Sunday, July 31, 2016

Huge News for Fans of J. Michael Straczynski



Today...

     Today there is good and bad news for the world of comics, especially so for people like me: fans of the genius comics writer, J. Michael Straczynski. First, the bad news: J. Mike Strac, as I lovingly call him, is walking away from comics, according to Bleeding Cool. This man, this prodigious author, screenplay writer, and comics writer, responsible for some amazing comics stories and arcs over the last three decades, is calling it quits with the comics industry.

    It is a VERY sad day for comics.

    The good news is that two of his beloved properties are finally coming to the big and small screens. "Rising Stars,"tells the story of how 113 super-powered people, born after a mysterious light invades the Earth's atmosphere over a small town in Illinois, deal with the special powers that they were blessed or cursed with, and how those powers come into play on the face of the planet. "Rising Stars" is considered to be one of Straczynski's greatest works, and it spawned a series of spin-offs and even three novels. MGM, has optioned "Rising Stars" for film, according to Deadline. It will be great to finally see this work make the leap!

   FUN FACT 1: A few years back, a TV show called, "The 4400" dazzled the airwaves with it's great sci-fi storyline, and excellent cast...And it had MANY (too many?) similarities to "Rising Stars" which had been written several years earlier.

   In even more great news for comics fans, Bleeding Cool stated that JMS' "Midnight Nation," is in development under Universal, in conjunction with super-powered producer, Gale Ann Hurd, who has brought us several blockbuster films and TV shows, like the "Terminator" franchise, "Walking Dead" and it's spin-off series, "Fear the Walking Dead." With Hurd attached, this show is GOING to happen. "Midnight Nation" centers around police detective, David Grey, who is plunged into a shadow realm, and must go on perilous quest to find his lost soul. I cannot wait to see what Universal does with such a wonderful story.

  Since I own the full runs of both "Rising Stars" and "Midnight Nation," I'll write more about them at a later date.

   So, we bid a tear-eyed "adieu" to J. Michael Straczynski, and thank him for his many, many years of great comics stories, From Superman, to Spider-Man, to Twilight Zone and beyond; we hope to soon enjoy some of his astounding comics-based works on the big and small screens, and we wish him the very, very best of luck in his future endeavors.

  Bye JMS. Love ya, man.


FUN FACT 2: JMS both created and developed the 90s sci-fi hit series, "Babylon 5," and he wrote over 90 of the scripts for the series of 110 shows. "Babylon 5" won two Emmy Awards and two Hugo Awards.

FUN FACT 3: JMS wrote his first animated script for "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe." He was a fan of the cartoon, wrote a script and sent it to Filmation, the producers of the series. They loved the script, bought it and hired him.

FUN FACT 4: JMS co-wrote the stories for Marvel's 2011 Thor, and for the apocalyptic zombie thriller, World War Z.

**Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these articles, please follow me on Google Plus, or Facebook (Tex's Comics News and Reviews) for more fun articles that will boost your comic knowledge. Also, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends on Google Plus, Facebook or any site you like! You can also follow this blog directly. Thank you.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Original Art Showcase Episode 7 (Howard Chaykin)





    When it comes to no-nonsense, take-no-crap-from-anyone-type artists, at the top of the list, you'll find New Yorker, Howard Chaykin. Chaykin got his start in comics around the age of nineteen with an apprenticeship under one of the best comics artists to ever take up the pencil, Gil Kane. But Kane wasn't the only great to mentor him. Chaykin can boast the mentorship and influence of such greats as Syd Shores, Jack Abel, Wally Wood and Neal Adams

    Howard Chaykin was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1950, but due to the separation of his parents, ended up being raised a bit by his grandparents in Staten Island,  NYC . As a youth, he moved around NYC, living in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and Queens. In 1969, he became a gofer and apprentice to Gil Kane, which in time would lead opportunities assisting Wally Wood in the shop he shared with Jack Abel and Syd Shores, and finally an apprenticeship under Neal Adams. Chaykin would publish his first professional art in 1971 in the military publication, "Overseas Weekly," and in 1972, he published his first work for DC Comics. Chaykin is most known as the man who took part in launching one of the most important and best-selling comics of the late 70s and early 80s,"Star Wars" vol 1, Marvel's adaptation of George Lucas' blockbuster film. Chaykin left the series to work on more adult and more complex comics titles (for smaller publishers), like "Star Reach," "Heavy Metal," and his masterpiece, "American Flagg," which I will write about at a later date - which is NOT for young readers. Chaykin also had a lucrative career in paperback book covers. However, Howard Chaykin has continued to work in mainstream comics, doing various works for both Marvel and DC. 

Here is a piece that I own, done by the hand of Howard Chaykin:




Here's a panel that Chaykin did for the arc he did in "Punisher War Journal" vol 2, called "In the Blood." In this arc, a deranged guy named Ian is manipulated into impersonating the Punisher by Lynn Michaels (Lady Punisher). This piece is also signed by Howard Chaykin!

FUN FACT 1: Chaykin desires to push more mature, complex and experimental works into the realm of comic books. He has long been critical of the Marvel-Method of writing comics, and comic book writers' (not artists') lack of understanding of how to use the comic book page.

FUN FACT 2: Chaykin has stated that he considers his work on "Star Wars" vol 1 to be "the worst work of his life." 

FUN FACT 3: Even though Chaykin considers "Star Wars" vol 1 his worst work, many consider it to be the comic that saved Marvel from bankruptcy. Marvel's sales were dwindling, and they needed a serious cash injection. "Star Wars" provided that. Poor DC Comics, unfortunately, had worse luck, and suffered the legendary DC Implosion of 1978.

FUN FACT 4: There is no denying that Chaykin is a stellar writer and artist, but he has been criticized because what he calls "mature and experimental" some people just call pornography. His series, Black Kiss, was banned by the UK, Canada, and Apple! I have to admit, even as a fan, there are Chaykin titles that I know to steer clear of. 

FUN FACT 5: Chaykin also worked for Martin Goodman's now defunct Atlas/Seaboard comics. TEX LOVES ATLAS/SEABOARD! Anyway, he created a character there called The Scorpion. When Atlas/Seaboard and Chaykin didn't see eye-to-eye, Chaykin recycled The Scorpion into Marvel's Dominic Fortune

FUN FACT 6: Chaykin says that Gil Kane is his greatest influence. 

    Say what you will, there's no denying Howard Chaykin's contributions to the comics industry - I am glad to own an art piece done by his hand.   

**Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these articles, please follow me on Google Plus, or Facebook (Tex's Comics News and Reviews) for more fun articles that will boost your comic knowledge. Also, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends on Google Plus, Facebook or any site you like! You can also follow this blog directly. Thank you.


Monday, July 25, 2016

TEX's BACK ISSUE QUEST EPISODE #34 (Suicide Squad Part V)



I'm baaaack! 

    TEX here once again with that Suicide Squad info to make your neurons grow. :-)

    In part I, part II, part III, and part IV (click provided links for previous episodes), of our journey into the origin and  evolution of The Suicide Squad, we talked about their origin in 1959, their link to the Suicide Squadron that fought "The War That Time Forgot," the Flag family blood that ties the first two Suicide Squads together, and the coming of Amanda "The Wall" Waller. Today we will talk briefly about the less known volumes Suicide Squad, and then we'll bring it on home to the current iteration of The Suicide Squad!

   Spinning out of DC's "Our Worlds At War" cross-over, Keith Giffen began writing Suicide Squad vol 2. He put his signature humorous spin on the Suicide Squad:


    General Frank Rock (the WWII hero, SGT. Rock), was put in charge of this new team, dubbed Task Force Omega, along with his second-in-command, Bulldozer, from his days with Easy Company. The series was short-lived, and mainly significant for killing off Batman's old, familiar enemy, Cluemaster. 

FUN FACT 1: President Lex Luthor, and Secretary of Metahuman Affairs, Amanda Waller, were calling the shots for this Suicide Squad. 

FUN FACT 2: It was revealed at the end of this series that Frank Rock, and Bulldozer had died in 1945, implying that the two people who had been leading the team were impostors. As the series ended, this was never cleared up.




    In 2007, John Ostrander returned to write for "Suicide Squad" vol 3, (advertised as "Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag") fifteen years after the end of his amazing run on vol 1. This eight-issue mini-series had some of that old magic, but didn't spark enough interest for the Suicide Squad to have it's own ongoing title. This series spun out of some issues of Checkmate vol 2, and the "Salvation Run"limited series. It is a great story detailing how Rick Flag, Jr. survived his apparent death, survived a stint on Skartaris, survived being prisoner of war for several years in Qurac, returned to The Suicide Squad, and then subdued General Eiling who had used psychological conditioning to control him. 

FUN FACT 3: "Salvation Run" was based upon a pitch by "Game of Thrones" creator, George R.R. Martin. 

FUN FACT 4: In this series, The Suicide Squad target a Dubai-based company called Haake-Burton, obviously based on real-life conglomerate, Halliburton, who moved its headquarters to Dubai in March of 2007. I was in Iraq in 2003 with The 101st Airborne (AASLT), and Halliburton was everywhere.


Here's what you've all been waiting for....




    It's my copy of "Suicide Squad" vol 4 #1, written by Adam Glass and illustrated by Federico Dallocchio. When DC Comics relaunched in 2011 with the New 52, The Suicide Squad got a much-needed, and very dynamic update. It centers around Amanda Waller's desire to create an expendable field team, after she was forced to kill one of her team who was injured in a mission that went sideways. She forces many of Belle Reve's death row inmates to perform in insane tasks and torture  scenarios to evaluate their suitability to be members of her new Suicide Squad. Members are chosen, including, Harley Quinn, King Shark, and Black Spider, El Diablo and Deadshot - they are fitted with micro-bomb implants to ensure their continued cooperation. We also get the first appearance of of Savant (in the New 52) and Voltaic. The growing popularity of Harley Quinn bolstered The Suicide Squad in this series, making it a pretty solid seller for the thirty issues in which it ran.


    Here is my copy of issue #6 of this series, in which The Suicide Squad tracks Harley Quinn to Gotham after she incites a prison riot at Belle Reve and escapes after hearing The Joker has been killed. This comic begins the two-part revelation of Harley Quinn's origin story through flashbacks. Adam Glass did a fine job of fleshing out Harley's origin in issues 6 and 7, delving into the insane  connection she has with The Joker.

FUN FACT 5: Harley Quinn has gone through quite a metamorphosis since she first appeared in "Batman: The Animated Series" back in 1992 in an episode entitled, "Joker's Favor." She has gone from being a lovestruck idiot with little more than air between her ears, to a pretty capable, colorful anti-hero.

FUN FACT 6: Harley Quinn was never supposed to last. In "Joker's Favor," Paul Dini thought that it'd be weird to have The Joker pop out of a cake (something historically done by women) to take some cops hostage, therefore Dini created a female sidekick for The Joker inspired by a character in a dream sequence on a daytime soap opera. The character proved so popular that she eventually began to appear in comics, becoming more dangerous and wiley than she was in the cartoon series.

And finally....



   It's my copy of "The New Suicide Squad" vol 1 #1, written by Sean Ryan and pencilled by Jeremy Roberts. This volume sees fan faves Harley Quinn and Deadshot teaming up with all new members, Deathstroke, Black Manta, and Duela Dent. With Amanda Waller being pushed aside for Vic Sage to take charge of the team, tensions flare on the team itself: Harley Quinn has serious issues with Duela Dent wearing The Joke's severed face, and calling herself The Joker's Daughter, and Deathstroke voices that he feels Deadshot has no place on the team now that he is a member of Task Force X.

FUN FACT 7: Making Vic Sage a corrupt bureaucrat in this issue, is problematic to fans of the original Question. Anyone who knows anything about The Question knows that he is obsessed with justice, and hates corruption with every fiber of his being. Corrupting Vic Sage, one of the most interesting and offbeat heroes in the DCU, is a WEIRD choice to make.

FUN FACT 8: Don't worry about Deadshot being a redundant member because of Deathstroke - Wilson betrays the team in issue #2.

FUN FACT 9: TEX is not happy that Bonze Tiger hasn't been back as a member of The Suicide Squad in recent years. Task Force X without Bronze Tiger, Deadshot or Rick Flag, Jr. is like a couch with no cushions - it can be comfortable, but not nearly as much as it would be with those dang cushions.

    And that's just about all I know about The Suicide Squad, my friends! Just like you, I am excited to see Task Force X hit the big screen:



   But this leads us into our FINAL Suicide Squad fun fact:

FUN FACT 10: The Suicide Squad has already made live-action appearances in "Smallville" season ten (revealed to be working for Chloe Sullivan, Clark Kent's best friend), and in an episode titled "Suicide Squad" in season two of "Arrow." John Diggle, Oliver Queen's best friend, is a former member.

   I hope you enjoyed this journey into the origin and evolution of The Suicide Squad as much as I have. I've tried to hit all the high points, but if you have more to add, or feel that I have missed something important, please feel free to shoot me some comments.

**Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these articles, please follow me on Google Plus, or Facebook (Tex's Comics News and Reviews) for more fun articles that will boost your comic knowledge. Also, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends on Google Plus, Facebook or any site you like! You can also follow this blog directly. Thank you.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE #33 (SUICIDE SQUAD PART IV)



Hello folks!!!

   What's shaking in your worlds? I hope everything is great, and that you're all gearing up to have a swell weekend!

    Here we are, part IV of our journey into the origin and evolution of the SUICIDE SQUAD!! In parts I, II, and III, we examined the first appearance of The Suicide Squad, their disappearance from comics, their reappearance and rebirth, and how both iterations of the team were tied together by the the blood bonds of the Flag family. Not only all that, we saw Amanda "The Wall" Waller burst on the scene, a new, shadowy overseer of Task Force X, directing their actions with an iron will, and an iron hand. If you missed the previous episodes, or just want to refresh yourself on all we've talked about, go ahead and click the above links I've provided for you, and peruse at your leisure.  :-)

    It was May of 1987, and DC Comics was ready to get down and dirty after the success of "Crisis On Infinite Earths," an amazing series which streamlined the DC Universe. In this same month, "Secret Origins" vol 2, #14 was published, which we talked about last time, that linked the old Suicide Squad with the new team, and revealed the origin of Amanda Waller for the very first time in comics. This comic was written wonderfully by John Ostrander, and penciled by Luke McDonnell. DC made it clear that they had big plans for The Suicide Squad - the very same month, The Suicide Squad got its very first ongoing title:




   This is my copy of "Suicide Squad" vol 1, #1, published in May of 1987. DC kept the team of Ostrander and McDonnell together, and launched the Suicide Squad's ongoing title twenty-eight years after the initial team made their debut in "The Brave and the Bold" vol 1, #25 in 1959 - and there was no tryout limited series involved. Even though this series was pretty popular, running for about four years and sixty-six issues, this comic could be found in discount bins for many years. With that gorgeous shot of the new Task Force X set against a solid black background, you have to wonder how many of these still exist in high grades with nary a color break. 

   "Suicide Squad" #1 is important for other reasons besides being the first issue of the first series that Suicide Squad ever had. The first issue introduces us to some solid archenemy types for The Suicide Squad called...Jihad!



Jihad consisted of Chimera, Djinn, Jaculi, Manticore, Ravan and Rustam. Jihad was a super-powered group of terrorists from Quirac assembled by their evil president, President Marlo, to kill the President of The United States. This is their first appearance ever. 

Also in this issue, Karen Grace, a member of the original Task Force X, returns to the team, and villains, Mindboggler, and Plastique are featured on the team as well. Here's a groupshot of the members, living and dead, of Ostrander's Suicide Squad:





FUN FACT 1: Chimera is actually the superhero, Nightshade undercover! She is revealed to be working for The Suicide Squad, and is a member of the team until the very end.

FUN FACT 2: Eventually, Jihad becomes the super-terrorist team, Onslaught, not to be confused with the entity, Onslaught, from Marvel.

FUN FACT 3: The Keene Act is mentioned in this issue - the same act that outlawed costumed superheroes in "The Watchmen." Did Ostrander think that "The Watchmen" would somehow be shoehorned into the mainstream DCU? Were there plans to do so? Who knows? What we do know is that it looks like Doctor Manhattan of The Watchmen has intervened in the mainstream DCU, according to the current DC Rebirth storyline. 

On to issue #2!!



Ostrander wastes no time in letting the reader know that this series is all about the dark world of espionage, and the brutality of spec-ops-type combat, all with sometimes disloyal, self-serving super villains. The team chalks up its first casualty; Minboggler takes a bullet to the back of the head, while Captain Boomerang just watches. Why? Revenge for using her powers to embarrass him earlier on. Nope...This ain't no Justice League. Two members of Jihad, Jaculi and Manticore, bite the dust as well. LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR! 

Wouldn't it be great if Jihad, or some of its members, showed up in The Suicide Squad film?

More fun facts!

FUN FACT 3: Plastique tries to betray The Suicide Squad to a terrorist named Mushtaq. In response, he knocks her right the heck out. Why? Because Mushtaq is none other than Thomas Tresser, Codename: Nemesis, vigilante turned super-spy, who is also working undercover for Amanda Waller. Nemesis is a great, underused character. 

FUN FACT 4: Scott Eastwood has been hired to play an unrevealed role in Suicide Squad. Many think that he will take the role of Dick Grayson. I'm betting that he will play the part of Nemesis. 

FUN FACT 5: This was the second DC ongoing series to star a team of super-baddies. The first was "Secret Society of Super-Villains," in the late 70s. 

   There were so many great things about this iteration of The Suicide Squad that just made it so magnificent, and the definitive Suicide Squad for comics fans who read the series - the great characters, the excellent writing, the irksome suspense of never knowing who was going to die - The Suicide Squad was just top notch stuff. The series was also relevant in some areas, given the rise in terrorism towards the U.S. since the mid 1970s, and the growing push towards harsher tactics as concerning warfare, terrorism, and crime in the 1980s. Remember, this is from the generation that lived through the major illegal drug, and drug-violence, explosion of the 1980s. These were rough times for our country, times which stimulated the rise in popularity of superheroes (anti-heroes, really) like The Punisher, and Vigilante II (Adrian Chase), The Watchmen and Frank Miller's more dark and brutal Batman in "The Dark Knight Returns." 

  Thanks for coming along on our journey into the history of The Suicide Squad. Come back next time, for more fun that will swell your brain with comics knowledge!

Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these articles, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends! Thank you.

Monday, July 18, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE #32 (SUICIDE SQUAD PART III)



Howdy.

    Once again TEX is ready to rock your socks off with some comic-book knowledge from years gone by! Today we get into part III of the origin and evolution of TASK FORCE X...AKA...THE SUICIDE SQUAD!!

   In part I, we talked about the first appearance and origin of the first group to call themselves Task Force X in 1959, and in part II, we talked about the reemergence of the team in 1986, the new roster, and its new, felonious condition. 

   Now, let's fast-forward to May of 1987, where things really begin to get HOT:




    It's my copy of Secret Origins (vol. 2) #14 - a quiet key issue for fans of The Suicide Squad. This issue clears up all the questions about the original team, gives us Amanda Waller's origin story for the very first time, and shows us how Waller convinces President Reagan to keep the team active. Waller hands the President a file detailing The Suicide Squad's greatest tales of derring-do. This issue also introduces retcons to The Suicide Squad, tying them to the Suicide Squadron that fought "The War That Time Forgot," and it features the first appearance of Rick Flag, Sr., retconned leader of the "first" Suicide Squad(ron), that is the father of Rick Flag, Jr., leader of the second team. Essentially, "Secret Origins" #14, shows us the link between the Silver Age team, and the second iteration of the team. Cool.

   Some consider John Ostrander's Suicide Squad to be THE DEFINITIVE version of the team. I agree. DC was pretty daring after "Crisis On Infinite Earths," and took a big chance letting Ostrander go into pretty dark places with the creation of Amanda Waller, and the new Task Force X full of hardened criminals used as throw-away pieces under the threat of instant execution. Ostrander took some lesser-known villains and turned them into household names - in homes where comic books were read, I mean. Under Ostrander, The Suicide Squad was sometimes brutal, sometimes ruthless, but always a GREAT read.

FUN FACT 1: Sarge Steel is Waller's adversary in this issue - he wants the Suicide Squad shut down.

FUN FACT 2: Sarge Steel is a cool character that DC acquired from the now-defunct comics publisher, Charlton Comics. And yes, I have his first appearance in my collection. ;-)

FUN FACT 3: If you want to learn more about the DCU, and your favorite characters, you'd be hard pressed to find a better set of comics to read than "Secret Origins" vol. 2. Get it. Read it. You'll be glad you did.

FUN FACT 4: The absence of Bronze Tiger in the latest version of The Suicide Squad (and movie version) is VERY puzzling to TEX. Undoubtedly, since the 80s, he has been one of the best things about the team. You have to respect a dude that can put Batman and his butt anytime he feels like doing so.

    Thus ends part III of our journey into the origin and evolution of The Suicide Squad. But the party IS NOT done, folks! Join me next time as we get into a very important first: The Suicide Squad in their very own title!! Come back, same TEX-time, same TEX-station!!

   Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these articles, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends! Thank you.

Friday, July 15, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST EPISODE #31 (SUICIDE SQUAD PART II)



Hello my brothers and sisters of the comic-book persuasion!

     It's me, TEX, back again to make comic book history less of a deep, dark mystery! And we're on and popping' once again with...THE SUICIDE SQUAD!!

     Last episode (click the link to read it), we talked about the origins of The Suicide Squad, beginning with "The Brave and the Bold" #25, printed way back in 1959. Now, let's move up the timeline an bit, twenty-seven years later, to the re-emergence, and revamping of Task Force X. And it all begins here:



These are my copies of "Legends" #1 and #3, published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987, respectively. And you ask, "Why are these so important, TEX?"

Shucks. I'm glad you asked.   ;)

"Legends" #1 was written by John Ostrander and Len Wein, and pencilled by John Byrne (one of the greats among Superman artists and writers). It heralds the beginning of the new Task Force X / Suicide Squad, by providing us with the first appearance of Amanda "The Wall" Waller, who calls on Colonel Rick Flag, Jr. to lead her new version of Task Force X. This occurs in the middle of Darkseid's evil plan to to humiliate and destroy Earth's superheroes, leaving it open for his conquest.

FUN FACT 1 - This is Captain Marvel's (those of you who are young comics fans, may only know him as Shazam) first post-Crisis appearance, and BOY! are there some changes. He's living in San Francisco and working for a TV station called KWHZ.

FUN FACT 2 - Amanda Waller has been portrayed by six actresses (three live-action films, three-animated films/shows): Angela Bassett, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Viola Davis, C.C.H. Pounder, Penny Johnson and Yvette Nicole Brown.

FUN FACT 3 - This issue also has the first appearance of the monster, Brimstone.

FUN FACT 4 - In "Legends" #1, Glorious Godfrey, an Elite of the New Gods of Apokolips, is sent to enact a smear campaign against the heroes of Earth, operating under the guise of G. Gordon Godfrey - a reference to Watergate mastermind, G. Gordon Liddy.


"Legends" #3 gives us the very first appearance of the new iteration of the Suicide Squad, now a group of the worst of the worst of super-villains, recruited by a covert government entity to take on missions from which they might not return. This is done under the watchful eye of Amanda Waller, and under the iron hand of the team leader, Colonel Rick Flag, Jr.. The Suicide Squad is revived even as Darkseid's plan to humiliate the superheroes goes forward. The people turn against the superheroes, and President Reagan issues an edict that forbids all superhero activity. On to more FUN FACTS!!

FUN FACT 5 - This Suicide Squad is comprised of Enchantress, Deadshot, Blockbuster, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger and Colonel Rick Flag, Jr.. TEX thinks Bronze Tiger is THE BOMB. Here is a pic showing the original team on one side, and the second team on the other:



FUN FACT 6 - Some members of this Suicide Squad are serving to be pardoned from their prison sentences and are fitted with explosive bracelets, just in case they get out of line. However, Enchantress, Bronze Tiger and Blockbuster do not have explosive bracelets, as they joined the team of their own accord, and for their own reasons.

FUN FACT 7 - Don't get attached to Blockbuster...In this issue, he goes to that big penitentiary in the sky. Or the one in the other place. I don't know. Because I'm not a judge-y-MacJudge-y-pants.

FUN FACT 8 - It looks like this version of Task Force X / The Suicide Squad is inspired by the classic film, "The Dirty Dozen." If you have't seen it, you should. It's pretty great.

As promised, I've taken you from the very first appearance of a very different Suicide Squad in 1959, to the emergence the second that is more like the one we know today - the same that will soon make its appearance on the big screen. And that is the story thus far...But WAIT!! There's more!!

Unfortunately...You'll have to wait until PART III!!

Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these articles, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends! Thank you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

TEX'S BACK ISSUE QUEST EPISODE #30 (SUICIDE SQUAD PART I)



Welcome to another episode of TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST,

    Where we delve into my vintage comics from yesteryear to fill your heads with fun comics knowledge! Today...We get all suicidal with...THE SUICIDE SQUAD!!!




It's my copy of "The Brave and the Bold" #25, published in 1959, featuring the first appearance of...TASK FORCE X / THE SUICIDE SQUAD!!

   The original Suicide Squad was a science-based, covert, elite government task force. It originally consisted of Rick Flag, Jr., pilot and elite soldier/government agent; Dr. Hugh Evans, astrophysicist; Jess Bright, nuclear physicist and Evans' best friend and research partner; and Karin Grace, space medicine expert. In this issue which contains the team's debut, Task Force X is called upon to battle The Red Wave beast - a beast trapped inside a red tidal wave which burns everything it touches.

   This original team appeared only appeared six times, making its final appearance in "The Brave and the Bold" #39 in 1961. It was created by prolific comics writer, Robert Kanigher, and storied comics artist, Ross Andru. On to the FUN FACTS!!

FUN FACT 1 - After "The Brave and the Bold" #39, The Suicide Squad disappeared into obscurity for twenty-three years. The team next appeared in "Action Comics" #552, in 1984.

FUN FACT 2 - The final fate of the original team was revealed in "Suicide Squad" vol 1 #50 (1991), thirty years later. On their final mission, Hugh Evans and Jess Bright fall, seemingly to their deaths, fighting a Yeti, but not before finding out that Karin Grace was in love with Rick Flag - a revelation that threatened to destroy the team because both Evans and Bright were in love with Karin!

FUN FACT 3 - Jess Bright doesn't die, but is discovered by Soviet forces, captured, and transformed into Koschei the Deathless. You can see him here, beating the SNOT out of Deathstroke:



FUN FACT 4 - The Suicide Squad's history got REALLY convoluted post Crisis. The Suicide Squadron that fought "The War That Time Forgot" in the pages of "Star-Spangled War Stories" in the 1960s was tied to The Suicide Squad, by making the leader Rick Flag, Sr. - the father of Rick Flag, Jr., who was the leader of the "second" Suicide Squad, which in all actuality, was the first Suicide Squad. See what I mean? CON-VO-LU-TED.

FUN FACT 5 - Eventually, Rick Flag, Jr., and Karin Grace broke up, and she was tricked by the Manhunters into betraying him. Luckily, she realized that she was duped, and sacrificed herself heroically to destroy the Manhunter base.

FUN FACT 6 - The original Suicide Squad was so futuristic. They even operated from a Flying Lab, an aircraft with advanced weapons, and capabilities...Including having a fully operational, fully stocked laboratory!



I'm looking forward to the new Suicide Squad film. As the premiere of the film gets closer, I hope that you will continue to journey with me as I explore more of the history of the team, and how they went from a sci-fi team to a team of convicts - the worst of the worst. 

Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these articles, please click the plus 1 buttons below, and on Google Plus, and share them with your friends! Thank you.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Straitjacket" TPB Review



"Straitjacket" from Amigo Comics -

     **Since I reviewed the first issue of this comic last year, I'll use the same synopsis:


    At age twelve, Alexandra Wagner committed one of the most grizzly crimes imaginable: she cut her twin brother to pieces in a bizarre, gory ritual in her parents' home while they were out for the evening. She has passed the last fifteen years in the care of psychiatric hospitals. Her reasoning: there are things lurking in the darkness in our world, things most people don't see, things that must be destroyed. She killed her brother to send his soul on the OTHERSIDE so that he could aid her in the fight in that horrible realm - she believes that he guards her and communicates with her constantly. Her doctors have tried everything, but she remains ever-defiant, ever-confident that her delusions are the true, and that something is coming for us all. Now, Dr. Thomas Hayes, a wunderkind psychiatrist, is ready to take a shot at helping Alexandra overcome her fantasies of invaders from a darker realm. The chemistry between them is instantly great; even Alex's dead brother loves Dr. Hayes. Bolstered by their newfound bond, Dr. Hayes has high hopes that he can rid Alexandra of her delusions...But Alexandra has her own plans. And Dr. Thomas has demons of his own. Who will help whom to rid the other of their delusions of what reality truly is?


    Last year, I said that El Torres had written "a stellar, gripping first issue that looked to be the beginnings of a modern comics masterpiece of horror." I am happy to say that I was absolutely NOT wrong. I said that Alexandra Wagner, the protagonist, was scarily captivating - and to my utter joy and surprise, she only became more so chapter after chilling chapter. As we delve deeper into her sanity, or lack thereof, layer after layer of the story also unfolds simultaneously, including the reasons behind the way she butchered her brother, and the role he still plays in her life, and in our reality. The dialogue in this story is profound, rich in psychology, and psychotherapy; this is a supremely intelligent supernatural horror/mystery tale which asks the reader difficult questions about the nature of consciousness and reality, all the while providing the reader with enough gore, and thrills to keep it firmly inside its chosen genre. If this all weren't enough, panel after panel Guillermo Sanna terrorizes us, giving us artwork that is as gory and nightmarish as it is expressive. If you love great, creepy, spine-tingling horror, then "Straightjacket" is a MUST-READ for you.

    This is without a doubt one of the most riveting, incredibly well-executed horror comics that I have ever read. Keep your eye on Amigo Comics!

RATING: AN ENTHUSIASTIC 10 OUT OF 10!

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

"Lucas Stand" #1 Review



"Lucas Stand" #1 from BOOM! Studios -

    Lucas Stand is a junkie, and a loser, who can't keep a job, and who's got no hope for the future. But it wasn't always that way. Lucas was once a member of one of the most elite war-fighting forces of the American military, until a Taliban fighter put hot lead in his spine. It is an injury that not only ended his career, and took away the only thing that he was good at, but it left him in a state of constant, debilitating, mind-bending pain. It all started with pain management, and progressed to full blown addiction, and ended with his inadvertently causing the death of innocent people. When Lucas finally decides to eat a bullet, he thinks his troubles are over...But they have only just begun. An unearthly force has need of Lucas' skill set, and after resurrecting him, it offers him one final chance at redemption. Lucas reluctantly agrees, only to find himself thrown into Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Whatever force has resurrected Lucas has the power to send him anywhere in time to deal with any problem it needs taken care of. Lucas Stand has signed on to fight battles he doesn't understand, against a demonic power he doesn't comprehend, backed by a force that he absolutely doesn't trust. All he can do is what he knows best: fight tooth and nail to survive. 

   Kurt Sutter, creator of Sons of Anarchy, bursts onto the comic scene with his first original creation specifically written for comics, "Lucas Stand." The story, written by Sutter and Caitlin Kittredge, is absolutely mesmerizing. They expertly suck us into Stand's life, giving us a wonderful glimpse into the mind and heart of Lucas Stand through the adept use of inner monologues in the caption boxes. By the second page, I was totally captivated by Stand - I knew that I had to watch this guy's train wreck of a life unfold, and I had nothing but hope for him that it would somehow get better. I was emotionally invested - I guess I can relate to Lucas. The story itself had some familiar elements - the suicide, the dark deal and such - but I DID NOT see that time-travel angle coming. I was pleasantly surprised. Take a little Spawn, and a little Quantum Leap, shake thoroughly, add a splash of The Punisher and you've got "Lucas Stand," a fun, really interesting supernatural thriller with a great antihero for a protagonist. Jesús Hervás' art is just right in this book - straightforward, no frills, but more than competent, with wonderfully cinematic panels. This comic looks and reads like it's meant to make the leap to film or TV. Kurt Sutter has hit a homer with "Lucas Stand" #1, and I am chomping at the bit to see where this story is going.

RATING: 9 out of 10. 

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Friday, July 8, 2016

"America" #1 Review



"America" #1 from Overground Comics -


     Bernadette "Bernie" Calloway is costumed superhero, America, one of the greatest crime-fighters that HeroCorp ever produced. Ten years ago, she was injected with a serum that made nearly invulnerable - nothing could harm her. However, it seems those days may be over forever. Two weeks ago, America lost her invulnerability. But what she didn't lose is her taste for crimefighting, her thirst for danger, and her hunger for putting her life on the line for what she believes in. What she kept when she lost her powers were the things she perfected through her own sweat: her genius-level intellect, the athletic prowess of an olympic-level athlete, and the ability to kick major butt. When she stops a highly trained thief that risks it all, nearly killing both himself and America, just to steal personnel files from a building, America catches the scent of something bigger, more sinister in play. With the help of her black-suited partner, she aims to put a stop to it, super-powers or not...And she's going to have some high-stakes fun in the process.

    Jon Hughes writes and colors "America" #1, the beginning of a new chapter in the life of seasoned superhero, America. It's a really interesting concept here - we do not get an origin story, but we DO get an origin story. Confused? Let me explain. We get little exposition about the origin story of America, how she got her powers, and her battles after. The reader seemingly comes in on what should be the end of a crime-fighting career; however, what we actually witness is a bit of a rebirth of the protagonist, a different type of origin story, and in the process, we get a glimpse of who America is, and who she wants to believe she is. America has been living the life of a superhero without the inherent risks for ten years - an emotional deprivation of sorts - now she wants to feel the pain, the exhilaration, and the fear - she is ready to risk everything.  It's hard not to like America - she's smart, tough, brave, headstrong to a fault, and a bit of a masochist maybe; she is both noble, and bit flawed. Hughes did a wonderful job here of creating a three-dimensional character in a short span of time. Jason Pearson's art is perfect for this book. You can tell that he had fun with the pencils here; there is a controlled franticness to them that communicate America's character and mental state well on the page.

FUN FACT: America's partner looks like he was inspired by Reg E. Cathey.

  Like some say, "America just isn't what she used to be." But I always say, "No, but she just might end up being better than ever." I wonder if Hughes had this connection in mind when he created the character? Way cool. Overall, "America" #1 looks to be a engrossing kick off to an ongoing series. She's a strong female protagonist with whom I would really love to journey.

RATING: 8 out of 10.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Alan Dracon" #1 Review



"Alan Dracon" #1 from Amigo Comics -


      A scientist, Dr. Hans, has been murdered, heartlessly dismembered at Biogen Labs, by something far beyond, and far worse than human. His work is too valuable to discontinue; he was trying to modify amphibian species to create amphibian clone workers, a scientific advancement that could revolutionize, and make cheaper, underwater jobs and research. But someone has other plans for the data, plans to have it all for themselves. The Mishima Clan, a powerful conglomerate, will stop at nothing to have Dr. Hans' research, and Biogen will stop at nothing to protect both it, and Dr. Oní Demaite, the scientist who has taken on the challenge Dr. Hans faced. Biogen hires Alan Dracon, former Homeland Security hitman turned renowned bodyguard, to make sure that Dr. Demiate and Dr. Hans' research remain safe. Dracon is smart, skilled and as tough as they come, but can even he handle the threat of a killer who is a monstrous, inhuman weapon of destruction?


    Stefano Martino does double duty on this futuristic, sci-fi thriller; he both scripts and pencils "Alan Dracon" #1. Alan Dracon is just an immensely entertaining throwback to the heroes of yesteryear - he is the classic tough guy, smart and indomitable, with a weakness for the fairer sex. He's the guy all the girls want, and all the men want to be - Alan Dracon  is unapologetically masculine. I dig that. Even though Dracon is a bodyguard and not a detective, this is shaping up to be a hard-boiled, sci-fi tale - classic future-noir - reminiscent of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" (the book that spawned the hit film, Blade Runner), or, in comics,  Drift Marlo, or Star Hawkins. Stefano Martino  hits some high notes on his pencilling, using light and shadow perfectly, and wisely opting to keep his art B&W which makes his work pop. This comic reminds me of something that would run in "2000AD." Love it. "Alan Dracon" #1 is a great start to what looks to be a VERY entertaining series. 

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RATING: 8 out of 10.
Hillbilly #1 (Albatross Funnybooks)

This is the first work i own from Eric Powell, Well...I had to pick myself up after tripping on the proverbial gold rock that presented itself at the end of this grand read.

Damn it was right down my ally, A touch of Preacher, Speck of Frazetta, 2 drops of Gaiman ...And splash of Huckleberry Finn! Oh! yeah, This is a magical read.

A young boy (Henry) from the American south goes down to the river to fish, His mother cry's out to him to come back (his is oblivious to her calls as he's finds fresh strawberry's to eat a rare find indeed those days...to good to be true. A evil bony arm appears from the shadow of a tree clasps him & forcefully drains the life force from the innocent boy, That's until a dirty great big cleaver cut's the hand of the witch. She is taken care of with immediate force, The man brings the boy back around & takes him home.
The boy wants to know who he is, Recons he already knows of the wanderer who cry's black tears & carry's the Devils cleaver, The man then proceeds to tell him his origin...

If you want to know it then buy this book, Has already sold out here.
It's dark & moody, But highly atmospheric. We see a witch fly off on a crooked old branch (take note Harry potter fans). Easily the best read of the week, This is the reason why i buy comic books.

Rating: 10/10 Eric Powell (another Ennis in the making)!




Tuesday, July 5, 2016

TEX'S BACK-ISSUE QUEST #29 (Cap 100)



Welcome to this episode of TEX's BACK-ISSUE QUEST, 

    Where I select key issues from my collection to take you back to those days of old. Today, in celebration of Independence Day, we're going on a trip in our favorite rocketship, right into the late 1960s with...



CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!

     Above, you see my copy of "Captain America" vol 1 #100, published in 1968, written by Stan Lee and illustrated wildly in that Jack Kirby style!

     Captain America returned in 1963 in "Avengers" #4, and he was a regular there. In October of 1964, Cap made his first appearance in "Tales of Suspense" in issue #58, and by issue #59, he and Iron Man were sharing the comic as the two headlining superheroes.

   This rip-roaring issue brings together Captain America and Black Panther to stop Baron Zemo from using his solar ray to obliterate the the United States of America. Talk about terrorism!  On to the fun facts!!

FUN FACT 1: The man Cap and Black Panther thought to be Baron Zemo was revealed to be an imposter in this story.

FUN FACT 2: This story, that was started in the final issue of "Tales of Suspense" #99, marks the first team-up between Captain America and Black Panther.

FUN FACT 3: Marvel was ahead of the game when it came to progressive storylines. Not only was Captain America teaming up with an African king (Americans didn't like kings, and people of African descent were struggling to realize the benefits of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), but in this issue Cap even gets Black Panther to consider being Cap's own replacement in the Avengers! A Black African king to replace America's Star-Spangled Avenger?! Mind blown.

FUN FACT 4: Black Panther next appeared in "Avengers" #51 as Captain America's replacement to the team.

FUN FACT 5: A throw-a-away villain named the Destructon makes his first appearance in this issue. As far as I know, he's only made two appearances in the 616.

FUN FACT 6: With the popularity of superheroes exploding once more in the 1960s, Marvel began to move away from their old science-fiction, fantasy and horror titles, phasing them out totally or rebranding them. That's what happened to "Tales of Suspense" - with issue #100, it became Captain America. And Iron Man? He got himself a one-shot co-starring the Sub-Mariner before getting his own title soon after. Yes, fanboys and fangirls, there was a time when Iron Man was a second-tier Marvel hero, and Captain America was top of the heap.

FUN FACT 7: This issue begins Captain America vol 1. And you're asking, "Well, TEX, wasn't there a previous volume of Captain America" started in the 1940s? I'm glad you asked. The previous volume was called "Captain America Comics," so Captain America vol. 1 is correct.

FUN FACT 8: Stan Lee used what came to be called the Marvel Method in which he'd dictate an outline of the story (not write a script) to the artist, and the artist, through his imagination realized the comic - including subplots and dialogue, which Lee would then edit. So this comic was written by Stan Lee AND Jack Kirby.

   Captain America is hands down my favorite Marvel superhero. He is a man of peace forced into battle, the ultimate war-fighter who would rather resolve problems through kindness and diplomacy. Some see Captain America as a jingoistic symbol of America, but he is anything but that. Cap has morals, and values, but doesn't demand that anyone else follow his path, he just sets an example and because of his strength of character, he ends up being a leader. And in those cases where the American government has been wrong, he has stood up to it, even at the cost of losing everything he loved, just like a TRUE patriot. Captain America is not just the ultimate soldier, he is the fictional embodiment of the ultimate American spirit. To me, he is the ESSENTIAL superhero.

   If you want to see what I see in Captain America, start reading in the Silver-Age (1960s) until his death in 2008. You'll see that despite his lack of physical superpowers, he is, of all the Marvel heroes, the most noble, kind, just, patriotic and courageous. Even the gods of Asgard stand in awe of Steve Rogers. If you are looking for a Superman in the Marvel Universe, look no further than Captain America.

  So, what is your favorite Captain America moment?

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

DC Rebirth (Salvo 1) Rapid-Fire Review




Hello my brothers and sisters!

    I AM BACK! We had a great, short family vacation. It was pretty awesome.

   Just as I promised, I'm here to give you the skinny on my feelings on the opening salvo of DC's Rebirth titles!! I have compiled all the like titles into one corresponding number to make things a bit shorter. I hope you don't mind.  :)

   So without further ado, let's get into my rapid-fire DC Rebirth review!


1. "The Flash: Rebirth" #1 and "DC Universe Rebirth: The Flash" #1 - Barry Allen is doing his best to fight crime in Central City but he has a feeling that something's not right with the world. After pulling the original Wally West out of the Speed Force, saving his life, Barry enlists Batman's aid to find out what, or who, has been tampering with the timeline and the memories of the people in it.

   Joshua Williamson writes a competent Flash story here which shows Barry as less light-hearted, and as a hero somewhere between Superman's boy-scout-ishness, and Batman's beautiful mind. Carmine Di Giandomenico's pencils are pretty, but wispy and a bit overdone.  But this is definitely a solid beginning to a good Flash story.

RATING: 7.5 out of 10

2. "Titans: Rebirth" #1 - After Barry Allen saves him from death in the Speed Force, Wally seeks out his former allies, and best friends, The Titans (Nightwing, Aqualad, Roy Harper, Lilith and Donna Troy). But will they reunite with him, or kill him before he finds out who, or what, stole ten years of their lives and memories away?

  I usually love Dan Abnett (especially when he's working with Andy Lanning), but this book had lots of the feels without much of anything else interesting to add to the Rebirth storyline. Brett Booth does action and anatomy well - but all of the characters' faces seemed too similar to me at times.

RATING: 6.5 out of 10

3. "Aquaman: Rebirth" #1 and "DC Universe Rebirth: Aquaman" #1 - Aquaman is the king of the greater part of the planet, and he feels it's time to start acting like it by focusing on working for peace with the surface world as a representative of his entire kingdom. He is determined to make diplomacy work - but Black Manta has other, far more sinister plans.

Dan Abnett focuses on Aquaman as a husband, monarch and diplomat. Aquaman comes off as really likable and sincere, but the story itself doesn't balance out Aquaman's personality as well as the previous series did. Pencillers Scott Eaton and Oscar Jiménez ("Aquaman: Rebirth) deliver gorgeous work. Brad Walker also delivers great work in "DC Universe Rebirth: Aquaman" #1; however, it is often stiff with anatomy that is sometimes off-putting.

RATING: 6.5 out of 10

4. "Wonder Woman Rebirth" #1 and "DC Universe Rebirth: Wonder Woman" #1 - Wonder Woman is unsure of her origin story, she is unsure of her lineage and her entire history. She uses the Lasso of Truth on herself which leads her to Olympus where she meets a violent welcome, which in turn leads her to seek out Cheetah (Barbara Ann Minerva) to help her find her way back to Themyscira. Something is wrong with her history, with the story of the world. Someone's made the world into a lie, and the Princess of the Amazons will have the truth.

Greg Rucka is back, writing Wonder Woman with the power and sensitivity that should always have characterized her. Unfortunately, outside of the protagonist, the story itself just isn't very compelling. Both books feature great artwork; however the art in "DC Universe Rebirth: Wonder Woman" is consistently the better of the two. "Wonder Woman: Rebirth" #1 has various artists, and the contrast between the work is sometimes a bit jolting.

RATING: 7 out 10

5. "Green Arrow: Rebirth" #1 and "DC Universe Rebirth: Green Arrow" #1 - Oliver Queen is in Seattle, trying to save the city by day through many philanthropic strategies, and by night as the costumed vigilante, Green Arrow. When Green Arrow finds out someone is kidnapping the homeless of his city to be sold on a vile black market, he goes on the warpath. Lucky for him he's got the beautiful, talented and deadly Black Canary fighting by his side. What Oliver doesn't know is that someone knows his secret and is stalking him ready to strike!

Benjamin Percy lights up the pages with this cool, classic take on the far-left leaning Green Arrow, side-by-side with a slick, rock-star, sassy Black Canary. The characters are fun, and so is the way they interact with one another, and the story really had me locked in. Pair these up with Otto Schmidt's playful, cartoony pencils, and you have a winner.

RATING: 9 out of 10


6. "Green Lanterns: Rebirth" #1 and "DC Universe Rebirth: Green Lanterns" #1 - Hal Jordan has to leave planet Earth, but before he does, he ensures that Earth's protectors, two rookie Green Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, will work as a team. Jordan fuses their power batteries together, making it impossible for them to recharge their rings without the other present. Jordan leaves Earth in their hands, trusting that they will overcome their differences and keep it safe...But Atrocitus has other plans already in motion.

   Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries are on on writing duty here - Sam Humphries has made the transition from sci-fi writer to superhero scribe well. Sometimes it's hard to believe that he is the same guy that wrote the groundbreaking, but unsettling, sci-fi sleeper hit, "Our Love Is Real" a few years ago. Pairing up Baz and Cruz is brilliant - I enjoy reading about their personal hang-ups, and struggles, and the tensions that are produced when they are forced to work together and depend upon one another. Of course, Ethan Van Sciver's and Ed Benes' pencils are on point as usual, and surprisingly, Robson Rocha (unknown to me) does just as well soloing "DCU Rebirth: Green Lanterns." These books look GREAT.

RATING: 8.5 out of 10


7. "Superman: Rebirth" #1, "DC Universe Rebirth: Superman" #1, and "DC Universe Rebirth Superman: Action Comics" #s 957 and 958 - Superman is dead. The Superman born in the New 52 is no more, but this universe will still have a Superman...Because the Post-Crisis Superman will take up the mantle once more to face both a Lex Luthor bent on taking the fallen Superman's place, and the Post-Crisis DOOMSDAY!! All this, while running a farm, being a husband, and the being the father of a half-human, half-Kryptonian boy whose powers are starting to kick in. And who is the new, mysterious man claiming to be none other than Clark Kent?!

Peter Tomasi, and comics legend, Dan Jurgens write these THRILLING, SPECTACULAR stories putting the Post-Crisis Superman back in the saddle, which also puts Superman back on my pull list! And the art in each one of these books is absolutely top-notch! It's good to see a stronger, more mature, more confident Superman on the scene again, even though he's struggling a bit to get his footing on some new ground (a new universe, a wife, a super-powered kid and Lex Luthor as a hero?!).

RATING: 10 out of 10.


8. "DC Universe Rebirth Batman" #1, "Batman: Rebirth" #1, "DC Universe Rebirth: Detective Comics" #934, and "DC Universe Batman: Detective Comics" #935 - Jean Paul Valley, highly trained vigilante and ex-assassin, has been nearly murdered. As Batman investigates, he finds that he may be in the middle of the beginnings of a clandestine war against his Bat-Family. He enlists the aid of Batwoman to help him to train several young warriors for the war to come. Tim Drake (Red Robin), Duke Thomas, Stephanie Brown (Spoiler), Cassandra Cain (Orphan), and Basil Karlo (Clayface) all agree to be pushed to their limits to save themselves and Gotham. But that's not all. Two new superpowered heroes, Gotham and Gotham Girl, arrive in Gotham just in time to avert a plane crash and save Batman's life. But are they truly friends to Gotham, or something sinister?

   Several writers are rocking the mic here: Tom King, James Tynion IV, and Scott Snyder, and boy, are they hitting the ball out of the park! Batman faces villains who seem to have to have his number, and almost the entire Bat-Family has to get in on the act and go hard. Again, the art is unquestionably top-drawer here as well - even David Finch is back! Batwoman is getting a big push in these pages (sweet!), as the writers seek to paint her as an equal to Batman (which I'm not ready to buy into yet). These books have got engrossing stories, mysterious villains, and great art. Love them!

RATING: 10 out 10

Top of the heap for TEX: The Superman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern and Batman titles.

Confused questions: Why all the first issues, when these issues like "Superman: Rebirth" #1, "DC Universe Rebirth: Superman" #1, just seem to be issues #1 and #2? And why do "DC Universe Rebirth: Detective Comics" #934, and "DC Universe Batman: Detective Comics" #935 have consecutive numbering, but different titles? Was the "Batman" in "DC Universe Batman: Detective Comics" #935 REALLY necessary?

So, which DC Rebirth titles did you like most?

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