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Monday, September 1, 2014

I Reads You Review: BATMAN #33

BATMAN #33
DC COMICS – @DCComics

WRITER: Scott Snyder
PENCILS: Greg Capullo
INKS: Danny Miki
COLORS: FCO Plascencia
LETTERS: Dezi Sienty
COVER: Greg Capullo and Danny Miki with FCO Plascencia
VARIANT COVERS: Paolo Rivera; Bryan Hitch with Alex Sinclair
48pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (September 2014)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

Batman created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger

I finally got around to reading Batman #33, which contains the final chapter of the Batman event story, “Zero Year.”  Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo, this 12-issue “graphic novel” only ran through the ongoing Batman title, beginning with Batman #21.  [Batman #28 was a preview of the current weekly Batman comic book, Batman Eternal.]

I seem to remember it being announced as a ten-issue event, and that would have been about right... at least for me.  After reading Batman #31, I thought that issue needed to end.  Yeah, “Zero Year” was too long.  I also think that “Zero Year” is really The New 52 take on the Frank Miller-David Mazzuchelli classic, “Batman: Year One,” which was originally published in Batman (1940) #404 to #407.

In “Zero Year,” the Riddler (Edward Nygma) successfully launches a massive and complicated plot that leaves Gotham City without some utilities (including power).  Gotham is essentially in a blackout and is closed from the rest of the world.  It becomes a dead city, as if it were plunged into some kind of post-apocalyptic future, where the infrastructure decays and plants and foliage take over.


Batman #33 finds Batman in the clutches of the Riddler.  He must battle the villain in a game of riddles to save Gotham by keeping a series of weather balloons filled with a dangerous chemical agent (basically a weapon of mass destruction) from being activated.  At the same time, military jets make a final run to bomb Gotham.  Batman does not battle alone to save his city, but policeman Jim Gordon and Wayne Enterprises Industries employee, Lucius Fox, may not be able to help Batman... or even save the city.

Although I found “Zero Year” to be too long, I did think that individual issues within the event were quite good (such as #31).  I liked that Scott Snyder invested a considerable amount of the narrative delving in the personalities, quirks, motivations, etc. of not only Batman, but also of his supporting cast.  Their is a deeply emotional component to Bruce Wayne's relationship with his butler/partner, Alfred Pennyworth, and Snyder depicts this “union” as an emotional landscape fraught with landmines, apt to explode into shouting matches.  Like our real world, loved ones can use words to hurt, and I think Snyder gives Bruce and Alfred's relationship as much worth as that between Batman and Alfred.

“Zero Year” is also a star turn for the art team of penciller Greg Capullo and inker Danny Miki.  Since he starting drawing Batman with the birth of The New 52 back in 2011, Capullo has fully emerged from the mystery world and curious comics ghetto of Todd McFarlane, where Capullo toiled for years on McFarlane's Spawn comic book.  Capullo's Batman compositions have been stylishly quirky and oddly visually appealing.  Miki's intricate inking seems to precisely trace the pencils, but always improves the art.  With Miki, Capullo creates comic book art that seems like a modern take on the primordial graphics of early Batman comic books.

I like “Zero Year” most of all because of the art.  I am also curious to see where Snyder takes the ongoing Batman series post-event.

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.



An I Reads You September (2014) to Remember... we hope

It's September 2014.  Welcome back to I Reads You, a ComicBookBin web and sister publication (www.comicbookbin.com).  We write about the things we read:  mostly comic books, comics, and related books.  Sometimes, we’ll write about or link to other topics:  typically books, politics, and entertainment.

All images and text appearing on this publication are copyright © and/or trademark their respective owners.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Review: BLACK ROSE ALICE Volume 1

BLACK ROSE ALICE, VOL. 1
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia

CARTOONIST: Setona Mizushiro
TRANSLATION/ENGLISH ADAPTATION: John Werry
LETTERS: Evan Waldinger
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7160-7; paperback (August 2014); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Black Rose Alice is a dark supernatural romance from manga creator Setona Mizushiro.  Mizushiro made her professional debut with Winter Was Ending (Fuyu ga, Owarou Toshiteita), and she won the 1993 Shogakukan Manga New Author Award.  Her gender-bending psychological thriller, After School Nightmare (published by Go! Comi), was nominated for a 2007 Eisner Award (“Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Japan) and was also recognized by YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) as a “Great Graphic Novel For Teens” in 2008.

Black Rose Alice, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 4) opens in early 1900s Vienna, where there is a new opera star.  It is Dimitri Lewandowski, the celebrated tenor and former understudy, whose breakthrough was the lead in Faust.  Then, Dimitri is killed in an accident, and his corpse is colonized by the seeds of a vampire master.

At first, Dimitri denies that anything has changed, even after the vampire Maximilian explains to him his new “life.”  Then, friends and other people around him start dying, and Dimitri is forced to accept the ghastly truth.  A century later, Azusa Kikukawa meets Dimitri in her dying dreams.  He makes her a diabolical proposal to save her lover's life, but at what cost?

First volumes can be tricky.  If they start off slowly, some readers may see that as bad sign for the rest of the series, although it may take the creator(s) a few volumes worth of material before a series really hits a stride.  Some first volumes are so surprisingly good that one can't help but wonder if the series can maintain such a high quality throughout their run.

The Black Rose Alice manga does not have such first-volume jitters.  After reading Black Rose Alice Volume 1, readers will either be excited and intrigued or will find the series' concept and traits to be laughable.  I am laughing, but not at this series because I hate it.  I really like the first volume, and I don't want to reveal too much about this novel spin on vampires.  Of course, “novel spin” is the way to handle vampire fiction these days.  There is so much out there that each vampire tale has to find its own take, either unique or rarely seen, on these bloodsuckers.

I want to read more.  Black Rose Alice is weird, bizarre, and surprisingly, fiercely romantic.  It is as if Vincent Price's horror movies have met Guillermo del Toro's films to create a kind of elegant cheesy B-movie vibe.  Like other manga creators, Setona Mizushiro is imaginative in unexpected ways.  Perhaps, she wants Black Rose Alice to be about the unexpected.  And it is.

A

www.VIZ.com
www.shojobeat.com

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Action Comics #1" Sells for $3.2 Million on eBay

The Original Superman Comic, Action Comics #1, Sells for a Record-Breaking $3.2M on eBay

Prominent collectibles dealer Darren Adams sells the finest known copy of Action Comics #1

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--eBay announced a copy of Action Comics #1, with white pages and a grade of 9.0 from the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC), sold at auction for $3.2M, making it the most expensive comic in the world. The previous record for the most expensive comic book was set in 2011 when another copy of Action Comics #1, also with a 9.0 grade, but off-white pages sold for $2,161,000. The record-breaking comic was sold by prominent collectibles dealer Darren Adams, owner of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Wash.

    “It's a historic moment that not only speaks to the greatness of Adams' Action Comics #1, but also the overall health of the comic book market”

Widely regarded as the “Holy Grail” of comic books, there are believed to be as few as 50 unrestored original copies of Action Comics #1 still in existence. The comic hit newsstands in 1938 for $.10 and marked Superman’s historic debut, giving birth to the multi-billion dollar global franchise that thrives today.

“I’m proud to have owned the most valuable comic book in the world,” said Darren Adams. “Working with eBay on this auction allowed me to share this rare treasure with their global community and ensure the next owner is just as passionate about its place in history.”

“This was a record auction for eBay as it was the most expensive comic book ever sold on our marketplace. The sale of Action Comics #1 is a prime example of how eBay plays a role in popular culture by connecting shoppers to must-have merchandise, including rare and valuable collectibles,” said Gene Cook, General Manager of Emerging Verticals for eBay Marketplaces. “This was an extraordinary opportunity to bring a comic – one that has captured the attention of passionate collectors and casual fans alike. We will continue to bring more of the world’s most unique and compelling merchandise to our passionate and global community of 149 million buyers, at a wide range of accessible price points.”

"It's a historic moment that not only speaks to the greatness of Adams' Action Comics #1, but also the overall health of the comic book market," said CGC Director of Operations, Harshen Patel. "You see it with collectors enjoying record sales, with the performance of Guardians of the Galaxy at the box office and with the attendance at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con this past week. It's a dynamic time for the comic book industry and its future is very bright."

A portion of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

About eBay Marketplaces
eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, connecting people with the things they need and love virtually anytime, anywhere. eBay has 149 million active buyers globally and more than 700 million live individual and merchant listings at any given time. With mobile apps available in 190 countries, eBay delivers a personalized shopping experience and seamless access to inventory from down the street and around the world. Tailored shopping experiences customize buying and selling; and eBay provides variety and choice for sellers by enabling them to offer goods through online, mobile and local channels to consumers around the world. For more information, visit www.ebay.com.

About Certified Guaranty Company (CGC)
Founded in 1999, Certified Guaranty Company is the hobby’s most preferred third-party grading service for collectible comics, magazines, photos and lobby cards. CGC offers expert condition analysis, including thorough restoration detection before grading and encapsulating collectibles in state-of-the-art, archival-safe holders. CGC does not buy or sell collectibles – it is committed to providing an independent opinion that collectors and dealers can always trust, so they can buy and sell with confidence.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review: WAYWARD #1

WAYWARD #1
IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

STORY: Jim Zub – @jimzub
ART: Steve Cummings
COLORS: John Rauch and Jim Zub
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon
COVER: Steve Cummings and Ross A. Campbell
VARIANT COVER:  Alina Urusov; Jeff “Chamba” Cruz; Adam Warren and John Rauch
28pp, Color, $3.50 U.S.

Additional material by Zack Davisson and Kalman Andrasofszky

Jim Zub sent the ComicBookBin a PDF copy of the first issue of his new comic book series, Wayward, published by Image Comics.  I reviewed it for the Bin and am now posting a slightly altered version of that review for you, dear readers, on I Reads You.

Wayward is an intriguing new fantasy comic book series from writer Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Suicide Squad: Amanda Waller) and penciller Steve Cummings (Legends of the Dark Knight, Deadshot) and published by Image Comics.  The upcoming series focuses on a teen girl trying to start a new life only to find herself confronted by the ancient creatures that lurk in the shadows of Tokyo.

Wayward #1 (“Chapter One”) opens as Rori Lane arrives in Japan from Ireland.  She is the child of a Japanese mother and an Irish father.  Her parents divorced, and although she initially stayed in Ireland, she is now moving to Japan to live with her mother.

Moving halfway across the world from Ireland to make a new home means that Rori will have to make some cultural adjustments, but she is game.  Things are going well, and it seems as if she and her mother can live together.  However, things take a turn for the weird when Rori begins glimpsing signs, creatures, and other things that no one else can see.  Then, there is Ayane...

It seems as if the selling point of Wayward is to compare it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I received a PDF copy for review from series writer, Jim Zub, and on one page of the PDF is the tagline, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a new generation.”  On the same page, Hellboy is referenced.  With the comparisons/references to Buffy and Hellboy, you might think Wayward is a Dark Horse Comics title.  In truth, Wayward's first issue makes a good first step towards being the long-running fantasy franchise that both Buffy and Hellboy are.

However, Wayward does also resemble, to one extent or another, urban fantasy comics published by DC Comics' imprint, Vertigo (particularly Crossing Midnight), and by VIZ Media (the sublime Natsume's Book of Friends).  In fact, the manga and Japanese comparisons are appropriate as Wayward's pencil artist, Steve Cummings, drew the OEL manga (American manga) titles, Pantheon High and Star Trek: The Manga, for TOKYOPOP.

Whether the creators hope for their new comic book to inherit the mantle of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or not, we can keep discussing in the future.  What I can say is that Wayward is a series with promise and with a promising lead character.  Rori Lane is the kind of misfit who isn't afraid of the big, mean world.  She doesn't seem like a young woman ready to run away, and in that, she is like Buffy.  Zub uses internal dialogue (via caption boxes) both to endear her to us and to make her journey of discovery our journey also.  I can tell by this winning first issue that some readers will be glad to be Rori's Scooby gang, and, if need be, her BPRD.  I am one of them.

The art by Steve Cummings, John Rauch, and Jim Zub is colorful and vibrant.  Wayward's Tokyo might be a crowded modern city, but it isn't drab or dull; the monsters in the shadows will make sure of that.  Cummings' storytelling is clean and straight-forward, which makes the magic and mystery stand out.

I think that Wayward will be different from the other titles that Image is publishing, and that's a good thing.  I think the Young Adult novel has finally made it to comics in the form of Wayward, and I think it will be one of the standout new titles of the year.

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 27, 2014

DC COMICS

JUN140250    ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #16    $3.99
JUN140245    ALL STAR WESTERN #34    $3.99
JUN140170    AQUAMAN #34    $2.99
JUN140251    BATMAN 66 #14    $2.99
JUN140256    BATMAN BEYOND UNIVERSE #13    $3.99
JUN140210    BATMAN ETERNAL #21    $2.99
MAY140234    BATMAN SUPERMAN #13    $3.99
MAY140237    BATMAN SUPERMAN #13 COMBO PACK    $4.99
JUN140300    BODIES #2 (MR)    $3.99
JUN140233    CATWOMAN #34    $2.99
MAY140379    DC UNIVERSE VS MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE TP    $14.99
JUN140301    DEAD BOY DETECTIVES #8    $2.99
MAY140403    FABLES TP VOL 20 CAMELOT (MR)    $19.99
JUN140166    FLASH #34    $2.99
MAY140372    GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS TP VOL 04 GODS MONSTERS (N52)    $16.99
JUN140230    HARLEY QUINN #10    $2.99
JUN140257    HE MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #16    $2.99
JUN140259    INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR TWO #10    $2.99
JUN140164    JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #34    $3.99
JUN140163    NEW 52 FUTURES END #17 (WEEKLY)    $2.99
JUN140244    RED LANTERNS #34    $2.99
JUN140172    SECRET ORIGINS #5    $4.99
JUN140237    SINESTRO #5    $2.99
JUN140182    STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES GI ZOMBIE #2    $2.99
JUN140198    SUPERMAN #34    $3.99
JUN140202    SUPERMAN #34 COMBO PACK    $4.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES
FEB140309    DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS STARGIRL STATUE    $124.95
FEB140308    DC COMICS NEW 52 ARSENAL AF    $24.95
FEB140306    DC COMICS NEW 52 RED HOOD AF    $24.95
MAY140434    SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED BMB MINI FIGURES SER 3    $89.10