Comic Review – Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“From that night forward I was Batman” Terry

Me again, up for another comic book review, and with DC still enjoying the success of their Rebirth relaunch I’ve picked up another first issue to review. This time it’s Batman Beyond: Rebirth, written by Dan Jurgens, art by Ryan Sook, colours from Jeremy Lawson and Tony Aviña and letters from Travis Lanham. I picked Batman Beyond as like many people I watched the cartoons when I was younger. Despite this I hadn’t picked up a copy of the comic books before now.

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Cover art by Sook

As with the cartoon the comics are set in Neo-Gotham, the future of the DC Universe. The fluorescent lights illuminate the city, technology has moved on leaps and bounds, but Gotham is still Gotham, crime is of course rampant. The Batman you ask? Well as you’d imagine Bruce is a little long in the tooth for crime fighting, so Terry McGinnis has taken up the cowl.

This first issue is largely an introductory one we get to know Terry and an overview of his back story in becoming the current Batman and his relationship with Bruce. I’ve always been a fan of the way Batman Beyond portrays Bruce as even more jaded and cynical than you could even normally picture the Bat.

We also get introduced to the key supporting players – Commissioner Gordon (Barbara), Terry’s brother Matt and his closest friends. Unlike Bruce and the other traditional Bats such as Dick Grayson, Terry still has a few of his family alive and a close relationship with them.  This gives a whole new spin on the regular Batman persona.

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Art by Sook, Lawson & Lanham

Sook’s art is vibrant and colourful, he is certainly a fan of mixing up the panel layout as well, which creates an action packed, dynamic feel to the comic to support the action. The lettering is well crafted to skilfully lead the read across the page and draw attention to what really matters.

However, though lettering and panels do matter a lot, can Sook draw hands? This is an action-packed issue, as you’d imagine this means character’s hands are rarely still. There’s a lot of punching, grabbing and holding going on. While there is some conversation to the issue hands are often out of shot. They are used well for expression a couple of times, but while I’d have liked to have seen them used this way a little more this probably isn’t the issue to do so with all of the action going on. 8/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

My main criticism of this issue is that I saw the last page twist coming a little too early I feel. For a kick off issue it’s a good start, we get to know Terry, who is well developed, and while the enemy isn’t anything too exotic the familiarity of the Jokerz eases the reader into the series.

Score: 8 Corrupt Old Women out of 10

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 70 – Never Fear

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, our fortnightly pop culture news and reviews podcast!


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Big News

This week we chat about what Thor did during Civil War, the new Westworld trailer, No Man’s Sky, Pokémon GO and what the Gotham showrunner thinks of superhero shows.

Screentime – Bojack Horseman Season 3

This week we chatted about the great Bojack Horseman Season 3, the incredibly bleak Netflix animated comedy. We’re both pretty big fans so we chatted about what worked for this third season and what we enjoy about the show in general.  If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want anything spoiled then skip from 29:20-40:35

Now Playing

Adam The High Window by Raymond Chandler/The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime/Gone Home on PS4
Ian Fire in the Blood by Erin M Evans/Random crap on Youtube, mostly Polygon and Geek & Sundry/Kingdoms of Amalur on Xbox 360

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

Comic Review – Batman: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor spoilers.

“Like I said, I’m trying something new.” Batman

Rebirth – DCs attempt to fix some of the perceived flaws in the New 52 and start a fresh. Geoff Johns, who is spearheading it, has said he wants to bring back two things that have been missing from DC – hope and optimism. Batman tends to be associated with the dark and gritty. It was also one of the best, consistently fantastic series in the New 52. Will Rebirth keep up the high standard? Time to find out.

Bats rebirthBatman: Rebirth was co-written by Scott Snyder and Tom King, with art by Mikel Janin, colours by June Chung and letters from Deron Bennett. Tom King will be taking over writing duties entirely once the new series properly relaunches with Batman #1 in a few weeks, while Scott Snyder drove the writing of Batman throughout the New 52, and isn’t exactly moving away from the character as he returns with All-Star Batman later this year. Anyway, Batman: Rebirth kicks off with Duke Thomas turning up at Wayne Manor about the ‘offer’. He’ll be working with Batman in this new take on DC. Not only does Batman have another partner, but he’s back in charge of Wayne Enterprises (thanks to Lucius Fox).

Their first opponent will be Calendar Man. The seasons have been sped up dramatically and they’re cycling through an entire year’s worth in a single week (we have to assume this is local to Gotham, would hate to think what it would do if the planet’s orbit of the sun was sped up 52 times over!). He’s seemingly a single issue villain, although the comic reveals he lives in a cycle of rebirth which he comes back smarter and stronger from each time. Which of course is very thematic with DCs ‘Rebirth’ series. Duke and Bruce agree they’ll be ready and waiting for him and will hit him back stronger and smarter as well.

There are some key differences to the old status quo though. Despite being a ‘Robin’ Duke will not become Robin. He’ll be something new. We don’t know exactly what yet, another Batman? Batboy? So far all we have is his suit,  yellow with the Bat symbol on it. Their exact relationship will be confirmed in the coming issues, although Bruce does seem to be mentoring Duke.

As for the art, the level of detail is fantastic, everything from Bruce’s nearly entirely naked body to the background in the Batcave feels alive and action packed.

 

Final Verdict

Batman: Rebirth proves to be exactly that, a new beginning. It may have been a little heavy handed in the metaphors throughout the issue but it does the job well. I also like this take on Calendar Man. He isn’t a villain I’m too familiar with, but I don’t believe he was reborn with the seasons before. It’s a cool new power. I’m interested in seeing where they go with the Bruce/Duke relationship as well as apparently it’ll be something new we haven’t seen before.

Comic Review – Robin War #1 (DC Comics)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“But… but…I’m Robin… I’m Robin… I’m Robin…” Not the REAL Robin

So like Adam I’m up to my neck in work (and having to house hunt out of the blue… yay…) as well this week, but that just means I need my weekly comic book escapism that much more! So, what to pick this week? Well Robin War (written by Tom King, Art by Khary Randolph) caught my eye, I’ve been a huge fan of the Bat-Family over the years. Like many people I caught the tail end of the old Adam West Batman and Robin TV show as a kid, then went through the growing pains of the Bat-Family in the 90s. Since the Nolan bat films Batman himself has come into his own, but the Bat-Family hasn’t quite had the same love. But DC are putting some real effort into that now! We Are Robin! was great, I’m loving Batman and Robin Eternal, and reviews for Robin, Son of Batman are great. Now we get plenty of Robin, without the Batman.

Robin warSince Batman’s been off duty as such in the comics, many of the current comics have focussed on how Gotham is coping without him. For some back reading the first We Are Robin! is probably pretty essential for this. Kids around Gotham have teamed up under the Robin name to kick some criminal ass, barely tolerated by the police and the ex-Robins (Jason, Tim and Dick) keeping an eye on their progress. The story opens with a member of We Are Robin! taking on a pretty standard liquor store robbery. They’ve got the situation under control, but remember when you were a teenager? Would you be able to handle difficult, high stress, high danger situations? Now imagine you and all of your friends were doing it at the same time. It’s inevitable something would go wrong eventually. Well, something goes wrong. This is a very powerful start, and gripped me. Once things settle down the art does a fantastic job of portraying this Robin’s sudden loneliness. The art in general is of the same high standard you’d expect from DC. There’s often a lot of people crammed into one panel and Randolph does a great job of squeezing in plenty of detail.

Robins around Gotham are targeted after this crime, the Robin Laws are passed and there’s a huge police crackdown on the Robins and the police maybe could be showing a little more restraint. Wait… this is America… it’s about as much restraint a you’d expect! We also get introduced to the main players in this series: We Are Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, the Mayor, Jim Gordon’s Batman, Dick Grayson and Robin. Actual Robin that is, Damian Wayne.

And how does Damian take returning to Gotham after a hiatus to see a load of kids running around using his title? About as well as you’d expect. He’ starts to stamp his authority all over everything.

After which, the puppet master pulling the strings makes their next move. They want a war, and the first casualty is claimed. They also seem oddly happy to find out one of the team has arrived in Gotham, it looks like we’ll be seeing the comeback of one of my favourite heroes in this series.

Final Verdict

Do you like Robin? Hell, do you like Batman in general? If you do, go and read this. Especially if you’re at all familiar with Gotham in the New 52 Universe. Only some minor criticisms for this first issue: without reading We Are Robin! and knowing what’s up with Bruce Wayne right now you’d probably be a bit lost. Also, I in no way see how the events of Robin War and Batman and Robin Eternal can be considered canon at the same time. So I’ll just use the usual comic book logic and pretend they both somehow happen simultaneously.

Final Score – 9.5 Robins out of 10!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 47 – Not the Opinion of The Lost Lighthouse

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about DC finally crediting Bill Finger on their TV and film projects, Paul Bettany’s excellent response to Jason Statham’s barbs at the MCU and the weird rumours about Konami halting AAA development (apart from PES) following the extremely well received MGSV: The Phantom Pain, while Gary paints everything and Adam keeps throwing out opinions that do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Lost Lighthouse.
No main talking point or Gary in 60 seconds this week, we were both pretty busy and Gary forgot to pick a film for Adam.

[audio http://welcometorapture.podbean.com/mf/play/wibvmr/WR47.mp3]
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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs, getting better equipment, and shock therapy for Gary now that he mistakenly likes Gotham! Cheers!

Enjoy!

Comic Review – We Are Robin! #1

Kit fills in for this week’s comic review!

“We’re not sidekicks. We’re an army! Are YOU ready?”

Seems there are a few new comics on the block this week and We Are… ROBIN! caught my eye, especially as it follows on from the outstanding Batman Endgame event. Lee Bermejo, Jorge Corona, Khary Randolph and Rob Haynes pick up Gotham where the Joker left it to give us a tale about many of those affected by Endgame.

With Bats busy working with the cops right now for reasons (read Endgame to find out why, it’s seriously worth it) and the rest of the Bat Family otherwise indisposed, crime in Gotham rages on. Especially after Endgame, so many lives were disrupted or destroyed during the event and things are very far from back to normal. So who’s going to tackle all this crime? Deal with the chaos and try to restore some kind of order? Not even the Bat can be everywhere at once.

We are Robin follows the lives of a group of teenagers whose lives have been turned upside down by the events of Endgame and Gotham generally being attacked every other Wednesday. Each of them has some sort of talent that can be put to use crime fighting. What I like about this is it seems that not one of them is amazing at everything, like most ‘human’ vigilantes (especially the Bats and Robins) are but they can all add something to the group. Together they coordinate vigilante justice around the city; using laptops, smart phones and every day tools everyone has to manage their city, each donning the colours of our favourite sidekick – Robin.

The story follows Duke Thomas, a youth who was separated from his parents thanks to the Joker’s shenanigans and hasn’t been able to stabilise his life since. He’s in and out of school and foster homes like they have revolving doors and goes out at night to look for his family. He’s also apparently a closet geek, which I always approve of. After getting into a scrap at his new school a teenage girl grabs a picture while the fight is broken up. She communicates to the ‘Nest’ (via whatsapp) that they’ve found him. Duke briefly met Batman, so Robin have been tracking him, they like his skills and want them to join their ranks.

After his next foster home doesn’t work out Duke goes out like normal, after accidentally stumbling onto what will probably be the series villain ruling a hobo commune in the sewers the Robins step in to kick some ass! A mysterious figure at the end seems to have been planning for something like this, he’s been watching their movements and appears to be ready to back up and supply the Robins with what they need. Their identity isn’t revealed… But I have a suspicion that it’ll be someone we’re already familiar with…

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Each of the Robins looks very unique; they’ve all put their own spin on the costumes to give a colourful group that’s full of character. I personally really like the angle of seeing how the fallout of a major event affects people who were just going about their lives before.

Overall I really enjoyed this comic. It’s a fresh take on the Robin idea outside of the kid adopted by the Bat. I also like the way Duke is recruited as such. It makes sense the city will eventually choose who will fight for it and not the other way around.

I’ll certainly be carrying on the series myself and want to see where it goes!

Score: 8.6 Robins out of a Nest

Comic Review – Batman #40

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

Contains some spoilers from earlier issues of the ‘Endgame’ arc

DC’s Convergence event is fairly huge, and being in a bit of a ropey financial situation right now, I decided to effectively bow out of DC Comics for the month… mostly. I’ve picked up the odd Convergence tie-in if a writer or artist is involved that I’m fond of, but with the main titles largely on pause until the move to Burbank is finished, I decided it was best to just save a bit of money and reduce my stack each Wednesday. However, this week saw the release of both Batman and Justice League #40, and as the former was then end of the current arc I’ve picked that to review this week (not the first time I’ve reviewed the conclusion of a Batman arc). As for the previous 39 issues, Batman #40 was written by Scott Snyder and pencilled by Greg Capullo, with inks by Danny Miki, colours from FCO Plascencia, letters by Steve Wands.

This issue was the finale of Endgame, the story arc that saw the Joker return to utterly destroy Batman and the world around him. Starting with corrupting the Justice League with Joker Venom, to mutilating those closest to Bruce, he also threaded a narrative that led to the potential conclusion that he was in fact immortal, that Batman could never stop him and that Gotham would fall. By this last issue, barely any citizens remain untouched by the latest Joker Venom, a strain that Batman couldn’t cure, that has turned them into crazed zombies fighting themselves and anyone uninfected. Having already enlisted the help of his rogues gallery who, despite their own criminal intentions and dubious sanity, don’t want to see Gotham torn apart any more than he does, Batman and the Bat family attempt to fight their way through the throng of victims with their contorted smiles and creepy laughter to try to get to the Joker, to find a cure and to find out once and for all if he really is ‘The Pale Man’, an immortal spectre as old as Gotham itself. The truth about both men, and how they face down the possibility of death, leads to the inevitable show down between Bruce and his possibly eternal foe, as the city quakes and tears itself apart above them.

I’ve said innumerable times how much I enjoy Scott Snyder’s writing, and he has continued to be very strong on Batman since the start of the New 52. Endgame has been a bombastic, hugely entertaining thrill ride from start to finish. As with the previous arcs, Snyder has continued to peel back why Bruce is so important, and we continue to be interested in him. This issue could have easily been overwrought or weighed down by the culmination of the story and the moving elements, like the inclusion of the villains on Batman’s side, but they were kept to the background without being sidelined, to allow for the final confrontation to breathe and to focus in on Batman and the Joker’s relationship as they brought each other to the brink of annihilation.

And this annihilation was, as always, beautifully realised by Capullo. The first half of the issue was strong as always, but the fight in the cavern is brutal, gory and truly visceral in a way that feels like if this was the last time Batman and the Joker ever faced each other (obviously it won’t be, because superhero comics) then this would be a fitting end. Miki’s inks bring a savage oppression to the fight, and a darkness to the rest of the issue that adds weight to the tone. Plascencia’s colours bring this all to life, with the stark and unnaturally bright shades of the sunset melee at the start, to the flame-lit show down. All together, the art team continues to shine even so far into the creative team’s run.

Though some elements of the fallout of Endgame have already been spoiled online (you’ve all seen the mechanised Batsuit), they lack the context and lead up that explains how we get there, or where we will go after. Regardless of what is coming next, this was another great end to what has been a really strong arc. Once again, Snyder and Capullo played with our expectations and threw in potential retcons that enraged or discomforted anyone with a particularly jerky knee. But comfort zones are for lesser storytellers, and things are at their best when they’re not as they seem. When this team does finally leave the book (and apparently they were originally planning to at the end of this arc), I don’t at all envy who has to pick up the reigns after them.

Pick up Batman #40 (if for some reason you haven’t already) on your digital comics platform of your choice or at your local comic shop. Even better, go and head down to Free Comic Book Day this Saturday 2nd May at your LCS and buy it when you get your free comics!

Score: 9 Lipstick Wearing T-Rexs out of 10