Wonder Woman Wednesday!

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Batman: White Knights issue #3 – Sean Murphy

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Batman: White Knight #3 by Sean Gordon Murphy cements the simple fact that this may be the best Batman story going right now. Definitely the best Joker story happening right now!

“…He’s a liar. Taking too many of those pills. Damn drug addict. Destroying the Joker legacy. And she’s enabling him. Anything for her desperate romance. She’s just another prison. Holding him back, thinking he won’t break loose. But the Joker’s more than just a man. He’s a riot…”

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Hell hath come to Gotham and the Joker’s in charge. Only it isn’t the Joker, not really, it’s Jack Napier and the original Harley Quinn, along with the mind control of the Mad Hatter and little pieces of Clayface, they have taken control of every criminal in Gotham. It is too much for the Batman and this time, Gotham is on the Joker’s side.

Dealing with a family tragedy, Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl are in no shape to take them all on. But help is coming, from a most unexpected source.

Seriously, if you have not picked this comic up yet than you are missing out. Sean Murphy has nailed this one. A broken Bat. A Joker with aspirations of being Lex Luthor. A Gotham torn asunder and a Bat Family falling apart. Plus every criminal there is and Harley times two.

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A great comic series not to be missed!

Mother Panic by Jody Houser

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Mother Panic, Volume 1: Work in Progress by Jody Houser is a new addition to the Batman Universe. A violent vigilante whose tragic and traumatic past has shaped her into a jaded and bitter anti-hero. With the wealth at her disposal and science behind her, she is able to battle, not crime per-say, but her own agenda.

Violet Paige is an amoralistic celebrity with an entitled attitude and bad temper. She is fodder for the paparazzi and works hard at her bad reputation. But its all a sham. Its a distraction from who she really is; Mother Panic. Paige is a bored heiress by day and a violent vigilante by night. But she does not seek out crime on Gotham’s streets, instead she looks to take revenge on her own peers, whose appetites for perversion and greed have shaped her own life.

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Now Mother Panic is on the hunt for an art dealer who makes paintings from blood and uses discarded children to do her work. But in her search, will Mother Panic find something far worse?

I am on the fence over this character. She does seem in too many ways to be a mirror of Bruce Wayne if he had allowed his hurt to turn him into a vengeful vigilante with a personal agenda instead of adhering to his code of justice. Making Mother Panic a young woman is a nice twist but is not really explored very well. This book isn’t about justice, its about revenge and the justice that comes from it comes by accident. Perhaps this has to do with character growth but only time will tell.

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I cannot help but believe that it would have been much better served if it had been turned into a Vertigo comic instead of a DC book. It reminds me a little of Marvel’s MAX line, sex and violence and curse words that are not normally found in a Batman title, fill the pages. But not for shock value, they actually work within the framework of the comic. Again, perhaps this is a Vertigo comic in disguise.

Overall it was decent to good and worth following for a bit more. Hopefully the character will become something more than a distraction and short lived experiment.

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Batman: White Knight issue #2

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Batman: White Knight issue 2 continues the strange tale of a out of control Batman and a Joker changed into someone we don’t recognize or could never have been believed to have been possible. The transformation is complete and there is only Jack Napier.

The video of Batman’s violence has exploded all over social media and people and talking heads alike agree that the Caped Crusader has gone too far. On trial for his life, the Joker makes an impassioned plea and the world recognizes that the Joker is no more and the man left in place, Jack Napier becomes the voice of the middle class citizen whose biggest fear is not the criminals on the street; but the vigilante street justice.

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Batman has his own worries, mainly the illness that is taking from him his mentor and friend, Alfred Pennyworth.

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As Napier begins his crusade against the Batman, he discovers a secret about his past that he never realized. A secret that will both aid and hinder him. A secret about the woman he loved; Harley Quinn. Together, they begin to build an army of resistance against the GCPD and the Batman. Supervillians that will do whatever Napier commands and with the support of the people of Gotham, will this finally be the end of the Batman.

Issue two continues this original and entertaining comic and ties together some of the more interesting questions of the Batman Universe. The interaction between the Harley Quinns is priceless and quickly becomes a driving theme in this tale. Is the Joker really acting for the good of Gotham or is this even a greater ingenious plan to destroy the Batman.

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This comic is very much worth its following and those who miss it will be kicking themselves when this run is complete!

Archie, Vol.1 – The New Riverdale

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Archie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid is one of the sleeper hits of the past year and with good reason. Good stories and good artwork. Mark Waid brings Archie and the gang from Riverdale into the 2000s with modern day problems and challenges but still maintaining the feel of the comic that started its run back in 1941.

Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones and the whole high school crew of Riverdale have been America’s favorite teenagers for over half a century and for the later part of their reign, have been somewhat stale and unrelatable. But Waid brings Archie into this century and still keeps the characters true to their original nature.

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Riverdale is consumed with the rumors of the breakup of Archie and Betty. A couple who have been friends since they were children. They were friends and not really a couple in the romantic sense of the word but all of Riverdale High saw them as a couple. But that was before the lipstick incident and now Betty and Archie are not even talking to one another. The kids of Riverdale High had no choice but to devise a plan to get the duo back together. But to do so, they have to enlist the help of Archie’s best friend, Jughead Jones. All looked like it was going well until the arrival of the new girl in town; Veronica Lodge.

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When I began reading comics as a kid, I was mostly into horror and superhero books. Archie was my hidden joy. The hokey and cute tales of Riverdale, which I am sure don’t even remotely resemble the television show, were a relief from the life around me. They were Norman Rockwell paintings at a time when the world resembled a Jackson Pollack chaotic frenzy. In the sixties and seventies, Archie Comics reminded everyone of a time that seemed lost. Now, with the strong writing of Mark Waid, Archie brings a sense of innocence to Archie that was central to the character as a whole. An innocence that is its calling card. The time has changed. But the setting and the characters remain true to themselves and there is something very endearing about this.

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A good and fun read.

ARCHIE VOL. 1 collects ARCHIE #1-6.