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A gaggle of trade reviews

BATMAN- THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
DC Comics
This trade is a collection of the comics based on the cartoon. It is totally all ages friendly. This doesn’t mean kids only because I have to tell you I found it a real treat to read. I love the way Aquaman is portrayed, almost like Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. The time traveling story is fun and I loved the story with Blue Beetle with Batman acting as a real mentor.
Fun book and a great way to get kids into comics.

DC UNIVERSE ORIGINS
DC Comics

This collects all the short origin stories that have been running in Countdown, 52 and Justice League Cry For Freedom. It’s a great way to get up to date on who’s who and how they fit into the scheme of things at DC.Lots of great writers and artists took part in the micro origins and each comes with a list of significant story lines.
A great source for new fans and old alike.

GREEN LANTERN – SECRET ORIGIN
DC Comics

When this first came out in the regular comics I wasn’t all that excited. I have read variations of Hal Jordan’s story quite a few times over the years. I should have known better. Geoff Johns has really refined this and made it fit into the current version of the DC Universe.
We see Hal as a kid and what leads him to want to fly, his time in the air force and after are impacted by his daredevil attitude, his lack of fear is hurting everything around him. When a Green Ring finds him and brings him to Abin Sur he realizes that maybe he is destined for bigger things and this also helps him get a better handle on his own life and relationships.
What’s cool about this is the fact that Johns answers questions I should have been asking all along. Why would a Green Lantern need a ship? Just why is Sinestro such an ass? And is he right to think the way he does?
This re telling of the beginnings for Hal Jordan is essential reading for GL fans. The art by Ivan Reis is also a major selling point here. Reis is a master of action and with this story there is such a variety of things going on that it must have been a challenge, one that Reis rose to.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY VOLUME 3
Vertigo

This collection is really fun as things are starting to get shaken up. The stories told have always been good, and the subplot running throughout with the various characters has been really interesting but now we are starting to get some real insight into what is going on. Fig and her Father argue , and we start to discover why certain people can’t leave the House Of Mystery.
This set of tales also has an underlying theme which gives us a few clues as to what the house really is. There are also some forces and people trying to get the house under their control and the end of this has a great reveal which should really make upcoming stories a great pleasure to read.
Some great talents in here including Neal Adams, Gibert Hernandez and Bill Willingham.

JSA STRANGE ADVENTURES
DC Comics
Some golden age adventures of the Justice Society written by Kevin J Anderson, a New York Times best selling novelist. We see the JSA pitted against WWII era bad guy who wants them to quit. Johnny Thunder is going through a personal crisis of faith and ends up trying to become a pulp writer.
Anderson sure seems to love this age and his use of all the various members of the JSA is well done as he doesn’t spotlight just the “cool” ones. Ever since James Robinson did Starman we see the golden age character, Jack’s Dad Ted getting a lot more respect, and I love it.
I love the new stories of the JSA, but I sure do love tales set in the Golden Age, and from Anderson’s writing I would say he does too. A great job done with respect for the characters and the reader.

R.E.B.E.L.S. – The Coming Of Starro
DC Comics
Let me be honest here, the original run of this title back in the nineties was not a comic book I liked. In fact I would go so far as to say I hated it. It bothered me that we were given this instead of new Legion stories. Ok, that’s off my chest.
I am open minded in a never say never kind of way. The return of R.E.B.E.L.S.made me wonder why? That was enough to make me want to read it. And I have to say I actually am enjoying it. Brainiac is a meglo maniac who needs a bitch slap, and done right characters like this can be great, and here it is. The story in this collection has our green friend putting together his own version of the Legion to combat a coming evil. A hologram of his future self is driving him a little crazy, fun to see. It is also cool to see a nod to the future Legion in some of his travels. Tony Bedard has taken a title I shouldn’t care about and actually has me wanting more.

SIMON DARK – THE GAME OF LIFE
DC Comics

Steve Niles is a great writer and the macabre way his brain works is a real pleasure to see in comics. I’ve been enjoying his Simon Dark right along, but this last collection really takes it to a new high.
A gothic tale of death, lose and rebirth this is no superhero story.
As we’ve discovered in previous reading, Simon isn’t sure who he is. His Police Detective pal is in a similar but not as extreme situation. Both should be dead. Why aren’t they? It also looks like whatever saved them from death also unleashed a failed experiment. So while they try to save lives they also are working to put their own in order.
The Game Of Life does a great job of tying everything up and bringing an end to this chapter in the life of Simon Dark. The three trades reads together make for an intricate and compelling story and quite honestly, I think it would make a great movie.

SUPERMAN: MON-EL
DC Comics

Over the years Mon-El has always been the kind of character who seems to be a watered down version of Superman and as a result no one ever seemed to know just what to do with him. With the New Krypton story line involving Superman being out of Metropolis it seems a natural choice to have Mon-El come in as a replacement.
This collection opens up with a retelling of the first meeting between Clark and Mon-El, Mon-El getting put into the phantom zone and his eventual release.
We then jump to Superman asking him to watch over Metropolis for him and introductions to the people he’ll need to work with. As he learns to adapt to this new role Mon-El is also working on being more than just a super hero. Ma Kent helps out here as does the new Guardian.
With lots of great fight scenes, and wonderful character development, James Robinson has taken a character that has been orphaned and given him a home and a real place in the DC Universe.