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Weekly Comic Book Roundup #11

Justice League, Volume 1: The Totality

(Justice League (2018) #1)

by Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author), Jorge JimenezJim Cheung (Illustrations), Doug Mahnke

The Synopsis

A brand-new era begins here! Comics legends Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung launch the Justice League into a cosmos-shaking mystery that will draw out their most terrible foes…in ways our heroes couldn’t possibly imagine!

The League was forced to make an impossible decision…and now its time to face the consequences! The returning Martian Manhunter struggles to protect the team from an incoming threat that will shatter the world as they know it, while a familiar face strikes out on a dark path…

Spinning out of the cataclysmic events of Dark Nights: Metal and the universe-defining No Justice, the core members of the Justice League–Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and more–are finally reunited for an adventure for the ages!

One of the most critically acclaimed authors of his generation finally scribes DC’s flagship title in Justice League Vol. 1! Collects Justice League #1-7.

The Verdict

A fantastic new era in Justice League comics, fans are going to love the return of Martian Manhunter, and the more chaotic, darker and visceral storytelling thanks to the return of the new Legion of Doom. Pushing the heroes to the limit, fans are in for a treat with breathtaking artwork, a large cast of characters, and new teammates that will bring new chemistry to the team overall. The writers do an excellent job of pushing the ever-growing mythology of the DC Multiverse as the Totality leans into an ever darker history that the heroes never realized existed before. A must-read!

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Cyborg, Volume 1: The Imitation Of Life

(Cyborg (2016) #1)

by John Semper Jr. (Writer)

The Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Half-man, half-machine and longtime member of the Justice League, Cyborg faces his faces a fatal systems crash over his latest indentity crisis: Is he truly more dead than alive?

Vic Stone is about to get a real-life 404 error when his father doesn’t recognize him and cybernetic implants that saved his life seem to be stripping away the last bits of his humanity. Will Cyborg’s human side win out? Or will he find out he’s really just a machine who thinks he’s a man?

From John Semper Jr., one of the minds behind the hit ’90s TV show Spider-Man: The Animated Series, comes Cyborg’s next adventure in his very own solo series!

CollectingCyborg 1-6, Rebirth

The Verdict

A well written narrative that explores a character often reserved for team-up storylines, Cyborg shines brightly as the reluctant hero who must embrace his powers, his changed life and the role he must play in his home of Detroit. With a fantastic plot growing between a long held secret of his father’s and the complex relationship Cyborg and his father have make this a one of a kind read that fans of the Rebirth era will love. 

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Communication Breakdown

(All-New Guardians of the Galaxy (Collected Editions) #1)

by Gerry Duggan (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Aaron Kuder (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

A new era of cosmic adventure begins! The Guardians of the Galaxy have taken off into space once more on their biggest and weirdest misadventures yet! Kicking things off with the boldest heist they’ve ever pulled, Star-Lord, Rocket and company blast their way through the galaxy -with the peacekeepers of the Nova Corps hot on their tail! And soon enough, they find themselves caught in a war between the Collector and the Grandmaster! Will there be any room to explain why Groot can’t grow any bigger, what Gamora is searching for, or why Drax has sworn off violence?! You bet there will – the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy has space for all your Marvel Cosmic needs!

COLLECTING: ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2017) 1-2, 4, 6, 8, 10, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 1

The Verdict

Fun, adventurous and a great example of team building mixing with character development for the team that has become Marvel’s favorite group of A-Holes, (yes I included an MCU reference. You know you were thinking it too). Exploring the ramifications of Secret Wars on the new Marvel universe, the humor and unique artwork of this series brings the original chemistry of the Guardians into the ever-growing landscape of the universe as a whole. A great read for Marvel fans. 

The Man of Steel

(Man of Steel (2018) #1-6)

by Brian Michael BendisAlex Sinclair (Illustrator), Ivan Reis (Illustrator), Joe Prado (Illustrator), Jason Fabok (Illustrator), Evan Doc Shaner (Illustrator), Steve Rude (Illustrator), Ryan Sook (Illustrator) , Wade Von Grawbadger (Illustrator), Kevin Maguire (Illustrator), Adam Hughes (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

After revolutionizing superhero storytelling in such classic titles as Ultimate Spider-ManDaredevil and New Avengers, acclaimed comics author Brian Michael Bendis brings that same magic to the DC Universe with this explosive new Superman saga. Featuring the work of artists including Jos Luis Garca-Lpez, Ivan Reis, Jason Fabok, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Steve Rude, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire and Adam Hughes–The Man of Steel marks the beginning of an amazing new era for Superman!

A remorseless killer called Rogol Zaar has arrived on Earth, bringing wide-scale death and destruction in his wake. Only Superman and his cousin, Supergirl, stand between Zaar and the completion of his mission–the utter annihilation of the Kryptonian race.

But even as Kal-El and Kara struggle to contain this new existential threat, the world’s greatest superhero faces a completely different challenge in his adopted home city of Metropolis, where Clark Kent still lives and works–but without his wife and son.

The stage is set for a reckoning like nothing Superman has ever faced, and everything that matters to the Man of Steel hangs in the balance!

Collects The Man of Steel #1-6 and stories from DC Nation #0 and Action Comics #1000

The Verdict

A great new chapter in the world’s most iconic superhero’s story ever told. Superman’s life as a father and husband changes greatly, and not only do fans get a chance to explore what happened to change that, but they witness the emergence of a deadly new foe for Superman, Rogol Zaar. Exploring a new take on the destruction of Krypton brings about a new level of change personally for the Man of Steel, and his place in the DC Universe takes on a whole new meaning in this amazing story. 

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Star Wars: Darth Maul

(Star Wars: Marvel Miniseries)

by Cullen Bunn (Goodreads Author), Luke Ross (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Raised on hate, fear and anger…steeped in the ways of darkness…and trained to kill! Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows – now at last his tale of revenge is revealed! It’s a story of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the hated Jedi. But when a Jedi Padawan is captured by sinister forces, why is Maul so determined to fi nd her? And what role will a band of bounty hunters, including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing, play? Get to know the galaxy’s deadliest Zabrak like never before!

COLLECTING: DARTH MAUL (2017) #1-5

The Verdict

One of the Star Wars universe’s greatest threats and a truly fan favorite character/villain, Darth Maul’s story and evolution as a character went from a one-film villain to an integral figure in the shaping of the entire modern day Star Wars universe. Getting to explore his growth into the villainous Sith he was in the Phantom Menace film to the deep seated hatred he grew to have for the Jedi overall helps showcase his character’s mindset and arc overall in the films, televisions shows and comics overall. A must read for all Maul fans. 

Weapon X, Vol. 1: Weapons of Mutant Destruction Prelude

(Weapon X (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Greg Pak (Goodreads Author), Greg Land (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Decades ago, the Weapon X Program produced the deadliest mutant killers on the planet. Now, with more research, more funding and more Adamantium at its disposal, the all-new Weapon X Program isn’t just experimenting on mutants anymore…it’s eradicating them – all of them -using killer cyborgs that can hide in plain sight. Now it’s up to the uneasiest of all alliances -between Old Man Logan and his once bitter enemy Sabretooth – to hunt down the revived Weapon X program and stomp it out before it gets any stronger. They’ll need a whole lot of luck and maybe that’s where Domino comes in? But what could make Weapon X and its mysterious new director turn their sights on the Totally Awesome Hulk? The Weapons of Mutant Destruction are coming – and there will be blood! COLLECTING: WEAPON X 1-4, TOTALLY AWESOME HULK 19

The Verdict

A great story bringing together some of the best X-Men characters out of the infamous Weapon X program, fans are treated to a look at one of the toughest, most brutal fighters in the Marvel Universe. Fantastic artwork showcases the harsh reality of the team’s missions, and the dark humor that some of the team infuses into their dialogue that keeps the character interactions flowing smoothly. A great read in the modern Marvel era. 

Cable, Volume 1: Conquest

(Cable (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by James Robinson (Text), Carlos Pacheco (Illustrator), Ed BrissonThony Silas (Illustrator), Zac Thompson (Goodreads Author), Lonnie Nadler (Goodreads Author), Clayton Crain (Illustrator), German Peralta (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Speak softly – and carry a huge gun! Cable, everyone’s favorite time-traveling, cyborg-armed walking mutant arsenal, is embarking on a brand-new mission…with all of time in the balance! When Cable picks up the trail of a threat in the timestream, he sets off on a high speed, history-spanning chase to save reality as we know it. From prehistory to the modern day, whether it’s a six-gun duel at high noon or a sword fight high above the kingdom, Cable is the only man who can keep history from unraveling! The fate of all reality rests on his massive shoulder pads…and that’s exactly the way he likes it!

COLLECTING: CABLE 1-6 

The Verdict

Time travel is one of the oldest traditions in the X-Men portion of the Marvel Universe, and no one does it better than Cable. Getting the first adventure in this comic series to focus on Cable taking on a powerful new foe who is disrupting the time stream is a fun way of getting readers back into the complex world of Cable as a hero. The artwork is amazing and the story does a marvelous job of combing the past and the future into a seamless storyline, making for a fun read. 

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Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Life of X

(Astonishing X-Men (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author) (Text), Jim Cheung (Illustrator), Mike Deodato (Illustrator), Ed McGuinness (Illustrator), Carlos Pacheco (Illustrator), Ramon Rosanas (Illustrator), Mike del Mundo (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Charles Soule and a stellar roster of superstar artists unite to put the Astonishing back in the X-Men! An ancient evil is attacking the world’s most powerful minds. It will have them by the time you finish this sentence, and a moment later, it will have us all. A band of X-Men discovers the truth behind the threat, but is there any time left for Psylocke, Old Man Logan, Bishop, Archangel, Fantomex, Rogue and Gambit? In an action-packed X-epic, they must head to the astral plane in pursuit of…the Shadow King! But in this brain-bending mindscape, not everything is as it seems, and reality is a relative concept. Will this impromptu squad of X-Men be able to contain the chaos from spilling out into the world?

COLLECTING: ASTONISHING X-MEN 1-6

The Verdict

One of the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe makes a play for the Marvel Universe in this first outing of the Astonishing X-Men in the modern Marvel era. A unique collection of mutant heroes come together to face the powerful Shadow King, with the British government hot on their heels after a powerful attack in London. The rise of one of the most iconic and powerful X-Men comes full circle in this story, and introduces a new era of the X-Men universe as well. A must read. 

Rogue & Gambit: Ring of Fire

(Rogue & Gambit #1-5)

by Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Pere Pérez (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Everybody’s favorite X-couple is reunited! And boy, are they not happy about that… Kitty Pryde must send Rogue and Gambit on an undercover mission to find a group of kidnapped mutants. What they discover on this mission will shock them. But will it also bring them closer together…? It’s a high-stakes adventure caper that only the two hottest X-Men can deliver!

COLLECTING: ROGUE & GAMBIT 1-5

The Verdict

A fantastic character study of one of the X-Men’s most popular relationships, this series does an excellent job of delving into the history and power of the romance between Rogue and Gambit. From their first moment together and beyond, the two struggle as Rogue feels the relationship is broken beyond repair, while Gambit remains hopeful their love is stronger than the past. In the midst of this character dive comes a new mystery of disappearing mutants, a creepy retreat in paradise and experimentation gone wrong. A great mix of old school and new school artwork brings this story full circle. A must-read X-Men series!

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Blue Beetle, Vol. 1: The More Things Change

(Blue Beetle (2016) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Keith GiffenScott Kolins (Artist, Co-Plotter), J.M. DeMatteisRomulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist), Josh Reed (Letterer)

The Synopsis 

Bonded to the Blue Beetle Scarab, teenager Jamie Reyes has no idea what he’s doing with one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. But he’s in luck, because his predecessor–Ted Kord–is back in the DC Universe and here to serve as the young hero’s mentor! Alongside fellow teen hero Doctor Fate, this duo will have to learn how to be heroes on the fly!

Written by the legendary Keith Giffen (Legion of Super-Heroes) and illustrated by Scott Kolins (The Flash), Blue Beetle is back for a new generation as a part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

CollectingBlue Beetle 1-6, Rebirth

The Verdict

A great blending of generations of heroes, the story explores the Rebirth era origins of the mysterious Scarab that turns teen Jamie Reyes into a powerful force of nature known as the Blue Beetle, and the mentoring done by longtime hero and Justice League adjacent hero Ted Kord, aka the Blue Beetle. The contentious relationship between mentor and mentee brings the fight with the Scarab to the forefront, and the inclusion of longtime DC powerhouse Dr. Fate makes this comic filled with magic. A great DC Rebirth era series. 

anthonyonrequest:

It’s Good to Be Bad:

Why Suicide Squad Excels and Why the Criticism Is Unfounded

*SPOILER Warning* (This review contains some spoilers, in an effort to explain my personal opinion towards this film)

DC’s most anticipated film has finally arrived! Suicide Squad is in theaters, and despite critic reviews panning the film, the blockbuster is set to light up the box office. Better yet, the reviews from general audiences are much more favorable and showcase the excellent power of the star-studded cast.

In the film, Amanda Waller creates a task force made up of the most dangerous criminals in the world to combat threats from the growing metahuman community. Things quickly spiral out of control and the task force must find a way to work together to stop a world shattering evil.

First, I have to say, I love this film. The music, the comic book lore and the incredible cast are all the driving force behind the fantastic film. David Ayer did a marvelous job of bringing his signature gritty filmmaking and the fun, adventure quality of the comic books. So much of this film felt like it was lifted from the pages of the comics themselves, and the performances from Will Smith’s Deadshot, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Jared Leto’s Joker and Jay Hernandez El Diablo all were fantastic. Perhaps the most frightening character in the film was the cold hearted Amanda Waller, brought to life beautifully by Viola Davis. Her cool demeanor and tough exterior made her the most dangerous villain in the film, which is saying something.

Now in order to dive into my opinions on the film, some spoilers will be discussed. Turn away now if you don’t want to know….

Still here? Ok, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now the problems I saw “critics” complaining about were the plot, main villain and amount of backstory per character. I had no issues with any of these things, and I’m going to explain why.

The plot was not a wholly original one, yet it worked. The film was not intended to be about the plot, but rather a character study. It was about the characters and their ability (or inability) to work together. The villain of the film turns out to be The Enchantress, an ancient evil witch that possesses June Moon, whom team leader Rick Flagg falls in love with. The Enchantress releases her brother, Incubus, and together they begin building a machine to destroy the human race and take over the world. I love that they added the romance between Flagg and Moon, bc it gave a new depth and motivation to two characters that otherwise may have come across as cold or simple, not complex.

The biggest complaint is that this is an overplayed plot device. To that I have two points. 1, it’s a villain team up comic book movie, so of course the threat is going to be on a global scale. 2, the villain isn’t an overcomplicated one. It’s an evil that wants world domination, and that’s a good thing. While I love Marvel films, they have only had one or two villains I actually like (Loki and Red Skull). The hit Marvel film this summer, Civil War, had no villain to write home about. He was a revenge seeking ex soldier who used old Hydra files to tear the heroes apart, but he didn’t exude a clear and present danger in the film.

The Enchantress is finally a true villain that lives up to her comic book namesake. She’s feral, ruthless and even gets physically involved in the final battle. She was a fantastic first villain in this series, and Cara Delevingne did a wonderful job of bringing her to life.

What I appreciate about DC comics films is the gritty, dark world the films create. I like variety in my films, and while I’m a huge Marvel fan, DC has always been a darker toned comic company, and I like seeing a difference between the two companies playing out on film. The dark, often funny yet emotional tone of this film really kept me entertained.

Finally, the backstory for each character was perfect. It was just enough to keep the audience interested and leave us wanting more from them in future films. If each character was given a 15-20 backstory, the film would be five hours long. Plus, the inclusion of Batman, The Flash and The Joker as background characters was a great call. They added just enough to the film to keep the audience interested and eager to see them more in the future. The Joker was a part of Harley’s character growth, and Leto’s performance has left me excited for more of him in the larger DC universe.

Overall, Suicide Squad was an A+ film. The critics seem to not understand comic book movies, and seem to not have the ability to just enjoy a film for what it is anymore. This isn’t an “Oscar” worthy film, but it’s fantastic nonetheless. I loved the blend of science fiction, real world grit and magic, because that’s what DC Comics has always been about. This is a work of art that I will see over and over again, and I’m so excited for the future of DC films. Be sure to see the film for yourself now if you haven’t yet, and if you did let me know what you thought in the comments below!

@suicidesquadsource
@rockonrequest

Check out my review of Suicide Squad on my official blog over on On Request Magazine!