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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Death in the Family

Batman: A Death in the Family
Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciller: Jim Aparo
Inker: Mike De Carlo
Colourist: Adrienne Roy
Letters: John Costanza
Publisher: DC Comics

Today's guest review is by Jimmy McGlinchey:
Posing as a mild-mannered accountant, the entity known as @JimmyMcG on Twitter is an enthusiastic DC Comics follower who has been collecting DC comics since 1989. Other interests include travel, cinema, television and trivia.  You can follow him on twitter @JimmyMcG.

What’s it all about?
In the 1980s, Dick Grayson had quit his role as Robin to Bruce Wayne’s Batman, moving on up to the persona of Nightwing. His role as Robin was taken over by Jason Todd, a young street orphan who Batman came across when finding Jason trying to steal the tyres from the Batmobile. Todd was a much darker incarnation than Dick Grayson’s Robin, prone to defying Batman’s orders and being rebellious.  In a comic before the “Death in the Family” storyline, it was implied that Jason caused the death of a serial rapist, who, being the son of a diplomat, would escape prosecution for his crimes.

Jason Todd as Robin was not popular with the readers and, with the availability of technology to poll readers, DC Comics decided to use this to promote a storyline whereby the readers decided if Jason Todd should live or die.

As “Death in the Family” begins, Batman makes the decision to bench Jason Todd, fearing his emotional state would cause him injury. Jason, while suspended, makes a discovery that his mother was in fact his step-mother, and that three possibilities of his real mother were located in either the Middle East or Ethiopia. Jason sneaks away to try and locate his mother. However, Batman is also on the way to the Middle East as a certain escaped lunatic has absconded there with a stolen cruise missile in tow….

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Batgirl Showcase

Writer: Various, but includes Gardner Fox, Cary Bates, Bob Haney, Frank Robbins, Robert Knaigher, Mike Friedrich
Pencils: Various, but includes Carmine Infantino, Curt Swan, Gil Kane, Bob Brown, Don Heck, Neal Adams
Inks: Various, but includes Don Heck, Dick Giordano, Vince Coletta, Murphy Anderson.
Publisher: DC 

What's it about?
Batgirl, lady crimefighter extraordinare!  Barbara Gordon has a PHD, a brown belt in Judo, and she can best just about any criminal you put her in front of her.  She's the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon and by day she works as a librarian.  When invited to the police masquerade ball she decides to attend in a homemade Batgirl outfit.  However, a series of coincidences lead her to take up the superhero mantle.

The closest thing Barbara Gordon has to superpowers is a photographic memory. Mostly, her talent and ingenuity come from her personality and her athletic skill. As mentioned above, she's accomplished at judo and she's inherited her detective father's investigative nature. Using her Bat themed motorcycle to get around, she solves crimes and thwarts evil doers, on her own, without help from anyone else.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Sugar Glider Stories

Sugar Glider Stories
Tales from the Sugar Glider Universe

Writers: Various
Art: Various
Creators: Daniel Clifford (writer) and Gary Bainbridge (art)
Publisher: Cottage Industry Comics and Unterwelt Comics

What's it about?
Sugar Glider is set in Newcastle, England, and follow the exploits of Susie Sullivan, a costumed crimefighter dressed a little like Catwoman, but with a vastly different personality and background.  Tales from the Sugar Glider Universe gives us self contained stories from this universe.

Susie only has a few walk on parts in this issue, instead the stories focus on her family, other costumed supergroups, disgruntled cafe employees and loved up young men.  The stories don't interlink, instead they provide charming slice of life anecdotes from the Sugar Glider characters' lives.  There are a few stories told in the present, but most is told in flashback: 5 months ago.. 4 months ago.. 2 days ago.  It finishes in the here and now, interviewing a detective at the scene of a nightclub fit, tempting us to find out more.

Normally we only review trades at New readers... but as this is a small press comic and unlikely to be traded it seems rather unfair not to mention it.  So instead it is a 40 page just over A5 in size, magazine style format.

Monday, 11 June 2012


Little League
A webcomic by Yale Stewart

Edit - Since writing this review the comic has changed it's name from Little League to JL8.  Info in post is now updated.

What's it about?
JL8 is an all ages webcomic that takes DC’s premier superhero team, the Justice League of America, de-ages them, and places them in primary school. They attend in costume, and in character, bicker, make friends and encounter vile adversaries such as PE teacher Darkseid!
( From strip #18)

It’s a very simple idea, executed very well. 

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Swallow Me Whole

Written and drawn by Nate Powell
Publisher: Top Shelf

What's it about?
Teenagers Ruth and Perry are siblings with mental health problems.  Perry has a little wizard only he can see, who forces him to draw.  Ruth suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which takes the form of shelf ordering and collecting preserved insects.  They live in a very strong bible area, so strong that their science teacher cannot teach science that has been proven.  A lesson on asexual reproduction starts with a chapter of Luke, within the bible.  Ruth and Perry live with their parents and their elderly grandmother, who is very ill and lives on the sofa.  It's about familes, and relationships, and mental health.

The book shows us year or so of Ruth and Perry's lives.  It drops you in, rushes you along and whisks you away, in what feels like minutes.  The reader is left floundering, gasping for air and a feeling of steadyness.