Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Remember that shitty Batman vs Superman movie from a couple of years ago? The most interesting part of that movie was also its most random, a dream sequence where Batman is the leader of a resistance in a dystopian America led by a villainous Superman. You see, contrary to popular opinion, I love seeing Superman as a villain, I think he's too powerful of a hero, leading to a lack of a sense of danger in many of his stories. I love the idea that he's an all-too-human god among men that is as susceptible to corruption as the rest of us. I keep telling people that that dream sequence was what Batman vs Superman (or the new Justice League movie) should've really focused on; it would've made a much more interesting story. So this Injustice series of graphic novels is right up my alley!

In one of his most ambitious ploys, The Joker succeeds in creating absolute chaos by manipulating Superman into accidentally killing Lois Lane and their unborn baby, and nuking Metropolis. Superman understandably goes a bit bonkers and decides to enforce peace in the world with an absolute iron fist. Many of the more powerful Justice League members, including Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Green Lantern, and The Flash, stand to support him. But Batman can see how forcing people to be good can lead to disaster and gathers a small group of lesser heroes to stand against him.

I love this idea but I was admittedly hesitant in reading a comic book based on a video game, thinking that it would just be a cash-in adaptation. But this book is way better than it has any right to be, and it's one of the better superhero stories I've read recently. Similar to Marvel's Civil War, you can understand both sides of the debate. The book also did a great job at showing the downfall of the relationship between Batman and Superman, and the increasing contrast in their worldview. And although it still suffers from much of the usual superhero comic bloat (there's yet another Darkseid invasion that lasts about 19 seconds, and a random Lobo issue), it's one of the more exciting graphic novels I've read recently, a very well-paced compelling tale, and everything that Batman vs. Superman should've been.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

THE FEVER KILL by Tom Piccirilli

He wanted to kill somebody, but everyone who mattered was already dead.
I'm sure everyone is tired of me gushing on and on about how great Tom Piccirilli is. But I've yet to read a bad book from him and the guy's writing really illustrates the complexity of his characters in such an impressively efficient way. The Fever Kill is no different. Here we focus on a narc cop so deep undercover he doesn't know what side he's on anymore, returning to his hometown to confront his family's past.

I love the complicated gray area of morality that the book and it's protagonist Crease lives in, as well as the High Noon-style of the inevitable confrontation between Crease and the violent drug dealer he's involved with. The book was one of the first straight crime novels that Piccirilli wrote, and even though it's a gritty noir that takes place in modern-day Vermont, with it's structure and themes it could've been written as a classic Western. It's an intense tale about a man trying to figure out where he lands on the morality scale.
"Go on and get yourself shot. Do it close to the gutter so no one else has to clean up after you."


Sunday, November 5, 2017


I've always been fascinated by the character of The Punisher. Have you ever been frustrated when the more popular heroes keep capturing the bad guys over and over even though they must know they will escape again and hurt more innocent people? Sometimes wonder why they don't stop them in a way that they can't hurt anyone else? Well, the Punisher is the hero for you! An angry Vietnam vet named Frank Castle gets some guns and makes it his mission to permanently do away with the bad guys.

I've been wanting to read good Punisher stories before the Marvel series premieres this month, and this Garth Ennis run with the character is one of the most well-received. First, Ennis opens with Born, the tragic and haunting miniseries that gives us a peek at Frank's final Vietnam days, showing us that there might've been something within Frank already, even before the Mob killed his family; demons in his nature that were simply simply let loose after personal tragedy. It's a near masterpiece. In the next two stories in this first volume, Ennis does a great job here at resetting the Punisher world. He focuses more on the Punisher as a symbol and legend. Frank Castle has been punishing for over 20 years and has built up a bit of a reputation, and whether it's dealing with a CIA conspiracy or Irish gangs in Hell's Kitchen, we see Frank Castle mostly through the supporting characters' eyes.

The books collected here are:

The Punisher: Born - Grade: A
The Punisher: In The Beginning - Grade: B
The Punisher: Kitchen Irish - Grade: C+