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.

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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 – Batman Turning Points

Title: Batman Turning Points

Author: Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Chuck Dixon

Illustrator: Steve Lieber, Joe Giella, Dick Giordano, Bob Smith, Bret Anderson, Paul Pope, and Claude St. Aubin

Format: Paperback

Published: 2007

 

Despite my disappointment with the last Batman centric comic I read I decided to pick another one up as it features Jim Gordon in it.  Yes I have become a Gotham junkie and am loving the show, though I don’t know how far one can go in the city of Batman when Batman is a mere child but all the same the TV series peaked my interest in Jim Gordon and this comic explores the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon.  As the title of the book proclaims each store is about a turning point in the relationship of these two characters.

 

Each comic is its own stand alone story and you know that there are a lot of story that happens between each chapter.  So if you are new to Batman and don’t know a lot of over arching story you may want to avoid this comic in all.  The first chapter is really the start of the friendship between Batman and Jim Gordon before he was even the commissioner.  It was a rough time for the young Jim Gordon but because of it it helped to form the relationship between the two men as they have both lost much and can relate to one another.  The story goes on to a time where Jim is a fair bit older and he is struggling with the fact that Batman has taken on a young prodigy that is nothing more than a child.  The story covers some after math after the Killing Joke a and even the after math of when Bane broke Batman.  The story is interesting to say the least and it is quite gripping as you see the incredibly human side of Batman and Jim Gordon and over all it was a great story.

 

As a devoted fan of Batman, I loved the story and found it very difficult to put down.  It had my interest from the start and didn’t let go even if it jumped along the Batman time line it crafted a good story and showed the turning points of the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon.  It was a strong story that had a nice conclusion.  If you are new to the Batman universe start somewhere else, anyone else this is a very worth read and I would give this comic a strong 4 out of 5 pages.

Book Review – Batman War Crimes

Title: Batman War Crimes

Authors: Anderson Gabrych, Devin Grayson, Bill Willingham, Bruce Jones, & Will Pfeifer

Format: Paperback

Published:  2006

 

I will start this review with a warning to readers that my next several reviews are going to be comics and manga as I went on a massive comic manga kick as they are quick and easy to read and I happen to really like them so bear with me during this time and I promise real books will come eventually!  Today I am presenting you with Batman War Crimes.  If you have read a lot of my reviews, you know that I am a big Batman fan particularly when it comes to the Boy Wonder Robin.  My affinity sits chiefly with Tim Drake also known as the Red Robin.  Considering that there isn’t a lot of Red Robin comics and a lot of other stories I have ventured out into other Batman and Robin comics, several of which I have not reviewed, for that I am sorry.

 

Anyway the back of this comic got my attention as this story takes place after the death of Stephanie Brown as Robin.  She was the next person to take on the role of Robin when Tim retired for a while from the cowl.  I had read the story where he retired and I would love to continue reading what happens there and I thought though I’m missing all of Stephanie Brown’s time as Robin this could be interesting this might be a really good comic!  I picked it off the library shelf and was excited to read it but it was nothing compared to the other comics I read.  Tim made an appearance but it wasn’t for long and it wasn’t a very strong or memorable story.

 

The gist of the story here is that Batman is getting blamed for Stephanie’s death and the death of other people as he is being framed for these other deaths as there is another person who is running around in the cowl pretending to be him.  This story follows Batman as he tries to get to the bottom of things and understand how and why Stephanie dies because it shouldn’t have happened.  It is to be honest a very dark time for the Bats as he deals with this and to me it is clear that he is dealing with a lot of guilt about the situation as well and thus becoming obsessed with his work.  To match and reflect the darkness of the story the drawing are very dark and gritty and the lines are very angular.  I’m not as fond of the artistic style found in this story.  There were really a lot of artists, letterers, inkers, and colorists involved with this story,  20 to be exact (this is why they are not listed in the specs about the book).

 

In short, I was not that enthused or gripped by the story like I have been with all other stories I have read of course this wasn’t focused on Robin and that might be the big difference as everything else I have read has a focus on Robin and I expected the same here to have a focus on a Robin.  So I will give this a 2 out of 5 pages as I wouldn’t really recommend this as a story to read or own.  It was what it was and I appreciate it for that but really you are not missing much if you skip this read in the overarching story of Batman and his Robins.  At the very least the plot important things found in this story can be easily picked up in other stories that have a much higher entertainment value than this comic.

Book Review – Robin: Search For A Hero by Fabian Nicieza, Freddie Williams II and Joe Bennett

Title: Robin: Search For A Hero

Author: Fabian Nicieza, Freddie Williams II and Joe Bennett

Format: Paper Back

Published: 2009

 

In my journey into the world of Batman and Comic books I’ve come to two conclusions, 1.  I have an obsession with Tim 2. I am practically destined to read the story in reverse order.  If you have been following my adventures in the world of Batman following the character Tim, you know I started toward the end by reading the Red Robin series before slipping back and reading Battle for the Cowl which occurs just before the start of Red Robin.  Well I stumbled upon a Robin comic book that focuses on Tim and it was an instant must read for me because it featured my favorite young detective Tim Drake Wayne.  It turns out that this random Robin book is the precursor to Battle for the Cowl.

 

When first looking at the book I admit I wasn’t that amazed by the art work.  I found the work of Marcus To in the Red Robin comics to be far superior. The position of Robin’s mask changed depending on the angle that he is drawn and the lines are a lot more angular and rough.  I admit I wasn’t sure on the book because of that alone but as I delved into the story the short comings of the art work were quickly forgotten.  This store quickly drew me in and I found myself having a hard time putting it down.

 

The story of Search for a Hero is about the fall out of what happens when Batman is gone.  Nightwing is left to deal with the major villains such as Penguin and Two Face while Robin found himself in charge of dealing with the up and rising gangs.  In addition to trying to control such a volatile group Robin has to face issues with betrayal from people that he has trusted in the past, facing off against Jason Todd a former Robin as well as someone parading around as Red Robin and a young man that wants to become his own personal Joker.  Everything seems to be unraveling and doing so quickly for Tim and you wonder how he is going to get through it all.

 

I was gripped by the mystery and intrigue of the story.  Also the humor that is played throughout the story was phenomenal as well.  The humor wasn’t over the top where I was rolling with giggles nor was it under played, it was woven in beautifully with the story and didn’t break the pace ever but had me actually laughing out loud a bit.  I think the best reference was when Tim compared the three Robins to the Brady sisters.

 

Overall, I truly enjoyed the read and will happily give this comic book a 4 out 5 pages and recommend this as a good read for any Robin or Tim fan.  In general it is a good story and it doesn’t expect you to know everything as most everything is explained in the story.

Book Review – Batman: Battle for the Cowl by Tony S. Daniel

Title:  Batman: Battle for the Cowl

Author:  Tony S. Daniel

Published: 2009

Format: Paperback

 

I will admit that I am reading this particular story arch rather backwards.  I started with Red Robin (which has become my obsession) who was searching for Batman because he didn’t believe he had died.  I have now branched out to read the store of the after math following Batman’s death that precursors Tim’s search for the Dark Knight.

In this story the “bat family” have enlisted and called upon the help of other super heroes to help keep Gotham in lines as it had turned to turmoil since the disappearance of Batman.  As the city and the super heroes try to recoup things continue to spiral downward through the void left by the lack of Batman.  These problems strongly indicate that there is a need for a new man to step up and take the mantle of Batman and stand for what he stood for.

Yet in this story the question remains as who?  The logical response would be for Nightwing aka Dick Grayson the first Robin to take the mantle but he is hesitant and while he hesitates, Tim Drake steps up to don the cowl as there is a need and there is another deranged being who has tried to take on the mantle of Batman but with a rather loose interpretation of Batman’s morals such as killing criminals rather than arresting them and using guns.  The question then sits who is this new poser as Batman, can the super heroes stop this man and keep Gotham in one piece as a gang war breaks out among many other near disastrous moments?

I admit that as I was reading this comic I was constantly turning from one page to the next to the next review pages over and over again taking in the great artwork and the meaning of what was going on.  This was a powerful story that I know I will probably read again.  My biggest complaint and is that there were characters in this story that I am less familiar with such as Squire.  I think it is cool that other super heroes came to help and I love the idea but my knowledge is limited to the world of batman.  There wasn’t major history that I needed and though I may not know anything about Squire I could still follow along with story and it really wasn’t a big problem.

Over all I would give this story a 4 out of 5.

 

BONUS

 

Title: Gotham Gazette

Author: Fabian Nicieza

Published: 2009

Format:  Paperback

 

At the end of Battle for the cowl was a bonus story called Gotham Gazette.  When I hit this particular story I was given pause as the art style and storytelling changed.  Additionally there was a strong focus on several tertiary characters to the Gotham and Batman story so I have very little reference point to work from which made the story rather confusing to me.  I read it any way as a lot of it was some of the after math to what happened in Battle for the Cowl.

 

This story was a lot more difficult to get through save for at the end when the characters I know such as Tim and Dick made an appearance it helped set up a bit for the Red Robin series.  Additionally toward the end the story was also leading to someone figuring out the Bat secret and that to me is an interesting story arch but it didn’t delve far into it leaving me almost hanging.  The story ended well and I understand it ending but it was disappointing for me to get interested in a plot that ends a bit prematurely and is carried on a bit in a different story.

 

Over all, I think I would give this bonus content a low three out of five pages.  It wasn’t bad enough for a two though I found the art style to be a bit odd and drab and the story to be a bit flat but it wasn’t terrible and it did give me some entertainment and helped to set up for the future stories that I have already read.

Book Review – Red Robin: 7 Days of Death by Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To & Ray McCarthy

Title:  Red Robin: 7 Days of Death

Author/Illustrator:  Fabian Nicieza, Marcus To, Ray McCarthy

Format: Paperback

Written: 2012

After my first taste of Red Robin I knew I didn’t have enough, there was more to read and it had to be read because by far I have fallen in love with the character Timothy Drake.  I have always been a fan of Batman and the whole concept behind him and Red Robin is a branch off from the Batman story with a character that I can really sink my teeth into.  Tim is a character who is skilled in what he does and very cerebral and I love a cerebral character and thus Tim is my kind of character, particularly when you toss in a bit of a tormented soul which is what Tim is, but what Batman type character isn’t a little bit tormented?

Any way I picked up 7 Days of Death because it was simply sitting on the shelf with the other Red Robin comics that I have already reviewed and I picked it up and started delving in to find out half way through that I’m missing a whole collection that I need to read and might explain some things to set up for this book but it was still a good read all the same.  My biggest complaint is that the story jumped all over the place and one minute Tim is following X bad guy and his problems and then next thing I know he’s fighting Y bad guy and I was having trouble seeing connections save for maybe the idea that everything was loosely connected and this was a smattering of various adventures on the part of Tim.

Despite the jumping around I still enjoyed the read and the art work is strong and well done capturing the imagination and keeping my attention along with the words.  As I read through this book I found different directions I might want to travel in my comic reading.  I love the characters and they are what speak to me and hold my attention.  There are times when I found myself laughing and other points where I found myself wanting more to know more – where does Tim go next?  Sadly my last question I fear will not be answered as the Red Robin series that I have come to enjoy so much were some of the last comics produced before DC decided to transfer over to the new 52 universe – I have heard some bad things about it and would like to stay away from the new 52 at this time but I have a great deal of back log to read that will keep me entertained for hours.

I will advise that this comic book is not for children really as there is some partial nudity it grapples with various dark concepts as is the nature of batman along with a few other mature topics and ideas.  Overall, I would give this comic a three out of five page review and say it is best suited for Tim and Batman fans.

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