Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Scott Snyder, James T Tynion IV
Artist: Tony S. Daniel
Issues (Status): #1 of 26 (Ongoing)
Collected Trade: Unknown – Assume Yes
Previous Comic Knowledge Required: I am going to say that quite a lot of prior knowledge is going to be needed for this one, primarily last years 52 Issue series Batman Eternal. This was one hell of a confusing series, so I will point you in the direction of the Comicstorian if you want to know more about it (Batman Eternal Playlist).
Also a few important facts
- Dick Grayson is no longer Nightwing – Instead is a Spy with an organisation called Spyral (Grayson Series)
- Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman – In a recent story, Bruce has lost all of his memories. He knows nothing of being Batman and the decision was made by the Bat-Family to leave it this way and let Bruce have a shot at a normal life.
Basic Synopsis: On a quick mission that brings him back to Gotham, Grayson is attacked by agents of a Villain referred to as ‘Mother’ which leads him to a mystery surrounding all of the Robins.
My Thoughts: When I picked this one up, I will admit it was purely because it is a sequel to Eternal. Now I am not sure they will actually be related in more than name, but I am sure that it will be quite an interesting story.
This issue was all about setting things in place, and does a good job of that. Despite, or perhaps because of, the loss of Bruce as Batman – the Bat-Family is connected a lot more than they appeared to be before. This issue does a good job of selling that fact.
The story started off fairly light hearted with Grayson, Red Hood & Red Robin taking out a minor villain with ease before Grayson goes off to deal with the mission he actually came to Gotham for. It is here that things start to spiral, while Grayson is distracted by the last time he was in this building as Robin he is attacked.
Barely escaping he is shortly attacked by Cassandra Cain, the first time she has been seen in the New 52 properly. After their fight she simply hands him an pen drive, an old format that Batman used to use.
Returning to the BatCave – it is this drive that has the final secret of the issue, a list of all of the Bat-Family and a link to the villain ‘Mother’ – as well as a hologram revelation from Batman.
Recommendation: I might have to say that unless you are following on from Batman Eternal, I would wait a few issues until it starts to show if it’s going to be a good series.
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Bruno Redondo / Mike S Miller / Juan Albarran
Issues (Status): 12 Issues (Complete)
Collected Trade: Yes (released 3rd May 2016 –Amazon)
Previous Comic Knowledge Required: A general knowledge of the DC Comics would probably be useful for an idea of who is who, but you could pretty much get away with just reading Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year’s 1, 2 & 3.
Basic Synopsis: After so long with no interest in the actions of humanity, Superman’s actions in taking control of the world has pissed off Zeus and the rest of the Pantheon. Forcing the Amazonian Army to join with them against Superman, Wonder Woman is left torn as to which side she will take, meanwhile Batman has to find a way to use this to his advantage. But what has caused Zeus to suddenly take an interest in the affairs of earth?
My Thoughts: I am liking the way that Injustice is picking a theme for each of its arcs, it really helps ground the story that could otherwise spiral out of control.
That’s not to say it’s completely grounded, this is a world where Superman and the rest of the Justice League are pretty much in control, the Green Lanterns have been wiped out, Superman was a Yellow Lantern and the Joker nuked Metropolis.
What was good about this year aside from the interactions between the Justice League and the Pantheon, was all the undertone for the greater story of this year.
There are characters within the Justice League that seem to be questioning whether they have gone too far. Lex Luthor has been subtly working in secret on something, as well as assisting the insurgency. Hal Jordan, now a Yellow Lantern, starting to worry about the state of Superman and some of his attitude and decisions. Even the animosity between Flash, Cyborg and Robin could be something that becomes interesting.
The way it wrapped up this year was a bit abrupt, but the hints towards the theme for Year Five were certainly interesting – if I have read them right I can not wait to see what it brings.
Recommendation: This is one of my personal favourite series at the moment, as it puts a new spin on all the characters because it does not have to worry about fitting into the rest of the DC Universe – well worth a buy as a result.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Eric Powell / Tim Wiesch
Artist: Eric Powell
Issues (Status): 4 Issues (Complete)
Collected Trade: Yes (released 17th Dec 2015 – Amazon)
Previous Comic Knowledge Required: Completely Standalone
Basic Synopsis: At its heart this is a dark tale of revenge, proving that nobody should be underestimated when they have been pushed too far.
My Thoughts: When I started reading this series, I had no idea what it was about.
I was pulled in by the cover of the first issue that shows ‘Big Man’ on the cover in military gear with a machete and a necklace of body parts. That was a good sign that this was going to be very different to most of my normal reading list that is heavily superhero based.
I was rewarded for my curiosity with one of the most interesting and dark little tales I have read in while. Hell, you know you are in for an interesting run when you see how he tips the barman that was taking the piss out of him for being a little man, and that shit happens within the first 5 pages of issue one.
Despite never actually learning Big Man’s actual name the series does an incredibly good job of filling you in on his backstory, keying you in to everything you need to know, to understand exactly how he got to the point where towards the end he is scalping his home town sheriff. While the violence is gruesome, he not is truly evil. Nobody who receives his sadistic brand of vengeance is undeserving, and even the parts of the story where he is sparing people carry weight in a wonderful way.
The ending does leave it open for Big Man to return in another series at a later date and as long as the writing stays as solid I am in now way opposed to that, but would be equally as happy to see this be a one and done series.
Recommendation: Grab a copy of this at some point, its well worth a read