Category Archives: Grant Morrison

Review: WONDER WOMAN EARTH ONE by Grant Morrison–well, not quite yet.

Finally, "Wonder Woman Earth One" by Grant Morrison. I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out it was released!

Finally, “Wonder Woman Earth One” by Grant Morrison. I nearly fell out of my chair when I found out it was released!

Yes, “Wonder Woman Earth One” has been out since April but I had completely lost track. It’s been years, and years. You know, since the first teasing out of news of Grant Morrison possibly writing a Wondy book. He had said he’d turn her into the woman she was always meant to be or some such hogwash. I mean, who cared about the faux psychoanalysis, really? But Grant Morrison is a solid guy with a fun and creative mind. He could write something interesting, perhaps too interesting! So, that’s why DC Comics settled upon giving him an Earth One story to do, something that allowed him to flex his muscles and ooze his juices as he pleased–and it would remain outside of proper Wonder Woman canon or whatnot.

Alright then, so what did we end up with?? All of you comics geeks already know, right? But I don’t care so much about superhero comics. Well, I sort of take that back. It needs to be interesting! Do you get that? I know a lot of you out there do get that. Okay, here is where I leave my placeholder. I will drop in an ellipsis, a bunch of dot, dot, dots, like this “…..” and that lets me know to come back to it in due time. You know why I’m telling you this? Because I just realized I won’t be coming back to this for yet another long, long while. How about April 12, 2016!!

The following is the latest teaser from DC Comics. Read it and you’ll find the familiar Wonder Woman origin story. So, I’m not sure why Grant Morrison would need to tell this retread of a tale. Is a story that so closely follows canon a story that requires a writer like Grant Morrison who is only supposed to be summoned to completely blow your mind? Well, just saying:

Following tradition of Superman, Batman, Teen Titans comes Wonder Woman Earth One in 2016. Earth One is a series of Graphic Novels set in a new universe separate from the current DC Universe.

From the masterful minds of Grant Morrison (FINAL CRISIS, THE MULTIVERSITY) and Yanick Paquette (SWAMP THING, BATMAN, INC.) comes the most provocative origin of Wonder Woman you’ve ever seen — a wholly unique retelling that still honors her origins.

For millennia, the Amazons of Paradise Island have created a thriving society away from the blight of man. One resident, however, is not satisfied with this secluded life — Diana, Princess of the Amazons, knows there is more in this world and wants to explore, only to be frustrated by her protective mother, Hippolyta. Diana finds her escape when Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, the first man she has ever seen, crashes onto their shores. With his life hanging in the balance, Diana ventures into the long forbidden world of men. The Amazons chase after her and bring her back to Paradise Island in chains to face trial for breaking their oldest law…staying separated from the world that wronged them.

Thought provoking yet reverent, thoroughly modern but still timeless, the power and courage of Paradise Island’s greatest champion — Wonder Woman — is introduced in this new addition to DC’s New York Times best selling Earth One original graphic novel series.

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Comics in 2015: Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1

From "Wonder Woman: Earth One," art by Yanick Paquette

From “Wonder Woman: Earth One,” art by Yanick Paquette

It was this time last year that I posted about looking forward to Grant Morrison’s “Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince.” Well, now it would seem to be an even better deal as that story will join forces with Earth One, an ongoing series of graphic novels published by DC Comics which retells the earliest adventures of various DC Comics characters. These stories give each character a freshening up on their origin story and on an alternate Earth so that it is free from, as they say in the comics biz, “continuity restraints.” That means that these stories don’t have to answer to what has already been sort of set in stone in the official DC universe. So, it’s like maybe a dream and it never happened, or maybe it did, but probably not. In the end, a good story should result.

Earth One titles slated for 2015:

Superman: Earth One, Volume 1-2 and Volume 3 will be released February 10, 2015.
Batman: Earth One, Volume 1 and Volume 2 will be released May 12, 2015.
Teen Titans: Earth One, Volume 1 to be released in 2015.
Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1, originally slated for a Summer 2014 release, now slated for 2015.

The Wonder Woman Earth One graphic novel will be well worth the wait, with Grant Morrison finally tackling his first full-length Wonder Woman story and with art by the wonderful Yanick Paquette, who has worked with Morrison on “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” and “Seven Soldiers of Victory.” For more details, visit our friends at DC Comics right here.


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President Superman of Earth-23 uncovers a threat to all Reality so apocalyptic it will take a team of incredible heroes from across the Multiverse to face it!

Let the above synopsis be your guide. The long-awaited Multiversity has arrived and all you really need to know you learned in grade school. You instinctively knew when a comic book was cool and fun. Say what you will about Grant Morrison but he’s always been about bringing back the cool and fun into comic books. This one feels right on par with the crisp relaunch of “Action Comics,” if not even better.

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After a much needed winter holiday break, Comics Grinder is back. Did you miss me? Oh, of course you did, and that’s understandable. As the main force behind CG, I need to take pauses. It’s all about intelligent pacing. We do have guest columnists from time to time. We may even find more regular contributors this year. As for now, “we” at Comics Grinder do the best we can.

As we roll into the new year, expect more reviews, interviews, original art, various features, and thoughts on 2014. If you ask me, the most buzzworthy thing coming out of superhero comics is going to be Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman graphic novel. Of course, there’s Morrison’s “Multiversity” due out this year too, but the Wondy book will be easy for the media to hook into and it well deserves all the attention it will get.

In “Wonder Woman: The Trial of Diana Prince,” Grant Morrison has Diana attempting to run away with her man, Steve Trevor, only to have to face trial for her wicked crime by her peers back on Paradise Island, or Themyscira, for you comics geeks. This is a story that will pit mother against daughter and probably leave Steve Trevor wishing he’d never indulged in a lasso fetish.

Looking over notable moments in 2013, I found this: Grant Morrison provides a brilliant post-San Diego Comic-Con interview for USA Today and talks all about the new Wondy book, and much more, here.


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ACTION COMICS #18 Review: Grant Morrison’s Superman Finale


If “Batman Inc. #8” was the must-have a few weeks back, then DC Comics scores again with this week’s must-have issue, “Action Comics #18.” You will notice that DC Comics decided to go with two other guys at the helm of this last issue: Nosirrom Tnarg and Selarom Sgar. You have to wonder how that happened. How can such an important issue be left with these two unknowns in charge? Oh, wait a minute, it’s Grant Morrison and Rags Morales after all – their names are backward in the credits in keeping with this story’s theme! Ha. Ha. That brings up one of the best scenes in this issue. This should not be a spoiler. But be warned, if you don’t want to know anything about this last issue. Basically, this is a chance to express some initial thoughts as we all read this together and process it.

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Batman Inc. #8 Review: Damian and The Way We Were


Cue up Barbra Streisand singing, “The Way We Were,” to a montage of Batman and Robin images. Can you hold back the tears? Damian Wayne, what a beautiful creature, cut down at the tender age of 10.

How do you create such a lively new character, allow him to live and grow…and suddenly die? Well, the fascinating reign of Damian, Batman’s son, as Robin, came to and end in “Batman Inc. #8.” It was a highly sought after issue and a much talked about issue. Overnight, you had all these new readers curious about the latest Batman buzz outside of “Death of the Family,” the blood-splattered Joker murder marathon event. “Damian Wayne? Batman’s son?” And just as some Batman readers were pondering that concept, it is no longer on the table.

Damian Wayne, up for the fight. From #1

Damian Wayne, up for the fight. From #1

As much as Grant Morrison stretched the idea of Batman and what it means, the whole idea of Damian, as well as Batman Incorporated, never seemed to fully take hold with marketing concerns, even though it brought new life to the very thing, Batman, that requires new blood to remain viable and marketable in the first place! Well, there’s always Joker blood but still. Thankfully, Morrison has done his work and it will always be there for future writers to work with. In the end, DC Comics would appear to want to let such innovations rest for now. Maybe the problem was that DC Comics did not invest more on “Batman Inc.” Maybe “Batman Inc” just needed time and eventually an animated movie and a TV show on the WB. That could have happened but that’s a commitment and commitments can be scary.

Much commentary about this issue, oddly enough, has been made without having read it. Sadly, “Batman Incorporated” wasn’t considered a must-read by regular Batman fans until now and now we’re wrapping this puppy up in a few more issues of Batman wrath. And what’s better for a die-hard traditionalist than to add to Batman’s misery? His son, whoever he was, is dead! That makes for an even more intense Batman, right?

Damian Wayne in all "Kiss-Ass" splendor from the New 52 "Batman Inc. #3"

Damian Wayne in all “Kiss-Ass” splendor from the New 52 “Batman Inc. #3”

This is a good time to comment on the actual issue and “Batman Inc.” in general. Compare the first run of “Batman Inc.” with the relaunched “New 52” version. In the original batch, Grant Morrison was building up the concept of Batman assembling a global crime-fighting network and it was being done with style. At the time, back in November of 2010, that first issue of “Batman Inc.” was a big deal, with big names in the industry, like Chip Kidd, highly recommending it. That was for good reason. And, you know, sometimes high quality does not result in big profits, at least not right away. Okay, once “Batman Inc.” was relaunched, in May of 2012, it had lost momentum and was already on its way out since it did not fit within the “New 52” realignment. The thrust of the story was no longer a brand new game plan for Batman. Nope, now “Batman Inc.” was simply going to serve as Batman’s “army” against Leviathan, the army of his nemesis, Talia al Ghul, daughter of the supervillain Ra’s al Ghul and the mother to Bruce Wayne’s only child, Damian Wayne. This is not to say that this hasn’t been one hell of a story. It’s just that it seemed that Leviathan, as well as Batman Incorporated, were heading towards much bigger things. Consider that next time you see the Penguin, the Joker, and the Riddler.

The story told in the pages of “Batman Inc.” has been a great merging of the talents of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham. What became a psychological thriller, pitting the diabolical mother against the vengeful father and leaving the child caught in the middle, reached its climax in Issue 8.

Damian Wayne, ultimately is a little boy lost. He wants to honor both parents but they are coming at each other in a fight to the death. Damian is no match for what ensues. Repeatedly, he has been warned that his life is in danger. He can at least die a hero and he does.

Damian Wayne, Kid Power! From #8

Damian Wayne, Kid Power! From #8

At every opportunity, Morrison and Burnham express the innocence and bravery of Damian Wayne. This is truly “the boy wonder.” Every fiber of his being is engaged. He does battle in a way only children can fully understand.

His fight is uncompromising and pure. There is no middle ground for Damian. There isn’t any hesitation or brooding. What a contrast to his papa. Stop and think that over. Is the contrast of Batman and the Joker more compelling? Well, in this case, there would have been room for both of these to exist.

With all due respect, and in all fairness to DC Comics, it’s understandable that the father and son dynamic of Batman and Robin might have been too risky to pursue beyond a certain point. The whole point, a big point, to the New 52 was to open up a whole new page to a new generation of readers. The story of Batman did not start out as a father and son story so why go there now? Wouldn’t it take away from Batman anyway? Well, that’s very debatable. It would actually open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Look back, for instance, at all the great stories from “Batman Beyond,” which was set in a future with an elder Bruce Wayne mentoring a new Batman. That’s only one scenario. Batman and Bruce Wayne can remain as virile and empowered as ever while still having a son. That said, if Bruce Wayne was ever going to have a son, Grant Morrison gave him an excellent son with Damian Wayne.

“Batman Inc.” is not over yet although it basically is. Enjoy it through the final issue, #12, out June 26. After that, keep the faith. Maybe, years from now, maybe generations from now, “Batman Inc.” will rise again. For now, it’s gone, it’s over, it’s archived and placed in the vault. Visit our friends at DC Comics here.

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NEW 52 – BATMAN INC. #6 Review

New 52 Batman Inc 6

“There has to be a way to end this.”

“What is it you want?”

Classic statements made in any custody dispute. This time by Batman. Compared to the average couple, it doesn’t get any easier for Batman in his struggle with Talia over their son, Damian. You may have multi-colored elephants flying out of the sky and volcanoes erupting in the background, it’s all the same in the end. Except, in this case, the fate of millions hangs in the balance. Talia understates it very nicely, “We’re not normal people. We’re special.”

There’s no denying how special “Batman Incorporated” and all the related works by Grant Morrison are. It’s a joy to read. Even in its most violent moments, it still registers as comics and not a CSI episode. Part of it has to do, of course, with the amazing artists that Mr. Morrison works with. Chris Burnham is as robust and engaging an artist as Cameron Stewart or Frank Quitely. It’s compelling stuff. And Grant Morrison is quite generous in his references, ideas, and motivations. You could take a dozen things from any issue and turn them into separate stories.

Issue 6 gives us a title cover of “For The Love Of Their Son!” and a story title of, “Garland of Skulls.” And, basically, that is what you find inside the pages. We go back and forth between a heated exchange between Batman and Talia and the war on the streets of Gotham. Batman Inc. troops are fighting tooth and nail against Leviathan troops. Batman robots and manbats are coming down from the skies. All the while, Talia is playing mind games. And, back at the bat cave, Damian and a slew of Batman operatives find themselves privy to the sordid conversation between the two alpha parents. Quite messy. Was this something that could have been avoided through counseling? Well, no, not in this case.

It is a beautiful chaos. Talia, in some respects, could be standing in for The Riddler in this story. Batman must go through a maze of puzzles and taunts with little hope of escape. Throughout, he must consider the parable of the goatherd and its ten stages of understanding. First, the goatherd pursues the goat up the Mountain of Enlightenment. But do you really think Talia is concerned with enlightenment? No, she’s about weaving her own beautiful chaos. Just when we think Damian is somehow fated to destroy Gotham, Talia suggests that may not be the case.

What a great piece of work. One thing is pretty clear, the whole idea of Batman Incorporated is headed for permanent acceptance. It will be, if it isn’t already, part of Batman lore, part of Batman canon. Who can really say otherwise? “Batman Inc.” is one of the best things going in comics today and that’s quite an understatement.

Stay tuned for “Batman Inc. #7,” due out January 30, 2013. Visit our friends at DC Comics.

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ACTION COMICS #7: Barefoot Superman

When has Superman ever been barefoot?

We are one issue away from the close to the first story arc since the relaunch of “ACTION COMICS.” With Issue 7, Grant Morrison and Rags Morales return to the main story, after a special two-part origin story pencilled by Andy Kubert, and bring us back to the larger-than-life energy they have maintained. In this issue, Morrison gets to further play with some iconic Superman tradition, namely Brainiac and the miniature city of Kandor, the last surviving community from the destruction of Superman’s home planet, Krypton. This is what this story has been leading up: What happens when Lex Luthor tries to take over Earth by entrusting his life and everyone’s else’s to a mysterious alien intelligence. The aliens, of course, take advantage of Lex Luthor and all hell breaks loose! And so it happens here and with all the trimmings!

Mr. Morrison, not only a stellar writer, has got to be one of the great collaborators in comics too. Mr. Morales, in charge of pencils and Mr. Rick Bryant in charge of inks,  provide a brilliant team for the artwork. We are never going to not want Superman stories, especially when we have such talent. What Rags Morales does with Superman is pretty amazing. He’s brought to life a youthful, rugged and distinctive character. He is by no means generic. It’s a very specific version and we hope that spirit carries over into the future with more and more artists up ahead.

I’ll just say for this post that it’s great to see how Morrison and Morales have rediscovered Superman and all the potential details. In this issue, Superman tries out his hyperspeed. General Lane pleads with Superman to reconsider. The fatest he’s been clocked is 6oo mph. How can he possibly ratchet that up to 25,000 mph? Superman shrugs it off and away he goes. He blows out his farmer’s boots and ends up barefoot. When was the last time, if ever, that we’ve seen Superman barefoot? As he races into space, with a makeshift oxygen tank, his clothes become tattered to the point that he’s nearly naked. This is Superman as vulnerable as he gets. At this point, he is literally “ill suited” for his role! But, of course, that will change.

Action Comics # 8 is out on April 4. Check out DC Comics for more details.


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THE NEW 52 DC RELAUNCH continues to be quite a show. I think there are still many readers just now jumping on the bandwagon. For me, I’ve been most interested in the relaunch of “ACTION COMICS” along with “WONDER WOMAN.” Those two will do it for me for now. At the moment, “Action Comics” has enjoyed sort of an intermission, or fill-in issue break, from the team-up of Grant Morrison and Rags Morales. The spotlight has been placed on Andy Kubert. He definitely pulls out all the stops in keeping up with the often mercurial Mr. Morrison.

I think he had a smoother time of it with the origin story in Issue Five. For the recent Issue Six, well there’s quite a lot going on, maybe too much going on! But, as is so often the case with a Morrison trip, it all works out in the end.

Just a snatch of dialogue here shows you how densely packed and bewildering things can get, Cosmic Man to “modern day” Superman: “If we can’t restart our time bubble rotor, none of this will matter. We’re relying on the battery you brought from Earth, Superman.” Huh? Well, we may gain traction when we return to the main thread with Morrison and Morales in Issue Seven on sale March 7. Then it all wraps up for the opening story with Issue Eight on sale April 4.

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ACTION COMICS #3 Review of the New 52

It took a long time for Superman to become the Superman we’ve come to know today. And it took a long time for “Action Comics” to do the same. With the mega-relaunch of 52 DC Comics titles, it is “Action Comics” that is one of the must-see titles. Lucky for all of us, we can try to keep up with all the titles as best we can but, if I could only pick one title to follow, I would choose “Action Comics.” One of the special things about “Action Comics” is that, back in 1938, in the span of a dozen pages, a crudely formed “Superman” first set foot on the comics page and ushered in the world of superheroes. Ever since, the talented folks at DC Comics have been refining the character to perfection. This is the very first time that “Action Comics” had experienced a roll back to Issue Number One. In 2011, Superman sets foot on the comics page with an already formidable presence and, with Grant Morrison as writer and Rags Morales as artist, he is under the best of care.

Grant Morrison has spoken about the mind-boggling honor it is to write for DC Comics superheroes. He acknowledges them as gods: “Superman is Zeus, Batman is Hades, Aquaman is Neptune!” He is fully aware of the magnitude of these characters and how they will take on characteristics of the era they are part of. There’s been a World War II Superman, a Cold War Superman, a Family Man Superman. Well, it seems like it’s been awhile since Superman has fully engaged with the times. Morrison has had to go back to the roots of Superman and find what’s authentic about him as well as make as relevant as he should be. He’s probably had to juggle some corporate decisions too: Make Superman Younger. Make Him Edgier. I’m not sure where the Harry Potter eyeglasses came from. You’ll see those same specs in the “Superman” title. Was it a corporate decision or did it originate with Morrison? It may very well have been Morrison’s idea. The point is that Morrison is well up to the task and much more. Does he make him edgier? Yes, and that plays into going back to his roots. Superman started out being brash and out of control. We have come full circle: We are in the thick of a youth dominated/gadget obsessed era that embraces being brash and out of control.

We all want to make a difference on our blogs, our uploading of video, our social networking and our constant chatter on smartphones. Superman is right in line. He is overtly idealistic. He is righteous. He is young and fresh and looking to make things right anywhere he can. With great power comes great responsibility? Superman show us how overwhelmed he is with both. In “Action Comics #1,” from 1938, Superman flies through the sky with a terrified lobbyist. In 2011’s “Action Comics #1,” Superman again takes on the power elite. This time it’s the industrialist, Glen Glenmorgan, and  Superman gives him a ride he will never forget. While Superman most likely does not, or ever will, use Twitter, Clark Kent is fully plugged in. He is constantly checking in with his new pal, Jimmy Olsen. The idealism of saving the world takes on greater meaning when, with Facebook and Twitter, you potentially can be heard around the world. This technology seems to work well for Kent but seems to work against Superman. No sooner has he put Glen Glenmorgan in his place and made him confess to his crimes, than Glenmorgan sets out to destroy Superman. And how do we destroy people these days? Through lies, deception and taking it to the media! Not much different from the past but with an added kick no doubt. Glenmorgan, CEO of Galaxy Broadcast Systems, knows a thing or two about manipulation. By Issue Three, “World Against Superman,” Glenmorgan has announced undisputed proof that Superman is an “alien creature from another world.” He’s not an emissary, he’s a creature.

Lex Luthor knows a thing or two about manipulation too, along with torture and a whole slew of other crimes. Thanks to Glenmorgan, Superman was tricked into saving passengers from a speeding train and was subsequently pinned by the train long enough to be captured by the military. Lex Luthor makes a point of calling the prisoner an “It” instead of the humanizing “He” or “Him.” Only when tensions go through the roof, does Luthor lose his cool and demand the next form of torture: “Shock him!”

Morrison’s writing and Morales’s artistry cast a more complex light on Superman, give him an added dimension. It’s truly fascinating to see. Morrison brings in as much nuance and subtlety as you can to the classic cat and mouse story: Superman versus Lex Luthor, or some other bad guy. It’s interesting to see what set things in motion: Superman exposes Glen Glenmorgan, one of the most influential and corrupt industrialists in the world. Glenmorgan sets about “turning the tables” on Superman. Again, this is a fairly common thing to have Superman turn into the “bad guy” so it all depends on the writing. Morrison provides us with quite a sinister figure with Glenmorgan. We can feel his anger, his vanity and his need for vengeance. Then set that in contrast with the naive Superman who does not yet fully appreciate how twisted some people can be. Superman only wants to see justice done. Glenmorgan only cares about Glenmorgan. He has no qualms about telling outright lies. For him, deception is a way of life. It’s not enough for  Glenmorgan to put Superman in his place. He needs to “turn the tables” and turn Superman into the “bad guy.” It is a very sophisticated and twisted psychology that throws Superman through a loop.

As Inspector Blake tries to make clear to Clark Kent, while the inspector and his officers conduct yet another search of his apartment: “Mr.Glenmorgan–He’ll destroy you if you continue to harass him, in The Star or on your blog, am I clear? What you call corruption, grownups call realpolitik…look it up.” Clark’s response: “You need to be the cop you wanted to be when you were a kid.” Poor Clark Kent and poor Superman! Still in his dungarees, and looking a bit like Li’l Abner, Superman sure has his work cut out for him and we’ve got another Superman story for the ages.


Filed under Comics, DC Comics, Grant Morrison, Superheroes, Superman, The New 52