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The Spirit Archives, Vol. 13 (Review/Retrospective)

With Eisner now back on the strip for over half-a-year, The Spirit is forging ahead into the middle part of its run. Many commentators and pundits would argue that the few years following Eisner’s return from military service were among the best in the strip’s history, and it’s hard to disagree. While Eisner took the time in his first six months to tidy up loose ends – killing the Squid, sending Satin home with a daughter – here we see the creator building up the world he has created. This collection includes the strips introducing (and a number of subsequent appearances from) both P’Gell and the Octopus, arguably two of the most important characters introduced into the strip following the Second World War. There’s also a sign that Eisner is branching out a bit, and pushing the strip out from the shadow of the Second World War. After all, a new era of prosperity and a Cold War were both just around the corner, very fertile ground for the creator to explore.

A banner year?

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Batman: Ego (and Other Tails) (Review/Retrospective)

To celebrate the release of The Dark Knight Rises, July is “Batman month” here at the m0vie blog. Check back daily for comics, movies and television reviews and discussion of the Caped Crusader.

“It’s at times like this…. In the cold… in the dark… I feel that I’m losing my way.”

– Batman’s opening monologue, Ego

Few modern comic book artists and writers are as respected as Darwyn Cooke. The illustrator began his career on Batman: The Animated Series, and then expanded out into the comic books that inspired it. He’s worked on any number of iconic projects, including the miniseries New Frontier and the adaptations of Richard Stark’s Parker books. This summer, he’s a major part of DC’s Before Watchmen initiative, writing Silk Spectre and writing and illustrating The Minutemen. Batman: Ego and Other Tails collects the bulk of the writer/illustrator’s work on the Caped Crusader, with Selina’s Big Score included for good measure. In his introduction, the writer confesses that the story was”an earnest yet flawed first effort”, and it seems like he’s being remarkably fair.

He’s created a monster!

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X-Statix Omnibus by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

There’s been a lot written about how fiendishly clever Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix was when it was published by Marvel in the early part of the last decade. Spanning two titles (beginning in X-Force and then spinning into its own title in X-Statix), it offered a forty-issue re-examination of the core X-Men thesis. Published at approximately the same time, it actually serves as something of a spiritual companion to Grant Morrison’s equally controversial, challenging and provocative New X-Men run. Both series dared to consider that Chris Claremont’s once revolutionary idea, casting mutants as a feared minority because they were inherently “different” might need revision in the early years of the twenty-first century. Both series have been attacked by critics for not conforming to the model that Claremont designed for the franchise three decades earlier. However, I’m going to be controversial, and I’m going to state that both Morrison and Milligan were more faithful spiritual successors to Claremont than any X-Men writers since the nineties.

Nobody’s Doop…

Note: You can read my review of Milligan and Allred’s initial X-Force run, collected in the hardcover “Famous, Mutant & Mortal” here. This is a review of the recently-published omnibus, which collects all their work on the characters, so I won’t go into too much depth on that initial run.

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Absolute New Frontier (Review/Retrospective)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is a comic book review of the graphic novel which inspired the animated movie Justice League: New Frontier

Today some would say that those struggles are all over– that the horizons have been explored– that all the battles have been won– that there is no longer an American frontier.

The problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won– and we stand today on the edge of a new frontier– the frontier of the 1960s– a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils– a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.

– John F. Kennedy, 1960

It’s a Kennedy-era superhero saga, capturing a lot of the spirit of the sixties, the era that really saw DC comics – and comic books as a whole – massively reinvent themselves.

Green Lantern's light...

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