Bookstooge & The Robinverse

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My Robin Read:

I bought 2 Robin graphic novels back in the early 90’s. One was A Hero Reborn and the other was Tragedy & Triumph. They made me a huge fan of Tim Drake who I knew was the third Robin. Dick Grayson was just a name to me and I knew that Robin2, as I thought of him, had died. You couldn’t be into comics and not know that. But Drake, he WAS Robin. But beyond those 2 GN’s, I’ve never explored the Robinverse very much.

Fast forward 20 years and suddenly I’m hearing that there’s a new Vigilante in town, Red Hood. He’s bad, he’s mean, he’ll hand Batman’s butt to him on a platter. And what do you know, he’s Jason Todd, resurrected from 30 years of death because writers are so darn lazy that they can’t come up with any NEW & GOOD ideas on their own. I had no interest in checking this guy out. He wasn’t Tim Drake. Then last year Lashaan reviewed the graphic novel for Under the Red Hood and surprisingly, to me, it sounded intriguing.

I’ve been wanting to re-read my 2 Robin books ever since I read that horrible Robin 3000 Part I and Part II last year, just to wash the taste out of my mouth. Since Under the Red Hood was now on my radar I thought I’d throw it into the mix. Why read 2 Robin books when you can read 3? Then I realized I need to actually read where it all began, with A Death in the Family, which chronicled Todd’s demise and set the stage for the Red Hood so many years later. I also decided on reading A Lonely Place of Dying,which bridges the time between Todd dying and Drake getting on Batman’s radar.

While these 5 graphic novels are not tied together as a publisher certified “Series”, they are tied through the characters of Jason Todd and Tim Drake as Robin. If I really like all these, I might go on and investigate the world of Red Robin, which is the Hero identity that Tim Drake took on at some point in the future. I know NOTHING about that.

Well, this little Intro Post went a bit longer than I expected. But there you go, my plans for some graphic novel reading in the Robinverse in the next couple of weeks and/or months.

 

bookstooge

Flight of Fancy (Spiderman 2099 #8) ★★★☆☆

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Flight of Fancy
Series: Spiderman 2099 #8
Author: Peter David
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 23
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The conclusion to Spidey’s fight with Vulture 2099. What more can you ask of 23 pages?

 

My Thoughts:

So, I wish I had read this with the previous 2 volumes that dealt with Vulture. This concluded Spidey’s fight with Vulture and honestly, not much happens. They fly/web around and punch each other and Miguel reveals that he’s a lapsed Catholic when the fight goes into a church, but other than, nothing really.

Mig’s brother Gabe and his girlfriend Kasey hook up with some people [a comic book style group of tough mofos] who want to help Spiderman. Only Gabe knows who Spidey is, so his actions are a bit stilted and you know at some point in the future he’ll reveal to someone that Miguel is Spidey.

I am reading these on my 15in laptop and I have to admit, it is a struggle to read some of the text. In some cases I just looked at the pictures of Spidey and Vulture fighting and ignored the teensy-tinsy bit of dialogue. Whenever I finish/give up this series, I plan on re-reading my Silver Sable collection that was the pride and joy of my collection back in the 90’s. She had a 3 year run before being folded back into the general Spiderman universe. Then I shall see if the dialogue is still tiny. Basically, am I getting old eyes or is the digital a crap scan? * grin *

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

Downtown, Wing and a Prayer (Spiderman 2099 #6, 7) ★★★☆☆

 

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything  by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Downtown, Wing and a Prayer
Series: Spiderman 2099 #6, 7
Author: Peter David
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 45
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

Miggy survives his fall into “down town” with the aid of an anonymous doctor and immediately proceeds to act like an ass. He goes off before being fully healed or even knowing where he is. The Public Eye, under direct orders [yet again] from Stone, is looking for him to capture him. They find him but he is swept away by some guy who is the leader of the Freaks, a guy with metal wings and who can fly. Vulture 2099. Vulture wants Miggy to join him in his fight against the other gangs. Miggy refuses and runs off. A flying battle ensues.

At the same time, Miggy’s brother Gabe heads downtown to look for Miggy, survives a mugging and ends up with a gun. While waiting outside his girlfriend’s apartment, someone grabs his shoulder and he shoots without looking. The volume ends with it being a woman he apparently knows lying in a puddle of blood.

 

My Thoughts:

Frenetic is the word to describe the pace here. Miguel continues his boneheaded and impulsive behavior and just reacts. It certainly allows for fights and action scenes to naturally flow because anyone with half a brain would think and then avoid the fights. Comics, sigh.

Stone, the apparent villain, has a conversation with the CEO of Stark-Fujikawa and that guy knows that Stone used the Specialist for his own purposes and warns Stone that he won’t forget that.

Vulture 2099 is introduced, but since I didn’t really know anything about him in the 90’s, I can’t compare. He appears to be a man who has been experimented on, hence giving him his abilities, but those experiments also seem to have left him mentally disturbed. He’s a bloody cannibal for goodness sake. I guess we’ll see if he develops as a real villain or just a caricature of the character from the past.

I probably could have read the next issue right away, as it’s a continuation of this story arc, but I couldn’t take any more of Miggy or the “practically on speed” pace of things.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

  1. Review of Vol. 1-3
  2. Review of Vol. 4-5

The Specialist, Blood Oath (Spiderman 2099 #4 & 5) ★★★☆☆

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and links at Goodreads by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

 

Title:        The Specialist, Blood Oath
Series:     Spiderman 2099 #4 & 5
Author:    Peter David
Artist:      Rick Leonardi
Rating:     3 of 5 Stars
Genre:      Comics
Pages:       48
Format:    Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

Gabriel O’Hara, brother to Miguel, our erstwhile Spiderman 2099, gets involved with a woman who is on the wanted list by one of the Corporations, namely, Stark-Fujikawa. She is taken in front of Gabe by some Super Samurai. Gabe immediately runs to his big brother to cry for help. Miguel is being wooed back to Alchemax by Stone himself.

To get out from under Stone’s eye, he accepts reinstatement and immediately takes Gabe’s call. Miguel, affectionately known as “Miggy”, dons the suit and rushes to rescue Gabe’s latest girlfriend. He rescue her from the Samurai and then starts a very public battle with the Samurai, who is named The Specialist. He starts the fight to test his own capabilities but unbeknownst to him, “Spiderman 2099”s movements are being watched by Alchemax and publicly broadcasted.

The Public Eye, a sort of private/public Security Force are under orders to capture Spiderman, but one of the higher ups takes things into his own hands and has his forces fire on Spidey. These 2 volumes end with Spidey falling to the undercity of New York.

 

My Thoughts:

“Miggy”? That really is the tone here. A ton of one liners and cutesy quips. Miguel is desperately trying to keep his identity as Spiderman secret from Stone but fooling the CEO of a Mega-Corp isn’t easy.

Gabe, as the token relative, is a real idiot and I foresee a lot of drama coming from his direction. The Specialist was a bit overblown as a character and was more about showing off how another Mega-Corp worked than as a serious threat or evil villain. It’s hard to take him serious when he’s spouting off about “Honor” and “Chivalry” while taking a graffiti artist in to be a human experiment.

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We also get a few panels of Doom 2099. I like that character and hope he’s more involved even while he has his own comic line from the time.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3)

 

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything and links at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title:      Spiderman 2099, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Series:   Spiderman 2099 #1, 2 & 3
Author:  Peter David
Artist:    Rick Leonardi
Rating:   3 of 5 Stars
Genre:   Comics
Pages:    68
Format:  Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

Miguel O’hara, brilliant geneticist, is working for Alchemax, one of the Mega-Corporations. He is working on genetically imprinting various aspects of other creatures onto humans so as to make them more fit for various Alchemax jobs. So far none of the prisoners assigned as test subjects have survived.

Due to his smart mouth and bad political sense, Miguel gets on the wrong side of Tyler Stone, CEO of Alchemax. Stone injects Miguel with a synthetic drug that bonds to his dna and forces him to keep working for Alchemax, or he’ll die of withdrawal symptoms. In desperation, Miguel returns to his Alchemax lab and re-imprints his own dna pattern onto himself in an effort to cleanse himself from the drug bonding.

Unbeknownst to Miguel, one of the other scientists, who has taken the brunt of Miguel’s acid wit, is also working that night. Said scientist sabotages the imprint program by overloading it with spider dna. A huge explosion happens, Miguel lives but with talons, fangs and messed up vision. He escapes the lab but a bounty hunter is hot on his trail.

Realizing he has to throw the cyborg bounty hunter off of his trail so he won’t know it is Miguel O’Hara he is chasing, Miguel puts on a mexican day of the dead costume made from unstable molecules, which will allow him to use it without slicing it to ribbons with his talons. He attacks Venture, gets captured, escapes and defeats Venture and comes across a cult to Thor.

The origin story ends with Miguel taking a phone call from Tyler Stone, who wants to discuss “Spiderman”. Thus a new Super Hero is born.

 

My Thoughts:

Holy smokes!!! I had totally forgotten just how short comic books were. These scans had all the ad pages removed, so they’re only about 22-24 pages each. I think most comics ran about 30 pages back in the 90’s, so you’re talking an advertisement every 4th page. Glad I don’t have to deal with that now.

This is my first time reading Spiderman 2099 so let me back up and give just a bit of history about me and the 2099 comic line. I’ll be as brief as possible. I started seriously reading comics in 1991 and in 1992 started my first subscription with Silver Sable & Her Wildpack. This took up all of my money but I began haunting the semi-local comic stores and the grocery stores where comics were sold. I saw Doom 2099 in December of ’92 and that was my introduction to 2099. I bought the first 4 issues of Doom then bought the first couple of issues of Punisher 2099 from my friend Cam who had bought them but he didn’t like them. That brought me to mid ’93 and I was just plum out of money. So while I realized that things were really hopping over at Spiderman 2099 I just couldn’t afford it. Plus, the first several issues sold out wicked fast and trying to get back orders was, while not impossible, much harder than it was today. I’ve always liked Spidey, I’ve always wanted to see what Spidey2099 was all about and since I’m in a manga funk, I figure this will be a good break from that while still keeping my toes in the visual medium.

I bet this would have blown the socks of my teenage self. Flying cars, armed police/guards using flying cycles, cyborg bounty hunters, evil corporations, evil CEO’s personally injecting drugs into their most brilliant workers. Check, check and checkity-check! Now, I am reading this as an “experience” and not as just a book to read and review. If I just read this, it would be very hard to overlook the puerile nature, the complete lack of logic, the utter and complete “boy’ishness” of it. As an “experience” though, it sure is fun. Memories, memories, memories.

These first 3 issues comprise the Origins storyline. We’ll see how future volumes pan out. I will not be surprised if I just up and quit in disgust at some point or just let it peter out [ha, get it, Peter Out, Miguel In?]

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (The Dark Knight Saga #1)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 
Title: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Series: The Dark Knight Saga #1
Author: Frank Miller, et al
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

Batman has retired, all of the other superheroes have been forced into retirement by Superman, who is now a secret stooge of the United States Government.

But with Gotham getting worse and worse, Batman comes back. Lots of things happen, the Russians nuke a south american ally of the United States and Superman kills Batman, who has in turn killed the Joker. Except obviously Batman doesn’t die but goes on to become the worlds biggest boyscout to a bunch of misfits. Oh the irony.

 

My Thoughts: 

If you’re not a fan of Reagan, you might like this more. If you’re not a fan of Superman, you might like this more.

I own this and have read it before, but never logged it or reviewed it. I remembered up through part II where Batman takes down a gang leader to stop them from taking over Gotham. Everything else I did not remember.

There is a reason I blacked it out.

Superman being a collaborator to shut down super powered heroes. I didn’t buy it for a minute. Superman being stupid enough to detonate a nuclear missile in the earth’s atmosphere. I didn’t buy that for a minute. If this had just been about an old Batman, I would have bought that a lot more. But screw Miller. You don’t mess with my Superman.

I also apparently own the sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again. I’m already dreading it. If it’s like this one, I’ll be looking into giving these away somehow.

Also, this is the first comic where it is apparent that I’m getting old. I had to take OFF my glasses several times and bring the book close to read the bloody text. There were quite a few times where the text was very squiggly, cursive’y, irregular and it made it bloody hard to read. Goodness, I’m in fine fettle with this book.

I’m being very generous with my star rating here. If I was just judging this on enjoyment alone, it would have gotten a HALF star.

star25full-custom

Robin 3000 (Elseworlds: R3K #2)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

 

Title: Robin 3000

Series: Elseworlds: Robin 3000 #2

Author: Byron Preiss, et al

Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Comic

Pages: 53

Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

Tom Wayne begins chasing down some of his robot clones to prove to the rebellion that he isn’t collaborating with the Skulp. During the process he allows himself and his group to be captured by the head honcho of the Skulp intellligence. Who has a time machine.

Tom escapes, visits just desserts upon the head skulp, gets visited by a robot Robin from Earth [which has been teleporting around the galaxy looking for Tom] who convinces him to take on the costume of Robin and continue the fight against the Skulp.

The End. Or is it?

 

My Thoughts:

Ok, I knew going in this was going to be a mess. Vol 1 was a great disappointment and this did no better. Once again, this was not a Robin story. This was a Super Smart Science’y guy has adventures, In Space! Tom just jets around, as Tom, and does things and what not.

The way things were presented on the back covers was cool and made it sound like this would be a kick butt action comic. But it isn’t.

And the stupid Robin robot teleporting all over the galaxy looking for Tom just to give him the costume? That made NO sense nor did Tom’s taking of the costume. He’s the last Wayne. He should be taking on the Batman mythos.

But nothing about this 2 part series really made sense. And that “or is it?” ending. That reeked of desperation to get this turned into a regular series. Thank goodness it failed and we weren’t subjected to more of this pablum.

Ugh.

star15full-custom

Robin 3000 (Elseworlds: R3K #1)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Robin 3000
Series: Elseworlds: Robin 3000 #1
Author: Byron Preiss, et al
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comic
Pages: 59
Format: Digital scan

Synopsis:

It is the year 2999, Earth has been taken over by the Skulp and Bruce Wayne’s descendant continues the fight for freedom using the Batman mythos. Unable to escape the Skulp, Wayne passes on the torch to his nephew and assistant, Tom Wayne, aka Robin.

Escaping from the Skulp, Tom must hook up with the resistance. The Skulp however, have created a cyborg of Tom and have it publicly collaborating with them and decrying the Wayne name.

My Thoughts:

This was a big disappointment. Batman the 30 eleventieth talks for  2 pages about being a martyr, then gets blown up. But he has enough time safely set Tom down.

Tom is not Robin. He gets a cyborg hand part way through this volume, but he’s not a detective, he’s not martial and he certainly hasn’t been trained by a Batman, any Batman. He’s just the Wayne heir. And no costume.

This was simplistic in the bad way. Things just happened, because. Meeting the scientist who gave him his new hand was the perfect example.

Tom’s pilot friend:”My friend needs a new hand, here’s our crashed spaceship in payment.”

Dr: “Ok”

Tom upon awakening: “I am Tom Wayne, I can figure this hand out easily”.

Dr: “Drat, a Wayne. But don’t worry, I won’t turn you in to the Skulp, because I don’t feel like it.”

That is a slight exaggeration, but not much and the whole tone of the book felt like a Hardy Boys in space. And no costume.

There are 2 volumes to this little Elseworld story, but after making it through this volume, I need a week before I want to tackle the next volume.  I’m disappointed in the simplicity of the story [with all the attendant weaknesses and lack of full bodied thinking] and the fact that “Robin” doesn’t show up in his phracking costume!

Even this guy would have been better:

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star20full-custom

Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons (Calvin and Hobbes #7)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

 

Title: Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons
Series: Calvin and Hobbes #7
Author/Artist: Bill Watterson
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 128
Format: Kindle digital scan

 

My Thoughts: 

Another fine collection by Watterson. I found myself laughing a lot more in this collection than in the previous one. I don’t know if that is because this was truly funnier, or if it was because more time had elapsed since my last C&H read.

I’ve got a few more collections left. Once I’m done with those, I don’t know that I’ll ever plan on re-reading these. As a teen, C&H enthralled me. As an adult, they’re amusing me. I suspect that as a mature adult, they will come across as tedious or shallow. I don’t want that and I’d rather never read them again and keep the good memories.

Finally, is that title a mouthful or what? I had to go to Wikipedia and just search out Calvin and Hobbes and then copy/paste the title or else I would have gotten it wrong.

star40full-custom

Red Son (Superman: Elseworlds)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Booklikes & Librarything by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.
Title: Red Son
Series: Superman: Elseworlds
Author/Artist: Mark Millar, et all
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 160
Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: 

Superman lands in the Ukraine and a Communist Collective instead of in Smallville, USA.

The Man of Steel promotes communism and once Stalin dies, takes over as President Superman. Lex Luthor, last hope of the Free World, makes it his mission in life to bring down the Man of Steel, even at the sacrifice of his marriage to Lois Lane. Superman is being guided by Brainiac and can Wonder Woman, Boris Wayneski, a newly minted cadre of Green Lantern US Marines and even Superman himself stop Brainiac from completing his nefarious plans?

 

My Thoughts:  Spoilers

I enjoyed this the first I read it but I never recorded that I read it, so this is my first time rating and reviewing it.

I always enjoy the Elseworld stories because they do what all the phracking ridiculous and completely unnecessary reboots attempt, and miserably fail at, doing. IE, bringing us the characters we know in new ways with new stories and new variations. In fact, I would say that is the main fun of these, seeing the familiar turned at a 37° angle, just enough to skew everything but still the same enough for you to recognize.

First off, lets get through the bad. Stalin. For all that Hitler is vilified and made the devil incarnate, Stalin was truly worse. He was a butcher, plain and simple. So, for Superman to admire him was a bit of a let down. I’m not talking about Superman and communism, but Superman and Stalin.  Then there is Boris Wayneski. I don’t even know if that was his name in the book, he was simply the Russian Batman. He was almost a caricature and I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been someone else. However, the frenemy status between Supes and Batman goes way back, so it makes sense why it was included.

The good stuff.

Superman looked good. He looked good in his suit and with the hammer and sickle on his chest. I’m pretty picky about my Supes, as I liked Dan Jurgens version from the 90’s, but this was a creditable job and the art didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

Lex Luthor. He is portrayed as the smartest man alive here. While his quest to overcome Superman takes the lead, the advances he makes in doing so drags humanity upward, in all ways. In fact, his name becomes so great that his descendants take on his name, as L, or eL. You can see where that is going.

And that brings me to the ending. I loved it. I can see it pissing people off though. Superman is NOT from Krypton. He is from Earth, sent back in time to try to change the future created by Lex Luthor and the House of L. Of course, the story ends with his little craft landing in the Ukraine, hence beginning the whole cycle again.

star40full-custom