Friday, February 24, 2017

DETECTIVE COMICS #951 - League of Shadows Pt. 1

DETECTIVE COMICS #951 - League of Shadows Pt. 1

Published February 22, 2017 by DC Comics. Written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Christian Duce.

The Colony has sought out Lady Shiva only to find misery and death. League of Shadows begins now in issue #951. Lady Shiva thinking the Colony is a way into Gotham soon learns the Colony has been outcast from Gotham with Batman capturing the Colonel. Shiva quickly loses interest in using the Colony and just as fast disposes of her captive.

Training in the mud room proves both creative and entertaining. Kung Fu fighting Penguins makes for a fun and entertaining training session for Orphan. While Batwoman facetiously questions the reality of the mud room scenario. And after training a night out to the ballet is planned for Cassandra.
Batman decides to visit his new ally Mayor Hady. But the Mayor’s place seems in disarray and once Batman finds the mayor it isn’t a pleasant sight. And as quickly as Batman learns the attacker’s identity the police arrive and misread the scene thinking Batman was the attacker.

Questioning the Colonel about the attackers leads Batman and Batwoman down a rabbit hole or is it? The Colonel and Batman continue to clash in ideologies while Kate is shaken by his revelations regarding the new threat.

On the five O’ Clock news it’s all sunny, happy smiles but with a deadly twist. And Adams Square is full of laughing, violent jokers. But the laughs soon stop and the look in the crowd’s eyes becomes more sinister as Batman and the group seek to subdue the crowd.

The new story arc and the continuing one of the Colony is making this another great story to follow. What is Lady Shiva’s game? And was the poisoned crowd another diversion from the real villain? Maybe there’s some truth to the Colonel’s belief about the existence of the League of Shadows…

BLACK PANTHER #11 – A Nation Under Our Feet Pt.11

BLACK PANTHER #11 – A Nation Under Our Feet Pt.11

Published February 22, 2017 by Marvel Comics. Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and illustrated by various artists.

The climatic end to “A Nation Under Our Feet” begins at Necropolis where T’Challa summons Wakandain spirits of the past to defend the throne.

Shuri in her new form leads the attack as she is now a Griot and Black Panther along with Manifold arrive to join the melee. However, the Hatu Zeraze are quickly defeated by the People under Zenzi’s control.

Just as T’Challa and the Hatu seem close to defeat one last gambit is played. Changamire begins to broadcast a speech meant to inspire peace and surrender of the People and break the hold Zenzi has upon their hearts and minds.

For some it wakes them up but there are still some among the People that remain under Zenzi’s control. The Hatu are able to regain the upper hand with the distraction. Zenzi plays one last attempt and the remaining People under her control are transformed and mutated to continue their assault on T’Challa and Hatu.

Tetu is finally defeated by T’Challa and Wakanda’s past heroes and captured while Zenzi has evaded his fate. Shuri begins a new chapter with the Dora Milaje.

So the end of this first epic tale has come and with it a new beginning. But where will Black Panther fit in with a Dora Milaje led by Shuri? Will his sister take the throne back or will he cede his throne to her? The fall-out from this will remain to be seen.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

DOCTOR STRANGE #17 – State of Misery

DOCTOR STRANGE #17 – State of Misery

Published February 15, 2017 by Marvel Comics. Written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Frazer Irving.
Back at the sanctum santorum of the good doctor is playing mediator to two factions and diverts a conflict but while this issue is resolved he and Zelma continue trying to find Wong and Misery. While they look magic is slowly returning to the world.
Wong and Misery debate whether Misery can defeat Doctor Strange and Misery is convinced he can undo the Doctor’s past work.
Stephen takes the search to his drinking magical buddies on a motorcycle. However, it’s not magic users that may provide help in locating Wong but Man-Thing. That is after Stephen rids the Man-Thing of Nazi Ninja Vampires for which he gives the doctor some algae.
Misery begins the reworking of Dr. Strange’s past work in neurosurgery and when Stephen finally catches up to Misery’s gruesome handy work and he brings a new player to assist  with the work to be done.
Besides the fantasy and magic to these stories I really enjoy the underlying humor. Or at least it’s funny to me! What’s Misery’s angle? Why can’t he just get along with Doctor Strange? My comic reading is lot like my own life in that I really don’t know too much as to what’s going on outside my own story and so I only catch glimpse and peeks about other stories so when a popular character arrives I really don’t know what’s going on in their world and I’ll just let the story happen and enjoy! There are two characters with one possibly taking a leading role in the next issue.  The story is yet another bizarre odyssey through the multiverse and the restoration of magic to the world…

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DETECTIVE COMICS #950 - League of Shadows, Prologue

DETECTIVE COMICS #950 - League of Shadows, Prologue

Published February 8, 2017 by DC Comics. Written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Various artist

Ghosts. Are they real? What defines a ‘ghost’? Cassandra Cain feels ghosts. Ghost of the past. Ghosts of a life she wishes she had. To dance is her passion. But her circumstances keep it from being a reality.

She can’t explain the ghosts to her friends and she tries to avoid explaining them. Unfortunately some of the ghosts are not very pleasant. The violence she witnessed as a child and the wicked hopes her father had for her haunt her and cause her discomfort of the soul.
Mayor Hady has a change of heart about life after his heart nearly gave up on him. To make a better world he seeks out Gordon and our cowled hero for help. He offers Batman a hand in helping Gotham. A new beginning.

Orphan dreams of the ballet and dancing freely but those dreams quickly turn to the violent dans macrbe her life is. Instead of peaceful leaps and landings she performs fighting moves to subdue assailants. Her art has become disarming guns and knives and not graceful dance moves. This life has put her in turmoil and it takes all she has to keep score as to who is friend and foe. The violence and fighting are causing her to blur the lines of sanity and without hesitation she begins to see how to best defeat everyone even her closest allies.

Karlo Basil only wants his old self and life back but a new invention by Batwing may eliminate the need for a bulking device to return his DNA to normal he has physical consequences for the change. The longer he uses this new invention the more susceptible he is to causing himself more damage.
Orphan looks up to Batwoman and would like to learn as much as she can but she can’t communicate this very easily and must remain in the shadows. But she darts away and dances. She loses herself in the dance and the loneliness only to confide in herself she wants more. But has someone else heard her silent plea?

Jean-Paul Valley is called by a higher power. His heart seeks to overcome war and violence with the law of peace and love. His training partner marvels at his ability to stay focused in the heat of battle. Batwing would like the divine inspiration that drives Azrael in battle. Valley enlightens Batwing on things bigger than himself. Things that drive and shape the universe.  These things humble Jean Paul and focus his mind and heart to one good.

Before Tim’s supposed death he and Batman had a lengthly discussion on the change in Batman. Tim noticed a shift and a preparation being made for what Tim thought was war. He questioned the reasoning behind this preparation and pledged his loyalty to whatever end it all meant.

Detective #950 is obviously a set up for a larger story coming to the Bat-books. The many sub-plots coming should be good. I suspect Lady Shiva will test Orphan and her loyalties but the big picture I’m holding out for is this “war” that Tim mentions at the end. And after the events of Detective #949 I’m left guessing that Monster Venom is going to be the McGuffin everyone’s after. Dram-ah is coming…   

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DETECTIVE COMICS #949 - Batwoman Begins Pt. 2

DETECTIVE COMICS #949 - Batwoman Begins Pt. 2

Published January 17, 2017 by DC Comics. Written by James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett  illustrated by Ben Oliver.

Beginning in the conclusion to Batwoman Begins Kate and her father are seen discussing footage of Batman in action. Kate is intrigued by his fighting style and the many forms apparent in it. She is not alone as the man himself arrives out of the shadows and begins a confrontation in which Kate draws a gun on the Caped Crusader only to have her 2nd Amendment rights revoked ala weapon disassembly.
Meanwhile at the Colony the Colonel and one of his soldiers debate whether Kate has the heart and discipline for the Colony.

Back in the present Batman squares off against the Colony’s thief who stole the Monster Venom and has overridden the Belfry to target the Dark Knight. Then Batwoman joins the melee and exposes Simon as the Colony agent. The arrogance and insecurities he has about Kate and her abilities only add to the humiliation she puts him through.

As Simon continues his quest to free Colonel Kane he has yet another confrontation with Batman or is it? Simon thinking he is about to free the Colonel is confronted yet again by the fearless Batwoman.  Batwoman unrelenting bests Simon once more only this time she reveals what’s really going on and how he has fallen prey to a cleverly designed trap. But in a last ditch effort to escape Batman and Batwoman Simon injects himself with the Monster Venom for a very dramatic escape.
After the escape of Simon Batwoman recalls a time in the past when she first realized that Batman was her cousin Bruce Wayne and she then fully understood what drove the World’s Greatest Detective. Her father feared that getting too close to his mission would destroy her but she didn’t share that fear.

Back at the Colonel’s cell Kate and her father discuss the changing world and what the impact Monster Venom will have on a coming war. He agrees to let her in on the many organizations that are seeking new bioweapons for this coming conflict.

I’m really starting to become a fan of Batwoman. First I like her edgy attitude and drive. The costume is great and in these last two issues I’ve really enjoyed Ben Oliver’s art. I’m further interested in these new organizations and this coming war they are preparing to fight. Could “The Many Arms of Death” be one on the way? 

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DETECTIVE COMICS #948 - Batwoman Begins Pt. 1

DETECTIVE COMICS #948 - Batwoman Begins Pt. 1

Published January 11, 2017 by DC Comics. Written by James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett with art by Ben Oliver.

Who is Kate Kane? Why is she following in her cousin’s footsteps as a vigilante protecting Gotham? Starting off is a flashback sequence to sometime a couple of years ago her and her father, Colonel Kane, were training with a new gadget. Her version of the grapple gun used by Batman.

While testing this new toy she and her father are also shadowing the cowled sleuth through Gotham. However, he eventually catches her following and is able to evade. Later Kate and her dad recount the events and her frustration with Batman’s ability to escape her watchful eye.

Fastward to the present and Kate is now visiting her father in the prison cell at the Belfry. But duty calls and she leaves her father to begin a new case.

At the Argus excavation site where the remains of the beast they battled in the Night of the Monster Men they are attacked by a strange humanoid creature. The monster’s attack is stopped by Dr. Victoria October the lead scientist studying these strange phenomenon at what she terms, “Monster Town”. Apparently what is to blame for the strange mutation of the creature is Dr. Strange’s Monster Venom. This is some new form of bioweaponry highly sought after on the blackmarket. During a break-in at the Argus evacuation site someone stole a large amount of the Venom and that someone was with the Colony.

At the Belfry the Colonel is being paid a visit by the Argus thief from the Colony. And is there to extract the Colonel. However, the Colonel isn’t too keen on leaving his cell. But Batman and Batwoman arrive to ensure the Colonel stays put.

In this story arc DC is starting to give a little more depth to Kate Kane and her Batwoman persona. This story arc also takes the Monster Venom angle in a new direction with the Colony after this weapon. One question arises from this issue is why is Colonel Kane reluctant to rejoin the Colony? 

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DETECTIVE COMICS #947 – The Victim Syndicate Pt. 5

DETECTIVE COMICS #947 – The Victim Syndicate Pt. 5

Published December 14, 2016 by DC Comics. Written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez.

In the dramatic conclusion to The Victim Syndicate and catty exchange with Batwoman. Spoiler and Batman have a clash in ideologies. Stephanie sees the world differently and how best to help it and her friends than Batman’s approach. She cast doubt on the good Batman does and identifies with the Syndicate to a point. Once they cross the line into hurting other she feels they are wrong. In a moment of regret and remorse the Caped Crusader apologizes to the Syndicate and offers to help them cope with their bitterness and anger from their own losses.

But is it enough for Spoiler? She threatens Batman with exposure if he doesn’t quit the crime fighting and dis-ban is new group. She recounts every member’s possibilities outside Batman’s influence in their lives and how they might be different. But is her vision necessarily better?
Spoiler still distraught and unchanged in her thinking flees as Batman and the group prepare to turn the Syndicate into Arkham.

Later at Arkham Clayface tries to comfort Glory and offer’s her a hand in friendship. While Batman and Batwoman remain puzzled about the identity of First Victim.

Spoiler still grieving over Tim vandalizes the Batsignal and Batman and Batwoman reconcile their feelings and thoughts on the troubled Stephanie.

In an epilogue Tim is seen working up a way to escape the confinement he’s in but once he’s free he discovers his captor to be the unexpected.

The great thing about this story arc is there’s plenty of directions to go in. The continuing saga of Red Robin and what’s really going on is intriguing and should keep audiences captivated.

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