New Comics – Batman ’89 #1 and Defenders #1

Here are two comics which caught my eye last week:

Batman ’89 issue #1 (of 6) by Sam Hamm & Joe Quinones, (August 10th, 2021)

Continuing the story from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie, this opening issue focuses on Harvey Dent–played by Billy Dee Williams in the movie. Dent isn’t happy with Commissioner Gordon working with masked vigilante Batman and plans to go after him. He wants to take Batman down. A curfew is brought in and the National Guard patrol the streets of Gotham City at night. They have orders to shoot Batman on sight. After pursuing a thief back to his apartment, Batman is surprised by a masked figure on the balcony. They fight and Batman falls. That is where the issue ends.

This was a fun, pulpy, colourful story with a real feel of the 1989 movie. It was nice to see this version of Harvey Dent being developed–something I felt was missing from the Batman Returns sequel movie. With it being the first of six issues, a lot of the story acts as set up for future issues. The art was pretty good if a bit hit and miss at times. It had a more cartoony feel than the regular Batman titles. But I liked it, even if Bruce Wayne looked nothing like Michael Keaton😂. This is a recommend for any fans of the 1989 film.


Defenders issue #1 by Al Ewing & Javier Rodriguez, (August 11th 2021)

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What’s Batman up to these days? A Review of Batman issue #111

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but growing up I was a HUGE Batman fan. I used to buy the two DC Comics Batman titles: Batman and Detective Comics. This was back in the old times before the Empire the 1989 Tim Burton movie. Out of curiosity I’ve just checked how many current monthly Batman comics there are. Are you ready for this?

Batman; Detective Comics; Legends of the Dark Knight; Batman: Urban Legends; Batman Fortnite; Batman Secret Files; Batman Reptilian; Batman ’89; I Am Batman (the race-swapped Batman); The Batman & Scooby Doo Mysteries; Future State Gotham; Batman Catwoman; Batman Superman; THIRTEEN titles! Plus two Joker titles, Robin, and Nightwing. 😵 Talk about an over-saturated market! It’s almost unbelievable when you type them all out.

I haven’t read the current Batman monthly comic for a while, so I thought I’d try the latest issue: Batman #111 “The Cowardly Lot” part 6 written by James Tynion IV with art by Jorge Jiminez. It was released August 3rd 2021 at the DC Comics price of $4.99. You get 30 pages of story: 22 for the main Batman story and 8 for the backup “Ghost-Maker” story. That’s right, a lot of the main DC Comics monthly titles now include an 8-page backup story, which is their excuse for raising the price from $3.99 to $4.99, or in some cases $5.99.

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Spawn’s Universe, Issue #1 (2021) by Todd McFarlane & more

Spawn’s Universe issue #1 from Image Comics was released on June 23rd, 2021. It’s a 68-page comic which creator Todd McFarlane introduces with the following quote:

“Three hundred and eighteen issues have led to this, the founding of Spawn’s Universe. A Universe of possibilities for Spawn and his Allies, as well as his Enemies.”

Spawn first appeared back in May 1992, so it will be 30 years of Spawn comics next year. Growing up collecting comics, I was aware of the character but never got into reading the book. I knew Todd McFarlane from his work on The Amazing Spider-Man in the late 1980s, and then the new title named simply Spider-Man which he both drew and wrote. Man, I used to get lost in the detail of Todd’s Spidey-webbing!

Before the release of Spawn’s Universe #1, I bought a few of the recent issues of Spawn in a digital sale. The art is excellent, but the story didn’t pull me in. Perhaps I’ve missed too much that’s come before? So, I thought this new issue might be a good jumping-on point. Plus, I knew the art would be next-level, especially when compared with a lot of recent content the so-called “Big Two” comics publishers have been putting out.

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Dorohedoro, Vol.1 (2002) by Q. Hayashida

“There’s some nutjob sorcerer out there turning people into bugs. I just saw a couple of victims. Crude stuff. This guy’s a total amateur.”

Publisher’s Synopsis

“In a city so dismal it’s known only as “the Hole,” a clan of Sorcerers have been plucking people off the streets to use as guinea pigs for atrocious “experiments” in the black arts. In a dark alley, Nikaido found Caiman, a man with a reptile head and a bad case of amnesia. To undo the spell, they’re hunting and killing the Sorcerers in the Hole, hoping that eventually they’ll kill the right one. But when En, the head Sorcerer, gets word of a lizard-man slaughtering his people, he sends a crew of “cleaners” into the Hole, igniting a war between two worlds.”

-VIZ Media

My Thoughts

I discovered this manga after watching the anime series released in 2020. That series caught my eye with its colourful, almost psychedelic style, and the weird and cool character designs. It stood out from a lot of the popular anime streaming at the time. Halfway through watching the anime, I ordered an English copy of the first volume of the Dorohedoro manga. There are 23 volumes in total.

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BRZRKR #1 (2021) by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, Ron Garney

The first issue of Keanu Reeves‘ debut in comic book writing was released today, Wednesday March 3rd, 2021. BRZRKR is co-written by Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) with art by Ron Garney. The 12-issue limited series has so far raised over $1.8 million on Kickstarter, setting the record for the highest-funded comic book project in the platform’s history.

Synopsis from BOOM! Studios

The man known only as Berzerker is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, Berzerker will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence… and how to end it. NOTE: This is for Mature Readers.


My Thoughts

I’ve just finished reading this and man, is it violent! Main character John Wick Berzerker is sent on a mission to locate and capture the heavily-guarded president of an unspecified country. He is accompanied by a squad of soldiers. The action kicks off from the sixth page and doesn’t stop for 23 pages, (in a 48-page comic book). It’s one long action scene that hardly gives you time to take a breath until it’s over. After the mission, Berzerker is taken to an “undisclosed US Government facility” and undergoes the start of a lengthy healing process that had me thinking of the first Matrix movie.

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Once & Future, Vol. 2: Old English (2020) by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora

“What was in that thing?”
“The usual penny-mix of mystic selection. Plus blessed by a few priests.”
“You talked vicars into blessing a landmine?”

-Kieron Gillen

Clipped from a conversation between Duncan and his grandma Bridgette after their spectacular fight with something huge and powerful in issue #9. Once & Future, Volume Two: Old English collects issues #7 to #12 of the BOOM! Studios comic book.

Synopsis

When an ancient helmet at the British Museum is taken, Bridgette and Duncan are confronted by another hero of yore, one who will lead them to facing off against their most formidable challenge yet…a beast and his mother.


My Thoughts

Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora continue their reinterpretation of the King Arthur myth. In this second volume, they expand on their idea of stories breaking into the real world. Here is a quick recap of the events in Volume One: The King is Undead. Be wary of spoilers.

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A Good Marriage (2010) by Stephen King

Happy Halloween!

I’m currently working on a longer review of Stephen King’s Night Shift, but I wanted to post a review of a horror story today, Halloween 2020. So here is a brief review of King’s A Good Marriage. It was published in 2010 as part of the novella collection: Full Dark, No Stars. The story was adapted for the big screen in 2014.

Publisher’s Synopsis

What happens when, on a perfectly ordinary evening, all the things you believed in and took for granted are turned upside down?

When her husband of more than 20 years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband.


My Thoughts

How well do you really know someone? Could a close member of your family be hiding an incredible secret? In “A Good Marriage”, Stephen King explores these ideas with the skill of a truly gifted writer.

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Catwoman 80th Anniversary Special (2020) by Various Artists

If you are a fan of the character or a fan of comic books, you will very likely enjoy this. I did, and I recommend it to all comic book fans out there. It’s a good chance to sample a variety of stories written and drawn by some of the current creative teams in comics in 2020.

Speaking of the creative teams, they feature in the ten stories in this 100-page special. The writers are Ann Nocenti, Will Pfeifer, Tom King, Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, Jeff Parker, Chuck Dixon, Ram V, and Mindy Newell. The artists are Ty Templeton, Jonathan Case, Steve Rude, Lee Garbett, Tim Sale, Pia Guerra, Kelley Jones, Fernando Blanco, Robson Rocha, Jim Balent, Emanuela Lupacchino, Tula Lotay, Mikel Janin, and Cameron Stewart.

Released with a whopping 23 variant covers, I ordered the 1970s variant with gorgeous art by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich. I’ve always had a soft spot for that purple and green costume. I’ll post some images of the main variants below. Please let me know which one you would choose!

1970s Variant Cover by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich
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Innumerable Glimmering Lights (2016) by Rich Larson

“I am not afraid for my life” […] The project was more important than survival. More important than anything.

After checking his page on the isfdb, I was surprised to see just how many stories Rich Larson has had published. There are over 90 short stories listed from 2011, two books of fiction, as well as two collections. That is very impressive. I am familiar with the author’s name and have read a few of his short stories before. I remember enjoying both “You Make Pattaya” and “An Evening with Severyn Grimes”, which were collected in two of Jonathan Strahan’s yearly “Best Science Fiction & Fantasy” anthologies. I read this story in Clockwork Phoenix 5.

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We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (1966) by Philip K. Dick

‘He awoke–And wanted Mars.’

Douglas Quail wakes up in his ‘conapt’ after dreaming of Mars. He dreams of walking along its valleys. At the beginning of the story, we are told that Mars is a world ‘which only Government agents and high officials had seen.‘ It’s not a place a ‘miserable little salaried employee‘ can visit. Kirsten, Doug’s wife, reminds him of this every day. But it’s okay because ‘it was a wife’s job to bring her husband down to Earth.

rekal2

This is how Dick’s classic story opens. As he inhales his morning shot of snuff, Doug’s wife complains that he is obsessed with the Red Planet. She wants him to take her on a trip to ‘the bottom of the ocean‘, to ‘one of those year-round aquatic resorts.‘ His Martian dreams can only lead one way: “you’re doomed, Doug!Continue reading