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Issue #2 Release Date: 5/16/12 Vol.#11
The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: CLiNT 2.1
Advance Review: BATMAN INC. #1

Advance Review: In stores today!

CLiNT Magazine 2.1

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Lots
Publisher: Titan Magazines
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

When it comes to fan service, Mark Millar is the modern-day Stan Lee. We deal with a lot of creators in the @$$hole clubhouse (not in the clubhouse directly, it’s over Skype – they don’t want the herps), and no other creator is as invested in their fanbase as Millar. Facebook, tweets, fuck--even the abysmal Google +: Millar is a directly engaged inescapable presence constantly gauging fan appeal for his work. CLiNT is the culmination of this fan service in magazine form. In boring business consulting terms we call this the “inch wide, mile deep” effect, wherein if you want to know the down and dirty details, the behind the scenes, the taint behind the bits and tubbage, you’ll get it in CLiNT. This is the modern reflection of the letters columns that permeated books for years (POWERS fans know what I’m talking about). With how low publishing costs are now and digital distribution, I honestly find other creators lazy for not caring as much to produce material like CLiNT for their fans. I truly believe if Lee was a century younger we would have a magazine on the shelves called “Excelsior Cocksuckers” right now, exploring what Lee was eating for lunch when he created SPIDER-MAN. To those that say “Do we really need this?”, you’re obviously not a fan of Millar, so I invite you to move right past this review.

Good. Now that all of the naysayers are gone, I should make eminently clear that CLiNT is not just all “inside scoop” information like where Millar hid McAvoy’s career after WANTED was done filming. For the paragraph-averse there is a fuckton of pure comic page goodness inside CLiNT. SUPERCROOKS 1? It’s inside CliNT. The Mark Hamill-infused SECRET SERVICE is also inside; hell, Millar even stretched beyond the boundaries of his own creations to include Millar Certified titles.

Starting the pack off is the mind-fuck within a mind-fuck within a schizophrenic’s fucked mind who is trying to thwart an alien invasion called REX ROYD. This is not as overt as traditional Millar titles, which makes me gain even more respect for CLiNT and Millar for devoting time to this tale. Writer Frankie Boyle has created more of a Rorschach, akin to the work of Grant Morrison. This truly tests the mettle of comic reader’s imaginations and ability to see through, past, or ride along with the “Inception”-type layers that build as opposed to unfold as the issue reaches climax. Accompanying REX the comic are insightful articles from writer and artist alike. Again, inch wide, mile deep.

Next up is DEATH SENTENCE by the singularly named Montynero. People are dying at a young age from the G+ virus, but of course there’s a high concept that comes in the form of extraordinary powers or talent a few months before folks bite the big one. It’s gritty and it’s real, all the while imbibing the fantastic and making us believe this shit is going on right outside our window. It’s Millar conceptualization to a T, while still being different enough to show that Millar is moving into middle age as a shepherd of new ideas instead of withering into oblivion on style sameness like so many creators of the past. At a certain point, all creators need to find that next level of infusing the world with their voice. These two titles show that Millar isn’t fucking around when it comes to molding the comic industry to his taste and the tastes of his fans.

For anyone that might have lost count, that’s four full comics residing inside CLiNT. This is one hell of a nice consolidated way to get your comic fix for a quarter of the price.

From an article perspective, imagine if words could fuck and Time magazine was ganbanged by Rolling Stone, Mad Magazine and the Ain’t it Cool Comic @$$holes. The resulting child from that unholy union is CLiNT. Seriously, if you enjoy the tonality of this column, you’ll enjoy every paragraph of irreverent insight inside CLiNT. I’ll admit I was more partial to the columns that directly involved Millar like the interview on SUPER CROOKS, the movie with director Nacho Vigalondo, over the spotlight on a guy that dresses up like a Mortal Kombat combatant, but that’s more my baggage--I simply hate goofy fans.

Again, CLiNT is a value for the comics alone; the extra words from Millar and his team of writers is the extra bukake on the porn star. Not that really need to, but Titan is sweetening the deal even further by offering subscribers 20% off cover price and a signed David Gibbons art card from THE SECRET SERVICE.

Look, I’m not stupid. I know part of CLiNT is to make more money and use an approach to salesmanship that businesses have been using for years – give a morsel so they buy the meal. At the end of the day, though, Millar is one of those guys that doesn’t really need the money or the adoration. If he pissed in the snow some studio exec would try to make a movie out of it before it melted. I see a lot of guys who are a lot less successful than Millar resting on the laurels of their crappy 200 print book run or the guys who shun comics all together the first time Hollywood places her money-lactating teat in their mouths. Millar loves comics and his fans. CLiNT is the coke fueled, tits to the rafters, celebration of that love.

Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2012 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.


Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Art: Eric Jones
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


Last month, I saw a few reviews for DANGER CLUB #1, so I sought it out. Inside was one of the most enjoyable and creative superhero comics I’ve read this year. Centering around a group of sidekicks who have to assume the responsibilities of their missing superiors, the first issue was bold, unique, and enthralling. The second issue continues on, fleshing out the cast slightly and further setting up the world.

Writing: (5/5) The majority of the book switches back and forth between Kid Vigilante returning to his old base of operations and Yoshimi attempting to escape Japan. Both plots move forward with speed and grace, neither detracting from the other. Walker manages to make both stories equally engrossing, where one is a giant mech battle over Tokyo and the other is one guy essentially monologuing. It’s a treat.

Kid Vigilante brings Ladybug into Red Vengeance’s batcave, and soon finds himself alone with his comatose brother. The scene shows a new side of Kid Vigilante, and it’s just wonderful. After last issue’s blood bath and display of his skills, Walker steps back and gives the reader insight into him. He makes Vigilante sound like a real teenager, plagued with doubt and confused by these new situations, but who’s still trying to do his job. Walker has created a fantastic cast here, and he certainly knows these characters completely.

This is clearly a vastly different world then the one we know, and it’s nice to see the little hints of the differences that exist within this world. Yoshimi’s escape is fast and fluid, and manages to give her a bright showcase of skills. Most of the cast was shown off last issue, but it’s nice to see Yoshimi get a further showcase of her skills.

Neither segment lags or detracts from the other, and Walker writes not only a tight, enjoyable script, but manages to lay the seeds for future endeavors. And he does it all with ease.

Art: (5/5) Complimenting the story is some spectacular art, courtesy of Eric Jones and the colour team. Walker has found the perfect combination of artists for this book, and it shows beautifully in this issue. The giant mech chase/battle across Tokyo looks spectacular, fast and fluid. Each panel offers a creative new shot, each frame works in junction with their neighbors, and it’s great.

The framing is inventive and well done, notably during Kid Vigilante’s section of the story. As he speaks to Kid Victory, there is a sincere feeling of loss and sadness, conveyed brilliantly by Jones. As Kid Vigilante sobs, suddenly every inherently “badass” action he took in the previous issue is put in a new light, and we see him as a young man for the first time. It’s a moment of pure vulnerability, and it’s sold completely by the art.

Michael Drake and Derek Hunter on colour also offer up some spectacular work, each page being a wonder of its own. Juxtaposed against the bright and colourful lights of the Japan fight is the muted but defined look of Kid Vigilante. It’s some of the best colour work I’ve seen in ages, and complements the art and the writing gracefully.

Also, the opening page is fantastic. It’s not the instant wonder of last issue’s title page, but it’s still wonderful.

Best Moment: “Andrew. My name is Andrew.”

Worst Moment: ….I got nothing. This title is fucking amazing.

Overall: (5/5) We’re only two issues in, but DANGER CLUB is already one of my favourite titles of the year. I’m honestly more excited for the next issue of this than almost any mainstream title. Congratulations to the team behind this, and I hope there’s more on the way.

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


Writer: Jason Aaron.1
Penciler: Jefte Palo.1
Published by Marvel Comics.1
Reviewed by Johnny Destructo.1

Have you ever interacted with someone via email or phone, and decided “yeah, I’ll climb into bed with that”, and then when you show up at your allotted meet-up time, you can’t stand the sight of that person? But you think to yourself: “Don’t be so shallow, self! You were interested before! Looks aren’t everything”? And so you do what any normal person would do--you slip a paper Whole Foods bag over their head and hope the damn thing doesn’t fall off mid-coitus. Right? We’ve all been there. No? Just me? Well then this very personal analogy will mean nothing to you, but this is exactly the feeling I’ve been having for the past 7.0 issues of this series.

Jason Aaron would whisper his sweet nuthin’s in my ear with his writing, while I wished that I could paper bag the art that went along with the story. Horrifyingly disjointed and inconsistent, the interior sequential work was shoddy and just plain distracting. Having been classified as a 7th level “Art Guy” by the Philadelphia chapter of The Worldwide International Multicultural Intramural Comic Geek Federation, I had a bastard of a difficult time appreciating this series.

Thankfully, that wasn’t an obstacle this time around. This was only one artist the whole issue through, doing a consistent style that matched the atmosphere of good-natured fun and hijinkery.

This issue reminded me of the humor and light-hearted nature of Aaron’s WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN series, which happens to be my favorite X-title currently, so if you’re enjoying that, check out this issue.

What we have here is a Hulk who is finally “left alone”, the one thing he always wanted, and I finally get the one thing I always wanted: a panel of bald Hulk gleefully riding a triceratops. Bucket list almost complete. Emma Stone, you’re up next. Seriously, though--from Hulk’s Big Day Off to an appearance of The Orb to the Hulk and Red She-Hulk having it out…and in, and on…this was a great great issue. I had dropped this book as of last issue, but holy Hannah, if this is the way it’s heading, count me back in. And from the looks of things to come, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to let up anytime soon. From the previews, I think the next issue will be a Hulk version of the film CRANK! IDIGit!

JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, drawing a weekly webcomic, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at, graphically designing/illustrating for a living, and Booking his Face off over here. Follow his twitter @poptardsgo. His talkback name is PopTard_JD. He is also now co-hosting another Comic Book discussion show on alongside Bohdi Zen. They discuss comics and play music, check it out live every Saturday from 4-5pm.


Writers: Andrew Zar and Crystal Storm
Art: Ray Riber and Cheery FiFi
Publisher: Darkbrain
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

Giant breasts, blood-stained blouses, beautiful women openly weeping and prominently displayed religious symbols. I’m sure anyone who’s spent a weekend in my basement is probably asking the same thing we ask during Passover: “How is this night different from any other night?” Well, in this case, it’s the cover for CHURCH OF ONE, the compelling new crime drama from DARKBRAIN’S Andrew Zar and writer Crystal Storm. If you’re wondering aloud, “Hey, isn’t that the same Crystal Storm who pens the PISSY PUSSY SUNDAY COMIC STRIPS,” then yes ladies and sirs, you would be correct. So what’s she doing at the helm of this new offering, also written by Wintress Odom and Stephanie Hashagen? “Doing a mighty fine job,” would be my answer. It should also be noted that CHURCH OF ONE has an online, DVD and mobile version starring porno pros Tabitha Stevens and Raylene, among others, and I won’t be offended if you abandon ship at this point to seek gratification from them elsewhere.

For those of you sticking around to read more about CHURCH OF ONE, I can tell you it’s wall-to-wall action in a BASIC INSTINCT kind of way. Dead bodies, an insanely hot bisexual suspect, the hard-nosed cop who wants to bang her AND solve the case, more murders and of course, sex, sex and more sex. Seriously, there is a lot of boot-knocking in this comic and that’s hardly a complaint. Actually, I wanted to complain, because so many other books throw in a gratuitous sex scene to fill the gaps (pun intended) when they need to stitch together plot points and don’t have the creative skill to do it. ‘Round these parts, we call that “going Hollywood.” The good news is that Storm and Co. use their sex scenes to enhance the plot rather than advance it. I’m sure I don’t have to mention the thin line between sex and violence, so it’s an interesting game of cat-and-mouse as the heroes really aren’t that much different than the villains from a behind-closed-doors perspective. I would caution sensitive viewers that in addition to wanton violence, there are several religious inferences that some people might find objectionable, so don’t go in with conservative values and not expect to be offended (though I doubt it isn’t anything we haven’t already seen on TV or read in the news).

The artwork by Ray Riber and Cheery FiFi does an accurate job of portraying the CHURCH OF ONE universe as a place of lust and dirty deeds. Every character looks like a porn star – and I mean the hot ones for the big production companies, not the coked-out hoes who need five bucks for their next fix. Yes, good things and good people exist in this world, but it is the darkness that drives the plot and ultimately, its climax. Would I recommend CHURCH OF ONE? Hell to the yes, but only to mature readers. And by mature, I mean over 18, not all prim and proper. The great thing about this collection of web comics is the added bonuses and offshoots that sometimes layer the chapters, but I’ll leave those as little Easter eggs for new readers to discover rather than blow my load all in one shot. See what I did there? That’s what happens when you read a book like CHURCH OF ONE. It gets inside your head.

Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.


Written and Illustrated by: Andrew Loomis
Publisher: Titan Books
Reviewer: superhero

Titan Books continues its amazing job of re-publishing Andrew Loomis’ fundamental works on illustration with their latest outing, SUCCESSFUL DRAWING. I’ve reviewed Loomis’s FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT’S WORTH and DRAWING THE HEAD AND HANDS here at Ain’t It Cool Comics so I was a bit worried that I’d start becoming the Titans Books/Andrew Loomis shill at AICN. But if I’m to be accused of being a shill or a plant or whatever for appreciating Andrew Loomis’ spectacular instructional tomes as well as Titan Books’ fantastic job of re-releasing them, then so be it. I love these editions, and as a cartoonist who’s never really had a ton of actual formal artistic education I think that they provide some great insights into the essentials of the actual craft of draftsmanship.

While previous volumes have focused on aspects of the human anatomy, SUCCESSFUL DRAWING breaks down just about everything else. The ground rules of proportion, placement, perspective, etcetera, etcetera, and etcetera are examined in depth. There’s so much information in this book about basic illustration technique that it could almost be viewed as a bible for the beginning artist. Loomis offers up clear and concise advice on how to approach the difficulties that would plague any illustrator and provides pages and pages of diagrams to display the techniques he’s attempting to demonstrate. I actually found SUCCESSFUL DRAWING to be a bit intimidating at first because of the huge amount of information provided within its pages, but once I actually dived into it proved to be worth its weight in gold. As I’ve said with previous Loomis editions, SUCCESSFUL DRAWING is a must own book for any artist. Whether you’re someone who’s just starting out or a seasoned pro, I can’t imagine not finding something in this book that wouldn’t illuminate your drawing experience.

Again, Titan Books has done a masterful job with the publication of this edition of SUCCESSFUL DRAWING. The book is a beautiful hardcover bound edition. It’s a huge, sturdy, and solid volume whose page size gives the content in it the respect it deserves. I could easily see a publisher doing an edition of this book on the cheap and putting out a flimsy, average sized soft cover edition of SUCCESSFUL DRAWING. Not so with Titan Books. You can tell that they have a genuine respect for Loomis’ material, as this publication displays a true reference for his work. Once again, Titans Books just continues to impress with the quality of the stuff that they put out. Well done!

Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. Some of his work can be seen at and check out his blog at You can check also out his webcomics at and, which is currently in development.


Writer: Ethan Bull
Artist: Tsubasa Yozora
Publisher: Viper Comics

Reviewer: Optimous Douche

“Would you like to play a game?”

Those of you who can name the movie that line came from are probably the perfect demographic for WORLD WAR HACK. And I’m not talking age here; in this era of specialization even nerds and geeks can be cordoned off into stratums. WORLD WAR HACK is for the sect of comic readers that spend equal time between Superman and Starcraft, Wonder Woman and Warcraft, and Captain America and Civilization. WORLD WAR HACK is for all of us that get off on binary forensics and the thrill of intense typing. So if you need punches instead of punch cards and kicking over keyboards, move right along to the next review.

Over the past few years, hacking has become a bigger threat to national security than planes and anthrax. Rightly so; while the TSA was able to secure our physical borders, we still have this beautiful open sieve called the internet zipping our most precious data to the four corners of the world. With broadband a commodity these days, blackhats can manipulate systems and pilfer data in the blink of an eye. Sure, detection systems will eventually alert…someone…and that slow human brain will react to the situation…eventually.

That’s the basic premise of WORLD WAR HACK. On a routine training mission in the Nevada dessert one of the USA’s newest drone planes is remotely hijacked. To uncover the source of this hijacking the government brings together the best and brightest minds in the country under the guise of a competition to ferret out the L33T code that was used.

Now, that’s only the basic premise…writer Bull further slathers this concept with delicious story elements of global political throw downs, a slew of nerd speak, and a little teen romance to add a perfect balance of story elements inside WORLD WAR HACK. The scariest part of all of the title is not the Chinese government knowing all of our state secrets, not the assassins that hunt protagonist and teen genius Wyatt Dyer throughout the course of the tale, nor the fact our own government seems to use and throw away our secret hackers like so much used Kleenex – no, the scariest part of this tale is that many elements are based on true events. We have had our systems hacked, the Chinese have been involved, American citizens have helped them, and the government often uses simple competitions for surreptitious means. Just when you thought Ender Wiggen was a fictional character, a book like WORLD WAR HACK shows you that science fiction often predicts the landscape of tomorrow.

From a story and dialogue perspective WORLD WAR HACK is perfect. Bull knows pacing and dialogue. The art left me a little less than enamored. I appreciate where Yozora was going with a minimalist style, but at times this minimalism can feel lazy, especially in crowd scenes. Remember the faceless children in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” as the kids ride the conveyor belt to the meat grinder? Well, they lived and now occupy most crowd scenes in WORLD WAR HACK and sadly a few solitary panels. Seriously, no face whatsoever on a few people. That’s not style, that’s a distraction.

You can’t beat the price, though, for WORLD WAR HACK; it’s a voluminous tale that page for page is half the price of the Big Two. If you dig computers and espionage, you’ll dig WORLD WAR HACK.


Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Mike Choi
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

There are very few opinions raging in my mind that are not in some sort of inner dispute. Such opinions consist of such topics as hockey being the greatest sport man has ever created, CASABLANCA being the best film I have ever watched, no liquor being finer than sweet Kentucky bourbon, and so on. Likewise, there is no dispute on how I feel about Jonathan Hickman’s run on FANTASTIC FOUR in that I think it has been the best I have read on the book, in addition to being pretty much the best Marvel comic I’ve been reading for about three years running (though with some really steep competition from Mark Waid’s DAREDEVIL the past year). And there is no dispute in my love of this newest installment of his instant classic run, which is a great one-shot that gives some really deviously dark background insight on the run he has crafted so far. But therein lies a little bit of rub…

Okay, so this issue is indeed great. It’s an alternative Earth story involving everyone’s favorite alt history trope, Nazis. Instead of the lovable gang of freewheeling space travelers we know, the Storms (Sturms) are sadists, Reed Richards is one of Hitler’s right-hand braintrustees, and Ben Grimm has numbers tattooed on his forearm. Some vicious machinations by Reed, a squished Hitler, and a brief retelling of Marvel history from the 1940’s on and this issue is a fantastic reimagining done in the span of twenty pages that really enhances the foundations of this three year run. And I have no idea what the hell it’s supposed to do for “new readers” given those confines.

And that’s the real rub I mentioned earlier: I really do not get what these dot-one issues are supposed to be for. I know the marketing line of being “delivers the perfect jumping on points for the biggest super hero series”, but I really have yet to see this concept exist. And I think this issue really does try to reach those parameters as best it can, but we’re talking a one-shot that is there to enhance a story that is basically fifty issues long at this point, on a run that is supposed to wrap up within the year I believe, and it is somehow going to draw new peeps in? I don’t see it. If you see the .1 on the title and hop in with no context, yeah, this issue is accessible. Yeah, you’re probably going to be curious, maybe enough to go back and get some trades (which, if that is the REAL thrust of these issues is to get TPB sales on these runs up, I can see that) but are you going to just start grabbing the next issue you see? Hell no. This issue goes on to underline a massive story undertaking that is just about Omnibus size at this point (and that I would gladly pay Omnibus prices for, hint hint) and the brunt of which has already gone down. You might as well be hopping into THE GODFATHER when Michael kisses Fredo in the second part (both these movies, for the record, being right behind CASABLANCA on that “best movies I’ve ever seen list” mentioned earlier).

If an issue like this is just an excuse to put out a second issue in a month, then just put out a second issue in a month. If the book is good – and this one is, like the DAREDEVIL one was, and the X-FACTOR one was – then the people are going to pay for them like they always were, even if it’s twice in a month, though that strategy is also a bit of a ballbuster too. The idea of a “jumping on point” in the middle of a four year run – and let’s be honest, that happens a lot in comics on even your more unassuming titles – is a bit absurd. This is a fine comic, one of the best out there; just let it run its course and the people will find it in their own way (hopefully in a big ass, oversized hardcover). Cheers…

Fear Face as published in THE JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 003

Writer: Jim Lawrence
Illustrator: Horak
Publisher: Titan Books
Reviewer: superhero

FEAR FACE is probably the shortest entry in the JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 003. As such it’s probably one of the most entertaining of the lot. That’s not because I’ve found the other entries to be a bore; it’s more because this particular little adventure moves along at quite the quick pace. The setup is fast and concise and the intrigue moves along without getting snagged down in too many details. The biggest reason that I enjoyed FEAR FACE so much, however, is that it involved robots!

In a tale that is somewhat a precursor to the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman’s iconic humanoid robots, one of the villains in FEAR FACE uses remote controlled, human looking automatons to achieve his nefarious deeds. That plot point alone is a winner in my book, but robots alone do not a good story make. While the presence of ‘bots adds quite a bit of great sci-fi fun to the story, they’re obviously part of a larger yarn that’s some good old fashioned spy fun as well. Yes, there’s a baddie on the loose controlling his machines via “telefactoring”, but it’s part of a scheme that involves Bond trying to clear the name of a former, and rather sexy, MI-6 agent as well as a bit of corporate espionage. And while I’m sure it seems obvious how this story might play out when I mention “human looking robots” and “disgraced MI-6 agent”, FEAR FACE doesn’t really take the approach you’d expect. It goes in a whole other direction and I have to say I was pleased with how the story eventually played out.

This is the second entry in the JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 003 that is an original story written by Jim Lawrence, and I have to say that I think I actually like Lawrence’s original comic Bond stories more than his adaptations of Fleming’s novels. Once Lawrence goes out on his own with Bond and isn’t confined by the structure of the Fleming novels there seems to be a certain freedom that he embraces as far as his spy plots go. With FEAR FACE and the previous GOLDEN GHOST Lawrence seems to head off into a slightly more fantastical spy realm. While I’m sure that many hard core Bond fans might find that comment a bit disheartening, I personally enjoyed the change. While the novel adaptations are very well done there is a bit of dryness to them. In Lawrence’s own Bond stories, or at least the two that I’ve read so far, that dryness seems to have lifted a bit. It’s not a drastic shift of attitude but it’s something that I noticed and thought I’d mention. In any case, I’m eager to get to the next two final stories in the JAMES BOND OMNIBUS 003 because I’m interested to see what Lawrence does with Bond next.


Advance Review: In stores today!


Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

“As of now I’m a vegetarian. And this is Bat-Cow.” – Damian Wayne

It’s rare when words and art collide in such a way that I actually feel something when I read a comic. Most comics are good, but rarely physically affect me. When Damian Wayne uttered the opening line above amidst a sea of cow blood and entrails after THE BEST action sequence in comics this year, I had shove my heart from my throat back into my chest cavity to get my laugh out.

Grant is back, folks, and has forsaken the often criticized corporatization of BATMAN INC to bring us a tale much closer to home. Honestly, this issue was more akin to the early days of BATMAN & ROBIN minus the Dick and amped up to 11 on the humor, action and heart scale. There was not one page of this book where either Burnham or Morrison didn’t floor me in at least one panel.

I can’t predict the future, but if the rest of this arc is half as good as this first issue, Morrison just set a new zenith in comic excellence.

I’m fascinated by Damian Wayne and also backwards storytelling, so when the book opened with Bruce Wayne being arrested by Commissioner Gordon after muttering the ominous “tell the others it’s over” and then jumps into a GORGEOUS two-page splash of Batman and Robin in hot pursuit of…something, I was immediately hooked. Make no mistake: while Morrison gets credit for the pacing and presenting the story in this fashion, Burnham deserves his reach-around for the juxtaposition of quiet calm and then explosive movement a minute later.

Who Batman and Robin are chasing one month prior is an assassin adorned in a goat mask, hence being appropriately named The Goat. Who he works for, as well as who the new crime family in Gotham that hired him ultimately serves, I’ll leave as a treat for actually reading the book. Just know that this person wants Damian Wayne killed in the worst way possible and has placed a half billion dollar bounty on his little beautiful bulbous head.

Morrison plays with points of view in this story with reckless abandon and it pays off in spades. One minute we are with The Goat, inside his head as he narrates his knowledge of Gotham and why a small time hood is going after such an illustrious target. As The Goat pursues the caped crusaders across Gotham, Burnham turns the city from the hyper realistic to a grid of heat maps – where’s the traffic, where are the cops, where the hell is the next best place to shoot this little bastard. It’s an art style that embraces our up-to-the-second app information age to its fullest and transcended all past digital justice attempts in every way possible. It showed me the damn story, it showed me The Goat’s vast knowledge of Gotham’s pulse, and it showed me what true imagination is in comic books.

Morrison also introduces a new crime syndicate in this story called Leviathan. The story simply gets more fuck-twisted the minute this group of what can only be described as mafia demons hits the scene. Of particular note is where they literally feed a rival gangster his brother for dinner.

When not searing our mind with high concepts or traversing Gotham’s cityscape in new and interesting ways, Morrison simply nails the Batman and Robin relationship. Comparisons to Dick in the cowl, resentment, humor and most importantly anguished love in the closing panel of the book makes you feel like you’ve read four books by the time you get finished.

Oh wait, this is BATMAN INC, isn’t it? The international Batmans show up in Gotham, but having never been the biggest fan of the concept it was thankfully short. They are all in Gotham to help Batman, but to say why would give away too much. READ THE BOOK!

This is simply Morrison at his finest. Every kooky concept he can imagine was thrown into this title without ever once being confusing or leaving the reader feeling like panels were left out. Burnham is an artist that truly “gets” a Morrison script and is bar none in execution. Again, the moment with Bat-Cow was triumphant, funny and reminded us that Damien is still just a little boy somewhere deep down in his cold little assassin heart.

Bravo, gentlemen…simply, bravo.

Marvel Comics

From the flashback design of the cover to the ominous final panel, this issue once again reaffirms X-FACTOR’s status as one of the most entertaining comic books on the stands. Peter David has proven himself adept at juggling an expanded cast and multiple subplots during this title’s run, and once again his talents are on full display as he brings the Mojoworld back into play (a no-brainer, seeing as how X-Factor tem members Longshot and Shatterstar are both refugees from the media-controlled alternate dimension) for a bit of social commentary sprinkled into a gorgeously dynamic fight scene, rendered by Leonard Kirk. Fans of this series will find everything they’d expect—action, drama and humor—plus an appearance by the enigmatic Tryp, leading this reviewer to believe that David has big things a-brewin’ for his team of mutant misfits. Best of all: no unnecessary tie-in with the exercise in superhero idiocy that is the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN “event.” -

IDW Publishing

My enjoyment of this series is both marred and magnified by the fact that there is so much time in between issues. The long delays are a source of frustration because I really REALLY need to know what’s next. But then the latest installment hits the stands and the wait is TOTALLY worth it. With this issue Joe Hill reveals the final confrontation between Lucas “Dodge” Carravaggio (or more precisely, the otherdimensional demon possessing him) and the high school-age Rendell Locke and his circle of keyholders, leading up to Dodge’s first death. Hill doesn’t pull his punches—the reader sees the horror of Rendell’s friends being slaughtered by this monster, the awfulness of another having her mind emptied of all its memories in Dodge’s search for the Omega Key. As usual Gabriel Rodriguez brings his unique blend of stylization and solid, constructed weight to drawings that makes me both fall in love with his amazing artistic and compositional prowess and envy the shit out of him for being able to do what he does so well. Now the hard part is (once again) the long, long wait until the next chapter. - BottleImp

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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