Hyperion: Daddy Issues Review

I’m back here for the second part of this DC and Marvel counterpart review. Gonna cap things off now with Hyperion, Marvel’s Superman (well the most blatant one.)

Like Nighthawk, Hyperion ended up in the main Marvel universe but decided to become a truck driver to explore America. At one stop he is approached by a girl named Doll who is on the run from some evil carnies. Hyperion fights them back and now they’re on a road trip style adventure to stop this carnival. Also, Hyperion’s murder of Namor doesn’t go unnoticed so a battle with Iron Man occurs.

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Alright like Nighthawk this book was cancelled at issue six and while it wasn’t as bad as Nighthawk it still wasn’t very good. There are positives though so I wanna mention those at least. The art was pretty good, it’s bright and clean and gives this road trip story an indie feel. It works well when there are horror elements to the story like the Carnies powers and designs. Hyperion, aka Mark, while having the Superman knockoff origin story and abilities, has a little bit of personality. He is more grizzled and knowledgeable and is just a pretty cool character in his own way. The new character for the story, Doll, is an alright contrasting character to him. She’s got a generic overexcited, tomboy personality but it’s not annoying like most characters like this.

Now for the negative side of things. First, the villains were weak. They were just weird carnies and only one was a threat to Hyperion in battle and he gets taken out first. After that they’re just a bunch of hillbillies fighting a Superman so obviously there’s no tension. Iron Man is another villain in the story technically and he was just annoying. He’s written to try and be witty and snarky and he just doesn’t shut up. I think this was done so you’d want Hyperion to beat him up, which he does really easily.

I’m pretty mixed on this book but I do think the pros do outweigh the cons in the end, so I can’t call this rubbish. If you like the character or want a road trip comic I’d recommend it but for anyone else I’d just borrow it, which is what I did.

Writer:Chuck Wendig

Artist: Nik Virella

Rating: Borrow From A Mate

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Nighthawk: Hate Makes Hate Review

Nighthawk, a member of the Squadron Supreme, is somehow transported to the mainstream Marvel universe and ends up in Chicago. Of course Chicago is in the middle of racial tension as a police officer is currently on trial for the shooting of an unarmed black teenager. There is also a string of murders as white people who have somehow caused problems for black people are being killed off. Nighthawk straps on his Yeezys and teams up with a woman named Tilda to fight some white supremacists and take down the serial killer.

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So after reviewing those two comics starring DC’s flagship character’s, Superman and Batman, I just happened to read two Marvel comics about their counterparts, Hyperion and Nighthawk. Hyperion will be the next review but I wanted to talk about Nighthawk first.

Nighthawk really isn’t good. This series was cancelled at issue six so this is the only volume and I can understand why. None of the characters are interesting, the plot is so boilerplate and uninteresting, the murder mystery is one of the worst I’ve seen, and the art has one very big problem.

First off, Nighthawk himself isn’t well written here. He has flashbacks to his parents telling him to control his rage but it never has any resolution, he just ignores them really. Him going too far and struggling to control it could be interesting but it’s just not handled well, especially because he murders so many people right at the beginning. The other characters include his assistant, his Alfred, Tilda who is so obnoxious. She just goes on and on about how she used to be this great supervillain and that she fought Captain America once. She’s like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, just living in the past. Me not knowing who she even was before this comic makes her bragging all the more annoying. Also in this book are just cliche cops who all act like rookies or are just corrupt and rich, racist white guys.

Secondly, the story is weak. The murderer, The Revelator, is just killing bad white people who have done things to black people. He doesn’t really have a personality and all of his motivations are told by other characters. The worst thing would have to be how it teases this mystery about who the Revelator is but you never get the answer. Nighthawk goes to research the guy but then it becomes a message about how the murderer could just be anyone who feels oppressed.  The secondary story about this rich evil white guy selling guns is terrible too. He has the most cliche motivation, money.

My last point is going to be on the art. It’s fairly decent and I liked the covers for this series. However, their is an odd coloring decision I have to address. For whatever reason blood is colored pink for the most part. It takes any seriousness out of the gory fight scenes. Even worse though is the final issue, where in a very important scene a character has brown blood just smeared all over him. It just looks ridiculous and removes all impact from the scene.

Overall Nighthawk was a bad and sloppy comic. Nothing came together and this comic was canned really quickly and will be forgotten just as quickly.

Writer: David F. Walker

Artist: Ramon Villalobos

Rating: Rubbish

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Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (The New 52)

Ay Vintage Bullet is back.

After the mysterious death of a John Doe, Batman heads into an investigation where the prime suspects are the Court of Owls, a legend among Gotham about a society that has been running the town for centuries. Batman brushes it off as just a story and his reasons for ignoring such a lead is revealed throughout the book. We also learn a lot about the origins of Gotham, the Wayne Tower, and Bruce’s own family.

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Here’s a really big book I haven’t been able to talk about yet. As a casual fan of the Bat franchise I was never inclined to pick of any of Scott Snyder’s solo series, despite the rave reviews. But now I have read the first volume I can deliver probably the exact opinion that most people have, it’s pretty good.

Snyder writes all the characters very naturally where Bruce, Dick, and Alfred all read like they should. There’s a few new characters but they don’t really have personality except for Lincoln March, who’s a lot like Bruce though. The Talon doesn’t say much but he doesn’t need to, he’s a mostly silent assassin. Old Rogues make an appearance only in the first couple pages of the story but they look and act like they usually do. There’s a cool cameo by Pyg too in the group shot.

One of the key strengths of course in any comic is the art and Manapul’s is amazing. It’s simple but effective in the earlier issues and then goes full on insane in the later issues. Issue five is my favorite of the seven issues included in this collection simply for so many reasons. Seeing Batman at such a low point is amazing and the way he goes through the labyrinth while descending into madness makes for a visually interesting issue. The comic itself actually starts to turn it’s way upside down until the climax.

My complaints are minor and any big problem I’d have is related to this story arc only being half over with the “City of Owls” being covered in the next volume. One scene that felt out of character was in the final issue where, no spoilers, someone gets punched for no real reason except it looked cool. All and all it’s pretty good on it’s own but the next volume will make this story much more complete.

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Francis Manapul

Rating: Full Price

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Juicy Reviews: Smallville Season Eleven- Volume Two: Detective

 I’d like to thank the Vintage Reviewer for allowing me to review on his site once again!

COMIC REVIEW: We are back with “Smallville Season Eleven- Volume Two: Detective,” which is written by Brian Q. Miller (Batgirl [2009], Earthward) and penciled by Chris Cross (Blood Syndicate, Firestorm), Jamal Igle (Arrow Vol. 1, Superboy Vol. 5: Paradox), Kevin West (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Axel Gimenez (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Action Comics). When Bruce Wayne aka Batman gets a lead on where the man who killed his parents is, he is sent to Metropolis for further investigation. His tactics on finding the murderer may be too destructive, however, as Superman intervenes.

This comic series of “Smallville” seems to be in its sophomore slump with this next graphic novel. With a key player such as Batman, you would think that this would make for a great read, but in fact it isn’t that good. Why? For starters, this feels like more of a coincidental, happy-go-lucky meeting of the two titular characters than something grand. Bruce Wayne needs to interrogate someone, Superman won’t let him, things get messy, and then they begin to see that there is a bigger picture to this. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments in this plot that I liked, but overall it was mediocre. Many things felt crammed in for the sake of it, especially the villains. I won’t spoil who shows up, but they were randomly thrown in for no apparent reason. To be honest, this is one of those stories that is a detour of the main arc, that being Lex Luthor’s evil plan. It wasn’t showcased in this novel whatsoever, and Batman and Superman’s conflict felt like a short confrontation to excite fans. The thing is, I wasn’t really excited. I’ve already seen them face off in this year’s “Batman v. Superman” (which was awful, by the way), so I wasn’t clamoring for another deadly meeting.

Still, their chemistry was pretty good, and Miller knows how to make things interesting, even when working with such a hollow plot. Taking a step back and looking at the whole novel, however, I can definitely tell that Miller found trouble in ending this short story, for the first half was better than the second. Moving on, let’s look at the characters. This time around, everyone seems to be shifting into new forms. Not necessarily physical, but how they act. Everyone is learning new things, and new discoveries are to be found in this novel. One thing that has changed in a peculiar way is Lex Luthor. The man is turning into a much different person than in the show. He is a little nicer, jokes around a lot, and constantly talks to himself (technically it’s Tess, but you know what I mean). I don’t know what to think of this new Luthor. I smile at the jokes, but I don’t know if this is how he should act. I will admit that he is the most interesting pawn on this shallow board though. His issues with Tess are well-written and I am eager to see what happens next with him. As for the other characters, no one has moved forward. Sure, things are discovered, but it’s more for the readers sake than the characters in the novel. This plot is essentially one of those filler episodes of a season where the writers take a break from the main story just so they can meet the episode count of their season. Being as how this is a comic series, this shouldn’t happen. Finally, we get to the artwork, which is pretty bland. The art seemed to be my only big problem with the last graphic novel, and those feelings continue with this one. As you can see, I listed four pencilers above, all of whom worked on the art for the individual comics that make up this graphic novel. What half of them share in common, coincidentally, is they aren’t that good. The artwork in this was pretty bad, in different aspects. Chris Cross (nice name) found trouble in organizing his work.

Even though his drawings of characters weren’t too shabby (they had the likeness of the actors, which was good), his boxes that made up the pages were jumbled and confusing to follow, making it hard for me to concentrate on the story. Plus, some of his characters would all of a sudden have the eyes of a cartoon cat, making it hilariously bad. Kevin West had to be the worst, as his characters looked like mannequins most of the time, showing very little in the face. Axel Gimenez was fine, even though his characters didn’t show much likeness to the actors, and Jamal Ingle was actually good in his work, save for Superman at times, who had the neck of a giraffe. This comic series has a hard time picking great artists, and I hope that the next novel improves upon this. In the end, I thought that this novel was rather flat, especially when compared to the first. It was a nice detour to the main story arc, but it wasn’t needed, and they could’ve done a better job at introducing Batman to the universe. Let’s hope the next graphic novel isn’t so much of a throwaway.

FINAL SCORE: 70%= Buy for a Bargain

 

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman V Superman stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Jason Momoa. After Superman’s (Cavill) fight with Zod in Man of Steel, Batman (Affleck) makes it his mission to take him down and make him pay for the death and destruction he caused. As these two icons of comics prepare for their battle the world has it’s own battle over their statuses as heroes or villains.

I have made a video on the subject of Batman V Superman. In it I described my thoughts and opinions on the movie before my own viewing. To summarize my points I’d say I wasn’t interested at first, but managed to turn myself around after seeing the final trailer and knowing more about the director, Zack Snyder. I admitted in the video that the plot could turn out to be thin, but in reality the movie has just enough plot to keep me interested.

BVS does a great job of establishing the characters of it’s own universe, separate from the previous ones, while still following the familiar beats that make these characters who they are. Superman does what we expect of him: he saves those in need, he doesn’t want to be seen as a god, despite his power he is still a human being, and that he loves Lois Lane(Adams). Batman is a more angry, vengeful Batman who brands criminals and actually kills some of them. I wasn’t annoyed by his killing, just surprised at the number of bodies he wracked up. I can understand why they changed him, they needed more tension in the fight. The stakes are high in their fight, as someone will die no matter who wins.

Speaking of the fight, it’s one of the highlights of the film. Batman has an interesting assortment of weapons and Superman’s pure strength make a great fight. The hits are brutal and the visuals and sound design escalate it to new heights for a superhero fight. While the fight does end in a little anti-climatic way, it did have a powerful impact once I put it all together. Every fight in the movie is amazing, from the Arkham style fight to the final fight which has great cinematography and editing. There’s a great Batmobile chase scene that looks directly from Arkham Knight.

The villain, Lex Luthor, was one of my favorite parts of the movie. His actions are some of the most evil things I’ve seen a villain do in a superhero movie. He has almost complete control over both main characters and I can feel that everything from the beginning to the end of the movie were all part of his plan. While he’s on screen Jesse Eisenberg is just unpredictable and with his twitching and stuttering it feels like he can explode at any moment. My one con for him is that he does go on too much with his religious metaphors.

The side characters that are here were pretty good to me. Jeremy Irons is a good Alfred and keeps his trademark snarkiness. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is great, especially in the later portions of the movie. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White keeps up his good performance from Man of Steel. Diane Lane as Martha Kent while only in for a short time, gives more life to her character. Amy Adams as Lois Lane is still one of the lesser points of the movie but she has good chemistry with Cavill and Swanwick (Lennix).

Now for a couple cons I had. The movie is a little slow in the beginning as it sets up the world currently. The terrorist and Senate meetings were a little boring, but Holly Hunter as Senator Finch is a good character and the pay off to both plot lines is worth the build up. Henry Cavill was still a little wooden in certain scenes, but he’s good in most scenes and his actions are more indicative to his character than his words.

Now, here’s what must be said of the movie. It certainly does meet the intentions that the movie set out to do. It introduces our characters, creates a reasonable enough reason for them to fight each other, has an exciting fight between them, and it sets up the future of the universe. The movie feels like it’s a grand scale and makes the events feel like big and important. Overall it’s a great movie that could be tightened up in a few places and I hope that the director’s cut can make this an even better movie.

Rating: 91% – 10 piece chicken bucket

Young Justice #1

The marathon continues with a look at Young Justice #1

Three sidekicks: Superboy, Robin (Tim Drake,) and Impulse are hanging out in the Batcave. They’re bored and they bicker back and forth over actually being a team until they awaken Red Tornado, who had withdrawn from society because he believed he had lost his own humanity. Red Tornado says that they annoyed him and that made him realize he still had some humanity.  A crime at an archaeological site gets the team’s attention and they go after it. There’s a lot more here but I don’t want to spoil it.

One of the key elements of any superhero team is establishing a reason for the team’s existence. This first issue of Young Justice manages to do that, while not spending a lot of time dwelling on it. Red Tornado reveals that each member of the team falls into the three Freudian archetypes. This helps set up the origins of each character, while giving some kind of relation to each other. The writing gives every character a unique voice and manages to make each teenage character (who can and usually are written annoyingly,) more depth.

Another big thing in the book’s favor is the comedy. There’s a lot of meta commentary, but it doesn’t break the fourth wall or get distracting. Red Tornado saying he has 19 different files about Hawkman’s origin is pretty funny to me. They also play with the “random person touches an artifact and gets powers” cliche. The banter back and forth is worth a chuckle. In conclusion, it’s a solid, funny start to a series that I look forward to reading.

Writer: Peter David

Artist: Todd Nauck

Rating: Vintage

B∞ster Gold: Blue and Gold

In the spirit of completion, the finale of Geoff Johns’ run on Booster Gold.

After saving Ted Kord from being killed by Maxwell Lord, Booster and the Beetles travel into the time stream. Once they return to their own time, they notice the OMACs roaming the skies. With Lord’s plan to control Earth succeeding, the Blue and Gold must reunite with some unlikely allies.

Johns’ goes out with a bang on this series. An alternate universe story can sometimes be an issue, like in Flashpoint where it was hard to care for these alternate characters. In this series it is subverted by having the location be the a timeline and not another universe so time travelling characters appear by the end to create drama. The original resistance team is an alright group of obscure characters like Mad Dog, Pantha, and Anthro. The world travelling scenes in the middle of the book are my favorite parts and harken back to the JLI era.

If I had one con it would be the predictability of the ending. This alternate timeline is too destroyed to be inhabitable, so they had to restore the timeline in the exact way you would expect. This is made up for by Booster Gold #1,000,000 a call back to the DC One Million event. It wraps up the story nicely with good character moments for Batman, Booster, and Rip Hunter. The art is also a plus, I’m always a fan of Dan Jurgens’ art.

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Dan Jurgens

Rating: Vintage