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Graphic Breakdown: BATMAN #52, CARTOONISTS AGAINST THE HOLOCAUST, MOON KNIGHT #2, THE PUNISHER #1 & More!

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Hello! My name is Lenny Schwartz and I am a playwright from RI and New York.

And I’m a life long comic book fan. I am so happy to write about comic books.

So without further adieu, here goes!

$_57Batman #52 

Written by James Tynion and Illustrated by Riley Rossmo 
Published by DC Comics

So here we are. The final issue of Batman in the current series before the Afterbirth of Rebirth thing DC has in store for us. Snyder and Capullo are out and we are left with a tale written by James Tynion.

Tynion has not always been my favorite writer(His Batman/TMNT series stinks on ice) but he has written some decent books. And this one?

It turns out this book actually is pretty damn fantastic.

Tynion immediately turns the wheel in a different direction than Snyder and it’s a bit jarring at first. Tynion basically gives us a preview of what he has in store for the big event next month and it’s intriguing to be sure. He put a lot into this issue and it works. Good for him.

Rossmo is a wonder on the art too. He is one of the most underrated artists out there, a mix of Humberto Ramos and Sean Murphy but original in his own right.

Will this reboot work? If this issue is any indication I would have to say yes. Batman is on his way to having a new vision guiding him and it starts here. Give it a shot. It’s well worth your time.

RATING: A-

Cartoonists Against The Holocaust 

Compiled and Conceived by Dr. Rafael Medoff and Craig Yoe
Published by Clizia

So this is a book that may start appearing in classrooms. Or maybe it already has. It’s that good.

This is a compilation of many of the cartoons that appeared during the second World War.

Should you buy it? The simple answer is: Yes.

This books shows cartoonists taking a stand against the atrocities of that time period.

There are cartoons by various and they are all fascinating to look at and read. Medoff is the director of the David S. Wyman Institute.

This started off as an exhibit there.

The work presented here shows the power a simple comic strip can have. It’s impactful. It’s a compilation of history contained in these pages.

Pick up this book. It’s bold, arresting, and heartbreaking all at once. It shows what happens when people take a stand together in the darkest times in history. It stands as a testament of hope in a world that needed it in the time these were created.

Rating: A+
THE-LIVING-FINGER-TPThe Living Finger

Written by Garth Matthams and Illustrated by Armin Ozdic 
Published by Darby Pop Publishing

So yes. The Living Finger. One of the oddest titles of a comic book I have ever seen. I had to give it a shot. Why not right?

How is it? It ain’t half bad.

It’s strange as hell. But that’s not always a bad thing.

A guy named Jason discovers a disembodied finger that seems to be “Alive.” The finger becomes the sole focus of his life. He names the finger “Wendy,” learns to communicate with it via tap code, and finds that the only thing that Wendy wants is a human body to attach herself to. I can’t make this stuff up, everyone.

The comic then gets stranger.  Matthams delves into some dark places and isn’t afraid to go there. It’s crazy but I was never bored.

The art by Ozdic is decent enough, but a little stiff. As a result, it just felt okay. Nothing great, nothing terrible. Just okay.

But should you pick up this book? Sure!

I hope it gets darker and bloodier. I can see a possible fun ride with it in the future. But for now I give it thus:

RATING: C+

1500892_xlMillennials: You Are Special #1 

Written by Dimitrios Fragiskatos and Illustrated by Guillermo Villareal 
Published by Gryphon Knights Comics

Here is another Kickstarter comic book that has made it’s goal and poof! There is a comic book.

This one reminded me of the Doom Patrol or the X-Men…not the way they are now but how they were when I was growing up. It was fun. But how is it to read?

I liked it.

The first issue introduces us to the Brooklynite Millennials, a group of superpowered people sponsored by the Trustfunder. The story is breezy and fun. It gets little heavy handed at times and some of the narrative is a little hard to follow. But Fragiskatos obviously has talent and can write a comic book. In fact, it wasn’t wordy at all and the writing works with the pictures. A lot of comic books can’t do that so my hats off to him for making that happen.

The art by Villareal is very good. It has influences of Matt Wagner and Humberto Ramos(there he is again!) in it but manages to be it’s own thing. Which is very good. I understand the need for economy for the first issue in trying to pack some in..I wish this team had a lot more pages to fill. This could easily be 112 page graphic novel.

I think you should all pick it up though and support this comic. These two work as a team, and deserve a chance. There is a lot of talent and a lot of ideas in this first issue. And they deserve some time to breathe and show us what they’ve got. I know it’ll be impressive. I hope they keep pushing these out and make it. They certainly deserve to.

Rating: B+

Moon-Knight-2Moon Knight #2

Written by Jeff Lemire and Illustrated by Greg Smallwood. 
Published by Marvel Comics

This series is friggin awesome. I reviewed the first issue last month and the second issue is even better.

How is that possible? Well, it’s because of the creative team they have in place.

Lemire nails Moon Knight. He hasn’t been this good in forever. As I stated last month, I like a few of the series that have popped up over the years. Yet, besides the run in the 1980s, there never seemed to be a plan in place for him. Lemire has a plan and it’s clear. I hope he has a nice long run writing this book. He has finally made Moon Knight the way he should be.

Smallwood is equally fantastic doing the work of his career.

This is something else. Do yourself a favor and pick this up. You aren’t soon to forget it. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

RATING: A+

The-Punisher-2016-001-000The Punisher #1 

Written by Becky Cloonan and Illustrated by Steve Dillon 
Published by Marvel Comics

So look at this! Two Marvel comic books in a row that I enjoyed. And in the same week!

When’s the last time this happened? Feels like forever.

It feels like it was only last week I was lamenting on how Marvel has gone downhill quality wise for their comics line, and instead have been focusing on movies. Well, between this, Black Panther, and Moon Knight maybe the tides have turned.

Cloonan is the LAST person I would expect to write a Punisher comic book. But maybe that is what makes it brilliant.  Cloonan has a handle on good old Frank Castle right away, with violence galore and blood everywhere. And it’s engaging. The only problem I have is that it reminds me a little too much of when Garth Ennis and Jason Aaron wrote it.

Having Dillon draw it doesn’t help either. It feels a bit of a take on what we have already seen. That being said, why not? It’s goof storytelling, it’s interesting and my gripe is minor.

This could be a title to watch in the next few months. Cloonan proves to be a solid writer and Dillon is a fantastic artist. Pick it up and enjoy.

Rating: B+

BURIED TREASURE PICK

51XnXFWgG2LSomerset Holmes 

Written by Bruce Jones and April Campbell and Illustrated by Brent Anderson 
Published by Eclipse Comics)


Bruce Jones is one of the most underrated writers in comic book history. And this is the masterpiece he co-wrote with April Campbell. If you haven’t heard of it track it down and if you have let me know and I’ll give you a cookie. This is something else and a comic book many have long forgotten about.

The series asks “Who is Somerset Holmes?”

The story starts off with Somerset’s memory wiped clean from a hit and run driver. All she knows she is on the run from criminals intent on killing her as she tries to piece together her past life and her identity.

This is one of the first comic books to be cinematic (No matter what people tell you about The Dark Knight Returns). It’s brilliant.

Jones and Campbell write one hell of a tale and Anderson (long before Astro City) does some amazing work here.

This is again one of the best comic books you have never read and can pick up for cheap. So do it.

Once you have read it, share it with your friends. You’ll love it. I guarantee.

Rating: A+

 

And that’s it for another week!

If you haven’t yet seen Captain America: Civil War do it as it’s pretty fantastic.

Until next time I remain,

Lenny Schwartz

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