Blue Dream Studios’ Sale


dreamlandbothn1I reviewed Blue Dream’s Hyperactive book yesterday, and noticed that they currently have a huge sale on until the end of January. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and bought something. You might like to as well. Their main book, The Dreamland Chronicles from Scott Christian Sava has an impressive following and you can pick up the first two trades from the web-comic series, and some nice toys. Go here to check out the goodies.

Superman/Batman Annual #3 Review

smbm_ann_3_0001-cvThis has been one of my favourite titles since it began with the great creative pairing of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness.  Then Supergirl was fantastically (re) introduced into the DC Comics Universe, with late, great penciller Michael Turner. It’s been a while since it’s hit these former heights though. And this Annual doesn’t help. I will say one thing for it though – it’s a great place to start for comic book newbies.

Written by Wolverine creator Len Wein, with beautifully fluid art by Chris Batista, this stand alone tale is set in the past of the DCU. The problem with this extra-sized issue is that the dialogue seems straight out of an issue from 20 years ago. It just appears staid and corny, and Batman is largely out of character. There’s no sense of menace or danger about him, nor is there any hint of his typically antagonistic relationship with Superman. However, it does introduce readers to Superman, Batman (of course) Lois Lane, the third Robin and baddies Professor Ivo,  Metallo, Mr. Freeze, Atomic Skull and Firefly, sporting his recent animated look from The Batman carton. There’s also a nice cameo of sorts that hints at the ‘future’ of the DCU, with a newspaper headline declaring Martian Manhunter’s capture of the Human Flame. Loyal DC fans know that late last year, Human Flame was instrumental in Manhunter’s death.

So, what is this Annual about? With a nice twist on the silver Age concept of a composite Superman/Batman, this modern take presents a similar being, with powers and costumes of both heroes unsurprisingly suffering a maddening identity crisis. He kidnaps Lois and Robin and eventually understands that being one hero is tough enough, let alone two. So he decides to rip himself in half.

This is not an issue for mature readers who expect more from their comics. They’ll find themselves asking, “Why hasn’t Robin picked his handcuffs?” and raising eyebrows at lines like, “Gee, I don’t know, do I look like I’ve recently lost my mind to you?”

For newbies though, this issue isn’t too bad. It looks great, has a simple story, and fans of Tim Burton’s Batman films will see a similar look to the Dark Knight and his Batmobile here. Consider this as an easy entry point to comics reading, but don’t consider it indicative of the much more dynamic offerings DC usually create.

Australia Day Superheroes

440px-gatewaySo it’s Australia Day, here in Australia. Obviously. We get the day off work, get to see fireworks and hang out with friends at the BBQ and drink beer. Apparently that’s what we’re supposed to do anyway. I’ll be stuck inside attempting to finish editing two wedding videos. Well, seeing all the Oz flags around the past few weeks got me thinking about Australian superheroes, and the lack thereof. I don’t mean Australian comics. There’s quite a few of those, and I’m very glad to see Platinum Grit being taken on board by Image. I remember reading that over a decade ago in its infant paper form. So, what about Australian superheroes? They’re aren’t any really. There’s Captain America and Captain Britain. So how about a Captain Australia? Doesn’t have the same ring to it, granted, and the sight of a beer belly wrapped in spandex is not comforting. These are the only two Aussie superheroes that immediately spring to mind – and one of them’s a supervillain!

250px-boomerangI remember reading an early X-Men Annual that introduced me to Gateway, the aboriginal teleporter that occasionally aided the X-Men. Not much has been seen of him in the last few years, but apparently he was killed by the Marauders and is the great grandfather of Bishop. Now, from Marvel to DC.

George Harkness is perhaps a more famous Aussie comics character. Nicknamed Digger, his code name of Captain Boomerang should tell you what his powers are all about. He was one of the members of Flash’s Rogues Gallery, and often called people, “mate,” to assert his Aussie-ness. He was killed as an overweight out of touch baddie, by Robin’s father during Identity Crisis. Now, his son, Owen Mercer has taken the name and a much better costume, and is acting on the opposite side of the law from his father, even befriending Robin.

These aren’t bad characters, but certainly not prominent ones. It’s time we saw another Aussie super character in the pages of today’s comics. Not all superheroes are American. Are they?