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Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes by Kyle Higgins

It’s a long convoluted story how DC started over and relaunched 52 titles, this being one of them. I won’t claim to understand it. I was drawn to it because it was starting over, with issue number one, and going forward. I knew that Dick Grayson, the original Robin, had moved on to being Nightwing decades ago. I hadn’t read a title until now.

Title: Nightwing, Vol. 1: Traps and Trapezes
Author: Kyle Higgins and illustrators
Series: Nightwing (2011)
Publish Date: October 1st, 2012 by DC Comics
Genre: graphic novel, superhero
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics – The New 52 event of September 2011, Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Eddy Barrows (SUPERMAN)!

Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, makes a stop on its tour in Gotham City – bringing with it murder, mystery, and superhuman evil. To uncover more clues as to why a mysterious assassin is targetting him, Nightwing joins the circus’s tour. But as Dick becomes reacquainted with the big top he once called home, he learns there are darker secrets to be discovered.

Collects NIGHTWING #1-7.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

This blew me away.  It was just that good.  It moves things forward in Dick’s life while taking a step back and looking at his past, where he came from, and those he left behind. It starts with a murder, and soon Dick finds that he has inherited the circus where his parents worked. While trying to figure out that murder, it turns out there is more going on than he thought.

The circus was more than a traveling entertainment venue. It has hidden secrets for over a century! And as Dick Grayson digs deeper, it brings up memories and forces him to look at things in a new way.

This was a great story that could only work with Nightwing and how it dealt with his past. It felt like a mystery for him and served the story well. The art was clean and there are some good appearances by others that fit without overshadowing Dick’s own story.

I highly recommend this. 5 stars

Other New 52 reviews…

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I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino

Another title of the new 52, a reboot of sorts from DC.  However, don’t ask me to explain all of the things DC has done in the past twenty years, with three different storylines, as I don’t think I can explain it.

Title: I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love
Author: Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino (illus)
Series: I, Vampire
Publish Date: October 9th, 2012 by DC Comics
Genre: graphic novel, superhero, horror
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As a part of the DC Comics – The New 52 event of September 2011, I, Vampire is reborn in this new ongoing series!

For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now that truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree – and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU! Their past behind them, they find themselves ready to battle to the death…but only if those feelings really are all gone. Knowing the difficult battle before him, Andrew will have to work with John Constantine and Gotham’s Dark Knight, Batman!

Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino mix the world horror with super-heroes in one of DC Comics’ most exciting new series!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

In this collection, it really is a story of Tainted Love. Andrew Bennett made a vampire out of Mary, but while he isn’t a killer and feeds to live, Mary took to being a vampire like breathing. And she reveled in it—in the hunt, the kills, the feeding—to a level Andrew doesn’t like. Now, some of this is in the flashbacks, and I get the sense that maybe the two of them traveled well together, but she slowly embraced the violence more than Andrew. I don’t understand why he didn’t act on this sooner.

For me, that was the tip of the proverbial iceberg of issues I had with this story. Andrew knows what Mary has become . . . so leaves her for decades and only reappears when she might give away that they exist. I don’t get that. In a world of aliens, caped crusaders, and powered people, who would blink at vampires? And wouldn’t it be better to let the general populace know about them? When several other DC heroes are brought into the story, I don’t understand why vampires aren’t made public. Further, having waited so long, now she has created so many, it’s not easy for Andrew to just get to her. He created a problem and is trying to deal with it, but it’s all too forced.

Not knowing anything about vampires in the DC universe, their powers made no sense to me. It’s as if they have any power ever mentioned by any source. Turning to mist, strength, speed, senses, shapeshifting into animals, even flying just seems to happen as needed for the plot, which doesn’t work for me. Then there is a twist at the end with a big reveal, but again, with no foreshadowing, it all fell flat.

Finally, the art was not good. There were times where it didn’t direct me in the correct direction to read, which didn’t help. I should have gone across both pages but read down one because it wasn’t obvious which way to go.

The only reason I am giving this a two instead of a one is that there are some good moments and some standout art. However, it was a close thing. Further, I don’t even see how this story could have been improved. It was too cliche.

Other New 52 reviews:

Catwoman, Volume 1: The Game

Another New 52 from DC.  Again, they had a reason for the reboot and new stories, but I just pick up titles that sound interesting. This one was very good.

Title: Catwoman Vol. 1: The Game
Author: by Judd Winick, Guillem March (illustrator)
Series: Catwoman (2011)
Publish Date: May 22, 2012, DC Comics
Genre: Graphic novel
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: As a part of the acclaimed DC Comics—The New 52 event of September 2011, meet Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is—she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad and very bad at being good. But this time, Selina steals from the wrong man, and now he’s got her. He wants his stuff back, he wants answers and he wants blood. Writer Judd Winick begins a new chapter for CATWOMAN—hopefully, she makes it out alive!

This volume collects issues 1-7 of Catwoman, part of the DC Comics—The New 52 event.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

This was another great story for me.

Selina Kyle, the Catwoman, is a bad girl. She’s just trying to survive in a world that is tough. There are super-powered people, altered humans, and aliens all running around. This isn’t a happy place. Corruption is real and everywhere in Gotham. Those who got to the step stepped on lots of people to get the top and continued to do so to stay there. So what if she steals a few of their trinkets? They won’t miss them!

Selina herself is a real character, not two dimensional. We know what drives her, why she does what she does, and why she makes bad decisions. What makes this story different is that she now has to face some of the consequences. And it’s brutal. I felt for her and what happened. I was sad for her, happy for her, and want to see her in a better place.

Part of this story is Selina getting to the bottom and what she has to do to get out of it. I didn’t feel like I got that full story in this one, and I wanted to know. I’m hoping my expectations aren’t too high now for the next volumes. I highly recommend this one for its art, its story, and its great main character.

Other reviews of the New 52

Deathstroke, Volume 1: Legacy by Kyle Higgins

I don’t understand why DC did what it did with the New 52. I think they had a plan, but I have just been picking up titles that interest me and seeing if they are good. This one is. Solid five.

Title: Deathstroke, Vol 1: Legacy
Author: Kyle Higgins and several illustrators
Series: Deathstroke (2011), Book 01
Publish Date: August 14, 2012, DC Comics
Genre: Graphic novel, superhero
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionAs a part of the acclaimed DC Comics—The New 52 event of September 2011, Slade Wilson once ranked as the world’s greatest mercenary. But when his reputation starts to slip, and when a mysterious briefcase enters the equation, the man known as Deathstroke decides to carve a bloody, gory swathe across the DCU in a quest to show the world what exactly makes him the best.

Collecting: Deathstroke 1-8.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

It starts with Deathstroke getting a mission and being forced to work with a new team. He’s not impressed with the up and coming next generation and he makes his feelings known. He cuts ties with them and is back to being on his own.

Slade is a man that admires Achilles from the Illiad. He wants to be known as the best warrior and also have his own story last thousands of years. It’s what drives him to bigger contracts and to keep pushing himself, even as he feels the effects of aging.

While he is a villain, he is handled well. I felt sympathy for him but still knew he who is. It’s handled well. If anything, I think he spares a few too many people at times, as if the writer’s worry about that sympathy being lost, but I’m not so sure it doesn’t detract from his character.

The story quickly becomes Slade being shown up and having to prove himself to keep his legacy going. It’s not trying to tell a tear jerker or heart-wrenching story. I understood what he was doing and why but it doesn’t mean I wanted him to succeed. Further, a lot of this story is his own past coming back to haunt him. And that’s what made him a villain and why the story worked. He’s his own worst enemy and his actions have consequences. What kept me reading was how it was all going to be resolved and I thought it was well done.

Other reviews of the New 52

Red Hood And The Outlaws, Vol. 1: Redemption

Former Batman-sidekick-turned-vigilante, Red Hood is an antihero with scores to settle. When he teams up with Starfire and Arsenal, the trio start taking out the bad guys while dealing with their bad histories and “family” drama.

Title: Red Hood and the Outlaws, Vol. 1: Redemption
Author: Scott Lobdell (Writer), Joshua Williamson (Writer), Kenneth Rocafort (Illustrations)
Series: Red Hood and the Outlaws (2011) series
Publish Date: Aug 1, 2012 by DC Comics
Genre: superhero, graphic novel
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: No sooner has Batman’s former sidekick, Jason Todd, put his past as the Red Hood behind him than he finds himself cornered by a pair of modern day outlaws: Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal, the damaged soldier of fortune, and the alien Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war who won’t be chained again. As a loner, Jason has absolutely no interest in this motley crew of outlaws. So what’s he going to do when they choose the Red Hood as their leader?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

I admit I don’t read a lot of comic books. Bring on the boos and insults, I know. A lot of my superhero fandoms and knowledge stems from the MCU or DCU (movies) and other various sources. And then I get curious and read into them with the comic books. Plus, if I find a character I really love but isn’t in the movie universes, I tend to look up information on the character and go from there.

Red Hood (and Moonstone, but that’s another story) has always been different. Granted, I first came across his story by watching the animated movie Under The Red Hood. But after that, I became hooked. I recently attended the Wizard World Convention in Chicago and bought the entire Outlaw series (not 52) with glee.

Red Hood is the first DC character I truly adore and care about. Maybe it’s because I have an affinity for young characters who die and are reborn as something else. Maybe it’s because he’s got plenty of one-liners that make me giggle. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t suck *cough, cough Aquaman.*

Long story short, Red Hood was originally the second Robin, Jason Todd, a sidekick trained by Batman. He was murdered at a young age by the Joker and then came back (there are alternate versions of how he was reborn). He felt enraged that his death was not avenged and then donned the Red Hood, becoming a vigilante in the city of Gotham, promising to do better than Batman.

Regardless of the crimes he commits, Jason Todd is a hero at heart, protecting the innocent and getting the bad guys. His methods are far more justified than his mentor’s, even though he kills off the men he thinks are deserving—”let the punishment fit the crime.” He may not have the acute moral compass that Batman does when it comes to killing, but regardless, he mostly gets his revenge.

I’ve read Death In The Family, Under the Hood, and Lost Days, so now I figured it’s time to catch up on his Outlaw days.

I really enjoyed this first installment, too. Jason is smart, angry, and badass as he gets caught up in a rivalry between the All Caste (which is the assassin “school” he’s sent off to at the end of Lost Days) and The Untitled. While in the meantime, he’s teaming up with Starfire and Arsenal.

*On a side note, does anyone else hear Jensen Ackles’s voice as Jason’s? After watching Under The Red Hood, I totally still do.*

I don’t know much about Starfire beyond what I’ve seen in Teen Titans and other comics, so I wasn’t quite sure why she was hiding out on an island until she explained that it was because humans didn’t understand her, and vice versa. She’s quite a fire show with her emotions, pheromones, and powers.

I do know a lot of readers think the way she is portrayed by the writers/artists is sexist, but I don’t really buy into that. From EVERYTHING I’ve seen, Starfire has always been beautiful, has always tossed her feelings around, and has never been shy or uncomfortable about her body or feelings. She’s on an island where she’s free to do as she pleases and went there to escape restrictions. I don’t know what her sexuality has to do with sexism, because sexism is defined as prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women. So, how are the artists and writers being sexist? By drawing a beautiful woman who is a badass alien princess and has feelings? Come on, people. Be real here.

Arsenal is pretty damn funny. In one point of the story, Jason says something along the lines of Arsenal/Roy having the type of humor that is still funny but underlines a lot of things that are very true and very real, and I like that about him. Although I’ve never read the story where he does, I know that at one point, Arsenal goes up against the Justice League and Oliver Queen’s corporation. And I know that somewhere along the line, he loses everything—including himself. So he’s a sarcastic, sassy, angsty bastard, and I love it.

All in all, all these broken characters come in to team up and face down a series of undead, scaly, and very deadly foes and still come out victorious. Cue the applause.

Couple things before I wrap it up: I’d love to learn more about Essence. She seems like a badass too, and I’d never even heard of her before I read this series.

I’d love to see if this first book’s plots still has ties in the future books, or if it’s left unfinished. I guess I’ll find out!

And I love that, despite everything, Jason has learned, he’s still the same, angry person who wants to kill the Joker and who loathes Batman for not avenging his death. Learning new tricks and new saintly mantras doesn’t always make you a saint, and I like that Jason, though good at heart, isn’t going to be swayed one way or another. He’s going to do what he wants.

Overall, this gets a four from me.

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