Category Archives: Comic Books

DC Comics | Collects TITANS Total Chaos

The past, present and future all collide in THE TITANS “Total Chaos” story-arc from  the 90s that continues to chronicle the enigmatic story of Donna Troy by Marv Wolfman.

During the 90s, the looks of some of our favorite heroes took the wildest turns following some of the more horrifying fashion trends including mullets as ladies bosoms became more profound. It wasn’t only the plunging necklines and enhanced codpieces of the significantly more muscular and heavily pocketed utility belts along with bomber jackets that permeated the pages of popular titles, there was also an “end of days” theme around some of the most obscure story arcs that often featured a James Cameron “Terminator-esque” theme as the future threatened to catch up with the present.

In 1992 legendary scribe Marv Wolfman continued an extraordinary run writing The Titans the all-grown-up iteration of the The New Teen Titans characters that he’d revamp with is long-time co-conspirator George Pérez. Though the artist had moved on from collaborating on the title that had made them a household name, the pair crafted many of the most defining moments in the long and illustrious history of second-generation of superheroes. Among those blockbuster moments came the celebratory issue when the team finally dropped the “Teen” in their title and became The Titans. The moment was marked with the landmark “Who is Donna Troy” storyline in Issue #50.

After the events depicted in the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths also written by the pair, among the many dangling participles was the origin of longtime Teen Titan, Donna Troy, Wonder Girl — who couldn’t have ever been the protege of Wonder Woman given the Amazing Amazon’s revamped continuity in contemporary DC Comics mythology. The pair went back to the drawing board and found a proper way to revitalize Donna Troy, turning her instead into an orphan rescued by the Titans of Myth. Her power set was slightly altered and her look was given a major rebrand; she also became now known as the formidable Troia.

Total Chaos

The Titans’ roster would continue to evolve and their origins further put under the microscope. Even their team leader, Dick Grayson turned Nightwing would have his early career further developed, in a “year one” tale that would also introduce the world to the latest sidekick to the Caped Crusader, Tim Drake, continuing the legacy of the Boy Wonder, stepping into the famous suit. Founding members would come and go, and new heroes would join the line-up including the peculiar Pantha and the enigma known as Phantasm. Donna Troy would take a major leave of absence when she becomes pregnant with her and her husband Terry Long’s first baby.

But not everything is as perfectly pristine as might have been expected; this was after all the 90s and the era of the anti-hero. Deathstroke the Terminator had also been launched into his own ongoing series at the time, and the inevitable crossover event with his former arch enemies, The Titans, was also marked with the intro of the next generation of heroes — The Team Titans! This makeshift collection of 21st century super rebels are on a mission from the not-too-far off future to stop the ascension to power of the godlike Lord Chaos — Donna Troy’s son!

The Titans now find themselves in a middle of a contentions situation between their heirs apparent from the future, the assassin caught in the middle and the interloper come to destroy them all and insure his own survival, no matter what the cost! TITANS: Total Chaos collects in one volume the entire crossover event from the 90s Deathstroke, The Terminator #14-16, The New Titans #90-92 and the premiere launch of Team Titans #1-3. featuring a crucial development in the historic chronicles of Donna Troy, a story that could have considerable implications in current history.

TITANS: Total Chaos written by Marv Wolfman and featuring art from Tom Grummett, Kevin Maguire and Art Nichols is collected in a paperback volume on shelves now from DC Comics.

$29.99 dcomics.com 

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Diving Into DC Comics NEW AGE Of HEROES!

After METAL, DC Comics introduces a new line of rookie heroes (and some reimagined favorites) for a new generation of readers with no-assembly required from out of the Dark Multiverse!

Springing forth from the fountain of DC Comic’s most recent “earth shattering” event Dark Nights: Metal the publishing giant decided it was time to take the focus off its big guns and perhaps turn the spotlight onto some fresh new faces. At the conclusion of Scott Snyder’s overly hyped 6-issue saga (stay tuned for additional editorial on Dark Night: Metal coming soon) our trinity of heroes find themselves rejuvenated in their mission having prevented the planet from falling into the depths of the Dark Multiverse, but in so doing unleashed all new threats!

The Justice League will find themselves in uncharted territory and will revitalize their roster in Justice League: No Justice the upcoming follow-up to Metal. It culminates with the league taking in new members including Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern (John Stewart) and the return of Hawkgirl who has been reintegrated into the mainstream DC comics mythology, after being relegated to much of the Earth 2 storyline following “The New 52” rebrand of 2011. While many of the books get a polishing, an entire new line has appeared in the wake of Metal.

Enlisting much of the A-list talent on its payroll DC has given rise to what it’s calling The New Age of Heroes and with all the fanfare that such a prestige announcement should merit has introduced several new titles, sporting all new heroes, as well as some familiar faces for a fresh start. What all the heroes have in common is their connectivity or emergence after the events that took place during the arrival of the Dark Knights and the Dark Multiverse’s incursion. The new line-up of characters are also being positioned alongside some very familiar DC mainstays!

Meet THE TERRIFICS lead by Mr. Terrific, this group of misfits promise to take readers deeper into the most unsolved mysteries of the DC Comics Universe.

The Dawn of a New Age

For long-time DC readers, the interjecting of some fresh blood may have been a long time coming. The publishing giant has benefitted greatly from the milestone moments of its long list of icons including the long anticipated live-action Justice League feature film, the success of The CW primetime series including Arrow and The Flash, and the recently published #1000 issue of Action Comics marking Superman’s 80 years as the world’s greatest heroes. It was perhaps the perfect moment to give some legends in the making their own turn.

Leaping immediately (and literally) onto the scene were the premiere issues of Damage and Silencer. Damage created by Tony S. Daniel and Robert Venditti introduced Ethan Avery who becomes the living weapon code-named “Damage” a hulking monstrosity that is part of a secret, government black-ops group that is quickly getting the attention of Amanda Waller and her Suicide Squad. Comics legend John Romita, Jr. and Dan Abnett are trigger-happy on Silencer a masked assassin with a death wish and she’s a mom to boot!

Pulling together some fantastic established favorites are Ivan Reis and Jeff Lemire on The Terrifics which brings together the unlikely quartet of Mr. Terrific, Plastic Man (both who were an instrumental part of Metal) and Metamorpho who are joined by the alien Phantom Girl. This foursome find their fates irrevocably intertwined as they investigate the mysteries released from the Dark Multiverse and the dark matter energy unleashed on the prime multiverse. There is also the interestingly enthusiast addition of Sideways from Kenneth Rocafort and Dan DiDio.

All-New, All-Different (Really?)

There will be more new titles joining the “New Age of Heroes” including The Immortal Men by Jim Lee, The Curse of Brimstone and the much anticipated return of The Challengers of the Unknown, who played a significant part in Metal as well. Though many of these titles are setting up some interesting new characters, elaborating and bringing some classic faves back into the spotlight like The Challengers, DC is banking that these new story arcs will reel in more readership, though one thing is hard to mistake and that is the familiarity of this “New Age”.

Most notably Sideways teenage hero feels ad sounds like Marvel Comics web-slinging, wall-crawler Spider-Man, while The Terrifics seem to pay homage to that label first family the Fantastic Four down to mimicking the power set of that famed quartet. Whether these are subtle similarities, or some other clandestine evocation of those heroes remains to be seen, as DC continues to roll-out the “New Age of Heroes” through spring. Perhaps it’s a play by DC to snag some of Marvels audience, rather than accept the possibility that there really is nothing new under the sun.

iEditorial | Captain America CHRIS EVANS To Hang Up His Shield

With Captain America ready to lead the Avengers in battle against the greatest threat they’ve ever faced, will one of the mightiest fall in the final moments of the Infinity War?

<span class=“dropcap”>A</span>mong the many dangling participles fans can expect from the much anticipated Avengers: Infinity War which is coming to theaters earlier than anticipated, is which one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes may not survive the onslaught brought upon them by the arrival of the Titan known as Thanos (motion captured by John Brolin). A decade in the making the latest installment in the Marvel Studios franchise will be unprecedented in that it will unite on screen the core cast of all the Marvel films characters for the two-part epic.

10 years in the making, the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off with the introduction of Robert Downey, Jr. starring in Iron Man and continued with an unlikely cameo appearance in The Incredible Hulk (2008) which then starred Edward Norton in the titular role. The cinematic continuity continued with Thor but it wasn’t until the introduction of Chris Evans as the Star-Spangled Sentinel in Captain America: The First Avenger that everything started to take shape. Suddenly a “team movie” appeared very realistic and quickly came together.

Evans may be the first casualty of the Avengers: Infinity War.

The result was Marvel’s The Avengers which brought together all the established leading players (and recast Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk); a sequel followed-up and several more solo films, but can anyone imagine the franchise continuing without Chris Evans as Captain America? That’s what reports will have us speculate — the fates of several Avengers have already been hinted at hanging in the balance — but the actor who has portrayed not only the First Avenger, but previously entered into the Marvel Universe as a member of the Fantastic Four may be calling it quits.

The actor has reported that after the next Avengers film, that is the one after Infinity War he will be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe for good. Evans has been quoted as suggesting he’d rather “get off the train,” rather than “before they push you off.” Evans won’t be the only star that has been hinted at not returning after the climatic arc ends. Robert Downey, Jr. apparently has also hinted that this may be his last turn as the Armored Avenger Iron Man. Downey, Jr. unlike Evans has previously talked about his exit, even teased after Captain America: Civil War he’d retire.

Though nothing has yet been set in stone, the stars that lead off the spin-offs features are becoming increasingly more expensive even for a blockbuster budget, and with the new kids on the block like Black Panther raising the stakes, perhaps the timing might be perfect to bring in some new blood and give the original roster of Avengers some time off to enjoy the riches of their reward, or enter into the afterlife as true heroes! Whatever fate befalls our favorite Avengers in Infinity War it will no doubt alter the fabric of the summer blockbuster season.

The countdown has begun! Avengers: Infinity War makes planetfall on April 27.

iReview | DC Comics THE FLASH #39 Celebrates 700 Issues

The Scarlet Speedster moves toward a publishing milestone with its Issue #39 celebrating 700 issues ever! And the very dramatic return of one of greatest villains in THE FLASH mythology!

Welcome to the new Modern Age of Comics! Where comics embrace and actually celebrate their publishing legacies by reverting back to or embracing their original numeric issues. With everyone eagerly counting down to the return of the “classic” Superman in the historic Action Comics #1000 most recently DC Comics released another milestone with The Flash #39 the 700th published issue of The Flash.

The arrival of the Scarlet Speedster signified the arrival of the “Silver Age” of comics, a modern publishing renaissance that invigorated DC’s line and reinvented many of its classic heroes introducing their contemporary counterparts. Among the heroes that always stood apart from the rest was Barry Allen, The Flash — who after getting struck by lightning, is inspired by the “Golden Age” comics character of Jay Garrick to don a red suit and fight crime in Central City.

In the latest issue of the “Rebirth” line written by Joshua Williamson and illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico Barry is taking a very harsh look at the decisions he’s made and how they’ve impacted the lives around him, and most significantly compromised his relationship with Iris West. After being kidnapped by the evil Reverse-Flash and hurled into the future, Iris has finally learned the man behind the mask is actually Barry Allen.

Barry still has great affection for Iris, but whether or not their love affair will survive the latest turbulence in their calamitous relationship is yet to be seen, but he’s opened up his world as a superhero to Iris, and even brought her aboard the Justice League’s Watchtower headquarters. Just as it appeared that the ice between them had begun to crack, Iris became trapped in “Flash Time” as Central City came to a standstill around The Flash revealing an attack from Multiplex?!

Negative-Flash has brought about a Speed Force revolution and sides with the million-man mob squad and the recently introduced Master of Lightning, Raijin, but this evil threesome is only the first wave and the true mastermind behind the Scarlet Speedster’s recent woes is revealed — Gorilla Grodd is back and he’s hungry for some Speed Force! The latest arc of The Flash “Perfect Storm” Part 1 is available digitally and at your favorite comic specialty shop now.

The issue successfully capitalizes on the nostalgic popularity of the character of The Flash especially the Barry Allen iteration of the hero, which has soared in popularity (surely) with a little bit of support from his live-action CW counterpart played by actor Grant Gustin which (also) continues the spirit of celebrating the hero’s legacy featuring John Wesley Shipp (the actor who originated the role in the CBS series in 1990) who now embodies the “Golden Age” Flash.

Just recently the television series adapted “The Trial of The Flash” storyline and also paid homage to the 1990 series by reintroducing the villainous “Prank” played by Corrine Bohrer, who many consider the template for The Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn. Mark Hamill, who voiced The Joker on the now classic Batman: The Animated Series also played The Trickster on both iterations of The Flash.

Mark the occasion by sharing your favorite moment in 700 Issues Celebration The Flash!

Marvel’s PHOENIX RESURRECTION: The Return of Jean Grey

As part of imprint’s “Legacy” exploration Marvel (literally) resurrects one of its most enduring and endearing characters. The time has come to welcome back the X-Men’s Jean Grey!

In issue #135 of The Uncanny X-Men originally published by Marvel Comics in 1980 all hell literally broke lose and for longtime fans of the book the fate of one its most beloved characters was about to written! Series writer Chris Claremont and his co-conspirator John Byrne had spun a tale so powerful and emotionally wrought that when “The Dark Phoenix Saga” finally ran its course, it would forever alter the way audiences read comics! The stakes had suddenly been raised and many realized that nothing lasts forever!

Certainly in a world where men walk among gods, individuals blessed with superpowers the consequences of which could be lost on most mere mortals. In the world of the X-Men it all became painfully real, as original X-Men Jean Grey evolved from the telekinetically gifted Marvel Girl and into the world-devouring Phoenix — a creature of such great potential that its power had become feared throughout the cosmos. That power, as power often does, eventually consumed Jean and turned her into the Dark Phoenix the ultimate personification of pure force!

Her teammates are forced to engage the Dark Phoenix in combat until inevitably, Jean is considered to great a threat to the universe and is served a death sentence — a trial by combat — between the X-Men and the galactic member nations of the known galaxy itself. In the end, before she once again could succumb to the fury of her dark side, Jean in a final act of mercy, sacrifices herself so that her friends to do not have to pay the ultimate price for her mistakes. The Dark Phoenix may no longer have been a threat, but the X-Men lost Jean Grey…or so it seemed.

The X-Factor of it All!

The Uncanny X-Men had become a phenomenon much to the credit of its writer Claremont, who continued to write the series and even introduced its first spin-off The New Mutants which featured the next generation of mutant heroes. The demand for mutant-based books was high! In 1986 the original X-Men would be once again reunited and among their ranks we’d find Jean Grey, much like her namesake, had risen from the ashes for the inaugural run of the new mutant team book X-Factor. Jean’s return would be considered quite controversial.

Over the course of the character’s development, it would be greatly debated as to wether Jean had been replaced by the Phoenix “entity” and placed in hibernation for an undefinable period of time, but in all eventualities she would eventually find herself inevitably connected to the powers granted to her by the Phoenix. Jean Grey would “die” several more times, and come back from the dead just as many, but in recent history Jean had finally merged with the power of the Phoenix and moved on from this plane of existence — “dying” again — though not forgotten!

She’s back!

Like a mercurial specter, the Phoenix has remained a constant in the world of the X-Men, invariably connected to Jean Grey as its primary host and the only individual worthy of wielding its cosmic might. It was only a matter of time before she would be reintegrated into the modern mythology, and as Marvel explores many of its most favored heroes and villains with the recent publishing-wide “Legacy” arc, it seemed fitting and appropriate to bring the X-Men’s most formidable presence back into the fold in Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey limited series.

The timing of which hasn’t escaped anyone that the next blockbuster feature film in the franchise X-Men: Dark Phoenix will bring Jean’s story to the big screen! The limited series written by Matthew Rosenberg begins with the appearance of what might be a large flaming bird, as psychics begin to disappear around the planet, and somewhere in an unassuming small town, a young woman is finding her world is unraveling before her eyes — a woman named Jean Grey! The X-Men are scattered across the planet following a trail…but to what?

Without a doubt the Marvel Universe without Jean Grey, one of the imprint’s original heroines, is just not the same — and the X-Men haven’t enjoyed the popularity that they once relished, not since their counterparts in the Avengers became Hollywood sensations (though arguably the X-Men film franchise did launch before the introduction of the extended cinematic Marvel Universe). As the tale continues to take shape, exactly what the fate of the Phoenix will be is still unknown. Who is this new Jean Grey and is she in fact the latest resurrected form of the Phoenix?

And if that’s the case, is the Phoenix back to save us from ourselves, or burn the house down? The story continues to evolve in Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey issues #1 through #3 are on sale now!

iReview :: TEEN TITANS #13 “The Return of Kid Flash” Part One

Following the recent events in Gotham City during the METAL crossover, Robin is looking to reboot the line-up, but it’s the Titans that expect Damian to fall in line! Can they persuade him to re-enlist Kid Flash?

When young Damian Wayne decided that he had all the makings to pull a team together that could rightly inherit the legacy of his father, the Batman and his teammates in the Justice League, Robin decided that he would gather alliances some tested and true. He pulled together the Teen Titans which had all but crumbled after losing their intrepid leader, the Red Robin in battle. DC Comics took its current company-wide rebrand “Rebirth” literally and raised the title from the ashes.

Robin convinced former Teen Titans, the shape-shifting Beast Boy and the telekinetic-witch Raven to stand by his side, and brought onboard the alien princess Starfire and the relative newcomer Kid Flash. It looked just like old times, except that with a penchant for being abrasive Damian didn’t immediately elicit the camaraderie necessary to inspire his teammates to follow him. Fortunately the Teen Titans eventually came around to help defeat Ra’s al Ghul.

The cover to the latest issue of TEEN TITANS #13, published by DC Comics.
Team Titans?

It’s unfortunate for Robin that he’s had to at many instances live in the shadow of his predecessors, and is most often confronted by the successes of the first Robin, Dick Grayson who helped co-found the original Teen Titans, then largely made up of the sidekicks of the Justice League. Now a full-fledged adventured of his own, Grayson is known as Nightwing and leads the Titans the original team of sidekicks, all-grown up and life-long friends into battle.

Most recently, the Damian’s team of Titans joined forces with Nightwing’s team to prevent the mercenary Deathstroke from altering history! With the advent of one-time “Kid Flash” Wally West having returned from his exile outside of mainstream continuity, Deathstroke intended to use the Speed Force to help him travel back in time and rescue his son from a fate worse than death. Chronicled in the recent crossover event “The Lazarus Contract”, ended with due consequences.

Both Wally Wests were held prisoner by Deathstroke who manipulated the younger Wally (Kid Flash) into helping him absorb the Speed Force for himself. In order the stop Slade from his dastardly task, Damian struck the older Wally West in the chest — in affect killing The Flash and stopping time, but irrevocably causing him to suffer permanent heart damage. Now whenever The Flash uses his powers he is danger of suffering a heart attack.

At the conclusion of that episode, Nightwing walked away not entirely trusting that Robin was a capable leader, and after firing Kid Flash from the active roster, Damian lost the confidence of his teammates. The mantle of leadership was passed to Starfire, a more experienced combatant and certainly a far more compassionate leader. Though the damage had been done, and with Kid Flash off the team the Teen Titans wondered if indeed they could be a team at all.

Full Circle

Although Robin has done his best to keep their faith, even bringing in the new Aqualad into their ranks, working closely with Nightwing and Green Arrow to protect Gotham City from the menace of the Dark Knights, he hasn’t won back the trust of his teammates — who decide that they want Kid Flash to rejoin the group. Damian, as usual, has other plans and goes off in pursuit of another candidate. At the behest of Green Arrow, Robin seeks out the archer known as Red Arrow.

The rest of the Titans try to convince Wally that his place is with them, but Wally will only return to the team on one condition — Damian has to apologize for treating him so badly. With the latest arc unraveling in the pages of Teen Titans #13 “The Return of Kid Flash” may be imminent, but can anyone predict what the team will look like when this latest adventure reaches its apex? Who have the Teen Titans put themselves in the crosshairs of this time?

What makes this line-up one of the more interesting reads published by DC Comics, is its very distinct personality. Although the characters are all very familiar and have a profoundly importantly legacy to live up to, with Damian in the reigns of this incarnation of the team, the Teen Titans is always unpredictable and fresh, keeping it one of the more consistently invigorating reads especially as the “Rebirth” rebrand continues.

Teen Titans #13 – “The Return of Kid Flash” Part One is on newsstands now.