Archive for November 2016

Suicide Squad #7 Review

It's taken a while, given it's short, choppy structure, but "The Black Vault" is rapidly approaching its conclusion. And this arc seems to be getting better as it moves towards the finish line, with issue #7 offering one of the better-paced and more memorable chapters to date.

Chaos continues to unfold at Belle Reve as the titular vault drives everyone into a bloodthirsty frenzy. Everyone, that is, except Harley Quinn, who has suddenly been rendered sane and lucid for the first time in years. That's certainly a promising development, though a bit worrisome as well. Describing Harley in binary terms like "sane" or "insane" is a little reductive and doesn't really get to the root of her particular brand of madness. But writer Rob Williams seems to understand that. What's interesting about his portrayal of Harley in this issue is that she isn't a drastically different character. She's a bit more lucid, perhaps, but the biggest difference now is that she's not empowered by the utter fearlessness and disregard for her own safety that's usually her greatest weapon in battle. For once, Harley Quinn is afraid. Honestly, it might be neat to see this revamped Harley stick around past the end of "The Black Vault."

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Why THAT Arrow Character Wasn’t in the Crossover

While the big Arrowverse “Invasion!” crossover featured more superheroes than you can shake an Nth Metal mace at, there was one important Arrow character notably absent: Evelyn Sharp, aka Artemis.

According to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, Artemis wasn't included for a reason, and it had something to do with last week's cliffhanger.

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Arrow and the “Invasion!” crossover!

Madison McLaughlin as Evelyn Sharp/Artemis on Arrow Madison McLaughlin as Evelyn Sharp/Artemis on Arrow

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Arrow: “Invasion!” Review

Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.

This week’s Arrow had a tall order to fill. It was not only the middle act of the massive Invasion crossover, but also the 100th episode of the series. How do you go about trying to push the larger crossover forward while also taking the time to celebrate such a significant milestone. The solution, it seems, was to worry less about the former and more about the latter. This episode definitely worked better as “Arrow: Episode 100” than it did “Invasion: Act Two.”

This episode revolved around a pretty common trope in superhero storytelling, with the hero being shown the life they might have had if they had never put on their costume and resisting the urge to stay in that false reality forever. It’s a story that’s been told in many forms over the years, with a couple notable, DC-themed examples being Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “For the Man Who Has Everything” in Superman Annual #11 and the Batman: The Animated Series Episode “Perchance to Dream.” We’ve even seen it done in the Arrow-verse before, as Supergirl did its own take on “For the Man Who Has Everything” earlier this year.

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New Generation X Is a Team of ‘Lovable Losers’

Here's the creative team and concept for Marvel's new Generation X comic book series featuring Jubilee as leader.

Billy Dee Williams to Finally Get to Play Two-Face

It's been 27 years since Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film, and the actor finally has the chance to star as the character's villainous alter-ego, Two-Face, in the upcoming The LEGO: Batman Movie.

Director Chris McKay confirmed the news via Twitter, where he was asked by a fan if Williams will indeed be voicing the famous Batman villain.

Despite portraying Harvey Dent, Williams never got the chance to step into the role of Two-Face in the Batman sequels that followed. The franchise would eventually change directions with Joel Schumacher at the helm, who recast Tommy Lee Jones as Dent/Two-Face for 1995's Batman Forever.

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Star Wars Annual #2 Review

Even though this issue features a completely different creative team, in many ways it reads like a direct follow-up to Mark Waid and Terry Dodson's Princess Leia mini-series. It's not just the fact that the script revolves around Leia and a new partner, but that it focuses on her efforts to move past the destruction of Alderaan and continue inspiring her fellow Rebels. It's a proven formula, and one that still works even when this issue loses any sense of subtlety.

It's actually Leia's temporary partner, Pash "Bash" Davane, that gives this issue most of its unique flavor. Bash is a different breed of Star Wars protagonist. She's a musclebound miner who would just as soon stay out of the Galactic Civil War and has little love for either the Rebels or Empire. Writer Kelly Thompson strikes at something I think is too rarely explored in Star Wars stories. For people whose lives are overturned by war, be it the fight against the Empire or the Clone Wars, neither side falls into a strictly good or evil category. Bash speaks to that nicely, in addition to being an amusing protagonist with her own Han Solo-worthy level of swagger.

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Villains for Justice League vs. Suicide Squad Revealed

The villains responsible for the conflict in the upcoming Justice League vs. Suicide Squad six-part comic book event have been revealed in the new issue of DC’s Direct Current magazine, a publication that lets retailers and fans know what’s coming up in the world of DC Comics.

Check them out:

Art by Jason Fabok. (DC Comics) Art by Jason Fabok. (DC Comics)

The currently unnamed group of baddies is headed up by Maxwell Lord, a complicated figure from before the New 52 who has been both member and enemy of the Justice League (you can see his elbow on the left). He’s probably most known for trying to take over the world in 2005’s Infinite Crisis. He used his mind-controlling abilities to take over Superman, which forced Wonder Woman to break Lord’s neck and kill him in order to free Superman. Looks like he’s up to no good again.

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Injustice: Year Five Annual #1 Review

Once again, DC is capping off a volume of Injustice with a standalone annual issue. But unlike the Year Four annual, which briefly brought writer Tom Taylor back into the fold and directly set the stage for the Year Five status quo, this issue is more in line with the other Injustice annuals. It offers a trio of what are essentially "lost" stories set during writer Brian Buccellato's Year Five run. As such, it's a decent read for those who need a little more Injustice to fill the wait until the sequel comic, but only one of these tales is particularly noteworthy.

First, Buccellato and artist Mike S. Miller touch base with Harley Quinn in the aftermath of Year Five. Disillusioned and alone, Harley is prepared to hang up her costume for good when she runs afoul of a the Joker Gang. Buccellato is basically setting up Harley for her role in the Injustice: Ground Zeroes comic here. The script toys with the idea that even someone as twisted as Joker can become a symbol for positive change and resistance, but never really digs deep enough. Nor does it examine the tragedy of Harley coming so close to reclaiming her old life and then slipping back into old habits. Buccellato delivers a decent Harley story, especially with Miller's energetic pencils bringing life to the pages, but there's a nagging sense that more could have been accomplished with the character.

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A Small Town Erupts In Violence In RESIDENT ALIEN: THE MAN WITH NO NAME #4

Check out a preview of RESIDENT ALIEN: THE MAN WITH NO NAME #4 from Dark Horse.

A Small Town Erupts In Violence In RESIDENT ALIEN: THE MAN WITH NO NAME #4

Check out a preview of RESIDENT ALIEN: THE MAN WITH NO NAME #4 from Dark Horse.