The Flash #786 Micro-Review – Flash Family Fun

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

The Flash 786, cover, 2022, Taurin ClarkeTITLE: The Flash #786
AUTHOR: Jeremy Adams
ARTISTS:
Amancay Nahuelpan, Jeromy Cox & Peter Pantazis (Colorists), Justin Birch (Letterer). Cover by Taurin Clarke.

RELEASED: September 20, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

What Jeremy Adams has managed to do, at least with these last several issues I’ve read, is turn The Flash into a fun book about a family of heroes. This, as opposed to a book that’s simply about Barry Allen or Wally West. These Dark Crisis tie-ins in particular have been a nice supplement to the main miniseries.

Wally, Linda and the kids mingle with some heroes from the larger DC Universe in this issue. Robin has a couple of cute interactions with Irey. Amancay Nahuelpan and our colorists also give us a hell of a Justice Society.

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

The Flash 2022 Annual #1 Micro-Review – A Writer and a Reporter

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

The Flash 2022 Annual 1, cover, Marguerite SauvageTITLE: The Flash 2022 Annual #1
AUTHOR: Jeremy Adams
ARTISTS
: Serg Acuna, Matt Herms (Colorist), Justin Birch (Letterer). Cover by Marguerite Sauvage.
RELEASED:
August 30, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Quote from this issue: “A writer is just a reporter that gets paid less.”

I’ve been a reporter, and I’m not sure that’s true…

This issue consists of a comic book version of Linda’s novel. I can’t say it’s 100 percent what I was hoping to see when I opened it. We don’t actually see the Flash in the story. But it does provide a nice glimpse into her mind, and how she sees her relationship with Wally.

Serg Acuna and Matt Herms are definitely a winning combination on the art. I’d love to see more from them.

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

The Flash #785 Micro-Review – The Eyes Have It

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

The Flash 785, cover, 2022, Taurin ClarkeTITLE: The Flash #785
AUTHOR: Jeremy Adams
ARTISTS:
Amancay Nahuelpan, Jeromy Cox (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Taurin Clarke.
RELEASED:
August 16, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We see Barry Allen and Wally West running side by side in their Flash costumes in this issue. And as per usual, we see Barry’s eyes through his mask. But Wally simply has white slits. Why does Barry get his eyes and Wally doesn’t?

These are the things I think about, folks.

“The Search For Barry Allen” didn’t blow me away. But it was a nice little tie-in story with Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. It had some cool vintage-style art too. This issue in particular was also really cool for Linda Park-West.

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

The Flash #784 Micro-Review – Mad Max Flash?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

The Flash 784, cover, 2022, Taurin ClarkeTITLE: The Flash #784
AUTHOR: Jeremy Adams
ARTISTS:
Amancay Nahuelpan, Jeromy Cox (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Taurin Clarke.

RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

In this issue we meet a couple alternate versions of our hero. We’ve got the one I’ll call “Mad Max Flash,” and then another silly amalgamation of Batman and Flash (I’m looking at you, Dark Nights: Metal). Neither of them really do much for me.

I’m pretty content staying in the idealized Silver Age world we spent most of the issue in. I dig how everything is stylized to look retro, and the mystery of it all has me intrigued.

This is my first dive into The Flash in awhile, and for the most part I’m really enjoying it.

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

The Flash #783 Micro-Review – Finding Barry

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: The Flash #783
AUTHOR: Jeremy Adams
ARTISTS:
Amancay Nahuelpan, Jeromy Cox (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Brandon Peterson & Michael Atiyeh.

RELEASED: June 21, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve picked up The Flash. So I’m coming in completely cold. Nevertheless, this first chapter of “The Search For Barry Allen” is pretty easy to digest. We’ve got various speedsters going into different timelines looking for the titular character. My favorite of which is a reality that’s essentially a Silver Age Flash comic.

So to differentiate between Wally West (The Flash) and Wallace West (Kid Flash), the latter apparently now goes by Ace? That’s…kinda clever. I like it.

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

A Nightwing #88 Micro-Review – Subtly Provocative

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Nightwing 88, 2022, variant cover, Jamal CampbellTITLE: Nightwing #88
AUTHOR: Tom Taylor
ARTISTS:
Bruno Redondo, Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Andworld Design (Letterer). Variant cover by Jamal Campbell.

RELEASED: January 18, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Both my wife and my local comic shop guy did a double take when they saw this cover. This isn’t an overtly sexy image. But it’s subtly provocative. It’s certainly eye catching, which I suppose is the point.

We get the Flash, Starfire, and the rest of the Titans in this issue, and Superman is advertised for next issue. So we’re heavy on guest stars for a couple months. But for Nightwing I don’t mind that as much, as he’s got such an open heart, and has so many connections across the DC Universe.

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

A Teen Titans Academy #9 Micro-Review – Life After Death

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

TITLE: Teen Titans Academy #9
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Mike Norton, Hi-Fi (Colors), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Rafa Sandoval & Alejandro Sanchez.

RELEASED: December 14, 2021

I tensed up when I saw “The End Begins Here!” I have a fear that they’re going to pull the plug on this series before its time comes…

There’s a mention in this issue of finding Roy Harper’s young daughter Lian, who apparently is missing. Once all this Red X business is sorted out, that might be an interesting plot to explore with the classic Titans.

This issue also has a sentimental reunion between Roy and the man who seemingly killed him in Heroes in Crisis, Wally West. Nice. Anything that defies Heroes in Crisis is good in my book.

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

A Teen Titans Academy #8 Micro-Review – Buncha Bullies!

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Teen Titans Academy 8, cover, 2021, Rafa SandovalTITLE: Teen Titans Academy #8
AUTHOR: Tim Sheridan
ARTISTS: Mike Norton, Hi-Fi (Colors), Rob Leigh (Letterer). Cover by Rafa Sandoval & Alejandro Sanchez.

RELEASED: November 30, 2021

I actually came away from this issue disappointed in some of the new characters, i.e. the Academy students. They steal something from another student, and then when they’re caught they refuse to give it back. Buncha bullies is what they look like…

I was pleasantly surprised to see Mike Norton’s name on this issue. I’ve enjoyed his work since his days on Green Arrow/Black Canary.

So Wally West is the official, canonical Flash again, huh? That’s interesting. He shows up here, and the only downside is that we’re reminded of Heroes in Crisis.

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

DC’s Infinite Frontier #0 – A Rapid Fire Review

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Couldn’t jam Infinite Frontier into an edition of “Weekly Comic 100s,” so we decided to upgrade the format. We’ll cover each story in this oversized issue in rapid fire fashion, and take a glimpse into DC’s future (not to be confused with Future State).

TITLE: Infinite Frontier #0
AUTHORS:
Various
ARTISTS:
Various. Cover by Dan Jurgens & Mikel Janin.
RELEASED:
March 2, 2021

Justice League: Wait, so is Black Adam’s name changing to Shazadam or not? I thought it wasn’t.

Batman: This one’s split into two parts. I’m liking this premise where Barbara Gordon mentors Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain in a Birds of Prey sort of way.

Also, Bane dies. Let’s see how long that lasts…

Wonder Woman: Apparently Wonder Woman did something super big and important in Dark Nights: Death Metal, so now she’s elevated to “the Quintessence” council with Phantom Stranger, the Spectre, etc., and we need a new Wonder Woman. Which is going to be…Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta? I think? Honestly, I don’t really get it…

Wonder Girl: So Yara Flor, the Future State Wonder Woman, is going to be the new Wonder Girl. That could be cool. But she only gets a few pages here. Frankly, I’d rather have spent more time with her than the ladies of Themyscera. We still don’t know much about her, after all.

Green Lantern: Alan Scott: In a very heartfelt scene, Alan comes out to his children as a gay man. That’s pretty cool. I’m also excited DC is borrowing from The New Frontier, and making it canon that the Justice Society was shut down during the era of McCarthyism.

Teen Titans Academy: Not much to go on here. But I continue to be optimistic about Teen Titans Academy.

Superman: Interestingly, we focus not on Clark Kent here, but Jonathan Kent. It looks very similar to what we saw in Future State. I’m not nearly as optimistic for that sort of thing here as I am with Wonder Woman…

Green Arrow & Black Canary: It looks like they’re undoing one of the deaths from Heroes in Crisis, which is a good thing. The less we have to remember from that book, the better.

Stargirl: Right off the bat, I love the art on this one. It reminds me of the original Young Justice book. A nice little teenager superhero outing by Geoff Johns. After all these years, I still miss him on Teen Titans

Green Lanterns: We see John Stewart, Simon Baz, and Keli “Teen Lantern” Quintela here. If they’re going to do a new Green Lanterns book, I wouldn’t mind one about the three of them as a team.

The Flash: This one gets a little far out in terms of cosmic scope. But it ends with some news that should make Wally West fans happy. I’m certainly intrigued.

Overall: A good outing, worth the $5.99 price tag. This is what I was hoping those Generations Shattered and Generations Forged books would be like. A jumping on point for various parts of the DCU.

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

A Batman: Bride or Burglar? Deep-Dive Review – What Might Have Been…

TITLE: Batman, Vol. 6: Bride or Burglar?
AUTHOR:
Tom King
PENCILLERS: Travis Moore, Joelle Jones, Mikel Janin
COLLECTS: Batman #3844
FORMAT:
Softcover
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $16.99
RELEASED: July 25, 2018

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This is the part of Tom King’s Batman run where things start to get weird. Like, really, really weird.

Bride or Burglar? is book-ended by two strong single issues. But in between, King starts needlessly messing around with space-time. He also plants some seeds for Heroes in Crisis that, like much of that ill-conceived event comic, are needlessly awkward and forced. There’s one bit that’s downright blasphemous. From a quality standpoint, this is the lowest the series has dipped up to this point.

But let’s start by focusing on the positives, shall we? And to do that, we have to jump to the last story in this collection…

1. History Lesson
The highlight of the trade is easily Batman #44, which features the titular “Bride or Burglar” story. It sees Selina hunting for a wedding dress as only Catwoman can. But interspersed among the story are actual scenes from Batman and Catwoman’s history that King and Janin make their own, with most of the original dialogue intact. We go as far back to the original Batman #1 in 1940, through the ’50s, on into the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, all the way to the present.

While they do take certain creative liberties, they keep Catwoman’s various different costumes intact. As such, we not only get a sense of how her relationship with Batman has evolved, but how her Catwoman persona has evolved over its lifespan. For history buffs like yours truly, it’s an absolute treat. Story-wise, there’s also a wonderful little moment between Selina and Alfred on the final page.

Tom King’s Batman run has gotten a lot of flack, much of which is justified. But I’ll never knock the way he makes Bruce and Selina’s chemistry radiate off the page. Their familiarity, their intimacy with one another on a strictly verbal scale, is enough to make you believe they love each other, and perhaps should be married.

2. Who is Bruce Wayne?
Jumping back to the start of Bride or Burglar, Batman #38 introduces us to one of the most unlikely villains in all of Batman lore. I won’t spoil the specifics of who it is, but the character’s M.O. is that he models himself after Bruce Wayne. He essentially wants to become Bruce Wayne, which naturally puts Batman in a rather awkward spot. It’s been said that many of Batman’s enemies are, at their core, different versions of what Bruce could have become after his parents were killed. This premise takes that idea so literally that it’s actually pretty clever. We also spend some time doing C.S.I. type stuff with Batman and Commissioner Gordon, which is always fun.

Our guest artist for the issue is Travis Moore, joined by colorist Giulia Brusco. I can’t say I fell in love with their work here. But it was serviceable. No harm no foul.

3. The Eternal Vow
Here’s where we start to run into trouble.

In issue #39 we meet the Gentle Man, a warrior from another realm who spends night and day single-handedly fending off an army of monsters called the Hordes of Gehenna. Apparently, some time in the past Batman and Wonder Woman met and fought alongside the Gentle Man. They offered to take up his fight for a day and allow him to rest. But what he neglects to tell them is that minutes on Earth equate to years in this other realm. Thus, Bruce must not only fight alongside Diana for what winds up being about 30 years in relative time, but he must remain faithful to Selina. That’s not necessarily easy when you’re in the trenches with an Amazonian Princess.

While Joelle Jones is very much in her element with the battle scenes, this whole “Eternal Vow” story winds up being stupid and pointless filler on the path to the wedding in Batman #50. Bruce and Selina didn’t need a fairy tale story like this to emphasize the love they have for each other. A huge part of their appeal is that they’re not the fairy tale lovers destined to be together. They’re two orphans who met when their bizarre and violent paths happened to cross, and they fell into a unique kind of love. That’s all you need with them.

Furthermore, I don’t buy that Bruce comes out of that realm the same person. Yes, he’s Batman. But that’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card for crap like this. Both he and Diana would be shells of their former selves. Nearly unrecognizable to anyone who knew them before.

As if that weren’t enough, Tom King has trouble writing Wonder Woman. Her dialogue is acceptable, but very weird. At this point, she’s been an active hero for years, right? But King writes her as if she’s just stepped out of Themyscira. It’s needlessly off-putting. And sadly, Diana isn’t the only Justice Leaguer to get a bad shake here…

4. Crazy Love
In “Everyone Loves Ivy,” Poison Ivy is able to gain control over the minds of everyone on the planet, except for Batman and Catwoman, who are able to fight it off using comic book science. Thus, it’s literally them against the world.

I like parts of this idea. It puts Ivy over huge, as she becomes a Justice-League-level threat, and is ultimately victorious. How she went about gaining the mind control is believable. The way they beat her is a little hokey, but acceptable given the parties involved.

Mikel Janin is back for these issues, and he really knocks it out of the park with all the greenery and foliage this story requires. Rarely has a Poison Ivy lair looked so good. I also give King and Janin credit for showing us what would actually happen if Superman full-on punched Batman in the face. It ain’t pretty, folks.

Sadly, I was yanked out of the story rather abruptly during the first issue. Ivy attempts to use the Flash against Batman. Barry Allen runs at him, or more specifically at Alfred, using his super-speed. Batman knocks him out with a single punch, effectively an inexplicably knocking him out of super-speed. What’s worse, this happens three more times in the following issue. Not just to Barry, but to Wally West and Kid Flash. Apparently Catwoman is also inexplicably capable of defeating the Flash with a single blow…

Bull. Shit.

I normally shy away from profanity. But this one deserved it. Shame on both Tom King and the Batman editorial team. You don’t get to turn the Flash and his supporting cast into a gag because you aren’t creative enough to find a better way to neutralize them. This is especially offensive in hindsight, given what King does to Wally in Heroes in Crisis.

In the end, Heroes in Crisis was the master this story served. It planted the seed (no pun intended) for Ivy’s role there. As such, her motivation involves a specific trauma from The War of Jokes and Riddles that we never saw, and thus can’t connect with as easily. So when the story tries to pivot and make her a victim, it fails because despite that trauma, she still took over the damn world. To an extent, she just made victims out of billions of innocent people. So you’ll pardon me if I’m rather unsympathetic.

5. The Verdict
Bruce proposed to Selina in Batman #24. I’m assuming by that point the knew the wedding was going to be in issue #50. So they had 25 issues to fill before the big pay-off. Some of the storytelling was very organic, i.e. the one with Talia al Ghul from Rules of Engagement. “Bride or Burglar” worked very well. The stuff with Superman and Lois Lane was fun.

But then you’ve got stuff like “Eternal Vow” and “Everyone Loves Ivy,” which are somewhat apropos, but still bizarre choices to fill that gap. It seems like we could have spent at least some of those issues figuring out how Selina adjusts to being in Batman’s inner circle. What sort of changes does it require of her? Are Batman and Catwoman essentially the new Dynamic Duo of Gotham City? What about Thomas and Martha Wayne? What was their wedding like? And how does Bruce think they’d react to his choice for a bride?

This obviously isn’t going to be the status quo forever. So why not mine this wedding stuff for as much character exploration as possible? They could still have told fun and compelling stories along the way. But instead we’re left with a feeling of missed opportunities, and the nagging question of what might have been.

For more of Tom King’s run on Batman, check out I Am Gotham, I Am Suicide, I Am Bane, Batman/The Flash: The Button, The War of Jokes and Riddles, and The Rules of Engagement.

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