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Arrow Volume 2 TP
Arrow Volume 2 TP
by Andrew Kreisberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Me and My Arrow, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Arrow Volume 2 TP (Paperback)
This is once again a solid collection of short stories centring on the second half of season one of Arrow, there are 17 in all and like the first collection are split between adding extra backstory for fringe characters and one off adventures for Oliver.

The one off stories are again a mixed bag (there is even a one of Felicity story for fans of hers) they are all quite short so no real focus can be brought to them, the very last one which deals with the aftermath of the series finale though is probably the best one off story in the whole run.

The backstory elements are once again the strongest part, whether it's Malcolm's training, how Deadshot got from being shot with an arrow to Bludhaven, how Slade got to the island or how Roy got his hoody there is something about most the supporting cast to find here, even if it's not truly shocking it's quite nice to build on details that where mentioned in the series and a few that weren't

So once again a good collection for arrow-heads (sadly I don't think they have done this for series two, boooooooo) although non Arrow fans may not get as much out of it, even with it's short length stories it helps build on the world of arrow, also this has the added bonus of having all the characters introduced later in the series (Roy, Shado, Slade and even Lyla pops up) so anyone who missed them in the first volume, rejoice.
Once again the series producers have some involvement and even better two more stories drawn by Mike Grell, which is always a plus in my book.


Wild Cards: Aces Abroad (Wild Cards 4)
Wild Cards: Aces Abroad (Wild Cards 4)
by George R.R. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Ace World Tour, 19 May 2014
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This is the first in the second trilogy of wild card stories (a mosaic series written by many different authors and edited by George R.R Martin) and while a knowledge of the first three books (Wild Cards, Aces High and Jokers Wild) helps to fill in the back story this is a self contained story in many ways that gives you the information you need, but it would probably be best enjoyed with the foreknowledge of the previous books.

The main thread of the plot is that a group containing Aces (superheroes), Jokers (people deformed by the wild card virus) and normal human politician and reporters travel the world to see the effect the release of the virus that created the Aces and Jokers has had on the wider world, this does vary the landscape a bit from the previous books which are mainly set in New York but unfortunately the need to set the scene for future events, set up the main villains and introduce new characters bog down the plot quite a lot, that said there are some very good sections, the journal of the Joker Xavier Desmond which tie the stories together are very interesting and also quite sad and the a story starring Dr Tachyon and The Golden Boy (both returning characters from the first book) set in Paris is also very good, even though Tachyon is an alien he is probably the most human of all the main characters.

So even with a slightly uneven plot and the sense this is just the lead in to something bigger there is still enough going on to make this a good read, if you have read the previous books you should know by now if you like this series any people who like the sound of it but haven't read a Wild Cards book before do not be put off you can jump in at this point, it might not make as much sense but it still is possible.


Superman/Batman Volume 1: Public Enemies TP
Superman/Batman Volume 1: Public Enemies TP
by Ed McGuiness
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The World's Finest Super Friends, 18 May 2014
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This series was originally released over 10 years ago and with Batman and Superman's first live action big screen appearance together in production it's an absolute no-brainer on DC's part to bring this out again and we can only be glad of that.

So what can I say about this book apart from the fact that it is brilliant, the first six issues World's Finest (although it is also known as Public Enemies) sees a giant clump of the plant Krypton on a collision course with earth, current U.S President Lex Luthor puts the blame squarely on Superman who with the help of Batman must not only try to save the earth but also dodge the heroes sent by Luthor to arrest them and the villains after the 1 billion dollar bounty placed on Superman's head.

This is followed by a one off story featuring Robin and Superboy who are tasked with offering a job to the Japanese Toyman who features in the previous story.

The Last Six issues are called The Supergirl of Krypton, where it turns out the giant asteroid (from the first story in case you weren't paying attention) contained a ship from Krypton housing Superman's cousin Kara Zor-El whose appearance causes nothing but problems for Batman and Superman and her appearance also bring the attention of Darkseid.

So why buy this book? you ask well firstly the art is stunning, whether the muscly characters and bright colours of World's Finest or the more stylised work in the Supergirl issues everything is a joy to look at, the stories themselves are also great with the relationship between the two heroes explored in great depth with both being aware of the other ones strengths and weaknesses and also how each other ticks, the way in which even in the middle of a fight they seem to be more worried about the others action then they are their own is quite telling and often quite funny. This book is also really chocked full of action with fights and explosions leaping off the page at you, it also contains an amazing amount of heroes and villains from the DC universe, note down your five favourite DC characters and I can guarantee that one of them will be in here somewhere, just because it is called Batman Superman don't think it is just about them. One note of caution though a lot of references are made to the continuity of the time and storylines of the time that I'd imagine would make no sense out of context (Jim Gordon being retired, Lois and Clark being married, President Luthor, the JSA and JLA co-exsisting, Nightwing leading the Outsiders and so on) and this may be confusing to readers with no background knowledge, so unless you have a perfect memory or fantastic DC knowledge you will almost certainly run into an event or character you don't know although this can be off putting it's easy enough to just let it slide because the stories are that good.

Some off you may be aware of the DC animated films based on these stories (Public Enemies and Apokolips) and you may feel you've seen them so you know what will happen, I can tell you that although the basic stories are the same there are major differences from the films so there is still new stuff to find.

Overall if you like Superman, Batman, Team ups between the pair or just really high quality comic stories then this book is well worth a look.


Son of Batman [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Son of Batman [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
Price: 10.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Happy Families, 9 May 2014
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Of all the varied entries in this series of DC animated movies Son of Batman sits somewhere in the middle in terms of quality, it is a fun watch with plenty of action that lacks a little in the substance department but is still well worth seeing.

This film is very loosely based on the Batman and Son story by Grant Morrison and by very loosely I mean it bears very little resemblance to the original (if you are a fan of that particular story don't say you weren't warned) the basic story is that after an assault on the league of assassins Talia decides the safest place for her son Damien is with his father, who just happens to be Batman what follows is a pretty standard revenge story but with the added element of Damien trying to balance his training and nature with the less severe wishes of his father, unfortunately though this dual nature is not really touched on a huge amount but with only a 74 minute run time action is more prevalent then character development, the voice work generally is good Jason O'Mara seems to have found his range with his second outing as Batman and Stuart Allan does a very good job as Damien giving him both an adult edge but also keeping the juvenile arrogance that you would expect from a ten year old assassin, the rest of the cast have their moments but for most other characters screen time is quite limited apart from one and that one is my biggest problem.

Deathstroke is the main villain of the piece and also it's biggest drawback, Thomas Gibson's voice work doesn't suit the character very well it is very monotone and lacking in emotion this added to the characterisation in general which makes sweeping changes to Deathstroke that strips away everything which is great about the character and makes him a cardboard cut out villain whose motives make very little sense anyway, if you are not too familiar with the character then this might not be a problem but if you are a fan of Slade Wilson I'd imagine that you might be less then impressed.

This Blu-ray though does have some good extras, three short pieces on the league of assassins, Damien and the character design, a sneak peek at the next feature Assault on Arkham and four bonus cartoons, three stories about the league of Assassins and Ra's Al Ghul (one each from Btas, Batman Beyond and the Brave and the Bold) and one from the Brave and the Bold featuring a very different version of Damien all of which are worth watching and are a nice little extra.

So overall a solid if not spectacular Batman animated film that has it's flaws but there is still plenty to enjoy.


Phantom Stranger Volume 2 Breach Of Faith (TP The New 52) (Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger)
Phantom Stranger Volume 2 Breach Of Faith (TP The New 52) (Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger)
by Gene Ha
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

4.0 out of 5 stars A step in the right direction., 5 April 2014
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Whilst still not being a fan of the changes they have made to the Phantom Stranger since the new 52 re-launch this volume is an improvement on the previous volume, it strays into much darker territory and really gets to grips with the character of the Stranger and also his penance as he wanders the earth betraying people for the greater good to atone for his act of betrayal.

The storyline of The Stranger looking for his mortal family is carried over from the previous volume and what was a weakness of the first volume is turned into a strength here, the details of how he came to be Phillip Stark are really quite dark and it's very well done and even now I'm not sure what was right and wrong in what The Stranger did, but good or bad it comes back to haunt him in many different ways, the real purpose of the book though is to act as a lead in to the Trinity War story with The Stranger having had some time with Pandora in volume one this time he is faced with The Question, the third member of the Trinity of Sin, there encounter is probably the highlight of the book even though I'm even less sold on the changes to The Question then I am to the Stranger, the book also takes in the JLD and later the character featured on the cover (if you are yet to read Trinity War you may want to give the last issue a miss, there is a few big spoilers) and a few other interesting characters pop in for cameos.

So even though it's still struggles a bit for identity this is a step up in quality in all areas, the storytelling is better as is the characterisation and the art, I'm not sure the whole betrayal storyline has great legs in the long term but it works well enough for the moment and even though the Stranger can be hard to like at points he still is a compelling character and even though the book does have it's faults it is always interesting.


Green Arrow Volume 4: The Kill Machine TP (The New 52) (Green Arrow (DC Comics Paperback))
Green Arrow Volume 4: The Kill Machine TP (The New 52) (Green Arrow (DC Comics Paperback))
by Andrea Sorrentino
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Queen among comics., 3 April 2014
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After so much rubbish from the new 52 take on Green Arrow finally we have been rewarded with this little gem of a book, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (Who is a guy, I know I thought he was a woman as well) have combined a new exciting story with art which is just gorgeous to finally make this series what it should have been from the start.

So why is it so good? well it's just great storytelling to start off with, right from the off Lemire rather then be tied down with what has come before and tells the story he wants to tell, it is a central story of Oliver coming under attack from the bowman Komodo who frames him for murder, takes away his company and generally leaves him on his own with only his bow and his wits to protect himself, it's a fantastic story that builds a completely new mythology for Green Arrow with connection to his father and the island where he was stranded and it twists and turns as Oliver must not only fight a bowman who may well be his better but untangle the mysteries of his and his fathers life, frankly it is so well told it is hard to put down once you start I wish I could write more but I will not spoil it for you.
We also get to see some new characters like Komodo but also some old favourites given a new lick of paint, I won't mention all off them but Count Vertigo especially is an interesting new take on an old Green Arrow villain, Lemire also manages to have some fun with the trick arrows while still keeping them on the right side of realistic.

The art as I mentioned previously is jaw dropping, Sorrentino just draws some lovely images that jump off the page and his landscapes especially are just awe inspiring, his actions scenes are also very well drawn with fists, arrows and explosions going off at all angles to make this volume a real treat for the eyes, but his real skill is in drawing images that never get boring every few pages there is something different visually which really make this an interesting read visually, there are few comics around that look as good as this one.

If you haven't read any new 52 Green Arrow up to this point don't worry this is a great jumping on point, an character who has appeared before who are important get a good introduction (really the character where pretty paper thin before now, so you really haven't missed much) and nothing that has come before impact on the story, this is a completely new beginning to a very old character and if it continues at this level of quality it may well be mentioned in the same breath as Mike Grell's legendary run in the eighties (yes I think it's that good) so if you love Green Arrow (fans of Arrow especially might want to take a look at this) or just great comics then you will want to read this.


Animal Man Volume 4: Splinter Species TP (The New 52) (Animal Man (DC Comics))
Animal Man Volume 4: Splinter Species TP (The New 52) (Animal Man (DC Comics))
by Steve Pugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Husband, Father, Actor, Superhero?, 22 Mar 2014
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Animal Man has been one of the success stories of the New 52 re-launch, a hero not really ever taken seriously but in the hands of the impressive Jeff Lemire the series has been a revelation, unfortunately the information is wrong the volume only contains issues 20-23 and annual 2, with only 6 issues left until the series end (boo DC, shame on you) it would have left only four in the last volume which wouldn't have made sense.

Now that the Rotworld story has been concluded this volume deals with the fallout from the events of the conclusion of that series, I am about to spoil the end of Rotworld so please skip to the end of this review, following the death of his son Cliff and his wife's decision to leave him Buddy Baker is at a low, hounded by the media due to his upcoming Oscar nomination (his acting carer and the film 'Tights' has been a running story so far) and at a loss what to do he begins to investigate the disappearance of pets in L.A, this leads him to a group called the Splinterfolk who have designs on his connection to the Red (the Red being the animal kingdom balanced with the green, plants and the black, rot and decay) while his daughter Maxine newly crowned queen of the red journeys through the red kingdom searching for the soul of her dead brother to bring him back to life.

The volume starts with two one off stories, the first set four years previous and explores Buddy's connection with his son, now normally superhero families are a burden but somehow Lemire has found a way to make the Baker family the heart of the story and it never feels forced, it makes Animal Man a much more likable character he really just is a normal guy who happens to have superpowers. The second story is actually pretty cleaver it is told through a scene of the film Tights and although it isn't directly about Animal Man as such it is used as a mirror as Baker character life slowly falls apart after finding fame and fortune it kinds of mirrors his own mental state, as well as the relationship with the main characters son is a large part of the plot it ties in nicely with the main theme of the rest of the volume.

The other two issues and the annual deal with the Splinterfolk story I mention earlier and is the main meat of the story, the dual storytelling switching between Buddy and Maxine is well done (as it has been all the way through the series) really it has been a dual title from the start and to actually see Maxine dressed up as Animal Girl inside the Red brought a smile to my face and I hope it does to you too, the fact that a five year old with superpowers never feels odd even when paired with a talking cat named Socks (no I am not joking) how Lemire has pulled that off I will never know, also Sheppard from previous issues is present again which is good, really even though this is a new story it really is a continuation of the main themes from before and even with a very recognisable villain joining the fray it really is still the story of Buddy and Maxine coming to terms with their respective powers and how it affects those closest to them.

Now this volume is fantastic, the art is still wonderfully creepy the storytelling is brilliant and the character rather then being superhero cut-outs are well rounded people in their own rights, even bits like a pirate giraffe (wish I was making this up) don't make you shake your head, the way also the current trend from social media affects life is a big part of the story and fits in well with the narrative and I can believe someone had fun writing a lot of twitter like messages about Animal Man, but there is a big problem with it ending with the annual it stops right when it is getting good and that is so frustrating, just as the final shock is unveiled a message saying to be concluded in volume five appears, it's a shame that's the only thing stopping this from getting five stars but I can understand why the end of Splinterfolk has been kept back, it's just a bit annoying, that aside this volume and the previous three are well worth investing in, believe the hype Animal Man is easily one of the best series of the New 52 and is well worth anybodys time and money.


DC Universe Presents Volume 3: Black Lightning and Blue Devil TP (The New 52)
DC Universe Presents Volume 3: Black Lightning and Blue Devil TP (The New 52)
by Robson Rocha
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking and Devilish., 8 Mar 2014
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This volume, the last before the series cancelation has volumes 13-19 of DC Universe presents, volumes 13-16 contains the Black Lightning and Blue Devil story, while volumes 17-19 are three one shot stories about Arsenal, Starfire and Beowulf.

The Black Lightning and Blue Devil story is actually pretty good, it doesn't really contain an origin as such so if you are unfamiliar with these characters then you might find yourself a little confused as to who they are, it is explained to some extent but due to the short nature of the story it is kind of side tracked to give more time to the meat of the story, Blue Devil's powers are well explained to a point but how Black Lightning got his powers and why he chooses to be a superhero are never really made clear, the story itself is quite good with mobster Tobias Whale making a deal with the demon Nebiros when the two heroes interference become troublesome, in some ways this is a bit of an old fashioned mix-matched buddy cop film, the cocky and un-trustworthy Devil who is a hero of magic and the more upright teacher and ex-athlete Lightning, in that way it's works fine and as such does everything you might expect of that kind of thing (they hate each other, they work together, they like each other and so on) and while this is a bit predictable it is helped by some gorgeous artwork, which really makes up for any faults elsewhere.

The one-shots are a mixed bag the first one containing Arsenal is brilliant, anyone who has read and enjoyed Red Hood and the Outlaws will love this, it's well told, funny and action packed, basically if you haven't read the Outlaws Arsenal is a jerk, but he is a jerk with an incredible amount of heart so you kind of want to groan at his antics while also rooting for him, which is a fine line but this walks in perfectly, the other two are really hit and miss, the Starfire story is a bit confusing (especially the ending) and doesn't really seem to go anywhere, the Beowulf story is better though the character has been appearing in a backup feature to Swords and Sorcery (If you are one of the three people to have read that short lived series, congratulations) and it's seems like more of a pitch for a solo series, it's about Nordic folklore in a bleak future and I actually liked it, it sounded like an interesting concept (that has been tried and failed before) the story was short and stopped abruptly but still there was enough to like.

This series was really an odd one, in theory having lots of little short stories for the minor players of the DC Universe was a great idea, the problem was that they really did vary quite badly in quality, this volume contains more good then bad, the Blue Devil and Black Lightning story is a four, Arsenal a five (but then I like the character you may find him annoying), Starfire a two and Beowulf a three so on average it come to about three and a half but I've given it a four because the largest and main part is better then that, really these all feel like pitches for series of add-ons to others so don't expect two much substance here, but if you are looking for some good one off stories that need very little fore knowledge of the rest of the DC Universe then you might find something to like but if you prefer longer story arcs this may disappoint.


Flash Volume 2: Rogue's Revolution TP (The New 52) (Flash (DC Comics Numbered))
Flash Volume 2: Rogue's Revolution TP (The New 52) (Flash (DC Comics Numbered))
by Brian Buccellato
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rogue Squadron, 26 Feb 2014
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Following on straight from where volume one left off, Barry Allen arrives back in town (after a brief stop-off in Gorilla City) to find his world is upside down, he has been declared dead and his friend Dr Elias has taken on the mantel of city saviour while trashing the Flash's reputation to any who will listen, while his girlfriend and co-workers are in mourning, that said really this story is about the Rogues, Flash's unique group of villains with morals are brought back in a big way in volume two after Captain Cold's appearance in volume one but suddenly instead of technology many off them seem to have developed superpowers with negative side-effects which they blame their ex-leader Cold for, so Flash may well have to join forces with his oldest foe to stop the rogues.

Really there is nothing new in this story but it is told well, the world building of Flash's world and the speedforce that gives him his powers are well done so even someone with limited knowledge of Flash can follow it well, the re-design of the rogues is also good with Heatwave especially looking amazing, I wasn't totally sure about giving them superpowers but it's something new and it does seem to work so that's O.K, we also get in this volume the 0 issues which doesn't really tell you anything new and does pretty much what you would expect from a Flash origin but it is extremely well told and drawn so that by the end you feel you know Barry Allen and his motives a lot better.

The world of the Flash is building up nicely but their is still a lot left open for future exploration, generally this is a good all round effort and really does a god job of setting the scene for what is to come in the future while also telling a good story, some of the new 52 can be disappointing the Flash is anything but that.


Savage Hawkman Volume 2: Wanted TP (The New 52)
Savage Hawkman Volume 2: Wanted TP (The New 52)
by Mark Poulton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now that's more like it., 25 Feb 2014
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The first Volume of the Savage Hawkman was boring and frankly tedious, the second volume containing the last thirteen issues of the series before it's cancellation is such a vast improvement it's almost beyond belief, it also manages to re-write Hawkman's origins twice, so that's three times in 21 issues, that's extreme even by Hawkman standards.

The first nine issues written by Rob Liefeld (with some help from Frank Tieri in some issues) sees Hawkman being hunted by virtually everyone, bounty hunters, mercs and his own people come at Hawkman and his companion Emma as they flee across the world trying to loose the pursuit, it's a long arc but it has a great narrative running through it and has great ties to Hawkman's past, it also includes cameos from Deathstroke and Green Arrow (although the Green Arrow cross over issue isn't included, if you want it's in Green Arrow Volume 3) there is a lot of action included but character development is also pre-eminent as the duality of him being both Carter Hall and Hawkman is explored, so it's not just Hawkman hitting people with his axe/mace (it can be both).
Tom DeFalco takes over for the last four issues and these unfortunately are the last four of the series, after a two part story featuring the Shadow-Thief that roughly carries on where the previous story left off, it ends with another Two part story that is really a lead in the new JLA and it seems that DeFalco was asked to slightly alter Hawkman character to fit in with what was wanted for the new JLA, although that is a slight shame it is a much simpler origin that actually makes sense (lets see how long DC stick with this one) although it is really confusing and can't help but take you out of the moment, both of these stories are well told and it wrap up the series up on a positive note, although the JLA is to be equally short lived there are legs in this version of Hawkman I just hope DC find a place to use him.

It really is a shame this series was cancelled just when it had sorted itself out, but it not the only new 52 title to be cut adrift and lasted longer then some, if you were disappointed with volume one and want some Hawkman action then this is a vast improvement, Joe Bennett's art throughout is absolutely fantastic and the clunky dialogue and tedious plots no longer present, even if you haven't read volume one and you like the sound of this don't worry this pretty much ignores what happened in volume one, apart from a couple of characters who reappear but that's it, so don't feel put off.

The only reason this is getting four instead of five stars is the constant changing of Hawkman's identity and character, it really is confusing especially as the final two issues re-write a hell of a lot of what has gone before, apart from that it would be getting five.


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