DC TRADE REVIEWS

Batman: Jekyll and Hyde
DC Comics

Writer Paul Jenkins along with two of the coolest artists working today, Jae Lee and Sean Phillips, pit Batman against one of my favorite villains, Two Face.
Jekyll and Hyde see Harvey Dent at the precipice of total madness and what he has in mind for Gotham and Batman will take both men right to their limits.
Jenkins does a superb job digging into the characters and duality of both Bruce Wayne/Batman and Harvey Dent/Two Face. Creepy, sad, very human this is a side of these characters we don’t often see in this depth. Coupled with the artwork by Lee and Phillips this is a perfect comics/Gotham noir tale. This is a can’t miss book.

Batman – The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul
DC Comics

Collecting Grant Morrison and Paul Dini’s tale from various Bat-tiles this is another winner with classic Batman characters and one of his most elusive foes.
Ra’s wants his grandson’s body to replace his which was destroyed. Leading some of his allies Batman heads to Tibet to stop the spirit of Ra’s Al Ghul once and for all.
A truly spectacular tale this is another wonderful blending of what made the comics in the 70’s so great coupled with what is so good right now. Top notch writing and ass kicking art this is pure Batman and nees to be on every comics lover’s shelves.

Checkmate – Fall of the Wall
DC Comics

It’s been coming since Checkamte #1 and Amanda Waller is finally going down, but not without a fight. Waller has been scheming and maneuvering since she was first introduced to comics back in the eighties and for a while it looked like she might have found a home and been doing some real good just for the sake of doing good.. Well, old dogs and new tricks and all that. After running secret missions and following her own agenda the other members of Checkmate finally need her gone, and they will do what ever they need to do to accomplish that. Rucka is at the top of his game in the this espionage title and this is another great chapter in the new Checkmate.

Jack Kirby’s OMAC: One Man Army Corps
DC Comics

A perfect addition to the four volumes of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus set this is the complete 8 issue run from 1974 and 1975. An introduction from Mark Evanier brings us into this book and then we get the stories.
Kirby had an inserting view of the future, in some respects he wasn’t far from wrong. His idealism shows through though with Omac. Buddy Blank is a bit of a nobody, a dead-end job with no respect, a real shmoe. He is picked for the Omac project and is changed into a fighting machine, the ultimate super soldier program if you will. Assisting him is a satellite computer with artificial intelligence that can boost his strength or help him with stand punishment. Buddy was recruited by a global peace keeping corps that uses anonymous agents to track war and violence.
The stories are pretty straight forward, a lot of action with Omac taking down villains and dictators. With Kirby doing the writing, the art and even the coloring and editing it was truly his book.
This character was revamped later in a mini series by John Byrne, and some of the elements were used during recent major events at DC, Infinite Crisis being a big one.
This is the kind of book collector should want to own, the stories are actually still relevant, and the art work and layout was obviously a big influence on a lot of people. Omac is an important part of comics history and DC has been nice enough to collect it all in a beautiful hardcover for only 24.99.

Infinity Inc – Luthor’s Monsters
DC Comics

During the year long 52 we saw Lex Luthor creating his own superheroes with Project Everyman. The project was of course tainted the same way everything Luthor touches is tainted. Now, a year or so later John “Steel” Henry Iron’s niece Natasha was one of these Everymen, and now she and a number of others are trying to cope with the lose of powers and regaining them. They form Infinity Inc and together they may be able to work through their problems and save a few lives in the balance.
This is a fun book and it’s nice to see a group of younger heroes with out the obvious ties to the established Icons. Peter Milligan does a nice job with the way he handles these young people and the situation they are in and the reactions they have to it. This collects the first 5 issues and is worth checking out.

The Joker : The greatest Stories Ever Told
DC Comics

With the Dark Knight movie coming out this is a very timely collection of stories. The Joker is arguably the most well known comics villain we have and he is both sinister and amusing. This collection reflects that but what we see is just how depraved and mad this man is. While a wonderful character and one that almost any writer would love to do, not all Joker stories really manage to capture the madness. This collection does. Some of the writers represented here are: Bill Finger, Dave Wood, Steve Englehart, Len Wein, Jeph Loeb and Paul Dini. I’ve read most of these at one time or another and it was a joy to sit down and re-read these classic tales. While the art changes and the writing style changes from story to story, the defining characteristics of the Joker translate from decade to decade. The Bob Joy was the editor of this collection and I think he did a great job picking from the huge amount of stories he had to choose from.

Metamorpho Year One
DC Comics

Over the years I’ve enjoyed all the various re-tellings of the origins of the various DC heroes, and I was very happy to see Rex Mason, Metamorpho in line for a Year One miniseries. I’ve been a fan since back in the days of his team ups with Superman and Batman in the World’s Finest sixty cent 100 page issues in the 1970’s. Dan Jurgens is really the go to guy for the heroes who may bee seen as second stringers and here he shows that Metamorpho may really be a lot more powerful than people think. The artwork is by Jurgans in the first two parts and then Mike Norton picks up for the last four. The styles compliment each other and they have a nice blend of the sixties silver age feel with modern overtones.
This book rocks and I love seeing Metamorpho getting the spotlight and hope this leads to more.

Shadowpact=Darkness and Light
DC Comics

This collection opens with Blue Devil leaving the group to fix a few things with his life that are wrong beyond normal measure. Part of this means getting a lawyer and taking a trip to Hell. To take his place the Shadowpact drafts Zauriel of the Host to lend his angelic abilities in their struggle to keep magic under control.
The main focus here is a fight against Doctor Gotham, a lethal sorcerer who is waging a major wat that dras in not just Shadowpact but the Justice League.
The whole thing wraps up with part of the team missing in the Shadow lands that Nightshde uses.
Fast paced action and believable characters with a real drive to do right but flaws to match make this a great title, and this is a great jumping on point.

Superman- Last Son
DC Comics

Collecting Action 844-846 and 851, Superman Last Son really sees Geoff Johns shine. Johns does great Superman and add to this the incredible art of Adam Kubert it becomes an instant classic.
A Kryptonian child lands on Earth and Superman decides to raise the boy. As Clark Kent he and Lois bring him into their home as Christopher Kent. Facing the same problems and challenges that Clark did growing up Christopher tries to adopt to his new home. However the presence of young Kryptonian is too big a target for Superman’s foes and when Superman gets trapped in the phantom zone things take a real turn for the worse.
For a character that is now more than 70 years old Superman here feels fresh and new and this s a great story.
As an added bonus, part of this book is done in 3-D and it includes the glasses!

Teen Titans : Titans of Tomorrow
DC Comics

This collection covers issues 50-54 and opens with a tribute to Kid Flash /Impulse/ Bart Allen. It’s a nice look back on a character that in retrospect was not around too long. Past creative teams were brought in to do various flashbacks for it and it’s a great story.
The main story is a return of the future Titans team.They are hardcore and much different than the Titans we know and love. The plan is for them to make a few changes in the past to ensure their future. I don’t want to give much away, but there is a lot of fighting and soul searching going on and quite a few cameos.
This is a nice collection of some really fun stories. Stories like this are why the Teen Titans remains such a great title.