Detective Comics #1048 – Review



“The Tower” part two! The mysteries of Dr. Wear begin to unfold as a new doctor named Frow joins the staff of Arkham Tower. The Bat-Family tries to figure out the best way to infiltrate the facility, but someone may have gotten the drop on them…someone not unfamiliar with psychiatric facilities…one Dr. Harleen Quinzel, better known to you dear readers as Harley Quinn! Backup: “House of Gotham” part two! A boy’s parents were killed by The Joker, and he fell through the cracks of the system. Instead of being sent to a facility that could care for him and his trauma, he was sent to Arkham Asylum! Will the villains inside eat him alive or show him how to survive in a city ruthlessly overseen by Batman??”

Check out more from Bryan HERE!



Batman #117 – Review

While Batman fights it out with Peace Keeper-01, so that Miracle Molly might stop Scarecrow from unleashing his fear bomb on Gotham, Harley attempts to reunite Queen Ivy with her better half.

Batman #117
Writer: James Tynion IV

Art: Jorge Jimenez (“Fear State Part 6”) and Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad (“Batgirls part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait”)

Colours: Tomeu Morey (“Fear State Part 6”) and Sarah Stern (“Batgirls part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait”)

Letters: Clayton Cowles (“Fear State Part 6”) and Becca Carey (“Batgirls part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait”)
Released: 16/11/21
Published by DC Comics

While Batman fights it out with Peace Keeper-01, so that Miracle Molly might stop Scarecrow from unleashing his fear bomb on Gotham, Harley attempts to reunite Queen Ivy with her better half.

After many months of buildup we finally get to the conclusion of James Tynion IV’s ‘Fear State’ cross-over epic. What he brings us is a story about free will and the resulting necessity of evil. In order for men to do good, they must have the freedom to do bad. One cannot exist without the other. This is something that Batman understands. We see it in his final conversation with Miracle Molly. Yes, he deals with the worst of people on a daily basis, but the knowledge that people are free to choose between right and wrong is ultimately what gives him hope. His primary battle then is the fight to bring those who live in darkness into the light even though he himself fights this battle dressed as a figure of darkness.

This theme of free will is explored further in a more metaphysical way with Queen Ivy and her other self, a copy created by Gardner, but consisting only of Ivy’s goodness. One is hardwired for self-preservation, whatever the cost, even if that means destroying all of Gotham. The other… not so much! But when the two merge, it is only then that Ivy becomes a whole person, capable of making a moral choice. I like what Tynion is going for here but, I have to admit, I am somewhat underwhelmed by the execution. Queen Ivy should not have been so quick to merge herself with the other Ivy. She is simply told that, “Hey, it would be really cool if the two of you got back together”, to which her response is essentially, “Oh, okay then!” At this point in the story she is a ball of rage, just about ready to annihilate the city, which better illustrates the point that Tynion is trying to make. So, to have her give in so willingly is far too anticlimactic. Harley and Gardner should have had much more of a fight on their hands in convincing (or even forcing) Ivy to merge with her good self.

Speaking of anticlimactic, one of the big villains of this entire ‘Fear State’ run, Simon Saint, isn’t even taken out of play “on screen”, as it were. No doubt most of that action all takes place in some other comic book that I’m expected to rush out and buy in order to get the full story. But I don’t blame Tynion for this. I have actually read some articles attacking Tynion for what many consider to be a lackluster ending to his run but I consider such attacks to be unfair in the extreme. For one thing, I don’t consider the ending we get here to be that lackluster at all. As I’ve already pointed out, at the very least, it has something to say and specific themes to explore whilst also wrapping things up. But I also consider it unfair to blame one man for a story that he’s had to write in such a way that the multiple other titles in DC’s Batman stable can slot their way into it. Such faults are the failing of DC comics in not allowing one writer, with a singular voice, tell their story without having to worry about what is going on elsewhere.

The final battle between Batman and Peace Keeper-01 is a satisfying one. I love seeing Batman turning his utility belt into a makeshift knuckle duster to even the odds. It’s a great visual that reveals batman’s confidence and ingenuity as well as his tired desperation. Jorge Jimenez’s artwork is also pretty awesome, with Batman’s broken eye piece in his cowl allowing that one eye to peer out from behind it, reminding me of the ‘Gotham By Gaslight’ version of the dark knight. The final conversation between Batman and Miracle Molly is also a nice moment, allowing us to see a lot more light in a character known for being the dark, cave dwelling vigilante.

At the end of this issue’s backup story, ‘Batgirls Part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait’, we finally get to see the person known as The Seer. It’s a disappointingly underwhelming sight to behold, as is most of the story itself, to be perfectly honest. Steph and Cass are hidden away for a few days in a dive of a hotel and that’s it! Aside from one creepy doctored image of Babs by The Seer, the artwork still irritates me and the story itself doesn’t really go anywhere. It just side-lines two characters for the sake of some “humorous” buddy antics, that I’m sure will appeal to teenagers, but which does nothing for me personally.


Verdict –
The final chapter of ‘Fear State’ serves as an examination on free will and the necessity of evil in a world filled with good people, while the Batgirls fail to impress, in a story that sees them side-lined.

  • ‘Fear State: Part 6’ – 4/5
    ‘Batgirls Part 3: Can’t Hardly Wait’ – 2/5

    Overall score – 3/5

Review by Bryan Lomax, 08/12/21

Batman #116 – Review

Without pain, without fear, how does one grow and evolve? This is the question that writer James Tynion IV asks in Part 5 of “Fear State.”

Batman #116

Writer: James Tynion IV

Art: Jorge Jimenez (“Fear State Part 5”) and Becky Cloonan & Michael W. Conrad (“Batgirls part 2: Set It Off”)

Colours: Tomeu Morey (“Fear State Part 5”) and Sarah Stern (“Batgirls part 2: Set It Off”)

Letters: Clayton Cowles (“Fear State Part 5”) and Becca Carey (“Batgirls part 2: Set It Off”)
Released: 02/11/21

Published by DC Comics

Ghost-Maker comes to the aid of the Unsanity Collective, as the Magistrate lead an assault on them, which makes Ivy decide to attack the very foundations of Gotham. Meanwhile, Batman and Miracle Molly find the whereabouts of Scarecrow and attempt to prevent him from attacking the city with his mind control device.

Without pain, without fear, how does one grow and evolve? This is the question that writer James Tynion IV asks in Part 5 of “Fear State.” This has essentially been the mission statement of The Scarecrow throughout the entire ‘Fear State’ storyline. His belief is that in order for Gotham City to truly evolve it needs to experience trauma and fear, so that it might overcome them. In some ways his points are valid. But, obviously, it is his methodology that is seriously flawed. However, it does also raise questions as to the validity of the methodology behind the Unsanity Collective.

The Unsanity Collective created a machine that wipes away any bad memories so that one might be free of trauma. But that means they are never truly learning to deal with and process that trauma. Right in the middle of all that, you have Batman, a man whose entire career of fighting criminals is built on the very idea of confronting and overcoming one’s fear and trauma. As messed up as Batman is he probably represents us, the readers, far more than any of us might care to admit.

We all suffer trauma to varying degrees and we are all shaped by it in some way. But, we can choose how it will shape us, for better or worse. All these questions and answers are looked at within the pages of this issue of Batman, which is what makes it a really great issue, at least as far as the main story is concerned.

The backup story, “Batgirls Part 2 of 3: Set It Off”, is hampered right from page one. It does not feel like a direct continuation from part one. We are told that we need to check out both Nightwing #85 and Batman: Urban Legends #8 in order to fully understand what is going on, when we find Stephanie and Cass at the clocktower, which has been trashed. This annoys me no end!

I understand the cross-pollination of comics these days, with overarching stories running through multiple titles, but when individual stories don’t even make sense, unless you buy every current title, then it feels too much like upselling. Not everyone can afford to buy twenty titles every month.

The artwork in this one doesn’t quite work at times either. There are panels where I simply cannot make out what is going on at all! A prime example of this is the middle panel on page 2 of the story. So, somewhat underwhelming given the intrigue that was built up in part one, last issue.


Verdict –

Tynion delivers a great chapter of ‘Fear State’, raising many relatable points about fear and trauma, while the B-story, as is all too often the case, lets the side down.


Review by Bryan Lomax, 06/12/21

Harley Quinn #1 Review

Phillips does an incredible job of showing us a complicated, multi-faceted character, that has too often been played for laughs at the expense of some real depth. Here, she is angry, smart, compassionate, violent and, yes, funny…

Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Art: Riley Rossmo
Colours: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Deron Bennett
Released: 23/03/21

Published by DC Comics

Reviewed By Bryan Lomax


The first story, “Welcome Home”, in Harley Quinn’s new solo series, from writer Stephanie Phillips, offers a fresh take on the character. With the recent movie, Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, a film which I actually really loved, having been helmed by a female director, it’s nice to see DC Comics following suit, allowing one of their most beloved female characters to be tackled from a female perspective.

Phillips does an incredible job of showing us a complicated, multi-faceted character, that has too often been played for laughs at the expense of some real depth. Here, she is angry, smart, compassionate, violent and, yes, funny.

There isn’t much story to speak of within these pages if I’m being honest. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing at this point. Phillips just takes the time to set the scene, show us where Harley is at in her life right now, and give us a sense of her place within Batman’s world going forward.

She is a character trying to make amends for her past sins and, as Harley herself points out during one specific moment, “Everyone does love a good transformation story”. And seeing such a flawed character striving to earn redemption is definitely the kind of story I am drawn to.

The artwork by Riley Rossmo will take some getting used to for me. It’s not the kind of work that I usually go for, with exaggerated features, which often feel as though you have entered somebody’s fever dream. However, it is entirely in keeping with the character of such an often unreliable narrator as Harley.

We are introduced to a character, named Kevin, who could very well go on to become Harley’s side-kick. I can certainly see the potential there and there is something endearing about Harley taking someone under her wing who may just be crazier than she is.


Verdict:

A suitably chaotic first issue in this solo series for fan favorite Harley Quinn.


Review by Bryan Lomax, 16/07/21


Get BOTH issues of DC Future State: Harley Quinn for only £5 now!

We are offering you the chance to grab both of Harley Quinn’s Future State issues for only five pounds!

FUTURE STATE: HARLEY QUINN, PART 2
Harley Quinn has gained Jonathan Crane’s trust, everything is going according to plan, and she is getting close to making her escape. But Black Mask and his gang are continuing to undermine the Magistrate and push Crane closer to the edge, where he will become the Scarecrow once more. Will Harley be able to defeat the Scarecrow and stop the Black Mask Gang? If she’s going to secure her freedom and save Gotham’s future, she’ll have to!

FUTURE STATE: HARLEY QUINN, PART 1
In a bold move that rocks Gotham City, the Magistrate has imprisoned Harley Quinn! The villain—once known as the Scarecrow, now a pawn of the Magistrate—taps into Harley’s knowledge of Gotham’s villains and the Black Mask Gang for his own dark purposes. Crane and his bosses think they have Harley Quinn defeated and her spirit broken, but they are sorely mistaken—and Harley will have her revenge. Written by rising star writer Stephanie Phillips and drawn by fan-favorite artist Simone Di Meo, the next era of Harley Quinn begins here!




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DC kicked off 2021 in some style with their huge Future State event, seeing a whole new catalogue of writers and artists taking on some of the biggest characters within the DC universe and telling tales of what their futures may hold!

We are offering you the chance to grab both of Harley Quinn’s Future State appearances for only five whole pounds! (Including bag and board)
The comics are 1st print, which if you are scouting around, you will know these are becoming a little harder to track down now that the event is over!

Grab yourself both while stocks last! Remember, you can opt to click and collect in one of our stores if you wish, just state the store in the comment box when you reach the checkout!

Check it out HERE!