I Am Not Starfire is another excellent entry in DC Comics’ Young Adult graphic novel line, an accessible and highly enjoyable series of non-canon original tales that beset the readers imaginations with terrific tales of classic superheroes, and villains, in their teen years.
Our previous foray with this superlative series of character chronicles was with the bodacious and boundless – Black Canary – though this particular melancholic narrative follows not the coruscating super-being known as Starfire, but her seemingly quotidian, recalcitrant daughter – Mandy.
Masterful manuscript manipulator – Mariko Tamaki and awesome artistic auteur – Yoshi Yoshitani combine their sublime skills for another tenacious tale of the rigours of youth, and dealing with the inevitable growing pains everyone eventually experiences on their emotional journey into adulthood. Whereas previous entries in DC’s superb series concentrated on superheroes and villains, this particular allegory follows the trepidatious tale of the distraught daughter of one of the most powerful beings on the planet.
Mandy is the atypical teenage girl – rebellious, moody, and capricious, though what sets apart Mandy from other sullen teens is her mum, you see her mum is the incandescent alien princess and superhero – Starfire! Throughout her young life, Mandy has grown up in the (sparkly) shadow of her mother, and has had to deal with the emotional baggage, intense public scrutiny and expectation that comes with being the daughter of a superhero.
Mandy’s life has been fashioned from her mum’s fame and overt popularity, none of which, so far, has rubbed off on Mandy, who see’s herself as the Anti-Starfire. Unlike her super-model matriarch, Mandy has shown no sign of superpowers, is short, chubby and decidedly un-sparkly! Therefore whenever anyone appears to show an interest in Mandy herself, she assumes it’s because of her famous mum, and constantly has deep rooted fears that her mum is disappointed by her distinct lack of powers and sparkliness. Alongside these feelings of inadequacy, she’s also hounded on a daily basis by her school’s Teen Titans fan club, and has a secret crush on the local football team’s most popular and pretty cheerleader.
Things go from bad to worse though, when her alien aunty, the powerful and malevolent – Blackfire appears and challenges Mandy to a life or death duel, but with no superpowers, self esteem or even a cheerleading girlfriend, what’s a put upon goth girl to do?
I Am Not Starfire is another fantastic graphic novel from the prominent pen of marvellous Mariko Tamaki, with some absolutely lush and vivacious visuals from Yoshi Yoshitani, making for another gripping teenage tale of angst and apprehension, but ultimately growth, friendship and inner respect. Highly, highly recommended.
My Copy Of – I Am Not Starfire – Was Purchased From My Local (and utterly fantastic!) Comic-Book Emporium – Final Frontier.
By the glorious gods of Gaea! DC Comics newest entry in their mature Black Label line is an absolutely astounding piece of art from two of the comic-book industries greatest talents, writer – Kelly Sue DeConnick and the superlative artistic talent that is Phil Jimenez, who has spent close to three years perfecting the glorious renderings contained within this exalted manuscript.
Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons’ first issue recounts and adapts the captivating creation of DC Comics’ Amazons, the immortal race of warrior women tasked by the Greek gods with the protection and guidance of Humankind. Borrowing heavily from one of Wonder Woman’s most compelling and predominant contributors – glorious George Perez, whose work on the Themysciran Titan’s 1980’s adventures is still significant in it’s impact on the characters growth in the time since, with much of his benefaction still seen as canon to this day, in fact his beloved work on Princess Diana is seen by most fans as the single greatest take on the character since her original creative team – William Marston and Harry G. Peter, ushered her into existence way back in the early 1940’s.
Wonder Woman Historia contains, absolutely, the greatest output of beautiful imagery I have ever encountered from talented artist Phil Jimenez, who has been a lifelong fan of Diana, and whose artistic output was heavily influenced by Perez, in fact Phil was the artist/writer for Wondy’s ongoing monthly series throughout the period of 2000 – 2003, and is also seen as one of her biggest ever influences. His work here is a symphonic synergy of magnificent pencils backed ably by the expertise of colourists – Arif Prianto, Hi-Fi, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Historia’s superlative scribe -Kelly Sue DeConnick is another phenomenal talent brought on board to recount the revered history of comicdom’s most beloved fictional females, the Eisner award winning writer is the perfect choice to accompany Jimenez on this astounding odyssey into the atavistic past of the ancestral Amazon race. Together they weave a comic book that stands heads and shoulders above it’s peers, and will almost certainly go down in history as one of the greatest takes on Diana’s beloved sisters.
Millienia ago, Queen Hera and the goddesses of the Olympian pantheon grew greatly dissatisfied with their male counterparts, and, far from their sight, put a plan into action. A new society was born, one never seen before on Earth, capable of wondrous and terrible things… but their existence would not stay secret for long. When a despairing woman named Hippolyta crossed the path of the Amazons, a series of events was set in motion that would lead to an outright war in the heavenly realms… but also usher in the creation of Earth’s greatest guardian!
Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons #1 is available from your local comic-book emporium right now, and comes highly recommended by this particular Wondy fanatic, Kelly Sue Deconnick constructs an emotional and tumultuous tale recounting the introduction of the immortal Amazons, and Phil Jimenez’s absolutely gorgeous art is a delight to behold, you can certainly see that those three years he spent rendering these immaculate images were worth every single month, as this is literally one of the most exquisite comics I have ever encountered!!
Never was a truer word said Doc… since DC Comics and comic-book author – Geoff Johns – once again returned us to the dystopian landscape of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ original groundbreaking ’80s maxi-series.
I am a self confessed Watchmen fanboy, it is without a shadow of doubt my favourite comic-book series of all time. When I first consumed 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 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 released the same year to coincide with the movie’s release, through DC’s prequel series – Before Watchmen, released in 2012, and more recently, the superb HBO television saga by Damon Lindelof. And though some fans revelled in the new material presented to us (myself included) others believed that the original should have always have 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 re-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 of Moore’s original vision. Watchmen is a world that has so many more tales to tell, and even more lessons to bestow upon it’s readership, and with Geoff Johns’ – Doomsday Clock series, DC did just that, oh and it also marked a return for irascible ink-blot masked vigilante – Rorschach, but not in the way anyone was expecting (I mean, Doc Manhattan did, literally, implode Rorschach at the end of the first series!!)
Doomsday Clock actually counts as our first foray back into the pandemonium that is the Watchmen as it’s a direct sequel to the iconic ’80s series, and as controversial as that seems to some fans, as I stated earlier in the post, I personally am more than happy to once again step into the chaotic and dystopian world of the titular Crimebusters. Sequels, movie adaptations, et al, do not dilute the original works, and if done with care and attention to the former work, can 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 superlative original story in all it’s well deserved glory.
Doomsday Clock is initially set just a few short years after the end of the original storyline, it’s 1992 and the world is still in turmoil after the events set in motion by Ozymandias, but with his scheme now laid bare, the world is once again on the brink of nuclear armageddon. With this premise, writer – 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 nine panel grid layout, visually this feels perfectly at home to it’s predecessor.
Of course, I haven’t even touched upon the cross dimension interaction between the Crimebusters and DC’s regular pantheon of Superheroes, but let’s just say that the Batman/Rorschach team-up is as delightful as you can imagine, with some utterly fantastic dialogue between the two maniacal masked manhunters.
If you’re fan of Watchmen and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then the recently released Doomsday Clock: Complete Collection is an absolute must buy. Johns and co have presented us with an extremely well written dark, but at times amusing return to the world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fear and anxiety, and I for one am more than happy to continue my stay in its fatalistic presence. Highly recommended.
Felicitations fellow fans of fantastic female fiction, and welcome to another efficacious and ebullient episode of Precinct1313 Recommends, and ‘Suffering Sappho’ this impeccable instalment is most assuredly a gift from the glorious gods of Olympus themselves as they deliver a dynamic and dazzling design designation deity in the form of Diana – Princess of Themyscira, with Wonder Woman: Black And Gold.
In honour of hallowed Hellenic herald – Wonder Woman’s upcoming 80th anniversary, DC Comics have commissioned this superb and scintillating six issue mini-series, an astounding anthology album embellished in magnificent monochromatic hues of gold and black! This astonishing analect comprises tenacious tales of the Themysciran Titan by comic-book alums – John Arcudi, Nadia Shammas, AJ Mendez, Becky Cloonan, Amy Reeder, Ming Doyle, Ramona Fradon, Joshua Middleton, Ryan Sook, Warren Louw, David Mack Jen Bartel, Morgan Beem, Sandra Hope and Carla Cohen… phew! a classic and compelling cadre of charismatic comic creatives!
Featuring five fabulous fables that run the glorious gamut of Diana’s eight decade history – John Arcudi and Ryan Sook combine to weave a thrilling tale of Diana’s illustrious immortality, while Becky Cloonan imparts an indomitable account of Wondy’s most valuable weapon against the darkness of man’s world. Amazing Amy Reeder transports us back to the Golden Age of comics for a riotous and rambunctious romp with edacious Etta Candy, then AJ Mendez and Ming Doyle whisk us away to Themyscira for a terse and tense family reunion and finally, Nadia Shammas and Morgan Beem present a prescient parable of Diana’s past failures returning to haunt her.
Wonder Woman: Black And Gold #1 is a tremendous tribute to Gaea’s glorious gal, with a stunning monochrome visual design inspired by Diana’s golden lasso. Five fabulous tales impart the many fascinating facets that encompass the powerful yet passionate princess of Themyscira, and with a veritable virtuoso of vaunted variant covers to collect (including a return from artistic auteur – Ramona Fradon) Wonder Woman: Black and Gold comes highly recommended.
DC Comics’ Pride Month celebrations continue apace with today’s release of their anthology annual – DC Pride #1, an astonishing analect of DC’s very own LGBTQIA heroes and villains. The eighty page dazzling digest collates nine new narratives dedicated to LGBT characters and creators, beginning with a story centred on their arguably most popular gay hero – Kate Kane, aka – Batwoman.
Batwoman: Wrong Side Of The Looking Glass, is the ten page lead story by James Tynion IV and Trung Le Nguyen and equates Kate’s life struggle as a lesbian and costumed hero with a mirrored allegory between herself and twin sister Alice. Beautiful and poignant prose by Tynion, with absolutely gorgeous and intricate visuals by Trung Le Nguyen, whose art promotes a fantastic fairy tale feel to the emotional proceedings and metaphoric mirror plotline.
Perpetual partners of perky perfection – Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are up next, with the tantalising tale – Another Word For A Truck To Move Your Furniture – written by marvellous Mariko Tamaki, with the astounding art by one of the Precinct’s favourite artistic auteurs – Amy Reeder. This fantastic fable explores Harley and Ivy’s romantic relationship through a fabulously fun, yet touching tale that involves – furniture removal, glorious gags, and a little bit of the ol’ ultraviolence all wrapped up in that inimitable Harley/Ivy cool craziness! Tender, silly and utterly irrepressible, just like Harley herself, this is most certainly my favourite story contained within this fabulous volume.
By far the most fascinating fable within these proud pages is the superlative superhero scenario – Date Night – the comic-book introduction to trans hero – Nia Nal aka The Dreamer, a character whose first ever appearance was on the hit CW show – Supergirl. This is Dreamer’s inauguration into the DC comic-book universe, with an excellent exploration of her interpersonal relationships, powers, and character. Giving this story its unique approbation and emotional weight is the fact that the author of the piece is none other than the actor who portrayed Nia Nal in the aforementioned Supergirl show – Nicole Maines, the transgender rights activist who holds the distinction of being the first transgender superhero in live action.
Six more sterling storylines are contained within this magnificent manuscript, each and every one a poignant parable and captivating celebration of LGBT pride, life struggles, empowerment and the joy of just being and accepting who you are. Inclusivity and determination are dealt with in an uplifting and sincere collection of stories by the diverse assembly of writers and artists, with each and every chapter a heartfelt allegory of enlightenment and emancipation.
Hot on the heels of this valuable volume of visionary values, DC have also announced that as a continuation of Pride Month celebrations they will also be publishing a trade anthology of the GLAAD nominated – Suicide Squad: Bad Blood and LGBT romance thriller – Poison Ivy: Thorns, alongside their month long Pride Month comic cover collectables which began with last week’s – Crush and Lobo #1.
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
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.
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.