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Writer: Tom King

Artists: Tony S. Daniel & Mitch Gerads

Colors: Tomeu Morey & Mitch Gerads

Letters: Clayton Cowles

Finally, after seventy-five issues of plotting and scheming Gotham City has finally fallen to Bane! Batman #75 kicks of the City of Bane storyline that has been set in motion from the very beginning of Tom King’s epic run began in Batman: Rebirth #1. Both covertly and overtly Bane has been the principal antagonist for King’s Batman and over the course of the last few issues his plan has become more-clear, the complete subjection of Gotham City. With a Batman (Thomas Wayne) and the Pyscho Pirate at his side it appears that Bane has finally accomplished his plan and Gotham City is now Bane’s City.

Firefly & Firebug, Gotham’s Finest Firefighters?

Batman #75 is the type of comic book that purposely jars the reader from the opening page and then brilliantly guides the reader through the topsy-turvy new status quo of Gotham City. Bane’s Gotham City is a surreal experiment where the villains of Gotham are now the city government. Killer Croc is a patrol officer handing out tickets. Firefly and Firebug are the fire fighters of Gotham. Hugo Strange is the new police commissioner while his hardest working detectives, Riddler and the Joker are hot on the trail of a killer obsessed with the number two (you know who it is). A Batman loyal to Bane and his partner Gotham Girl still patrol the night, striking  fear into any villain or criminal not loyal to Bane. Batman is faithfully served by his butler, the Ventriloquist, while the Psycho Pirate sits beside Bane using his mental powers to convert any non-believer into a loyal servant to Bane. All is not lost as Bruce Wayne is on a quest for answers and allies to help him defeat Bane, leading him up a mountain and into an awkward reunion of someone he may have met on a street? Or was it a boat? With a city held together by mind control, a Batman who may have an agenda of his own, a new Crisis looming, and the Batman planning his return Batman #75 is an incredible kick off to the City of Bane.

There’s Still a Batman in Gotham, But Not the Batman You Want

Loyal readers of Tom King’s Batman are earning their dividends with Batman #75. As we enter into the final stages of Bane’s master plan and promised ramifications for the life of Batman this issue did not disappoint. I was nervous last month when it seemed that DC had lost faith in their Bat-Scribe but thankfully we will see the end of King’s long promised one-hundred issue story (in Batman & Catwoman) andBatman #75 begins the final stage of the story. Tony S. Daniel’s art was impressive, full of dynamic action and detailed panels. Mitch Gerads adds a few pages at the end of the story, and even though his and Daniel’s artwork is quite different I am never going to turn down some dark and beautiful panels from Gerads. I’m excited to see how this arc plays out and once again Tom King and his incredible collaborators have pulled me into another top-notch adventure for the Dark Knight.

Verdict: Batman #75continues the brilliant and beautiful run by Tom King. With the beginning of the City of Bane all fans of Batman should Buy this book!

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Event Leviathan #2

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Alex Maleev

Review by KrisK

After an issue spent catching readers up on what’s been going on, particularly the Leviathan Rising Behemoth, it was great to get to the meat of the story. This issue picks up after the events of issue 1 with no real transition. It’s a hard break, but the story is good, so it can be forgiven. Batman meets up with Red Hood.

Red Hood, aka Jason Todd, served as Robin after Dick Grayson, until he was killed off by the Joker and rabid comic book fans. After about 20 years of death, Jason returned as the Red Hood. He began as an enemy who believed the only way to fix crime was to rule it. He executed many criminals and built an empire to challenge Black Mask, before Batman unmasked him.

Red Hood went underground as a supposed villain, who posed as a criminal and using the guise to take out villains. He avoided killing criminals, though, until the recent death of his best friend. After that, Jason changed his mind on murder. Now, he kills any who try to kill him as he dissects the criminal underbelly. Jason dislikes the system, both Criminal Justice and Vigilante, and views them as broken.

Batman gives Jason the run down of what is going on with Leviathan. Along with several people wounded but not dead, Batgirl remains MIA after a Leviathan attack.  He also informs Jason, and the readers by extension, of two run-ins involving Leviathan. The first involved the Question, who stands guard over the hospital bed-ridden General Lane. The second meeting involves Leviathan interrupting Plastic Man’s investigation. Leviathan speaks with the detectives, but he avoids actually killing them. Leviathan seems to think of himself as a revolutionary hero, putting him in the vain of Anarky though much more successful.

The writing, by Bendis, keeps the story rolling. The event functions primarily as a mystery, and while Detective Chimp and Tim Drake are needed to truly be the best detective team in DC, the team here is pretty dang good. The characters feel like them, and Bendis excels at turning talk into plot. He uses dialogue to rev up tension between characters. Bendis earns the tension in each fight. Plus, his Jason Todd leaves me wishing for a Bendis run on Red Hood, whenever Scott Lobdell hangs up the gloves on his run.

The art by Maleev stands on its own. Their talent for dark rooms and smoky personalities suits this, and any mystery, perfectly. The layout of the pages feels organic, and the final two page spread flows organically.

The comic feels short, though, with some of the story stretched to reach the desired end point for the issue. I left it feeling like I only got two-thirds of a comic book issue.

Verdict: Buy! This comic wraps you up tight in its mystery like a python. The story feels great, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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Cullen Bunn & Kyle Strahm, story

Baldemar Rivas, art

Crank!, letters

Recap

The story begins in Mitlan Itza, Mexico, humanity is under attack by an alien or paranormal virus that transforms people into grotesque creatures. After meeting a child-survivor in a medical facility, A team of medical professionals and military personal investigate a series of caves under the earth for an answer to the question: what caused this? What they find shocks them and catches them off guard. 

I started this story with a couple of bias’: I love horror and I find great enjoyment out of this author’s previous works. Cullen Bunn is famous for developing horror and paranormal worlds in comics. He knows how to set up the universe and educate the reader regarding the rules of the universe and this story is no exception. The context for this story takes place in a small town in a third world country. The opening panel shows shadowy figures descending a rope into the earth, which spurs a question: What’s in the underneath? The panel accomplishes an important task of developing a need in the reader to know what’s there. And, why?

It’s not clear if the decision by the scientists to explore these paranormal creatures will be successful. The ambivalence created by the unknown flushes out a layer in the story around this idea that as advanced as mankind has become we still have limited control in our lives. In this story the lack of control comes in the form of the paranormal virus that invades and transforms human being to grotesque creatures. Despite the advance medical equipment and dedicated scientists this virus is taking over. Not every problem can be solved by technology and perseverance. The question that gets generated is, then what will help? More technology? A different scientist? A miracle cure? I can hardly wait to find out. Overall = 9/10

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Issue #399: “I have feelings right now!”

Download Directly From iTunes

NOW on SPOTIFY!

WE ARE ONE EPISODE AWAY FROM THE BIG #400 BABYYYYY!!! In the lead-up to that huge anniversary episode, the gang talks TONS of comics this week, including lots of Criminal and the Omega issue of War of the Realms. Also, everybody gets excited about that big Paper Girls announcement and Thor 4 news!!!

Don’t forget to send in your questions about ANYTHING for next week’s episode!!!

Books talked about this podcast: X-Force #116-129, X-Statix #1-26, Wolverine/Doop #1-2, X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1-5, GIANT-SIZED X-STATIX #1, Bettie Page: Unbound #2, Invisible Woman #1, Catwoman #13, Wonder Woman #74, Event Leviathan #1-2, Criminal #6, Ghosted in LA #1, Bitter Root: Red Summer Special, Care Bears: Unlock The Magic, Black Hammer / Justice League : Hammer of Justice, Redneck #1-20, Bad Weekend GN, Skyward, and War of the Realms: Omega.

The Comic Book Podcast is brought to you by Talking Comics (www.talkingcomicbooks.com) The podcast is hosted by Steve Seigh (JoBlo.com assistant EIC & news editor), Bob Reyer, Joey Braccino, Jessica Garris-Schaeffer, and Sarah Miles who weekly dissect everything comics-related, from breaking news to new releases. Our Twitter handle is @TalkingComics and you can email us at podcast@talkingcomicbooks.com.

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Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Mike Del Mundo

Colors: Mike Del Mundo & Marco D’Alfonso

Letters & Production: VC’s Joe Sabino

The War of the Realms is over. The Dark Elf Malekith and his forces stand defeated and it is time to pick up the pieces after the devastating conflict that roared through the ten realms. Thor #15 is an epilogue to the war and sets the stage for what is next for Thor as well as his family and friends. Sadly it is also the second to last issue of this series and is paving the way for Jason Aaron’s final Thor story, King Thor, which will be released the fall.

The Weight of the Ten Realms now Rests on the Shoulders of the All-Father Thor

Thor #15, along with this week’s the War of Realms: Omega, puts a bow on the war and sets the stage for what comes next yet in the pages of Thor #15 it is apparent that Thor is not ready for the mantle of All-Father that Odin bestowed upon him at the conclusion of the War. Thor flees Midgard for old Asgard where his younger and older selves help him decide on the course of action he will take. We also get some insight into Loki’s return and how his own kingship of the Frost Giants will play out. Yet the best part of Thor #15 is how Hela, Queen of Hel, will torture Malekith for eternity for his actions. It’s a fitting punishment for an elf comprised of pure evil.

Thor #15 is not an action-packed issue but it does allow the reader to catch their breath before Aaron, along with original Thor: God of Thunder collaborator Esad Ribic, unleash King Thor upon the Thunder God’s fanbase. Aaron still does an incredible job of pushing his Thor story forward and has some tender moments among Thor and his other selves as well as a great Father Son moment with Odin that has been years in the making. Mike Del Mundo’s artwork continues to be breathtaking with its detailed renderings and rich colors. I’ll be sad to see this creative team’s collaboration on Thor come to an end, as their work together has been excellent and an incredible time in Aaron’s long term Thor story arc.

Verdict: Thor #15is a Buy for any fan of Aaron’s Thor or anyone who wants to know how the survivors of the War of the Realms put their lives back together and what comes next for the God of Thunder.

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Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Michael Walsh

Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot

An Invasion from Starro or rather Just another Day in Metropolis

Black Hammer is an independent super hero title released by Dark Horse Comics  that is part homage to the golden and silver age of comics while also being a dark and twisted take on super heroics. Justice League on the other hand is the premiere super team comic from DC comics. Never would I have thought that these two vastly different books would end up in a crossover yet here we are with Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice! #1 by the incredible team of Black Hammer co-creator and writer Jeff Lemire and amazing artist Michael Walsh.

Anyone looking for a big cross-company super hero throwdown should look elsewhere. Anyone in the mood for a comic with a mystery and some unknown world swapping then Black Hammer/Justice League #1 is the book for you. The crux of Black Hammer is that a group of heroes sacrificed themselves to save their home of Spiral City from the Anti-God but rather then dying the heroes awoke in an eerie farming community of Rockwood where they have been trapped for ten years with no way home. This issue is set well before the current Black Hammer: Age of Doom and our book begins with Abraham Slam confronting two of his friends, the robot Talkie-Walkie and the Martian Barbalien as they cannibalize his tractor for yet another device that may help them return to Spiral City. Throw in some nonsensical dialogue from Colonel Weird, a man unstuck in time and the foul mouthed sixty-year-old stuck in a ten-year old’s body of Golden Gail and the opening of this issue feels like the early days of Black Hammer.  Then a stranger comes to the farm with an offer to take the property off their hands. The book then switches to a common event in the life of the Justice League, a giant Starro and his mini-stars have invaded Metropolis and the only thing standing in the way of an earth controlled by a giant starfish shaped alien is the Justice League. It’s in the middle of this battle that the same man from the farm approaches the League with a forbidding promise and our two teams switch places, paving the way for what will no doubt be an interesting tale of role reversals, time displacement, and some classic super heroics. I cannot wait to see how this series plays out.

Clark Kent is back on the farm, but this isn’t Smallville!

Jeff Lemire is a treasure to the comics community, whether it be with his creator owned work or his writing for the big two on such books as Green Arrow or Old Man Logan. His work on Black Hammer is some of his best and this quality continues with this first issue of Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice! #1. Michael Walsh’s pencils and colors are a wonderful choice with their classic stylings and detailed realism. Walsh’s colors have a pastel style to them, which are a great fit to his already strong pencils. This book is amazing that it works for both the eclectic retro style of a regular Black Hammer issue but has the all the high-flying visual dynamics one would expect from the monthly Justice League. Bringing these two creators together for this crossover was a brilliant choice and this book will not disappoint fans of either franchise.

Verdict: Buy! Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice #1 is a fabulous first issue of an unexpected crossover. Jeff Lemire and Michael Walsh have created a comic that holds true to fans of both franchise and is a mini-series that should not be missed.

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Episode #14 Ladies of Valhalla – Crowded with Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Download Directly From iTunes

The Ladies of Valhalla are NOW ON SPOTIFY

An American, a Canadian and a Brit walk into a bar. But this isn’t a bad joke, this is the Ladies of
Valhalla.

In their fourteenth episode the Ladies take an in depth look at the on-going comic book series
Crowded, and chat to artists Ro Stein (@rosytintedspecs or http://www.brandtandstein.com/) and
Ted Brandt (@ten_bandits or http://www.brandtandstein.com/) You can also support them via Ko-Fi

Next month they will be taking a look at Story Killer, a 2014 novel by Kelly Thompson

Ladies of Valhalla is brought to you by Talking Comics (www.talkingcomicbooks.com). The podcast is
hosted by Sarah Miles, Bronwyn Kelly-Seigh and Jessica Garris-Schaeffer, and is a monthly look at
media from female or female-identifying creators, or featuring female or female-identifying
characters. You can find the hosts on Twitter (@ValhallaLadies) or Facebook
(www.facebook.com/ValhallaLadies) or email them on ladiesofvalhalla@gmail.com

The Ladies of Valhalla logo was created by Jessica Garris-Schaeffer.

‘The Valhallan’, the theme music for Ladies of Valhalla, was created by SuperbadLarry

If you like Crowded, you may also like:
– Princeless and Raven the Pirate Princess both from Action Labs
– Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
– I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
– The Wicked and The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

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Issue #398: SPIDER-MAN – FAR FROM HOME!!!

Download Directly From iTunes

NOW on SPOTIFY!

On this week’s podcast: JOEY’S BACK Y’ALL!!! AND SO IS DOCTOR CAROLYN COCCA!!! It’s all hands on deck for our SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME review episode. Also, tons of comics talk, including the new Buffy series from Boom Studios, the Ms. Marvel annual, and the first issue of Lois Lane by Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins.

Also, a little bit of Jessica Jones Season 3 on Netflix chat!

[Movie Review: 1:24:16] [SPOILER WARNING: 1:37:00]

Books talked about this podcast: Giant Days #52, Captain America/Invaders #1, Fantastic Four: Prodigal Sun #1, Ms. Marvel Annual #1, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #46, Man-Eaters #10, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1-6, Angel #2, Black Panther #13, Heartstoppers webcomic, The Journey, The Order #1-10, El Deafo, Thumbs #2, Coda Vol. 2, Sea of Stars #1, DCeased #2-3, and Lois Lane #1.

The Comic Book Podcast is brought to you by Talking Comics (www.talkingcomicbooks.com) The podcast is hosted by Steve Seigh (JoBlo.com assistant EIC & news editor), Bob Reyer, Joey Braccino, Jessica Garris-Schaeffer, and Sarah Miles who weekly dissect everything comics-related, from breaking news to new releases. Our Twitter handle is @TalkingComics and you can email us at podcast@talkingcomicbooks.com.

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Sea of Stars #1

Writers: Jason Aaron and Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum

Artist: Stephen Green

Colorist: Rico Renzi

Letters + Design: Jared K. Fletcher

Review by KrisK

SPACE……IS SO CRAPPING BORING.” This unexpected sentiment, spoken by a young child, sets the tone for the Father-Son adventure tale. Kadyn, a young boy forced to go on a transportation job with his space trucker father, dislikes the endless monotony of safe space travel. Sure, there are stars, planets, and asteriods, but where are the blackholes and exploding stars? The Quarksharks? The father, Gil Starx, feels bad for the kid, but he couldn’t get a babysitter for a whole week.

The father suggests the boy go see what he is hauling, a space museum. The boy puts on his spacesuit, and he goes to the back of the seat. While he explores the museum and smarts off to his dad, disaster strikes. The father fights to save the son, and he succeeds in getting the boy free of the wreckage. The ship tears asunder, and the family separates. They both survive but are separated by a Sea of Stars. Two space creatures discover the boy, and are shocked Kadyn understands their language. This discovery leads them to decide not to eat the kid. A few important things are revealed to the reader, shifting this story’s tone and direction. The father crashes on a moon. With Liam Neeson’s resolve, Gil declares he will find his son.

In the beginning, the story feels like a Bruce Springsteen ballad set in space. The working class family faces real-life struggles. The kid back talks the father, but Kadyn clearly hurts. Gil wants to give his son more, but he can’t afford it. Before space comes between them, its clear the loss of the mother already divides them.

From the start, nautical analogies embed themselves in all layers of the story. The ship sails the solar winds in charted starways. The space suits resemble old diving suits as much as space suits. Sea creatures exist in space, swimming through the void. The disaster shipwrecks the duo far apart.

The story keeps it simple, the way many classics do. Instead Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum focus on developing emotional beats between the father and son. You root for the family. The dialogue tells you everything, without the piles of exposition you often see in first issues. In the end, the writers keep the story organic and real. Fans of Thor and Spider-Woman will recognize the family dynamics both writers excel at displaying.

Stephen Green’s art aptly fits the story. The faces of the characters read real emotions. The creatures’ designs remind you of the relevant sea creatures, while still being unique. Garbage floats after the wreck. Rico Renzi’s purples and blues stun. The neon green of a giant eye pops beautifully.

Verdict: Buy! This comic is the beginning of something special. The coupling of Aaron and Hallum fulfills a dream I didn’t know I had. The heart and emotion of the story resonate instantly, and the art takes your breath away.

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Walking Dead #193 Review

Written by Robert Kirkman

Pencil and Inks by Charlie Adlard

Grey tones by Cliff Rathburn

Letters by Rus Wooton

Reviewed by Lorna Maltman (maltmanlorna@gmail.com)

I expect that many of you like me were surprised to find out this past Wednesday that one of the longest/ most prolific indie comics has unceremoniously finished. Kirkman shocked everyone even distributors as he solicited further issues and continuously talked of a 300-issue run. This has meant getting your hands on a physical copy may be difficult, but no matter the circumstances surrounding this final issue, how satisfying an ending is issue 193?

Issue 193 jumps forward roughly twelve years from the events of 191 and 192 where (CAUTION SPOILERS):

Rick was killed and zombified

This issue manages to show how the world has evolved and where all the characters (well most of them) are and doing but in one solid narrative of an older Carl Grimes. Carl is all grown up living with Sophia and he has a daughter called Andrea. The safe zone which the survivors live in is so secure that walkers are rarely seen, to the point that Glenn and Maggie’s child, Hershel has made a business out of showing them off. We find out about Hershel’s endeavour after a walker escapes making its way onto Carl’s property.

This provides the setup for the tale where Carl finds himself in his father’s position over many of the series- standing up against complacency. This narrative thrust entails Carl meeting with most of the main players that are still alive/ around in 191/192, but Kirkman does it all with such ease and finesse it feels natural and heart-warming not stilted or forced. I don’t want to spoil the ending or even the finer details of the issue, as I truly believe this should be read by all even if you have dipped out of the series. All I will say is that whilst some would have probably enjoyed a more bleak ending / which Kirkman said was the initial plan, this ending rings true.

Adlard and Rathburn’s art in this 60-page finale is the excellent level you have come to expect from the Walking Dead. It has two stunning double splash pages- one of a sweeping landscape and one of a more touching moment.

Verdict: Get it.

If you have ever picked up an enjoyed a Walking dead issue you should read this issue, Kirkman manages to create a satisfying cap on this behemoth of a comic which is a major feat and it is touching to behold.

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