Monday Musings: Recent Comic Book Reads

monday musings

Monday Musings returns and this week I’m going to tell you a little about the recent comics I’ve read. I made a reading order list because it felt like the only way I’d stop hemming and hawing over what to read next every time I finished something. These are just a select few out of what I’ve read recently.

Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison

This was unlike any other Batman comic I have ever read. Morrison takes thing to a whole other level with getting into Batman’s head in this. The art accurately portrays the tone the story is setting and while it might not be my favorite Batman story, it’s certainly one worth checking out.

Bizarro by Heath Corson

Heath Corson put together a fun Jimmy/Bizarro road trip in this trade. The art makes it a bit more fun, too, with Bizarro’s facial expressions and Jimmy’s somewhat ridiculous look. There’s very little of Superman in this, though, so it’s by no means a typical Bizarro story either.

Descender Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen make a great team. I remember meeting Dustin at WonderCon earlier this year and he asked me if I had read this. I told him I hadn’t, but I had bought it. I’m so glad I finally got around to it because it’s a gem of a comic. If you’re looking for a good space read, look no further.

Kill or Be Killed Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker

This comic certainly won’t be for everyone. It’s pretty brutal. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips continue to team up on some intriguing crime comics. If you aren’t one who wants to see a little bit of gore, though, you may want to pass on this one.

Welcome to Geekdom 052: LEGO Batman + Mask of the Phantasm

Welcome To Geekdom

Jason Tate returns to Welcome to Geekdom to chat about The LEGO Batman Movie and Mask of the Phantasm. It’s been determined that we just can’t stick to one topic most of the time. Expect more Batman (and Spider-Man) discussion from us in the future! You can subscribe on iTunes, Overcast, or Google Play and check out the episode below.

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Review: Batman #22

Batman #22

Batman #22 continues “The Button” storyline with part three. This issue is full of emotion for Batman, which isn’t something we necessarily get with him. The feelings are always there; he just suppresses them instead of showing them. When he sees his father and vice versa, it’s a stunning moment. That moment alone is sufficient to make this a great crossover event. Thomas’ sincerity before Bruce leaves just adds to that, too. Both men being Batman gives them each a unique perspective on the other’s life.

The Flash plays more of a background role in the majority of this episode. Bruce gets to fight side by side with his father while Barry fixes the treadmill. However, this is all happening because of him in a sense. He created Flashpoint and it’s nice to see DC revisit that here. Johns’ Flashpoint took place in 2011 and once Barry fixed it then, it didn’t appear that we’d be seeing it again in this capacity.

Bruce desperately wants his father to go back with them, but he refuses. Barry tries to convince him, too, to no avail. In the time stream, they run into Eobard Thawne with the button. Now I won’t pretend to wholly understand the way The Flash and Batman can time travel with Barry running and Bruce merely hanging on to the treadmill. However, without that ability, this story would not be near as interesting as it is.

Williamson takes over the scriptwriting for this crossover, but King at least helps with the story. I think they make for a good team on this issue and the art by Jason Fabok with colors from Brad Anderson compliment the writing well. This is a great looking issue and it’s because of both the writing and the art together. I really don’t think I could ask for a more enjoyable crossover between The Flash and Batman.

Review: The Flash #21

The Flash #21 brings us part two of “The Button.” Page one shows a man named Mr. Thunder yelling at the lightning. He doesn’t show up again in this issue, but it makes you wonder what his importance to the story is. From there, we see a lot more of the Batman and Flash team up. Bruce is badly beaten, but even that doesn’t sideline him. By the end of the issue, he and Barry end up time traveling together and they end up back in the Flashpoint timeline where Thomas Wayne is Batman.

Joshua Williamson gets a little wordy on some pages, but it’s worth it. The narration from Barry at the beginning isn’t wholly crucial to the story, but it adds more emotion to the current situation. Williamson also writes some great moments between Bruce and Barry. Bruce is unwilling to let Barry time travel on his own despite how injured he is. This moment and the earlier moment where Bruce is in bed and Barry is updating him really show what kind of friendship they have. Despite Barry having powers, these two have a lot in common.

The art and colors deserve a mention here, too. Hi-Fi’s coloring is outstanding as always and the art from Howard Porter is solid. If you look at the panel below, Porter uses an interesting way to draw Barry speeding off. I don’t know if I’ve seen anything quite like it. In that moment, it looks as if Barry is leaving a part of his body behind because he moves so fast. More often than not, I feel like we just see a blur.

The Flash #21 panel

This second issue of the crossover continues to bring a great story to life. They’re taking their time with solving the button mystery. As of right now, there are a few hints as to what’s going on, which Barry keeps to himself. However, there’s still a lot that’s unknown and that’s what keeps the story interesting. This story has been nothing but enjoyable for me so far. The story continues in Batman #22, which is out tomorrow.

Review: Batman #21

Batman #21

“The Button” storyline begins with Batman #21 and the comic opens with Arkham residents watching the hockey game. In the background, you see a poster with “Arkham is for healing” above a big smiley face, much like the one on the button, sans the bloodstain. From there, the story moves to Batman’s cave, where the rest of the issue plays out. Batman stands surrounded by his wall of screens, the majority of which just have the button pictured. It shows his dedication (and obsession) with figuring out what it means.

Batman calls on the Flash for help with this and before Barry can arrive, Eobard Thawne surprises Batman. He’s from the same world as Thomas Wayne, aka Flashpoint. Thawne shows no mercy on Batman, yet he still manages to survive the attack. What Batman lacks in super powers, he makes up for with his smarts and gadgets. He’s counting down the seconds until Barry arrives, knowing he only has to last a little longer. Despite the brutality of the issue, there’s a nice little moment where the countdown is at 0 and Batman makes the comment, “Hm. Overtime.” You can see the slightest smirk on his face through the blood.

Eobard Thawne is easy to hate and it’s no exception in this issue. However, by the end of it, he suffers an unexplainable death. Now there’s yet another mystery to figure out. Batman is badly beaten, but it is probably safe to guess that he survives. Barry, being the ever-charming hero that he is, runs in just after everything goes down because he stopped to see if he could save the hockey player.

Speaking of the hockey player, one of the Arkham residents at the beginning of the issue makes a comment about the player dying before it even happens. It isn’t until Barry shows that we find out her prediction did indeed come true. It will be interesting to see if she plays a part in the story down the road.

Tom King is a writer who I’ve come to greatly enjoy. He understands how to write an excellent story and this crossover has a lot of people excited. He’s taken the mantle as the writer of Batman with grace. He’s also killed it despite following in the footsteps of the great run from Snyder and Capullo. Jason Fabok on pencils and inks is a fantastic choice. This issue looks outstanding, which of course comes with the help of Brad Anderson on colors. It isn’t the same team for the whole event, so we’ll wait and see how The Flash issues look, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

This is one event you won’t want to miss out on. The story will resume with The Flash #21 next week. As a huge Batman fan, it’s a no brainer to continue reading the series and event to see how this plays out.