February 29, 2012

Superman: Earth One

Published in 2010, Superman: Earth One is the first of DC's Earth One original graphic novels. Much like Marvel's extremely successful Ultimate Marvel line of books, Earth One will feature new takes on DC's existing characters, and gives writers the freedom to introduce classic heroes to new audiences without being limited to ongoing continuity.

Unfortunately, the comic book world has far been spoiled with almost too many different Superman origin stories. Unlike Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, or even Batman, Superman's origin has been retold and rebooted more than enough. His origin just can't seem to be left alone! Several stories have been published in just the last 10 years, including Mark Waid's Birthright, Geoff Johns' Secret Origin, and J. Michael Straczynski's Earth One. It's currently being retold again in the New 52 in Grant Morrison's run on Action Comics. Superman's origin isn't safe from Hollywood reboots either - don't forget Zack Snyder's upcoming Man of Steel film set for 2013.

So how does Superman: Earth One fare? In a nutshell, it's a smooth read but isn't quite the quintessential origin. Too many distinct changes to the Superman mythology make it difficult to accept. With as many Superman origins out there, they are all hard to read with an open mind because his traits and ideals are so important to what makes him who he is. And in this particular case, the new twists that Straczynski decides to explore hurt Superman's origin more than add to it. Shane Davis' art, though not horrible, is also flawed. (Spoilers ahead.)

Review: Doom Patrol: Magic Bus

The strangeness continues as the Doom Patrol faces an all new incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil in the Magic Bus paperback.  However, this lineup of villains doesn't offer much resistance with the regards to power and pathos of the earlier formation and the collected issues detailing the new group doesn't quite live up with the build-up.  Morrison still pens another masterpiece of unique delight with this collection though as the individual issues within the collection provide more fun and appeal overall goodness.

When Grant Morrison retooled the Doom Patrol lineup, the team faced an equally strange collection of super villains to match their strangeness.  The first supergroup that the Doom Patrol tackled was a new incarnation of their old villains, the Brotherhood of Evil.  With Grant Morrison's version, the villains,  became transformed with an all new lineup, now known as the Brotherhood of Dada. Teaming up with the members of the Justice League, the Doom Patrol defeat the Brotherhood, at the cost of some damage to Cliff Steele, who later receives a new body. The newest lineup despite the appeal of the fresh members, fails to match the original Brotherhood's power.

February 28, 2012

Earth 2 Batman and Robin Concept Designs

The upcoming Earth 2 comic book isn't exactly what we had originally envisioned it would be as more designs are revealed for some of the characters playing major roles in that new series.  DC Comics has unveiled the Batman and now, Robin concept artwork.  Jim Lee designed the parallel Earth costume for Batman and Kevin Maguire's artwork captures the new look for Robin, who is actually Helena Wayne. Suffice to say, we're still excited for this new series!

Via DC Comics

February 27, 2012

Arkham City Lockdown 1.2 Update for iPhone

The latest update for Arkham City Lockdown for iPhone and iPad (1.2) now features the new playable Harley Quinn level.  Additionally, you'll get two new skins which includes Batman, Inc. and a free Bruce Wayne skin.

Download the game from the App Store:

AvX Program Guide

Avengers vs. X-Men is almost upon us! Keep track of all the team members and creative personnel behind the battle of the year with this handy helper!

February 22, 2012

The New 52: Batman The Dark Knight Issue 6 Review

The mastermind behind the toxin rampage is finally revealed! The showdown you've waited is here! Will The Flash be able to survive the toxin's effects as well? Will the Batman's back be broken again?

February 21, 2012

Grand Theft Auto 3 for iPhone: Cars

If you need a reason to complete the first stage of Grand Theft Auto 3 for iPhone, there's a small assortment of sports cars that are waiting on the second island.  Oh sure the Banshee vehicle was fast and the mafia Sentinel was powerful, but these other stylish speedsters will also satisfy your need for speed.

REVIEW: Batman #6

After last month's phenomenal issue, what's in-store for Batman?? "I know that I am sick to death of owls!" says the Caped Crusader. Spoilers ahead!

February 20, 2012

Transformers Generations Junkheap

I was never quite fond of the Junkions featured in the Transformers cartoons of the 1980s. In fact, I actually despised them because of their quirky language, which was derived from pop culture broadcast from debris found on their planet. They were valiant warriors but damn it, their speech and language throughout the series irritated me! Feed them all to the Sharkticons I say!

Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth

Dystopian future? Check! Talking animals? Check! Humans as slaves? Check! DC Comics has now made available digitally, through it's DC Comics App, the classic Jack Kirby series, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth, originally published in the 1970s.  Kamandi depicts a young boy and his adventures in a post-apocalyptic future.  After emerging from his underground bunker with his only grandfather's stories and information to guide him, Kamandi meets the most unusual friends, strange enemies and even experiences wilder adventures.

The series actually predates the classic Planet of The Apes movies and the comparisons are obviously there.  Jack Kirby's amazing artwork brings to life the terrifying and strange new world Kamandi has to journey through. Humans are slaves and the animals have taken over the world.  It's been quite fun to read Kirby's classic material and his interpretations of the future.  The designs of the characters, vehicles and the settings are quite nostalgic and reminiscent of his early Fantastic Four work, only a decade removed from this series.

A glimpse of the future
If you'd like to engage in something completely different from today's comics, you'll certainly enjoy these classics. The collected series is also available via Amazon:

February 16, 2012

Shepard Fairey x Incase

Acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey has partnered with Incase to showcase his designs for their products in a new collaboration. Incase manufactures products designed to provide protection for and store various mobile and electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and cameras.

You can witness more of Fairey's iconic and distinct designs and wallpapers at the Incase website.

February 15, 2012

The New 52: Wonder Woman Issue 6 Review

The battle for Zeus' throne continues in London as Wonder Woman takes on Poseidon. Another deity also takes the stage for a run at the throne as well. What is Hera's role in all of this?

Brian Azzarello's new direction for Wonder Woman, certainly has raised a lot of eyebrows with her origin storyline.  Now more than ever, she has ties to the gods of Olympus, as the illegitimate daughter of Zeus, thanks to Azzarello's radical new portrayal of the superheroine. The first five issues have been fast paced leaving little room for a deeper understanding of the current plotline and details about the characters.  Apparently, London is the new home base for Wonder Woman as we're left clueless as to why this particular location was chosen for the backdrop for the new adventures.

In issue 6, the gods of Olympus particularly Poseidon and Hades, have congregated in London, to make known their intentions to seize Zeus' throne.  Moreover, London becomes a battleground as Wonder Woman offers another option instead: joint control of the world. Of course Hera objects and makes her stance known.  The lingering feud between Hera and Wonder Woman continues to boil.  Guest artist Tony Akins does another wonderful job filling for Cliff Chiang and there are times when the similarities are uncanny between their artistic styles.

Wonder Woman offers a suggestion
Finally, when you make a deal with Hades, be careful who you're bargaining with, as the climatic ending takes a turn for the worse, for one of the key characters.

The Good: Tony Akins is an adequate fill in for Cliff Chiang

The Bad: The plot is getting stale and seems to be dragging on (just for the paperback edition)

Final Verdict: B

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February 14, 2012

X-Men: Cyclops

When you hear the phrase "ladies man", the mutant superhero Cyclops doesn't really come to mind at first, but throughout his past, Scott Summers has been with quite a few women already. Furthermore, most of his past relationships haven't really ended on a good note either. The X-Men leader despite his quiet demeanor and demanding nature and mutant powers, "Slim" Summers has charmed even the most powerful mutant and non-mutant ladies out there.

His first established relationship was with team mate Jean Grey when they were part of Charles Xavier's early group of mutants/students under his tutelage. In this early portrayal, Scott was the shy type and never quite readily admitted his feelings towards Jean. Later on, they both discovered mutual feelings for each other and the relationship blossomed from there. Their love would be tested when Wolverine joined the team. Logan also began developing feelings for Jean. Both Scott and Logan would grieve for her when the Phoenix force proved to be a threat to the universe, and when Jean ultimately lost her life. It was after this time that Scott left the team.

February 13, 2012

LEGO Avengers

You may have already seen the DC Superheroes LEGO sets debuting at your local retailer.  Marvel Comics has unveiled the Avengers movie LEGO minifigures and sets, which directly tie in to the movie.

Firestorm The Nuclear Man

I first started reading comics when I was around eight years old and Firestorm was one of the few titles that I collected back then. I guess the main appeal was probably his appearance. The flaming scalp/head and the amazing costume certainly caught my eye. It's still a little unbelievable to this day, that the character is still quite popular and has his own New 52 series as well.  No matter what changes and transformations he's been through, the Ronnie Raymond/Martin Stein era of the character still remains a favorite.

Firestorm was created by acclaimed writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom in the late 1970s.  He made his debut with a short lived series.  However, he made his triumphant return in the early 1980s with his own series again and as a member of the Justice League of America.  It's with that revival of his own series, that I "discovered" Firestorm thanks in part to Conway's captivating stories and the remarkable artwork by Pat Broderick.

February 12, 2012

World's Finest Concept Art

With the revelation of the cover of World's Finest issue number one, George Perez has also unveiled his concept artwork for the main characters, Power Girl and The Huntress. Both characters will undergo new costumes for the series. Furthermore, Perez has stated on his Facebook Fan Page, that he had no involvement with the costume redesign for both characters.

Image courtesy George Perez

February 10, 2012

DC Reveals Earth 2 Variant Cover


DC Comics has revealed a variant cover for James Robinson's upcoming Earth 2.

A few notable observations:
  1. Batman is using Nightwing's trademark escrima sticks. Could Dick Grayson be the Batman of Earth 2?
  2. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are battling Darkseid's parademons, which are currently appearing over in Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's Justice League.
  3. Where's the Justice Society?? Will DC's Trinity be a part of the New 52's version of the Justice Society of America?
Via The Source

February 9, 2012

PREVIEW: Avengers vs. X-Men

The battle of the year draws closer and closer! As excitement builds for Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel has unveiled some John Romita Jr. preview artwork.  Having been a long time fan of his simple and fluid style during his time on Uncanny X-Men and Daredevil, it's great to see his style remain so timeless to this day.

Here are the preview pages:


Images courtesy Marvel Comics

February 8, 2012

Review: Saga of The Swamp Thing

When Alan Moore wrote the Swamp Thing, he took away his humanity but left behind his spirit and compassion. Those qualities have left the character a fan favorite several decades later.  Sure he's had his own movie but the character was a radical departure from the established comics during the time. It's not exactly a walk in the park to establish these new changes and transform the creature into a hit monthly series and a legacy that continues today, but that's what Moore did.  The Swamp Thing still remains relevant despite not having any qualities that make today's popular heroes like Superman or Spiderman appealing.  He's not your next door neighbor who decides to fight crime because his parents were violently murdered or a teenager who loses his uncle to mugger's bullet. In fact, at one point the creature, didn't want return to the land of the living (via it's consciousness) and almost became a plant permanently!

With the Saga of The Swamp Thing hardcover, the early beginnings of the Swamp Thing are revealed.  Lying frozen in cryogenic chamber deep within the bowels of the Sunderland Corporation, the Swamp Thing's new adventures are about to begin as he learns what he truly is. Moore's initial run complemented with the detailed work of artists Steve Bissette and John Totleben, breathe new life into the Swamp Thing storylines.  The breathtaking and detailed work from Bissette is truly amazing here.  It's like every panel in the swamp is teeming with life, literally! This collection reprints issues 20 through 27 of the second volume of the original series. Issue 20 is now included as it wasn't previously before (the artist was Dan Day) in paperback editions.   

The initial stories portray the new Swamp Thing rediscovering himself after finally understanding, he or rather it, is all about.  After freeing the Swamp Thing from the confines of Sunderland Corp, Jason Woodrue aka The Floronic Man, enacts his deadly plan for a new Earth. One where humans and animals don't exist! The latter issues guest star Jason Blood aka Etrigan the Demon, as the Swamp Thing battles a supernatural threat.  Readers will be impressed by Moore's radical new interpretation of the character and these early adventures.  You can't help but pity the creature who thought he had chance to restore himself back to a human being.

Swamp Thing and Abby from issue 25 "The Sleep of Reason"
The Swamp Thing is one of those unique lasting characters for DC Comics spanning three decades. Accepting his fate and moving on with life in the Bayou without any self-pity epitomizes the creature's lasting human qualities.  The early issues of Alan Moore's run only hint at the magnitude of the Swamp Thing's adventures and self discovery.   This is where his new adventure begins.

February 7, 2012

Star Wars Episode 1 3D

As the 3-D premiere of Episode 1 comes closer, here's a few things to watch for in the movie. Unless you haven't seen the movie before or just watching it again for nostalgic fun, there are some elements which deserve a second look.  No matter your feelings towards the Jar Jar Binks character, here's some movie aspects to key in:

Jedi Order: George Lucas showcases the Jedis whose glory were only hinted at, during the original trilogy. Before Order 66 and Emperor Palpatine branding them as traitors, Episode 1 features the Jedi Council and Jedi-Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Jedi Knight in training (Padawan) Obi-Wan Kenobi, striving to protect and maintain order within the Republic. There's no other time within the original trilogy that you'll see the Jedis in this stunning portrayal, before the dark times, before the Empire.

Galactic Senate: It's like art imitating life, as political quagmire unfolds and sets the stage for the rise of Senator Palpatine.  You'll witness, the early machinations of Palpatine/Darth Sidious when he uses a trade dispute with the Trade Federation, as an opportunity for the Sith to rule the Galaxy. Unfortunately, an emotional and maybe immature Queen Amidala falls for his plan.

Slavery: Despite democratic ideals within the Galactic Republic, slavery existed within the outer rim planets, notably Tatooine.  The Hutt clan had control of Tatooine.  Young Anakin Skywalker, a slave with a high midi-chloran count, was eventually discovered by Qui-Gon Jinn and Padme.

February 6, 2012

Rob Liefeld New 52

No matter what your feelings are towards Rob Liefeld and if you didn't get enough of his work during the New 52 Hawk & Dove series, well he's back again. DC Comics has announced that Liefeld will be on the creative team for three series, starting with their respective ninth issue. Liefeld will be writing and illustrating Deathstroke, plotting Hawkman and also Grifter. The issues will all premiere in May and given Liefeld's past reputation as being tardy, we can't say if future issues will be on time! Pictured above are the Liefeld premiere issue covers.

Images courtesy DC Comics

Before Watchmen

The Before Watchmen initiative by DC Comics certainly drew a lot controversy and criticism but it's time we moved past that. Regardless of how much we decry the decision to expand upon the Watchmen saga, we mustn't forget that it's still property owned by DC Comics/Warner Bros. and they can basically do whatever they want. I respect Alan Moore's work and it's unfortunate that the situation resulted in this manner. You can ultimately decide to boycott this entire release and send DC Comics the message that you still care about the integrity of the Watchmen miniseries.

What's notable about one of the titles forthcoming, is the Minutemen miniseries. It's interesting to see that writer Darwyn Cooke was tapped to tackle this super group. I would've preferred to see someone like James Robinson helm the early adventures of the Minutemen during that time period. While Cooke's work on DC: The New Frontier was outstanding, Robinson has the experience and pedigree if you will, with that era of heroes. Cooke's work might differ from the grim and gritty portrayal of the Minutemen, by Moore and focus more on characterization. Not to knock Cooke's work but it appears that we're getting a totally different look at the Minutemen artistically and story wise.

While we're looking forward to Before Watchmen, we won't be picking up all the planned releases.  Nevertheless, it's exciting to see DC Comics revisit this classic and enjoy a different look at the saga.

Images copyright DC Comics 

February 4, 2012

Avengers v. X-Men Variant Covers

Ahead of the upcoming battle of the year, Marvel Comics has unveiled the variant covers Avengers v. X-Men issues 1 and 2. Ryan Stegman pencils an awesome variant cover for issue 1 showcasing Captain America taking on Cyclops. Nick Bradshaw provides the art chores for the issue 2 variant cover.  Which side are you on?

Images via Marvel Comics

February 2, 2012

Earth 2 Earth

Justice Society of America Annual 1
DC Comics has previously announced the premiere of a new comic-book titled Earth 2 in the coming months. Earth 2 is of course the parallel Earth inhabited by the Golden Age heroes known as the Justice Society and judging from the solicitation previews provided by DC Comics, they'll be the focus of the new title. Writer James Robinson will pen the series as well with art provided by the amazing Nicola Scott. What's still left unclear and not yet fully revealed is if the title will also showcase a modern version of the Earth as well.

Naming a comic-book Earth 2 certainly leaves plenty of possibilities for stories and characters to populate the series. We could see the return of Infinity, Inc. (during modern times obviously) as well or perhaps the Justice Society Infinity as pictured above.  Which brings up the possibilities of a Justice League crossover once again. Furthermore, stories could flashback and forth from present to the past showcasing the Golden Age heroes and the modern day ones of Earth 2 and well the ideas are just endless.

Another new series that will be tied to Earth 2 is World's Finest, which will be written by Paul Levitz with George Perez and Kevin Maguire sharing the art duties.  The series will focus on Power Girl and The Huntress as they struggle to return to Earth 2. We don't want to speculate too much on both series but suffice to say, we're excited for them!

Cover courtesy DC Wikia

The New 52: Animal Man Issue 6 Review

With horrific creatures chasing after them, will Animal Man and his family escape from the terrors known as The Rot? Will the talking cat annoy them enough to take it to a shelter?