dc comics

REVIEW: “Books of Magic”, vol. 1: Moveable Type

791348._sx1280_ql80_ttd_I never read Neil Gaiman’s original 4-issue run of Books of Magic, nor did I read any of the subsequent runs, so, naturally, of the four titles initially announced for the first wave of Sandman Universe series, this one was the one I was least interested in. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the premise – I love a good story about people learning how to do magic – but it was more the idea that, due to my lack of knowledge of any of the previous stories, I’d be totally lost going into this comic and find myself unable to enjoy it for what it is. Thankfully, that’s not what happened. Unfortunately, it is still my least favorite ‘volume 1’ of the three in the Sandman Universe that I’ve read so far. (Mild spoilers follow!)

Books of Magic, Volume 1: Moveable Type (written by Kat Howard, illustrated by Tom Fowley, colors by Jordan Boyd) 
While Tim’s trying to study and attract the cutest girl in his class, there are cultists who want to kill him, believing his magical powers will eventually corrupt him, turning him into a merciless mage that will bring upon the end of magic forever! But when a mysterious new substitute teacher for his school called Dr. Rose wants to mentor and educate him in the magical arts so that he can discover the secrets behind the Books of Magic, Tim believes he has the tools to find his missing mother. Is this sudden guidance too good to be true, and what connection–if any–does Rose have to the disappearance of Tim’s teacher Mr. Brisby?

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REVIEW: “Lucifer, Volume 1: The Infernal Comedy” (The Sandman Universe)

91qts0qrbulAs I’ve previously said, I love Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. It’s one of my favorite long-running comic series and it had such a perfect ending as written. I didn’t read any of the spin-off material that came out during the original run of the series – such as the original Book of Magic miniseries or Mike Carey’s Lucifer run. But with the launch of The Sandman Universe, it seemed a perfect time to hop onboard the Lucifer train and see what his comic was all about. I gotta say, this first volume of the newest Lucifer series turned out to be a pretty great first Lucifer story for me to read. (Slight spoilers follow.)

This is the one true tale of what befell the Prince of Lies, the Bringer of Light–Lucifer. The blind, destitute old man, who lives in a small boarding house in a quiet little town, where nothing is quite what it seems and no one can leave. He’s trapped, you see? Trapped in a bizarre prison with no memory of how he got there or why. As the Devil soon discovers, the answers lay in wait with his estranged son, Caliban… too bad Lucifer can’t find him. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Detective John Decker is drawn into a shadowy conspiracy whose widely varied members share a single common purpose: to kill Lucifer Morningstar.

From crime and mystery author Dan Watters (The Shadow, Deep Roots) with art from Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara (Abe Sapien, The Amazing Spider-Man, All-Star Batman) bring us the next chapter in the story everyone’s favorite son of God.

This is the first Lucifer comic I’d ever read. I was familiar with the character from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, but I’d never actually read any of the character’s solo stories. So, as this volume began, I did feel a bit confused as to what was going on. Watters definitely throws readers into the deep end in this story, but it quickly becomes clear that he has a well-thought-out masterplan that proves to be very accessible for new readers – and very rewarding, I suspect, for longtime readers.

In this story, Lucifer has had a son and has abandoned that son in the past – a fact that was alluded to within “The Sandman Universe #1” one-shot (also included in this volume). To right this wrong, he seeks to reunite the son with his mother. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan and Lucifer ends up in a prison he can’t escape from, being held hostage by someone from his past with an ax to grind. And when you’re the literal devil, that’s a lot of people.

The story unfolds in a very interesting way. As I said, it starts off right in the middle of everything, with Lucifer lost in this other world, missing his memories and trying to unravel everything. As the story goes on and the characters all figure out what is going on, the audience is clued in with a series of flashbacks – and a B-plot that ties in directly with the A-plot – and everything unfolds in a very interesting way and ultimately leads to a pretty climactic finale that perfectly sets up the next arc in this ongoing series.

Watters’ writing isn’t the only highlight of this book, however. Accompanying his writing is artwork from Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara. The artwork from these two definitely elevates Watters’ script into something befitting of the devil. The art perfectly builds off of the established features of the Lucifer character – a character designed to be reminiscent of David Bowie – while also adding some new things and perfectly fleshing out the world with gorgeous settings and interesting characters. Watters’ script and Max and Sebastian Fiumara’s art is a match made in heaven – or, perhaps, in hell.

All in all, this first volume of Lucifer is a great start to this ongoing season. It’s a great jumping on point for readers new to the ongoing story of this character and it appears to be a great return to the character for preexisting fans. The story told within this volume is delightful, mixing Christian mythology with The Sandman Universe’s narrative flair. It’s equal parts moving, suspenseful, and bloody. It’s a great book for a great devil.

4 out of 5 wands.

REVIEW: “The Dreaming, Volume 1: Pathways and Emanations” (The Sandman Universe)

the dreaming vol 1One of the most appealing parts of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series was that it was one of those rare long-running comic books that had a definitive end. It ran for a total of 75 issues and, for a while, that was it. Over the years, Gaiman had returned a few times to the universe in order to pen a short spin-off here or a short prequel comic there, but there had never really been anything major that expanded on the world of The Sandman – aside from Mike Carey’s equally long-running Lucifer series, spun off from the character’s few appearances in the main Sandman run. So, when it was announced that Gaiman would be teaming up with Vertigo to launch The Sandman Universe, a collection of four series inspired by and expanding upon the original Sandman run, I was a bit skeptical. Of the four titles that were revealed, there were two that interested me the most: Simon Spurrier’s The Dreaming and Dan Watters’ Lucifer. As The Dreaming was the first of the four books to launch, it’ll be the first of the four that I’ll cover here. In volume one of The Dreaming, Spurrier takes us back into the realm of the Dreaming where Daniel, the current Lord of Dreams, has disappeared just as things are going wrong. And it only gets crazier from there.

The Sandman Universe – The Dreaming, Volume 1: Pathways and Emanations 
Written by: Simon Spurrier, illustrated by: Bilquis Evely, colors by: Mat Lopes 
Lord Daniel’s absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities that consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate. Until he is found, his realm’s residents must protect its broken borders alone. But the most senior storytellers are tormented by invasive secrets, the warden Lucien is doubting his own mind, and beyond the gates, something horrific awaits with tooth and talon. Only Dora, the monstrous, finds opportunity in madness, stealing dreams for the highest bidder. But she has no idea how deep the danger lies. Meanwhile, in Daniel’s gallery, something new is growing…

Written by fan-favorite author Si Spurrier (Motherlands, Suicide Squad) with breathtaking art by standout artist Bilquis Evely (Batman, Wonder Woman). The first book in The Sandman Universe kicks off with fireworks as The Dreaming literally tears itself apart!

The Sandman Universe is a new series of books curated by Neil Gaiman for DC Vertigo. Conjuring epic storytelling and immersing readers into the evolving world of the Dreaming, The Sandman Universe begins anew with four new ongoing series, existing in a shared universe, building upon Gaiman’s New York Times best-selling series that lyrically weaved together stories of dreams and magic.

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REVIEW: Shazam!

shazam posterWho would have thought that Shazam, of all movies, would end up being not only one of the best DCEU movies in years but one of the best superhero origin films in quite some time? Perhaps it’s down to my lack of familiarity with the character and, subsequently, my lack of any real expectations for the film, but I was pleasantly surprised by Shazam. It’s not particularly unique, or anything, but it is the most fun I’ve had with a superhero movie since Thor: Ragnarok, and that’s worth celebrating. Combining lots of humor, great visuals, solid acting, and genuine pathos, Shazam is a superhero movie that will bring out your inner kid as you watch it. It’s a whole lot of fun. (Mild spoilers for the film follow.)

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word–SHAZAM!–this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart–inside a ripped, godlike body–Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).
(Written by Henry Gayden, directed by David F. Sandberg)

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REVIEW: “Aquaman”

aquaman posterI’m not afraid to admit that Aquaman was one of my least anticipated films of 2018. It’s a movie about a character I’ve never been interested who was also deeply uninteresting in his previous big-screen appearance in last year’s Justice League. None of the trailers released for the film ever looked particularly good. The visuals were incredible, but the acting from Jason Mamoa (Aquaman) and Amber Heard (Mera) was wooden and boring to watch. So, to say I wasn’t excited about the film would be an understatement, but I love DC and I want the DC movies to succeed and to be good, so, I still saw the movie. And, to be honest, my initial impression was correct. For as innovative as the visuals were, the storytelling and acting were not. (Mild spoilers may follow) 

From Warner Bros. Pictures and director James Wan comes an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas, “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa in the title role. The film reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime–one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be… a king.

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Time To Wait for the Ultimate Cut of Justice League – Because It’s Clear There is One (“Justice League” (2017) REVIEW)

mv5bndgwnjmwnjm1ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnja2njk5mzi-_v1_Man, I desperately wanted to like this. I will go to my grave defending Batman v Superman (particularly the Ultimate Edition, where the story actually made sense), but Justice League is, unfortunately, a bit of a mess. A fairly enjoyable – at times – mess, but a mess, nonetheless, and I’m not sure whose fault it is. Directed by Zack Snyder (with substantial reshoots and editing supervised by Joss Whedon) and written by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, Justice League is the DCEU’s equivalent of 2012’s The Avengers (also directed by Whedon). It brings the mightiest DC superheroes – Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Superman (Henry Cavill) – together for the first time as they team up to defend the earth from an intergalactic – and multi-dimensional? – threat: Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). (Mild spoilers ahead)  (more…)

REVIEW: Mother Panic, vol. 1: A Work in Progress

checklist-vo-21-06-17-7Better late than never, I suppose. I meant to review the first volume of Jody Houser’s Mother Panic back when it came out a few weeks ago, but life gets in the way sometimes. So here we go. Mother Panic is one of the several new comics from the Young Animal line from DC, headed by Gerard Way.

Written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards, Mother Panic: A Work in Progress tells the story of Violet Paige, a rich young celebutante with a bad attitude and a worse reputation. No one would ever suspect that this tabloid-fodder wild child has a secret hidden beneath her spoiled heiress exterior—a secret that has driven her to become the terrifying force of vengeance against her privileged peers known as Mother Panic! But even as Violet launches her all-out assault on the rich and twisted, her shaky allies threaten to betray her, and every one of Gotham’s guardians—from Batwoman to the Dark Knight himself—is hot on her trail. Will Mother Panic continue to strike terror into her enemies’ hearts? Or will her violent quest for justice reach an equally violent end?

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Gerard Way’s Still Got it! (Doom Patrol, Volume 1 “Brick by Brick” Review)

61vh2bl7xglIt’s been quite some time since Gerad Way has published any kind of ongoing comic series. The last one he did was The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, co-written with Shaun Simon, and that was back in 2013. So, the world of comics was in need of his return. He’d been teasing the third volume of The Umbrella Academy for years now, and it was beginning to look like we’d never see another ongoing series from him again. Then came DC’s announcement of the Young Animal imprint, spearheaded by Way himself. Along with the imprint would be his first ongoing series in ages, a reboot of Doom Patrol. The big question is: was his return to comics worth the wait? Answer: yes. In volume 1 of Doom Patrol, Way reintroduces readers to the unconventional team of heroes through the lens of Casey Brinke, an EMS driver who is drawn into a series of weird circumstances when she finds the broken body of Robotman. Casey and the other members of the team must outwit a bunch of aliens who want control of a magic, sentient van that can create life. So, basically, it’s a pretty typical subject matter for a Gerard Way comic.  (more…)

A Movie Worthy of an Amazonian (Wonder Woman – Review)

wonder_woman_poster2b252852529If this is what it’s like to be a Greek goddess, sign me up. This movie has it all! Interesting mythology, great characters, amazing fight sequences, a well thought out plot, and an atmosphere that just makes you feel good. It’s exactly the kind of superhero movie that’s both wanted and needed right now. The latest film in the DCEU has finally come out! Directed by Patty Jenkins with a screenplay by Allan Heinberg (from a story by Heinberg, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs), Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as the titular Amazon warrior as she makes her way through a war-torn Europe during the first World War. With the aid of Steve Trevor (a US Military Pilot who washed onto the shores of Themyscira, played by Chris Pine), Diana Prince (as she’s referred to in the movie – they never actually call her Wonder Woman) sets out to bring an end to the war before any more atrocities can be committed. But, it’s never as simple as that, is it? (This review strives to be spoiler-free, but for anybody really averse to spoilers, you might wanna wait to read this until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not gonna go into too many specifics, especially about the latter half of the film, but regardless, this is your warning.)  (more…)

REVIEW: DC Comics’ “The Button” Crossover

Batman-The-Flash-Button-event-DC-Rebirth-teaser-house-ad-2Over the past month, DC Comics has been publishing a crossover between Tom King’s Batman run and Joshua Williamson’s The Flash entitled The Button. This crossover picks up from where the DC Rebirth One-Shot left off, with Batman and the Flash discovering the Comedian’s (from Alan Moore’s Watchmen) smiley-face button stuck in the wall of the Batcave. The crossover follows Batman and the Flash as they try to track down the source of the radiation being emitted by the button while facing off against a series of personal and emotional obstacles thrown their way, seemingly on purpose.

First off, I think it’s important to note that I have not been regularly following either of these comics. I read the first issue or two of Tom King’s Batman run, and it was enjoyable enough; I just got too busy and caught up with life to regularly read them and I have never really read any of the Flash’s solo titles. That being said, this crossover seems to stand apart from whatever ongoing storylines have been going on in the individual titles. As long as you’ve read the DC Rebirth One-Shot, you should be good to go with reading this crossover.  (more…)