Three DC Comics #0 Reviews

It’s been a while, so here’s a triumvirate of reviews form DC Comics this week, specifically their #0 issues that aim to unveil the backgrounds of characters in time for the one year anniversary of The New 52 relaunch. The last time DC tried this was back in the mid-90s after the Zero Hour reboot. Okay, on to some quick thoughts.

The Phantom Stranger #0. Surprisingly this sold out at my comic shop, so thankfully I ordered it ahead of time. Written by President Dan Didio, who tried his hand at writing with the cancelled O.M.A.C series, and teamed with artist Brent Anderson (Astro City) this looks into the origins of one of DC’s most powerful supernatural figures. The cloak clad mystery man has been around since 1952 but his background has never been revealed. That has changed now, and will continue to, since he’s getting his own series. Here’s he presented as Judas, (yes the one who betrayed Jesus Christ) and upon hanging himself goes to an afterlife where he meets a council of wizards. As punishment for betraying Christ for 30 pieces of silver, he is given powers and returned to earth, with the cloak of Jesus, and the coins made into a necklace to bear. It’s an interesting origin, and one that has been touched upon in the decades of Stranger stories, but now it seems to be the status quo of The New 52 version.

The tale is told by Stranger’s frequent monologues, as he meets angry cop Jim Corrigan who becomes The Spectre all too quickly, and it looks like in future issues The Phantom Stranger will deal with the mystical forces of the DCU. This issue also hints at the upcoming Trinity War, which looks to involve Stranger, the female Pandora, and The Question. These few pages aren’t enough to delve into the origins of one of DC’s most elusive figures, but it’s a good starting point for hopefully slightly better adventures than this one.

Green Lantern #0. We’re introduced to yet another human bearer of a power ring, in the form of Arab-American Simon Baz (who has his own action figure already!). He has the word “courage” in Arabic on his forearm, and carries a handgun (at least on the cover) which seems redundant when you have one of the most powerful weapons on your finger. Writer Geoff Johns and artist Dough Mahnke do a fantastic job of introducing Simon. We see his tough life, his love for his family and his desire to do what is right, even when it’s not easy. Thanks to stealing a van, unknowingly with a bomb inside, he’s taken in for questioning before a power ring breaks him free.

There’s hints at Johns’ larger work in the GL series, with cameos from Batman, Cyborg, Hal Jordan and Sinestro and although we never see Simon in his new green costume, it’s obvious he’ll play an important role. Grab this one if you’ve been following the events in any of the Green Lantern books.

Detective Comics #0. The only Batman series I’ve been reading since DC’s relaunch last year is Batman and Robin, so I thought I’d see what’s going on in ‘Tec and Tony Daniel’s art continues to improve. Gregg Hurwitz writes this ish, with Daniels on art duties. Reminiscent of certain scenes in Batman Begins, the bulk of this issue is set 10 years before Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, as he learns from a husband and wife team in the Himalayas about how to cope with emotion, how to meditate and of course, how to fight. We see Bruce grapple with love and loss, and although the ending is somewhat melodramatic, it’s a good display of the transition between man and Batman.

Also included is a back-up tale called The Long Wait by James Tynion IV and Henrik Johnson that centres on Alfred’s patience in Wayne Manor waiting for the missing Bruce to return home after his mysterious years abroad. It works very well and shows a side of Alfred that I don’t think I’ve seen in a comic before.

Overall, these #0 issues are a good idea, to introduce new and lapsed readers, and the inclusion of one page Who’s Who entries in each ish is a nice bonus.

Big Hitters #1

I’ve never heard of Contraband Comics, but this looks pretty cool and vibrant.



Contraband Comics Proudly Announces

Newest Release Through Exclusive

Partnership With iVerse Media

Big Hitters #1, the first issue in a new sci-fi action/adventure series from creator-owned comic book publisher, Contraband Comics, is now available for purchase in iVerse Media’s Comics Plus app.

Created by writer Jon Goff (SpawnBlindsideHalo Evolutions) and illustrator Travis Sengaus (The Adventures of Spawn), Big Hitters blends elements of noir, science fiction and action/adventure to tell the story of two government-sanctioned hitmen as they navigate the seedy underbelly of a post-war galaxy.

Big Hitters #1 is available now in the Comics Plus app, with both a FREE 11-page preview and a $0.99 26-page Standard Issue release. As an added bonus, the free preview of Big Hitters #1 includes the animated short “Gettim!,” directed and animated by series artist and co-creator, Travis Sengaus.

“With Big Hitters, Travis and I are looking to capture the epic fun and sense of adventure you get from Star Wars, but set against a backdrop that has more in common with the darker side of sci-fi films like Bladerunner,” Contraband Comics founder, Jon Goff, said. “At the end of the day the book is meant to be entertaining, but buried within the visuals and the somewhat off-beat nature of the story, you’ll find a lot of heartbreak and a deeper mythology than may be apparent at first glance.”

Joining Goff and Sengaus on the Big Hitters creative team are colorist Fco Plascencia (BatmanSpawnInvincible) and the master craftsmen at Richard Starking’s Comicraft lettering and design studio.

To view Contraband Comics titles available in the Comics Plus app, including Big Hitters and Blindside, visit:


Thanks For Reading!

You might have noticed that the content on this humble blog has slowed down somewhat over recent months. At one point I was writing multiple posts a day, plus writing for other sites, but that kind of passion and momentum doesn’t last forever.

I started this blog in June 2008, just before my first venture to San Diego Comic-Con, and this week I passed half a million total views since then, so thanks to everyone who reads and comments! It’s much appreciated.

This year, I’ve briefly toyed with other blog ideas such as this one on writing and this one on Christian stuff, but they were short lived experiments. The key, like anything is focus, and although I still write for Broken Frontier, Sight, and now SciFiPulse, the days of me spending hours each week doing reviews and interviews are gone, and that’s fine with me.

Once I get more organised, I’ll start posting more of my creative writing here, but there’ll always be various comics and pop culture stuff that I’ll whack up here, because there’s always interesting stuff out there.

I Draw Comics Sketchbook

Crowd funding site Kickstarter is always worth a look to see people’s ideas vying for your attention (and money), and here’s one that’ll make novice comic artists sit up and take notice.

Here’s the blurb, and here’s where you can get more info.

The I DRAW COMICS Sketchbook & Reference Guide is the ultimate tool for practicing the basics of Comic Book illustration, page design and the art of storytelling.  We’ve designed the ultimate Comic Book Artist Field Guide by combining commonly used industry reference materials and 100+ sketching templates into a ubiquitous and iconic molelskine sketchbook form.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Trailer

There seems to be quite a few fairytale meets “reality” films these days, although this delayed film starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the adventurous siblings seems more like the over the top shenanigans of Van Helsing (remember that 2004 film?) rather than something like Troll Hunter (an awesome Norwegian film).

Hansel and Gretel is out in January.


Babble from Com.x

UK publisher Com.x (Monster Myths, Seeds, 45) has an intriguing new OGN coming out in December called Babble. Below is the cover and synopsis. It’s a full colour 128 pager written by Lee Robson, with art by Brian Coyle. Look for it in October’s Previews catalogue, which will be out at the end of September.

Carrie Hartnoll is a girl lost in a life going nowhere fast. A chance encounter with an ex-boyfriend affords her the opportunity of a new career in Ivy League America, working as part of a research team attempting to resurrect the language of Babel – a language, it is theorised, that can be understood by any human, from anywhere in the world. As Carrie pieces together her fractured personal life, she becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding the apparent suicide of the project’s original team leader, which propels her to uncover the horrific truth about the language and why it was written out of the history books…