The Flash #21: The Button Part 2 Review

Publisher: DC Comicswcn02k72xoey

Written By: Joshua Williamson

Art  By: Howard Porter, Hi-Fi

Letters By: Steve Wands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest Rebirth Event continues with a murder mystery very personal to the scarlet speedster, but as we soon find out the case is big on questions and short on answers.

 

The second part of the Batman/Flash crossover “The Button” starts with an elder Johhny Thunder on top of the retirement home begging Thunderbolt to come back to him and help him find the Justice Society of America as he blames himself for their disappearance.  Meanwhile Barry Allen examining the site while also monolouging about how he is relieved Thawne is finally dead though disappointed someone else did it and that the criminal will never truly know justice.  He goes to ask Bruce what he remembers about the incident but Batman can give him little information on top of what he already knows, Barry says he is going to investigate more on his own and heads to the Justice League Watchtower.  While there he dusts off the Cosmic Treadmill and prepares to start it up as Batman walks in and tells Barry that he is going with him.  At first Flash states that Bruce is too injured to come along but he states that he’s been through worse so the two go together into the speedforce to travel back in time to The Flashpoint to see if they can discover who killed Thawne and who put the mysterious button in the Batcave in the firstplace.  While traveling through time they see flashes of the stolen years Wally had previously talked about showcasing events such as the formation of the JLA in the silver age, the first Crisis on Infinite Earths and Identity Crisis.  Suddenly a storm catches them and they get knocked out of the timestream into the Flashpoint Batcave where Bruce meets his father Thomas Wayne who is that timelines Batman.

 

Overall Williamson continues King’s narrative quite well the story while a bit fast paced is well executed and moves the event forward enough to keep readers interested.  The dialogue between Barry and Bruce shows how the two are more similar than they would like to admit but also how they contrast when dealing with issues.  The greater narrative or Rebirth is moved forward a bit as well as we see more hints at the return of The Justice Society and we see part of the ten years time taken from the DC Universe when Bruce & Barry are in the speedforce.  In terms of art Howard Porter’s art may not be quite as detailed as the art in the previous installment however it still fits the narrative well and helps give The Flash flair in his motions throughout.  Hi-Fi also does an excellent job on the colors complimenting Porter’s art quite well, although the costumes do look a bit overly shiny at times.  Once all is said and done however the second installment of “The Button” while not as suspenseful as the first is still an enjoyable read overall.

 

Final Score

Story: 8 out of 10

Art 7 out of 10

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

Batman #21: The Button Part 1 Review

Publisher: DC Comics190240_1060281_3

Written By: Tom King

Art By:  Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson

Letters By: Daron Bennet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the DC Universe Rebirth Special DC put out last summer Batman found the Comedian’s bloody button from the Watchman buried in the wall of the Batcave. Now nearly a year later we start a crossover between Batman & The Flash to investigate the mysterious artifact with a four part crossover titled “The Button”.

 

The first part begins with the amnesiac Saturn Girl from the Legion of Superheroes in Arkham watching a hockey game on TV, this triggers something in her memory and she begins screaming about how Superman won’t come and the Legion will die.  Meanwhile we cut out to Batman back at the Batcave and the titular button reacting to the Psycho Pirates mask sitting next to it.  Bruce contacts Barry about this however The Flash is unable to speed over as he is currently in the middle of a battle with a group of  robotic samurai but tells Batman he will be over in a minute.  As soon as he ends the call Batman sees a swoosh thinking it is his friend however it turns out to be Eobard Thawne: The Reverse Flash, who taunts Batman by ripping up his letter that his father Thomas wrote for him during The Flashpoint and starts beating poor Bruce into the ground until he is unconscious and is able to steal the button from him.  As soon as Thawne gets his hands on the button he is momentarily teleported away and reappears looking much worse for wear merely stating “I Saw God!” before collapsing and turning into a skeleton.  The issue ends with Barry arriving at the Batcave finding an unconscious Bruce and a dead Thawne.

 

In terms of story the first part of The Button is near perfect, we see more of the staples that have made King so popular, nine panel page layouts, cryptic dialogue, social commentary, a nice cliffhanger ending and well paced action scenes make the issue one heck of a ride that would make The Watchmen themselves proud.  The art by Jason Fabok complements the story perfectly and Fabok continues to be at the top of his game creating a truly tense and engaging atmosphere in near every page and panel, all of which are well complimented by Brad Anderson’s color work which give us bright and defined colors to help make the characters and surroundings really pop out on each page.

 

Overall Batman #21 is an excellent start to what may be one of the most important storylines since Rebirth began in June of 2016 and is a much have for any Batman &/or Flash fan.

 

Final Grade

Story: 10

Art: 9.5

Overall: 9.5

 

Rant: The No Good, Very Bad, Ugly Problem With Marvel Comics

 

 

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As many of you in the comics community are aware of by now Marvel has come under fire as of late for what by many have arguably viewed as fairly poor choices.  And I feel now is the perfect time to take a look in full at these bad choices and practices that have led the once prestigious publisher down such a dark and disturbing path.

 

  1. Never Ending Events:  This one is pretty self explanatory.  While it is true DC & Marvel have done event comics off and on for decades Marvel comics has become increasingly dependent on these big event comics over the course of the 21st century.  We have gone from having just one big event a year to two, to three to six.  After the success of events like House of M & Civil War Marvel comics became obsessed with event comics and over time their addiction has only gotten worse.  It has gotten to the point where one event will bleed directly into another without giving the reader or the cast of characters active in the event any time to breath or recover.  This is bad because not only can it lead to many a reader easily getting event fatigue which can make them lose interest in the books they are reading, but it also interrupts the natural flow of many titles narratives, new characters are thrown into events just to trick readers following set characters book into following the event and can cause readers of these newer characters to become angry or discouraged that the adventures of this new hero or heroine have been pointlessly interrupted to plug a big event which can lead into a drop of sales for a book some of which never recover their previous sales after event tie-ins.  The never ending events are also a strain on readers wallets as Marvel seems to ignore the fact that most comic book readers don’t have an endless well of finances made solely to spend on comics, we aren’t all Bill Gates you know!

 

2. Holding Stores Hostage: One of the most down right insulting moves by Marvel is how they hold stores hostage with their event comics.  No matter how much fans or retailers complain about the never ending events all Marvel says is “if you don’t want em, stop buying em” which is a flat out ridiculous and crude statement as Marvel very well knows that with them being one of the big two publishers along with DC they are half of what props up the industry, comic shops can’t just afford to stop selling Marvel comics, doing so would be a sure fire way to make a store go out of business, so stores are forced to put up with Marvel’s bullish attitude and order the bare minimum of each title for that crowd that will follow the publisher no matter what so they are able to continue to keep their businesses afloat, even if a good chunk of the books they order don’t sell and end up in the dollar bin or the trash.  The sad fact is even with the rise of popularity of indie publishers, DC & Marvel are still the companies that keep comics going and help stores stay in business, Marvel knows that and they take every advantage they can to abuse that fact, which for me makes them no better then a gang going into an old mans store and asking for protection money.  Its a flat out dirty tactic that is a complete mistreatment of the men and women’s who’s stores have been selling your products for decades.

3. Overshipping: Marvel has a bad habit of overshipping titles to stores at a rate anywhere as low as 10% or as high as 30%.  They do this to purposely artificially inflate their sales numbers and maintain that #1 spot to help make it look like they are doing better than they actually are.  like with the previous tactic this also hurts shops as it can have them stuck with even more books that won’t sell than beforehand.

4. Lack of Returnability:  Admitingly this isn’t solely a Marvel problem other publishers make their books none returnable at times as well, however this is even more damning for Marvel given as previously mentioned they severly overship books at times which makes the lack of returnability even more annoying to shops.

 

5. Everyone is To Blame But Me!:   It is not uncommon for an individual or corporation to look for a scapegoat to blame their failures on, however when it becomes a constant habit to blame everyone but yourself at every turn and deny or dismiss any wrong doings or criticisms it becomes unwearyingly unprofessional and unfair to those who have followed and supported you in the past.  Marvel will never admit they are wrong they will blame everyone else, the stores, the fans, the artists, diversity, critics, social media, everything and everyone except the man in the mirror.  It also doesn’t help they seem to encourage their writers to do this as well, as people like the highly infamous Nick Spencer has displayed this attitude quite frequently over the past year and especially over the past month!

 

6. The Disney Effect: No I won’t come in here and start screaming about how Disney is evil or anything like that, Disney like any corporation is not inherently good or evil and is only as much to either affect due to the people working at the company.  The problem with Disney and how it relates to Marvel is how the corporation has functioned for most of the 21st century.  The sad fact is that for better or worse Disney have become I.P. Hoarders between buying out Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012 the corporation has become determined to collect as Many I.P.s as they can to get even more of that sweet sweet easy money as they ride the pop-culture & nostalgia waves straight to the bank.   From a business perspective this may make sense, however the companies Disney buys out often end up floundering in one aspect, their ability to be patient!  Disney is a company that is used to being on top, they are used to being #1 and they are used to seeing quick results.  This however is not how every company defines success or how every company is able to achieve it.  Disney weather they wish to accept it or not has an unrealistic and short sighted view of success, they and many of the companies they own, Marvel included are far more focused on the short term than the overall long term success of a product.  This mindset has arguably caused an already impatient Marvel comics to become even more so over time, not only due to their own bad habits, but to please their parent company Disney.   Look in comparison to how companies like Warner Bros. & Turner do things.  Warner Brothers which is DC’s parent company like Disney has been around the block for quite awhile, they have had their highs and lows and known the sweet taste of being at the top as well as falling down and eating dirt.  Overall over the past 20-30 years WB has become accustomed to being in second or even third place in the never ending race of entertainment, because of this their various branches as well as their own parent Turner have learned to adapt, experiment and find out what does and doesn’t work for them, overall they are much more focused in what they can do to maintain a stability long term as opposed to short artificially created bursts of success to keep them up top.  Don’t get me wrong, they to can and have gotten greedy and impatient and we have seen the negative fallout from this, but for the most part places like Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. & DC Comics have learned to play it safe and maintain stable steady growth which is a model one could argue Disney, Marvel and the like have not become accustomed to practicing.

 

7. Lies, Lies, Half-Truths & More Lies:  Marvel Constantly lies & misleads readers on their plans or intentions with their books and characters.  While I can understand misdirection to keep readers intrigued or to not reveal an important surprise or plot-point later on in a storyline,  Marvel utilizes this practice far to often which gives readers much less reason to trust them.

 

8. Re-Re-Re-Relaunches and early cancelations:  Over the past 5 years marvel relaunches or releases new books from issue #1 so often that a first issue has become meaningless and the traditional ongoing format has become all but dead to them, this creates instability in the staying power of titles and many readers young and old alike especially those new to comics that Marvel is claiming to go after can easily become discouraged and flat out annoyed by this practice.  when a book you read is going to get canceled or relaunched after just five or six issues you don’t really have much reason to stay with it or trust the publisher to make a book that will be around long enough to find a steady reader base in the future either.

 

and finally…

Lack of Respect:  Marvel comics does not respect anyone or anything, while many companies are accused of it, they are obviously one that does indeed only care about and worship the almighty dollar!  They don’t care how many creators works they ruin, they don’t care how many groups of people they insult or harm with their books, they don’t care about the negative real world implications of their actions, weather it is turning Captain America into a Nazi in a time when fascism is on the rise all around the world thus giving actual fascists the ability  to use a symbol meant to oppose them as one to support them, or marginalizing and attacking already oppressed divers groups when their books don’t sell or attacking and cannibalizing the very industry they along with DC, EC and the like helped create.  Marvel will happily step on anyone and everyone just to make a buck, and it is this mindset and practice that makes them a truly horrible comic book publisher.

 

In closing, I know by now a lot of you will attack me and accuse me of just being a jerky DC fan boy who is trying to besmirch Marvel’s good name however I assure you that is not the case.  Growing up I didn’t care if a cartoon, comic or movie was DC or Marvel, I just wanted to enjoy my time with the heroes, I loved watching Spider-Man & X-Men just as much as Batman & Superman,  and the first superhero comic I ever bought wasn’t a DC book, but a Marvel one, an issue of Captain America in the late 90’s.  I don’t know what drew me to it, I knew nothing of the character back then, but over Batman or X-Men I chose an issue of Cap, and while it didn’t entertain me as much as the cartoon counterparts of superheroes at the time it did make me realize that superhero comics were still alive and well and from then on aside from the kids comics I already bought I would also get books like Justice League, Flash, Spider-Man and later on Teen Titans, Infinite Crisis, X-Men, etc.   And that is why this bothers me so much, DC & Marvel are the creators of heroes and the custodians of modern mythology they have an obligation to use their power for good but lately, it seems all they are doing is using it for evil.

 

And that my friends is why I for one cannot forgive Marvel comics for what they have done as of late whether it is the bastardization of Captain America by turning him into a Nazi/Fascist power symbol or the unfair blame put on diversity and crappy practices of the publisher, there is just to much dirt in the pie to make it worth eating.

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Godshaper Issue #1 Review

Publisher: Boom Studios5797765-01.jpg

Writer: Simon Spurrier

Artists: Jonas Goonface

Letters: Colin Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This month Boom Studios! launched Godshaper a new mini-series by Simon Spurrier and Joans Goonface.  Is this supernatural adventure worth a read or does it not stand a ghost of a chance?  Lets take a look.

 

The world of Godshaper is one where every individual has their own personal spirit or God at their side to help them with their day to day lives.  As the book puts it they are essentially everything from accessories, guardians, banks anything a person needs them to be.  The main character Ennay is a Godshaper a person with the unique ability to take and mold Godflesh and change the appearance and nature of others Gods.  Without spoiling too much  The first issue of the book mostly focuses on explaining the rules of the world and setting up the story and characters introducing us to Ennay and his helper Bud and the world they live in.  We also get to see them meet with a client as well as the negative results of his actions.  The first issue ends on a cliffhanger that gets the reader excited for the next issue.

 

In terms of structure the story is well paced and does a good job of doing what it sets out to do, it manages to make Ennay an interesting enough character and put him in an interesting enough world to get the reader on board for the concept and looking forward to future issues.  Simon Spurrier’s script is also helped by Jonas Goonface’s colorful artwork which is both lively and subdued when needed and truly helps brings out the essence of the story.  Overall Godshaper is off to a decent start and I look forward to seeing where the series is taken as it progresses.

 

Final Grade

Story: 7 out of 10

Art: 7 out of 10

Overall 7 out of 10 

Action Comics #977 Review

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Publisher: DC Comics

Written By: Dan Jurgens

Art By: Ian Churchill, Hi-Fi

Letters By: Rob Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Action Comics #977 is one of the many Superman books to deal with the fallout of the recent Superman Reborn event and gives readers some more clarification on the new merged timeline for the hero.  We find Lois & Clark working back at the Daily Planet with Perry White being their son Jon’s Godfather.  The two only have vague memories of what happened when Mxy kidnapped Jon but both have a feeling that something stil isn’t quite right.  Meanwhile a mysterious figure is going around contacting a number of Superman’s foes in hopes of forming an alliance.  While this is going on Clark goes to the Fortress of Solitude and has the computer retell his origin story.  Everything seems to be in order until the very end where he hears a secondary voice and we see a small figure in one of the fortresses crystals.

 

In terms of story Jurgens remains on track with his current Action Comics run and it is still quite obvious he has a long term plan as to where he wants his stories to go within the greater scope of Rebirth.  Ian Churchill and Hi-Fi continue to do a solid job on art duty giving detail and color to the comic that helps make it visually pleasing and keeps the reader engaged in the story.  My only complaint is even if the reason is justified, seeing Superman’s origin for the umpteenth time is somewhat tedious.  That aside though Jurgens and co continue to bring us one of the most constantly enjoyable runs on action since Morrison back in 2011.

 

Final Score

Story: 7

Art: 8

Overall: 7.5

Thoughts on: Ben10 Reboot! (2017)

 

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Reboots & Launches of popular IP’s are common place in American media, especially amongst series in the superhero genre.  It is a way for companies to publishers to keep their characters fresh and relevant for a new generation of readers and viewers.  However like with anything else the various incarnations of these heroes can be met with positive or negative feedback from their fans.  Today we will take a look at one of the newest heroes to get a reboot; Ben10!

 

First off I will admit right off the bat that growing up as a kid I despised the original Ben10 and really never had any interest in its various sequels /movies /spinoffs /specials /etc.   And this was because around the time Ben10 originally aired in the middle of the 00’s like many I was a teenager in that “everything replacing the shows I used to watch sucks” phase. To me Ben10 was just a wannabe a show that tried to capture the spirit of popular DC superhero cartoons and anime without putting any of the effort in.  I acknowledge though I was most likely in the minority of individuals in that mindset as the series became one of Cartoon Network’s most popular original series for a good number of years not only amongst those who were kids in the ought’s but  some nineties kids as well who saw it as one of the last hold outs of shows with that classic action cartoon vibe to it, and I can see where they are coming from, looking back the original Ben10 has that late 90’s Saturday morning cartoon feel to it to a degree, however even looking at the previous incarnation from a more objective and mature standpoint I still can’t say I care for it all that much.

 

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So here is where I will most likely get a fair amount of shade thrown at me, but oh well.  Overall I find the 2017 incarnation of Ben10 to be the most entertaining version yet!  The characters are all fairly lively and Ben & Gwen act like real kids not just stereotypes of what adults think kids act like, they have fun, relax and bicker with each other but not to a cliché extreme like the originals did. This gives their dynamic a more natural feel which benefits both characters and makes both much less annoying than they were in the past.  The color pallet of the show is also much brighter and more visually appealing and the characters redesigns really breath new life into them and visually it seems to fit somewhere between Be Cool Scooby Doo and Gravity Falls, making for a cute yet quirky visual experience. The shortened run-time of episodes also helps the series in my opinion because like with the original Powerpuff Girls or Courage it feels like something is always happening, it is fast paced enough to keep the viewer engaged in the episode while still being contained enough to not feel as disjointed and manic as something like Teen Titans Go!  While like TTG & last years PPG reboot it is more on the comedic side than the action side it never feels like it is over doing it, there is a good balance between humor and action that in my book puts the show closer to series like Regular Show, only instead of two friends working at a park this is two kids spending the summer traveling the U.S. with their Grandpa.   Overall I just find this new version much more enjoyable and entertaining.

 

At the end of the day like with any reboot or reimagining your personal enjoyment of this series will vary and I understand why some hardcore fans of the original series may not be on board with this new incarnation and that like TTG! and PPG16 that it will be yet another show that will be divisive amongst Cartoon Network and Superhero fans.  I myself though would urge to give the show a chance, if you are a 90’s kid you should have grown out of your “everything sucks” stage by now and to all those ought’s babies out there don’t make the same mistakes we did, don’t let nostalgia goggles and confirmation bias cloud your judgement take in every new experience you have, even something as simple as watching a cartoon with all the same innocence you did as a child, let a work speak for itself and analyze how it holds up on its own terms not how it works compared to the past.  If you like it great and if you still dislike it that’s fine too.  I guess all I am saying is, give the new Ben10 a chance!  If you do I think you might just be pleasantly surprised. 😉

 

Season 1 of Ben10 2017 is currently airing weekdays on Cartoon Network.

Why You Should Be Reading: Boom Studios! Comics

 

In our third installment of WYSBR we take a look at the indie publisher that could Boom Studios! and why you should be reading their books.

 

 

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Indie Edge:  Boom! Studios may be a smaller publisher but they have a nice variety of diverse independent content, with more recent hits like Godshaper and other classics like The Woods, Giant Days, Grass Kings and the upcoming Misfits City from comedy, to adventure to scifi and more there is something for all types of comic book readers.

 

 

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Franchised Fun: Like many independent publishers Boom also has a fair share of books based on popular films & cartoons.  These range from all-ages series based on popular Cartoon Network properties like Adventure Time, Steven Universe and Over The Garden Wall, to books aimed at slightly older audiences like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers & Planet of The Apes.

 

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All-Ages Diversity:  Like with any good publisher inclusiveness & diversity are an important part of what makes Boom! Studios books work.  From critically acclaimed series like Lumberjanes to fun and fantastic books like Goldie Vance, Mega Princess & Backstagers  Boom has produced some amazing all-ages titles incorporating and celebrating LBGTQ, Female and colored leads for fans young and old alike to read and enjoy.

 

And those are three reasons you should check out Boom! Studios works ASAP!