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trade reviews

A bit DC heavy, but hey, i really like DC.

DC Comics

DC has collected the batman stories that inspired Grant Morrison’s recent run on Batman including Batman R.I.P. Almost all from the fifties we see the introduction of the Batmen of All Nations and the Indian Batman, Batman discovering his Father’s batman outfit and the first BatMite tale.
This is entertaining stuff and while not as serious as the Batman of today these are part of the roots of the character and make for entertaining reading.
Some of the classic creators involved in these stories are Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Sheldon Moldoff. There is also an introduction from Morrison on why he used these as reference.
A very nice collection of a bygone era of the Batman. And it made re-reading Morrison’s run even more enjoyable the second time with these all fresh in my head.


Jason Pearson’s Body Bags is high on entertainment. Mack, also known as Clown Face is a bagger, a bounty hunter. He and his mentor are a bit down on their funds and need to raise money for medical expenses for said mentor, “Pops”. When a job goes south people are gunning for Mack and if the situation isn’t bad enough, his estranged 14 year old daughter shows up wanting to learn the family business. As luck would have it she’s deadly with a gun.
Violence and humor make this a nice distraction and Pearson’s art is only surpassed by his writing. He does great dialogue without forcing humor. And I really enjoy the Father – Daughter dynamic.
104 pages of fun.


Another story live from Andy Diggle with Leonardo Manco on art along with Giuseppe Camuncoli.
The first tale involves John Constantine paying a visit to the Vatican to help a religious man who has strayed and accidently brought forth a power from Hell, or so he thinks. Whatever is really going on here, it has allowed John access to part of the secret library under the Vatican, and that can’t be good….
Part two of this volume is where the title come from and has John understand what has been manipulating his life, and the answer is a bit unexpected.
Diggle really has a handle on Constantine and is doing a wonderful job with the character. The dialogue in particular is spot on.
Nicely done.

DC Comics

JLA has always been one of my favorites in almost every incarnation (except Detroit). The latest run has been really well written and by people who obviously love the characters. Dwayne McDuffie is no exception and Ed Benes on art makes it a great looking book.
The story here is well told, but I’ll be honest, I’ve had enough of the Red Tornado drama and there has been way too much Amazo in the series lately. That aside, McDuffie manages to make all the characters shine, I really like the way he handles Black Canary as team leader. He has also made me actually care what happens with Vixon, a character I’ve always thought was just kind of there.
Red Tornado is getting a new body and the process is interrupted by Amazo who proceeds to give the team a real ass whooping. This leads to an adventure with Vixon in the lead in an alternate reality which is a lot of fun and you can tll McDuffie was having fun.
This series is really never dull and I’m curious where it’s going next, but this volume, despite my being done with Amazo and Red Tornado for a while, was really entertaining. It brought back some of the magic for me that I had when I first started reading it way back with issue 98 of the original series.

DC Comics

This is a collection of pivotal stories of Robin, each of them. Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake and even Stephanie Brown. With the shake up going on in the Bat-Books this is a nice history to get people up to speed or have memories refreshed. I love the retelling of Dick’s origin by Dennis O’Neil in The Choice. The last story, Life and Death by Geoff Johns is also strangely powerful as we see Jason Todd dealing with the fact that he was , while not forgotten, but ignored after his death. I know I was fine with his death, but his return has been a lot of fun, and this story is an example of why.

DC Comics

A hardcover collection of the haunting Superman stories by Alan Moore. It’s nice to see these great tales in a really nice edition. The story from which the title came is a possible future and sees the end of Superman and most of the cast. This is a interesting story in that it really shows Moore’s knowledge and dare I say love of Superman’s history. Curt Swan doing the art really brought it home and it feels like the end of an era, which I guess it was.
The middle feature is a Swamp Thing team up from DC Comics Presents #85. Moore with his Swamp Thing bringing Superman a bit of despair and then bringing him back again. Interesting, but doesn’t hold up as well. The last tale is Superman’s birthday and a visit with friends at the Fortress. Mongul shows up with a “Black Mercy” plant that we’ve seen lately in Green Lantern. Once attached to someone it induces a dream state that is supposed to make the victim feel at peace while dropping them into a trance. This is another chance for Moore to shine with imaginary tales of possible futures for Supes and Batman.
This is not the first release of these stories, but it is the nicest. And this book should be reqired reading for any comics fan.

WONDERMARK, Volumes 1 & 2
Dark Horse Comics

These two volumes collect the online comic strip Wondermark. Created using old drawings and etchings and such from Victorian times with word balloons added to make strange pictures even more bizarre and even relevant sometimes. The one thing they all have in common is that they are hysterical. David Malki is the madman behind this and he is truly an evil genius of the absurd.
Volume one is Beards of our Forefathers and Volume two is Clever Tricks to Stave off Death. I would recommend getting both volumes, and giving as gifts as well. I’ve bought numerous copies.