Have you been waiting for the right moment to leap into the realm of Batman? Well guess what my friends, there is no time like the present! Since Bruce Wayne went ‘missing’ in Batman R.I.P and Final Crisis, the whole Bat-verse has been uprooted, reformed, and kicked into total bad ass mode! In-case you’ve been out of the comics loop for awhile, here’s the low down on what’s going on:

batmanadnrobin-195x300Batman and Robin: Written by the guy who offed Bruce, Grant Morrison, and drawn by Frank Quitely, this book follows the adventures of the new Batman and Robin. Dick Grayson has taken on the Cape and Cowl, and Bruce’s punk kid, Damian, dons the red, green, and yellow. The story line is about the villain Pyg and his group of freak cronies who are on a psychotic mission to make people ‘perfect.’ And by perfect I mean that Pyg will melt a sick mask onto your faces, burning the ugliness away from your filthy life. Nasty. Plus, we’re provided awesome banter between Dick and Damian as they adjust to their new roles in Gotham City. There’s even a flying Batmobile!

Batman: Where Batman and Robin focuses on the dynamic duo, Batman puts the spotlight on Dick Grayson. Sure, Damian is still around (after all he is Robin), but this title gives us a more intricate look at how Dick and Alfred are handling their new duties in Gotham. We see how the new Batcave was established (which isn’t really a cave), Dick’s first meeting with members of the JLA post Bruce’s ‘death’, the fallout of Tim Drake, and how much of a snarky prick Damian can be. The script is provided by Judd Winick (don’t worry, no one has turned up HIV positive… yet), with art by Ed Benes (whose style looks awesomely similar to Jim Lee), and the villain appears to be our favorite straw wearing psychopath. Batman is a must read for fans of the Caped Crusader.

streets-of-gotham1-195x300Streets of Gotham: Unjustifiably, this new series has been branded the bastard child of the Bat-books. The common thought here is “well, I’m already reading Batman and Robin and Batman, so I don’t need to check out Streets of Gotham.” If that’s your attitude my friends, all I can say is you’re missing out on one kick ass book! First of all it’s written by Paul Dini (so how can you go wrong), and secondly Dustin Nguyen’s pencils and Derek Fridolfs inks give Streets the perfect look for a Bat-book. Whereas Batman and Robin and Batman’s art is clean and bright, Streets is dark, shadowy, and mysterious- everything a Bat-title should be, right? This title balances nicely with the other two, and gives us a more in-depth take on the character of Damian. The villains are Firefly and someone who made his first appearance in the 2000’s (but I won’t reveal who that is here), with special appearances by Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham PD. Plus in every issue there is a backup story about the female badass vigilante, Manhunter. So be sure to check this one out, your eyes will thank you.

Red Robin: Tim Drake fans, this hot new series is a must read for you! Everyone else may think that Bruce Wayne is dead, but Tim thinks otherwise. He has opted to leave Gotham and (being the hardcore detective that he is) travel the world in search of his former mentor. He won’t be satisfied until he either finds Wayne or see’s his body, and to begin his search takes him to the beautiful country of Spain… only, he isn’t there for sight seeing. Marvel scribe Chris Yost visits the other side of the pond as he writes this title and Ramon Bachs provides the pencils.

detective854c-194x300Detective Comics: Out of all the new Bat-titles, Detective easily takes the cake in the art department. J.H. Williams III’s pencils along with Dave Stewart’s colors make for a striking, unique take on Gotham City’s newest cape- Batwoman.  Williams switches art styles when the story features Batwoman and when she’s traipsing around as her alter ego, Katherine Kane, and the layouts in this comic are so fantastic and avant-garde that they alone are worth the price of admission. Batwoman is a no-nonsense character who doesn’t hold back in a fight, and writer Greg Rucka makes this relatively unknown character one of the most intriguing in the Bat-family to date.  She originally appeared waaay back in 1956 in Detective Comics #233, and didn’t show her face again until 50 years later in 52 #7. Now in 2009 she’s cementing her name as one of the most feared in Gotham City. Plus each issue features a backup story featuring The Question!

Gotham City Sirens: Think Birds of Prey but instead of Black Canary, Oracle, and Huntress, you get Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. Now toss into the mix an old school Bat-villain and a new guy who wants to make a name for himself, and you have one exciting new Batman story! Paul Dini also writes this new series with art provided by Guillem March. Fans of the old BoP books or any female driven series will dig Sirens.

Outsiders: Alfred’s calling the shots and people get hacked in half. ‘Nuff said.

I know what you’re thinking; what about Barbara Gordon and Cassandra Cain? Where are they in this new Bat-revamp? Well, they haven’t popped up yet, but don’t worry. They’re going to appear again soon enough…

Star Wars InvasionBelow are quick hits about some exciting comic book news set to take place in the next couple of months:

Dark Horse

Star Wars Rebellion: Dark Horse has pulled the plug on the title. Apparently the series’ time line (which takes place during the original trilogy) made it difficult to come up with new stories that wouldn’t contradict the already existing continuity of the best documented time period of the Star Wars Saga. Editor Randy Stradley said, “[It was a] never ending struggle to keep the line fresh and not fall into the same stuff happening every month.”

Star Wars Invasion: This new monthly title will replace Rebellion, and takes place during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion that occurs during the New Jedi Order novels. In addition to some new characters, Leia, Luke, and the Solo children will be featured. Australian playwright turned comic scribe, Tom Taylor, will write the series.

Star Wars Adventures: A new series featuring standalone stories from characters throughout the Star Wars Universe. To premiere the series, the first story is about Han and Chewie. No word yet if this is a children’s series as it has an ‘Adventures’ tag to it.

Teen Titans #71D.C.

Batman: In June R.I.P. headmaster, Grant Morrison will return to write the title. According to editor Ian Sattler, Batman will somehow tie into the Green Lantern: Blackest Night story line.

Batman Battle for the Cowl: The Network: Some of the discontinued Birds of Prey cast make their way to Gotham City to help quell the storm in Batman’s absence. Said to make appearances in this issue are Huntress, Batgirl, Misfit, Manhunter, and Ragman.

Teen Titans #71: Ravager returns to the team, but is she an ally or enemy?

IDW

GI Joe: Snake Eyes: This mini series was presented to IDW by actor Ray Park, who will be playing the silent warrior in the upcoming Joe film. Park has teamed with co-writer Kevin Van Hook and artist SL Gallant to produce the 4 issue mini series. Apparently, Park enjoyed playing the role so much that he wanted to do more with the character.

Marvel

GeNext United: As if one mini series featuring the future children of the present X-Men wasn’t enough, Chris Claremont returns to write this sequel of the less than average GeNext line. The five part series will continue the new_mutants_vol_3_1pwhere the first mini left off.

What’s going on with the Ultimate Universe: Said scribe Mark Millar, “The thing that was the problem was that the Ultimate line wasn’t very good for quite awhile- it was good when it started, and it really went off the boil after awhile. There were maybe a couple of good books, and then in the end, maybe one good book, and the whole idea is just to make it all good books again.” What Millar is talking about is the complete revamp of the Ultimate Universe as Ultimate Spider-Man, Ultimate X-Men, and Ultimate Fantastic Four have all been given the axe. Ultimate fans shouldn’t worry too much though, as the line is going to continue, but in an all new direction. Marvel Editor in Chief, Joe Quesada, comments on how the revamp offers more creative freedom to the production teams, “Now we’re looking at the Ultimate Universe saying, ‘what other doors can we open?’ Let’s get really kind of funky and crazy. I think you’ll see things in the Ultimate comics that we couldn’t do with other books. What is happening is we have a grand opportunity with the Ultimatum event to jump ahead a little bit. Just a little bit- not a lot. At the end of Ultimatum, there’s going to be a jump, and with that jump, we’re going to have a brand new Ultimate Spider-Man comic book.” One can only assume that something unprecedented is in stmpar-cv5_large1store for the Ultimate characters.

New Mutants #1: Due out in May, the title features original New Mutants: Cannonball, Dani Moonstar, Karma, Sunspot, Magma, and Magik. Legion, the man responsible for everything Age of Apocalypse, has returned and the New Mutants need to stop him…

Wildstorm

Storming Paradise: What if the United States armed forces had to invade Japan in the greatest conflict the world has ever seen? Find out in this alternate-history WWII mini series. Since being put on the back burner months ago, Wildstorm is finally finishing up the run beginning with issue #5 due out in May.

Special thanks to Comic Shop News for the quotes.

dr-manhattan-3Last night I witnessed the 12:01 am showing of Warner Brothers’ Watchmen; arguably the most over-hyped movie of the decade. That’s not to say it was bad, but the movie has received so much press attention over the last three years, it didn’t have much room for error. Overall the film delivers to comic fans and un-fans alike as the acting was solid, the fight scenes were bad ass and non-repetitive, and the cinematography was beautifully complete with unique shots and angles. Most importantly, the characters were true to their print influences. Jackie Earle Haley nearly steals the show as Rorschach (“I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me!”), but like an ensemble member who steals the scene away from the leading actor, Dr. Manhattan’s giant blue meat stick shockingly stole the spotlight of this movie.

We all knew we were in for some penis shots of the blue character, but not a whole freakin’ film reel of penis shots! Seriously, how many times did we see Dr. Manhattan’s rubbery arrowhead ebb and flow in 2 hours and 45 minutes? I’m not sure as I lost count around 13 when my eyes were ambushed by a group of naked Dr. Manhattan’s ready to usurp the Silk Spectre with their flowing blue dingle-dangles. I’ll admit, when Manhattan’s wiener was first revealed I thought, “Ok, I knew it was coming and there it is. But hey, it’s an R rated movie and he was naked in david1the comic, so whatever.” Then after the second dork shot I thought, “Well, that’s two penis shots in under ten minutes… but hey, he’s an ethereal being and it’s done tastefully, so whatever.” Then the third wonder rod shot happened and I thought, “Wow. Ok. Three penis viewings in 15 minutes… yikes. But it’s all good. Things will even out when the Silk Spectre gets some screen time… right?”

Wrong!

It would feel like an eternity before a single boob was shown, as no female anatomy was revealed until more than halfway through the movie. Now, I’m not trying to sound like a horn ball, but the boob to penis ratio in Watchmen is seriously off. Given the number of giggle stick shots, there needed to be more of a booby balance going on. After all, this film is geared toward male comic fan-boys and to berate our eyes with a dangling belly buster for what seemed like hours before revealing a single nipple is unjust, cruel, and inhumane. I’ll admit, the borderline soft core porno scene between Nite Owl and the Silk Spectre balanced things out, bringing me back to my days of puberty. You know, the days of sneaking into the living room at 1 am to watch some static ridden soft core porn on TV? Uh, anyway, while this scene evened the playing field for the heterosexual men in the audience, it didn’t last long. Images of the Silk Spectres perfection were quickly usurped by an eternally long shot of Nite Owl’s bare buns and more screen time from the blue-veined meat roll. It leads me to speculate if Dr. Manhattan actor, Billy Crudup’s penis is collecting royalties for this movie.

The shots were so frequent that whenever Crudup’s character appeared, I couldn’t help but wonder when the camera was going to pan down or out to show more of his blue bayonet. The scene where a giant sized dr20manhattan2024Manhattan takes on the Viet-Cong army during the Vietnam War had me worried… Thankfully, we didn’t see Manhattan’s gigantic warrior weasel in the scene, which made me internally shout a la C-3PO, “Thank the Maker!” Can you imagine the terror those Viet-Cong soldiers experienced upon their first look at the enormous Manhattan? They probably thought they were being attacked by a large floating penis until they craned their necks to see it was a huge naked radioactive man laying waste to their ranks.

Talk about blue balls.

While the movie was fantastic, I obviously question director Zack Snyder’s choice of inserting so many gratuitous banana shots. Couldn’t Dr. Manhattan have worn a cod piece, or at least ken-dolled himself for a few scenes? Would it have killed Snyder to direct that? Guh. My only other beef with the movie is how villainous Ozymandias came off from the get go. I thought it was too apparent that he was a potential bad guy. The catch 22 ending was awesome, and at the end of the day I guess a little ding dong never hurt anyone. Still, the Warner Bros. top brass should consider renaming this film, Watchmen: Watching Dr. Manhattan’s Blue Penis Ponder Existence.

Let the e-mails begin!

dr-manhattan_l2

3754_400x600Dennis (Denny) O’Neil (writer) and Neal Adams (penciler) don’t tread lightly when it comes to tackling issues of the day in their early 1970’s run on DC’s Green Lantern (vol. 2) (commonly referred to today as Green Lantern/Green Arrow). During their time on the title they address the issues of racism, drug use, child abuse, cult followings, and more. Seems simple enough today, but back in the 70’s the industry had never seen this type of raw expression before in comics! This segment of The One Hitter reviews Green Lantern (vol. 2) a.k.a. Green Lantern/Green Arrow #83-#87.

gl0831#83 In this issue, a controlling old man who goes by the name of Grandy, uses a little girl for her powers of mind control. With her powers, Grandy attacks people, commanding the little girl to “Make them sorry!” Our heroes, along with Black Canary (who gets a topless shot, oh yeah!) are determined to get to the bottom of the situation…

                                                           4/5 stars

4e16bd0d-90de-47d3-b525-40cfa2ba4668#84  O’Neil and Adams take on the problem of cults/corporate power and the brainwashing that is connected to both. Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) must use his power ring to save an island community from certain disaster while Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) hangs out in his new pad… reading. Anyway, the island’s populace is being mind controlled by someone evil and Hal doesn’t realize this until it’s too late…

4/5 stars

3da1cd04-da04-43d6-881f-412ff627e17f#85 As the cover suggests, our heroes get involved in the war on drugs. Green Arrow gets a taste of his own medicine and Green Lantern keeps on learning that the world has it’s dark side. Hal Jordan’s drug trip, a one page scene between an Asian-American and an African-American, and the last page make this issue worth your dollar! True to the time, O’Neil even includes some corny dialogue: “I’ll use the installment plan… a leg down and a toe a week!” – Green Arrow… I don’t even know what that means. Regardless, this issue kicks ass.

5/5 stars

#86 This issue picks up where #85 left off with Green Arrow delivering a backhand to his doped out ward, Speedy. While this issue mainly deals with drug use and the negative consequences of using, it also touches on the father and son 6b35f627-51c6-4157-9b22-54392e1b9edf2relationship between Ollie and Roy (Speedy). This relationship comes across as very real and human as the two characters can’t reconcile over Speedy’s addiction. Ollie decides to find the people responsible for supplying the drugs and make them pay…

While the writing of O’Neil is top notch, a good amount of the story telling in this issue is done by the art work of Neal Adams. It works well, specifically the scenes where two junkies take heroin, and Dinah Lance (Black Canary) helps Roy overcome his addiction. These are some of the most powerful scenes in comics, especially back in 1971. Happily, there isn’t much corny dialogue, which compliments the serious overtone of the story. What’s even cooler? How about the fact that this issue was endorsed by the Mayor of New York City at the time, John V. Lindsay! Rock on!

5/5 stars

#87 This issue kicks off with disaster as an earthquake results in a bus taking out Guy Gardner, the reserve Green Lantern. When Hal learns that Guy will be hospitalized for at least six months, the Guardians inform him their selection for Gardner’s  replacement has been made; enter the first appearance of John Stewart! After stating why he won’t wear a mask, Stewart is trained by Hal who assigns him his first mission: to serve as body guard to prejudiced senator, Jeremiah Clutcher! 5435e51d-48f7-4e53-bfb3-b027a9ff1c781

Denny O’Neil’s theme shifts from drug use to racism and prejudice. He is very liberal with his writing and to some sensitive individuals, this issue may offend as certain words and topics are no longer acceptable in our censored society. For instance, the aforementioned prejudiced senator gets covered in oil and John Stewart remarks, “Hey, baby… haven’t I seen you picking cotton someplace?”, and that’s only the first example. Regardless of how one perceives it, O’Neil’s writing is reflective of 70’s society in America, and that’s just fact.

This is the first time in the O’Neil/Adams run where both Green Lantern and Green Arrow get their own, separate, stories. Although dealing with different subject matter, Green Arrow’s story is equally intense as he does some serious introspection. Ollie tries to figure out who he is as person by evaluating his past, and in doing so, he gets disgusted with his present. Meanwhile, the mayor of the city decides he wants out, and important people think that Ollie should replace him…

5/5 stars

Sure, this comic is complete with cheesey 70’s slang and campy dialogue, but for a late Silver Age comic, this chunk of the series is bad ass. O’Neil’s fearlessness in presenting real world issues in a comic book, and Adams’ detailed and realistic art work combine for a reading experience that excites, entertains, and depresses… even 30+ years later.

Here’s my first video review! I didn’t realize the 10 minute YouTube limit until after filming, so I had to break Episode I up into two parts. Thanks for watching and enjoy!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thanks again for watching!