Title: Wayne of Gotham

Author: Tracy Hickman

Publisher: It Books, HarperCollins Publishers

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Jon DePaolis

How much do we really know about our past?

The very set of memories that are supposed to define and determine our present and future selves tend to be the set of memories that are least reliable. How much can we truly remember about our lives after years have gone by — distancing us from those memories to the point where it is as if those memories were actually scenes from a movie instead of vignettes of reality?

Tracy Hickman’s Wayne of Gotham attempts to answer the question of how fragile and disconnected our own memories are. In order to achieve that end, Hickman crafts two stories. The first has a son trying to piece together shattered memories of his parents after a villain puts in motion a complicated maze of crime. The second, set approximately 50 years earlier, sees a young adult rebelling against his abusive father, in turn making questionable decisions in the name of morality. (more…)

Title: Fighting American

Publisher: Titan Books

Written by: Joe Simon

Illustrated by: Jack Kirby

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Matt Peters

Like the excuse given for a granddad at Sunday dinner, the stories contained within the Fighting American collection are from a different time. That means it’s littered with classic story ideas and stereotypes that are sure to confuse and offend those who are unfamiliar with the entertainment of the era. Compiling the work of two comic book legends, some of these tales are finally being published for the first time ever. Do the Cold War-era adventures of America’s other patriotic superhero deserve a look? (more…)

C2E2 – The Photo Gallery

Photos by Bill Jones, Matt Peters and Archie Easter

The annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo took place once again April 13-15 at McCormick Place in Chicago, bringing with it comic book writers, artists and celebrities who walked the floor and hosted panels, as well as a plethora of costumed attendees and plenty of merch. Bill, Matt and Archie all walked the floor over the course of the weekend. The following gallery shows some of the best images they captured, respectively. (more…)

Title: Transient

Publisher: Massive Black

Writer/Artist: Justin “CORO” Kaufman

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Eric Stuckart

To me, the greatest thing about comics is their ability to allow the reader to suspend his or her disbelief in a way that other forms of storytelling, mainly film, ever could. I think that’s the greatest asset that it has, because in a certain way, it’s still tied to the imaginative, ‘anything’s possible’ belief system that books are so very good at conveying. The mind’s eye can fill in the blanks, per se, and all we need is a little nudge from the book’s artwork.

In that sense, a book like Transient probably wouldn’t be able to work in any other form of popular visual media. Its concept most certainly wouldn’t work in a video game, what with the heroic lead character not being enough of an antihero or a hero; hell, he’s not even close enough to being what many would view as a regular guy. And with that, it probably wouldn’t work too well as a film either, for much the same but entirely different reasons. Why, you ask? Because the hero’s name is Bob, and he is a homeless man living on the streets of San Francisco. Bob has a secret. He can see multidimensional beings — some good, some evil — and because of that, he must stay living on the streets, as a ‘guardian of humanity.’ (more…)

Best Comic Books of 2011

Matt’s Picks

Ducktales/Darkwing Duck Series’ Finale Crossover — Imagine being a kid and watching the Disney Afternoon cartoon block when you get home from school. For thirty seconds, you’d see Uncle Scrooge having a snowball fight with his nephews when suddenly Goselyn walks up. You think “Hey, isn’t Goselyn on Darkwing Duck? What’s she doing in Duckberg?” Then, Darkwing walks up and shoots a snowball out of his gas gun. Sure, it’s just a “Happy Holidays from Disney” commercial, but you wish there was a full episode featuring a teamup of your favorite ducks. Wish no more, because Kaboom made that happen with the final issues of Ducktales and Darkwing Duck (respectively). With a captivating story by Epic Mickey‘s Warren Spector and illustration by cartoon veteran James Silvani, this story is sure to entertain and leave you with a smile on your face. (more…)

Title: 30 Days of Night: Omnibus Vol. 1

Publisher: IDW

Writers: Steve Niles

Artist: Ben Templesmith

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Eric Stuckart

Bleak and sparse, 30 Days of Night is the type of vampire story that should be told more often. Rather than try too hard by showing a lot of flash and overdoing the action, it broods. It breathes its icy black breath on every page. And the pages are dark as they come. It doesn’t have to try; it gets its point across just by being, making it quite the page turner.

In this colllection, the first three stories of the 30 Days saga are included, the self-titled first story, along with sequels Dark Days and Return to Barrow. With the first story, the duo of Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith had something terrifyingly special on their hands. The story is simple. In the quiet Alaskan town of Barrow, a group of vampires comes up with a plan that no vampire has ever tried before. They decide to drop in on the townsfolk during the short period between November 18 and December 17 when the sun doesn’t rise — the titular 30 days of night. Without a sun coming up to make the vampires return to hiding for a month, Barrow becomes a free-for-all, an all-you-can-eat buffet for the vampires. This is the story of how those townsfolk fight back. (more…)

Hello, folks. We hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. While you’ve been sipping on spiked eggnog, opening copious amounts of gifts and bickering with relatives you see just a few times a year, we’ve been…well…we’ve been doing exactly the same. But we’ve also been getting together and compiling some of our favorite things from 2011. We’re kind of like Orpah, except multiple people instead of one big person, and infinitely less rich. (more…)

Title: Seven Soldiers of Victory Volumes 1 & 2

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: J.H. Williams III, Simone Bianchi, Cameron Stewart, Ryan Sook, Frazer Irving, Mick Gray, Pasqual Ferry, Yanick Paquette, Serge Lapointe, Doug Mahnke, Billy Dallas Patton, Michael Bair, Freddie Williams II

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

Grant Morrison has a growing penchant for revitalizing (or attempting to revitalize) comics history, by reinventing old characters, incorporating classic story bits and trying to revolutionize storytelling in comics. But as often as he strikes gold (All-Star Superman), he also finds a way to alienate casual fans looking for a good story. And Seven Soldiers of Victory is the latest example of just that.

He takes a cadre of C-list characters – Shining Knight, Guardian, Bulleteer, Klarion, Frankenstein, Zatanna and Mister Miracle – and weaves them together in a metaseries, in which each character gets a four-issue mini-series, and two other issues bookend the collection, which is also available in two hardcover or softcover volumes. (more…)

Title: All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder: Volume 1

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Frank Miller

Artist: Jim Lee

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

It’s hard to imagine with this being the first series published under DC Comics’ All-Star banner that the imprint lasted long enough for Grant Morrison to produce the fantastic All-Star Superman. All-Star allows the writers and artists to tell stories with key DC characters outside the general continuity of the DC Universe (or any other continuity DC has going, for that matter). And with creators of the likes of 300, Sin City and Batman: Hush, one would think this would be met with promising results. Jim Lee’s art gets the job done, for sure, but it’s hard to believe Volume 1 of All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder was written by the same Frank Miller who produced The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. (more…)

Title: Green Lantern

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Written by: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong

Studio: Warner Bros.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

In a summer movie season that already saw the surprisingly good debut of Thor, and the unexpected resurgence of X-Men in First Class — both coming out of the Marvel camp — Green Lantern, DC Comics and Warner Bros. had their work cut out for them. But even if it were not for the high standards set by its summer predecessors, Green Lantern would be a letdown, whether the viewer is coming in as just a casual moviegoer or hardcore fan of the comics.

Green Lantern tells the tale of Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a test pilot who is granted the power to physically manifest anything he can see in his mind with the power of a green ring that chooses him after an alien crash lands on Earth. The ring gets its power from a titular green lantern, which derives its power from will, which is depicted in the color green. (more…)

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