Friday, February 4, 2022



My path to Lee Bermejo’s Batman: Noel [DC Comics; $19.99] was not a direct one. For the Isabella Family Christmas mantle, I purchasedthe Funko Pop! Batman as Ebenezer Scrooge figure. This figure was, forgive me, cute as the Dickens.

When I named the figure one of my Things That Made Me Happy, I also said that now I knew what I would do if I were ever asked to write a Batman Christmas story. One of my Facebook friends told me there was already such a story. Not surprisingly, since I tend to skim the DC previews looking for Black Lightning items and little else, this hardcover graphic novel flew under my radar. However, since I’ve liked Bermejo’s art and thought the premise of Batman: Noel was clever, I requested a copy from my local library system.

Batman; Noel is an interesting read. We have an exceedingly grim to the point of insanity Batman, a logical evolution of the toxic hero he often becomes. We have the Joker in all his murderous menace. We have a criminal trying to provide for his handicapped son and he’s stuck in the middle between a heartless hero and the sociopath that hero is trying to bring down.

Bob is that man in the middle. He’s the most sympathetic character in the graphic novel. But he’s also the catalyst for the incredible transformation we’ll see in this story. Or, as the unseen narrator asks of his audience:

‘Cuz for this story to make sense...for it to mean have to believe something. Something very important. You have to believe people can change.

The Dickens-like storytelling is labored at times. However, much to my delight, this redemption tale delivers a most satisfying ending. I recommend Batman: Noel to, well, to all Batman fans and to those who used to be Batman fans. I think you’ll enjoy it.

ISBN 978-1-77951-325-0



Godzilla: World of Monsters [IDW; $29.99] collects three different Godzilla mini-series. The biggest drawback of my “accumulation” of stuff is that I don’t know what I have. Even when I do know what I have, I don’t know where it is. I know I have all of the Godzilla comic books in this trade paperback and likely any variant covers for those issues. I just don’t know where they are. I’m starting to think it’s time to forego individual comic books, except for some special items, for trades. Of course, Godzilla comics would always be one of those special items.

Gangsters & Goliaths by John Layman and Alberto Ponticelli is the best mini-series in this book. Heck, it’s one of the best Godzilla  comics stories ever. An innocently disgraced detective is obsessed with taking down a Tokyo crime syndicate, even if he has to bring down kaiju wrath on them. However, his “control” of Mothra proves to have dangerously unexpected consequences when Godzilla and other  monsters arrive in the city as well. This one has a great if flawed hero in the detective, perfectly vile villains, great kaiju action and a satisfying ending. I loved it!

Cataclysm by Cullen Bunn and Dave Wachter takes place on an Earth devastated by a monster apocalypse. Mankind is now far from the top of the food chain, devolved into tribes who embrace a semi-religion that mostly prays for the beasts to never return. Existing on what little they can find, their prayers are not answered. It’s a solid story of destruction and rebirth.

Oblivion by Joshua Flalkov and Brian Churilla is the weakest story in this book. It’s a “folly of man” take wherein stupid scientists open a portal to a world where Godzilla and the other monsters are supreme and mankind on its way out. Gee, I guess that will be fine as long as the monsters don’t come through the portal to our world. Spoiler: they do. I can’t say the writing or the art are bad, but I could never connect to any of the human characters or any of the monsters.

All in all, World of Monsters is a whole lot of Godzilla fun for a really good price. Probably even a better price if you do a bit of shopping around. It’s a must-have volume for Godzilla fans.

ISBN 978-168405-830-3


Funded via Kickstarter, Thom Zahler’s Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid [Maerkle Press; $9.99] features a new 58-page comics story wherein the Crusader (Mark Spencer), along with family and friends, deal with the pandemic all of us have been dealing with since 2019. The justly praised series has always and wonderfully focused more on the personal lives of its cast over super-hero action and angst. It’s a winning concept.

If I may quibble, and no one can stop me from that, I was somewhat disappointed that the cast pretty much ignored the governmental and presidential malfeasance that affected the first two years of this  pandemic and the inexplicable resistance to sound science that is still plaguing us today. I know Zahler wanted to avoid politics in this story, but those subjects would have certainly been on Mark’s mind and the minds of his family and friends. Sometimes you have to pick a side. I choose compassion, decency, logic and science. Which should not come as a surprise to my regular readers.

My quibbles aside, Love and Capes: In the Time of Covid, like all previous Love and Capes comics, gets my highest recommendation. If you didn’t support this Kickstarter, you still might be able to get a copy from Zahler directly.

ISBN 979-8-9852522-0-0


Writer John Holland sent me several of his comics. I hope to get to the others soon, but the one I definitely want to recommend to you is A Girl and Her Dog [Diebold Comics; $5], a moving love letter to the dogs we love and who love us back.

Drawn by Hernan Gonzalez, the girl is Evie and, in time-tossed bits and pieces, we see her life from age 15 to 84. The dog is her Max, who is there for all the important moments of her life, even after his life has ended. This goddamn comic book made my cry because it is happy and life-affirming and sad and speaks of the power of love  even in the face of death.

When that one mainstream publishing house publishes its annual and usually antsy-fartsy bogus collection of the best comics of 2021, I hope it gives the book a shred of legitimacy by including A Girl and Her Dog.

You can order A Girl and Her Dog here

That’s the bloggy thing for today. I’ll be back as soon as possible with more stuff.

© 2022 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Tony. I'm glad you liked the comic. I'm very proud of it.