Book Review – Batman Heart of Hush by Paul Dini

Title: Batman Heart of Hush

Author: Paul Dini

Illustrator: Dustin Nguyen

Format: Paperback

Published: 2008

 

Hush is a character I had heard of before in the world of Batman but didn’t have a lot of experienced with. Truthfully, I didn’t know much aside from the fact that he was a mad man who did plastic surgery to make himself look exactly like Bruce Wayne. I know that he was an enemy and a nuisance to Batman on many occasions making it look like Bruce is doing something that he really wouldn’t do but at the same time he has been on some level been used to the advantage of the Bat Family, such as during the time when Batman was ‘dead’. In my Red Robin Comics it is Hush who is masquerading as Bruce which helps in some ways make things not overly obvious, but the problem in that particular comic is that he was attempting to fritter away the entirety of the Wayne and Wayne enterprises fortune. Of course this in some ways isn’t a big threat and really Hush didn’t seems like the big time villain that I am sure he is meant to be. Thus I concluded that I needed to read more of Hush and stumbled upon this particular comic.

 

In reading this comic, all I can is ay “woah”. Hush is so much more than I would have ever imagined him to be. He is dark, his is sick, he is twisted, and he is an awesome opponent to the Batman. What I love about this story is it also plays with things with Catwoman and Batman’s feelings for Catwoman and I love it and it is intense . This is certainly not a feel good comic but honestly I don’t exactly red Batman for the feel good concept. He is the Dark Knight for a reason after all! Anyway this was a good read and it has me wanting to read more stories that have Hush as a villain for Batman and thus sitting on my desk is Hush volume 1 and I am looking forward to reading it along with a lot of the other comics books I have piled up to read. In the end I would give this book a 4 out of 5 pages and if you are looking for a fairly stand alone dark comic to read, this is the comic for you.

Book Review – Teen Titans: Team Building by J.T. Krul & Fabian Nicieza

Title: Teen Titans: Team Building

Author: J. T. Krul & Fabian Nicieza

Illustrator: Nicola Scott, Marcus To, Adriana Melo & Georges Jeanty

Format: Paperback

Published: 2011

 

Recently I decided to re-read my favorite comics in the world Red Robin. I had a blast reading it and I have decided it is high time for me to try and fill in more of the back story gaps I have and see what I can learn about Tim, his background and the background of the characters surrounding them. Thus, I concluded to read this particular comic as it is directly referenced in my Red Robin comic as the events of this comic lead right into the Red Robin I was reading.

In picking up this particular comic I was all the more in the middle of things but I was still curious and so I went along with it and I saw a bit more of the story surrounding Damien joining the Teen Titans for the brief stint that he was with them and it introduced a lot of other stories and ideas that I am curious about but it didn’t give me what I really wanted and that was more of my favorite Robin, Tim. It did give me a little bit of my second favorite DC comic book character Super Boy but it was more a Cassie AKA Wonder Girl centric which isn’t a problem because I also like her and I am fascinated and curious about her story but again not much was given and there are a lot more questions than answered for me in this particular comic.

Additionally, in this comic there is an Issue of Red Robin featured in it that I have already read in my Red Robin trade book, so there was a large section that was nothing new or of additional interest to me because I had already read it, and recently too. To be honest the vaule of this book to me is slim until I read it in the context of other Teen Titian comics. So as a stand along I rate this particular trade at a 3 out of 5 pages. Of course once I read more surrounding stories that may change and I feel it should have a higher rating after I have more story, till then my rating stands.

Book Review – Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol 1 by Bill Willingham

Title:  Fables: Legends in Exile, Vol 1

Author:  Bill Willingham

Illustrator: James Jean and Alex Maleey

Published: 2003

 

To start this review I have to make it known that I am a huge fan of werewolves.  You tell me a book has werewolves in it and you have my attention at the very least.  So when I heard about fables it was Bigsby who drew me in.  Bigsby is the Big Bad wolf from the fairy tales turned human and working as sheriff of the fair tale community known as Fabletown, which is located in New York.  When I first heart about Bigsby and Fables was actually via the video game series the released.  I have only played a demo of it but I fell in love with the concept, the story and the character Bigsby as he is a no nonsense kind of guy.

 

Though the story in the game is different than the story in the books it was still interesting as we follow Bibsby as he tries to solve the mystery of the murder of Rose Red the sister of Snow White. The story serves as a great introduction to the situation that is found in Fabletown, how the residents of Fabletown known as Fables. The mystery and intrigue keeps pace as the reader learns of the world and how Fables hide their true nature and how they came to be in our world, as they were forced out by one known as the Adversary.

 

The end revelation is rather good and the character are vibrant and real and the relationships between them are most intriguing.  This is a world I can happily get lost in.   Though, I think my favorite part of the book was a small section in the back that was in all prose.  It told of the life of Bigsby before he came to our world and gives some interesting insight into what happened to certain characters before the created Fabletown and why Bisby does some of the things he does in the main story.  The story crafted in prose is compelling and heart warming in some ways.  I would love to read more and will look forward to when my pocket books can afford me the next installment, or I can bum it off a friend who bought it recently.  Till then I shall wait and leave this review stating that this comic is a solid 4 out of 5 pages, with nothing but promise for future installments.

Book Review – Sunday Comics

SUNDAY COMICS
DC Creative Team
2010/HARDBACK
(originally 2009/newspaper periodical)

Okay. I was looking at graphic novels and I came across this one and decided to take a chance on it.
The format is pretty straightforward – six full color pages for each comic strip, 15 strips. And HUGE. Like from the far tip of my finger to beyond my elbow. My cat stretched out on it and didn’t extend off the book.

So apparently in 2009, somebody did a subscription service. Six(?) issues, each containing one page of the comic, like a serial. The return of the Sunday comics in the newspapers, you know? And then after they did that, they put it all together in a hardcover book.
And herein lies my first problem… these were designed to be on newspaper and flimsy and easy to flop around and read. In hardback, not only does it have a considerable mass, there was no position I could figure out to read this comfortably. I finally ended up in bed with both of us propped at weird angles.

As for the stories themselves, I’m admittedly not much of a DC comics fan – I just think that Batman and Superman are too overdone and most of their movie franchises have been crap. But I love Wonder Woman, and she was in this, so I lugged the book home from the library.

I’m sorry.

The first five I read were Batman, Kamandi: The Last Boy, Superman, Deadman, and Green Lantern.
Batman had an interesting twist that I liked and Superman was a sweet story, and by far the best. But I still only rated each story 4/5.
Deadman was meh, and Green Lantern was okay enough, but totally forgettable. If I hadn’t written notes about it, I don’t think I’d’ve remembered that I read it. 3/5.
Kamandi was by far the worst comic I have ever read, and I went through six pages like a train-wreck, hoping it’d get better.

So the book sat here for a while because I just couldn’t will myself back to it.
I finally picked it up and skipped to Wonder Woman. I want to cry. I don’t know what idiot decided to tell her story in frames the size of postage stamps but that, combined with some of the color choices, made the cells totally freaking impossible. One of them I almost didn’t see Wonder Woman in and she was front and center. I had to give up after a couple pages because it was giving me a headache.

*sigh* So I read six stories out of 15 (by my count).
The average rating for the stories was a three, but the rating I’d give the format of the book is about a 2. I wavered on what to rate this for a while, but in the end, I think I’ll give it a 3. I think if you were more a fan of DC comics (I really was experiencing part of this for the first time) that you’d be more willing to overlook the issues, but don’t buy it unless its on sale somewhere. This is the type of book that you leave sitting around to look good, but not one that you want to read time and time again.

Book Review – Robin a Hero Reborn

Title:  Robin a Hero Reborn

Author: Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle, Steve Mitchell, Chuck Dixon, Tom Lyle and Bob Smith

Illustrators: Not Listed

Format: Paperback

Published: 1991

 

Again I have another old Robin book that has a very old school drawing to it that I admit I’m not as fond of but I suppose I can adjust.  I admit having started at the end of Robin’s Career as Tim at least the end before the new 52 (which I won’t rant on and absolutely loath), it is interesting to move to the start of Robin’s career as he is first determined to be Robin and his first acts as Robin.

 

To be honest it was kind of cool I loved how he figured out what was going on in a rather interesting mystery and then chooses to potentially sacrifice his role as Robin to be there to support Batman as Robin because he knows it is the right thing to do.  Additionally the villain who I won’t reveal for spoiler reasons was a lot of fun to read and I rather like the character and find them interesting to say the least they aren’t my all time favorite Bat Villain but interesting to say the least.

 

The story following is the story of Tim’s training and how he becomes who I love and adore and how he gets his staff weapon which I say I just love that weapon of choice.  I will say this set of comics weren’t as fun as the ones where Tim becomes Robin but it was interesting to say the least and I simply love the intelligence that Tim exhibits even in this story.  Tim’s robin is less fight and more brains and I absolutely love it.  I am always more into the brains than the brawn on any given day.

 

Overall the comic was an interesting and good read and I think I would give it a 3 out of 5 pages as it was worth of my time considering my interests but it isn’t as much of a must read.  Knowing the information is good though and helps bring life to the later Tim comics that I would always highly recommend.

Book Review – Robin Flying Solo by Chuck Dixon

Title:  Robin Flying Solo

Writer: Chuck Dixon

Illustrator: Tom Grummett, Phil Jimenez

Format: Paperback

Published: 2000

As I have expressed many times Tim Wayne Drake is one of my favorite comic book characters as he takes on the mantel of one of my favorite super heroes Robin.  So seeing that my library had a few comics featuring Robin I  was all on top of it.  When I opened the book I was surprised to see a very classic and old school form of drawing.  Yellowed paper pages with a cartoonist style drawings rather than the clean smooth and digital images that I’ve gotten used to in a lot of comics.  This story is about in the middle of a story arch.

At this point Bruce Wayne is not in Gotham, Tim is having issues with his parents being dead or missing and in Bruce’s place in Gotham is a man named Paul who is filling in the role of Batman.  It was a decent read but it was different and I had little past experience with which to reference the context of the story.  This seems to be the start of Tim’s career in with Batman as he figures things out and stops crimes as Paul isn’t the best at the job that he is doing.

Really there isn’t much I can say about this comic but it was a decent read and I would give it a 3 out of 5 pages because it was decent but it wasn’t my usual for Tim and though I appreciate the old style drawings but it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Book Review – Batman The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

Title: Batman The Killing Joke (Delux Edition)

Author:  Alan Moore

Illustrator: Brian Bolland

Format: Hardback

Published: 2008

Written: 1988

 

The Killing Joke is probably one of the most talked about and acclaimed Batman comics out there. It is highly appraised and turns a lot of people on their heads with what happened in this comic.  I on the other hand am not one of the masses.  It isn’t too often that I am part of the masses (at least I like to think so).  Anyway the Killing Joke is a possible origin story for the Joker.  It tells how the Joker became who he is, while he is acting in the present to try and prove a point, that all it takes is one bad day for a man to go mad.

As the story unfolds we learn that the Joker was a failed comedian trying to do just one job with the mafia to make a tidy wad of money to care for his wife and unborn child.  While this story unfolds we have the Joker having escaped the asylum to buy an amusement part in preparation for his latest and most dastardly plan which is to break Commissioner Gordon and cause him to go mad.

In the process Barbra Gordon who has also been acting as Batgirl unknown to the Commissioner was shot by the joker which is a turning point in her story as this is what leads her to become the Oracle as she becomes paralyzed from  the waist down.  At this point I do wish to apologize for any potential spoilers I may have leaked but really if you had read any later Batman or know a button about the Oracle who appears in a fair number of comics several which I have already reviewed.  You would know that this is what happened to her.  I feel that it is fairly common knowledge.

As the story presses on I find I am a little underwhelmed by the story in some respects, it was good and I kept turning the page with anticipation thinking something more would come but in a lot of ways it never did.  It was a good story don’t get my wrong and it was dark and twisted in some respects but not at the level I was expecting.  My best guess is that I was expecting so much due to the raves I’ve heard about it and so it fell short of my expectations.  In addition I feel that maybe it might have also fallen flat as I have seen and read worse things than what happened in this book, even among Batman related materials.  Don’t get me wrong what the Joker did was terrible and has the potential to break a man but I found it lacking in some way and almost anti-climatic.

Now with all that said, you must take into consideration when this book was published originally which was 1988 and then this would have been incredibly new and an absolute surprise to the readers and probably darker than most of the material that they were used to reading at least when it came to Batman and I can give them that and I cannot argue that this was a good read it just simply fell short of my expectations.   So in the end I am going to have to give the book a 3 out of 5 not because it was that poor and plain but because of my disappointment so to speak.  It is a good read and it was worth my time to read because now I know exactly what happened instead of going “I think this is what happened – from my understanding”.

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