Comic Review – Dark Nights: Metal #1 (DC Comics)

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

Warning: minor spoilers.

“It came from here. A dark multiverse.” – Kendra Saunders

Time for a brand-new DC event launch. With Rebirth ticking over DC are promoting this as a wild, extravagant adventure. Personally, much as I’ve seen plenty of promotion for this series, I’ve not engaged with any of the books laying the ground work for it. It is however, written by one of DC’s star writers, Scott Snyder. Snyder has written this to be read as a standalone series where so long as you have an understanding that Batman is Batman, Superman is Superman and Aquaman is underrated you can thoroughly enjoy this series.

This comic was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Scott “Doom Commander” Snyder
  • Pencils – Greg “Pain Bringer” Capullo
  • Inks – Jonathan “Guillotine” Glapion
  • Colourist – FCO “Killer” Plascencia
  • Letterer – Steve “The Slayer” Wands

Picking up a series named metal, with vague hints in the advertising to dark multiverses and so on I picked this up expecting DC going down the same route they have with their films and some of their comics with something a little too dark and gritty. This is nothing like what I expected. The Justice League from the get go are working together against DC classic villain Mongul, and things get both fun and ridiculous very fast. This issue has pretty much everything. Mystery and intrigue? Check. Awesome battle scenes? Check. Dinosaurs? Check. A Justice League themed transforming robot sequence? Check.

Snyder also brings in a DC character that’s been fairly neglected from the New 52 and subsequent Rebirth which is great to see. There is certainly an impression that Snyder has been let loose to do what he will with his creative talents, even treating us to a twist at the end bringing in a Neil Gaiman character to the mix (who according to articles on the series is very supportive of it).

Art by Capullo, Glapion & Plascencia

Capullo and Snyder have formed an outstanding team before, working on one of DCs flagship titles, the main Batman series for DC during the New 52 release. It’s great to see his take on each of the other Justice League characters.  Plascencia has their work cut out with such a variety of environments from gladiatorial arenas to spaceships and dinosaur islands. The dinosaur loving kid in me was very pleased to see the attention to detail with the dinosaurs drawn accurately with prehensile feathers. Additionally, the action scenes are drawn to just look fun, which makes such a difference in an issue.

With this pretty all star team working on the comic, how do the hands look? Actually there aren’t very many in this issue, where they are drawn they of course look great. In battle they look dynamic, or awesome and robotic and outside of battle they’re used well to communicate body language. Honestly though, with so few in the issue I feel I can only score this. 7.5/10 for hand drawing skills!

 

Final Verdict

This was a lot of fun and feels very different. There’s a bit of a Stranger Things or Neil Gaiman vibe about it. It also feels very welcoming for new readers, feeling very much like its own contained story. The middle of the issue does slow down a bit, but it’s well worth the read.

Score: 8.75 Fulcum Abominus out of 10

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 80 – News Whale

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


Download this episode (right click and save)

Big News

This week we chatted about the announcements for Nintendo Switch last week, including the trailers for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and 1,2 Switch Scalebound being cancelled and Woody Harrelson joining the Han Solo Star Wars Story film.

 

Main Talking Point

This week we talked about some of the stuff we are looking forward to most this year! Each of us went with three different pop culture things and why were so excited for them in 2017. What are you looking forward to? Let us know!

 

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing

Adam – The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin/Gravity Falls/Final Fantasy XV on PS4
Ian – Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks/Silence by Martin Scorsese/No Man’s Sky on PS4

Check out any of those through those Amazon links and we get a kick back! Or you can go through here.

 

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 – Reborn #3 (Image Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

I had a (relatively) small stack this week, but I have been meaning to review Reborn for a while now. This week issue #3 of this fairly new Image Comics series came out, created by Mark Millar and Greg Capullo, with Millar on writing duties, Capullo on pencils, inks by Jonathan Glapion, colours by FCO Plascencia and letters from Nate Piekos.

reborn-cover

Cover by Capullo, Glapion & Plascencia

Reborn stars Bonnie Black, a previously 80-year-old woman who has been reborn as a 25-year-old warrior queen, fated to defend the world of Adystria against the forces of Lord Golgotha and The Dark Lands. When she awoke in this new land, she found the world populated with long-lost loved ones and was reunited with her father. Now the pair of them, along with Bonnie’s childhood dog Roy Boy (now a huge armored beast), are travelling Adystria, while hunted by her now anthropomorphic cat Frost, who is working for Golgotha and bears a serious grudge against her. But Frost isn’t the only danger they need to worry about.

Everything I just said probably sounds pretty crazy. Which is fair. Reborn is kitchen-sink crazy with everything that populates this weird after-life plane. It is high concept fantasy and is a hell of a lot of fun to go along with it. Millar’s dialogue and plot move at a breakneck pace in this latest issue, and while it still may not be clear where the story is actually going, it is compelling enough to lose yourself in. A few character beats and choices felt a little out of step, with a particular moment of blind and idiotic trust in a stranger being difficult to believe from anyone without serious head trauma, but mostly this is very strongly written.

reborn-interiors

Art by Capullo, Glapion, Plascencia & Piekos

Millar has been on somewhat of a roll of late with the artists he pairs up with, and while I was sad to see Capullo leave Batman after such an incredible run with Scott Snyder, it is nice to see him stretch some fantasy muscles in Reborn. The result is something truly breathtaking, with dynamic and visceral action being the real strengths here. The standouts in this issue are the terrifying excellence of the monstrous second and third pages, and the gorgeous Black Wish Mountain towards the end of the issue. Glapion and Plascencia have been working with Capullo for a while now, and clearly know how to really make his pencils stand out. The result is an art team producing work that is worth the cover price alone, regardless of the story.

Reborn is a great looking, huge and insane fantasy book that you should be definitely checking out. I can’t wait to see where the series goes, and what weird and wonderful creatures Capullo is going to get to draw along the way. Check it out at your local comic book shop or digitally now!

Score: 8 Political Prisoners out of 10

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

Comic Review – Batman #33

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of his favourite one, with potential minor spoilers.

I was away from Wednesday to yesterday this week, hence the delay in picking up comics and putting out a review. Anyway, I knew I would be reading Batman #33 first and that regardless of how good it was I would be reviewing it as it is the finale of the ‘Zero Year’ storyline that has been running in the main Batman title since June 2013. Batman is written by Scott Snyder, with pencils by Greg Capullo, inks from Danny Miki, colours by FCO Plascencia and letters by Dezi Sienty. It is published by DC comics, but if you’re reading a comic book review (or in fact, a living human being) you probably knew that already.

Zero Year is set six years prior to the current DC universe (post 2011 reboot. I’m going to stop calling it ‘The New 52’ as it is nearly three years old now. I don’t call my three year old underwear ‘new’), and split into three sections. ‘Secret City’ dealt with Bruce Wayne’s initial return to Gotham city after missing for years and assumed dead. This is a young and petulant Bruce, butting heads with Alfred who disapproves of his decision to start fighting crime as a vigilante, and with Jim Gordon whom Bruce doesn’t trust at all. Bruce also clashes with his uncle, and Edward Nygma (pre-Riddler) who have their own machinations. Through this section Bruce battles the ‘Red Hood Gang’ led by ‘Red Hood One’, a group terrorising the city. After nearly being killed, he finds the resolve to become the costumed hero we all know and love. But he still has a ways to go. Nevertheless, at the start of the second section ‘Dark City’ he successfully stops the gang, despite the police trying to arrest him. The reprieve is short however, as the Riddler then emerges and plunges the city into darkness, challenging Batman to find a way to turn it back on. While trying to stop Nygma, all while confronted with Dr. Death and his attacks on various scientists with his bone toxin, Batman and Jim Gordon (now with an uneasy alliance) realise that the Riddler has been laying a trap the whole time, and when the GCPD finally get the power back to the city it is all under the control of the Riddler. He detonates the walls of the city during a flood, engulfing the city as he does so.

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This leads to the final section of Zero Year, ‘Savage City’, finding Bruce waking up to a Gotham quite different than what he is used to. The city is cut off from the outside world, dilapidated, overgrown and the populace is under complete control by the Riddler. He uses security bots and drones to police the city, appearing via video screens from an unknown location to challenge the people to outwit him and save their city. Batman, presumed dead, teams up with a bearded Jim Gordon, Lucius Fox and a black ops team sent in to take down the Riddler, to find Nygma and end his stranglehold over Gotham. All while some jets are on their way to drop missiles on the city to stop the Riddler extending his influence beyond Gotham. Issue #33 was the finale to Savage City and to the whole Zero Year arc, so it typically ends with the Riddler being thwarted and everything returning to (relative) normalcy and the rebuilding of Gotham. The journey there is always the best part though, and we start the issue with Batman having found the Riddler’s secret hideout but faced  with answering riddles before being allowed to move and stop the jets from blowing up the city. I always find these fun as I rack my brain trying to figure them out before reading on. Then trying to figure out how you get it if I don’t manage to. Meanwhile Gordon and Fox race against time to try to drop the communications net Nygma has put over Gotham, to contact the outside world and stop the jets. When they succeed we move one month later to the rebuilding process to wrap up the arc, with Bruce throwing a party for everyone. There is also a nice moment with the now Commissioner Gordon, and it is clear than Bruce has moved on and now trusts the man he worked together with to save the city.

Finally, we have a scene with Alfred, who clearly hoped with all his heart that Bruce would now move on, try and have a normal life, stopping Alfred from worrying about him risking his life. Throughout the arc, flashbacks of Bruce growing up have been woven in between the main story, some to do with his parents’ death and some seemingly unconnected entirely. Everything here is brought back together in an immensely satisfying way, detailing Bruce’s motivation for being Batman, and Alfred’s desire to see a happy and fulfilling life for someone who is basically his adopted son. I don’t really want to spoil this part, but it nearly ruined me and it managed to further elevate an issue I already really enjoyed. If I was capable of displaying human emotion, this would have been a real gut punch. Unfortunately I lack the subroutines.

I’ve never really made much of a secret about it, but Scott Snyder is my favourite comic book writer and one of my favourite writers full stop. This is more of what I have loved for the previous 32 issues. The story is fantastic, and the dialogue so spot on. I read a comment online once that ‘Scott Snyder doesn’t know how to end things’. I’ve never understood this at all, everything I have read from him has been strong. Just talking about this run on Batman, the Court of Owls ended brilliantly, Death of the Family was excellent and this was too. I like that they often aren’t the huge brawls and explosive endings you would often expect from a superhero comic, they are more introspective and character driven. Greg Capullo nails this just like he has done since these two started as the Batman creative team back at the beginning of the relaunch. His art is gorgeous and expressive, but while the action looks as impressive as always my stand up panel in the issue is Bruce holding Alfred by the shoulders and trying to explain his reasoning to him in the closing pages. The rest of the art team complement Capullo’s work perfectly, with Danny Miki’s inks strengthening everything and FCO Plascencia’s colours bringing the art to life. Plascencia’s colours have really stood out in Savage City, making both the overgrown Gotham and the colourful Riddler schemes look stunning.

The easiest way to sum up Zero Year is in the ‘One Month Later’ section of the book, words from Bruce himself as “Nothingness. A void. No meaning or value. Just an end. A death. That’s zero, isn’t it?”. It was a terrible year in Gotham that all involved would like to forget, yet it is a year that defines Batman, his place in his city and his determination for the future. I have really enjoyed this latest arc of Batman and can’t wait for the next one. If I had one complaint about Zero Year, it is that the story has been going on for so long. And by that, I don’t mean the story is too long, it is more that it has taken I think 14 months for the whole thing to come out (due to ‘Villains month’ last September and the flash forward Batman Eternal spoiler issue in February). Over that amount of time, it is difficult to remember everything that has happened as it all pertains to the story. I’m going to give the entire arc a re-read over the next couple of weeks, as I’m pretty sure it will benefit from being read as a whole story. However, by devoting 12 whole issues (a couple, including this one, were oversized) to an arc exploring and fleshing out Batman’s origins while still continuing a compelling arc has worked very well.

I loved this finale to Zero Year, and if you like Batman you will too. Pick it up from your local comic book shop, and the back issues shouldn’t be too difficult to track down. Alternatively, it will all be available digitally or you can buy the collections as and when they come out, starting with Secret City out in hardcover now, and Dark City out in October.

 

Score: 9.5 Riddles out of 10