Robin Rises: Omega #1
w. Peter Tomasi
a. Andy Kubert
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why? You ask why??? Look at the creative team! Peter Tomasi is the unsung hero of the Bat-verse, deserving to be mentioned and read as often as any works by Morrison and Snyder, and a true architect of the current Batman mythos. Although created ( and killed! ) by Grant Morrison, Damian was the true child of Tomasi and Gleason, reared during their run on the New 52 Batman & Robin series.
Tomasi is joined for this One-shot issue by fan-favorite and industry giant Andy Kubert. You that guy who loved the character of Damian so much, he wrote and drew a four issue mini-series about him, despite Damian already being killed!, giving us an else-worlds take on a future Damian, taking over for his father and seeking revenge on his killer. Oh yeah he also drew X-Men, Batman ( Damian’s first appearances, to boot! ) , X-Men, Flashpoint, Origin. And he teaches comic art at his father’s school. So how the hell could this not be 5 out of 5 Space Monkeys!!!
Now if you haven’t been reading Batman & Robin ( and shame on you ! ), the issue opens up with a 7 page recap of Tomasi and Gleason’s run, rendered in a beautifully done slight wash out to provoke a flashback sequence. Kubert’s “flash card” history of Damian, from birth to death, an beyond, is a great tease for those who haven’t read the book (go get those trades folks! See my Father’s Day review of the first 2 trades here: Father’s Day – Batman & Robin Vol.1 Born to Kill & Vol 2. The Pearl) and a nice refresher of almost 3 years of worth of great storytelling.
Robin Rises: Omega begins right where Batman & Ra’s al Ghul #32 left off. Deep in the Himalayas, the final battle over the bodies of Damian and Talia is reaching it’ crescendo. It’s Batman and Frankenstein versus Ra’s al Ghul and his army of ninja man-bats. Before the two bitter enemies engage in what’s to be their deadliest conflict yet, they are interrupted by a familiar explosion… a Boom Tube opens,with a battalion of Parademons arriving on Earth, led by Glorious Godfrey, Darkeid’s “diplomatic envoy” from Apokolips.
The battle pauses as Godfrey makes his intentions known. He wants the Chaos shard, a small piece of the Chaos Crystal that survived being destroyed by Superman when it was used by Kaiyo the New God of Chaos, to manipulate Barman and Superman by showing them alternate realities.
Unbeknownst to both Batman and Godfrey, Ra’s all Ghul as come into possession of the Shard, and has hidden it in Damian’s sarcophagus. When Godfrey detects the Shard among the two sarcophagi, he demands their surrender, causing the impossible….. a truce between Ra’s and Batman!!!
The two mortal enemies join forces, defending the bodies of their deceased children from a horde of Parademons, with Frankenstein and a Man Bat Ninja army at their backs.
As the unlikely Dynamic duo’s army begins to fall to Godfrey’s assault, the coffins are captured by Parademons. Before they can get to the Boom tube Ra’s saves Talia, but at what cost to himself? and Batman manages to free Damian as well, in the coolest Batman way he can and has a vision when he comes into contact with the Chaos Shard…. a vision where the world is saved….by Damian????
Before he can even contemplate what he has seen, Batman knocked unconscious by Godfrey, who takes the Shard and Damian’s body, which has absorbed the Chaos energies of the Shard from contact with it… something Godfrey believes would greatly interest Darkseid.
As Godfrey readies his triumphant return to Apokolips, he decides to cap it off by executed Batman… but the timely arrival of the Justice League prevents his death, but also lets Godfrey escape and stops Batman from following them to Apokolips via Boom Tube…. an act that causes Batman to lose it punching out two members of the League (well one really, but an admirable attempt on the other!!!). Batman stands his ground, despite warnings from his fellow Leaguers, and makes his declaration know….. Batman is going to Apokolips, with or without them!
Tomasi and Kubert crafted a great Batman story here, and the perfect set up to the continuing Damian Saga! If you’re in the market to jump into a Batman title, this is the place to do it!!!
Original Sin #6
w. Jason Aaron
a. Mike Deodato
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because this why one reads comic! This epic event by the unbeatable team of Aaron and Deodato will be on every Threat Level Wednesday until it’s done because each chapter is brilliantly executed. After last issues reveal of an aged Nick Fury, and his admission to having been” The Man on the Wall”, a solo agent hand-picked in the late 1950’s by Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards (to see what those mad genius bastards were up too back then, check out the equally amazing SHIELD by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver) to be mankind’s sole protector against threats from otherworldly dark dimensions, subterranean monsters,an intergalactic extinction level threats.
All those monsters that the FF fought, the aliens and earthbound threats the Avengers face down, the Demons who breached our realm and wreak havoc on Strange and his allies, those were all the ones that got past Fury, or threats he deemed “manageable” by Earth’s super-human responders. Fury has left a wake of corpses from caverns beneath the earth, to ancient entities in dark dimensions, all the way to the edge of the galaxy.
As Fury explain this to various teams of super-humans he gathered together anonymously to search for the Watcher’s killer, they become suspicious. Black Panther, White Queen, Ant-Man, Winter Soldier, The Punisher, Doctor Strange and Gamora all start to realize this is starting to sound like a confession!
While Nick Fury admits to having a “working relationship” with Uatu, and has a very vested interest in the Watcher’s Eye, he does not come out and admit his guilt, but explains why he gathered all of them and set them on his trail: The Infinity Formula, which has kept Fury alive and well for over 50 years is losing its power, and Fury is aging by the day… soon to die. He wants one of the above listed heroes to do the unbelievable… replace him as The Man on the Wall an become Earth’s next secret protector! (Trust me your not the only thinking… Ant-Man????)
But Fury’s business isn’t done yet, as he steals the Watcher’s Eye from Winter Soldier, and now possesses both of them. While his army of Fury’s LMD hold off the heroes, a confluence of events looms. Captain America, tired of the secrets and lies, gathers as many heroes as he can and heads to the moon for a final confrontation with Fury, while Dr. Midas and his Daughter the Exterminatrix also head to the moon to retrieve the Watcher’s Eyes, their part in Uatu’s murder still a mystery.
But this old man won’t go own without a fight… as Fury armors up Cable-Style, to take on anyone who would get in the way of his mission!!
Damn this book is good!
Although the past two issues have been mostly exposition, its still Aaron doing the expositioning, so its riveting as all hell. Also I had to read it twice because I just kept getting distracted by the awesome rendering and storytelling of Mike Deadato. This guy can make any scene intense and dramatic with his superb linework and shadow laying. In the hands of any other creative team you’d be bored with all the talking heads, here its some of the best event storytelling in the past decade, and follows though on having a noticeable impact on the Marvel Universe
Savage Hulk #2
w. & a. Alan Davis
The Gist: Davis’ retcon flashback sequel to an X-Men/Hulk team-up from yesteryear is a slam bang action-fest! Totally channeling Neal Adams to capture the time period ( this was the era of the Original Five X-men with the Adam’s redesigns for costumes, plus Havok and Polaris), Davis brilliant ties up plot threads from over 40 years ago. The X-Men once used a device stolen from Bruce Banner to bring Professor X out of a coma, and now wish to repay Bruce by using the same device to rid of the Hulk. Through the Leader’s manipulation, and the untimely arrival of General Talbot and the US Army, the X-men have come into battle with the Abomination! Bruce, gives in to the Hulk, and goes on a rampage to stop the Abomination, and save the X-men. Can he save the X-men or is he an even bigger threat? What monstrous consequence will one of the X-Men face when attempting to use the device to rid Banner of the Hulk? Find out here!
Seriously, I see a lot of this book being left on the shelf at my LCS and it’ a shame, it’s a damn good Hulk story with fantastic art, showcasing one of the best Hulk/Abomination battles I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos to Davis!! See what you’ve been missing:
The Gist: This blockbuster giant size anniversary issue has it all! The Renegades shattered, Flamingo dead! Pete Stanchek, nearly dead and missing, and Kris Hathaway leaving the team in search of her parents, leaving only Torque and Zephyr to pic up the pieces! Harada and his back room politics revealed to the world, his deadly response to being threatened by the governments of the world! The militarization of the Harbinger Foundation into a super-powered defensive force!! All that and lots of extras from a host of talent!
w. & a. Ben Templesmith
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Templesmith strikes again!!! Another Neo-horror tale crafted by the modern master of all things spooky, Squidder is Templesmith unfettered and unrestrained, drawing all the things that make him Templesmith: Hard-worn tough guy warriors. Giant Chutlu-esque squid monster-gods invading and oppressing Earth. Disfigured remnants of humanity, living in crime and crowded squalor. And hopeless mission to save a young girl.
Mr. Hitchins is a Squidder, one of a Legion of soldiers genetically modified, cybernetically enhanced, and nanite powered specifically for against the Squids.
The giant monster-gods have invaded Earth and destroyed and subjugated mankind, and Hitchins is one of, if not the last, soldier that fought against the creatures up until the very end, defying the Occupation of the Squid and their devastation of humanity.
Now living as a mercenary, the unstoppable killing machine that Hitchins has become is hired (and partially coerced…. his dead wife’s remains threatened by his new boss) for a dangerous mission by the town of Ridgway’s de-facto mayor/warlord.
He wants Hitchins to kidnap a young girl, a girl the kingpin bought, from a rival crime-lord. The catch is, she is a Priestess, a collaborator with the Squid Gods, whose sole purpose is to convert the remainder of humanity into mindless Squid worshipers. Hitchins take the job, but is the only reason he does is the chance that it may finally be the one that kills hm???
This is got the lone-warrior versus dystopic future madness I love so much, but with a Lovecraftian twist to it that just resonates horror. Guillermo Del Toro should pay attention because this could just be his next big movie adaption! And c’mon who else could play a grizzled, scarred, bald warrior from the future better than good ol’ Bruce Willis!:
Die Hard in the Big Squiddy!
Last Weeks Surprise Pick:
w. Justin Jordan
a. Kyle Strahm
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because, like I stated in my Squidder review above; I love lone-warrior versus apocalyptic-madness, and the only trope I love more is lone-warrior-with-cute-companion versus apocalyptic-madness. Rick and Carl, the Dignity from Road Warrior, Don Johnson and his talking dog, even the funny looking girl from Waterworld.
So just looking at the cover I had to grab this. My girlfriend has warned me, under no circumstances am I allowed to train our niece how to kill and survive in the wild (to be fair, this was after particularly touching Arya/Hound scene on Game of Thrones) But it’s too late… she can kill a vampire, scream a ghost into submission and out scramble a zombie… go ahead take her lollipop… I dare you!
Anyway, No, the main character (so called because of his quiet ways) is one of the small percentage of humans who is resistant to the Spread. The Spread is the name of the rapidly spreading alien organism that kills all forms of life my contaminating them genetically and transforming the infected life form into as replica of the organism, a writhing mass of tentacles, horns and undulating toothed orifices mocking the form of its host.
When one of the few surviving airplanes crashes in the area No is surviving in, it is quickly over run by both the Spread and a savage band of survivors, killing No’s friend and looting the plane. No goes on a vengeance fueled rampage, tracking down the killers an dealing out justice with his two hatchets.
Once their dispatched rather gruesomely, No finds the reason human’s would risk a flight in airspace controlled by Spread Flyers. An infant girl,at first thought to be named Hope by her dying guardian, falls into his care. As the Spread catches up to the two wayward survivors and all hope seem lost, a single act by this newborn saves not only No and herself, but shows the warrior that this isn’t her only her name, it’s what she is… humanity’s last hope.
Get on board with apocalypse-survival story ala Lone Wolf and Cub, and check out Justin Jordan’s latest intriguing concept! You will be impressed!
Same Comic Time, Same Comic Channel… til next time Folks!