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OUT OF THE LONG BOX #042 – BATMAN #34

By Chris Fenn

Batman Vol 2 #34 Help
Thank you Gerry Duggan; this is what I’ve wanted to see in my main Batman title.

Batman #34 is a wonderful one issue story called ‘The Meek’ which is a welcome break from reading some really long story arcs. The plot is your standard find the murderer book, but instead of using copy-cat killers or any of the usual big names we get a nameless, disposable villain; which in my opinion does the book a lot of favours.

The book felt very ‘Black Mirror’ to me, especially in terms of tone, which is interesting as Scott Snyder is credited as co-writing the story to this issue. One observation I have made on Snyder’s work before is that he doesn’t write about Batman, he writes about Gotham and features Batman within the book, but I don’t think I can honestly say the same about this story.

Batman Vol 2 #34 Dr Thompkins
I found that the art style of this book was also similar to that of ‘Black Mirror’ and both really fit the narrative of their stories. What I really like about the art in this book (by Matteo Scalera) and Black Mirror (Jock) is both artists can really build tension and atmosphere without making anything feel over the top. I also loved Scalera’s Batmobile, it seemed like a beautiful mixture of the Killing Joke Batmobile, the Tim Burton Batmobile and the Tumbler.

It has to be said that Batman doesn’t get the most ‘screen time’ this issue, but his dialogue and actions make him feel like a benevolent and vengeful guardian of Gotham, which to me makes him closer to the core of the character, rather than the anger filled Batman we’ve seen in the bigger story arcs. I actually found this issues Batman more in line with the Animated Series interpretation.

To focus more on the comparison to the Animated Series; when Batman ultimately apprehends the villain of the story he doesn’t just lock him in Arkham, he adds a twist to the punishment so the villain doesn’t get any ‘reward’ from his actions. Touches like that that made me fall in love with the animated series, and if Snyder can continue to produce good characterisation like this then I’m eagerly awaiting his newer issues.

Batman Vol 2 #34 Jokers Cell
Even though I am a reader of Batman Eternal, I found the two page spread at the start of the book a brilliant way to recap what had happened in the Batman world before and during the publishing of Zero Year; it wasn’t an overload of exposition and it felt natural to the events of the plot.

For anybody looking to get into the New 52 Batman titles without having to wade through back issues or pick up a bunch of trades I would certainly recommend this to you, and for anybody up to date on their Batman titles I would recommend this as a brilliant story of Batman being Batman.

For more comic views and reviews follow Chris on Twitter at @fenneth1989

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Posted on August 17th, 2014
Category: OUT OF THE LONG BOX, REVIEWS
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PULP FRICTION #009 – BLACK SCIENCE #3

By Robin Jones

Pulp Friction #009 Header
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Matteo Scalera and Dean White

If you’ve not been on board with Black Science then you’ve been missing a treat. This sci-fi juggernaut is a trans dimensional yarn, rippling through time and space, probing at the very layers of humanity and human nature. Remender’s ensemble cast is one of various shades of grey, and with the protagonist, Grant McKay, out of action this issue, it gives his other characters room to breathe. What we get with Black Science #3 is the chance to explore the mind and nature of these “backing” characters, allowing their importance to proceedings to take greater precedence. However, it does lack the pace which the previous two issues had, the first especially, but with having such a large story to tell, it’s a necessary evil.

Black Science #3 image 1
Through flashbacks we see just how flawed McKay is, we see more of Ward’s motives and in the present we follow Kadir and Shawn as they attempt to find help for the injured McKay. This issue is attempting to tie up loose ends left frayed from the previous two issues. The writing is intelligent, Remender’s description of trans-dimensional travel is believable and sound strangely achievable…if we had a Pillar of our own… however, we get to the heart of our Dimensionauts motives, a way and means of curing all known diseases and solving all humankind’s problems, as each dimension holds the possibility for untold resources, cures, technology and otherwise. Coupled with the reverse manifest destiny storyline and a technologically advanced Native American army fighting WWI era Germans, Remender’s story is frenetic and visually stunning.

Black Science #3 image 2
This is where we get to Scalera’s art, as it is a thing of beauty. It is consistently good, with the back and forth of flashbacks and present moment action allowing for Scalera to either focus on large scale action, strange alien creatures, grim war scenes or dramatic, subtle scenes playing off the tension between characters. Scalera’s sci-fi armies, his Dimensionaut apparatus and such are inspired. His Native American mech is stunning, reflecting both the technology and the culture and character of its builders. It’s this attention to detail which helps make Black Science stand out! Then there’s the colours, the tones, the vibe and texture, which all add to the visually stunning work Scalera does in this book. I’d get it just for the art alone!

Ultimately, Black Science #3 is a solid read, which fans of the series so far will lap up. It’s progression, whilst slower than the first two issues, is deliberate and seems to be building to something much bigger for the next issue. Not every second of a story can be action, excitement and mass tension, sometimes story telling and information giving must take the fore, and this is certainly what Remender does with this issue, yet it still reads well and hasn’t done his story much damage. I look forward to seeing where McKay, Ward, Becca et take us in the next issue.

I give this 7 out of 10

Check out the whole Black Science series HERE!

For more comic views and reviews follow Robin on Twitter at @Hulksmash1985

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Posted on February 3rd, 2014
Category: PULP FRICTION, REVIEWS
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MATT ON COMICS #004 – DEAD BODY ROAD #1 REVIEW

By Matt onComics

Click HERE to watch Matt’s review of Dead Body Road #1

The men involved in his wife’s death must die. All of them.

Writer JUSTIN JORDAN (LUTHER STRODE) and artist MATTEO SCALERA (BLACK SCIENCE, Indestructible Hulk) craft the bruising story of one man’s revenge and the dark road he travels.

80/90's style revenge story of one man pushed to far and a road to revenge (insert cheesy sax riff) Close your eyes and picture Mel Gibson in the lead role (post lethal weapon 2, pre-antisemitism)

80/90′s style revenge story of one man pushed to far and a road to revenge (insert cheesy sax riff) Close your eyes and picture Mel Gibson in the lead role (post lethal weapon 2, pre-antisemitism)

Hey I’m Matt, the reviews I do are spoiler free for the most part (except for sequential issues where I might mention what happened previously) but I aim to give you an overview of the story/art and basic quality of the book so you can make an informed decision and not waste those precious £!!

If there’s books you’d like to see reviewed just leave a comment and I will do my very best.

Follow Matt on Twitter! – https://twitter.com/Ass_H4t
Check Matt out on Youtube! – http://www.youtube.com/user/jezzamatic?feature=watch

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Posted on December 15th, 2013
Category: MATT ON COMICS, NEWS & VIEWS, REVIEWS
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WRITER’S BLOCK #002 – BLACK SCIENCE #1 REVIEW

By Simon Dixon

Black Science #1 image
These last few years Image comics have been releasing a steady and impressive stream of new titles. Ranging from crazy sci-fi epics like “Saga”, to twists on the classic superhero genre like “Bounce”. A lot of these new series have been relatively good, but every once in a while a new series comes along that is head and shoulders above the rest; this time it’s Black Science. This book sits safely at the top of the pile of best new comics to be released this year.

Written by Rick Remender with art by Matteo Scalera and Dean White this dark and gritty sci-fi epic is something different and unique while retaining the classic themes that make a great sci-fi story.

Black Science #1 Grant
Right off the bat we are dropped straight into the action; our main character Grant runs through a forest desperately trying to escape the creatures chasing him. Along with him is a member of his group Jen. They’re trying to make it back to their group; they only have a small amount of time left. The way Remender writes this whole scene you can feel the sense of panic that the characters are going through. You can feel it in the way they speak and through the way that Matteo Scalera illustrates them. It immediately draws you into the story and gives you a connection to the characters. You already feel for them before you even know them. He grabs you and never lets you go.

The whole story feels like a dark, creepy and pulse jumping story from a classic pulp magazine. Like a taste of a classic piece of sci-fi. Remender teases us throughout the entire issue; giving us all the information about where Grant has been and where he is going, what he’s been through and who he is. While also navigating you through an intense action sequence that sets up the story for issues to come. He does it in such a way that you don’t feel overloaded with information but you feel like you absorb it naturally while proceeding with the fast pace of the issue. This is probably the best first issue to a book I have ever read.

Black Science #1 Kid
By the end of the issue I feel like I’ve been given all the information I need to progress in the story and I didn’t even know it was happening! That’s the mark of a great introduction. It sets us up for the journey we are beginning and teases us with an overarching theme we can sink our teeth into. The end of the issue is perfect and has me extremely excited for the next instalment.

The story isn’t the only amazing thing about this issue; the art is some of the nicest I’ve ever laid eyes on. At once it both excites and scares you with its darkness. It’s a visual masterpiece that pulls you and adds greatly to the fast paced feeling of the book. Every page is beautifully laid out with every panel bursting with exciting detail which adds to the realism of the story. From disgusting monsters to forests sitting on the back of giant turtles; everything is nothing less than a joy to look at. The detail fills you with so much understanding while bringing up so many questions about the world our characters inhabit.

Black Science #1 Art
This issue is a masterpiece of storytelling in both the writing and the art. It grabs you from the very get go and rushes you through an exciting yet scary adventure that ends with the start of the next. It sets up the series perfectly and leaves you excited for more. Do yourself a favour and go and buy this book! You will not regret it!

Story/Writing – 5/5
Art – 5/5
Overall – 5/5

Follow Simon on Twitter! – https://twitter.com/MritalkApple123
Check Simon out on Youtube! – http://www.youtube.com/user/MritalkApple

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Posted on November 29th, 2013
Category: REVIEWS, WRITER'S BLOCK
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