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Review: The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1

THE_MULTIVERSITY_THE_SOCIETY_OF_SUPER-HEROES_CONQUERORS_OF_THE_COUNTER-WORLD_1The Multiversity is Grant Morrison‘s sweep through DC Comics’ multiverse looking at unforgettable characters across the 52 known Earths. The series features a two-part framing story (the first is already out) and six complete extra-sized #1 adventures, each set in a parallel universe.

The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1 takes us to Earth-20, and pulp super hero action with a post-modern twist. Who is the demon-like Green Lantern protecting Earth-20? What secret does Doc Fate hold that could save the world? Who are the hand-to-hand and air-to-air combat queens known as the Blackhawks? And what happens when these heroes come face to face with their diabolical Earth-40 counterparts – led by Vandal Savage – for an epic war between parallel worlds? The title alone tells you the type of story you’re about to read.

I wasn’t too keen on the first chapter of The Multiversity. Without a deep knowledge of DC Comics lore, I felt that reading the comic so much was going over my head, and I missed much of the point. This issue however continues the overall theme of heroes battling ultimate evil and undying hatred, however the inside nods and winks are less prevalent, making the entire issue much more enjoyable.

The entire issue has a pulp sense about it, in both look and story, and bringing back the feel of what comics should be, fun to read. The issue is a throwback to the classics, paying tribute to them. That also extends to the story in this issue. Though it’s tied into the larger event, the issue itself is self-contained. You’re able to pick it up without reading The Multiversity #1 and still enjoy it. It isn’t weighed down by nods and winks at all. It has a balance for those who want an entertaining self-contained story, those who care about the larger narrative, and then then those who know all the DC historical references that are present. Though I’m sure those references are there, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on not knowing them all.

Morrison is helped in the feel of the issue due to Chris Sprouse‘s amazing art. A pulp adventure should have a certain look to it all, and Sprouse harkens back to the classics, in both style, but also pacing and panel layout. Add in beautiful coloring, and you have a comic that’s fun to read, and fun to look at.

I love to read a fun, entertaining comic whose goal is to tell a self-contained story, and to be able to do that, while also tying into the greater narrative is impressive. For those who want a fun pulp adventure, this is a must read, for fans of Morrison’s work, you won’t be disappointed either.

Story: Grant Morrison Art: Chris Sprouse
Story: 8.25 Art: 9 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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New York Comic Con 2014: DC’s Panels, Line-Up, and Batman Celebration

dc-logo-252x300DC Entertainment is celebrating Batman’s 75th Anniversary beginning October 9 at New York Comic Con. Festivities include an impressive booth and an all-star panel line-up in celebration of The Dark Knight. DCE’s panels will dive into bestselling titles, offer exciting new announcements and highlight new creative teams and brand new Gotham-based series.

  • A multi-faceted booth presence featuring Batman costumes worn by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and Christian Bale, and a very special cape and cowl from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder. The booth will also include a Batman memorial statue that appeared in The Dark Knight Rises and video game kiosks featuring Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment games LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and Infinite Crisis.
  • A highlight of DCE’s activities at New York Comic Con will be a must-see “Batman 75th Anniversary” panel that gathers renowned Batman talent for an in-depth discussion. On hand to celebrate the World’s Greatest Detective will be famous Batman artist Jim Lee, DCE Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, bestselling Batman creative team, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, superstar Batman artist Neal Adams and the “voice of Batman” Kevin Conroy. Saturday 2pm Empire Stage 1-E
  • The future of Gotham begins this October and the “Batman: Gotham Rising” panel will herald in a collection of writers and artists to discuss Batman’s next 75 years, including the debut of BATGIRL’s new look, along with the debut of new series Gotham Academy, Arkham Manor and Gotham By Midnight, and a new storyline from the bestselling Batman series, and hit titles Catwoman, Robin Rises, and Grayson. Friday 3:15pm Empire Stage 1-E
  • Get an inside look at some of the amazing work from DCE’s female creatives at the “Women Of DC Entertainment” panel which will include Joker’s Daughter writer Marguerite Bennett, new series Gotham Academy writer Becky Cloonan, Harley Quinn writer/artist Amanda Conner, Wonder Woman writer Meredith Finch, Coffin Hill writer Caitlin Kittredge, Secret Six writer Gail Simone, and new Batgirl artist Babs Tarr. Saturday 6:15pm Room Room 1A06
  • Join the heroes of DC Comics – The New 52 at the “Champions of Justice” panel which will include Justice League writer Geoff Johns, Wonder Woman artist David Finch, Star Spangled War Stories writer Jimmy Palmiotti, Constantine writer Ray Fawkes, Deathstroke writer and artist Tony Daniel, Lobo artist Aaron Kuder, Grayson writer Tim Seeley and artist Tom King, Batman/Superman writer Greg Pak, and Secret Origins writer Paul Levitz. Saturday 4:15pm Room 1A06
  • Get your download on the latest “DC Digital” titles from new series including Arrow: Season 2.5, The Flash: Season Zero, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman, as well as Injustice and Smallville. You won’t want to miss sneak peeks and exciting news about what’s on the horizon for the digital slate. Panelists include Marc Guggenheim, Bruno Redondo, Marc Andreyko, Shawn Kittlesen, and Bryan Q. Miller. Sunday 2:00pm Room Room 1A21
  • Unlock the secrets behind the hugely anticipated new storyline at the “Green Lantern: Godhead Begins!” panel, featuring a star-studded collection of talent including Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti and Brad Walker. Friday 1:15 pm Room Room 1A06
  • Get an inside look at Vertigo’s genre-defying titles at the “Vertigo: Defy Conventions” which will amaze with trend-setting comics and top-notch talent. Plus be there for sneak peeks at what’s to come from the imprint that consistently defies expectations. Friday 5:15pm Room Room 1A06
  • “Mad About MAD” – MAD Magazine presents the latest from the Usual Gang Of Idiots in this hilarious, must-see panel! Thursday 6:15pm Room 1A24
  • Fans will be able to pick up exciting New York Comic Con exclusives including variant cover editions of The Multiversity #1, Batman #35, Batgirl #35, and two editions of Harley Quinn: Futures End #1 – “Love It” and “Hate It.”

Review: Batgirl: Futures End #1

bg02Generally speaking I tend to avoid company-wide crossovers. Readers of comics will not be surprised at my reasons – the need to buy more comics than usual, most of which are uninteresting to me; the loss of continuity in the monthly title; and the general poor execution of the stories themselves where the sum is lesser than its parts. Despite this hesitation, I decided to pick up the Batgirl entry for the DC wide event of Futures End. Futures End is not so much like most crossovers, more like the year-long stories of 52 or Countdown, so it maybe bode better for its chances in terms of being something a bit better.

In terms of crossovers, one of the most difficult aspects is the story. Sometimes the crossover entries are placed at the end of story arcs in the titles, but all too often enough they are placed in the middle of ongoing stories, destroying the fluidity of the storytelling. This is not the case here, and in fact Futures End is not so much out-of-place here as the entire series is getting a new creative team as of the next regular monthly issue. Thus far in the New 52 I have only been sort-of following Batgirl, having read about 5 out of the 35 issues, never enough to get me to pick it up full-time but occasionally with a decent story (although with some sometimes amazing cover artwork). In this regard it is not too hard for a casual reader to pick up this issue and to figure out what is going on, even not having followed most of Futures End thus far. This approachability to the story is somewhat pointless though, as the story itself is somewhat lacking.

bg01I won’t go into too many of the details for the story itself, but the story is sort-of a play on Barbara Gordon’s eventual change into Oracle, although the name Oracle is never mentioned here. The one-time physical damage of the Joker’s bullet takes a different form here, causing Barbara to hang up the cape and to lead the League of Batgirls from afar, similar to the pre-New 52 format of Birds of Prey.  It is nice as well to see so many Batgirls collected together here, but this is as far as the good stuff goes. Mostly this is a kind of a What If …? scenario where the question asked is kind of absurd – what if Barbara Gordon became like Bane? The writer maybe deserves some praise for trying something different, and the artist deserves some recognition for portraying a female version of Bane, but the end product is lacking. It is a What If? Question that need not be asked and the fans of the series might be wondering why they bothered. Instead fans might want to just wait an extra month for a change in direction in Batgirl with the introduction of the new creative team.

Story: Gail Simone Art: Javier Garron
Story: 6.2 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

DC Dice Masters Justice League Dice-Building Game

29621DCDiceMasters_1_LGIt should be no surprise at all considering Wizkids‘ past history with the Marvel and DC properties and their game systems. Today the company has announced the DC Dice Masters Justice League Dice-Building Game. The game will be released March 18, 2015, the game will initially be released with a Starter Set to retail for $14.99, and Foil Packs for $0.99.

The two player game will feature 30 heroes and villains, allowing players to customize their epic dice battles.

The DC Dice Masters Justice League Starter Set comes with 44 custom dice, 38 cards, 2 dice bags, and the complete Dice Masters rulebook. This is more than enough for two players to get started. Each DC Dice Masters Justice League Foil Pack contains two cards and two dice that players can add to the DC Dice Masters collection.

Review: Swamp Thing Future’s End #1

swamp thing future's endIt’s never really recognized that Charles Soule is the only writer who has ever had to follow up Scott Snyder. What’s remarkable is that not only has Soule managed to brave these murky waters, he has also managed to do the near impossible and outdo him. Snyder’s creepy tale focused on Arcane and the romance between Alec and Abby was a delight, but Soule’s story, intent on lore-building and proving Swamp Thing’s glorious, righteous heroism, is superior. In Swamp Thing: Future’s End #1, any tying-in to the plot of the weekly Future’s End comic is avoided. Instead, what readers receive is a standalone, done-in-one story that warmly and triumphantly encapsulates what Soule’s Swamp Thing is all about, in the form of a fantastic comic book.

The comic book medium has seemingly moved on from certain storytelling mechanics, such as third-person narration boxes and thought balloons. Well, Soule lifts the former back from its supposed grave, doing a damn good job of putting it to use. The narration of this comic recalls works like Beowulf and Excalibur, offering a display of heroics that feels far bigger than the pages the comic is printed on. Soule has done a remarkable job of building a far more intricate and multi-faceted lore for the elemental kingdoms of the DC Universe, and this issue is that accomplishment in pill form. It feels so expansive and so fascinating and so very, very cool.

A few parts of this comic add massive puzzle pieces to the lore Soule has been building, and it all works seamlessly. The intake of information doesn’t even border on confusing, and the tastes of larger concepts don’t even feel underdeveloped or otherwise unfulfilling. It’s not all just added material either, with clever inversions of current lore to boot. So often in fiction, world-building is a snooze-fest only recommended for the hardest of hardcore fans, but what’s provided here is all so much fun to read. There is so much intellectually-stimulating, raw creativity here.

Swamp Thing as written by Snyder was an angry, vengeful force of nature, which was compelling yet simple. Soule keeps that characterization, but applies a microscope to the moral code and ethical fortitude of the hulking salad monster, making for more intriguing reading material. Other issues are a better example of this, but it’s certainly evident in this comic, emphasizing the point that Swampy will do whatever it takes to do what’s right, not for the “Green” (plant) kingdom he represents, but what’s truly right. If it means setting himself up for what seems like sure-fired failure, so be it.

swampy feWhile he can’t top Yannick Paquette, the artist Snyder worked chiefly with on Swamp Thing, Jesus Saiz has provided some lovely pencils for this series. This issue hosts some great work from him, made more impressive by the fact that he has to transition through a multitude of atmospherically different settings. One highlight is the pretty visualization of the “Divided” (bacteria) kingdom, wonderfully colored by Matthew Wilson. Another is the dark and scary drawings of the “Rot” (decay) kingdom, trudged into in a careful, effective way. Arcane is a menacing bastard, ruling a constantly uncomfortable kingdom.

So much comes together in this issue, providing a real doozy of entertainment. I was awfully nervous whenever I learned somebody else was taking the reins on one of my favorite ongoing comic series, but Soule has yet to disappoint. His Swamp Thing rocks, and this issue is perhaps the easiest way to see why. I feel bad for whoever has to follow him up.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Jesus Saiz
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

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Nerd Block has Scribblenauts & Exclusive Guardians Of The Galaxy in September

This September’s Nerd Block sounds like it’ll be an impressive (and awesome) one. This month’s box will include one awesome Scribblenauts item directly from DC! We’re guessing one of their cool figures.

In addition to this item, they’ve said they have one of the coolest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products they’ve ever given out! Cowabunga dudes!

This month’s shirt sounds like it may be amazing. Celebrating this summer’s breakout blockbuster Guardians Of The Galaxy, they’ve got a shirt that’s sure to be the awesome mix you’ve been looking for! We’re thinking something Dancing Groot related! Even better, it’s an exclusive item, you can only get from Nerd Block.

guardians nerd block scribblenauts dc

Secret Six Returns in December with Gail Simone!

DC Comics has announced that following her historic run on Batgirl, writer Gail Simone is about to embark on a new (old) series, Secret Six.

So, what’s the secret? They’re not saying, but with covers and character designs by Dale Eaglesham and interior art by Ken Lashley, and Simone back writing the series, this has potential to be one incredible comic book.

Full of mystery and danger, Secret Six features six characters who, when thrown together, hate each other and must learn to work with each other.

Who are the Secret Six? Well, for now, Simone is only sharing a couple. Making their first appearance in The New 52 are Catman and Black Alice.

Secret Six issue #1 hits shelves this December.

secret six

The Rock is Black Adam

After months of speculation, Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, has stated on Twitter that he’ll be playing Black Adam in some future DC Comics/Warner Bros. movie (likely Shazam, but not exactly confirmed….). We’re awaiting an official statement.

Royal Canadian Mint Unveils New Superman Coin Collection

Following last year’s sold-out Superman seven coin series, the Royal Canadian Mint has introduced four new collector coins featuring DC Comics‘ iconic Superman comic book covers. The coins were unveiled at Fan Expo Canada by the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, and Mr. Patrick Hadsipantelis, Vice-President of Marketing and Communications at the Royal Canadian Mint.

These exciting new Superman coins can be ordered directly from the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or on the Internet at www.mint.ca/superman. The coins will also be available as of September 2, 2014, at the Royal Canadian Mint’s boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as through the Mint’s global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.

Check out below for images of the coins and below the jump for more information.

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