This series is a very divisive one. People everywhere say that it is Gail Simone at her weakest, her dialogue and charm being sentenced to endless exposition. Fans of Tomb Raider are less than impressed with the depiction of their favourite gaming heroine. However, while I can agree with certain discrepancies with the plot (how can the villains be worshippers of the Solarii, a cult made up on the spot by a marooned Mathias in the game?), this is turning out be a fantastic series, with this issue thrilling in all the right ways.
The finale to a series and the end of a hero. I followed the Nightwing comics from getting back into the genre around Death of the Family. I’ve always liked Dick Grayson as a character; to me he’s always been everything Batman can’t be as well as being everything Batman needs. Being the final issue to Nightwing’s ongoing a lot of loose ends have to be wrapped up.
This week The Freeless Defenders are joined by the one and only Cullen Bunn! The nearly hour long interview is a fantastic finale to an episode full of the usual good stuff including week’s big news, April’s sales figures, the best/worst comics of the week, 52 #20 and the season finales for Arrow and Agents of SHIELD.
This week the team are joined by the wonderful Mike Garley. He talks about his career and his newest project The Kill Screen. On top of that the team chat about the news, comics and issues 18 and 19 of 52. So sit back and enjoy!
Rather than have two books of the same nature facing off against one another in the latest comic battle, I wanted to see what would happen if I chose two beloved series and threw them head to head at one another; snarling, gnashing, clawing at each other until one stands victorious over the other, it’s ink leaking all over the pavement, pages torn and ripped and it’s spine tattered and broken. Step forward, the challengers: Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque’s American Vampire and Bill Willingham and Lan Medina’s Fables: Legends In Exile.
This issue felt like it went by very quickly, a lot of it seemed to act as a sort of recap; Batman relayed his tale to Frankenstein and told him why he had changed his mind on bringing Damien back, and Frankenstein gave Batman an update on the Justice League Dark and what happened in the Forever Evil: Blight story. There was a small reference I noticed and appreciated; when Batman showed some knowledge of Nanda Parbat he informed Frankenstein that he had learned the Thogal ritual, which involved him simulating death through isolation.
When we open we see the surviving members of the Crime Syndicate plotting on how best to bring down the Justice League; cut to an awesome two page splash of the seven members of The Justice League. Now this doesn’t seem too much out of the ordinary until you notice that instead of there being Superman and The Flash we now have Lex Luthor and Captain Cold.
This episode is probably the most action-packed yet. Despite this series having a nasty little habit of dancing around conflict, this issue finally delivers not one punch-up, but two terrific fight sequences. In a clever move by the writers of this issue, we strip away the Dr. Phosphorous taking on Batwing storyline for the time being, so the comic can actually highlight the characters it wants to discuss.
The main spotlight for this issue is Lex Luthor, and we get to see the many facets of his personality and character. We get glimpses of his mercy and humanity when he resuscitates Nightwing, clears the name of his fellow villains, pays Deathstroke and mourns the loss of his monster. One of his most heroic moments seems to be saving Superman’s life, something I imagine factors a lot into his future in the Justice League.
In a throwback to how I initially started this column, I’ve decided to switch up how I write Papercuts and Inkstains. It’s been a long time since I last wrote one, and that’s unfortunately down to working more, wedding planning and actually writing my own comics. So, in old school Papercuts style, I’ve been asking you guys to pick which book I should read over on my twitter!
Action-packed might be the wrong word to use here. It certainly moves along at a brisk enough pace. Within the first few pages, we have set up numerous storylines. A ghostly figure begins brewing below Arkham Asylum that looks truly terrifying. A new villain is introduced in one frame that will get the fan boys pumped. On top of that, the crime war between Falcone and Penguin rages on, with Batman tearing across Gotham, sleep-deprived and desperate.
All-out war is over and it’s “A new beginning” for The Walking Dead! After the events of the storyline Negan was captured by Rick and the start of a brand new era of expansion and civilization was set into motion. I have personally seen some people become uninterested with the previous storyline and this progression could be the perfect thing to get people excited for the comic again.
This time around we are speaking to the creative team behind Stronghold, a new, independent comic from creators Kevin Roberts and Brian Visaggio. It’s a science fiction action-adventure story rooted in the “super-sentai” genre, which you might familiar with from shows such as Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Voltron and Gatchaman/G-Force. Kevin and Brian also take strong influences from manga and anime like Dragon Ball, western comics like Kingdom Come and Sandman, and shows like Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek Deep Space 9 to combine these elements to craft something familiar for science fiction fans In concept but fresh and truly unique in its execution.
This issue moves away from Batman, Bard and ex-Commissioner Gordon and picks up a new strand of story. This time, we focus on the Red Robin, taking the investigation back to the first issue. While Batman and Batgirl take on Falcone and try to solve what happened to Gordon, Red Robin is focused on the children that were abducted by Professor Pyg. Turns out they were not infected by Pyg’s serum, but something else.
Brian Visaggio joins the team this week as they look around his Stronghold. They talk news, comics and Brian. Ending on a high as they open the doors to a new kingdom.