Wes Reads: Adventures in the DC Universe #7: Hello Shazam Family!

Adventures in the DC Universe #7 is the perfect way to revive the Wes Reads series. Wes Reads is part random comic book reading and part whatever the heck I want it to be. I’d never read it before today but since Zachary Levi was cast as Captain Marvel/Shazam, the timing is great. If you’re not familiar with it, Adventures in the DC Universe was a series that was around from April of 1997 to October 1998.  In the 19 issues it was around it took characters from the DCU and adapted them into the DC animated style. This is before Justice League Unlimited happened so at this point, this was a taste of what was to come. Join me on my Wes Reads adventures with Adventures in the DC Universe #7. Let’s see how this pre-animated Shazam holds up to the rigors of time.

I’m also a sucker for Captain Marvel/Shazam stories anyway so this was a treat to find this in my collection.

(I also say that this story held up fairly well to the rigors of time.)

Adventures in the DC Universe #7 Shazam DC Comics

Here’s the thing, I’m not that familiar with this series. It was around the time when I was just getting back into comics. I’ve not read any of the other issues but this one for starters is self contained so you can get everything you need to know in one issue. The story is Captain Marvel/Shazam fighting against Black Adam and through shenanigans by Dr. Sivana, our hero gets knocked out of commission. Though as we lead up to this we get to see Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. in the process. It’s a solid tale and I want to deep dive a bit more as to why.

For one if you’re someone so new to Captain Marvel/Shazam, this works as an introduction. Steve Vance writes this as not just a superhero fight between the Marvel Family and Black Adam but explains origins and how the powers work. I’m sincerely impressed as to how well Vance writes this and doesn’t make it seem like an info dump. It’s fast, fun, and perfect to introduce a child to the world of Captain Marvel/Shazam. It’s even got a cute ending after it all ends with a nice Lois Lane and Clark Kent cameo.

Captain Marvel Shazam Family DC Comics

I’m not revealing that much as the story is pretty self explanatory. Marvel Family beats Black Adam and Dr. Sivana, The End.

(Dr. Sivana’s way of handling Captain Marvel/Shazam though is clever. Using Billy Batson’s recorded voice from the radio to say “Shazam!” is a cool idea. I like it.)

Clark Kent Lois Lane Cameo Shazam

The writer of this issue andfrom what I can tell series is Steve Vance and I’m actually not that familiar with him. Same with the art team on this, John Delaney on pencils, Ron Boyd on Inks, Tim Harkins on letters, and Bob LeRose on Colors. Vance’s story is fun and I’m actually going to make a point to read more of his stuff in the future. The art team does excellent work on this, it’s bright, engaging, and above all capital F on the fun. Heck any story that can handle a ton of origins and still make a compelling issue scores points with me. It’s definitely worthwhile reading.

On the page I have linked with John Delaney, it’s older but it has a lot of fun facts about this series so check it out. I really had no idea as to how this series even fit in until today. I may have more in my collection so if I find more you may see more issues of this pop up here. They’re fun to read and easy to dive right into so I’m down to write more on this. Engaging art, fun stories, and neat takes on DC characters, sign me up for more of this short lived series.

Yeah, I had fun. I had a lot of fun with this take on Captain Marvel/Shazam. I heard there is another issue with him in it so I am game for it.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this adventure into my collection. Goes to show you even I have no idea the depths as to what I have hanging out there. This will likely be the future of the Wes Reads columns here so I say, enjoy the ride. Thanks for reading and I hope you all are having a good one out there. Take care everyone.

(Note as I was typing this I saw the casting of Billy Batson for the upcoming Shazam film, so this is awesome! I can’t wait to see this movie.)

By Request: Thoughts on Batman: The Dark Knight III: Master Race

My podcast partner in crime Matt Lune asked me to write a thing on Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race, so here you go buddy. You could also call this DK3 as it is the third one in the Frank Miller Dark Knight saga. To say I was less than optimistic about this was an understatement. Batman: The Dark Knight is a solid read while Batman: The Dark Knight Returns/DK2 is downright strange. Trying to explain DK2 to people is tough as nails as that sucker goes all over the map story wise. That’s not to say anything about Frank Miller’s writing and art too on DK2. Then you get into Lynn Varley’s coloring and it’s a mixed bag of tricks. It’s a strange story so that is what I had to work off of for DK3. Enough with the intro, let’s get this started. On with the show!

Batman: Dark Knight III Master Race Feature Image

Matt, pal, buddy, while this was better than I ever imagined trying to put this whole Batman saga into any coherent structure is a trip.

Batman: Dark Knight III Iron Suit

Put it this way, I’m not going for a formal review structure here. As I was reading it mainly for my own curiosity. I thought this whole thing was going to be bonkers sauce times infinity. After DK2 I was expecting insanity fuel from on high. What I got was entirely different from what I was expecting. Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race feels more like a sequel to Dark Knight than DK2 did. Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello together created a strong read that has its moments of pure insanity yet it all works in the favor of the story. I’m also not going to spoil it, I could but I won’t. This really does need to be experienced at least once, like I said it isn’t a bad read at all. I am as surprised as anyone else.

The simple version of this story is straight up it’s Carrie Kelly taking over for a supposedly dead Bruce Wayne as mentioned in the story. Not a big spoiler to say that yes Old Man Bruce is in play yet what a turn it all takes within the tale. I also dig that it uses the expanded DCU to a more coherent effect here. You get Atom, Flash, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman all used and to good effect too. As for the ultimate villain, freaking Kryptonians from the Bottle City of Kandor. Then you add in the wild card of Superman and Wonder Woman’s daughter Lara and you get a lot of fun players. You even get Commissioner Yindel making a return in here, in which I love that Andy Kubert kept that heavy Miller influence to her design, I like that.

Wow this going way more positively than I ever imagine, but I did like it. I really did.

Batman: Dark Knight III Car Smash

There’s a lot of wild moments in here. I do say Azzarello balances out Miller, which is weird but it works. If this was Miller unfiltered I wonder what this would have been like. The major Miller factor in this is he does a lot of the art for the mini comics in the book. Eduardo Risso does the art for a full Wonder Woman story and John Romita Jr. does the breakdowns for a Green Lantern story that Frank Miller does finishes for. Overall though, the art for the mini comics is mostly Miller and overall it’s not bad. It’s miles ahead of his work on DK2. The main pencils for the story itself by Andy Kubert is amazing throughout, with Klaus Janson doing some excellent inking for it. This is where the art geek out begins.

Special note: The Eduardo Risso story was a lot of fun too, I really liked his take on the Wonder Woman vs. Lara fight. Very cool.

With the Frank Miller bits, sometimes it is a little wonky similar to DK2 at times but it is way better. Good inking and coloring go a long way in his portion of the story. Even in the pieces that Frank Miller does all the art himself it doesn’t look too bad, Alex Sinclair does a lot of the coloring here and Klaus inks Miller on some of the stories and it looks good. Andy Kubert’s art is amazing throughout and Brad Anderson’s coloring, oh my goodness it is gorgeous. Kubert captures the splashy powerful nature of Azzarello and Miller’s script and takes it up a few thousand notches. If anything else, even when the story gets a bit bonkers you will have a good time. Yeah, this is a lot of fun all around.

Yes, Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race is bonkers at times but it embraces it. I can dig that.

I am as surprised as anyone else to say that Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race was a lot of fun. As I said going into it, I was expecting to dislike it but by the end I really enjoyed myself a lot. Sometimes all you need is simply a book to have a freaking good time with and this book was it. If you’re looking for a book that feels much more like a true sequel to Dark Knight Returns, this is it. Life gave me a good surprise with this one so well done Miller and Azzarello, this was a rollicking good time. Thanks for that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GWL Reborn 9/12/17: That’s the Issue Episode 15 Where We Get Metal

Please excuse the title of this That’s the Issue post, I couldn’t help myself. Yes, That’s the Issue Episode 15 covers many topics. We wanted to address the death of Len Wein as that one hit the same day as we recorded this episode. Matt and I were trying to make sure we got the pronunciation of his last name right. We got it right in the end though. Then we dive into DC’s Metal, Scales and Scoundrels, and more from there. The new format of us chatting comics and becoming the most laid back podcast on the Internet works. Now that we’ve got the lovely intro out of the way let’s get this show on the road. Onwards to episode 15 of That’s the Issue! It’s only going to keep getting better from here.

Episode #15 Featured That's the Issue

Funny aside for this episode of That’s the Issue but it really is easy to embed Soundcloud podcasts on WordPress.

As always feel free to fire Matt and I a line on either our personal twitter handles or on the handle for the show. Send us questions too at thatstheissue@gmail.com or even on our twitter handles. We are always open to feedback and answering a question or two. After the last episode where Matt and I killed our filters we were especially curious as to what people were saying. Seems like people enjoy Matt and I just chatting with each other and it has helped us out a lot. We may have to make this “Most Laid Back Podcast on The Internet” a tagline at this point. I know I am having a lot more fun with doing this podcast as Matt and I have easy chemistry on this show. It’s overall nothing but fun.

Now as always we are one of the easiest podcasts to find on the Internet. You can find us on Soundcloud, Stitcher, Podbean and even on iTunes! Feel free to leave us a review on iTunes too as it does help more people to discover our humble little show. Thanks for listening and being part of the That’s the Issue universe.

 

The Great Social Media Battle of 2016: Marvel vs. DC Movies

DC Marvel Social Media Logos

Copyright: Logos from Marvel and DC Comics

Social Media was a unique place in 2016 within pop culture. There are many factors to dive into but one stood out, Marvel vs. DC Movies. You had MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) represented by Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, both for the most part getting positive marks. With the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) you had Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad getting decidedly mixed reviews. Now the battleground with MCU and DCEU gets interesting with social media comes into play. We had an MCU backlash happen within the social media landscape and a battle with DCEU over their content as well. With both MCU and DCEU fans in a divisive and comical at points battle online, I’m going to explore this a bit. So let’s dive into the Great Social Media Battle of 2016, MCU vs. DCEU.

Let the Social Media Exploration Begin!

Now I debated writing a column like this for ages. You could see me on my own twitter debating this idea. Yet it’s been in me for months now to write about this. Possibly because I seem to be a rare voice of calm in the midst of the social media battles. What was so frustrating about the MCU and DCEU battles is these arguments would borderline on the ridiculous. Take note of this, the petition against Rotten Tomatoes. People got mad about Rotten Tomatoes and how MCU films scored higher than DCEU films. Among the many arguments, the Rotten Tomatoes battle on social media bordered on the hilarious. Simple version, people thought Disney/Marvel bought Critics to give Marvel movies good reviews and DC films bad ones. Yes, a petition was started over this and it is as silly as it sounds.

Now in my own personal perspective, I enjoyed the films of the MCU and DCEU alike. None of them were perfect but I had a good time at the theater watching them and ultimately that’s what counts. Same with other viewers who liked the films. Yet some, a mighty battle was in full swing over which company had the superior films. Arguments were varied from thoughtful to downright insane arguments. Usually, it boils down to if you like or dislike a film but some people then get into full-blown hysterics and war begins. Many of you out there reading this who are on any kind of social media, you have seen the threads and are likely getting flashbacks. I wasn’t immune to it either as everyone got dragged into these threads at one point.

From these Social Media arguments on MCU vs. DCEU, It boiled to another conversation, tone.

Now another argument that initiated a lot of quirky situations is the tone of the MCU vs. DCEU. MCU trends towards a lighter tone, brighter costumes, and overall a friendly atmosphere for the viewership. Now for DCEU it has trended darker with a more intense tone to the films. Yet a lot of people weren’t happy with the darker tone. Look at the MCU, they have a gameplan and they know where they’re going to go. DCEU saw the films making money, but not as much as Warner Bros. would have liked, especially with Batman v Superman. Now going forward DC is working towards a lighter tone in their films, as noted with Geoff Johns stating as much. Now the DCEU is forming a game plan and we’ll see how Wonder Woman and Justice League are received next year.

2016 was a divisive year on many fronts, so what does 2017 hold?

Now MCU wise we have Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, and Thor: Ragnarok hitting in 2017. DCEU has their powerhouse lineup and Marvel has a powerful lineup too. Next year is going to be stacked and I can imagine that the arguments will be a wild ride come 2017. We’ll see what the lighter tone of DCEU will be and what will happen with that. With the MCU we’ll get to see if they can keep the money train rolling on into 2017. The fans on social media will keep the fire and hype for these movies throughout the year, good or bad.

Many arguments will be held over the coming months as the MCU and DCEU make announcements and as the films are released.  2016 was a weird year on many fronts. If you’re wondering, no one won the Marvel vs. DC argument with the films. At the end of it all, it’s all about what you like. There’s no big conspiracy from either Disney or Warner Bros. with these films and the critics. People like what they like and critics are like anyone else, they like what they like. A good or bad movie is in the eye of the person watching it. If someone likes or hates something, no massive tweet storm, facebook post, or whatever else, it won’t steer them to your way of thinking. It may give them a new perspective but won’t change their mind entirely.

No one ever wins in an Internet battle, it just gets weirder and more annoying as it goes along.

The arguments on social media with Marvel vs. DC movies will keep going and evolve in many strange directions. We won’t know the full scope of a DCEU tonal change until Justice League and maybe somewhat into Wonder Woman. Just as Marvel will have to keep on keeping on and we’ll see how things go for them in the new year.

If you take anything away from this, let people like what they like. In my own case, I want both the MCU and DCEU to have a great 2017 ahead. If you like both, that’s awesome and the best way to be in my opinion. If you prefer MCU over DCEU, that’s okay too just don’t be a jerk to the fans who prefer the DCEU. Same goes for the DCEU fans, don’t be jerks to the MCU fans, be nice to another in 2017 as 2016 has been weird enough.

Just be excellent to one another my friends.

It’s interesting how this became much more thoughtful as I wrote it. At this stage though I am tired of the battleground and want some kind of unity in this crazy universe. For 2017 give me this Internet, quit it. You can have debates about the films of the MCU and DCEU without it becoming a mega battle. Enjoy what films you want to enjoy and may 2017 be one with less ridiculous Internet fights.

 

 

DC Read-A-Thon: Batman and The Outsiders #1: The Bat-Rebellion

Batman and The Outsiders #1 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Welcome to the DC Read-A-Thon of Batman and The Outsiders! With the announcement of the full roster of Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis’s Justice League of America, the team had a different feel to it. The team seemed all over the place, Vixen, Ryan Choi’s Atom, The Ray, Killer Frost, then you get Black Canary, Lobo, and Batman. Now here’s what caught my eye about the team further, they announced a trade of Batman and The Outsiders. Batman leading a team that seems like a mish-mash of DC everything gives this a nice Outsiders feel. It got me to thinking, I have all the issues so why not start reading it? Hence the beginning of the Batman and The Outsiders DC Read-A-Thon. Without further ado, here is Batman and The Outsiders #1!

Welcome to the Great Bat-Rebellion!

What makes this series so fascinating is how it is structured from the get go. It all begins as Batman is working himself to the bone to protect Gotham City. It’s where I like where Mike W. Barr takes this, it’s a good structure for Batman. He’s sending off Lucius Fox on a journey to Markovia but his mind is elsewhere in his battles within Gotham City. These battles are also fraying Batman as his secret identity as Bruce Wayne. Happy for his friend but still can’t dwell on his friend leaving as he’s got his own war to fight. Even more clever is Barr puts in two days worth of storytelling condensed within a short burst of panels. That’s all it takes and then it is off to set up Batman and the Outsiders.

Batman and The Outsiders #1 48 Hours

Copyright: DC Comics

Many of you saw Markovia and those familiar with Markovia probably had a, “Oh wow it all began there?!” moment. Lucius Fox goes missing in that country and Batman decides to call to the Justice League of America to help him out. To keep it short and sweet, Batman doesn’t get the help of the Justice League. The Government tells the League to stay out of it and as you figure, Batman isn’t happy at all about this. Which leads to Batman tendering his resignation to the Justice League, which you can imagine was huge back then.  Batman decides then and there he’s going to save his friend Lucius without the help of the League. Leading to a great explanation of Batman in the midst of a few panels and sets the stage perfectly for what’s to come.

This page is Classic Batman.

Batman and The Outsiders #1 Batman Reasons for Resigning

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we hang our hats fully in Markovia from here on for the rest of the issue. A big part of this issue is this is the set up for Brion becoming Geo-Force, who’s the half-brother of Tara a.k.a Terra from Teen Titans. My favorite part is how Tara and Brion became brother and sister, bless you back matter. Truncating the editorial somewhat, Mike W. Barr had a chat with Marv Wolfman about his new character Geo-Force having earth powers and Marv wondered if Barr had been reading his New Teen Titans. Marv had Terra with earth powers running around in those pages, but Marv figured he could come up with something. I couldn’t do justice to Barr’s hilarious rantings but the short version is, Marv said “they are brother and sister” and the rest is history. Now back to the issue.

Apologies for that quick digression in this Batman and The Outsiders Read-A-Thon, but it is a cool story.

This is honestly my first time ever seeing the origin of Geo-Force and that is the best bit of this for me. It’s sad to see Brion/Geo-Force and his brother Prince Gregor’s father die but then Dr. Jace comes into play. She’s cranky but oddly fun, I think of her as the prototype for Dr. Nemesis in the X-Men. She’s the one who gives Brion his Geo-Force powers to help save the country. Gregor has his doubts but knows that he couldn’t stop his brother anyway. Barr has a great way of handling a death, setting up an origin, and showing relationships of characters within two pages. That’s remarkable and it doesn’t feel rushed at all. It keeps up the strong flow of the story as soon many new and old characters come into play.

Geoforce Origin Batman and the Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Here’s the even better part about Batman’s Markovian adventure. Every member of The Outsiders is set in place by the end of the issue. No Batman gathering the troops or anything else, quick set up for Black Lightning and everyone else gets explained throughout the rest of the issue. Black Lightning got a cool moment dealing with one member of the invading force, but that went haywire and fast. The only other characters who get any major explanation is Halo, who Batman finds within Markovia, Geo-Force, and Metamorpho. Katana gets a quick appearance, does some damage, and off to the races. It’s cool to know where everyone stands though in a relatively quick fashion in the second half of the issue.

Old school and awesome, this is why I dig the Geo-Force origin.

Batman and the Outsiders Geoforce Origin Part Two

Copyright: DC Comics

The Halo origin is still early days, hard to judge as to where that will go but the Geo-Force origin is wonderful. Geo-Force is a classic old school style origin and it’s about as good as you can get. That’s when you get Metamorpho involved as he’s there to meet the good Dr. Jace to help him out, which gets messed up by the invasion force. Geo-Force gets taken out but hey, he’s a main member of the team you think he’s out for long? While Batman is taking care of Halo and she’s along for the ride until he gets knocked out himself by our unknown force. That’s when we finally see Lucius Fox, Black Lightning, and what’s left of Metamorpho after his battle, and now Batman meets Baron Bedlam. Which sets up the next issue.

Baron Bedlam Batman and The Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Mike W. Barr is amazing in structuring the series so far, it’s smooth to read and the concept gets set up at hyper speed. It’s an absolute delight to read, characters work well, and it flows pretty nicely for the most part. The major establishing point was the why and how of Batman putting this team together, Barr nails this without any problem and that’s what makes this fun. It’s got its share of quirks but in a good way. It’s just weird enough and it works with a slight bit more of an edge while still being within the Comics Code Authority. Yes kids, Comics Code Authority, it existed and wow people found strange and wonderful ways to work around it. Batman and The Outsiders had a different feel to it and I dig that.

Made a point to sneak this in as I got a major kick out of these panels.

Bruce Wayne or Batman in Batman and The Outsiders #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Take a look at the art I post in this too, Jim Aparo’s art on Batman and The Outsiders is amazing. Aparo and Barr are the co-creators on this series and you can tell they are going for broke here storytelling wise. Aparo’s art is off the charts, it looks great. There’s emotion flowing through each of the characters in actions, movement, and excellent facial expressions. There’s so much life in this comic and that helps give it that different feel from a lot of team series. Aparo and Barr are both showing they want this series to feel different and it does feel different. I’ve also never appreciated the coloring of this period until I noticed what Adrienne Roy did here. Roy’s coloring is mood setting, especially in the post-resignation scene from the League. That scene showing why Batman had to leave fired on all cylinders.

It’s interesting to me when you have artists you never quite pay attention to until you start to really look at something. That was me and Jim Aparo here. I’ve always liked Barr’s stuff, Camelot 3000 and some of the Warlord stuff I’ve read, but this is next level appreciation here. The work with Halo, the set up for why Metamorpho was there, and just everything with this team build up was solid stuff. Wow this is going to be a fun read-a-thon.

Join me as I dive into Batman and The Outsiders further, I’ve never read this and this is a joy to read thus far. Till next issue, thanks for checking out my recap here. Bye for now!

 

Wes Reads DC: Deathstroke #1-2: Brutal Brilliance!

Deathstroke #1 Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

After my glowing look at Deathstroke: Rebirth I was hesitant to do another piece on this series. After reading the first two issues of the ongoing, I had to say something. Consider this a slight bit of review but more, here is why I like this. Christopher Priest with the Rebirth issue brought back an extra sense of grit to the DC Universe. Deathstroke’s world isn’t a nice one and as Priest expands on it, the comic is that much better. I won’t be going on a spoiler spree here with this piece so you can read on with peace. A non-stop brutal and violent wonderland awaits you in exploring the life of Slade Wilson. As a comic series, Deathstroke doesn’t shy away from the darkness and that’s wonderful. Read on, join me in my adventure into Deathstroke #1-2.

By the time this is through, you will likely be snagging the first two issues at hyper speed.

Deathstroke #2 DC Rebirth Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

One aspect of DC that I appreciate is how when it does gritty, it does gritty. Deathstroke is a weird character for DC as they’ve never been sure how to portray him. DC was wanting to make him their next antihero and that never gelled as a concept for the most part. The Deathstroke that works is one that portrays Slade Wilson has a terrible person and that’s fine. These two issues continue exploring how dark Slade’s world really is. What I like about Priest’s portrayal of Slade is how he fleshes him out as a character. There’s an understanding as to why he is the way he is. Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, he’s not good, bad, he’s Deathstroke and hopefully you’re not the person he’s after.

Deathstroke doesn’t live in a pretty world, but it is a fascinating one.

Deathstroke #1 Assassin Splash

Copyright: DC Comics

Now we’re dealing with yet another tweak of Slade Wilson’s family but I hope this is the one that sticks. There’s a nice dynamic as to how Slade’s family works from the past with his wife, to his daughter from another woman. Priest deals with all this in a matter of fact way. Even the people in his supporting cast, especially Wintergreen say Slade is not a nice person. It is also shown though if you’re in a firefight, Slade Wilson is a good person to have at your side. He’s not the best friend, he’s not a great dad, not a great husband, but an amazing warrior.

Deathstroke: Terrible Person, Best Fighter Around, That’s Slade Wilson.

Deathstroke #2 Slade Wilson Battle

Copyright: DC Comics

I like how Priest is building Slade up at this point with his adversaries. For a new reader, the new Deathstroke series is a primer on Slade Wilson. If you want to know how he’d handle a non-powered to a super powered character, this is it.  So far this series is keeping Slade Wilson grounded for all the best reasons, making for great storytelling opportunities. Right now the story is someone is after Slade and it’s not clear who it is. There’s one big reveal at the end of issue two that sets up a lot of possibilities for who could be after him. We’re only at part three here and I know there’s more to come. The hits just keep on coming for Slade Wilson.

As the issues go on you learn more about Slade’s family life too and it gets messed up, fast. Every writer at some point or another has a take on Slade Wilson’s family. To be honest from all that I know, this is ten shades of awful, then again this is Slade. All of Slade’s family life takes place in the past and it makes you wonder how this will sort itself out. Priest’s way of jumping between the past and the present as a storytelling technique works wonders here. The layers to this series building within these issues and the Rebirth issue is phenomenal.

There is even more to say here for sure, Deathstroke is just that good.

Now take note as I talk about the story happening here, Deathstroke’s art team is incredible.  In my Deathstroke: Rebirth article I rave a lot about the art team and it all applies here too, such amazing work. In #2 the team of Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeromy Cox, and Willie Schubert get another addition, Larry Hama on breakdowns. Hama is a perfect fit for Deathstroke’s world. Pagulayan’s pencil work and Paz’s inking were great, but Hama adds another element to Deathstroke. It’s noticeable how the storytelling got that much tighter with Hama’s breakdowns. Priest has a team here that has shown that they bring his vision to life with sheer ease. It’s exquisite.

This my friends, summing up two issues of Deathstroke, Simply Put, Buy This.

I could go on even more about Deathstroke but it would be overkill. A genuine blast of a book that will keep you engaged for the entire time reading it and you will want more. One of the best in the DC Rebirth line that deserves all the attention it can get. Slade Wilson is a terrible person but as Deathstroke, a terrible person makes for a fascinating series. Buy this comic.

 

 

 

 

Wes Reads: Doom Patrol #1: Young Animal Arrives!

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal DC Comics Cover

Copyright: DC Comics

Doom Patrol is the start of the Young Animal Imprint at DC Comics. Gerard Way unleashes his distinctive vision for Young Animal within the pages of Doom Patrol. Way’s writing on Doom Patrol gives you an idea of what to expect out of Young Animal. If this is what Young Animal has in store for us, this line of comics will be amazing. I’m part of the crowd with Doom Patrol, I like this comic. The tagline for Young Animal is “Comics for Dangerous Humans”, this fits in a good way here. In every review and opinion I’ve read, all across social media, everyone likes this comic. Here’s where this gets fun, why is it so loved? I’m going to give you my personal reasons why I like this comic as much as I do. To the land of the weird and wonderful with Doom Patrol #1!

Enter the Gyro, You never know what you will find.

Doom Patrol #1 Young Animal Gyro

Copyright: DC Comics

 

As the comic explores about a thousand different concepts in one issue, this is surprisingly friendly to a new reader. Gerard Way sets up the concept as if you know next to nothing about the team you’ll be fine. Now if you know a little to a lot about Doom Patrol then it becomes that much richer for you. Way’s Doom Patrol can be appreciated on any level. My level of Doom Patrol knowledge is moderate but I am weak in my knowledge of Morrison’s run on the series which seems to be a heavy influence here. If you haven’t read any of Morrison’s Doom Patrol, you’ll still be fine. Ideas come at you in many ways here and this is a blast to read no matter what.

You can say that Doom Patrol is Weird but a Good Kind of Weird.

Note the heading, yes this is weird but I am so glad it exists. Casey Brinkle helps in being your guide to the madness around her. No matter what kind of weirdness and craziness comes at you, Way lets Casey be your guide to Doom Patrol. People start exploding, no problem, Casey centers the comic. Gyros being their own worlds, no problem, Casey gives you a way to process this in your mind. Sometimes there are comics out there that throw weird out there just to be weird, this is weird with purpose. Casey is the viewpoint for the new readers while the old readers wonder how she fits in. Casey Brinkle works on both levels and Way makes it seem effortless but the thought behind her shows.

From what I can tell, the Doom Patrol is forming around Casey and she’s become a magnet for weird in the process. In the meantime, while the Doom Patrol is coming back to the scene, there’s something behind the scenes perking up. A strange new food sensation is starting up that is going to factor in amazing and odd ways it seems. The people behind this new food sensation are a nightmare fuel corporate group, while still being slick and shiny. I got a NextWave vibe off of them as to how they acted mixed in with a lot of horrifying corporate focus group shows. Even better that this group is discussing the food in a run of the mill hotel, perfection.

Seriously, Absolute Perfection.

There’s so much to this one issue of Doom Patrol and yet it is still easy to piece it together. Robot Man appears and then has something bonkers happen from the start, which adds another element to the story. I am intrigued by Terry None, that intro was the most off the wall thing but Casey’s reaction to Terry made it priceless. Even more curious as what Robot Man was up to before certain events happened to him. Way even addresses Niles Caulder, the founder of the Doom Patrol, in a random one pager, and it all makes sense. There’s so much meat to this comic and so much going on that I can’t imagine what will happen next.

Where’s the Kaboom? Well right on the image below you can see the kaboom.

Doom Patrol #1 Birthday

Copyright: DC Comics

I haven’t even touched the art on this yet, which is amazing in itself!

Attempting a story such as this requires an art team up to making this vision work. Nick Derrington, Tamra Bonvillain, and Todd Klein are beyond up to the task. Derrington’s art on this is without a doubt phenomenal. The art here captures so much in the emotions of the characters and making this wonderland of madness seem tactile. Way’s story blends the weird and wonderful together swimmingly with Derrington being the one to bring and enhance the world of the Doom Patrol and Derrington does that with perfection.

The Expression on the Cat alone makes it all the more special.

Derrington’s art is only part of what makes Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol great, it’s also the coloring that makes the comic shine. Tamra Bonvillain’s coloring is a masterwork. Bonvillain’s coloring on the Robot Man scenes in the Gyro world are impressive. That painted look to those pages that Derrington drew gives it a unique style all on its own. That’s not to say that the rest of the coloring here isn’t impressive, it’s pure beauty that can’t help but make anyone smile. A bright palette for a strange and sparkly world.

You also can’t help but get a kick out of this page showing the brilliance of all involved with this.

Doom Patrol #1 DC Comics Young Animal Blast

Copyright: DC Comics

Todd Klein’s lettering on this is as amazing as anything else he’s ever done. He’s a legend in the comics industry and Klein makes this book sing through his letters. Unique stylings with an unleashed brilliance to match with Way’s off the wall storytelling. It’s quirky, fun, and engaging lettering, making the lettering as much a part of the art process as anything else. It’s delightful and some of the coolest stuff I have seen in awhile.

Young Animal is going to be a brilliant imprint.

Simply put, buy this comic. If you somehow have managed to miss this book then correct that mistake and read it. We could use more of this madness in comics. A great start for the Young Animal imprint and I’m excited for what’s to come for this series and with the imprint itself.

 

 

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #3: A Fall Before the Storm

Extreme Justice #3 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Extreme Justice #3, yes my friends we are at #3 of the DC Extreme Adventure. Extreme Justice #3 is the conclusion to the first story of this series. At points, this has been a frustrating arc but a fun one. Outside of #0 which gives little to nothing to go on for the series, the rest of the arc got much better over time. Now we near the end of this first adventure.  Hopefully, this issue will continue the upward trend I’ve seen within Extreme Justice thus far. As #2 ended, our heroes were fighting the Beta Team. The battle is the epitome of it’s always darkest before the dawn, the dawn, in this case, being Captain Atom. Captain Atom is back and he’s raring to do some damage to the enemy. Let the battle continue on as we see how this story arc ends in Extreme Justice #3!

The Battle Rages On as Extreme Justice #3 Begins with an Angry Captain Atom!

 

Extreme Justice #3: Captain Atom Returns!

Copyright: DC Comics

That image is the perfect opening shot for this article. Yes, I am playing with the format but for an opening shot that cool, worth it. As this page sets up a comic that goes at full speed without stopping for a minute. Even in the quiet moments, there’s always some kind of action going on. If ever you could say one comic is nothing but high octane action, this is it. Dan Vado went for writing a big splashy finish to the first storyline and it accomplished that. It gave Marc Campos, Ken Branch, and Lee Loughridge a lot to work with. Campos goes with pure dynamic layouts in the fight scenes giving added energy to even the quietest moments in between. Branch adds a strong line to make the fight scenes that much stronger with a bold line. Add in Loughridge’s popping coloring and you have a party.

One of my favorite panels, a cool punch will always win me over. Stylized and Awesome.

Extreme Justice #3 Amazing-Man Punch!

Copyright: DC Comics

Vado veered towards giving the art team a chance to show off, which in theory isn’t a bad idea. You get the powerhouse return of Captain Atom and he’s not slowing down for anyone. It also let the team have some fun moments too so that’s cool. There are many creative and exciting pages with everything but the kitchen sink thrown at the team. With all of this happening it doesn’t give much time for the final part of the story to breathe. I like a good high-intensity finale but this was a little much. In my case, I now get to figure out how to make this digestible for you and for me. Let’s get this part of the party started.

In the land of revelations, I was wrong about The Beta Team. They weren’t robots, they were grown soldiers to help out General/Mister Synge in his campaign. Synge’s campaign is for Freedom, think every nutty conspiracy you’ve ever seen or heard, that’s Synge’s campaign. A little over simplified but the comic only gives a loose depiction of it anyway. This all comes at you at rapid-fire and Vado doesn’t really explore everything. Hence why I feel the story is rushed, also makes my frustrations over #0 that much more pronounced as that issue could have been used to better effect.

Cool art is one thing but give me some genuine payoff to a storyline, please.

With every revelation, the Beta Team eventually betraying Mister Synge and his conversation with Captain Atom has little effect. It’s weird that all these big climatic reveals and eventual death of Mister Synge, and I felt nothing. There are cool character moments with Amazing-Man and the rest of the cast which redeems the issue. If it wasn’t for Vado’s handling of the team and the fun art, this would have been tougher to read, to say the least.

After all that though there’s a spark of life at the end of the tunnel. In a weird sense it feels as though Vado set up this action packed but overall meaningless arc for one reason. The reason being, Firestorm. That’s right the Firestorm story with Ronnie Raymond finally kicks into high gear. The situation has become grim with Ronnie and his leukemia. Nothing is working to help treat it and Ronnie is feeling hopeless.  That’s until the big payoff kicks into gear and our next story begins. Firestorm has arrived into the Extreme Justice Universe! Bless you Dan Vado, bless you.

All it took was for me to see the final page and I am already excited for what’s to come.

Firestorm Returns: Extreme Justice #3

Copyright: DC Comics

That’s story arc one in the books for Extreme Justice and the DC Extreme reading journey. I’m already working on how to set up the next issue as you read this. Until next time, thanks for reading and always remember, stay Extreme!

If you’re just starting the Extreme Justice Journey, feel free to catch up with the links below.

DC Extreme: Exploring Extreme Justice #0: Hello 90’s!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #2: Yay Character Development!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #2: Yay Character Development!

Extreme Justice #2 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Back to the DC Extreme Universe with Extreme Justice #2! After the events of Extreme Justice #1, life is tense for our new team. First of all, Captain Atom is out of the picture. For a team to be successful it needs some kind of leader. Any other team would have called it a day after that. Of course, this team is made of sterner stuff and they have a job to do. The mystery of Mount Thunder intensifies in #2. Our Beta Team pals are only the beginning of the craziness lying within this hostile new headquarters. Our story is starting to heat up now. What will Extreme Justice do now without Captain Atom? Will the team survive his loss? Let the mystery be revealed as I venture forth into Extreme Justice #2.

I feel my desire for Crystal Pepsi rising as I return to Extreme Justice once more.

In adventures of Extreme Justice, this issue is the toughest to get a handle on. General Synge has one big evil villain moment but that’s about it for him in this issue. In all honesty, I was this close to combining this one with #3 and calling it a day. As per anything in this crazy universe of ours, something within this issue struck me. One special aspect that I’d been clamoring for since #0, character development. What’s frustrating for me as a reader of Extreme Justice so far is characters, namely Maxima and Amazing-Man, getting little to no development. Oh sure Maxima and Amazing-Man have things to do but even Booster Gold was lost in the shuffle too. Extreme Justice is the Blue Beetle and Captain Atom show at this stage of the game. Dan Vado knocking Captain Atom out of commission gives the team the development they need.

Extreme Justice #2 Aftermath

Copyright: DC Comics

A lesson for Extreme Justice: Character Development is Beautiful.

In any good team book, the key is to make every member of the group feel necessary. While Vado has each of the characters showing off a skill or two, they never seem to gel as a team. By the end of this issue, Extreme Justice begins to become a true team comic. Character development, it’s a magical thing. Even the bad guys get a moment of character development. The Beta Team robots that General Synge controls start to show personality. Synapse is the head robot over the robots in Beta Team called Kill-Units, but they don’t really want to kill. A nice twist on the formula of robot killers of the period, of course, Synapse is a jerk and zaps a Kill-Unit showing doubt in the mission. Heroes and Villains getting character development, I love it.

Extreme Justice: Giving me a dose of wonderful robot fights, so many robot fights.

Extreme Justice #2 Blue Beetle vs. Robots

Copyright: DC Comics

As we dive into the rest of the issue, our team gels together personality wise and now they can become a fighting force. Of course, even as they get over the hump of Amazing-Man doubts and more issues, they are dealing with a tough foe. One thing about Captain Atom, he’s tough as nails to kill if anything he’s nigh impossible to kill. Since he is also the official leader of the team as you know and I know, Captain Atom returns at the end. How does he return? The mystery will have to be revealed at a later date as that’s how Extreme Justice #2 ends.

This is a shorter recap of Extreme Justice than I’d like but that’s because there’s not a lot of big moments here. Marc Campos and Ken Branch were given many chances to show off at least. In between the short but needed character development Vado put in, this was a heavy action issue. I get the feeling Vado knew this could have been a slow issue so he piled on the action and it worked. The simple bits work in a comic at points, just enough character and a ridiculous amount of robot fighting. I am but a simple man and Extreme Justice plays to it in this issue.

As always thank you all for your support in my Extreme Justice adventures. Until next time, make sure to tune to this GWL Station and as I return with Extreme Justice #3!

 

If this is your first DC Extreme Justice adventure, never fear! Look below to catch up with the rest of the adventure!

DC Extreme: Exploring Extreme Justice #0: Hello 90’s!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

 

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #1: It Makes Sense!

Extreme Justice #1 Cover DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Welcome back to the ongoing mission to read the entire series of Extreme Justice. Here we are at #1 of the somewhat remembered Justice League series. Extreme Justice had a rocky start with #0 notably making me wonder about this comic in the first place. Moments of cool are one thing, but there has to be a reason to care about a series. The cast is likable enough. Captain Atom is a good team leader. You even have a version of the classic Blue and Gold/Blue Beetle and Booster Gold duo here too. With Maxima and Amazing Man having trouble finding their place in Extreme Justice at this stage. So what will happen from here? Only one way to find out. Time to see what is in store for our Extreme Team as we head into Extreme Justice #1.

Time to get our Extreme 90’s Caps on!

Last issue in Extreme Justice Mount Thunder was introduced into the series. This from what I’m seeing will be the headquarters of our series. As this issue starts to give more background into how big the place is. There’s more details on the villain of the piece, Mister or should I say, General Synch revealed too. Synch is in charge of Mount Thunder and isn’t happy that our team is there. Turns out Mount Thunder is a massive complex; one place in particular called The Neighborhood is revealed in this issue. Synch is now trying to get the team out of there, one way or another. Which gives us a fun few pages as we start off the issue the first team gets more than they bargained for. Let’s just say, Captain Atom knows how to avoid a useless fight.

Sometimes in comics avoiding the ridiculous fight is a good thing.

This is the issue where Captain Atom gets some strong development as the leader of the team. Vado establishes why Captain Atom is the leader of Extreme Justice. One of Atom’s old friend’s is in charge of the group sent into Mount Thunder, a man by the name of Crater. Crater doesn’t want to really have this fight but he’s just following orders. Of course another person tries to go after Atom as Crater talks to his friend and Maxima comes into play and is awesome. Vado gives Maxima something to do this issue, bless you comic, bless you. Atom gets Crater to realize that if Maxima is there, there’s likely more where that came from. Crater gets his team out of there and Captain Atom shows why he is the best leader for Extreme Justice.

From here on, I am going to be spoiling bits of a 20+ year old comic so here’s your warning.

Captain Atom and Maxima Extreme Justice DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Even better with how Captain Atom handles the battle at their doorstep, he explains the reason behind Extreme Justice. That conversation should have happened with #0 but better now rather than later. Ted Kord as Blue Beetle is the speaker for the audience, he’s saying what we’re thinking about this team. A needed discussion that explains why Extreme Justice is even a thing. While #0 had many exciting moments, this is where I started to feel that Extreme Justice could start to truly connect with me. Dan Vado adding a few pages to illuminate the concept, that’s all it took.

So much makes sense now about Extreme Justice within the span of a few pages. Thank you Ted Kord.

Captain Atom and Blue Beetle Extreme Justice #1

Copyright: DC Comic

As a first time reader of Extreme Justice, I knew little to nothing about this. 90’s art was the only major thing I knew of this series. Never even knew who was on the team until I read #0. Now knowing why the team exists, this makes sense now. Take note of this, these pages I post here are why Ted Kord is one of the best DC characters no matter who writes him. Hence in the first recap why I said Dan Vado writes a good Ted Kord and he succeeds triumphantly with his characterization of him.

Take note, Dan Vado writes a good Captain Atom too.

Captain Atom and Ted Kord Extreme Justice #1 DC Comics

Firestorm/Ronnie Raymond’s story picks up a little more steam as he goes back to the Justice League Headquarters. Only he sees that the place is now gone and I was desperately wishing for an editorial note to tell me what happened. I was happy to see Oberon and Skeets though, Oberon being a classic of this period of Justice League and Skeets being Booster Gold’s Robot Pal. This was during the odd Booster Gold full armor period and editorial notes would be so nice to have right now. I digress a little though as this sets up Ronnie Raymond’s purpose in this series, to find a cure for his Leukemia with Skeets helping him to find the Extreme Justice team. Take note, I have no idea how the story ends so this will be fun for all of us.

The rest of the issue is Mount Thunder exploration time! Now we’re dealing with the rest of the people who are inside Mount Thunder with our oddball Justice League team. Early on I mentioned the Neighborhood and even the title page notes it, the place looks like Leave it to Beaver. Of course the massive battle that finishes off our comic is far from the peace this Neighborhood gives off. There’s only so much to dive into with the battle, it’s bonkers, it’s fun, and that’s the battle. Amazing-Man gets a few cool moments with his power and Maxima gets a little more to do. By the end though there is a classic what in the world moment in comics, Captain Atom is gone. Imagining the reactions of fans of this period sounds priceless right now.

The most horrible things happen to characters in classic sitcom settings.

Amazing-Man and Maxima Extreme Justice #1 DC Comics

Nearing the end of this article, you all are wanting me to comment on the art. Marc Campos is an artist of that period, but better than a lot of the Extreme artists of the time. Not saying the work is perfect but there are some great designs in the book, especially with the Beta Team near the end of the issue. The Neighborhood has a nice, classic feel to it that I personally enjoy. Yet poor Maxima, her body gets contorted in so many strange ways. Even the guys have issues but Maxima is where the issues are glaring. Ken Branch helps on the inking here, giving it a stronger look and Campos does improve with his panel work here too. Everything is much improved here. Want to know my favorite part of the art team? Lee Loughridge’s coloring is sensational. Great work with light and shadows and a lot of classic pop and sizzle within the action of the comic.

In this crazy life of ours at times seeing cool robot designs makes the universe brighter.

Extreme Justice #1 Marc Campos Robots

Time to close the book on Extreme Justice #1 and prepare myself for #2 in the meantime. Thank you all for reading my DC Extreme adventure, I appreciate the response so far. Trying to not go for the obvious snark and humor with this series is tough but fun. It’s nice to dive into a series that’s never been looked at with a semi-serious tone before but that’s what I’m attempting here. Stick with me on this ride as trust me, it’s only going to get more entertaining from here. Till next time, stay Extreme!

Same Extreme Time, Same Extreme Blog, Stay tuned to the geekwholanded.com for more Extreme Justice!

If you missed part of the DC Extreme, here’s what has been covered so far below!

DC Extreme: Extreme Justice #0