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411’s Comic Reviews: Batman Annual #3, The Batman Who Laughs #1, More

December 20, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Batman Annual 3

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review Roundtable! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.

Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

Yesterday we discussed Best Comic Book Villains of All Time.

Now on with the show!

Tank Girl: Action Alley

Preview by Stephen Gustafson

TANK GIRL’S FIRST ONGOING IN 30 YEARS! Original creator ALAN MARTIN and fan-favorite artist BRETT PARSON bring Tank Girl into a whole new era. Explore the backstories and secrets behind the world of the post-apocalyptic punk icon!


Preview by Stephen Gustafson

IDW Publishing announced that a brand-new Transformers series will debut in March 2019 that will explore the very moment when a glorious, peaceful Cybertron begins its downward spiral into chaos.

Available twice monthly, IDW’s Transformers comic will be written by Brian Ruckley, author of the Godless World fantasy trilogy, and illustrated by Angel Hernandez (Star Trek: Discovery – Succession) and Ron Joseph (Micronauts: Wrath of Karza).

In this new Transformers comic, IDW will explore Cybertron in ways never seen by audiences before – delving into an idyllic society, peaceful for thousands of years, as it faces the most momentous event in its history: the mysterious end of a single life. Through the eyes of young Bumblebee and his friends, fans will witness conspiracies forming, harmony giving way to conflict, and the very fabric of Cybertronian civilization tearing itself apart.

“Bringing Transformers fans this story is a real privilege,” says Brian Ruckley. “But just as important, it’s an amazing opportunity for new readers to discover and explore one of the biggest universes – and one of the best casts of characters – that science fiction has to offer, and to get in right at the start of a truly epic saga.”

Ron Joseph says, “In my youth, I devoured everything Transformers – toys, comics, the cartoon, the movie – with a Unicron-like hunger. ‘Robots in Disguise’ dominated my every waking moment. To join IDW’s creative team for the launch of a Transformers comic is staggering, and easily one of the greatest moments of my life.”

“We are eager to begin this new chapter in Transformers storytelling,” says Michael Kelly, Hasbro’s Vice President of Global Publishing. “We are excited to begin a tale that will be accessible and appealing to readers unfamiliar with Transformers lore, while still providing the depth and drama that our long-time fans expect. It’s a big responsibility, but we’ve got the right team and the right characters to do it.”

The debut issue of this new Transformers comic will be available with multiple cover variants, by artists Gabriel Rodriguez, Angel Hernandez, Casey W. Coller, and Freddie E. Williams II. Issue #2, also available in March, will feature covers by Nelson Daniel, Ron Joseph, and Jeffrey Veregge.

Dark Red #1

Preview by Stephen Gustafson

Charles “Chip” Ipswich isn’t one of those coastal elites with a liberal arts degree and a job at a social media start-up who knows where all the best brunch places are…

No, Chip is one of the “forgotten men.” He lives in a rural area in the middle of the country where Jesus still has a place at the dinner table and where factories ship jobs to Calcutta.

Chip is also a vampire.

Stuck working the last shift at a gas station, Chip is lonely and bored…and then his dull, bleak life is turned upside down when SHE comes to town.

Tim Seeley (BRLLIANT TRASH) and Corin Howell bring you a contemporary and horrifying tale of vampirism in the heart of America — one that’ll make you jump right out of your boots.

Batman Annual #3

Review by RobF

The old saying goes “Behind every great man there is a great woman.” I would revise that to say “Behind every winged vigilante there is a faithful butler.” Tom Taylor and Otto Schimdt present a tribute to the man behind the man we know as the Dark Knight.

The story starts simple enough, a quick review of Batman’s origin from Alfred’s point of view. We move ahead to modern day where we find Batman on the hunt for a man known as the Drone. While he is in pursuit Alfred is holding down the fort. Maintaining cars, cancelling appointments, and preparing meals are just a few of the tasks he tirelessly performs. His greatest talent, however, is his ability to anticipate Batman/Bruce’s needs and quickly react.

The villain, the Drone, is a throw-away character which just keep the story moving. His purpose is to show how valuable Alfred is to the entire operation. My only beef with the whole story is the role-reversal toward the end. It’s a little much, an explanation point where maybe a period would have done the job.

Schimdt’s art is perfect for a story fraught with emotion. Having never his art before I can say I am impressed. His attention to detail is admirable and his fight scenes are fun.

This story is a loving tribute to Batman’s mechanic, butler, cook and confidant. It’s also a tribute to Bruce Wayne’s “father”. A special story for sure, one to be treasured.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

The Batman Who Laughs #1

Review by John Pumpernickel

I’m in disbelief. I’ve been on a DC comic #1 tear and keep expecting one of the issues I grab to fall off but they keep getting better. Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and now The Batman Who Laughs.

The miniseries follows the villain from the Dark Multiverse thanks to co-creator Scott Snyder and artist Jock. They do an incredible job keeping things balanced and give us a unique insight into Bruce Wayne and Batman’s role in the DC universe.

I’m a huge fan of the Dark Multiverse and feel it injected a much needed spice into DC comics. Snyder and company build on its potential and takes a chaotic character and gives a personal twist to him.

The Batman Who Laughs is from Earth -22 and has all the good characteristics Mr. Wayne has but without the moral compass. We meet a Batman that walks a much darker path and one who’s more focused than one can imagine.

The artwork by Jock perfectly matches the changing tone of the issue. It’s beautiful to look at and allows the story to flow on a whole new level.

Another near perfect issue from DC and another issue that you need to add to your pull list asap.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

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