Comic Recommendation: The Black Hood

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I can’t recommend this comic enough. The Black Hood is about a Philadelphia cop who kills the resident vigilante and then through his personal demons takes over as The Black Hood.

Originally I picked this up because I read that it took place in Philly. Writer Duane Swiercyznski is a resident of Philly and does a great job with a very accurate portrayal of the city.

The publisher is Dark Circle Comics which is an imprint of Archie Comics of all companies. This is a very mature comic and the first comic under the Archie banner to use the word fuck.

It’s currently three issues in so you should be able to find all of them.

Trench’s early impressions of DC Comics’ Convergence

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I don’t think I’m dropping any spoilers but just in case you’ve been warned.

I Know it’s only the first week of DC Comics’ latest continuity crossover reboot crisis whatever but I’ve come away with two things from it so far.

The first is that the concept reminds me a lot of 2013’s Deathmatch by Boom Studios which is one of my favorite series of all time.

The other thing is that after visiting with pre-New 52 characters that we haven’t seen in 4 years maybe the New 52 isn’t so bad after all. A lot of the old characters felt just like that, old and out of date.

Marvel Comics to reboot their universe

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Recently it was announced that Marvel Comics will be rebooting their fictional universe with the upcoming Secret Wars storyline much like DC Comics did in 2011 with Flashpoint and the New 52,

At first, much like I did in 2011, I was worried that some great stories would become non-canon like the death of Gwen Stacy or Planet/World War Hulk. Then I realized that just because those stories may be retconned out of existence that doesn’t erase them from our memories. I mean why do we as comic readers worry so much about canon? Why can’t we just enjoy good stories without having to worry about how they all fit in the grander universe and timeline?

I think as comic fans we need to unbunch our underoos every time publishers try something new.

Except for One More Day. We were totally entitled to be pissed off at that steaming turd.

Comic of the Week: Action Comics Future’s End

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MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

In my entire life I’ve never cried at a movie or about a book or any work of fiction for that matter, until this past week. Believe it or not I was legitimately moved and almost got choked up over a comic book. But I’m getting a head of myself.

For those of you not familiar with the Future’s End storyline permeating DC Comics this month it takes place 5 years in the future after a war with an alternate Earth (Earth-2) has changed the world for the worse. Superman is among the missing however an incorporeal being grants three different people an aspect of Superman’s powers to see how they would use them and then how they would continue their lives after they were taken away again.

I started getting choked up for two reasons. The first is that two of the three people had issues that I have had to deal with in various stages of my life. So screw you to all the people who say a Superman story can’t be relatable. The second reason is that the ending left me with the most amazing feeling of hope. Not just in comics but in the real world. Call me immature or childish if you want but what’s wrong with a grown man being inspired by a funny book?

Overall the Future’s End issues this week we’re all very good and inspiring. Usually when a comic depicts a future it’s usually dystopian or apocalyptic. Very rarely is it this hopeful. It’s been so good I even took to reading titles in the story I don’t normally read. In the series that was out this past week I also recommend Phantom Stranger, Green Arrow and Swamp Thing.

Comic of the Week: Daredevil #7

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I haven’t done a comic of the week recommendation in a while because frankly, nothing has really blown my skirt that much lately in the world of comics, until today. Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil has been nothing short of excellent and issue #7 of the current run should be looked upon as a classic issue.

After the Original Sin event Matt Murdock has a flashback to his dad who he idolized. Except the memory shows Matt that his dad may not have been the man he thought he was so Matt suits up as Daredevil to find the only person who can tell him the truth, his mother.

I guess the reason I liked this issue a lot is it because it touched upon a lot of things that I experienced in my life both young and old but I won’t spoil it for you. Pick up this issue as soon as you can.

Falcon to become Captain America

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Not to be outdone with making Thor a woman, Marvel Comics has also made it known that the superhero known as The Falcon will be replacing Steve Rogers as Captain America. Apparently the reason this is newsworthy is that Falcon is black so we’ll have a black Captain America. I’m sure there will be some racist idiots who will have a problem with this. I actually do have a problem with this but not because Falcon is black.

Back in the late 70s my dad came home from a garage sale with a huge box of Marvel Comics from the 1970s. Among my favorites were the ones with Captain America and Falcon. I even had a Falcon action figure as a kid and it was one of my favorites because he was black and it made me wonder why there weren’t more black super heroes. As a matter of fact, in the 70s Mego Toys even advertised Falcon as the black superhero.

So my problem with this isn’t his ethnicity. My problem with this is he becomes Captain America because Steve Rogers was recently drained of his Super Soldier Serum which gave him his abilities and now time has finally caught up to the almost 100-year-old Rogers. A super hero losing their powers is one of the most clichéd tropes in all of comic history.

Again this will probably be like Superior Spider-Man and Steve Rogers will be back behind the shield in about a year or so.

UPDATE 9/7/2014: Captain America #24 would have had a great cliffhanger ending if Marvel didn’t already spoil the ending by making this newsworthy. It’s still a great issue so pick it up.

Thor to be a woman

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So Marvel announced today that the mantle of Thor will be taken up by a female character soon.

I’m taking a wait and see approach to this because the last time there was this much nerd outrage at Marvel Comics it was when they replaced Peter Parker with Doc Ock as Spider-Man and that was actually pretty good.

I don’t read Thor normally but I’ll have a review of the issue in question once it’s been released.

The first transgender character in DC Comics, or is it?

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DC Introduces First Transgender Character in Mainstream Comics:

Comic books keep making the mainstream news lately. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but we’re going to take a look at the latest development.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

In the final pages of Batgirl #19 Barbara Gordon confesses a lot of things to her roommate Alysia Yeoh. For some time Alysia has been concerned about Barbara’s erratic behavior. Barbara tells her about being shot and paralyzed by The Joker but stops short of telling Alysia that she’s Batgirl. Alysia then confesses to Barbara that she’s transgender.

The one thing that I like about this is DC Comics did not hype this prior to the release of the issue. If they did I didn’t see it so I was generally surprised by this outcome which comics need a lot more of. What I didn’t like is that felt forced. It reminded me of the episode of Law & Order where Elisabeth Rohm’s character, Serena Southerlyn, is fired by the D.A. and she replies was it because she’s lesbian and it had never been mentioned in the show prior to that. It feels like that DC Comics did it just for the sake of doing it.

For the most part I have no problem with the Alysia Yeoh character and her sexuality. What I would like to see is Alysia just be portrayed as a normal person that happens to be transgender. What I hope they don’t do is make her a caricature or have her be the victim of some uber-violent hate crime. That would cheapen the character and even a lot of main characters in comic books feel cheap already. You know, with the temporary deaths and all that.

However I have a bone to pick. A lot of people are saying that Alysia Yeoh is the first transgender in a mainstream superhero comic book and I beg to disagree. 20 years ago in the pages of Sandman, Neil Gaiman introduced the character of Wanda, a pre-op transgender woman who plays an integral part in the Game of You storyline.

Wanda from A Game of You.

Wanda from A Game of You.

You can’t argue that Sandman wasn’t a mainstream comic considering its impact on the comic community at that time. And while it may not be a superhero comic per se it did take place in the DC Universe proper and Dream did interact with the likes of Batman, Superman and Martian Manhunter. Wow, I sound like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.

Anyway all in all I feel like it was just there. Just not any reason to pick up or drop the title.

The death of Robin…again

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So another comic has made it into mainstream news again and once again it is involving the death of an iconic character. This time it’s Batman’s ever-present sidekick, Robin. But before we get into that here’s a little comic history lesson for those of you who either don’t follow comics or haven’t followed in a while.

The original Robin that we all know and love as portrayed by Burt Ward on the 1960s Batman TV show was Dick Grayson. In the late 1970s he grew up and became his own hero Nightwing.

He prefers to be called Richard now.

He prefers to be called Richard now.

His replacement was Jason Todd who was infamously killed by the Joker and DC comics readers. He came back to life as the gun-toting Red Hood.

He was none too happy to find out that the Joker was still alive.

He was none too happy to find out that the Joker was still alive.

Jason Todd’s replacement was Tim Drake who relinquished the mantle of Robin to his successor and became Red Robin, at least in pre-New 52 continuity.

Unfortunately his New 52 costume isn't as cool as the one with the cowl.

Unfortunately his New 52 costume isn’t as cool as the one with the cowl.

Which leads us to the current Robin, Damian Wayne. Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul.

And he's pretty badass for a 10-year-old.

And he’s pretty badass for a 10-year-old.

Damian is the focus of my post here today.

***BEYOND HERE LAY SPOILERS***

Continue reading

The Question emerges

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***SPOILERS***

You can catch up on our faceless hero by reading my last post on The Question.

So now The Question has made a more fleshed out appearance so to speak in the pages of Phantom Stranger #5.

While The Phantom Stranger battles The Spectre over the disappearance of Stranger’s adopted family. The Question appears mysteriously in the lab of Dr. Terrence Thirteen. Thirteen actually calls him The Question and says that the only thing he knows about him is that Question was part of The Trinity of Sin along with Stranger and Pandora. Meanwhile Dr. Thirteen has amassed dossiers on the other two. Thirteen contacts Stranger and implies that he has information about his family. He says he doesn’t have an answer but more like a question. Heh.

This version of The Question maintains his 1930s detective like trappings along with his lack of a face. Whether or not this is a mask or his face has been permanently made this way by the Council of Wizards remains to be seen as. Also unknown at this point if he will be going by the name of Vic Sage or not. However he does speak all in questions which is kind of neat in an Etrigan sort of way.

As I’ve mentioned before this is a big departure from The Question’s roots. In the 1960s he was intended as an objectivist by his creator Steve Ditko. In the 1980s he was reimagined as a zen detective always looking for knowledge as written by Denny O’Neil. So a 2010s New 52 Question based more than likely in magic may not be a bad thing. I say that with trepidation because other things that have appeared in the New 52 era have looked promising and turned out to be a let down. Red Hood, I’m looking at you.

But Trench, didn’t you bemoan the fact that The Question gained new magical powers in the 2005 miniseries, asked no one. Yes I did, but that was different. That was still in the pre-New 52 universe where The Question did not have magical powers, was never explained how he got them and was never spoken of again. In this incarnation The Question starts out in the realm of magic.

So I’m still hoping that The Question will be a decent character this time around much like he was in the 52 series.