BATMAN #21 – DC Comics
Chris “Holy Spirit” Sawin

For the record, I’m super behind on all things comic book related. I haven’t even had the chance to read last year’s DC Comics: Rebirth #1 Special that set the stage for “The Button Part 1”, which is nearly half a year old at this point. But I can tell you that the tease that the New 52 universe being a concoction of Dr. Manhattan is incredibly intriguing.

Batman is still in possession of The Comedian’s smiley face badge. The radiation in the button has an interaction with Psycho-Pirate’s mask in the Batcave as Bruce has a brief interaction with the Flashpoint version of Thomas Wayne. The issue is mostly Bats waiting for Flash to arrive in the span of 60 seconds, which Bats spends trying to survive the onslaught of a resurrected Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash. Meanwhile, a hockey game between the Gotham Blades and the Metropolis Mammoths is occurring where a player is killed in a fistfight on live television.

What’s interesting here is if you pay attention to how much time passes in real time over the course of Batman #21. It’s technically only a couple or maybe a few minutes at most and yet so much transpires over that time period. This is something that affects multiple universes and you feel that in a handful of panels. In the blink of an eye, the issue ends and yet you absolutely cannot wait to see where this story takes you next. Tom King ignites the intrigue of the reader by simultaneously reeling you in with something that not only feels like a tribute to Watchmen, but expands on that to provide something totally fresh and universe shattering.

Everyone knows how badass Batman is when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, so it’s always noteworthy and rather jaw-dropping when you see someone swoop in and just mop the floor with him as if he was nothing. Reverse Flash beats Bats to a bloody pulp throughout “The Button”, talks an insane amount of shit the entire time with a smirk on his face, and has just the right amount of arrogance to be sickeningly memorable. While I’m not totally familiar with Jason Fabok‘s artwork, his style is very similar to Jim Lee’s complete with short Batman ears and a cowl that only reveals an impressive five o’clock shadow.

Here’s hoping Bats has better luck next issue and that “seeing God” isn’t as combustible as it seems.

5 Bibles.

MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1 (Vol. 2) – Marvel Comics
“Cleric” Kam Mohtashemi

While I’ve been letting the Monsters Unleashed mini-series issues pile up, I decided to jump ship onto the ongoing. Here, the core concept is a boy who looks about 12-years old code-named “Kid Kaiju” who draws monsters in a style very reminiscent of Jack Kirby and–for some as-yet-to-be-explained reason–the monsters he draws come to life and listen to him. Of course, S.H.I.E.L.D. has to get involved, setting him up with a permanent liaison (from Damage Control!), robotic tutors, and Elsa Bloodstone to teach him all about the nature of monsters. It’s not long before a group of high profile bad guys take notice and they have plans and schemes afoot for our young protagonist and his giant monster posse.

I’m a fan in general of Cullen Bunn (Uncanny X-Men, The Sixth Gun) and he delivers a breezy, well-paced script here with instantly likeable characters and plenty of big monsters to admire. He already started this here, but with more time, I’m sure he will further flesh out these monster companions of Kid Kaiju and give them all recognizable personalities– perhaps a good mixture of current sensibilities and plenty of Atlas Age monsters. Having fallen in love with Elsa Bloodstone as written by Warren Ellis in Nextwave, it’s great to see her in a monthly title again. Being a huge fan of 1970’s Fantastic Four comics, it was also cool to see who winds up as Kid Kaiju’s tutor (hint: rhymes with D.E.R.B.I.E.). The art by David Baldeon (Micronauts, Nova) is in keeping with the current Marvel house style, nothing eye-popping but it serves the story well. 3/5 Claws.

PLASTIC #1 – Image Comics
Michelle “Magdalene” Kisner

As a fan of exploitation flicks, Doug Wagner‘s (The Hard Place, Gun Candy) depraved love story is right up my twisted little alley. Edwyn is a man in love. Problem is, he’s in love with a plastic sex doll named Virgina. Even though she isn’t a real gal, she keeps Edwyn from returning to his former occupation-seral killer. When Virgina is kidnapped by a millionaire and held hostage in exchange for Edwyn’s.. services, things get gruesome. It’s like John Wick except–instead of a cute–puppy you have a sticky blow-up doll. Fun for the entire family! Luckily, the story never takes itself too seriously and there are plenty of jokes keeping the mood lighter. That’s not to say this isn’t a supremely messed plot, but it works. One question, Do sex dolls last long? I wonder what happen if Edwyn’s doll friend popped? Daniel Hillyard‘s art is fantastic and combines well with Laura Martin‘s splashy colors. 4/5 Sex Dolls.

“Saint” Timothy Markham

On first glance, the cover art made me incredibly excited for this comic. A Tarzan comic. How cool is that!? Flipping through the first few pages, I realized it was not “just a Tarzan comic”; The Greatest Adventure starts in the Jungles of Africa, but after a brief story told by Dr. Jason Gridley, the story heads to space! This story by Bill Willingham (Teen Titans, Fables) genuinely makes me curious for future issues. This first issue didn’t give much away in terms of longterm plot, but it seems like it can be interesting if brought in the right direction. The realisism and vibrant colors used by Cezar Razek (Witchblade & Red Sonja) and Daniela Miwa (Battlestar Galactica) add to the story what the plot can not. 2/5 Tarzans Agree.

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