Curated: Uncommitted DC

This list is meant to appeal to casual fans, curious fans, or fans who just want a good tale, but do not want to get bogged down in continuity or have to wait for the next collection to see what happens. This is stuff you could easily gift for new fans, or use as an introduction to a new character for yourself.

Batman: White Knight

What you need to know: You do not have been reading any of the current titles. This is an alternate take on the Batman, one that often feels a bit like a video game in its pacing. There are sequels to this that are currently ongoing, but Batman: White Knight stands incredibly well on its own. This series feels familiar and fresh in equal measure.

Collects: Batman: White Knight 1-8

Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands

The first of a few year one/origin style tales on this list. This one is a bit unique in that the original creator has come back to do a modern retelling of his creation’s origin. It is fresh, both in story and in visuals as we follow the adventures of Jefferson Pierce, who is not exactly seen as a hero in the vein of Superman, Wonder Woman or others. Extremely satisfying storytelling.

Collects: Black Lightning Cold Dead Hands 1-6

JLA/JSA: Virtue & Vice Graphic Novel

Throughout the Silver Age and early Bronze Age, there was a tradition of yearly crossovers featuring the JLA/JSA. Now that both teams reside on the same earth, that tradition has largely been dropped. JLA/JSA Virtue & Vice takes a modern approach, giving us a big graphic novel with some fantastic storytelling. And then there are quiet moments featuring Superman and Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern that bookend this tale; comic book perfection.

Martian Manhunter: Identity TPB

Like Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, this a modern retelling of a classic character. This time the Martian Manhunter’s takes the spotlight with an origin tale possessing incredible depth and nuance, both narratively and visually. Truly one of the best stories DC has put out in recent readers, and it certainly leaves the reader wanting more, and wondering why they do not get more of these self-contained stories.

Collects: Martian Manhunter (Vol. 4) 1-12

Mister Miracle TPB

This one has been raved about by all corners of the internet, so if you are one of the few that has not read this recent epic, you should really just bow to peer pressure. In many ways, this series comes the closest to the original heart Jack Kirby’s, with some incredible modern flourishes.

Collects: Mister Miracle (Vol. 4)

Robin: Year One

Often referred to in other reviews and even on another Curated List (Dick Grayson by Chuck Dixon), but that is the instantly accessibility of this four issue Year One tale. Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty ad Javier Pulido have easily created on the best Dick Grayson as Robin stories you will ever read. When reviewers refer to art pieces that are love letters to previous interpretations, this easily fits that mould.

Collects: Robin: Year One 1-4

Superman Unchained

Scott Snyder’s take on the Man of Steel, with Jim Lee along for the pictures. This blockbuster is surprisingly contained to just nine issues, including back up features. Even people who are not fans of Superman need to check this one out; it is well worth the read. Action packed, big storytelling and high-octane adventure.

Collects: Superman Unchained 1-9

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis Review

For this animated movie we head to the seas and meet Arthur Curry who is down and out while mourning the loss of his Dad. This film should be used as a template for origin films. It was so much fun, so entertaining and what I appreciated the most is that as someone who hasn’t ever really been that interested in Aquaman as a character, it changed my perspective.

Throne of Atlantis takes place after the affects of Justice League: War and there’s commotion in the ocean as Prince Orm (Ocean Master) believes they have been attacked by land dwellers. He teams up with Black Manta to over throw Queen Atlantis but perhaps takes things a little too far. One thing I always appreciate about these DC animated films is how the animation, story telling and actors come together so well and once again there’s some perfect casting with Sam Witwer and Henry Lennix as Orm and Manta. The two of them together make a great double act.

As soon as Arthur meets Mera you can feel the spark. Their connection is instantaneous and this film does a brilliant job in conveying this really subtly. Matt Lanter and Sumalee Montano inject these characters with loads of personality and allow them to become people you connect with and care about. Arthur’s journey is pretty similar to Jason Mamoa’s live action version but the biggest difference is that both his parents are dead. The fact that he was minutes away from meeting his Mum properly for the first time really saddened me. Portraying just how strong and powerful he is and how awesome his trident is, makes you take him seriously which may not have always been the case and now I’m on a mission to read more about him.

As always, I love having the other Justice League members along for the ride. They’re just finding their feet as a team, avoiding bad team name choices and making connections with each other. Superman and Wonder Woman particularly make a strong connection which again follows on from what we saw at the end of Justice League: War. I loved the scene with Lois crashing their date and the under tones of jealousy both these women have towards each other. The other stand out character for me was Green Lantern and Nathan Fillion wonderfully breathes so much fun and humour into him.

Throne of Atlantis really is a superb DC film which brings Aquaman to the forefront and shows him off fabulously. I genuinely can’t think of a reason why anyone wouldn’t love this.

Green Lantern Emerald Knights Review

The character of Green Lantern for the majority of his creation has been one of great ideas, but not necessarily great ongoing stories. With the exception of Dennis O’Neil & Neal Adams’ landmark run on the character in the 1970s, he has largely been ignored by writers until the turn of the millennium, when his character received a new lease on life.

The 1990s are arguably a nadir in the mediocrity of storytelling for this character. When DC finally took notice and did something about it, the fans did not necessarily approve of the end results. Perhaps it was too far in the other direction, but the creation of Kyle Rayner as a replacement to Hal Jordan, was something widely condemned by the fanbase. It turned particularly ugly for then writer Ron Marz, who was tasked with ushering in this new Green Lantern, take Hal Jordan off the table and try to replicate the successes of stories such as “The Death of Superman” and “Knightfall”. There was even a ridiculous online campaign to restore Hal Jordan as the ‘one, true Green Lantern of Sector 2814’ (um… Guy Gardner, John Stewart, or even Alan Scott) and the restoration of the Green Lantern Corps along with Ron Marz’s removal from the title. They would claim victory when Hal Jordan was brought back in the early 2000s, but this group of lunatic fans are best ignored and avoided.

Ron Marz was unfairly, and disproportionately to blame for this material. Darryl Bank was always praised for his artistic talent, and editorial never truly shouldered their fair share of the blame. The failure of the character’s traction should never be just on Marz alone.

Kyle Rayner is a fantastic concept, a great character, and we got a good number of solid stories featuring him, once he got his sea legs. The first couple years of Marz/Banks on Green Lantern are fairly forgettable, but the character seems to come into his own by about Green Lantern (Volume 3) 75. While fans were not necessarily supportive towards Kyle, the one thing they wanted by this point was a team-up with Hal Jordan. Not Hal Jordan as Parallax, that had already become stale; they wanted Kyle and Hal as Green Lantern.

Enter a quirky twist of time travel, where a Kyle Rayner travelling back from the 30th Century accidentally lands himself in the past, where a newly minted Green Lantern by the name of Hal Jordan is fighting Sinestro (who you will recall is dead in the present day). Through another twist where two wrongs end up making a temporary right, Hal travels back to the present with Kyle, where he learns the world he is fighting for in the past is not one he imagined.

For a short seven part story, this thing packs a lot of a lot of big moments into it. While perhaps not a multi-layered portrayal of either leads, it nonetheless gives us an opportunity to see how an original Justice League member would see the current day DCU; he has his own replacement, his best friends are dead, and he will soon learn about his own ultimate, sinister fate. Additional team-ups with the Justice League and Connor Hawke Green Arrow add to this story, while the seeds of mistrust between Batman and Hal Jordan are continued. It is a fun romp beautifully illustrated by Darryl Banks & Paul Pelletier, this story has a whimsical Silver-Age feel, while still being rooted firmly in the modern era. Hal’s actions are not without consequence, in any time period, and the mantle finally passes onto Kyle.

That said, this is just a fun Green Lantern tale, whether you root for Hal, Kyle or both.

Collects: Green Lantern (Vol. 3) 100-106 & Green Arrow (Vol. 2) 136

Justice League: War Review

Based on the Justice League Origin comic, this film introduces us to The Justice League in quite a spectacular way. This is 79 mins of non stop action as we see some of our favourite DC heroes meet each other for the very first time, take on a huge villain and eventually come together as a team.

As the film starts we discover that this is set in a period of time where heroes are just surfacing and the general public are not keen on them at all. After a few sightings in public they think Batman is an evil vampire and as Wonder Woman takes a more public stance, she’s labelled a whore and bimbo. What I enjoyed most about this was the interactions between all of these great characters. Most of them do not like each other to start with and they don’t realise that they shouldn’t be fighting each other as they actually have a common goal. Each character’s skill set is really shown off which serves as a great introduction to viewers who aren’t so familiar with them.

I really felt like I was watching a comic brought to life as the animation style is visually pleasing. Add this to some really great talent from actors like Sean Astin, Jason O’Mara, Michelle Monoghan and Shemar Moore, it s a winning combination. Shemar does a great job in portraying Cyborg’s origin story and the complexity of Victor’s relationship with his Dad gives the film some heart. Darkseid acts as the big bad in this and whilst he looks completely grimacing and indestructible, Steve Blum’s vocals make him appear even more threatening.

You instantly feel the connection between Superman and Batman and tracks are laid for a more interesting relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman (much to the upset of Steve Trevor). Whilst Cyborg is quite intense, The Flash, Shazam and Green Lantern provide some humour and light relief. Justin Kirk gives us a Green Lantern comparable with what we saw from Ryan Reynolds. It was also interesting to have some pop culture thrown in for laughs with references to things like True Blood and World of Warcraft.

Overall, Justice League: War is a really enjoyable animated movie which made me want to watch the next one straight away. It uses a fantastic villain to bring together a group of superheroes who figure out a way to use their awesome powers together and save the world. I loved it.

Earth-9 Podcast – Ep31 – Dark Multiverse

This week is another Jim and Mike comic focused episode, we discuss our newest purchases Jim’s being the first part of his Doom Patrol puzzle. Then we take a nice deep dive in the the Tales of the Dark Multiverse and the first 5 issues – Batman: Knightfall, The Death of Superman, Blackest Night, Infinite Crisis and Judas Contract!