Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to My (2-3) Readers

So with Christmas coming I got to thinking, it's been two weeks since my long Jason Todd article/Rant, I need some new topics up on Jason Todd's Comic Spot aka JTCS so I decided that I'll be posting a Recap AND my thoughts on Green Lantern storyline's The Sinestro Corps. War and The Rage of The Red Lanterns. Also I'll talk about who's my favorite Green Lantern's, Sinestro Corp. members, and what I loved and disliked about those specific storylines. So be on the lookout for my girl to you, Deck the Halls with Green Power Rings, and let your fireplace burn like Sinestro's Might! Yeah I'm lame, but you already read it so get over it. ^_^

- Jason Todd

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Can Jason Todd Regain Glory?

So, most people know the story of Jason Todd. No not me, the comic character. Well no, most Comic readers know the story of Jason Todd, the average person wouldn't though. Whereas Dick Grayson and Tim Drake are lucky enough to have been included in Batman video games and Batman cartoons and movies, Jason Todd has not. So the purpose of this article is to give a quick review in Jason's past, his return, his present and how his future could turn out. This is a conflict of interest because Jason is one of my favorite characters and depending on how well received this is with my readers I may do more on other characters. Anyway without further adieu, lets get into this.

Jason's Past

Jason Peter Todd first appeared in Detective Comics issue #524 in 1983. He was basically a clone of Dick Grayson at that time, Grayson-lite, even both of their parents had been killed the same way, except Jason's by Killer Croc. Jason's character along with many others was rebooted in 1985 with Crisis of Infinite Earths and he was given a new background. He'd been introduced to readers as trying to steal the tires from the Batmobile. Bruce found him, took a liking to him and gave him the role of Robin after training Jason. Readers didn't take kind to Jason and felt he paled in comparison to Dick Grayson. DC Got a TON of letters about Jason's character and how people didn't like them so Dennis O'Neal decided to use a phone poll where people could call in and vote on whether they wanted Jason Todd to live or die. In a very close vote the people decided they wanted Jason Peter Todd dead, and in the well known "A Death in the Family" Jason Todd took his then final breath and was killed after being beaten with a Crowbar by the Joker and then blown up. Thanks to the fans Batman was now the Loner he was meant to be...

Jason's Return

So, Jason's dead, in his casket like most dead people and suddenly one day just wakes up. Why? Because a certain Superboy Prime is pounding on the walls of reality, changing stuff, bringing character's back to life, changing the past, making life difficult. Anyway Jason wakes up in his casket, and CLAWS his way out, breaking his nails, blood dripping from his fingers and wills his way across the grave yard, walking 11 miles until his body gives out on a street, where two people find him and take him to the hospital. Bruce meanwhile doesn't know due to him having three sensors lined in the coffin and for break ins but nothing in the case of a break out. So Jason's in the hospital in a coma for over a year before he awakes and leaves, and begins to live on the streets. It's not until Jason's attacked and his body's natural instincts kick in. While fighting an attacker, a hobo and apparent former henchman see's Jason and notices he fights like a certain Caped Crusader's young partner, so he gets word back to our favorite Eco-Terrorist Ra's Al Ghul's daughter Talia.

Talia takes in Jason, who at this point is considered brain dead. It's been three years since Jason's resurrection yet he hasn't uttered a word. Ra's tells Talia he's tired of her pet project that is Jason and she needs to get rid of him. While Ra's goes to take a refreshing dip in the Lazarus pit Talia brings Jason and pushes him in. Jason is revived with all his thoughts, a stylish gray streak in his hair, and possibly a little bit of Ra's insanity. Talia takes Jason to the furthest point of the island, gives him a kiss and pushes him into the water after telling him to swim to the next shore. When Jason arrives he see's that Talia has already planned ahead and has a room for Jason along with money and transportation. Jason steps inside and and see's his death certificate as well as numerous articles that Batman has returned the Joker to jail many times. Naturally Jason is heartbroken and enraged that Batman would allow Joker to keep living after killing Jason. So Jason vows to get revenge, not just on The Joker, but on Batman for not doing what he should have.

Jason goes on to train with the same people that trained Bruce during his eventual donning of the Cape and Cowl. Jason follows in his foot steps learning everything that Batman learned. So in other words he's got the training of Batman as well as training FROM Batman, which you'd think would give him an edge over Grayson, Drake and anyone else who's been trained by Bruce. And of course make him Bruce's equal. Over time, Jason returns to test his skills against Batman while siding with Hush, but discovers he's not ready. So he goes into more practice to train for an eventual fight with his once mentor. Oh and he beats the Joker with a crowbar. That didn't really fit in with this but it's revenge at it's best.

So at this point Jason is someone who wants Vengeance, he wants answers and he wants to be avenged. In all honesty Jason's just a tortured soul at this point, but he's not evil. Sure he's killing guys, but Drug Dealers and people who he feels deserve it. Of course this doesn't sit well with The Bat and they end up having to face off. Jason eventually makes a few appearances with the other Robin's as well, beating up Tim Drake and then saying Drake is a good Robin and killing people dressed as Nightwing before being SAVED by Nightwing was kinda lame but eh. All in all at this point Jason is your basic Anti-hero.

The Battle For the Cowl

(Will Contain Spoilers for those that haven't read BFTC or Batman & Robin #4 - 6)

Earlier this year, Battle For the Cowl started, which will be known as BFTC in the rest of this article. Anyway, Bruce Wayne has been pronounced dead after fighting Darkseid in the pages of Final Crisis. With no Batman, Gotham City falls apart because Batman put fear into the hearts of criminals. Everyone decides that Gotham needs a Batman, so they decide to battle for the right to don the cowl and become the legend that is The Batman. The battle mainly takes place between the former Robin's, Nightwing aka Dick Grayson who doesn't want to take over as Batman, Robin aka Tim Drake who believes the city needs a Batman and will take the role is necessary, and the former Robin, Jason Todd who wants the role of Batman but believes criminals should be killed and not returned to jail to continue their cycle.

Jason kills quite a few criminals in BFTC but snaps and is considered a villain at this point. Jason tries to kill Tim Drake, and also has an epic fight with Dick Grayson that was years in the making. Jason having been trained by Bruce and having the same training Bruce had basically made it as if Dick was taking on Batman. But Alas Jason could not beat Dick, and fell into the um...sea I guess. The perfect metaphor for his fall from grace. Jason would return later this year as The Red Hood taking on a sidekick Scarlet. Even here Jason was a villain yet still showed with compassion and that he had heart, and most of all that he missed Bruce Wayne. Say what you want to but Jason is still just a lost soul at this part that's gone down the wrong path, not much unlike when we were first introduced to a young Jason Todd that one day he decided to steal the tires from The Dark Knight. So as of now Jason is a "criminal psychopath" that's been locked up in the Gotham Police Department and um...for some reason has red hair because apparently Bruce made him dye his hair black. Anyway now Jason has apparently made the cross from anti-hero to villain but I believe the right storyline could easily push him back to the side of the angels so to speak.

Jason's Future?

So where does Jason go from here? There's alot of paths Jason can take and as someone who's a fan of the character I'd hate for him to become another background character that no one takes seriously anymore like Hush or Bane. First things first I say change his hair back black, I mean Grant couldn't have been MORE obvious in calling Jason the proverbial "Red Headed Step-Child" so lets get Jason back to how everyone remembers him with his Black hair. Secondly, take Jason seriously, why is he always getting his ass kicked, I've seen Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, Dick Grayson and a few others completely own Jason. Now Dick I can understand and both Kyle and Donna have powers but you never see Batman getting owned by people with powers. And Jason should be as close to an equal to Batman as anyone. I mean honestly think about it, trained with the same people, both have been in the Lazarus pits, both lost their parents, both want justice, Jason just wants to kill those who have done wrong. One could argue Jason's crazy but one could also argue Bruce Wayne isn't the most sane person around. Also when you take into account that Jason is a master tactician and has been shown to pick his spots, he's used manipulation, he's outwitted numerous members of the Batfamily.

So how can Jason regain credibility? All depends, if you want him to stay as a main villain, do a big reveal, have Jason claim that Damien Wayne is his son. He did live with Talia, and Damian has been proved to be born in a test tube so who's to say that Talia wouldn't go for using the genetic material of someone close to Bruce Wayne is she couldn't get the real deal. After all, Damian did still Jason Todd's Robin suit from the Batcave, could that be something he did subconsciously? From then you have the battle between Bruce and Jason, you have other variables like who will Damian side with, what's Talia's thoughts on this, and where does Ra's come in, does he allow Jason to take the spot that he always wished "The Detective" would?

But that's just one way it could go. Maybe Bruce Wayne does return, and he's taking on enemies that with their combined force can eliminate the Batfamily. They have Bruce and Damian captured and both Tim and Dick as well. They finally plan on exterminating the Bat and his allies for once and all when Jason shows up to save the Batfamily. He doesn't even have to unmask, but plant the seed that maybe it was Jason, and Bruce speculates but can't prove it until finally he pops up again. Apologizing for his past, saying he's found help and that he wants to be on good terms with Bruce. Naturally Bruce would be wary of trusting Jason but as he's never given up on him before he welcomes Jason back to the fold. Then you have Nightwing, Tim and others talking about how Jason can't be trusted, then Jason mekes the ultimate Sacrifice in saving someone in a pivotal role of Batman mythos, maybe it's Alfred, or Bruce, or Dick. But he pushes them out of the way, showing he's reformed and taking the hit himself. Does he die from it or is he saved just in time? Depends on if you want to kill Jason off again or restore him as a great Ally of Batman. Either way there are numerous ways to show that Jason's return was meaningful, but will we see them? Only Time will tell.

- Jason Todd

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Color Corps. Come to Detroit!!!

Jason Todd here, not with a a comic review or anything, just an update. Anyone who's anyone knows about the Blackest Night storyline that's taking DC Comics by storm. So about a week ago I decided I was gonna start  collecting the Color Corp rings. I'd always had an interest in them but after reading X's comments on how awesome they were and how they're not crappy plastic I decided to act upon my collector's instinct.

So I mentioned to my Girlfriend Falisha a.k.a. Poison Quinn of Batmania that I was going to start collecting the rings. A few days later she ran into a huge comic fan in one of her art classes who was wearing a Green Lantern Corp ring. first thought is GL Ring + Art Class = Kyle Rayner? But sadly it's not him. Anyway she told me that the GL Ring he had looks pretty awesome as well so I REALLY wanted to get the collection. So in her spare time today she hit up the Comic Book shop by her and purchased me all 8 Rings for an early Christmas present. Now isn't that awesome, lol. And being the art nerd my girl is she even assembled them in ROYGBIV order, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet and Black last. So thanks to my girl I'm ready for the impending Invasion of the Black Lanterns....and If I can't beat em, I'll throw on my Black ring and join em.

So, now that I've updated my two followers so that was in the story lol, Expect my Jason Todd post within the next week, depending on when I get around to typing it up and when I stop reading Grimm Fairy Tales. Anyway thanks for reading guys.

- Jason Todd

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Welcome to Jason Todd's Comic Spot

 Did you think that Batmania was going to be the last blog I ever did? Well That pic on the right should sum it all up for you.

Hey everyone, the one and only Jason Todd here, you may remember me from Batmania or the Batman Arkham Asylum Forums, if not, you probably don't remember me at all. Anywho, After taking some time off from reviewing comics and a little encouragement from X-Man of , so definitely check that out.

So I was gonna wait until New Years to start this little piece of heaven but I was too anxious, so I started it early. One of the first pieces I'm gonna post within the next few days, when I get around to it is going to be a piece on Jason Todd, his return, how it was basically squandered after having a ton of momentum and what they can do to return him to justice.

So I've imported some of my posts from Batmania for anyone who wants to read any of my past works, I did notice I gave out alot of 8 outta 10 ratings so I need to grade harsher or something. Well anyway Thanks for stopping by, feel free to become a subscriber because follower sounds like I'm leading a cult. And feel free to comment because I'm a very talkative guy.

- Jason Todd

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Superman Vs. Supermen (Blackest Night - Superman #1)

Hey guys, Jason Todd here with your continuation of Blackest Night Coverage. This week marks the beginning of Blackest Night Superman, and based on what issue you have, you may have the Variant cover listed above, which I used the picture of because it looks SO bad ass, I couldn't help it. So, before jumping right into things, I'm gonna go right ahead and say, I didn't used to be a big Superman fan but JLA/JLU and Superman/Batman comics changed that, either way I haven't been following the New Krypton series, but basically from my understanding, Planet Krypton is back with a bunch of Kryptonians and Earth isn't taking too kind to them. Either way, this is mentioned in BN Superman.

Our story starts off with the grave of Kal-L, Earth-Two's Superman, being resurrected from the dead like all the other Black Lanterns we've seen so far. Then we see the residents of what may be the most boring town on the place of the Earth, Smallville. Even they complain on the boring lives they live and how nothing ever happens. We see from the point of view of a Black Lantern for the first time, and we see that they see people based on emotion, and the colors correspond with the Lantern Corp of that emotion. Fear for example is yellow like the Sinestro Corps, Rage shows as Red, like the Red Lantern Corps, and Will of course is Green, like the Green Lantern Corps. It appears as if Black Lantern Superman is feeding off of the fear of these people in the city when he shows up, as each time his power level rises.

We then join the Kents, "Ma" Kent, Clark "Superman" Kent, and the recently resurrected Connor "Superboy" Kent. Their discussing the recent New Krypton news and the dinner their having in memory of the late "Pa" Kent. Then, The Kent boys and Krypto the dog hear something in town, so Clark and Conner go to check it out. They find the Black Lantern Superman resurrected and has dug up the grave of Pa Kent, and is intent on bringing him back as a Black Lantern.

Now as you guys know, I hate ruining the story, so I won't but I will say that I Loved the fact that Lanterns can see in emotion. That is what put this story into overdrive for me, the art was wonderful and the story is very very well written. As someone who hasn't been a fan of Superman for a longtime I was a bit weary about doing this review but the story sucked me in and I honestly don't know if Im more anxious for Blackest Night Superman #2 or Blackest Night Batman #2.

Now Superman isn't the only Black Lantern in this issue but I'll leave the surprise to you guys. But, Like I said earlier, The Art is excellent, the story is quite good, one of the Black Lanterns showing up kinds killed the momentum for me, I won't say which one, but that coupled with the fact that the story seemed so short, right when I was really getting into it, It just ended. It did leave me waning more so that was a big bonus. If you're following Blackest Night, it's definitely worth it to invest in one of the flagship heroes of DC, and check out Blackest Night Superman. Besides the momentum being slown down by the arrival of one of the Lanterns the story was great, the artwork was so detailed that this may be one of my favorite Tie-In's if not my current favorite. Thats why I give Blackest Night - Superman a solid 9/10.

See you guys next week when I continue my Blackest Night Coverage with Blackest Night Titans and Green Lantern #46.

- Jason Todd

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blackest Night: Batman #1

Hey guys, I'm back again, I've been having computer trouble so bare with me, either way,I'm here to jump right into Blackest Night: Batman #1. As you all know I've been the Batmania correspondant I guess you could say for The Blackest Night, and I've also decided to take on the duties of Blackest Night Batman & Superman series. So without further adieu, Lets get into Blackest Night: Batman.

Blackest Night: Batman starts off with the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder at the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and the unmarked grave of former Batman, Bruce Wayne. After Bruce's body was stolen, Alfred was the first to find out, which explains why our newest Dynamic Duo is here. Here we see a rare moment between Batman and Robin, for one of the first times ever we see Damien as vulnerable, emotional and probably afraid, it's not too often I even care about Damien personally so Kudos to the writer, Peter Tomasi.

After gathering the bodies of the Wayne's, we see Deadman a.k.a. Boston Brand watch as his body leaves its grave as a Black Lantern while he can do nothing to stop it. Also en route to the newest JLA... morgue I guess, where the bodies of villains are being held, we see a flurry of Black Lantern rings, going through police officers to their newest owners, including former Batman villains Magpie, KGBeast, Blockbuster and even former Ventriloquist Arnold Wesker.

Later on, Boston Brand decides he needs help and runs to Bruce Wayne, only he doesn't know that Bruce is no longer in the Batsuit so he's shocked to find out he just possessed Dick Grayson. Afterwards he possesses Damien as well, I felt this scene didnt really push anything forward...It just bored me for some reason. I won't ruin the story, but I will say, I loved the Broken Batsignal, because it was a Nod to Blackest Night #2. As well as the appearance by Red Robin I'll say Batman is in for a hell of a time, and Blackest Night was a good start. With Wonderful art work and a well written story, I give Blackest Night: Batman a 8/10

- Jason Todd

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blackest Night #2

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night....Look out DC Universe, the dead are back for a fight. This month's installment of Blackest Night jumps from various parts of the DC Universe but does it's job, it does it seamlessly as well as leaves you wanting more. With so much action there's has to be other comics to convey how big Blackest Night is, hence the installments of Blackest Night: Batman and Blackest Night: Superman. So lets jump right into Blackest Night #2.

Our story starts off with The Atom, Ray Palmer, still mourning over the loss of his wife, he calls Hawkman once again to try to get him to join him in going to see the grave of Jean Loring, which picked up from B.N. #1, which lead Ray Palmer to going to see Hawkman, if only he knew it was a trap. Then we jump to the roof of the GCPD, where we see Oracle (Barbara Gordon) and her father Jim Gordon discussing things while the Batsignal is shown lit. While discussing things like the disappearance of Batgirl, and they have a touching moment ... until Hal Jordan is thrown into the Batsignal, shattering the glass. This is where we pick up from a fight in Green Lantern #44
between the returning Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern & the Flash.

We also see the return of the King of the Sea, Aquaman, Arthur Curry in this issue, as well as the arrival of more Black Lanterns. Which may strike some as weird, especially, is the return of Hawk, and not Dove. When Dove's ring is presented, it said he was at peace with Earth. So does that mean every other superhero had grudges they secretly held? Only time will tell.

With the return of Aquaman, the fate of Ray Palmer currently unknown, the Spectre's fate that I won't ruin for you guys, and the confusion of why Dove did not return as a Black Lantern and many more. There are many small things about Blackest Night that are little yet very notable. Some people may read past Dove not returning, I'm sure there's a big moment in there. Also I loved that the Batsignal was shattered in this issue, and then is shown broken in Blackest Night: Batman, I love small things like that, that show consistency.

Blackest Night seemed a little drawn out, so for that reason, even though It's action packed, I can't give it a 10/10, it's not perfect YET, but I am confident it will get better, So That's why I give Blackest Night Issue 2 a 8.5/10.

See you guys tomorrow for my review of Blackest Night: Batman #1.

- Jason Todd

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nightwing Year One Review

Hey hey hey, Jason Todd back with another edition of Graphic Novel Mondays. Of course it's now Tuesday but hey, what can you do, I was busy. So two weeks ago we saw the birth of Dick Grayson's crime fighting career when I reviewed Robin: Year One, this week I decided to continue on the trail of Dick Grayson. Robin: Year One writers Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty team up again in the evolution of Batman's first sidekick. So I present to you, Nightwing: Year One.

Nightwing: Year One starts with Robin on his way to help our Caped Crusader out with Clayface, who's kidnapping a baby. After he's eventually stopped, it's revealed that the kid is Clayface's son, and words are had between Batman and Robin. Batman claims Robin is never around when he needs him, which he should be, considering he's Batman's sidekick, yet Robin's always busy with college and the Teen Titans. After an argument, with three little words, the Dynamic Duo is split up. "You're Fired,Dick .... Get out of my cave." And there it is, Dick Grayson is no longer Robin.

After being fired, Dick travels to have a talk with his favorite superhero, ironically it's not Batman, but Earth's favorite Kryptonian, Superman. After a talk about what a hero is, the Man of Steel tells Dick about a hero on his home planet of Krypton. A hero who was cast out by his family as well, a hero who became a Legend, a hero, named Nightwing. So with a new name, and a new understanding, Dick heads off to what can only be considered his Fortress of Solitude, Haley's Circus.

Nightwing: Year One is somewhat of a who's who of comic books, with many appearances, we see that Dick Grayson has friends in high places. Over the course of Year One we see Grayson meet up with Batman, Superman, Batgirl, Deadman, Donna Troy, The Second Robin; Jason Todd, and even his arch-enemy Two-Face. Nightwing: Year One, like Robin: Year One is written by artists who understand the inner most thoughts of Dick Grayson. You feel his emotions, his reactions, his determination to show that Batman made a mistake in casting him off.

Coupled with Great writers and a Great story Nightwing: Year One has it all, the art is very colorful and more animated series style but it fits some parts of the story better than other. You'd be hardpressed to find someone, Grayson fan or not, that dislikes this story, it shows the evolution of a man who would one day become the Guardian of Gotham. I give Nightwing a Year one a solid 9/10 and Highly recommend it to any comic book fan.

- Jason Todd

Monday, August 3, 2009

Batman: Face The Face

Hey guys, after a very slow week in Batman comics, I'm back with this week's Graphic Novel Monday. This week's review gives center stage to one of the most prolific characters in Batman continuity, Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face. With a story penned by James Robinson that takes place after the events of Infinite Crisis, one could say that this may be one of Harvey Dent's finest moments. We'll see in this review of Batman: Face The Face.

Infinite Crisis was a huge moment in DC Continuity, it marked the death of Tim Drake's best friend, Connor Kent. The return of the fallen Robin, Jason Todd, and caused the three biggest names in DC, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman to take a year off from the superhero business. A year later, a rejuvenated Batman and Robin return to Gotham City, and are greeted by cheers from the Gothamites and the GCPD (even Harvey Bullock.) Batman and Robin (Tim Drake) are better than they've ever been, one person even remarks that their cohesive as Batman and the first Robin (Dick Grayson) were, which could prove that Gotham is on it's way to being resurrected as a safe city. But Batman wouldn't dare leave Gotham unprotected for a whole year, so he gives control of Gotham to former distract attorney, former psychopath, the rehabilitated Harvey Dent.

Harvey Dent is no longer Two face, and after a rough month of training, he's ready to take control of Gotham, which he sucessfully does for fifty two weeks. But when villains start turning up dead by the two's, with two bullets in their brains, all the signs point to the former DA. Batman believes Harvey is Innocent, but it wouldn't be the first ...or second time (pun intended) that Harvey Dent has gone rogue.

This story has it all, I won't ruin it, but murders, deception, mystery, everything that makes a good Batman Novel is in Face The Face. That being said it's not perfect, some of the artwork is rather dark, and although it fits the theme it may turn off some readers. Also we don't get the epic clash that we're waiting for, which made me feel a little disappointed to say the least. Overall Face The Face isn't perfect, but it's far from bad, That's why I give Batman: Face The Face an 8/10.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Boy Wonder is Born (Robin: Year One Review)

Batmania readers, welcome to another edition of Graphic Novel Monday. This weeks review is on the Boy Wonder's debut, Robin: Year One. Written by Dixon and Beatty (the writers of the Nightwing series), Dick Grayson, the future Nightwing and Batman, the kid who had all the tools and determination to change the DC Universe, and one of the biggest fan favorites of all time. Robin: Year One shows the many firsts of Dick Grayson. Grayson's first year as Robin shows him tackling the Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, and his own mortal enemy, Two-Face.

Robin: Year One shows the untold origin of Dick Grayson, not the death of his parents, the Flying Graysons, but his first encounters with some of Batman's big villains. The novel is cut into four sections, and the first tackled is the abduction of young girls that seem to be disappearing all over Gotham. When a girl from Dick's class goes missing, he looks into it and eventually finds out that the Mad Hatter is behind the girl's disappearance. Along with Hatter's appearance, Robin tries to tackle the cold hearted Mr. Freeze without the help of The Dark Knight. And an appearance by Two-Face shows you why Harvey Dent's alter ego is to Dick Grayson what the Joker is to Batman.

Robin: Year One has a lot of recurring themes, including Jim Gordon being afraid of Robin getting hurt. He's not the only one, as Alfred also shows concern for Grayson, but Bruce believes that Grayson is something special ... and as we know Dick Grayson is. This is a very well written book, it establishes that Grayson isn't just some kid fighting adults, he's a determined, athletic young man ready to take on the world if he has to. The artwork is reminiscent of Batman The Animated Series, yet goes well with this type of story. Still, it seems a little rushed, and a little hard to believe that Dick could take on some of the biggest villains in Gotham with absolutely no help from Batman. I give Robin: Year One a 8.5/10.

- Jason Todd

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gotham City Sirens #2 Review

Hey Hey Hey, Jason Todd here with a review on Paul Dini's Gotham City Sirens #2. For those that didn't catch issue one, our three favorite ladies of Gotham, Selina "Catwoman" Kyle, Pamela "Poison Ivy" Isley and Harleen "Harley Quinn" Quinzel teamed up to become the Gotham City Sirens. After being taken in by Catwoman, Harley and Ivy decided to tie up our Feline Female and drug her with a truth serum from one of Ivy's many plants. What did they wanna know? Who is Batman?
I'm warning you guys now, there are spoilers ahead, I usually avoid them but there was so little in this issue I would have nothing to discuss If I didn't.

So in Issue two we see a flash back to three years prior where Selina meets with Talia Al Gul, this is billed as a meeting between the only two women Bruce Wayne has loved. Apparently the guy didn't care for his Mom at all ... but anyway Talia felt the need to teach Selina a technique that allows her to bury the knowledge of Bruce Wayne being Batman, incase someone ever happened to ... give her a truth serum and ask her apparently. Catwoman must not be all that great at learning because even though we see she learned in the Flashback, she still says Bruce Wayne is Batman, along with a few other people including Jim Gordon, Slam Bradley and Harvey Dent. After convincing the other Sirens that Batman is more of a Legend than one man, everyone is now happy and friends again, despite the recent mutiny.

Meanwhile, Harley goes shopping which appears to be her new vice since she can't shower Mr. J with her love. While out she runs into the man everyone believes to be Bruce Wayne but is actually the recently escaped Thomas Elliot a.k.a. Hush. When "Bruce Wayne" is kidnapped and held for ransom, Harley see's it as a chance to save the man who granted her a release from Arkham Asylum. Now with Harley running around town with a disguised Hush, (the very same man she helped Catwoman rob) Ivy and Catwoman are out to save their fellow Siren at our issues end.

Alrighty, so first things first, I love that the Dini stories interact, Hush escaping in Streets then still being out in Sirens is very cool. That's ... about it for things I liked. Okay ... so the first issue of Sirens left us with a GREAT cliffhanger, only for this issue to say, yeah well just incase anyone ever asks Catwoman who Batman is, lets say she learned how to hide her thoughts. This seemed very meh ... for Bruce it makes sense cause he's prepared for everything for Talia and Selina ... not so much. Then it's like why did we even learn about this if on the fourth page Selina says it's Bruce anyway. Then Bruce is the first person mentioned and No one cares? Not even Harley who later saves Bruce because he helped grant her a pardon from Arkham, yet she doesn't care that he's possibly Batman? Also, is it just me or is anyone else tired of Harley walking around in whatever the hell she's wearing? She's yet to put on her costume, yet all Selina seems to own is her costume.

I had high hopes for this issue and it really let me down...there's hardly anything worth mentioning and the one fight scene was maybe two and a half pages long. I don't know if Dini's trying to set up ground work for later on but this is not something that makes me wanna read the next issue. I give Sirens #2 a 4/10.

- Jason Todd

Monday, July 20, 2009

Identity Crisis Review

Hey guys, it's that time again! This week's "Graphic Novel Monday" feature is brought to you by one of my favorite writers, Brad Meltzer. I'll be reviewing Identity Crisis. Many of us have always wanted to be a superhero, especially as a kid; we all wanted the fame, the fans and the lifestyle. But what happens when someone stops shooting at the bullet-proof superhero, and aims for their vulnerable family and friends? This is the story that shows what happens, and shows you that not all superheroes are truly invincible.

Our story starts with "Elongated Man", Ralph Dibny and Firehawk conducting a stakeout on the roof. As they converse we see Ralph's nose twitch, a sign that something's wrong (as a twitch of the nose from Ralph Dibny has always meant that there were villains around or something was not right.) Elongated man mentions that it's his birthday celebration tonight (not his birthday) and his wife, Sue Dibny, always finds a way to try to surprise him. Being the expert detective that he is, always figures it out. Ralph never let Sue know and always acts surprised but this night, everything goes wrong. Ralph can sense it and rushes home, to find his wife, murdered, along with his present ... a positive Pregnancy test.

With Ralph devastated, the league is out for answers, and sends out everyone from the Titans, The JSA, and The Outsiders to get answers. While along the way the killer strikes again and again, with no answers pointing towards who they are and why they continue to target the loved one's of Superheroes. And along the way there's tragic scenes involving a certain Boy Wonder, shocking betrayals, and some actions by Dr. Light which are so outrageous, that it will leave you in awe ...

This is the end-all-be-all of Graphic Novels. Brad Meltzer is a genius, the artwork by Michael Bair is both beautiful and eerie at the same time. This is honestly one of the greatest stories I've ever read. This story is so pivotal that the effects are still being mentioned today, even in the Blackest Night storyline. Identity Crisis is in my top three Graphic Novels of all time easily, possibly my favorite of all time. If I could recommend one Justice League book it would be Identity Crisis. Simple as that...There's nothing else to say, 10/10.

- Jason Todd

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Blackest Night Begins

Hey guys, Jason Todd here again, this time with a review of the Epic Blackest Night issue one. As mostly everyone knows, the Blackest Night storyline is regarded as one of the biggest storylines of the year. DC Comics gave the helm to Geoff Johns for this story and decided to have Ivan Reis do the art and I think both will excel in these positions. So grab a flashlight as we jump right into The Blackest Night.

Right of the bat, the first thing I have to say is that this is one of the best drawn covers I've seen in a long time. It really draws you in and lets you know that this is a special story and something that shouldn't be taken lightly. Like Infinite Crisis & Final Crisis this is a story that will echo throughout the DC Universe for a long time after it's concluded. When our story starts we see the first Black Lantern, The Black Hand, cradled over the grave of our beloved billionaire Bruce Wayne, before sending out what had to be Billions of Black Lantern rings. If you don't believe me you go look at that page and tell me it's not billions...its like a swarm of locusts. Anyway, we move on to Hero Celebration day where heroes and citizens alike worship their fallen saviors, including fallen Teen Titans, Aquaman, and the Kents paying respect to Johnathan Kent. Even those treacherous villains are paying respects to their fallen comrades.

Later in the comic we encounter things that have clearly set up other story line's down the way, including a an update on The Atom, Ray Palmer, A conversation with Barry Allen and Hal Jordan, Alfred discovering Bruce's grave has been robbed, and the Resurrection of some of the biggest names in DC History, including Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, being brought back from the dead. And not to mention many more things that I won't ruin.

I will mention that the conversation between Hal and Barry showed just how long Barry has been gone and reminded us of how many characters have died lately. Also, the appearances of Hawkman and Hawkgirl elevated the story tenfold, as someone who's never cared for either, I for one can't wait to see what happens with them. There's really nothing bad I can say about Blackest Night, It's a great opener, packed alot of punches and set up future storyline's. But as much as I want to, I know I can't justify giving this issue a ten, only for the reason I know that future issues will be better, I have alot of faith in Geoff Johns. I Highly recommend you check out the Blackest Night Issue 1 because it's definitely gonna shake things up. I give issue one an 8/10.

- Jason Todd

Monday, July 13, 2009

Can you keep a Secret? (Private Casebook Review)

Graphic Novel Mondays is back for it's fourth appearance, courtesy of Jason Todd. This week's review is Paul Dini's Batman: Private Casebook. Featuring artwork by the talented Dustin Nguyen, Dini's Bat-world is brought to life, in various short stories featuring the Caped Crusader and many of his allies and enemies. There's some definite hits and misses though, so lets get right into it.

Batman: Private Casebook is a who's who of Batman mythos, while some of the bigger names like Joker, Two-Face, Nightwing and Robin are missing from these stories, other characters step up. Casebook includes five or six short stories (I can't remember off the top of my head) about our favorite Gothamite and includes appearances by Zatanna, Mad Hatter, Scarface, The Riddler, Ra's Al Gul, Catwoman, and Scarecrow. Casebook also features a well put together format, as it ties up loose ends from some comics that take place prior, for example Heart of Hush and The Resurrection of Ra's Al Gul. While the stories differ some of them are very well done while others feel rushed or insignificant.

One of the best written stories in this Casebook compilation in my opinion is the story featuring Zatanna. Without giving away anything to would-be-readers, I will say that Bruce and Zatanna give conversations with such believability that you feel like these are characters who truly do have a history, and thats a big plus when it comes to Dini's work. Other stories I felt didn't exhibit Batman behavior, like Batman entering chatrooms looking for information seemed odd to me ... maybe thats just weird to me though. I also didnt care for the Scarecrow story, it was too short, didn't feature Batman/Bruce Wayne at all and I felt it was an odd day to close the book. I know Dini loves Magicians, but I feel that Zatanna in three stories was overkill.

Overall Dini's writing with Nguyen's gritty art style makes for a good, but not very memorable book. I'd recommend checking this out, but I wouldn't spend over 13 dollars on it. Overall Paul Dini's Batman Private Casebook gets a 6.5/10.

- Jason Todd

Friday, July 10, 2009

Batman Begins...Again? (Batman #688 Review)

Batman is back, or so Gotham thinks. And in a way he is, along with a brand new Robin. Winick and Bagley reunite to bring the Dark Knight back to the forefront with what can be considered the main Bat-book of the bunch. And the main attraction Dick Grayson, the man, the idol, the Batman....except he still has a problem with the cape. Now, lets jump in, to Batman #688!

Right of the pun intended, We join our hero being beaten to a pulp in the Batcave. Dick's taking a beating by a shadowy figure that continually berates him, and tells him he's not Batman. Dick is an imposter, he doesn't posess the things that made Batman the savior of Gotham, and that Batman is dead....and pretty soon, Dick may be as well. Turns out this this three weeks into the future, so jumping three weeks back, a.k.a. now. It's reported that Batman is back and has changed his ways of tampering with evidence before the police get a chance, and while the reason for this change is unknown (to everyone but the reader) it's getting Batman many praises, especially from the GCPD.

Now outside of giving everything away, I will mention that I'm a big fan of these talks between Dick and Alfred, no matter what comic they always give clarity that this is a different dynamic, but nonetheless something special. Also, we see Damien's training session with Dick which i thought was really well done, especially with Dick showing that him being as talkative as always and how he uses it to upset his opponents into making mistakes was a great piece of advice to show him giving Damien.

Along with appearances by Two-Face, the Penguin, and a conversation between Jim Gordon and Sergeant Pike, there's alot of depth to this issue. It was very word-driven with less action than I'm used to after reading some of the other Batman: Reborn books but that was something I enjoyed more than anything. I'm starting to tire of the jumping around in time plot device, especially as it was used so much in Red Robin, but it was used sparingly here. The artwork was a plus, and even seeing Batman smiling wasn't all that weird, considering it's Dick. Either way the story left us with a great cliffhanger and me desperately wanting to read Batman #689. My final rating for Batman #688 is a solid 8/10.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Batman: Lovers and Madmen Review

Hey guys, welcome back to Batmania Reviews, Jason Todd here with our third installment of Graphic Novel Mondays. Today’s review is an arc from the ongoing Batman Confidential series, which establishes some of the big first moments in Batman Mythos. The issue arc for those interested are issues #7 to 12, but this is also available in hardcover format, which I’ll be reviewing today. This story was written by Michael Green and features artwork by Dennis Cowan. So without further adieu, I present Batman: Lovers and Madmen.

Over time people have always debated the Joker’s origin, whether it was failed comedian, petty crook, or as shown in Alan Moore’s “ “The Killing Joke” (one of my personal favorites) a simple family man who had a bad day. Lovers and Madmen revamps the creation of the Joker as a simple man named Jack. A master criminal and thief, a man so good even The Batman himself can’t seem to track him. But Jack’s grown bored with his profession and his life, and is ready to give them both up, until he catches glimpse of The Caped Crusader. Seeing this man dressed like a Bat, is somewhat funny to our guy Jack. And he can’t wait to play with our hero.

Without giving away too much, this is one of the best Joker stories I’ve read in a while. Things are put into perspective, and loyal Bat-fans will notice a lot homage’s to future Batman stories, including how Joker got his Glasgow smile, what makes the Clown Prince of Crime tick, we see a young Dr. Crane, and even a certain blonde waitress named “Leeny” that’s currently attending college with hopes of becoming a psychiatrist.

This is without a doubt my favorite Joker origin. No disrespect to Alan Moore but in my eyes this is the Joker’s past. I’d always wondered why Joker was portrayed as such a frail, weak guy. If that’s possible would he really have caused Batman so much drama over the years? Here Joker is shown as a guy at the top of his skills, a guy who always has a plan and may even be smarter than Batman himself. And lets not forget Batman, the debut along with hatred of The Joker causes The Dark Knight to do something so out of character you won’t believe your eyes.

The artwork is very gritty, yet it adds to the story and compliments it nicely. So with that said I label this a must-read for all Batman fans and a definite must-read for all fans of the Harlequin of Hate, The Joker. I give Batman: Lovers and Madmen a solid 10/10

-Jason Todd

Friday, July 3, 2009

Batman & Robin #2 Review

Hey there guys, Jason Todd here with a review of Batman & Robin #2. This is my first weekly comic review and what better way to start than with Morrison and Quitely's reintroduction of the Dynamic Duo. Well, you could call this the Disaster Duo because that's where Batman and Robin seem to be headed. Robin's constantly undermining Batman and frankly believes he could do a better job, and sets out to do so.

We start the issue with Dick telling Alfred of his latest mission, how he and Robin went to stop a supposed break out at the Gotham City Police Department. One of Gordon's men comments "Didn't they used to be taller? And didn't Batman's voice sound different?" Batman and Robin proceed to stop the havoc in the police department, but not without casualties. Something Dick believes Bruce would have been able to prevent.

"I hate the cape, Alfred -- the cape was the first thing I ditched when I got out on my own." That quote sums up the entire issue. Dick comments that no one believes he's Batman, and that Gordon and everyone else looks as him as some imposter, playing Batman. His own Robin comments that he's not Batman and he never will be. Alfred convinces Dick that as a circus performer he should pretend that Batman is a part to play, and perform everynight. Encouraging words for sure... now if only Batman knew where to find Robin, because Damian could sure use some help.

Without giving away anything that could ruin the story I will say that this issue was definitely more informative than the last. The Dynamic between Dick and Damien is still bratty kid meets forced-to-grow-up-too-soon adult. I'm getting tired of Damien's persona but what can you do? All in all I'd have to say that Batman & Robin seems to be on the right path to establishing this new Dynamic Duo. I'll give it a 8/10

- Jason Todd

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia Review

Hey Batfans, welcome to the second edition of Jason Todd's Graphic Novel reviews. This week our favorite Gothamite makes a guest appearance in "Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia" Written by Greg Rucka, with artwork by J.G. Jones and starring Two-Thirds of the DC Trinity; this book has the recipe for success.

Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia's plot is simple...What happens when the Amazonian Princess Wonder Woman agrees to Hiketeia, which is the tradition that she must play host to a young woman by the name of Danielle "Danny" Wells to protect her with her life. Little does she know Danielle is being hunted by a certain Caped Crusader for committing unspeakable crimes. So what's Diana to do ... does she allow Batman to pursue her protected companion or does she aid a criminal and fight one of her strongest allies?

As always, I'm not going to ruin the book for would-be readers. The plot idea is very interesting and led me to believe that we'd see a fight of epic proportions between Batman and Wonder Woman. Sadly, I was mistaken. Over 80 pages and the fight between the two heroes lasted maybe three at the most ... The artwork was very good but the story was seriously lacking. What started out strong, quickly fell with each page, even to the point of being screwed out of a fight between two of the biggest names in comic history.

Sure Batman is nowhere near as strong as Wonder Woman, but that's never been an obstacle before. The ending seemed rushed as well and I felt letdown by Greg Rucka. Honestly, I feel that this may be one of the worst stories I've ever read ... the artwork is a plus, and the plot had potential but ultimately was a letdown. I wish I could start a Hiketeia and have someone protect me from reading things this bad in the future. Overall, I give Wonder Woman - The Hiketeia a 3/10.

-Jason Todd

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Batmania Reviews: Exclusive Interview with Keir Edmonds

Jason Todd: First and foremost I wanna' welcome everyone to Batmania Reviews, we plan on getting alot of interviews and things that every Bat-Fan wants to hear, so without further ado, Id like to introduce our first ever Interviewee. He's the Eidos Community Manager, and someone who has ALOT of patience in dealing with the forums, You know him, Ya love him, Ya bug him for Demos, Keir

JT: So, Keir thanks for doing this Interview with us, how does it feel to be our first guest at Batmania Reviews, and how did you like your star studded introduction?

Keir: Great introduction and thanks very much! It's a privilege to be the first here I must say. I like what you've done with the place :D

JT: So Jumping right in Keir, I know I've wondered as well as some other people, how did you get your job at Edios as Community Manager and what are some of the biggest perks and disadvantages of your job?

Keir: Well, I've been at Eidos for over eight years now, man and boy. I was lucky when I got my job here, a friend saw the vacancy - we both applied - I got it, he didn't :D

I started out testing games which was amazing (I remember dancing around the house in my underwear when I first heard I got the job) but it was also a mixed blessing. I had the pleasure of working on some really cool titles like Timesplitters 2 and Anachronox (which I still love to this day) to some real dogs like Popstar Maker and Who Wants to be a Millionaire German Junior Edition *shudders*

After a little while in test I moved to customer service before landing a job in community management, which I love because it combines my love of the internets with gaming, while also enabling me to indulge my interest in how online communities behave. There are many perks of the job, we get to sit and play games in work. The downsides are the long hours and sometimes dealing with difficult PR situations and mobs of angry fans - but I love my job so it's always OK. The best bit about working here is the people, sounds cheesy but it's true. It's a young company and a very cool environment to work in. I've made many, many friends here.

JT: So Keir...I gotta ask, you've been community manager for, I believe like eight years, and you seem like a very relaxed guy, but has there ever been a time when you just wanna get up and walk away from the computer after dealing with a member?

Keir: Generally speaking it doesn't get to me. I can always see the bigger picture and I always work out what someone's motivation is. If someone is genuinely upset because they're a fan then I try and help them and I understand their frustration - if they're just being a troll then it generally means their wife bullies them or something which causes their behaviour, so if that's the case it makes me laugh ;)

JT: Considering this is BatMania Reviews, We'd be crazy not to ask if you're a comic book fan Keir, If so, what drew you to comics in the first place, and who are some of your favorite heroes and villains?

Keir: I'll level with you - although I fancy myself as a bit of an artist and I really love Wildstorm's stuff, I'm not what you'd call a comic nerd. You guys on the forum and people like Paul Crocker put me to shame.

JT: One would assume that working at a place like Eidos, that you'd be a big gamer, So Keir what consoles do you own, and what are some of your favorite games to play in your spare time?

Keir: I am of course a gamer and have been since the old days of the Atari 2600 (then Master System, Megadrive, SNES, PS1, PS2) and now I've got a 360. I've also got a DS which I like to play on my travels. I've been playing (well beating my friends at) Pro Evo, Fifa and Virtua Tennis. I've also been playing some Battlestations: Pacific and Fallout 3 lately.

JT: Out of every game that Edios has produced, which is your very favorite and why?

Keir: That's a toughie... there have been many great games that I've been lucky enough to work on over the last few years but there are two games which stand out. The first game is old and has reserved a special place in my heart, Anachronox. It's an old RPG from Ion Storm released (late and over budget) in 2001.

It has the best story line and humour ever. I still quote lines from that game. The characters were awesome. The dev team had such imagination and created a really fantastic world.

It got a lukewarm reception but it really is an epic. It still has a cult following to this day, and I occasionally bump into fellow die hard fans.

The second game is probably the best title Eidos has published. And that game is Batman: Arkham Asylum :cool:

JT: Alright Keir, I know I said I wouldn't ask you anything about Arkham that could potentially get you in trouble with the higher ups, but I've gotta ask SOMETHING to keep the guys at the forum's tongues from watering, lol, so how many more give-a-way contests are coming down the pike?

Keir: Well, let's see... we're lining up some cool competitions in tandem with Dolby, so we have some awesome prizes for the official site and forums. Aside from that I'm hoping to get a few prints of concept art signed by Wildstorm. Now that's a competition prize. I've also got some more posters signed by the Rocksteady team which I'll give out, and maybe some other stuff along the way too :)

JT: Alright Keir, thanks again for your time and being our first ever guest here at BatMania Reviews! Is there anything you'd like to say before we get out of here?

Keir: Nothing more to add other than to say it's great to see how enthusiastic people are for Batman: Arkham Asylum. Thanks for all your support - I can guarantee you that once you've had a chance to get your hands on the game you'll see that it really is the game you've been waiting for all these years.

I'd also like to say hi and thanks to all the dudes from the official forum. Spread the word folks and let's get this party started!

JT: Alright Keir, thanks so much for your time man, and before we get out of here, I gotta ask you to drop a Huzzah! for us...after all it IS your catchphrase.




JT: Lol, awesome, Thanks alot Keir, and thanks for reading guys, we're gonna try to get more interviews in the near future so keep coming back to Batmania Reviews!

- Jason Todd

Monday, June 22, 2009

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell Review

Hey there Batmania readers, welcome to our very first Graphic Novel review. Every Monday or Tuesday, Im going to review a Graphic Novel and give you guys my thoughts, good or bad, and a recommendation and ultimately a review on a scale between one and ten. So without further ado, Lets get started with Arkham Asylum: Living Hell.

Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, written by Dan Slott and featuring artwork from Ryan Soot, is a story about a man known as Warren "The Great White Shark" White, a man infamous for being one of the worst men in the world (as pointed out by numerous people including the murderous Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker.) Warren is on the path to the big house after facing massive counts of fraud, when he decides to plead insanity. Sounds like someone should've warned Warren that in Gotham City it's better to be a criminal than insane. He's shipped straight off to Arkham's Asylum, home of the Criminally Insane.

There's alot more to this story, but the basic question is, do the insane go to Arkham or does Arkham breed the insane? One of the best things about this book is the fact that it shows MASSIVE character development, and this is one of the best displays of character development I've read in a while. So many characters joined the Batman Mythos here, including Warren White, Jane Doe, Doodlebug and so many more make their first appearances here. But they're also joined by longtime favorites, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, Jason Blood, and Batman, abeit for only a few pages. One would think the lack of Batman hurt the story but actually, It made the story stronger for not utilizing The Caped Crusader much.

Not everything about Arkham Asylum: Living Hell was great though. One of the letdowns was the ending...a strong start but it tripped just short of the finish line. The story was... over-complicated to say the least. I understood it but I wouldn't recommend it to someone without prior knowledge of Etrigan. But all in all, the Character Development, the fact the story was for the most part well written, and the art of course have made this story stand out as one of the best Arkham based stories since Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Thats Why I give Arkham Asylum: Living Hell a solid 8/10 score.

- Jason Todd