Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Is This Character Cool?

Dick Grayson...former orphan, Robin, Nightwing, and current Batman. 

Mr. Grayson made his first appearance a short 69 years ago in 1940. The comic was Detective Comics #38. He was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson...three names that shouldn't need any introduction.

He is arguably the most famous sidekick in comic books, and survived the Golden, Silver, and Modern Age of comics.

Dick Grayson was part of "The Flying Graysons" circus act, and watched his parents die in an "accident". There have been almost 732,000 revisions to this origin tale, but that's it in a nutshell, Bruce Wayne was in attendance, that night, was reminded of his own tragedy, and takes Dick under his wing. I felt a little weird typing "takes Dick under his wing".
In 1984, Grayson gave up his role as Robin and became his own hero, Nightwing. Up until recently, he remained his affiliation with the Bat-verse, and was a founder of the Teen Titans, and has been associated with the various incarnations of that team since then, as well.

He has taken the Batman mantle now twice, and is very respected by the rest of the DCU. Grayson was the light that kept Batman from potentially crossing the line, and has always been an extremely entertaining character to read.

As the new Batman, he also has a new Robin to deal with, a new Robin who I personally think is so irritating it makes me want to perform an autopsy on myself (not possible, I know). There is so much that this character has done in almost 70 years, that a measly blog cannot give him his just write-up. Great character, one of the premier fighters in the DCU, and a great example of someone growing out of Bruce Wayne's shadow.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thor Annual #1

This story was brought to you by Peter Milligan, Mico Suayan, a bunch of other dudes, and the letter "C". I have not read a solo Thor comic in approximately 40 years. It's not as if I have anything against the character. He didn't take my parking spot at Best Buy on Black Friday, he didn't act like an ass when I was passing him at the grocery get the picture.

Anytime I have ever read a story with Thor in it, he was in another character's book, or in a team book (Avengers, for example). Only when I saw the Ultimate Avengers animated movie did I feel like this guy seemed pretty cool.

Apparently, the Thor series was recently revamped, and by recently I mean the last year or so. I saw the first trade paperback in Barnes and Noble and passed on it, in favor of something I have probably not read.

While in the comic shop yesterday, I saw the annual on sale for only a buck! They had a few other comics on sale cheap, and I passed on them all in favor of this.
What I am really trying to say is I do not know jack about Thor, other than the fact that he is a thunder god with a big-ass hammer, long hair, and talks all weird.

Please understand that I could really be butchering my understanding of what the hell is going on in Thor comics...
It seems that Thor has a human host, and they "trade space", in that if the human calls on Thor, the human then turns into an apparition/vision or some such stuff. Vice-versa when Thor is not Thor-ing. Again, as someone who has not read the regular series, this is what I picked up.

In a nutshell, some bad guys are after Thor because they think he is weakened, and he is. His human host pulls a little psychology out and convinces Mr. Thor that his weaknesses are more of a mental thing, and Thor whoops some booty and thwarts the baddies' assassination plot.

Interesting story, actually, and the art was crisp and refreshing, not unlike an ice cold Warsteiner Dunkel on a hot August day. After reading this, I will be picking up the trade paperback (at my comic store, gotta support my local shop).

4 out of 5 hammers.

Hiatus, Blackest Night, and Other Crap

I have been on hiatus. Now I am back.

Blackest Night. In a nutshell, it's DC heroes versus the zombie versions of all the dead DC heroes/major players.

This is the huge crossover event in DC right now, involving almost every superhero in their universe, and in the middle of it all? Every Lantern Corps.

I have to admit I was a little skeptical when we started seeing Blue Lanterns, Orange, Red, Indigo, etc. Having just gotten through the latest issue of GL (#48), and having just started the first few pages of Blackest Night #5, I think that Geoff Johns has really fleshed out the different Corps, what makes them tick, and brought personality to the individuals behind their respective rings.

It seems like yesterday, Hal Jordan and the vast majority of the Green Lanterns were being killed off because there "were no more stories left to tell". With new fanboys who hadn't grown up reading about Hal and the Corps, they found the premise of a super-hero like Hal Jordan boring. When Kyle Rayner came along to replace Hal, and every other GL, this new generation of comic fan found someone they could "relate to". The DC version of Spider-Man.

With Green Lantern: Rebirth, and every single issue of GL published since then, it's beyond apparent that there are a lot more tales left to tell. With events like The Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night, it also proves that these aren't just tales, these are pushed to the forefront of the DC Universe, and are excellent stories. As a huge DC fan, I can still admit that things like Infinite Crisis was painful to sit through, and I really hate company-wide crossovers. However, they have really done an amazing job with Blackest Night. Hats off. In the middle of Blackest Night, I rate it 5 out of 5 skulls. Once it concludes in the next couple months, I hope that rating remains the same!

Other comics that are great: Moon Knight, Power Girl, Red Robin, Dark Avengers, Justice League: Cry for Justice, and The Flash: Rebirth. Very well-told stories that don't assume your average reader isn't 11 years old/living in his mom's basement.

I will close with a few Blackest Night images...