Batman v Superman

Review by Gregg Katzman

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The plot is pretty much in the title, isn’t it? We all know the Dark Knight (Ben Affleck) and the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) will be at odds, but at least two Justice League movies have been announced, so we’re also pretty sure they’ll end up on the same side – it’s all in one of the trailers, after all. Anyone who has read a comic has seen the “heroes battle until they join forces” scenario countless times before. Does knowing that really matter, though? To some, it will. But to me, that isn’t what’s important. I don’t really care about “who will win?” I’m not on “team Batman” or “team Superman”. I’m here to see Warner Bros. and DC Comics give fans what they’ve craved for so long: a cinematic universe that’s full of familiar faces, both good and bad.  Seeing how everything actually plays out and how these characters are handled is far more important than strongly suspecting that they’ll end up as friends, or at least allies. Is their conflict forced or does it feel justified? Does the eventual team-up feel like a natural development, or is it there just to blatantly get us ready for Justice League movies? I’d say those are a few of the things that really matter. Besides, we’re all on team Wonder Woman, right?

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Order Batman/TMNT #4 here: http://bit.ly/1pvG1dz

Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Spoiler-Free Review by Gregg Katzman

Isn’t it so surreal that there’s a Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover? I mean, this is something that so many of us have wanted to see for decades, but considering the Dark Knight is with DC Comics and the Heroes in a Half Shell are with IDW Publishing, it just didn’t seem probable. But here we are, reading a limited series that has Splinter and his four mutant sons trapped in Gotham City… with Shredder, too! For many of us, this is a dream come true. Please forgive that cliche idiom, but it really is!

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Midtownies! Raph here, with some reviews for you. The Image series Rat Queens recently released its first volume, and Marvel is continuing it’s All New Marvel Now with Ghost Rider and Iron Patriot. My thoughts on those series follow after the break.

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By Tom Hairston

Before we begin I just have to say that I’m going to have a little trouble reviewing this film, because I don’t know if it’s physically possible to talk about a movie while jumping up and down with joy. I am of course here to talk about the much anticipated Marvel film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and normally when I review a film I like to keep people guessing as to my opinion, I like to jump between pros and cons, but with this film I have to come out and just flat out say that not only does this movie succeed as a thriller, an action film, and as a pure joy ride, but it succeeds at all of those things better than I thought it possibly could. I’ve been weighing all the parts of this film and I honestly can’t find much in here that didn’t have me grinning and applauding for hours.

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Midtownies! Raph is back, here with three more recent releases you should check out, and to be fair, they are three books from three different comics.

FURIOUS

Written by: Bryan JL Glass

Art by: Victor Santos

Furious is a new serious (Issue #2 was released on Feb. 26th, 2014), from Bryan JL Glass (Mice Templar) that deals with a lot of themes of our pop culture, such as celebrities and their downward spirals. Furious is a new superheroine, and a violent one at that, but she has her heart in the right place. In a world where superheroes don’t exist, the spotlight is white hot on her, and what that spotlight does to a person. We also hear in snippets about the fall of a child star named Cadence Lark, which involved debauchery, an accident and the death of her parents, and (spoiler) how Cadence and Furious are actually one and the same. A thought provoking commentary on celebrity culture wrapped in a superhero shell.

Bryan Glass’ dialogue for Cadence is a bit brusque, but that fits the attitude of our socialite turned would-be hero: she’s not the greatest person in the world, but she’s trying to do some good despite the darkness in her past. Victor Santos’ art is terrific as well, I’m hooked in for this downward spiral that is the life of Furious, and you can expect that her fall will fit her nom de guerre.

HARLEY QUINN

Written by Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti

Art primarily by Chad Hardin

This book had a controversial beginning, with a poorly timed contest that had artists drawing an image in poor taste, but the quality of the book shines despite that ugly beginning. Harleen Quinzel, former doctor at Arkham Asylum turned psychopath, has be bequeathed a building in Coney Island, replete with tenants from the local freakshow, and tons of space for her extracurricular activities. Harley’s early adventures mostly consist of fairly innocuous things: rescuing animals from being put down, finding a refrigerator to put dead corpses, all with her trusty partner: a stuffed, talking beaver. The humor is a bit reminiscent of early Looney Tunes (the crass stuff that they don’t put on TV because Bugs and co. are for kids now), or even a certain Mouthy Mercenary… but Harley has always been an offbeat, out there character.

Jimmy Palmiotti is a known quantity when it comes to writing. I’m not sure how much I’ve read of Amanda Palmer’s work, but I know that she has drawn some of the best cheesecake in comics, and that includes pieces with Harley. She seems to have a decent grasp of the character, the four issues (zero issue included) were written fairly well and they felt natural to our favorite nutjob. Chad Hardin’s art is pretty evocative of artists like Stephane Roux and Todd Nauck, two artists whom I enjoy greatly. If you were turned off by the whole controversy last year, check the book out, it’s an enjoyable, fun book.

MS. MARVEL

Written by G. Willow Wilson

Art by Adrian Alphona

Another book that got a lot of media attention, Ms. Marvel features the first Muslim-American character in a lead role. What is she like? How is she different from everyone? How much do they emphasize her “Muslim-ness”? Just what is Kamala Khan? Well it’s really quite simple: she’s a normal person.

More specifically, Kamala Khan is a teenage girl obsessed with superheroes. Wouldn’t you be, living in an Avengers world? Kamala’s family is from Pakistan, and she is a second generation American (first to be born here). Her culture comes up almost immediately as she faces discrimination from the popular kids in school, to having a more religious older brother, to the conservative parents. But is that inherently a Muslim experience, or is that more of a universal immigrant experience? I’m also a second generation American, and I could identify with a lot of what G Willow Wilson put into this first issue.

Speaking of G. Willow Wilson, she wrote the fantastic series Air, which I’ve read, and Cairo (which I have not). Her writing is a draw for me, and this series is no exception.  Kamala has a distinctive voice, and her struggle to fit into two worlds (and now a third: the superhero world) is very poignant and feels real. The additional twist of how Kamala gets her powers (spoiler) via the Terrigen Bomb Black Bolt unleashed in the page of Infinity (end spoiler) also adds another wrinkle to this complex character we’ve only barely gotten to know.

Add on top of this the art of Adrian Alphona, co-creator of the Runaways, and you have a dynamic team and a beautiful book. Mr. Alphona’s art has been a favorite of mine since his days on Runaways, and I haven’t seen it often, but I’m glad to see it on a book of this quality. This book is one of the better All-New Marvel Now launches, worth a look beyond the original hype.

So that’s my perspective, definitely give these books a look at, and feel free to comment below, and get a dialogue going. If there’s anything you’d like to put out there for others to check out, feel free to mention it the comments too. Thanks for reading!

Bloggerinos! We here at Midtown enjoy any opportunity to see characters return to the pages of comics, and Red Circle has made it’s comeback. The imprint was created by Archie and is now back in their hands. I had the opportunity to read The Fox and it’s an unconventional, unusual story, one that is a welcome change of pace for comics in general, and a good example of high quality work that can help Red Circle thrive in the industry. I also had the opportunity to ask the creative team of the Fox, Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid, some questions about the series.

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