Tag Archives: alex ross

Batman R.I.P. (comic)

Batman R.I.P. is a comic book arc written by Grant Morrison with art by Tony Daniel and covers by Alex Ross. It was first published in Batman #676-681 and it’s hard to write about because it’s so hard to read. This is very layered story. There are a lot of things going on and you will be lost if this is the first Batman comic that you’ve ever read. It’s not for beginners. The basic plot outline involves a group of villains called the Black Glove trying to destroy Batman by breaking his mind. They cause Bruce Wayne to lose his sanity, but the world’s greatest detective is prepared for everything. He’s not going to let a little case of the crazies get in the way of justice.

Grant Morrison had been planting the seeds for months in earlier issues and it’s nice to see how he ties things together. The story is much bigger than this one arc and spills over in Final Crisis and other DC titles. It’s a very good Batman story, but I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece. A classic maybe, but not a masterpiece.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Justice Volume 3 (comic)

The final four issues of Justice are collected in the third volume. The first two volumes are setting up the story and this one resolves everything in an epic way. Alex Ross and Jim Kreuger’s story reaches its exciting conclusion as the Justice League of America squares off against the formidable Legion of Doom with the fate of the world at stake. There are huge fights and battles between good and evil. And futuristic-looking superhero armor to jazz things up.

The best way to solve problems is resorting to violence, and so the JLA decide to punch their way to victory. They use their superpowers and smarts to punch the bad guys and save the day. There are dozens of DC characters, both famous and obscure ones, facing off and fighting and punching their way through the plot. Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite’s stunning artwork makes the punches look incredible.

There are a lot of characters and a lot of things going on. It’s not as convoluted as Crisis on Infinite Earths, but you’ll still be lost if you’re a newcomer to comics. There are just too many names and powers and histories to keep track of. You can still admire the artwork though. It’s stylistically realistic and fantastic to look at. It’s not essential reading but it’s still nice to own.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Justice Volume 2 (comic)

The Justice League is under attack by a group of supervillains and it looks like the JLA is in trouble. Volume 2 contains issues 5-8 of DC’s Justice. Jim Krueger and Alex Ross wrote it, and Alex Ross also paints over Doug Braithwaite’s sketches. This is the second act of the story, and the second act is usually the darkest.

The comic starts with our heroes being attacked simultaneously. Most of the JLA is separated from each other and the Legion of Doom seems to be kicking ass. You find out that Lex Luthor, Brainiac and Gorilla Grodd are the masterminds behind everything. They have a diabolical plan and an uneasy alliance. The villains are able to keep a step ahead of the JLA by using mind-controlling worms and kidnapped loved ones to keep the JLA in check. Will the JLA get their shit together and defeat the bad guys? I wonder what Volume 3 has in store…

JLA comics are awesome because DC has so many iconic heroes and villains. A lot of fan favorites get some time to shine in this comic. Even lesser characters are more interesting in an ensemble. Captain Marvel seems like less of a tool when he’s saving Superman. The story is epic: you have superpowers and magic and gods and aliens and humans with utility belts. But the story takes a backseat to the amazing artwork. Larger than life, but still realistic.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Justice Volume 1 (comic)

Justice is a 12-issue comic about the Justice League of America doing battle with a group of super villains. The first volume contains the first four issues. Alex Ross and Jim Krueger wrote the story with art by Doug Braithwaite and painted by Alex Ross. The twist is that the villains seem to be helping humanity and trying to save the world. They claim that the JLA are the real villains for never doing anything to change the world; they’ll save you from danger but wont save you from your meaningless life.

The story starts with a handful of villains experiencing the same dream over and over again: nuclear bombs start falling on cities around the world and Superman and his super friends are powerless to stop it. The villains team up and start healing the sick and crippled and bringing food and water to starving people. They are able to win over the public’s trust.

Even though the villains seem to be doing good things, they still have a hidden agenda that involves kidnapping Aquaman and hacking into JLA computer files to find out secret identities and weaknesses. The villains use their intelligence to stage a coordinated attack on the JLA. Will the JLA emerge triumphant? Will they find out the sinister motives behind the villains? Will they save the world?

Justice has a cool story, but the art makes it even better. Alex Ross uses paint to bring Braithwaite’s illustrations to life. Superman looks like a real guy. Even the most fantastic villains and set pieces look realistic. It humanizes the characters and makes them more relatable. It’s not the best comic ever, but it’s pretty much all you want from a comic: a cool story and cool art with cool characters. Alex Ross did the story justice. That’s a pun.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Marvels

Kurt Busiek’s Marvels is an epic history of key moments in the Marvel Universe. Instead of being shown from the side of metahumans, it is shown from the side of regular people. Marvels is the story of photojournalist Phil Sheldon. He experiences firsthand the awe and fear that superheroes inspire. The Human Torch, Namor, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, a few X-Men and tons of other Marvel characters make appearances.

The story is pretty interesting, but once again the artwork takes center stage. Alex Ross is an amazing artist. Marvels lets him cut loose and depict iconic figures and important moments in the Marvel Universe is stunning, almost photorealistic paintings. Kingdom Come was all aged DC characters, well past their prime. Marvels depicts most of the important Marvel characters in all their glory. The panels seem to come to life.

If superheroes were real, life would be pretty shitty for normal people. And there are a lot more normal people than superheroes. Therefore, the world would be pretty shitty. People would live in a constant state of fear. They would rely on heroes to save them, because that’s what heroes do. But if they don’t get saved, they blame the heroes. If the heroes save the world, the normal people will forget after awhile. Marvels tries to tackle those issues. Phil Sheldon fears the Marvels, grows to accept them, rely on them, and ultimately defend them.

Marvels is a pretty awesome comic. The four issues cram a lot of important Marvel events and characters into a cohesive and interesting story. The artwork transcends the material, and your jaw drops with each turn of the page. It is simply beautiful art. It helps to humanize the heroes, makes them more down-to-earth and approachable, while at the same time idolizing them and putting them on a pedestal. Go read this now. Or at least Google Image Alex Ross paintings and admire those.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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Kingdom Come (comic)

Comics should have a good story and good art. Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come has a great story and even greater art. The world is in trouble. Superman has retired, and a bunch of new but dangerous vigilantes rise up to fill the void, so Superman has to get back in the game. He starts recruiting heroes to try to restore balance between metahumans and regular people. Batman thinks Superman’s ideals are outdated, so he creates his own team of heroes, mostly ones without powers. Lex Luthor leads a gang of villains called the Mankind Liberation Front, because you need a league of villains to fight.

Kingdom Come has a lot of similarities to Watchmen. Rorschach even makes a cameo. The glory days for heroes has passed. A lot of heroes have retired, only a few are still active. A growing threat emerges, and heroes are forced to confront it. The heroes have to pick a side, and they don’t always see eye to eye. Right and wrong isn’t always black and white.

The story deals with regular people being threatened by metahumans. The metahumans fight with each other, recklessly destroying things and endangering innocent bystanders. Superman comes out of retirement to remind them that with great power comes great responsibility. I might be paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it.

Alex Ross’s drawings are practically photorealistic, making the superheroes look even more super. The artwork is amazing. The DC Universe seems to come to life. Alex Ross is a great artist. The panels looks like photographs, sometimes you think you’re reading a scrapbook with captions and not a comic book. The battle scenes are intense and chaotic. He crams a lot of background details into each panel, look carefully and you can find lots of Easter eggs, like characters from other comics or real people.

There are a bunch of DC characters running around the story. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Green Lantern… most of the big boys make appearances. Captain Marvel plays a significant role; he is probably the most important character. Captain Marvel a.k.a. Billy Batson is the only one who is both a regular mortal person and a metahuman. He is initially being brainwashed and used by Lex, because he is the only one capable of stopping Superman. He eventually regains control of his mind and saves the world. Sorry, that was kind of a spoiler.

This book is worth buying. Not only does it have a good, satisfying story, but the art takes it to a whole new level. You can read it multiple times, and you should read it multiple times. In fact, you should have already read it. So go do that if you haven’t yet.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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