Weekly Comic 100s: Batman #100, Champions, and More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Batman #100
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Jorge Jimenez, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki (Inker), Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Variant cover by Francesco Mattina.
RELEASED: October 6, 2020

In the end, “Joker War” was pretty unremarkable. Though at least not flat-out offensive the way “City of Bane” was. It wound up being, in my opinion, as much about Harley Quinn as it was about Batman. That’s exactly what I was afraid it would be.

To his credit, though, Tynion gives Barbara Gordon a pretty awesome moment in this issue.

And hey, we got a “Jokerized” Batsuit out of the deal that’s just dying to be made into an action figure or a Funko Pop. So there’s that I guess.

TITLE: Champions #1
AUTHOR: Al Ewing
ARTISTS: Simone Di Meo, Federico Blee, Clayton Cowles. Cover by Toni Ifante.
RELEASED: October 7, 2020

I like this angle on the Champions. Superheroes under 21 are outlawed, which gives them something to rebel against. Teenage defiance and all that. This series isn’t starting off with the same sort of real-world intrigue the 2016 Mark Waid book did. But it’s making up for it with superhero drama.

So wait, Kamala Khan is the face of the law banning teen heroes, but Ms. Marvel is the leader of the Champions? How does that work? Superhero logic, I guess…

TITLE: Star Wars #7
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
ARTISTS: Ramon Rosanas, Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by Carlo Pagulayan.
RELEASED: October 7, 2020

Charles Soule starts to get this book on track here, as we get a pretty darn good origin story for our new villain, Commander Zahra. The Zahra character was mentored by Grand Moff Tarkin, who Soule has historically been very strong with.

This is our second time seeing Carlo Pagulayan this week. He impressed me with this cover. It reminded me quite a bit of Olivier Coipel’s work. For my money, that’s a compliment.

Ramon Rosanas turns in a strong performance as well. A suitable replacement for Jesus Saiz on this series.

TITLE: We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #2
AUTHOR: Al Ewing
ARTISTS: Simone Di Meo, Mariasara Miotti (Color Assistant), Andworld Design (Letters)
RELEASED: October 7, 2020

We Only Find Them When We’re Dead is a gorgeous blaze of vibrant colors. Truly wondrous from an artistic standpoint.

The trouble is, and perhaps this is just my ADD talking, I’ve been having some trouble following along. We’re learning about some intriguing characters. But there’s a lot of spaceship tech jargon in here, much of which feels like fat to be trimmed. My hope is the book starts to take off (pun intended) as we get into the real meat of the story.

TITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue #13
AUTHORS: Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS: Ty Templeton, Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer). Cover by Becky Cloonan.
RELEASED: October 1, 2020

One of the things Batman: The Adventures Continue does is answer certain questions left unanswered from the show. Including one I didn’t think to ask: Why isn’t Leslie Thompkins in The New Batman Adventures? Hint: It involves Jason Todd.

Oddly enough, in this issue Red Hood throws a grenade that’s read and has white “eyes” like his helmet. It looks like he’s throwing a Spider-Man grenade.

That’s right, folk. A Spider-Man grenade. That’s the kind of keen insight you’ll find here at PrimaryIgnition.com.

TITLE: The Department of Truth #1
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Martin Simmonds, Aditya Bidikar (Letterer)
RELEASED: September 30, 2020

This first issue is packed with intrigue and possibility. Not to mention a sense of dread. As if we’re about to learn some horrible secret about how the world works. And we do…kinda…

Simply put, I don’t buy the big twist in The Department of Truth #1. The book is written and drawn like a government espionage type drama. But the revelation is a piece of comic book science so far-fetched that even I don’t buy it. Such a shame, as I’d been looking forward to this for months.

TITLE: Batman/Superman Annual #1
AUTHOR: Joshua Williamson
ARTISTS: Gleb Melnikov, Dale Eaglesham, Clayton Henry, Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), John J. Hill (Letterer). Cover by Gabriel Rodriguez & Sanchez.
RELEASED: September 29, 2020

Wanna have some fun? Read Mr. Mxyzptlk’s dialogue in Gilbert Gottfried’s voice, and Bat-Mite’s in Paul Reubens’ voice. Just like on those old cartoons.

This annual is about our two fifth-dimensional imps arguing about whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight. It’s played for laughs, and it’s a lot of fun. But most important of all? The story has the right ending.

Remember, kids: Superman and Batman are both heroes. They shouldn’t be fighting. They’d find another way to work things out.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Weekly Comic 100s: Iron Man 2020, Go Go Power Rangers, and More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Oye. Not a good comic book week for yours truly. Not only am I still reeling from the demise of my local shop, but my pull list was uncharacteristically small this week. So what’s a frustrated fanboy to do?

With only three issues in my stack this week, I’ve added a mini-review of Detective Comics #1000, as we learned this week that it was the highest selling comic book of 2019.

Shout out to Jay’s Comics in Gurnee, IL. I’m pretty sure they’re my new shop.

TITLE: Iron Man 2020 #1 (of 6)
AUTHOR:
Dan Slott, Christos Gage
ARTISTS:
Pete Woods, Joe Caramagna (Letterer).
RELEASED:
January 15, 2020

Thanks to a lot of backstory, (which the issue is nice enough to provide us post-script), Tony Stark’s adoptive brother Arno Stark is now Iron Man. Straight out of the gate, he’s got a rebellious robot uprising to contend with.

As someone who hasn’t kept up with Iron Man lately, there’s not much here to excite me. It’s inferred that Arno has sinister intentions. But when friggin’ Doctor Doom has played the role before, everyone else pales from a “villain as the hero” perspective. Ironic, as Dan Slott’s work on The Superior Spider-Man drew me to this book.

TITLE: Go Go Power Rangers #27
AUTHORS: Ryan Parrott, Sina Grace
ARTISTS: Francesco Mortarino, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Eleonora Carlini.
RELEASED: January 15, 2020

Excellent issue, which includes a fight between Tommy and Lord Zedd over the White Ranger powers.

So between what’s happening in this book, and in the main MMPR title, you’re telling me the all-wise Zordon has no idea what’s happening with Jason, Zack, and Trini? The kids he himself chose to be Power Rangers? Like, not even a little? That’s the one aspect of “Necessary Evil” I’m having trouble buying. Other than that, I’m really enjoying what we’re getting from the PR titles right now. The main book was shaky for awhile, but things are definitely back on track.

TITLE: The Low Low Woods #2
AUTHOR: Carmen Maria Machado
ARTISTS: Dani, Tamra Bonvillain (Colorist), Steve Wands (Letterer). Cover by J.A.W. Cooper.
RELEASED:
January 15, 2020

Something felt off here. I’m not sure if the issue was paced to fast, or I was having trouble recalling things from the first issue, or the bizarre-but-not-in-a-scary-way thing we see on page three. But I wasn’t into this issue as much as the first.

I do, however, appreciate the way they’ve developed the town of Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania as almost a character unto itself. The town apparently has “an extremely unhealthy relationship with its dead.” As I said last time, it’s very reminiscent of a Stephen King story.

TITLE: Detective Comics #1000
AUTHORS: Scott Snyder, Kevin Smith, Paul Dini, Warren Ellis, Denny O’Neil, Christopher Priest, Brian Michael Bendis, Geoff Johns, James Tynion IV, Tom King, Peter Tomasi
ARTISTS: Greg Capullo, Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Becky Cloonan, Steve Epting, Neal Adams, Alex Maleev, Kelley Jones, Alvaro Martinez-Bueno, Tony Daniel, Joelle Jones, Doug Mahnke. Cover by Lee.
INKERS:
Jonathan Glapion, Scott Williams, Derek Fridolfs, Raul Fernanxes
COLORISTS:
FCO Plascencia, Alex Sinclair, John Kalisz, Jordie Bellaire, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Dave Stewart, Michelle Madsen, Tomeu Morey
LETTERS:
Tom Napolitano, Todd Klein, Steve Wands, Simon Bowland, Andworld Design, Willie Schubert, Josh Reed, Rob Leigh, Clayton Cowles
RELEASED:
March 27, 2019

Yeesh. No wonder this issue sold so well. The sheer amount of talent on this thing, many of whom shaped the mythology of Batman, is outrageous.

I was pleasantly surprised to find something I liked in each tale from this 96-page multi-story anthology. But ultimately, it’s Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev that steal the show with “I Know.” An elderly Oswald Cobblepot confronts an equally elderly, wheelchair-bound Bruce Wayne to tell him he’s known his secret for a long time. It’s a quieter story compared to the rest. But it’s no less impactful for it.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

 

A Review of The Punisher #1 – Bloody, Stabby, and Shooty

The Punisher #1, coverTITLE: The Punisher #1
AUTHOR: Becky Cloonan
PENCILLER: Steve Dillon. Cover by Declan Shalvey.
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: May 4, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I did a double-take when I saw the name Cloonan on this cover. I’ve become so used to seeing her name on Gotham Academy, that seeing her on something like Punisher caught me off guard. Granted, she’s no stranger to the “dark” stuff. It’s simply a testament to how versatile she is as a writer.

Indeed, Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher, is back in a new ongoing series. And he’s doing…well, Punisher stuff. A new group is is preparing to ship a lethal drug called EMC, which “turns $#%@-ass shrimps into soldiers with one toke.” Aiding them is a former mercenary codenamed Olaf, who happens to have old military ties to Frank Castle. But it’s not exactly a happy reunion when Olaf comes face to face with The Punisher, who performs his own bloody, stabby, shooty version of a drug bust. But in doing so, he finds himself on the radar of a sadistic psychopath who may mangle him strictly for the fun of it.

The Punisher #1, 2016, Steve Dillon, preparingThe most interesting aspect of this issue is how The Punisher is portrayed, as many reviewers have called it, “a force of nature.” He has no dialogue, and we’re entirely disconnected from what he’s thinking. Like a cataclysmic storm, he comes and goes leaving a trail of victims in his wake. To an extent, this keeps Frank’s feet in both of his habitats. He’s both a ground-level street hero, and a hero in the larger, super-powered Marvel Universe.

The great Steve Dillon is reunited with Frank Castle here. At this point, Dillon is so identified with The Punisher that when you type his name into Google, the first suggested search is “steve dillon punisher.” This foray is about as hard-edged, no-frills, and grim as one would expect. Dillon also doesn’t hold back on the gory stuff, very much earning that parents advisory we see on the cover. And Frank isn’t the only one getting his hands dirty. My favorite panel amongst the bloody and gruesome sees Olaf shoot a particularly disrespectful drug smuggler to through the head, in the process leaving a blood splatter on a nearby window.

But the high point of the book is a page without any blood or dialogue (shown above). The camera simply makes its way into Frank’s workshop, passing a variety of deadly firearms on the wall. The only words on the page are a series of metallic “tak” sounds. We come up behind our anti-hero as he prepares his tools for the slaughter to come. Truly chilling.

The Punisher #1, Steve Dillon, FaceAlso chilling is the unadulterated crazy that Dillon draws into the eyes of our apparent villain for the coming arc, Face. Why is he called Face? You’ll find out…

Cloonan also writes a hell of a line that we read about mid-way through the issue. When Olaf realizes they’re dealing with The Punisher, and one of the bad guys calls for him to be killed, he replies with: “You can’t kill Frank Castle. He’s already dead.”

The Punisher #1 is a fine start to a new series, and a well timed one. Given Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of the character on Daredevil, and a Punisher Netflix series on the way, a lot of new eyes of been on Frank Castle recently. Rarely has there been a better time for a quality Punisher book.

Images from author’s collection.

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