Great Hera! the glorious gods of Olympus once more shine their light on the Themysciran Titan – Wonder Woman, as their halcyon hall of heroes bestows yet another fascinating fable from DC’s Young Adult range of graphic novels. This titanic tome is akin to a previous tale in the younger readers comic-book category, the fantastic “Diana: Princess Of The Amazons” and whilst that particular odyssey was most assuredly stunning and a must read for all ages, Tempest Tossed is on a whole other level of sublime.
Celebrated author Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrator Leila Del Luca provide us with a fresh new take on Diana’s early upbringing as the only child on the paradise island of Themyscira, and it’s ended up being one of my absolute favourite takes on the wondrous one. Beginning with a retake on Diana’s birth, we witness the Five Mothers – Athena, Aphrodite, Demeter, Artemis and Hestia as they weave their old magic to create the immortal female race known as the Amazons, a race of peace loving warriors, sworn to protect the planet. Hidden away from the world on their isle of tranquillity and tasked to one day save humanity when a great evil once more rears its head.
Yet, all is not contentment, revered Amazon queen, Hippolyta yearns for a child and upon hearing her cries of anguish the gods grant her wish, forming an infant from clay, Hippolyta’s dream becomes reality as the five mothers breathe life unto the lifeless form, giving birth to Diana, esteemed Princess, Amazon ambassador, emancipator and superhero, but these are titles yet to be won, as the Diana we follow in this monumental manuscript has just celebrated her sixteenth birthday, a unique concept on Themyscira known as Born Day, amongst a race of immortal adult females the abstraction of atypical birth is mystifying.
Her Amazon sisters have begun referring to Diana as “changeling” watching perplexed as her body goes through the normal changes of all adolescents as they hit puberty, once again a concept not familiar to the sheltered island residents of Themyscira. Mood swings, sudden growth spurts and occasional clumsiness mark her as different to her beloved sisters, Diana wrestles with her feelings of being an outsider, yearning to spread her wings and pondering upon what lies beyond her celestial homeland. All of this she will finally experience on her born day, as refugees wash up on the isle’s illustrious shores having passed through a break in Themyscira’s magical barrier.
The books opening chapter is comparable to how Diana originally saved Steve Trevor, with her diving fearlessly into a tempestuous and tormented ocean to save the refugees and bring them to safety, yet instead gets swept out to sea passing beyond the mystical shield and seemingly unable to find her way back. Joining the refugees she ends up alongside them in Greece, once there she is detained and placed in a refugee camp. This is her first taste of humanity beyond the shores of her cherished island, and it doesn’t leave a good impression as she witnesses in incredulity the depths of mistreatment, abuse and neglect the refugees suffer on a daily basis.
Railing back at the internment guards and treatment of refugees, Diana comes to the notice of two UN officials, Steve Chang and his husband Trevor (yep, Steve Trevor) as they pluck her from the camp and introduce her to a new life in America, with the promise that Diana can do more to help the downtrodden by securing a formal education and thus later returning to save the refugees, Diana reluctantly agrees. It’s here that we are introduced to the two most influential people in Diana’s new life, Henke, a Polish grandmother and her capricious grand-daughter, Raissa.
Tempest Tossed is a superlative piece of art from Anderson and Del Luca, showcasing their wonderful talents for empathy and enlightenment. Dealing with Diana’s integration into a strange new world, there is a lot of joy, from taking part in a Polka dance off, through discovering a secret parkour group run by Raissa, of which, of course, Diana excels in. The book also delves into the problematic areas of poor neighbourhoods and poverty, with Diana becoming increasingly alarmed at how badly people are treated by their peers and vowing to cease and educate on such practices. Throw in a crooked property developer and the increasing and upsetting dilemma of missing children, it seems adolescent Diana certainly has her work cut out for her.
Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed is an absolute must read, from the moment I got home from my local comic-book emporium clutching my hallowed copy I was engrossed, a superlative coming of age drama that’s not afraid to delve into the darker sides of humanity but is ultimately a book of family, friends, love and emancipation. One of the very best Wonder Woman tales I have ever read. Highly, highly recommended.
By the golden girdle of Gaea, how in Tartarus did this one slip by me, my astounding Amazonian associates. ‘Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me’ has been sitting on my local comic-book emporium’s shelves for the past month and yours truly (quite possibly… the World’s biggest Wondy fan) failed to notice it’s resplendent release! So, I hereby revoke my honorary Amazon status and hang my head in shame… but before I do that, let us visit the golden shores of the paradise island known as Themyscira, and catch up with the wondrous one’s odyssey once more…
‘Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me’ was originally published in DC Comic’s – Justice League Giants #3 and 4, oversized volumes that were exclusive to the Walmart chain (which means they were never available here in the UK… boo!) These terrific tales of the Themysciran Titan are now available as an ongoing mini-series courtesy of the astonishing Amanda Conner (my fave artist) who co-writes Diana’s chronicles alongside her hubby, jaunty Jimmy Palmiotti… Amanda also takes on duty as cover artist, delivering her always astoundingly accomplished artwork, and as usual each and every cover image is a joy to behold.
Military pilot and Wonder Woman’s beau – Captain Steve Trevor is called in to test fly an experimental new aircraft, but his mission goes awry and he winds up lost in the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Diana, and best friend Etta Candy manage to track his perilous path to a mysterious and most certainly dangerous island, can they manage to liberate Steve from the clutches of this malefic, mythic Isle before it’s too late…
As always Conner and Palmiotti deliver an absorbing and amusing tale, they really are marvellous masters of mystery and mirth. Conner’s covers are beautifully rendered works of art, bright, colourful and full of emotion. Interior art duties are handled by Chad Hardin and Alex Sinclair, two wonderful mainstays of the comic-book universe and as ever their renderings are exquisite. Highly Recommended.
Welcome back to our Women’s History Month extravaganza, where we commemorate and celebrate the important contributions of Women throughout Human history… a special event set up by the scintillating and sensational scribe, and bombastic blogging buddy – Cupcakes and Machetes.
And, whilst you’re here, why don’t you join me in basking in the illuminatingly illustrious illustrations of the nuanced and non-comparable Nicola Scott! Nicola truly is an absolutely astonishing artist and is one of my personal favourite illustrators in comics today, her recent work on the Wonder Woman Rebirth series, alongside fellow artist Liam Sharp, was seriously breathtaking… as is her cover for Mera: Queen Of Atlantis #1, a new six issue mini-series from DC Comics.
Unfortunately Nicola’s involvement in the comic itself stops at the cover… fortunately, interior artist – Lans Medina is a rather wonderful penciller in his own right, so the visuals throughout are great.
Writer Dan Abnett has been absolutely killing it with his fantastic run on DC’s Aquaman recently, which makes him the obvious choice as lead on Mera’s first ever solo series. Aquaman has beautifully blended both political intrigue and action, which now sees the once King of Atlantis removed from his throne and leading a resistance force against the tyrannical and despotic new leader. Mera because of the coup finds herself cut off from her Atlantean people, ostensibly a Queen in exile, and to add insult to injury, due to magical intervention, she also finds her powers weakened and has seemingly lost her innate ability to survive underwater.
As the brutal Atlantean civil war rages on, Mera finds herself thrust into the position of keeping the peace between the surface world and Atlantis as the newly anointed Queen in exile. But when Aquaman’s brother Orm, a.k.a The Ocean Master, learns of the fate that besets his homeland, he will let nothing deter him from returning to Atlantis as it’s King and saviour.
Dan Abnett and Lans Medina present a tense and action packed first issue, with some lovely art, great pacing and an intriguing protagonist. Mera is long overdue her time in the limelight. So with this six issue mini-series and her recent small but momentous role in last years Justice League movie (with the Atlantis Queen ably portrayed by actress Amber Heard) plus the fact that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Amber’s take on the Atlantean with a significantly larger part in December with DC’s Aquaman movie hitting the big screen, you could say the tide has finally turned for Mera, she’s really started making waves… (sorry!)
Mera is copyright: DC Comics
Warning: Contains Minor Spoilers For Both The Original Series And Issue #1 Of Doomsday Clock.
Never was a truer word said Doc… since DC Comics and sensational scribe Geoff Johns are once again returning us to the dystopian landscape of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ original groundbreaking 80’s maxi-series.
I am a self confessed Watchmen fanboy, it is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite comic-book series of all time. When I first read Alan Moore’s trailblazing series in 1986, I was blown away, it was a unique and contemporary take on the Superhero genre, a treatise on social anxiety and a complete deconstruction of traditional Superhero conceptualisation, it was different in every single way possible to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for completely transforming the face of the comic-book medium for future creators and readers… a veritable masterpiece.
Since that time we have been regaled with a scant few other forays into Moore’s apocalyptic vision, from director Zack Snyder’s masterful cinematic adaptation in 2009, a motion comic version of the original series also released in 2009 to coincide with the film, through DC’s prequel series ‘Before Watchmen’ released in 2012. And though some fans revelled in the new material presented to us (myself included) others believed that the original story should have always been left as a standalone project, with whom co-creator Alan Moore has always sided.
I personally believe that any beloved piece of creation, be it film, novel and comic-book should always be given a chance to grow and present itself to a new and modern audience, Snyder’s movie was the first instance of this for Watchmen, opening up the material to new fans, but at the same time being honest and respectful to Moore’s original vision. Watchmen is a world that has so many more tales to tell, and even more lessons to bestow upon its readership, and with Geoff John’s new 12 issue ‘Doomsday Clock’ series DC are doing just that… oh, and it also means a return of irascible masked vigilante – Rorschach, but not in the way any of us were actually expecting!
Doomsday Clock #1 is our first foray back into the pandemonium that is the world of Watchmen, a direct sequel to the iconic 80’s series, and as controversial as that seems to some fans, as I stated earlier, I’m more than happy to once again step into the chaotic and dystopic world of the titular crimebusters. Sequels, movie adaptations etc do not dilute the original works, and if done correctly can only add more layers to the existing whole, plus if the idea of a Watchmen sequel is in any way sacrilegious to you, then you can always ignore it and continue to enjoy Moore’s sterling original tale in all its well deserved glory.
The series is initially set seven years after the end of the original story, it’s 1992 and the world is still in turmoil after the event set into motion by Ozymandias, but, with his scheme now laid bare, the world is once again on the brink of nuclear armageddon. With this premise Geoff Johns and artist Gary Franks effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, stylistically the comic evokes the original material beautifully, from the dialogue set through to the originals nine panel grid layout, visually this feels perfectly at home with its predecessor.
And I haven’t even mentioned the ‘Rebirth’ connection to the DC Universe that started this soon to be iconic pairing of two distinct comic-book worlds, if you have been following along with the unfurling tale of Doctor Manhattan and his apparent meddling with the classic DC heroes, then prepare yourself for a series that will hopefully snake its eventual way to the answers behind the cryptic clues already let loose.
If you’re a fan of Watchmen, and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then I say definitely pick this up. Johns has presented to us a well written, dark, but at times, also amusing return to the world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fears and anxiety, and I for one am glad to continue my protracted stay in its fatalistic presence. Recommended.
My copy of Doomsday Clock was purchased at my very favourite comic-book emporium – Final Frontier, located in Fore Street, Exeter in the UK.
Watchmen And Images Copyright: DC Comics.
Yes indeed, it really has been a quarter of a century since illustrious illustrator Jim Lee first introduced us to the celebrated cast of comic-book characters from the weird and wonderful WildStorm universe.
WildStorm Productions started life as an independent company established by the aforementioned Jim Lee alongside Brandon Choi. It was first established in 1993 as a sub imprint of the popular Image Comics brand, another indie comic company that boasted amongst its ranks some of comicdom’s most influential and talented individuals, including Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Erik Larsen, together these industrious individuals presented to their fevered fans classic characters such as Spawn, Savage Dragon and Wildcats amongst many, many others.
WildStorm expanded over the years creating new sub-imprints like Homage Comics in 1995 (which delivered unto us comic reading mortals absolute classics like Kurt Busiek’s Astro City) and dipping its creative toe into animated movies and television series, plus a card game based upon Lee’s very own Wildcats characters which used a similar template to that of Magic: The Gathering.
Unfortunately though during the early and mid nineties comic-books fell into a major slump period, a serious decline in sales which began to affect most smaller publishers, including WildStorm, due to this progressive downturn Jim Lee started to look around for a buyer for the company and its characters, which ultimately resulted in its 1998 acquisition by DC Comics. Initially the two comic-book universe were kept as separate entities, until 2010 when DC announced that the WildStorm imprint was to be shut down, with WildCats #30 (Vol 5) being the last published title, though they did proclaim that many of its beloved characters would be saved to reappear at some point in the future.
And return they did, a very short while later when DC merged the characters into its mainstream universe during their New 52 relaunch in 2011. Introducing comic persona such as Midnighter, Voodoo and Stormwatch into the established DC universe was a revolutionary and exciting prospect adding a new zest and enthusiasm to both sets of characters who gelled together surprisingly well (Midnighter and Nightwing come to mind, a titanic team up that was wildly adored by fans of both characters.)
In February of 2017 DC announced that the Wildstorm imprint would once again be resurrected as its very own entity after 25 years since its first introduction, and a hardcover collection would be released to mark its quarter century celebrations.
Containing brand new stories by the original creators this is a fantastic buy for established fans and newcomers to the WS fold, with returning fan fave stories such as Wildcats, Gen13, and the Authority under the guidance of notable creators – Jim Lee, Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. The 300 page epic hardcover also contains an extensive art gallery with brand new pieces by incredible illustrative illuminaries such as Adam Hughes (reason enough alone to buy the book!) Fiona Staples, Lee Bermejo and Tim Sale.
To round the title out you also get behind the scenes material and reprints of some of WildStorm’s most popular stories, adding up overall to a priceless package of perfection… a must buy.
Tom King is without a doubt the most fitting writer currently working in comics today to take on the legend that is Mister Miracle, not just because he’s a scribe of almost unparalleled talent, but his surname ably pairs him with Miracle’s genius creator – Jack ‘The King’ Kirby!
To honour the the 100th anniversary since Jack Kirby’s birth, DC Comics along with aforementioned writer Tom King, and artist Mitch Gerads are reuniting us with one of Kirby’s most beloved and successful creations – super escape artist Mister Miracle, in a 12 part maxi-series that also features The New Gods from DC’s Fourth World Saga – which is widely hailed as being one of the sources that classic sci-fi movie Star Wars was inspired by.
Jack Kirby was an American comic book artist and writer who is one of the most influential and innovative personalities in the medium. Aside from Mister Miracle and The New Gods for DC Comics, Kirby also created such iconic characters as – Silver Surfer, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America, X Men and many, many other too numerous to mention.
Kirby initially was a Marvel stalwart, creating, illustrating and writing a myriad of storylines for the publishing giant, his titles always had high sales and even higher praise, but behind the scenes a different picture was being painted. Kirby felt he was being unfairly treated by Marvel, his perception was that he was seen more as a writer/artist for hire by the company as opposed to one of it’s foremost creators and innovators, and in response in 1970, he left Marvel and joined its arch-rival DC Comics.
Signing a three year contract with DC Comics Kirby created some of his most memorable characters, from The New Gods, Etrigan and The Forever People, through DC’s big bad – Darkseid and of course – Scott Free (the perfect moniker, let’s be honest) better known as Mister Miracle, the super escape artist whose creation could almost be seen as the perfect allegory for Kirby’s flight from Marvel to DC, breaking the shackles of previous employment to forge new horizons.
Miracle has been a popular character for DC since his inception, with a slew of ongoing and mini-series, and was an exceedingly welcome addition to the ranks of The Justice League (alongside his wife – Big Barda, which is a whole other post we can’t wait to get to!), during the excellent Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis late eighties entry of the World’s Greatest Superhero team-up.
The much anticipated return of Scott Free is, thankfully, not only been worth the torturous wait but manages to exceed all expectations with a fantastically written tale that gives us a very much grounded portrait of a Superhero, a quirky yet flawed individual who is ultimately struggling to find his raison d’etre.
As fantastic as the writing is, the art by Gerads is definitely no slouch in comparison, in fact it’s superb! Gerads is an extremely flexible penciller which shines through in his art in this first issue, which at times evokes an almost pitch perfect Kirby-esque feel in the art style.
Mister Miracle #1 is a must buy, featuring one of Jack Kirby’s (definitely my favourite) greatest creations,and a first rate creative team who bring us a powerfully emotional tale that entices you in and holds you entranced until the final page… dammit why isn’t issue 2 out yet!?
Let’s be honest, origin tales have been spectacularly overused in both the comic-book scene and their spin off movie counterparts. How many times do we really need to witness Spiderman being bitten by a radioactive wall crawler, or Batman losing his parents to the gun barrel of Joe Chill… these characters are now so iconic that virtually everyone, comic book fan or not, is overtly familiar with their raison d’etre.
With all that said, you may be feeling slightly bemused that I’m recommending a series that dynamically delves into the past of Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, but there is a very good reason behind that… this series is fantastic. As a matter of fact it’s not only one of the greatest Supergirl comics to have ever been released, but one of the greatest comic-book series ever published… period!
Kara has recently found herself back in mainstream public consciousness thanks mainly to the extremely successful (and brilliant) CW television show, and with the really rather rousing Steve Orlando “Supergirl Rebirth” comic book run, Superman’s Kryptonian cousin is finally receiving the attention she deserves.
Which brings us to Kara’s most recent triumph, the astonishingly awesome “Supergirl:Being Super” the Mariko Tamaki penned opus that transcends previous Kara Danvers origins by offering us a fresh take that focuses more upon her relationships, trials and tribulations of everyday life as a teenager growing up in a small american town. It’s definitely a slower burn as a comic book, less super heroics but more angst, sass and quirky dialogue as we follow Kara in an exceptionally engaging and fantastically well written coming of age story.
If you approach this series with atypical expectations of explosions, super speed and heat vision, you’re going to go away disappointed, this is a tale that spotlights the character behind the iconic “S” symbol and it’s all the better for it. Supergirl: Being Super is a revelation in Superhero storytelling, and probably the greatest iteration of the classic character to date. Highly recommended.
They may both be Superheroes, founding members of the Justice League and all round crime-fighting bad-arses, but Batman and Superman aren’t always the best of buddies, and, unsurprisingly, neither are their progeny.
The last time Precinct1313 caught up with Damian Wayne’s rambunctious Robin, and Jon Kent’s Kid of Steel, they were involved in a bout of fisticuffs worthy of their powerful patriarch’s many clashes throughout the decades… like father, like son seems apt. However, again like their respective parents, these two wannabe Superheroes were always destined to fight crime together, and it’s their irrevocably conflicting personalities that makes Super Sons #1 such a joy to behold.
Written by Peter Tomasi, with art duties falling to the fantastic Jorge Jiminez, Super Sons #1 focuses primarily on this direct clash of disposition between the “lil” costume crime-fighting sidekicks, and it’s glorious. Damian Wayne may be the son of the Batman and League of Assassins’ Talia Al Ghul, a highly trained martial artist and nifty ninja of notable nature, but he’s also a narcissist with severe delusions of grandeur who likes nothing more than to mess with Jon Kent’s mind. Whether it’s secreting himself in Jon’s bedroom, before confronting him after he’s just about to fall asleep, or impersonating Jon’s school bus driver, Damian really does revel in freaking out his prospective ally, much to Jon’s annoyance.
Jonathan Kent is Damian’s polar opposite (well of course, he was raised by none other than that big blue boy-scout Superman) a kind and considerate son, who genuinely wants to help his fellow humans, a responsible, straight laced kid with caring and sensitive parents in Clark Kent and Lois Lane, who have endeavoured to instil into Jon a sympathetic understanding of the world around him… which is in stark contrast to Damian’s own upbringing, I mean, he is the son of the goddamn Batman after all!
Damian’s childhood was vastly different to Jon’s, an isolated upbringing with nary a kind word from his father. Bruce Wayne is a distant and austere patriarch, a solemn guardian of the night, whose only true mission in his life is to fight crime in a desperate attempt to avenge his parent’s death and appease his guilty conscience. Which makes it no surprise that Damian should ultimately reach out to Jon for companionship, even though the only way he knows how to do this is by being an annoying arse!
Super Sons is a fantastic first issue, an exceptionally fun and zany comic that combines perfectly the burgeoning friendship between the two antithetical heroes, and their relevant parental nurturing’s (or lack thereof) ultimate effect on their prospective psyche. A must buy.
Celebrate the creation of everyone’s favourite mischievous misfit Harley Quinn with this definitive collection of her misadventures. Former Psychiatrist Dr Harleen Quinzel was originally an Arkham Asylum intern, who after prolonged interviews with the Joker decided that it was the Batman himself who was the cause of Joker’s anger and insanity. Gradually falling in love with the irascible psychotic, Harleen eventually helped the Clown Prince Of Crime escape the asylum and joined him on his crusade to dispense murder and madness to the streets of Gotham.
Harley was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series titled “Joker’s Favour.” Her role was originally conceived as a mere walk on part, but she ultimately proved so popular with the audience that she was granted a larger role as the Joker’s main sidekick and potential love interest as the animated series continued its Emmy award winning run. Harley’s first comic book debut was in issue 12 of The Batman Adventures, where she appeared alongside veteran Bat-Villains Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Her origin story was laid out for the first time in the 1994 Paul Dini penned one-shot “Mad Love” but it wasn’t until 1999 that she was officially accepted into mainstream DC Universe continuity with “Batman: Harley Quinn #1″
On July 28, DC Comics will release the ultimate tribute to the Clown Princess Of Crime with this 200 page collection of some of her most enduring adventures. The Joker’s main gal takes centre stage as DC collects together some of her greatest tales from throughout her 23 year reign as DC’s consummate ‘bad-girl’ character. This anthology collects together for the first time; Batman: Harley Quinn #1, Gotham Knights #14, #30, Detective Comics #831, 837, Batman: Black And White #1, #3, Joker’s Asylum II: Harley Quinn, Legends Of The Dark Knight: 100 page Spectacular and Detective Comics #23.2.
The 200 page ultimate Harley Quinn compilation will be available in softcover and digital format on July 28 at your local comic book emporium, and is the definitive look at the Queen of Chaos and a great way to familiarise yourself with a character that in 2016 will be making her first ever big screen appearance in David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” movie.
Harley Quinn: Copyright – DC Comics.
“It is a foe Batman can see and hear… but cannot touch. It will strike only once… yet will change his life forever. Already weakened by a debilitating plague, Gotham City is struck by a devastating force of nature, an earthquake that registers over 7.5 on the Richter scale. In an single instant, the Batcave and Wayne manor are left in ruins, thousands are dead, and the Batman is amongst the missing”
Batman: Cataclysm was a major storyline crossover, that ran throughout all of the various “Bat-family” titles in 1998, encompassing comics such as, Batman, Detective, Nightwing, Azrael, Catwoman, Robin, and many others. The gripping tale of a massive earthquake that rocked the very foundations of Gotham made for an exhilarating yet ultimately tragic and moving story of loss and hardship, as the people and heroes of this famed city work together to help avert the inevitable fallout from not just the earthquake itself, but also the various lunatics and Supervillains that have escaped from Blackgate prison and Arkham Asylum, who are intent on making the most out of Batman’s disappearance and the crumbling infrastructure of Gotham’s Police force.
This newly collected edition of the compelling story, contains material not previously available in the earlier trade compilation. This epic tome totals 464 pages in length, is written by Chuck Dixon, with art by Jim Aparo, and has an amazing Brian Stelfreeze cover. The story signalled the beginning of almost 2 years of storyline arcs that would deal exclusively with the earthquakes aftermath, culminating in the year long “Batman: No Man’s Land” saga.
Batman: Cataclysm is available in softcover format at your local comic book emporium right now. This definitive edition, as previously mentioned brings all aspects of the celebrated tale together for the first time, chronicling an event that, in the end is more destructive than anything Gotham has ever experienced before. Epic in both length and scale, this is a must have for all Bat-fans.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Calamitous Catastrophes Out Of 5.
It has been ten years since the last appearance of the Batman, and Gotham City has devolved even further into lawlessness and anarchy without its former custodian’s presence. An ageing Bruce Wayne struggles with his inner demons, and attempts to hold back his rage and inefficacy at protecting the city that he loves, with a mixture of alcohol dependency and a reckless, almost suicidal endangerment of his life through varying extreme motor sports events. With a new threat emerging in Gotham with the crazed Mutant gang attempting a coup of the city, the Batman returns in a proverbial blaze of glory, but has age and a growing feeling of doubt in his own prowess left the former masked crime-fighter incapable of dealing with this deadly menace.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is the groundbreaking saga penned and illustrated by the extraordinary Frank Miller (300, Sin City). Released initially in 1986, this 4 issue mini-series is almost wholly responsible for the direction the former ‘Caped Crusader’ of earlier incarnations took, becoming darker, grittier and a hell of a lot more intense!
This fantastic collection of the 80’s masterpiece contains the full 4 issue mini-series for the first time in black and white. This stunning tour de force of a Batman story is even more brooding and bleak in this form, accentuating Batman’s feeling of guilt over his forced abandonment of Gotham, and his eventual return as its most famed guardian.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns will be available from June 16, in hardcover format weighing in at 208 pages. It could not come more highly recommended, it’s not only one of the greatest Batman stories ever told, but one of the most exceptional Superhero stories ever put to paper, standing effortlessly alongside other sublime comic tales such as Watchmen and V For Vendetta.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Brooding Bats Out Of 5.
After a night of sex, drugs and occult ritualism in the woods, Eve Coffin wakes up naked, covered in blood and devoid of all memory of how she got there. One of her friends is missing, another finds herself in a mental asylum, and a third believes that Eve herself is responsible. Years later, Eve returns to Coffin Hill to discover that the darkness she unleashed in those dark woods a decade ago is still loose, and is surreptitiously seeping through the town of this sleepy Massachusetts hollow.
Coffin Hill is a bleak, haunting tale of witchcraft, madness, power and retribution, set against a creepy backdrop of New England. It stars Eve Coffin, an unruly and defiant teenager from a rich and powerful family, that have endured a curse that dates way back to the Salem witch trials of 1692.
Written by best selling horror/fantasy author Caitlin Kittredge, author of the popular Nocturne City and Black London series of novels. Though primarily a novel writer, Caitlin has always had a great love for the comic book medium, especially Vertigo’s Sandman series. After meeting a fellow writer who had recently been solicited by Vertigo, she managed to get her Coffin Hill series picked up for publishing by DC’s supernatural horror imprint.
Coffin Hill has proven a big hit for Vertigo and is currently on its eighteenth issue, I only recently discovered this horror gem by picking up the first trade collection and instantly fell in love with the characters, atmosphere and haunting writing style of Caitlin. The art is also outstanding, pencilled by the very talented Inaki Miranda, who formerly worked on Vertigo’s Fairest and Fables series, and a stint on DC Comic’s Birds Of Prey series.
Coffin Hill’s first two trade collections are available right now and are highly recommended to anyone with a love of dark fantasy, horror and the supernatural. Expertly crafted characters, a brooding atmosphere and compelling storyline make for a tragic tale that is an infinitely addictive page turner.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Carrion Crows Out Of 5.
This year celebrate 75 years in the company of the World’s mightiest mortal… Shazam! That’s right comic fans, the Superhero formerly known as Captain Marvel is now officially as old as Batman and Superman. So to coincide with the septuagenarian Superheroes’ anniversary, DC Comics are releasing a hardcover anthology containing some of his greatest adventures from the past seven and a half decades.
Shazam (Captain Marvel) was created by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker in 1940, and made his first appearance in Whiz Comics #2. Shazam himself is actually the wizard who bestows upon the 12 year old Billy Batson the power to become the adult Superhero Captain Marvel by just uttering the mystical phrase “SHAZAM!”. Alongside his extended family, sister Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior he fights crime and his nemesis, former holder of the Shazam title… Black Adam.
The Shazam anthology hardcover will be available in April from your local comic-book emporium, with interior art by various artists including co-creator C.C. Beck, with stories by Denny O’Neil, Geoff Johns, Otto Binder and many more. Weighing in at generous 400 pages, this is a must buy for any fans of the World’s mightiest mortal and anyone considering discovering him for the very first time.
Has it really been 25 years since the release of the stupendous Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth? Hard to believe it has been so long since this outstanding piece of Batman lore was delivered to us by master storyteller Grant Morrison and comic artist supreme Dave McKean.
This classic tale is considered one of the greatest comic books of all time, garnering many awards at the time for both its dark storyline and the amazingly twisted art. It is also Grant Morrison’s first ever Batman tale, after this Morrison would go on to be one of the most prolific writers of the Caped Crusader’s adventures down the years.
It is April fools day and the insane inmates of Arkham have taken control of the asylum, in exchange for the hostages they want … the Batman, and so the Dark Knight must traverse a nightmarish journey into the twisted minds of some of Arkham’s most dangerous denizens including Poison Ivy, Two Face, the Scarecrow and of course the clown prince of crime himself … the Joker in full on demented mode. This is one of the darkest and most disturbing of all of the Batman’s adventures, taking you on a carnival ride of horror and dark wonder. Dave McKean’s artwork on this is sublime, really drawing you into the unhinged and disturbing world of maniacal Supervillains and murderers with its strange and dreamlike visual quality. Also of note is the lettering of the book by Gaspar Saladino, with each of the different characters having their very own font style, this was the very first comic to really do this and it has become a popular trait of the comics medium since.
The anniversary edition is available right now in both hardcover and softcover versions, weighing in at 216 pages in length.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 degenerate Supervillains out of 5
An omnibus hardcover collection of the 24 issue run of the Brightest Day saga was released this week, chronicling the journey of twelve resurrected heroes and villains. Brightest Day was the direct sequel to the 2009 Blackest Night crossover event, that followed Nekron as he resurrects deceased Superheroes and Villains to do his bidding in his attempt to exterminate all life from the Universe. Brightest Day begins just one day after the events of Blackest Night, with Deadman – Boston Brand and the ‘Entity’ which is an embodiment of the white light that creates life in the Universe. The twelve resurrected heroes and villains must discover the reason for their mysterious resurrection, with each character given a specific task to overcome. The series was released on a fortnightly scale between May 2010 and 2011, and included the return of classic characters such as Hawkman, Captain Boomerang, Jade and Martian Manhunter. Written by fan favourite Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi, and drawn by various artists including – Joe Prado, Ivan Reis and Ardian Syaf. This epic tome is 696 pages in length and is available right now, just don’t forget to read the Blackest Night prequel before this, comic fans. Precinct1313 Rating: 5 dead Superheroes out of 5