BATMAN x TMNT III / DCEASED / YEAR OF THE VILLAIN [DC Comics Reviews]: The Dead Knight.

Happy Hump Day, geeks! Anybody see that Avengers movie?! Still sold out in your town?! No matter! In the meantime, we’re taking a look at the Distinguished Competition, since they’ve still got plenty up their sleeve, and it’s pretty exciting stuff, including what surely must be the lead-up to one of the best ongoing mini-series of the past year! So let’s get right in while we wait for the weekend to roll around!

“Cardinal” Roberto de Bexar
BATMAN/TMNT #1 (Vol. III) – IDW/DC Comics

James Tynion IV, you clever, clever bastard you. While I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two Batman/TMNT crossovers he went and found an all new way to bring them back for a third go- round. Only this time, it’s a Crossover in a Half-Shell and I loved every minute of it: all the gang is back but they’ve been smashed together.

In this world, Batman is still Bruce Wayne, but Alfred is Splinter, Leonardo is Nightwing, Raphael is Red Hood, Mikey is Damien and Donatello is Red Robin. Not only that, but Shredder is mixed with the Joker, Harley is Harley, and Clayface and Killer Croc are Rocksteady and Bebop, respectfully; they are part of the Smile Gang. As always, Batman knows there is something wrong, and it’s only confirmed at the end when Eastman/Laird original Raphael Prime pops up and says that there is a problem. And just who is the big bad?? It’s Kraang himself, nestled inside the Anti-Monitor’s stomach.

There is so much good in this issue, and it’s just a fun read. I absolutely love Freddie E. Williams artwork in these series. He captures the turtles, Batman, the emotion, the action…everything is really well rendered and realized. He has been involved since Volume One, and even in his He-Man vs. Thundercats mini-series he has put in solid work. The only downside is that while these crossovers are fun to pick up, it would probably do better to just release them in trade form. But that’s just my own small, personal nit pick. The book in general is always a fun read and one that you can go back to and read again and again so for fun. 4/5 Half-Shelled, Batarang’d Bibles.

-Robert Bexar

“Father” #HeelSean Farrell
DCeased #1 – DC Comics

We’ve been here before. Zombie Heroes and Villains over run the superhero universe. That was by that Zombie dude. And for that other company who shall remain nameless. This time it’s DC, and it’s by the master craftsman of the Injustice series, Tom Taylor. With artistic powerhouses Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudino, and also James Harren, we have in this first issue the story of how 600 million people in the DCU are infected with a vicious techno virus that is turning both friends and foes into bloodthirsty, vicious, zombie-like creatures.

With its origins on Apokolips, the JLA and the entire human race is caught off guard, and bodies start dropping fast — and coming back to life even faster! This horror-themed series, fittingly, will wrap up just in time for Halloween! No tricks here – just treats! A very solid start! 3/5 Bibles.

-Sean Farrell

“El Sacerdote” J.L. Caraballo Twitter @captzaff007

A trifecta of writing talents — all of them having recently worked on various Batman titles — come together to fill the gaps (or set the stage) for the Doomsday Clock conclusion.. which should be coming…any…day…week…month…now. It’s not so much in the actual story as it is in the tone of the thing: a sense of foreboding, of incoming dread, of a cosmic, timeless mystery, and, perhaps most tellingly, Lex Luthor doing a whole mess of fuckery within the DC Universe.

Starting out in the White House, the Legion of Doom, headed by Luthor himself, has absconded with the president, and Amanda Waller taken hostage by Brainiac. Out in deep space, we learn quickly that the Source Wall — the absolute edge of the universe — has disappeared, and the outer fringes of the universe are beginning to collapse into the endless void beyond; the Justice League realizes that in order to evacuate every outlying system before they’re destroyed by the growing void, nearly every single DC hero needs to be recruited on a massive rescue mission. All this runs simultaneous to the main plot: the realization that both the collapse of the Source Wall, and the abduction of the president (and Waller) were both orchestrated by Luthor (or someone posing as him), in order for some Cosmic Gods to break into our dimension and wreck havoc.

For only a quarter, we get Brian Michael Bendis, Tynion IV, and Scott Snyder collaborating on each of the comic’s three chapters, weaving these disparate threads together. Luthor makes a rather surprising move early on in the second chapter, one that even he admits is a surprise, and the realization that Luthor — much like Batman — has devised a plan to utilize the strengths of every major villain in the DC universe, and to aid them with skills specific to their unique characteristics, is exciting stuff in itself. These three working together should be epic, great stuff; but couldn’t help be a bit underwhelmed by the last few pages.

There’s something about Luthor appearing at the last page that seems to undercut how determined he was — as well as what he does — in the first third. It doesn’t take away at all from the story; it just seemed like something that could’ve been held off for at least the next issue. But for the price, the talent involved, and at least feeling like a precursor to Doomsday Clock…it’s worth picking up. 3.5/5 Bibles.

-J.L. Caraballo

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