Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Robin Son of Batman Vol. 1: Year of Blood by Patrick Gleason - Book Review

From the publisher: Before he was Robin, Batman's son Damian Wayne was raised by his mother, Talia al Ghul, to lead the vicious League of Assassins--a clandestine army obssessed with world domination. Now, the son of Batman has fully freed himself from that destiny and is about to embark on a globe-spanning quest to atone for the horrible acts he commited during the most brutal portion of his old life--THE YEAR OF BLOOD!

Fan-favorite artist Patrick Gleason not only provides the pencils in this, Damian Wayne's first solo series, he also serves as the series writer. See Where Robin's journey takes him and whether the good deeds of his present can wash away the sins of his past.
Collects ROBIN: SON OF BATMAN #1-6.

I really enjoyed Patrick Gleason's Robin: Son of Batman. It was a cool story that added a lot of depth to the character of Damian Wayne.

After being brought back from the dead (see: Batman and Robin Vol. 6: The Hunt for Robin), Robin, aka Damian Wayne, wants to atone for his past sins. In particular, as part of his training to become the head of the League of Assassins, he had to complete the Year of Blood. This book details his attempts to set right the wrongs he committed. Along the way, Damian is joined by Goliath (a giant bat/dragon), the daughter of the criminal Nobody, and Ravi (a caretaker of sorts from when Damian was young).

Gleason does a wonderful job of telling Damian's search for redemption, while also reintroducing him into the mainstream DC Universe. Adding depth, as I mentioned, makes him an infinitely more likable character, even making Damian seem sympathetic. The new Nobody also acts as an excellent foil throughout his journey.

Robin: Son of Batman: Year of Blood, by Patrick Gleason, is a great read. I recommend it. It brings back Damian Wayne, introduces an interesting new character, and lays the groundwork for some intriguing stories going forward.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Batman Vol. 8: Superheavy by Scott Snyder - Book Review

From the publisher: After his deadliest battle to date, Batman is bruised, battered and scarred. And forever changed. 

Now, on the streets of Gotham, in place of the cape and cowl roams an 8-foot mechanized suit of armor. More powerful than ever before, Batman's pursuit of justice has never been more swift or efficient. But who is the new Dark Knight? And why is he ... or she here?

In the most shocking chapter in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's #1 New York Times best-selling series, comics' greatest creative team throws the most unexpected twist in Batman's history with BATMAN VOL. 8. Collects BATMAN #41-46 and FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2015: DC COMICS DIVERGENCE #1.

Scott Snyder is at it again with Batman Vol. 8: Superheavy. How do you follow up the Joker: Endgame storyline, where it appeared that Batman was killed along with the Joker? Why, create a new Batman. And that is what Snyder has done. He's taken former Commissioner Jim Gordon and given him a suit of Bat-Armor and a support team. This new Batman is also sanctioned by the city and the police force. For the reader, this puts a new spin on an old, familiar hero and gives the Batman mythos a new perspective.

In addition to putting Jim Gordon in the Bat-Suit, Snyder also reveals that Bruce Wayne didn't die (not a big spoiler). However, Bruce is different. Something happened to him that has changed him; he doesn't have the memories and pain of his parents' deaths that drove him to become Batman. Consequently, he has no idea or desire to be Batman. This storyline is a wonderful contrast with the look at Jim Gordon becoming Batman.

Probably my favorite part of Batman Vol. 8 is a conversation between Alfred Pennyworth and Clark Kent. They are discussing whether to push Bruce back into being Batman. Alfred, with a lot of emotion, begs Clark to leave him be, pointing out that this is who Bruce should have been.

Overall, I highly recommend Batman Vol. 8: Superheavy. Snyder is a fantastic writer who continually manages to bring something new to a character who is more than 75 years old. This is also a good starting spot for new readers, with the change in Batman's identity.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Batman & Robin Eternal Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder - Book Review

From the publisher: Five years ago, Batman and Robin worked the most disturbing case of their crimefighting careers—bringing down the organization of the ultimate human trafficker, the mysterious woman known only as Mother. At the time, Dick Grayson never quite understood the scope of that case, but now its darkest secrets are coming back to haunt him and everyone else who ever worked with Batman! With Bruce Wayne now lost to them, Dick and all his allies are out in the cold! Who can they trust? Is someone among them not who they say they are? And who is the deadly, silent young woman in black who's come to Gotham City looking for Batman?

In this sequel to the New York Times best-selling series BATMAN ETERNAL, prepare yourself for international intrigue, twists and turns, and new additions to the world of Batman and Robin, from showrunners James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder! Collects BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #1-13.

I just finished reading Batman and Robin Eternal Vol. 1, and its the best Batman book I've read in awhile. It even tops Batman Eternal, which is saying something. Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV have created a potential masterpiece.

With Bruce Wayne currently unaware that he is Batman, and Jim Gordon roaming Gotham's streets in a Bat-Suit, this story focuses on the three former Robins: Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake. Batman does play a large role, but it is through the use of flashbacks, as we get the story of Dick Grayson's first international adventure, chasing the Scarecrow to Prague. The storyline set in the present concerns a mysterious message delivered to Dick Grayson by Cassandra Cain, making her first appearance in the New 52. Dick receives a list that includes not only his name, but Jason's, Tim's, and Harper Row's, the new hero known as Bluebird. They are put on the trail of Orphan, a hooded man who is attempting to kill all four of them, and someone known only as "Mother". Along the way, various Bat-characters show up, including Azrael's arrival in the New 52. As the heroes continue their quest, the past and the present continue to converge.

With this first volume, Snyder and Tynion IV have set up a story that has the chance to have a major impact on the Batman myths. Things are hinted at that could shift how readers view Batman and his varying Robins. The story ends with a nice cliffhanger that has me anxious to see what happens next.

I give my highest possible recommendation to Scott Snyder and James Tynion's IV Batman and Robin Eternal Vol. 1.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ex-Isle by Peter Clines - Book Review

From the publisher: “It is an easy thing to rule by fear.”

It’s been years since the tidal wave of ex-humans washed over the world. Since then, thanks to St George and his fellow heroes, the community known as the Mount has been the last known outpost of safety, sanity, and freedom left to humanity.

But even for the Mount, survival still balances on a razor’s edge—and after a disaster decimates the town’s food supply, the heroes must make a risky gamble to keep its citizens from starving. 

And then the news arrives of a strange, man-made island in the middle of the Pacific. An island populated not just by survivors, but by people who seem to be farming, raising children, living—people who, like the heroes, have somehow managed to keep the spark of civilization alive.

Paying this place a visit should be a simple goodwill mission, but as the island reveals itself to be a sinister mirror-image of what the heroes have built at the Mount, the cost of their good intentions becomes dangerously high

With Ex-Isle, the fifth book in the Ex- series, Peter Clines has told a new story that follows on the heels of what has come before. As with the previous books, Clines takes his heroes and the residents of the Mount and puts them in the crosshairs of the exes (zombies) and what has been the even more dangerous opponent: other surviving humans, some powered and some not.

Ex-Isle splits its story into two different parts, running simultaneously. In one, St. George, Corpse Girl, and Zzzap make a visit to an island of ships that Zzzap discovered while circling the globe looking for other survivors of the ex-virus. As the heroes make contact, they begin to discover that all is not as it seems, and come up against an opponent they aren't ready for. The other storyline follows Danielle (Cerberus), Cesar (the Driver), and some of the soldiers known as the Unbreakables as they try to establish a second safe haven near Los Angeles. This new settlement is known as Eden, and it is a large community garden that becomes vital to provide food to the residents of the Mount. This group runs into trouble that is reminiscent of the early struggles the group dealt with in the aftermath of the ex-virus.

Both stories are entertaining, and do much to develop the characters. Of particular note is the development of Corpse Girl, Danielle, and Cesar. I'm impressed by Clines's ability to come up with fresh conflicts for the heroes, so that these books don't seem like they are the same old, same old. Additionally, Clines continues to expand the world of his ex-universe, as he branches the characters out of the Mount, home to most of the previous books.

I recommend Ex-Isle by Peter Clines to fans of his previous books, and anyone looking for a fresh take on superheroes and/or zombies.

I received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pieces of Hate by Tim Lebbon - Book Review

From the publisher: During the Dark Ages, a thing named Temple slaughtered Gabriel's family. A man with snake eyes charged him to pursue the assassin wherever he may strike next, and destroy him. Gabriel never believed he’d still be following Temple almost a thousand years later.