Tag Archives: DC

Comic Quick Review: Sideways #1 (2018)

There have been quite a few cool new series starting up over the last few months.  Some, like Silencer and Mister Miracle, have been cool fresh starts on older, largely-forgotten comics.  Sideways is a new hero from DC that has branched off from events in the ongoing Dark Knights Metal series and is now part of DC’s “New Age” lineup.

Sideways is the story of Derek James, a seemingly-unremarkable teenager who is the adopted son of a family who, due to previous events in DC’s “Metal” run, have grown to be extremely over-protective.  What they do not realize is Derek, after facing down the darkness, has been imbued with the power to create “rifts” and teleport freely to just about anywhere on a whim.  This comes at a cost, however, as someone (or something) has become aware and disturbed by Derek’s abuse of the space time continuum, so now he has become a target of forces that are not of this world.

Sideways does a good job of establishing its characters early on through quality sequential storytelling and very solid artwork.  Even though each of the core characters are in their own ways archetypal, they are written in a mostly-naturalistic fashion which makes them far more convincing.  The world in which this story is set feels somehow more real than many of the more over-the-top settings we see so much in comics, despite taking place in DC’s own Universe.  There is a human quality to things that can sometimes be lost when dealing with superhero stories.

In its first issue, Sideways establishes a cast of individuals that I look forward to following in the future.  If you have a chance to hit the comic shop, give Sideways #1 a shot!  It’s worth a read and shows the potential for a huge plot with real stakes.  I look forward to #2, which is slated for a March 14th release!

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Comic Quick Review: Damage #1 (2018)

As part of an ongoing push by DC to resurrect the Dark Age of comics, 90’s B-list anti-hero Damage makes a return to shelves.  As (one of) DC’s answers to The Hulk, Damage was meant to have the combined power of a number of DC’s most powerful heroes.  Now he makes a comeback as the failed experiment that feels no pain, shows no mercy and will not stop…

The comic opens with American solider named Ethan strapped to an exam chair, busting free as a clock showing one hour is printed in frame.  From here, we see him take the form of Damage and leave miles of destruction in his wake as he combats a specially-trained mech-driving solider sent to stop him.  The army’s attempts to stop him have failed and now, after Damage is the last man standing, Ethan finds the briefest respite.  He is now left hiding, stranded, and he can only wait until his alter ego returns for another hour-long rampage.

Damage is 90’s comic insanity done right.  Issue #1 doesn’t have a whole lot of exposition, it just opens with carnage and destruction then ends with a tease.  The upcoming issue promises a brawl with the Suicide Squad, who is sent in after Damage once Amanda Waller sees the military (and Damage’s creator) fail to stop this “walking, talking weapon of mass destruction.”

Back in the day a lot of the time the first issue will just be a chaotic brush with death to get the reader excited about what is to come.  There would be exposition and story, but the focus was on showing us what the hero can actually do.  Damage does a good job at this and while it is certainly not thought-provoking and intellectual, it is insane, entertaining action.  Sometimes that’s all I want.  Comics do not necessarily have to be deep, they do not always have to start a conversation or represent any particularly meaningful political topic.  Many times, fans just want their comics to be fun.  Damage #1, in all of its muscle-headed madness, has me excited to see what’s ahead.  The thought of seeing this gray monstrosity face off for an hour with Harley Quinn and the gang in the next issue is enough to get me pretty excited.

The art in Damage is pretty solid, too.  At points the quality takes a sudden decline but it isn’t often enough to really hurt it.  Also, there were a few points where I thought the action could have been drawn to appear a little more dynamic.  That said, it looks great, you can tell what is going on, and the character Damage really does come off like a force to be reckoned with.  Also, the cover is 100% “Badassitude!”  Give this one a read if you want some dumb, chaotic, rampaging violence in your week!

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Comic Review- Batman: White Knight #2

The Batman series has always been somewhat of a deconstruction of the superhero.  As the series progressed we’ve seen Batman as a noble father figure, a guardian of justice and as a vengeful, bitter and violent man.  All of these are reflexive of the writer at the time as while Superman is always good and always on the right side of things, Batman is a little more of a malleable character.  It’s possible to get away with writing a story where Batman is enraged and even outright dangerous and because of his character, we can believe it.

Right now, I’m seeing a few different iterations of Batman in my pull list.  One is the absent-yet-caring father of Damian, the brilliant and defiant Robin; the other is a distant, angry figure who will stop at nothing to take down the Joker.  The latter is the focus of Batman: White Knight, an eight-part series which puts Batman in the spotlight in an entirely different way.

After shoving a bottle of unknown medication down the throat of the Joker at the end of a violent and destructive pursuit, Batman has finally gone too far.  Only, instead of the Joker’s subsequent overdose killing him, it instead has cured him of his madness.  He vows to atone for his crimes by becoming an upstanding citizen activist to take down the corrupt government of Gotham and the GCPD in the process.  He also promises to rid the city of the vigilante forces of Batman and his allies while preserving the wellbeing of those caught in the middle.  White Knight #2 centers on the Joker returning home to Harley and things take a surprising turn.  As he sees his world flipped upside down he resorts to drastic measures to set things right in Gotham city… or, at the very least, his version of “right”.

Unlike a many typical superhero comics, White Knight is not a black-and-white story.  White Knight #2 has no real action, there’s no epic battles or sweeping action set pieces, either.  The story is captivating enough on its own, though.  It is infused with a sort of gray-area approach to modern themes of individualism, justice, fairness, corruption in government, and just trying to put one’s life back together.

The art is solid, taking the rougher edge of modern Batman art and blending it with the style of the legendary Animated Series.  This is, in fact, a sort of spiritual successor to that version of the world.  It is a love letter to what is arguably the greatest animated TV series of all time.  It is a story that showcases the niorish style of Batman with a serious edge and contrasts page to page to reflect the tone of each scene.

White Knight #2 is a good chapter that succeeds in keeping me excited about this limited series.  As it stands, it holds up quite well to thought as it is more politically-ambiguous than you might think, and the issues that are raised can be seen any number of ways.  This way it feels more like real life, where things are as simple as A or B.  There is thought and effort in this story that is a real credit to writer Sean Murphy.  It is taut, suspenseful and has a few surprises for long-time fans and lovers of the animated classic.  This is a comic that is written for the older reader, those of us who grew up on comics in the 80’s and 90’s and features a mood and tone that is sort of a deconstruction of that period.  I recommend giving Batman White Knight a read if you’re looking for something a little different, but good luck finding a physical copy as these books are flying off the shelves at a record pace with fans getting truly excited about new comics with well-executed stories.

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