Review by C.J. Bunce
It’s hard to beat a great crossover and we’ve seen many come and go this year. Take two superhero titles from the shadows of the big city and put them together and you have a pairing that will only have you ask why it hasn’t been done before.
The best Batman book you’ve likely read in years is waiting for you at your local comic book shop right now. Issue #1 of the new Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is now on the shelves and it’s simply the best series opener to a Batman story I’ve read since Issue #1 of Jim Lee’s Hush mini-series. You can evaluate the first issue as either a strong Batman title or a loyal-to-its-roots TMNT book, and either way writer James T. Tynion IV, artist Freddie Williams II, and colorist Jeremy Colwell have a winner on their hands here.
You won’t need to worry about thumbing slowly through an issue featuring one part of the title’s crossover only to wait next month for the next, as Tynion has weaved together both Batman, the Turtles, as well as Killer Croc, the Foot Clan, Splinter, and Strider, all into one exciting introduction issue.
And the design layout and look of this view of Gotham is unique and intriguing. It’s about time that Freddie Williams II had his own Bat-book. He’s been drawing Batman for years and some of the best Batman renderings I have seen from any Batman artist can be found in his sketchbooks and other drawings. Always strong in his characterizations and environments, and with his signature ink wash style, each page could stand alone as a poster print, especially the giant splash pages of Batman.
Yes, San Diego Comic-Con is still first and foremost about comic books, and the biggest news released this weekend of the comic book sphere comes from IDW Publishing. The publisher revealed that writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II will be taking on the ultimate fan mash-up: Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The cover art to issues 1 and 2 of the crossover series were released at SDCC 2015.
Coming this November, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, already being called the “greatest crossover ever,” unites the Dark Knight Detective and the Heroes in a Half-Shell in a six-issue mini-series. Here’s the description from IDW:
In the ongoing power struggle between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, General Krang, and the Foot Clan, allegiances have shifted and the battle lines have been drawn. Krang concocts a plan to rid himself of both the Turtles and Shredder by transporting them to another dimension, where they land in the dark and dangerous streets of Gotham City. It isn’t long before they encounter Gotham’s most famous resident, Batman. The Caped Crusader may be their only hope of overcoming their enemies and getting back home. But not before they encounter a whole cast of Gotham’s most infamous rogues.
We’ve been pretty lucky to both know and regularly cross paths with some great artists who have worked on the many years of Green Arrow stories in the DC Comics monthly series, and others who haven’t worked on the character but created original sketches for us at conventions. From time to time we have posted original artwork of Oliver Queen and his partner Dinah Lance aka Black Canary here at borg.com. These include works by Freddie Williams II, Mike Grell, Neal Adams, Phil Hester and Ande Parks, Howard Chaykin, Michael Golden, Mike Norton, Cliff Chiang, J.K. Woodward, Jock, and Phil Noto, among others.
We don’t know Ryan Sook personally, but he is one of our favorite cover artists. He created our favorite cover of 2012, the cover to Mystery in Space #1, shown here. The awesome sci-fi steampunk girl on the cover just demands her own comic book series. We ran down some of his best cover work here last summer.
When we had the chance to commission a pencil and ink piece from him for our Green Arrow and Black Canary gallery, we couldn’t pass it up. The result is simply awesome.
The biggest pop culture and comic book convention ever in the region begins today. It’s the third annual Planet Comicon to be held in its new venue–the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall. This year is even bigger than last year’s show, with more vendor space and more creators in Artists Alley. Set-up began yesterday morning and continued until late last night.
We discussed some of the media guests previously here at borg.com. You can get a current line-up at the Con’s website here.
Don’t know where to begin? Start here, with this short list creators and attractions to check out:
- Amanda Lynn Chainmaille Creations, Booth 812
- Elite Comics, Booth 2214 at the Pillar
- Kansas City Costume Company, Booth 928
- Wildman Drinking Horns, Booth 1017
- Writer Jason Aaron, Booth 153
- Artist Rob Davis, Booth 1036
- Author Kevin Dilmore, Booth 323
- Artist Bryan Fyffe, Booth 2740
- Artist Greg Horn, Booth 2730
- Writer/Artist Phil Hester, Booth 536
- Artist Damont Jordan, Booth 2739
- Artist Ant Lucia, Booth 2745
- Writer Jai Nitz, Booth 540
- Artist Phil Noto, on the wall past Booth 2745
- Writer/Artist Ande Parks, Booth 538
- Writer Seth Peck, Booth 139
- Artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, Booth 1436
- Artist Greg Smallwood, Booth 542
- Author Dayton Ward, Booth 323
- Artist Freddie Williams II, Booth 2776
- Artist Darryl Woods, Cosplay Showcase
Skyman is a four-issue miniseries written by Eisner nominee Joshua Hale Fialkov about a recent addition to the Captain Midnight monthly—Skyman. With pencils by Manuel Garcia and inks by Javier Bergantiño Menor, the first two issues feature some awesome regular and variant covers by Freddie Williams II and Dan Scott. Here’s the marketing summary:
After an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Captain Midnight, a drunken Skyman accidentally kills an innocent man! Turns out he’s not only an overly patriotic zealot; he’s also a dangerous PR nightmare. Needing a new face for their initiative ASAP, the Skyman Program turns to US Air Force Captain Eric Reid: a wounded veteran on the ropes, looking for a new lease on life. Reid must fight off his personal demons to have any chance of surviving the potentially deadly initiation. When the Skyman Program plummets, Albright Industries brings in a new hero to make it soar!
Skyman first appeared in the pages of Captain Midnight #4 in October 2013.
Here is a preview of Skyman, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics:
If you’re tired of the same superhero teams that have been around for the better part of a century (and even if you’re not) two new comic books offer new teams to get to know. Remember Marvel Comics’ New Universe in the 1980s? Star Brand, Nightmask, PSI-Force, Justice, D.P. 7, Kickers, Inc., Mark Hazzard: Merc, Spitfire and the Troubleshooters–I read them all. Nightmask and Star Brand even returned this year in the NOW! series event. But if you’re looking for something different from The Avengers of the Justice League, give these two books a look.
First, coming in two weeks is the second issue of The Movement from DC Comics. Gail Simone has crafted a new world within the DC Universe yet apart from the current New 52 activities. She’s created a new team of street urchin types defending the poor and the downtrodden from bad guys and the corrupt police force that should be protecting everyone. Artist Freddie Williams II has created a cool looking super force with Mouse, the “prince of rats” who enlists rodents in his crusade against the forces for bad, Virtue, who seems to be the leader of the team and has psychic abilities, Tremor, who can control her environment, such as causing an Earthquake with her touch, Katharsis, who is a character that resembles Huntress, but sports a set of mechanical wings and in Issue #1 was all badass against corrupt cops, and finally Burden, who has super powers but believes he is possessed.
Fresh off their writing and art projects from New 52’s Batgirl and Green Arrow, DC Comics creators Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II are bringing real-world politics “Occupy Wall Street” style this May in their new monthly series The Movement.
The advance industry catalog Previews.com provided the following teaser this week:
We are faceless. We are limitless. We see all. And we do not forgive.
Who defends the powerless against the GREEDY and the CORRUPT? Who protects the homeless and poverty-stricken from those who would PREY upon them in the DARK OF NIGHT?
When those who are sworn to protect us abuse their power, when toxic government calls down super-human lackeys to force order upon the populace... finally, there is a force, a citizen's army, to push order BACK.
Let those who abuse the system know this as well: We have our OWN super humans now. They are not afraid of your badges or Leagues. And they will not be SILENCED.
We are your neighbors. We are your workers. And we are your children.
Win. Count us in. Where do we buy the RISE bracelets?
Review by C.J. Bunce
Today DC Comics switches gears with its New 52 Green Arrow title, with writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino re-starting the series in a new storyline called “The Kill Machine.” Lemire is best known for taking the obscure DC Comics character Animal Man and turning his story into one of DC Comics’ best reviewed series. Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino is best known for his haunting run on the New 52’s I, Vampire, and his great covers for a short X-Files comic book series, with a style he seems to be carrying forward in Green Arrow Issue #17, released at comic stores everywhere today.
With Issue #17 Lemire seems to be taking some tips from the Berlanti/ Guggenheim/ Kreisberg playbook. Their highly successful Arrow TV series on the CW Network follows Oliver Queen as he deals with the events he faced on the mysterious island where his yacht Queen’s Gambit marooned him, and where he honed his physical skill as archer and fell into his current psychological state. The TV Oliver Queen is echoed in Lemire’s lead character although differences show through–Lemire’s Oliver seems a bit younger and impulsive whereas the TV Oliver relies on his charisma and is more measured in his actions. But you can’t say more about that by way of comparisons with only one issue to go on. Fans of the Arrow TV series should keep an eye out for a familiar villain element in this first issue.
An example of some of the excellent past cover art of Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino.
“The Kill Machine” finds Oliver responding to the loss of Queen Industries by the trustee managing the company since his father’s death–his father’s best friend. Lemire is overtly giving his Oliver a clean slate, destroying the world Oliver knows and removing any relationships that might reveal Oliver as anything but a lone wolf. In this way it will be interesting to see how much of Mike Grell’s original stories of the urban archer shine through. Grell’s Oliver, through dozens of issues of amazing stories beginning in the late 1980s, was the last time the character was completely redefined. Can Lemire reinvigorate Green Arrow and still keep true to the character’s long history? He has developed several issues beginning with Issue #17 so we will learn the answer as we keep up each month with the series this year.
Planet Comicon announced this weekend that advance tickets for Planet Comicon 2013 are now available for sale. This year Planet Comicon is Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM – 7 PM and Sunday, April 7, 2013 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at downtown Kansas City’s giant Bartle Hall, a switch from the show’s home at Overland Park International Trade Center from past years. The relocation was the result of the growing numbers at the event in the past two years requiring an expansion to this larger venue.
Use the below link to purchase a single day or weekend pass. There is no limit to the quantities you may order.
ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASE
Advance tickets will be sold until midnight on Sunday, March 17, 2013. After that time, they will only be available for sale at the event.
Weekend passes for adults are being sold at a discounted rate of $35.00. All other prices will be identical to on-site pricing.
Advance tickets are available for sale only through Paypal, which accepts all major credit cards and bank debits.
Advance tickets will also be made available soon through the event facility and certain area retailers, including Elite Comics, located at 11842 Quivira in Overland Park, KS.
We’ve been talking about the new Arrow TV series all year here at borg.com. I have been a life-long fan of the character, and I spent all night and a day camping out with thousands of Firefly fans to see the pilot episode that I reviewed here back in July. Now everyone gets to see the pilot and why those who have seen it so far think this will be a superhero series that may actually survive the scrutiny of TV audiences and ratings.
Right now you can get a free digital copy of the San Diego Comic-Con exclusive print comic created for the TV series, downloadable at Comixology.com. It gives some insight into the TV series. A weekly digital tie-in will also be available at Comixology’s website for 99 cents starting Wednesday.
Although the DC Comics New 52 series is not tied into the TV series, one of my favorite artists is now the artist for the current DC comic book series–Freddie Williams II–and here is a great sketch of a young and determined Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow that he kindly created for me, similar to the guy you’ll see tomorrow night. Very, very cool!
I hope you all enjoy the pilot tomorrow night!