Friday, September 30, 2011


Writer: Scott Lobdell

Pencils: Brett Booth

The Titans return in their new form which is noticeably missing Cyborg and Starfire’s boo, Beast Boy. The issue starts with readers immediately meeting Kid Flash, an over eager glory hound who speeds to the aid of a group of fire fighters who don’t really need assistance. Causing a back-draft, he makes the small fire into a raging inferno. Enter Red Robin who is monitoring superhero news stories. He is accosted by a mysterious group who call themselves NOWHERE Escaping them he tracks down Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl) and saves her from a similar fate. They team up and we are transported to the NOWHERE headquarters where the mystery man who accosted Red Robin makes the decision to unleash…THE SUPERBOY!

The story is interesting as first issues go. And I think that this will be an interesting take on the Titans. The cover shows at least three people that I don’t recognize so I am interested and excited to see who they are and how they play into the team.

The art by Brett Booth is pretty solid on this one. I dig the way most of the people look is pretty cool, minus the spider lady on the cover who I think looks just little ridiculous).One thing I’ve noticed in most of the New 52 books I’ve read is that the women don’t look like barbies with volleyballs glued to their chests, of which I approve.

Overall an interesting character development and a promising story lends itself to this first issue, and I can say that Teen Titans is officially on my list of books to pick up in October.

4.5 out of 5


Writer: Mike Costa

Artist: Werther Dell'Edera

If G.I. Joe defined your 80s kid experience and you think the filmed diarrhea called GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra borders on child abuse, then IDW has THE grown-up title for you.

Writer Mike Costa and artist Werther Dell’Edera keep up with the Cobras in this month’s COBRA: Civil War #5 which, if you haven’t been keeping tabs on it, follows a handful of COBRA elite as they vie for the vacated throne of Commander in a jolly free-for-all power struggle that’s like a lethal backyard game of Duck, Duck, Goose meets Russian Roulette. Regular series artist Antonio Fuso sits this one out and that’s fine; Werther’s pencils fit neatly into Antonio’s very sparse detailing, a look that suits the tone of the series perfectly. As always, Costa’s damn good at nailing character nuances, like the Baroness’ icy disposition and Tomax’s cavalier ruthlessness.

In this issue—and we’re keeping it spoiler-free, so keep reading—we’re seeing the fallout from a rogue Joe’s covert actions to cover his tracks as the truth starts to surface. Seems he stands a lot to gain from aligning himself with one Major Bludd, but since the good major’s a—well, a bad guy—not all looks hunky dory for the turncoat Joe. This is all hitting the fan as COBRA sniper and all around guy-you-don’t-wanna-meet Blacklight heads cross country in a return trip, leaving bodies and excess property damage in his wake. We don’t know what it is exactly that he’s coming back for; all we readers know is that whomever he comes across had better have their final affairs in order.

I don’t buy IDW’s other ongoing GI Joe series that crosses over with this title, simply because this series is villain-centric and as a kid I dug the Snakes more than the Joes (the COBRA Rattler remains the coolest toy I ever drooled over.) Thanks to Costa’s smart dialogue—and when I mean smart, I mean Jeopardy contestant smart—we’re flies on the wall to the underhandedness of a COBRA corps who don’t terrorize the world for monetary or political gain— they terrorize because they feel they’re entitled to do so.

And the splash ad on the last page shows Blacklight, the U.S. Capitol building and some crosshairs, so if you’re down with realistic and the militaristic, drop the $4 on this issue and add this title to your monthly pulls.

A resounding 4.5 stars from the possible 5.

Brian Cee is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics

Thursday, September 29, 2011



The following is a piece I wrote back in 2006 about Banned Books Week for Erasing Clouds, a pop culture website. I believe that censorship is wrong and we still need to preserve and protect artistic creativity. 

As posted at Erasing Clouds during the month of October 2006.

Freedom of speech and artistic expression has been debated for years, and it is very doubtful that everyone will come to a consensus on these basic liberties. Libraries, whether public or academic, are at times a battleground where these ideas are challenged by the public because they deem certain works as inappropriate or nonconformist, especially for children. It is understandable that people want children protected from books that are considered too vulgar or violent, but removing or restricting books would be a victory for the censors and a loss for readers. In order to preserve the rights of speech and artistic expression, the American Library Association (ALA) spearheaded an event known as Banned Books Week.

Since 1982, Banned Books Week has celebrated the right to read, a wonderful freedom that should not be taken for granted. In 1990, the ALA began an electronic compilation of challenges, and they estimate that there have been over 8,700 challenges during the past sixteen years . The ALA lists frequently challenged books on their web-site (, and included on the lists are The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

Also on the list is Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, a well-known and respected author of childrens and young adult literature. Fallen Angels is a captivating and gritty story about the Vietnam War, as told by Richie Perry, a seventeen year old from Harlem with a bright future. Perry, like many other youngsters, joins the Army in hopes of building a better life for himself and to set an example for his younger brother, Kenny. While in Vietnam, Perry develops friendships with his fellow soldiers in Alpha Company, especially with one “Peewee” Gates, a wise-guy from Chicago who is part joker and part philosopher. Both Perry and Peewee bond during an experience filled with violence, fear, and confusion.

Fallen Angels is not a romanticized depiction of war, instead it explores the futility of the situation where young men are thrown into a position where they must kill or be killed. “War appeals to boys and men. It's exciting and adventuresome” writes Myers in an interview for Erasing Clouds, who adds “What I did not want it to be was the usual one-sided idea which eliminates the pain and horror. I wanted this glimpse of violence for the young reader. I enlisted in the army after reading a lot of poetry about war and seeing a few war movies. I expected war to be one long romantic adventure.”

Myers' book is powerful and it is perhaps one of the best anti-war novels written, but it has been challenged and even banned due to profanity, racism, and graphic violence. When asked about the challenged status of Fallen Angels, Myers responded “One of the reasons the book is banned is because of the obscenities. This change of language is actually used by the army as one of the way to change the attitude of young people from the innocent high schooler to the young man or woman that can kill strangers. In my view the real obscenity is the depiction of war as consisting primarily of 'smart bombs' that destroy anonymous targets. War is the business of killing and the more we know about it - including the horrors, the mistakes that lead to hundreds of deaths, and the obscenity -the better we are equipped to make the decisions that affect whether we will negotiate or bomb.”

Depriving young adults the opportunity to read Fallen Angels is an injustice due to the fact that some people fail to look past profane language or violence and see the true message of Myers’ work. Challenging and banning will continue, but librarians and proactive citizens will ensure artistic expression is not restricted to anyone. Banned Books Week is a way for Americans to celebrate the freedom to read what we want and to have access to the books we want to read. Check with your local library to see what events they have planned for Banned Books Week.

For more information on banned books:
For more information on the life and works of Walter Dean Myers:



OK, before I review a movie which hasn't come out yet let me point out all the defects in Superman Returns in the hopes that these types of lame defects will not be in the new film.

First of all, using Luthor for the villain is so worn out. And having him pull the old 'kryptonite in my back pocket' ploy is even more worn out. You'd think Superman would have learned by now to scan the dude before approaching him. And what was with Superman being weakened by kryptonite one minute, and getting his ass kicked then minutes later lifting an ENTIRE CONTINENT of kryptonite into space? WTF man?

Also newsflash to Superman: a bunch of crystals which anyone can walk into at any time does not constitute a 'fortress'. Hello-maybe you should have stored those crystals which can GROW INTO A CONTINENT on the moon? Anyway. So the new movie: (Budget: $175,000,000!) The costume looks cool and gritty/noir:

Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Michael Shannon, and Faora, Zod's evil partner, played by Antje Traue. Also from Superman's native Krypton are Lara Lor-Van, Superman's mother, played by Ayelet Zurer, and Superman's father, Jor-El, portrayed by Russell Crowe. Rounding out the cast are Harry Lennix as U.S. military man General Swanwick, as well as Christopher Meloni as Colonel

Ok. Why are the only two villains Hollywood can come up with are Luthor and Zod? Come on guys-FRESH. Oh yeah, that's right, we're talking about Hollywood. Nevermind.

So while I have hopes about this movie, I also have doubts. At least they s***-canned the entire cast from the last movie the annoying angry Lois, the goofy Jimmy, the nebish Superman....that's good. But in a PC move they changed Perry WHITE into Lawrence Fishburne....what the heck? Ok whatever. Maybe Jimmy should be a brother too.

I'm gonna step out on a limb and given DC's History with superhero films (No, I didn't like ANY of the Batman movies-but that's another rant. I will say this-beating on a guy using kevlar gloves when he's wearing white clown make up and you get no makeup smeared or any blood is FAKE!) this move gets 2.5 out of 5 stars.

That's a wrap.

A. Kaviraj is an artist and writer at Champion City Comics. His works include Dr Death vs The Vampire, Doctor Death vs The Zombie, and The End of Paradise.


Writer: Judd Winick

Artist: Guillem March

Judd Winick (Batman, Outsiders) and Guillem March (Gotham City Sirens) team up to bring you the sexiest woman in all of comics; Catwoman! Just looking at the cover makes me drool a little, and I have to remind myself that it’s just two-dimensional art. This title certainly earns it’s “T+” rating (as in, don’t buy this for your kid or you’ll be answering many uncomfortable questions).

The first three pages are basically boobs-in-your-face, as Selina struggles to gather her belongings and pull her catsuit on. Some thugs bust through the door and she ducks out the window, dodging gunfire. These thugs really don’t get much explanation, other than the possibility Catwoman probably stole something from them and pissed them off. This might be explained further in another issue, but they get little face time in this first issue.  After they blow her place up, she looks back. I’ll say this much, she’s not the prettiest comic book woman, but her facial expressions are great and her face has a lot of character in it (props on the art for this, I really like it).

Selina goes to a friend to find a new place to live and to look for some work in the world of crime that might make her a little money. She takes a job where she imitates a bartender and sees a Russian mafia member which leads to a flashback. This is kind of a strange scene, where we see a girl get killed as another girl (presumably a young Selina) watches. It’s not really explained as much as you just see it, but she recognizes the guy as the murderer from the flashback. She goes after him to get revenge, but she gets noticed. She quickly changes into the catsuit and busts out with lots of high-flying, ass-kicking awesomness. She gets back to her new pad and finds Batman waiting for her. They uh… You know… Uh… Oh, just read it and hide it from your kids.

Also, Time Hoodie's still appearing in every New 52. Have you been able to find her? It’s like the Where’s Waldo of comics!

Michael Newton is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


We have two new and exciting titles to preview at Champion City Comics! The first is Coalwater and it is a great Western-themed webcomic that will deliver plenty of action in upcoming issues. The second is The Burning Blade and it will be a great webcomic fix for those of you seeking some zombies with your fantasy tales. We hope you enjoy these two new selections and thank you for supporting Champion City Comics!


Writer: Hugh Orr

Art & Lettering: Hugh Orr & Will Harris

Synopsis: Coalwater is a town ravaged with little-to-corrupt law enforcement. Established circa 1826 in Ohio, Coalwater quickly became a ghost town within a decade. The town experienced a resurgence in 1861 when coal, copper, and iron deposits were discovered. Coalwater's rebirth led to an economic boom which led to widespread violence. We know you'll enjoy this action-packed epic so check out the webcomic below.


Coal Water                                                                                                   


Writer: Bret Kinsey

Art & Lettering: Bret Kinsey & Tun  Myo Hlaing 

SYNOPSIS: An ancient evil has returned to the lands of Thordasha. Daemon Devilwood, an orphan of a decimated race of wood elves, and a young mercenary, Rivek, must battle the hordes of death to face an enemy of unfathomable horror. Will the companions survive the darkness that follows them? Only time will tell in this dark fantasy of revenge, death, and redemption. Check out the webcomic below and enjoy!


The Burning Blade                                                                                                   

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Rafa Sandoval

Hot on the heels and hot off the presses of issue #1 comes Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye #2, continuing the previous issue’s solo story by tying in what uber-archer Clint Barton has been up to with Nick Fury’s scrambling attempt to save a fraying world over in Ultimate Comics: Ultimates, Hawkeye’s sister title. 

The second of a four-issue series, we see Clint still in Southeastern Asia, trying to locate and neutralize the threat of a mutant-killing virus while tracking down remnants of the Super Soldier Serum, all while ducking local hostile forces and a renegade group of super-nationalists called The People. As dumb luck would have it, Hawkeye’s out of his league against these heavyweights and doesn’t have the luxury of calling in the Ultimates cavalry, leaving him only half a quiver and small unit of SHIELD grunts to execute Fury’s mission directive: to soldier-up and secure the formula at all costs, a task that involves toting two VIPs through a ravaged city-wide demilitarized zone en route to a SHIELD sanctioned safe house. 

The story paces well, plenty of action as expected. As a recreational archer myself, I’m biased: I want Hawkeye handled with plenty of self-assured tough guy badassitude representative of my sport; writer Hickman serves up just that as he reveals via a flashback that the man is a dead shot with projectile weapons, and everything’s a projectile weapon, thanks to genetically-gifted superhuman sight (if that makes him a mutant, it isn’t touched on.) Sandoval’s pencils are adept at capturing the action and tenseness of the situation – there’s a nod to the famous Tiananmen Square tank stand-off – but in some panels Hawkeye’s physique comes off less Clint Barton and more a bulky exaggeration of Captain America, a design I didn’t particularly care for. If there’s any modeling after actor Jeremy Renner, Hawkeye in next year’s Avengers flick, it isn’t here. 

Still, the issue – as well as the whole series to be honest – warrants a look by those digging a more gritty, military-inspired break from the regular Marvel U’s offering, the kind of Hawkeye that’s more likely to put an arrow through your eye socket than to bring  you in alive courtesy of some trick arrow.  The end of the book hints at issue 3’s super-sized guest star that looks to turn an awful situation hellish by comparison, so *wink wink*, there’s the teaser for October’s release. Issue 2 shapes the story up and provides a gateway into Marvel’s Ultimates relaunch for sure. 

Although it has nothing to do with the issue, of note is small but moving inclusion of Marvel’s tribute to the September 11th victims in case you missed it the first go ‘round.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars.

Brian Cee Williams is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics. Check out his blog at .  

Monday, September 26, 2011


Written by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

Art by Dan Duncan

The Turtles return (well mostly just Raphael) in an action-packed issue that pits Raphael against a drunken father, young April O’Neil against two ninjas (Foot Clan?), and Michelangelo against boredom.

Most of the issue is dominated by Raphael taking down the drunken father he witnessed hitting his kid at the end of the previous issue. It goes on for just a bit too long in my opinion, and when it’s over, the man just drives away drunken and vaguely agitated. Raphael comes back and talks to the kid and we discover the young man is named, wait for it… Casey Jones. Their story ends with Casey suggesting they go get some food, and when Raphael turns around, Casey is in a hockey mask carrying a large blunt object which may or may not be a cricket bat.

It is flashback time and April is hard at work at the lab with the rat and her turtles.The rat the other technicians call Splinter brings her a top secret disk. While she’s looking at that trying to decide what to do with it, ninjas break in and try to steal the turtles and kill her (she didn’t have enough flair [Office Space anyone?]). On the run, the ninjas lose the turtles into a sewer and they get covered in a green goo along with Master Splinter. The end of the flashback shows one of the turtles being carried off by a cat that looks suspiciously like an eye-patchless, unmutated, version of Old Hob.

And Michelangelo is bored of looking for Raphael. That’s basically the sum of the other three Turtles parts.

The art continues to be a solid part of the experience of this comic. I don’t really have much to say about it that I haven’t already said.

Overall a strong addition, but a little slower going than the last. Raph’s fight and subsequent encounter with Casey just flat out took too long while the rest of the book moved almost even slower.On a high-point,  April DOES punch a ninja in the face.

4.5 out of 5

Michael Knoll is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


It would have made sense to use R.E.M.'s cover of 'Superman' for this week's song selection because the band called it quits this week. However, we've already used that song in a previous selection.

I was uncertain what song would be picked for this week and a moment of inspiration hit me while driving the family to my in-law's home. I was listening to one of those classic rock shows that are aired on Sunday mornings and they played 'Radar Love' by Golden Earring. That song is a jam and then I realized that they had another jam, 'Twilight Zone'. When we pick songs at Champion City, we look for something that references geek culture, so this one fits the criteria.

Golden Earring was formed fifty years ago in the Netherlands. Today's selection is their 1982 hit.


Writer: Brian Azzarello

Artist: Cliff Chiang

Let’s start with what you really need to know, and that is that Wonder Woman #1 is one of, if not the, best books in the reboot. This is good, as the title comes into the reboot in an unusual position. The fact that the previous year’s run of Wonder Woman was so dire has actually increased the anticipation and hype around the new number 1 for the Amazon princess. And, boy, does the new team deliver.

This isn’t an origin story, or one packed to the gills with continuity. Every reader, newbie or veteran will come into this issue on the same foot, with a world filled with malevolent mythical mysteries, and Wonder Woman being drawn into them.

We’re introduced to Greek gods playing games amongst each other, the same old stories playing themselves out – oracles, vengeance, Zeus sleeping with everything – except, it’s not the same. In fact, it’s very, very different. In much the same way that Neil Gaiman took various types of mythology and imagined them in the modern world with modern sensibility, Azzarello has transformed the Wonder Woman background. Gone are the stuffy robes, and are replaced with postmodern ways of looking at the old guard that create a very specific mood.

In fact, the first third of the book is dedicated to setting the tone and theme, before finally coming around to our hero: the regal, statuesque Diana is beautifully realized by Cliff Chiang.

His angular lines recall ancient Greek art, and tell a beautiful story. His characters aren’t just standing around in a pose while text balloons narrate, they’re acting … emoting in response to the world around them. Chiang’s gods and monsters look dramatic, alien and familiar all at the same time, with one particular scene, showcasing the creation of centaurs being notable for it’s gore, horror and sheer genius. Don’t show it to you children.

Together, one of the superstar teams of the New 52 has created a brilliant book that promises to be a really interesting take on the iconic warrior Wonder Woman.

Andrew Moore is rambling man, and he rambles too much about comics, soccer and South African politics on Twitter at

Saturday, September 24, 2011


 Writer: Scott Snyder

Pencils and Cover: Greg Capullo

Inks: Jonathan Glapion

The New 52 has been more miss than hit in my opinion, which has been discouraging due to the fact that DC seemed to give readers some hope that the re-launch would feature a new, improved, and exciting look at the DC universe. As a fan of Batman, I was excited to pick up my #1 issue of the series, which looked promising due to the cover showing our hero fighting off a horde of his most famous villains. After the reading the first issue of Batman, I believe that I've chalked up another miss for DC.

What's wrong with Batman #1? For me, the story seemed to start off on the right foot with Batman taking on his most feared opponents at Arkham. Fights like that never get old and they make for good reading. I applaud Scott Snyder for giving fans a dose of excitement. As the story went on from there, I felt like I was going down the same old path with some recycled story lines that were not intriguing. Without spoiling too much I will say that the book walked into territory from City of Light and Bruce Wayne: Fugitive & Murderer. For those of you that read this title, I think you could agree that the "twist" at the end was not a twist.  

I have read a few reviews and some forum comments that crucified the artwork by Greg Capullo. I disagree with the outrage. Batman comics should be less slick and more gritty art-wise. Capullo is not looking for flashy because Gotham is a pit of crime and the art must reflect the tough nature of Gotham.

The writing leaves me to wonder what to expect from Batman.  As a reader, I was looking for something new, improved, and exciting. As stated earlier, it seemed that old stories were brought back. Scott Snyder has a tough task with this title because Batman has been the face of DC for a long time, and I know this statement is debatable, but it would be a great injustice to see Batman fall from grace. I'm going to read the upcoming issues and hope that things improve.   

Friday, September 23, 2011


Written by Kevin Eastman and Tom Waltz

Art by Dan Duncan

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back! As a child of the 90’s, and a boy to boot, TMNT was a staple of my childhood. Of course being named Michael, Michelangelo and I were basically indistinguishable (it helped that my favorite color was orange). When I learned that TMNT was making a comic resurgence I was obviously ecstatic, and Eastman didn’t let me down.

The story begins with an alley scene where Splinter and three (COUNT THEM, THREE) turtles, all in red masks, are facing off against a group of street thugs led my a one-eyed cat man whom Master Splinter refers to as 'Old Hob'. It’s clear that Hob and the Turtle family have some history that we aren’t privy to. Splinter, in his classic wise learned man style, tries to talk Hob out of a fight, but no dice. The Turtles fight the street thugs while Splinter internally comments on their styles and makes a metaphor to nature. We see some thugs fall to katanas, a bow staff, and to nunchucks. Splinter straight up dominates Old Hob and the Turtles leave the scene.

During the fight, Old Hob makes reference to a FOURTH turtle that no one has heard from. Splinter breaks down in tears after the fight for his lost, fourth son, Raphael. Speaking of Raph, we meet up with him somewhere in the suburbs wandering aimlessly until he stumbles on a house where an old man is in the midst of abusing his son. Being a Turtle, Raph lunges through the window to fight for the kid.

Intermixed in there is a somewhat less interesting flashback sequence of a young woman named April O’Neil getting a job at a research lab that is testing something on four turtles and a rat.

The art and the inking are really cool for this issue. It reminisces of the gritty comics that launched the Turtles into the spotlight that would see them into no less than two long running cartoon series and at least four feature length films. While reminiscent it is definitely a little bit more refined and actually colored. To put it simply, the Turtles grew up with me.

Writing and art are in almost perfect sync on this one to give a very enjoyable comic experience. If you loved the Turtles of old (regardless of what your definition of old is) this is a definite read you would enjoy.

5 out of 5

Michael Knoll is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics. 


Written Peter J Tomasi

Pencils by Fernando Pasarin 

Inked by Scott Hanna

Synopsis.  Can a Green Lantern have a life outside of the Corp?
First off, I like this book.  The art was just fantastic, it was tight, detailed and very well colored, unlike Green Lantern. The Green Lantern Corps focuses more on the other two human lanterns, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner.  Having some down-time, the two decide to embark on a life outside of their Corps only to find that it's not really what it's cracked up to be.  Apparently being a lantern means not having a day job because both Guy and John have a terrible time at finding work.

Meanwhile, something bad is happening in Space Sector 3599 which is  home to the creepiest Sinestro Corp Member, Kryb. You remember Kryb? He's the vile kidnapping alien Quasimodo.  Well he's not in this, but I found the information relevant.

So, two lanterns are sitting in a space station in Sector 3599 with an inmate when a hidden, or incredibly fast entity, slaughters them both with what appears to be telekinesis, or a super fast sword.  The only hint we get on who this is, are these lanterns dying words,  

            “It's not are you...”
            We then see some enigmatic green eyes and the following cryptic rebuttal,
            “Where there is a force of will..there is a force of destiny!”

Then he slices the lantern in half.  It shows no weapons, no nothing, but just a bustle of air.  I'm going to go ahead and say that my money is on the Sportsmaster, in this era of bringing villainous obscurities to the spotlight because who else could have a better reason to come back as a serious bad ass?  I think it's time we all knelt before the power of the Sportsmaster. I seriously hope that this is not Cyborg Superman.  How many times are they going to torture this hesitant, but seriously demented bad guy?  Can't a guy just commit harakiri in peace?

Guy and John get a call to go to the planet of Nerro, which is a water world that Kevin Costner would admire, to see why some lanterns have turned up dead.  When they get there, they find the planet devoid of water, and some impaled lanterns to boot!

Joking aside, I'm interested in the book.  The artwork was amazing and I especially like the part when John and Guy depart with the other four lanterns, which was some serious artwork.  I want to know who this bad guy is that can single-handedly overpower lanterns.  I can see it being the Cyborg Superman, but something tells me Sportsmaster is making a comeback.

Overall?  I give it a 4 outta 5 because  it kept my interest, the art really sold me, and I seriously hope Sportsmaster is coming back.

Bret Kinsey is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Writer: Brian Azzarello

Artist: Cliff Chiang

Someone once said to me, "Brian Azzarello can't write superhero stories". I do not remember who said that to me, but the comment struck me as a bit harsh because I thought Batman: Broken City was a good story. Now I have enjoyed his non-superhero work with 100 Bullets, and I feel that Azzarello brings a gritty and edgy quality to his work. I thought he would do something gritty and edgy with Wonder Woman, so I decided to pick up the first issue from the New 52.

By no means am I a Wonder Woman aficionado. I have nothing against the character and have no real excuses for not reading the title. As a reader of DC Comics, my attention has always gravitated towards titles like Batman and The Flash. The New 52 has for some reason given me the motivation to check out some titles that I have ignored in the past.

The first issue of Wonder Woman takes place in three locations: Singapore, England, and the United States. In Singapore, we find a strange "Sun of a King" searching for answers about a child of interest. The child is linked to a situation in Virgina where a young woman encounters Hermes, a messenger, and some demonic centaurs. Our young woman in distress is magically sent to England where she meets Wonder Woman.The two have the usual comic book first introduction dialogue and make their way back to Virginia where Wonder Woman engages the two centaurs in combat.

The story is well paced and full of action. Azzarello has an intriguing story developing and the art by Cliff Chiang is equally impressive. These two have a good chemistry going on, so I'm interested to see if these two go three, six, or twelve issues as a team on Wonder Woman. I've been disappointed with some of the New 52 titles and I see this one as one of the best so far. As you know, there are still more titles to be released, so we will see how this measures up against the rest. 

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, and Day 165


Writer: Kyle Higgins

Pencils: Eddy Barrows

Inks: J.P. Mayer

Nightwing #1 opens just after his nearly year long stint as Batman.  It seems that in this new DCU, the death (in the broadest of terms) of Batman still happened.  Dick spends the first few pages thinking about what being Batman has done for him as a man and a crime-fighter while taking down a psychopath, who is stabbing people to death, on a train. He concludes that, “Now, Gotham has nothing that can scare me.”  Dick is forced almost immediately to eat those words when he sees Haly’s Circus has returned to Gotham.

For anyone who has just gotten into comics, or doesn’t know, Haly’s Circus was the traveling show that young Dick Grayson and his family (The Flying Graysons) performed in as acrobats before he became Robin.  While the method used varies in certain stories, the fact remains that Dick’s parents are killed and Dick is adopted by Bruce Wayne who feels an affinity to the young boy. Dick is trained by Bruce and eventually becomes The Boy Wonder we all know and love. 

Dick’s character is really revealed here and it really ties up his internal thoughts on fear in Gotham.  You’ll have to buy the issue to get the whole thing, but it’s definitely a nice polarization of thought.  Dick finally decides to go and even gets up on the trapeze for a bit, even taking a fall purposefully so no one gets any funny ideas.  Meanwhile a mysterious man fends off a mugging in true Gotham style leaving two muggers dead in his wake. 

On his way home from the circus Dick is attacked by a masked man who has a very Wolverine meets Kick-Ass feel to him.  I won’t give anything away but the ending of the issue leaves us wondering what the future holds for Nightwing.

The art is good, and does justice to the comic.  And it’s really just that.  It’s not spectacular or especially memorable but Barrows and Mayer do a good job matching the tone of the story with their respective penciling and inks.

Overall, when I’ve woken up and September ends (I’ve got to make my roommate stop listening to Green Day…), and I have to decide what comics I will continue to spend my money on, Nightwing probably won’t make the cut.  It was by no means a bad book, but it wasn’t as engaging for me as some of its other New 52 brothers. 

3.5 out of 5

Michael Knoll is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics and is the writer for an upcoming webcomic titled Red Racer. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We are pleased to announce a new addition our our webcomic selection. Childhood is a comic that was developed by John Hudson, Jr. and is true to the classic family-friendly comics like Peanuts and Garfield. I was thrilled when John presented the idea to me because my four year-old son has shown interest in this page, but I really do not have the comics that interest him because some are too scary/violent for his four year-old mind. A title like this will be great to addition to our selection for those that are looking for something more family -friendly. Enjoy!



Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Writer: Nathan Edmonson

Pencils: Cafu

Inker: Jason Gorder

In the age of the three dollar and four dollar comic books, one must choose their titles carefully. A solid creative team must develop a story that's engaging and brings readers back for more. Sadly, that is not the plan of the creative team behind Grifter.

Now, I will admit that I never read an issue of Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.S., so my knowledge of Grifter is minimal. Why did I pick this title? I was sold by the cover, which showed some promise. We see the main character, the Grifter, falling off a building with guns blazing. I thought it was cool and I am a sucker for cool covers. However, after reading the first issue, I will not make the same mistake. OK, maybe I will with other titles, but Grifter is no longer on my must read list.

What did I find out in the first issue? Not much. The Grifter is a man named Cole and he's something of a con artist from New Orleans on the run. There is a sub-plot where we find out that Cole may be a rogue government agent and they are determined to find him. Also, Cole may be the host of some alien being, but the jury is still out.

You may be wondering, "What's the problem? That sounds cool to me." The problem for me is that this book seems to be nothing more than a poor man's Gambit.Cole is from New Orleans and seems to be from the Gambit mold. Debate this accusation all you want, but we have the slight bayou look and there is a moment where he slyly uses some playing cards to foil an adversary. The similarities are there and it is by no means thinly veiled. 
The plot itself is less than engaging. There are aliens in human form among us, and Cole seems to be the only one that knows who they are. He discovers their presence on a flight and somehow manages to kill one of the aliens. Also, we find out that there is a second alien on the plane and it fights Cole, but the two of them manage to get the door to the plane open, and they fall out while fighting in the air. The story moves on to how Cole was able to detect the aliens, which is nothing I found to be interesting or engaging because I've read this type of story before in ROM. 

I had no issues with the artwork. Everything looked nice. The panels allowed smooth transition and the action scenes were well done.

Overall, this was a disappointing first issue. Take into consideration that I'm a first time reader of this title. Remember, it is important as a creative team to immediately capture the attention of readers that are not familiar with your title. We all have been first timers and we can list the comic books that hooked us and the comic books that irritated us. Grifter failed for me because the story is Gambit meets ROM. As I mentioned earlier, in the age of the three and four dollar comics, we need to be hooked immediately and have little time for building up some major event over the span of three to four issues. Do you really want to spend nine to ten dollars to be disappointed in the end? I didn't think so.

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor of Champion City Comics. His webcomics include Dr Death vs The Zombie, The End of Paradise, and Day 165


It's a game of thrones.

Man, can you imagine being able to mail samples of your great writing or beautiful art directly to Marvel or DC?  You have to go to Comicon and stand in line for a portfolio review. And that line is so long you could graduate from college or pay off your mortgage in about the same length of time. So you stand there with a dry mouth thinking of what to say when your turn comes. Why is it like this?  Because after years and years of a steady diet of crap, the publishers just completely shut off the spigot.  And I don't blame them.   

Putting ads on Digital Webbing or some of the other sites has opened my eyes considerably. The number of lame applicants who over-estimate their weak output is staggering.  The number of applicants with fractured English is also staggering.

So how do you break in?  Well, it's like becoming a movie director-no two paths are the same. It's been compared to breaking out of prison-every time someone breaks in, the publishers quickly move to block that path so no one else can get in that way. The best way in today's market is to produce something of quality-and produce regularly.  Publishers want talented AND productive workers.Self publishing and actually selling your stuff at comic stores is also a good way.  If enough people buy your books, and a buzz starts, you can get in-that's how artists like Jeffrey Brown did it.

It's also important not to do derivative material.  So many wannabes just copy the X-Men formula.That formula has been done to death.  Fresh!  They want fresh!  They want an old story that's done in a new way.  And it's important to have fun while you work-that keeps the quality high. If you find yourself thinking 'that's good enough' isn't.  Maybe
you should take a cruise or vacation instead.

Oh yeah, you also have to be someone who is easy to work with.  The first whiff of the perfume of prima donna-ness and you're toast in this business.  You must have a thick skin, so stock up on the moisturizer.  

A. Kaviraj is an artist and writer at Champion City Comics. His works include Dr Death vs The Vampire, Doctor Death vs The Zombie, and The End of Paradise.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Writer: Paul Tomasi

Artist: Patrick Gleason

I have been a faithful Batman reader for many years, but I must admit that my reading has not been up-to-date over the past four years. The birth of two children, adding a second job to the mix, launching this webcomics page, and everything in between has had a higher priority over my Batman reading. Life has slowed down just enough for me to return to my regular comic book reading schedule. The New 52 by DC has taken up the majority of my new found reading time and I had placed titles like Batman & Robin on my "must read" list.

Silly me, I had some idea in my head that it was going to be Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson rebooted with a fresh look at their beginnings as a crime fighting duo. Wrong. It's Bruce and Damian Wayne. Instead of the dynamic duo, we have the dysfunctional family.

I was reading Batman when Grant Morrison brought Damian into the spotlight. It made sense that Bruce would have some baby mama drama at some point in his life. Damian Wayne is Bruce's love child with Talia al Ghul and his boy is one evil, violent little kid. At ten years of age, Damian has committed more acts of violence than Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, Gus Fring, and Mike put together. That's a Breaking Bad joke, folks. Check out the show because it's fantastic.

Anyway, Damian has been written as this ultra-violent ten year-old that speaks as if he were thirty or forty. Damian has the unlikeable angle working for him but he also has the unbelievable factor as well. One can not honestly believe that a child this age has the skills both physically and mentally to be a top-notch assassin or crime fighter. Like it or not, he's the Robin in this new run of Batman & Robin.

This first issue takes us back to Crime Alley, a place we've been many times as readers. Bruce takes Damian there and we have some tension between father and son. Bruce wants Damian to have some respect for his parents, but Damian could not care less about two dead people. The way Damian disrespects Bruce's parents is pretty infuriating. I do not support child abuse, but I was waiting for Bruce to break out the pimp hand and put Damian in his place. OK maybe not the pimp hand, but perhaps a Rick-James-sucker-punching-Charlie-Murphy-at-the-China-Club moment would suffice. UNITY! That was a Chappelle's Show joke and you should climb out from under your rock if you have never watched an episode. Seriously.

I understand that tension between two main characters is what fuels a good story. It keeps the readers interested and builds up some interesting story lines. What bothers me is the fact that Damian should be twenty-one in this story for this angle to work. Don't tell me that it's more believable if he had a younger son because Bruce has been a player for a long time. 

Bruce decides that mourning the death of his parents at Crime Alley is a thing of the past and he has decided to celebrate their life. Really? What happened to Bruce Wayne? He watched his parents get killed in that alley and that led him down the path to becoming Batman. I find it more than unlikely that a man with Bruce's ego would just stop focusing upon his parent's death. It's that easy to switch off Bruce's rage and anger? I don't buy it for one minute. 

With that working against the story, we do have bright spot with a villain that seems interesting. All I can say is that we have some super-stealth villain that will cause some major problems for father and son. Also, there is a security breach at the local university where they apparently have a nuclear reactor that rivals anything at a nuclear power plant. I have no idea how Gotham has not been blown up in some bizarre nuclear accident. That city should be Chernobyl: Part Two.  

The problem with Batman & Robin is that we have a Batman that has stopped focusing upon his parent's death and a Robin that's unworthy, unlikeable, and unrealistic as a sidekick. This bad formula makes this title a bad start to what could have been a great series.Then again, I'm one reader and one voice. However, this reader is not at all interested in checking out future issues of this series.

TonyDoug Wright is the owner and editor for Champion City Comics

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Everyone's a superhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk

The Sunday Song Selection for today is the 1983 hit song, '99 Luftballons' by Nena, a German band. For those of you that remember this song, there were two versions released: one was in German and the other was in English.We picked the German version because it's cooler.

This song is about how a nuclear war is accidentally started due to the release of 99 red balloons. A military commander mistakenly views the balloons as oncoming enemy fighters and the results is a Doctor Strangelove ending sans Slim Pickens. At the end, the singer of the song stands in the rubble of a post-nuclear war city and finds a lone red balloon. The singer thinks of someone and lets the balloon go.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Writer: Paul Cornell

Artist: Diogenes Neves

DC has solicited horror comics, western comics, sci-fi comics, war comics and spy comics. So, it’s not surprising that in their huge line-up for the reboot, they’ve found space for a fantasy comic. What’s more, it looks like it’s a good ‘un.

Paul Cornell, known in comics mostly for the recent Lex Luthor led run Action, spends most of the issue laying the scene and introducing the protagonists: our Demon Knights. He paces the whole thing quite effectively, so that there’s more than you’d think packed into the twenty pages, though it doesn’t feel remotely slow or over talky. The crisp art of Diogenes Neves helps with the pace, with big bold images, whose detail does not detract from the viewing experience.

In fact, the scenes rush by quite quickly, introducing us to named cast - primarily Jason Blood and his alter-ego, the Demon Etrigan and his lover, Madame Xanadu. These two (or three, depending on your point of view) were cast together after the fall of Camelot and have been apparently doing typical fantastic deeds through the centuries.

Now, though, they decided to stop for a drink in a small town that stands in the way of a marauding barbarian horde lead by the Questing Queen and Mordu - whose evil is established pretty quickly and effectively. The seven protagonists (for the record: Etrigan & Xanadu, Vandal Savage, Morrison’s version of the Shining Knight, an Amazon named Exoristos, an Arabic scientist called Al Jabr and a mysterious archer) are drawn into fighting the horde in a setup that smacks vaguely of The Seven Samurai or Magnificent Seven.

Cornell manages to put together the fantasy feeling quite well, seemingly having fun with the expected tropes. A prime example: our heroes meeting in a tavern where a fight breaks out. Plus, there are sacrifices, wenches and the like. He does shift some of his cast’s traditional characterization around, as many have done in this reboot. So, if you’re in love with Etrigan’s rhyming, well, sorry. And Xanadu is a touch on the cynical side - in fact her first line in the book is, “Sod this!”

But it all comes together into a fun mix, with dialog rushing along smoothly with fun and relish. It’s one of those reads you’ll fly through and get to end quite suddenly - at once disappointed that it’s done, but pleased with how exciting the ride has been. And promises to continue to be.

Andrew Moore is rambling man, and he rambles too much about comics, soccer and South African politics on Twitter at

Friday, September 16, 2011


Writer: Adam Glass

Artists: Federico Dallocchio, Ransom Getty, and Scott Hanna

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Suicide Squad at first because I wasn’t familiar with them before the reboot, but I figured I didn’t have an excuse not to jump on board. Overall, it was a good decision. The Suicide Squad consists of mostly non-famous characters, including Harley Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, and King Shark.

The first issue starts off with a brutal torture session where someone is trying to get the team to admit who's their leader. There are plenty of interesting panels and the characters are introduced as they are tortured. Harley and Deadshot have their backgrounds explained through flashbacks. The dialogue between the characters and their captors is great because some of it is funny, some of it is deep, and some of it is personal.

How did the end of in this situation? Somehow, they ended up on the team by being “volunteered” to assassinate a guy. During the hit, a bomb goes off, knocking them all unconscious. When they wake up, they’re imprisoned and being tortured. Now, that’s pretty classic, boring story-telling. Flashbacks and torturing until somebody breaks seems clich├ęd, but the story is action-packed enough and the dialogue is good enough that it keeps you hooked.

In the end, somebody breaks and it turns out that it’s all a test. So the team ends their first real mission, and they have to kill over 60,000 people in less than 6 hours. Also, it turns out that Amanda Waller is behind the whole thing. And although she’s super sexified, she’s still a bitch.

Have you been looking for the hooded woman? Mike Knoll and I have been calling her “Time Hoodie.” She usually appears in crowds and has some kind of glow about her. She’s in every new 52, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Michael Newton is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics. 


Writer Geoff Johns

Artist Doug Mahnke

Everyone seems to be going crazy about the New 52 and I have had mixed emotions, but like most fans, I can roll with the punches. First, this title is written by Geoff Johns and at this point all I can say is virtually anything this man writes is excellent stuff.  This issue doesn't fall short of that either. The artist, Doug Mahnke, does some really tight work, and certainly does Green Lantern justice.

Unlike most of the titles in the recent New 52, Green Lantern has not changed from its predecessor which causes some alarm for a couple of reasons:
1.      In Justice League #1 (also written by Johns), Hal Jordan is the Green Lantern, and in this one, he's not.
2.      I can't really wrap my head around how everything else has changed in the DC universe but this has stayed the same. 

Inconsistencies aside, the book starts where Green Lantern #67 left off. Hal Jordan has been outcast from the Green Lantern Corps, and his replacement, as chosen by the Sentient Ring, is none other than Sinestro. This comes as quite a twist to the Green Lantern series, because Sinestro is the leader of the yellow fear-wielding Sinestro Corps! 

Sinestro is not pleased to be wearing the ring at all, and demands the Guardians remove it. Of course, in their infinite wisdom, they disagree and handle the situation with a "deal with it" attitude. They do say that Sinestro isn't expected to listen to the Guardians, but is expected to protect his sector. Strange.

Ganthet is also present during this event, and strongly protests, but again, the Guardians decide they are tired of Ganthet’s emotional thinking, 

Then we find Hal Jordan in a funny scenario where he's broke, depowered, and the rent is due. Why the sudden obsession with landlords? (See Action Comics #1)

After overhearing what sounds like a bully beat-down on a woman, Hal jumps off the balcony of his apartment, which is seven stories high, down to the adjacent apartment to help. As he crashes through, he discovers it's all a part of a movie set. Oops. Off to jail for Hal.

Back on the Sinestro front, we find him observing Korugar from an asteroid with a manifested telescope. He sees that the Sinestro Corps is enslaving the planet and not being very nice. That's when a Sinestro Corp member attacks him from behind. After realizing it is Sinestro, the Corp member contacts Arkillo to rat him out. Bad move. Sinestro kills the guy, destroys the yellow ring, and retreats. Very interesting!

After an interesting night out, Hal returns home only to find Sinestro waiting, with a very hard offer to refuse.


4 out of 5  

Bret Kinsey is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics.


From time to time, you will be able to enjoy some video shenanigans from the Champion City Comics staff. Today, A. Kaviraj, our resident artist, writer, and guru, raps about the dangers of drinking and driving. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Writer: Geoff Johns

Art: Doug Mahnke

Green Lantern #1, written by Geoff Johns (52, Blackest Night, Flashpoint) and art by Doug Mahnke (The Mask), begins following the events of the War of the Green Lanterns. Sinestro has been reinstated as a Lantern while Hal Jordan has been stripped of his ring and rank. This story focuses on both Jordan and Sinestro.

Sinestro finds himself in a no-win situation. The Guardians have chained him down until he says the oath and is told in no uncertain terms that he is expected to “protect his sector”. Sinestro takes to the stars and returns to his home planet of Korugar where he discovers that the Sinestro Corps have enslaved his people. After a brief, yet intense fight with a corps member in space (All I’ll say is garrotte construct) Sinestro jets to the stars.

Meanwhile on Earth, Hal Jordan is having a tough time due to the fact that he has no money, no job, and no apartment. He has a run-in with Carroll Ferris that sets a tone for his character development for as long as he is ringless. The book ends with Sinestro finding Hal and telling him, “If you want your ring back, you’ll do everything I say.”

The strength of this book is definitely going to be its character development. As with any Green Lantern book there’s sure to be a decent amount of space fighting with aliens, but the way this story looks to be going, character development is going to be the main focus.

The art by Doug Mahnke was good but not great. I enjoyed it, but there have been better artists for the New 52.

Overall the story seems fairly generic as first issues go which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I found myself somewhat unimpressed. I have high hopes that the following issues will flesh out and impress, but this issue was just a so-so issue.


Michael Knoll is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics. 


Ladies and gentleman, we are still reviewing Action Comics #312! If you missed the first part of this segment, then go back and check out what you missed.



Kav: OK the Planet staff go out on Perry's yacht for a secret meeting. They go out on the yacht to get away from Superman's prying eyes.....uh....guys? Superman can see a space gnat coughing in a distant solar system. Superman states that he no longer patrols Metropolis for fear of being assassinated by kryptonite. Suggestion: since there's so much kryptonite on Earth, just give each resident a piece because Superman's reign would be short.

Tony: Clark complains in the first panel that the Superman symbol is a sign of tyranny. We know that evil Superman will be defeated, but why would Clark use the old symbol after evil Superman was defeated? I'm still dumbfounded that the Daily Planet staff decided that a meeting on a little yacht was a good idea. Why not meet on a battleship or why not meet in a bomb shelter? The brainpower of Perry, Jimmy, Clark, and Lois is at a negative level in my opinion. Since they are on a boat then you should have this song playing in your head. Finally, evil Superman leaves the yacht on a sandbar? Wow, that's not evil. An evil dude would have tossed them into a volcano. That's not how Omar rolls on The Wire. 


Kav: OK this page just pisses me off. The first thing evil Superman did, well, the second thing, after crushing Clark's 'hand' was easily polishing off the fortress robots. Why Clark thinks his apartment robots can defeat Superman now shows his lack of attention span.

Tony: The robot idea would have worked had someone thought of giving each robot a piece of kyrptonite. You know what's smarter than sending in the robots? CALLING ON THE JUSTICE LEAGUE! Finally, we have a cool moment for the evil Superman where he pulls an Idi Amin on the robots. 


Kav: Clark thinks of a plan to go to Supergirl's house to search for some kryptonite but here's a better idea: go outside and look up. A piece of kryptonite seems to fall out of the sky whenever the plot requires it, Clark so you should know that by now. Then Clark gets cornered by the cops who tell him to come out then wait while he takes off his three piece suit and puts on the Superman costume. These are some patient cops, man.

Tony: It's frustrating that the Golden and Silver Age comics always put heroes in a distant location. Supergirl is in the future? If she's in the future then she knows about the rule of the evil Superman. Maybe she could go back in time to fix the situation. Then again what do I know? Also, I love how Supergirl keeps some kryptonite in her basement. She does not keep it in a safe? This is MADNESS!



Kav: These cops need to go on unpaid administrative leave. To 'test' whether he's really Superman, they SHOOT Clark. What if he's NOT Superman, guys? You just shot a citizen. Nice. I have never been to the police academy, but I don't think cops are supposed to shoot people to test things. Also, what if he had been the real evil Superman? He would have vaporized your eyeballs. This was a no-win scenario, officers. Anyway this whole absurd scene could have been avoided if Clark had just come out and said 'Hey guys, it's me Clark Kent. Yeah, I saw a piece of kryptonite fall in this house. Help me look for it.'

Tony: This may be the most idiotic panel I have reviewed. Clark is shot in the abdomen and treats it as if he were punched in the gut. The man was shot in the abdomen at point blank range and does not even flinch. Even better, there is no bullet hole. What caliber bullet was used? Even if it was a .22, there would be blood. But no, not in this panel. I guess the idiot writer knew nothing about guns and gun shot wounds. How on earth can Clark walk after being shot? THERE IS NO BLOOD! How is this possible? Have you seen Reservoir Dogs? Tim Roth's character, Mr. Orange, was swimming in a pool of blood after he was shot in the abdomen.

Sit tight folks and wait for the rest of Action Comics #312 to be reviewed.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


My apologies for the late post, but that's life in the Champion City. This week, we have two new pages for Dr Death vs The Zombie. Doctor Death and Phreaker survived an attack from the vampires, but the hunt continues for the zombie and for their mystery man, Jesse.

Ladies and gentleman, you are missing an action-packed webcomic so I urge you to check out Dr. Death vs The Zombie because you will not be disappointed.



Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis           

Artist:  Mark Bagley

What can I say about this issue? First, I'm filled with doubt concerning the actual death of our beloved Peter Parker.  I recently read 160 issues of this franchise and am not buying the “death” angle. In the Ultimate Universe, Peter Parker is a sixteen year-old, which is something I rather liked, because all the wise cracks, and constant drama could only happen to a teenager. This Peter Parker is incredibly likeable and throughout the entire 160 issues, he has been thrust into situations which I don't think Stan Lee ever envisioned.  Bendis does a superb job of re-creating Peter Parker, and at the end of the issue, even though the doubts run rampant, you have a hard time knowing he's going to die, albeit quite unconvincing. 

Before I review this issue, I will provide a brief back-story, and I'll do this with minimal spoilers, because you should really be reading it instead of using the Cliffs Notes version from some thirty-three year old hippie suffering from a cold!

Norman Osborne is alive.  How?  I have no idea, but he keeps evolving, which seems to be his superpower.  He breaks out Kraven, Electro, Doc Oc, Sandman, and The Vulture from Shield Headquarters.  They have one plan (SURPRISE) which is to kill Peter Parker.  In this universe, practically everyone, and I mean everyone already knows Peter is Spider-Man.  Another batty thing about this universe, which I find incredibly odd, is Aunt May is at a halfway house due to the drama of Peter’s life.  Bobby Drake (Iceman), Johnny Storm (The Human Torch), and Gwen Stacy all live in the same house with Peter and May.  Bendis made it work, but I just really struggled with why he needed to do that, but that's another review.

After the escaped villains have a tussle with Iceman, and The Human Torch, the only ones left standing are Sandman, Vulture, and Electro.  Mary Jane is on the phone trying to call Peter, but unbeknownst to her, he's in some serious trouble a block away. Spider-Man took a bullet from the Punisher while saving Captain America, and all of this occurred on his way home. 

Mary Jane freaks out when a burst of electricity arcs out a few blocks away by Peter's house. What happened was Electro wanted to be a hard ass and kill Peter himself. However, while taking his eye off the ball, Aunt May, brandishing a .357 magnum, puts him down with three rounds in his back. His death causes the discharge which then disables Sandman and Vulture. 

Apparently that explosion is what the Green Goblin needed to wake up, so he returns trying to kill Peter, May, and Gwen.  Peter is able to get them to safety, but takes a shot or two in the process before rousing an unconscious Johnny Storm to help him. Johnny charges the Goblin, and tries to burn him to a crisp, something he did earlier mind you, but instead of damaging him, he actually supercharges the Goblin.  Why didn't that happen five minutes ago?  Seeing as there's no other way to stop the Green Goblin, no chance for help, Spider-Man hits puberty and proceeds to lay down an atomic ass whooping on the Goblin.  However, the Goblin gets back up.  Peter is just staring at the Goblin because he's done everything but hit him with a truck! 

Then Green Goblin get's hit by a truck!  Driven by Mary Jane!  

And now that Peter has hit Goblin with everything, including a truck, he thinks it's over. Peter gets Mary Jane out of the vehicle, but the Goblin whimpers “Urrrr” so Peter picks the truck up, and starts slamming him repeatedly until the truck explodes launching him into the front yard of his home.  After some tears, and some pretty nice fight scenes, Peter can't hold on any longer.  He's been bleeding out from the gun shot and tells Aunt May that although he may not have been able to save Uncle Ben, he saved her.  Then he dies.

Now the reason I'm uncertain about this death is simple.  Gwen died many issues prior, but returned because she was a genetic replica of her dead self. (That’s another review)  Peter has a clone in Jessica Drew, and Norman was shot point blank in the head while de-powered and still lived.  I just don't think this is it for him.  I loved reading these 160 issues, and it really revived my like of Spider-Man, which is another reason I don't think he'll stay dead long.  There's a reason Ultimate Spider-Man was able to move on to 160 issues, and none of the others were able to the same.

I give this one a 4.0 out of 5 because of the whole Johnny Storm inconsistency, but a good read regardless.

Bret Kinsey is a contributing writer at Champion City Comics.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Writer: Gail Simone

Artist: Adrian Syaf

Before I say anything else, let’s all just agree that if you were going to fix Barbara Gordon’s legs and make her Batgirl again, the writer you’d want for the series is Gail Simone. It’s not just that they’re both red-heads, it’s that Simone has been the main driving force behind the character’s very many high points through the later half of her Oracle career in Birds of Prey. And while you can argue about whether ending such an effective and unique character (as well as the fun Stephanie Brown Batgirl) is good thing, if you’re going to do it, get Gail Simone.

Simone is writing about a slightly different Barbara Gordon to the one we left only a week ago. This Babs was still shot and crippled by the Joker (a scene that gets its almost obligatory replay) some time in the recent past, and spent three years as a paraplegic, with no reference to any career as Oracle - though this might just be an omission. She’s now donning the Batgirl costume again and is spreading her wings: fighting some rich kid joy-murderers, confronting a strange Final Destination themed villain, and moving out from home and into a cheap apartment with a quirky, fight-the-power flatmate.

Simone brings almost all her trademarks to the series. The smart dialogue interwoven between captions and voice bubbles feels almost Whedonesque in its snappiness. Her bad guys are typically dark - with the creepy home invasion murderers at the beginning of the book typical of her ability to create simple yet effective nastiness.

Combine that with some good pencils from Adrian Syaf, who I’ve never run into before - though I gather he worked on Brightest Day - and you’ve got a solid, good looking book. The only visual thing that bothered me was red-headed Jim Gordon. I’m not certain if that’s a colouring mistake or something else entirely.

My only complaint (other than ginger Gordon) is an attempt to create tension in the cliffhanger that felt forced and false. Batgirl freezes when the villain, “The Mirror”, points his gun at her spine in a mirror of the Joker before, and the cops on the scene accuse her of being culpable in the damage The Mirror caused while she froze. The whole takeout seemed strange. Especially as said cop was doing very little, too. Maybe it’s just there to build up the idea that Batgirl still has some trauma to get through before she’s running at full speed.

But ignoring what is, in the end, a minor quibble, and, of course, the controversy of why this book exists at all, and instead looking at it for what it is: a entertaining comic book. I reckon Batgirl #1 is a solid addition to the New 52. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, but it’s good, and promises to get better in the hands of one of the strongest talent line-ups of the reboot.

Andrew Moore is rambling man, and he rambles too much about comics, soccer and South African politics on Twitter at

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