourself a favor and grab this book on Wednesday if you didn’t last week, or click the link to Comixology at the top of this article to get it RIGHT NOW!Music Pairing:
This book has a lot of time travel in it, and I can’t think of a better sound track than Hans Zimmer’s work from Interstellar. Start with my favorite track, Mountains, and put it on shuffle. It’s a perfect pairing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Ay_iDRAbc