Author Archives: Joe Ryan

Review: Briggs Land: Lone Wolves TPB

*Minor Spoilers Below*

If you are a citizen of the United States, you can own your own land, but what do you really own? What can you do on that land? Can you form your own laws? As most people find out, the answer is no. But what about your own country? This is a concept that has been discussed before. People have discussed Texas leaving the United States, and just recently the same was mentioned regarding California. Everyone knows about The Civil War of course. So the idea of a separate set of ideals and laws inside of the United States isn’t new. But what about a large swath of private land that is within a state forming it’s own nation, instead of the entire state itself? Could they have their own rules, borders, and citizens immune from the greater United States federal laws? These are the questions that Briggs Land ask and begin to answer.

This isn’t a standalone comic series. It is actually the successor to the original Briggs Land comic that ended at #6 from the same creative team that gives us this book, Briggs Land: Lone Wolves. This trade can really be seen as Briggs Land #7-12, but instead, they went with the Lone Wolves subtitle. Perhaps it is the fact that #1 issues sell more, but for whatever reason they decided to forgo the numbering, and take this route. Either way, the story continues and it is excellent.

Brian Wood crafts a tense story that shows a community of multiple generations living off the land, and how the United States government, DEC, FBI, and everyone else has to deal with it. The story mostly follows Grace Briggs, and her three sons who help her run the operation which takes place in Upstate NY, not far from the Canadian border. Grace has been trying to fix the things her husband Jim (who is in prison) have made over the years. The community is attracting the junkies from all over the area, having turmoil within, and is constantly on the watch of the police, ATF, FBI, and more. You can draw similar while not direct correlations to Waco, Texas and the tragedy there, the recent Buddy family standoff in Oregon, and the Montana Freeman in the 1990s. That isn’t to say this story borrows everything from those, but the theme of a tense situation of law enforcement and private citizens has its precedent.

That isn’t to say that Briggs Land is the first form of media to tackle this topic, but it isn’t something you see often in comics. Sure, the medium has changed from just pulp noir and superhero comics over the years, but even for the ever changing scope of comic books, Briggs Land: Lone Wolves feels fresh and new. The show is currently in development at AMC, with the writer of the comic, Brian Wood writing the pilot.

As I have stated in previous single issue reviews that I did for Briggs Land, I am always impressed by the artwork that Mack Chatter creates. He has a very realistic approach, and captures emotion perfectly. I am happy to report that he continues the trend of fantastic work in this book. I found myself looking at the facial expressions of the characters in quieter scenes to try to see if I could interpret what each character was feeling or thinking. Sure I had no way to know if my perception was accurate, but I found it so interesting. Everyone feels real, and layered. He and Brian are a great team, and I look forward to more work from them in the future.

Vanesa R. Del Ray and Werther Dell’Edera also give unique styles with their artwork for the book. While I prefer the book to be Wood and Chatter, these two artists did enough with their material to stand out and be recognizable from the rest of the book. I tend to prefer one artist on a book, as it makes for a seamless reading experience and makes everything seem to flow better, but I liked both of their work, and they both provide something new for the series. Lee Loughridge soars on colors, and I have to mention the excellent use of muted tones like light blues, browns, greens, and more that are used in this book so effectively. Instead of just a deep green for a foliage scene, Loughridge will use different shades of the color to really bring life to whatever the artist has drawn. There are also some very good uses of only a few colors being used in a panel, with one being dominant. For example, the inside of a store the characters are in may seem all yellow, with a little green and blue to give a very indie feel to the scene. It isn’t used all of the time, but when it is, it is done very well.

I recommend this book not just to anyone who has read the first Briggs Land, but to new readers as well. You should read the first trade, Briggs Land: State of Grace not only to know what is going on, but also because it is also excellent. The philosophical questions raised in this book are fun to chew on. How free are we? And how far is a community, or even a private citizen allowed to go before the government intervenes. I am excited where this series goes from here, and have high hopes that the tv show happens and happens soon. It is also exciting to read a story that takes place around where I grew up. Seeing cities like Albany, Malone, Utica, and more bring a smile to my face, even in the dark world that Briggs Land presents.

Story: Brian Wood Art: Mack Chatter & Vanesa R. Del Ray & Werther Dell’Edera Colors: Lee Loughridge Letterer: Nate Pikos of Blambot Cover: Mack Chatter & Brian Wood
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Dissonance #1



Dissonance is a new science fiction comic series that weaves a complicated web of backstory and plot. The story is set up with a lot of potential, but ultimately, felt like it could have delivered much more. To sum the story up as simply as possible, there is a parallel world to Earth named Terra Fantasme that houses a futuristic people named The Fantasmen. These beings have shed their skin so to speak, and are spirits that lack conscience, or souls. This is where the story sets up the plot device that these beings need humanity as mortal hosts to give these beings a chance to end their war, and achieve prosperity once again.

After combing the galaxies for years, they find Earth. Here is where the desperate species makes a pact with humanity to combine into something new, and in turn, share their technology and their immense knowledge with Earth. This merging is called Dissonance. While these concepts to me are very interesting, the delivery felt like it could have been much better. At the same time, this story does tell a complicated set up, and has to do it in a few pages, so I can understand why it was done this way.

The story is written by Singgih Nugroho and Ryan Cady. After the initial set up I mentioned above, the rest of the comic follows the assassination of a model at the international fashion show. This piece was confusing, and takes the story into government corruption like we’ve seen many times before. I am still a little lost on why this was done, aside from it being something to start a war or chaos with the humans that are protesting those who want to embrace or achieve dissonance, and those who are protesting against it. The book continues to set up what appears to be our villain or villains, while there is some scheming going on with some of the other characters who have their own agenda. We also meet what appears to be our main character, who in my opinion, was introduced far too late into the comic.

The art by Sami Basri has a nice clean look to it, with the colors by Sakai Yuwono popping and bringing the book alive. The art to me is the best thing this book has going for it besides the concept, and there are some panels that look quite fantastic. It shares a similar look with The Wicked & The Divine, so if you like that style, you will like this too.

I would say that this series could improve in the next issue or two, especially with needing so much set up on a complicated story like this, but as of right now, it left me wanting a little more coherent and perhaps slower sci-fi story. You’re mileage may vary, and you may very well enjoy this comic more than I did, I just was expecting a different kind of book.

Story: Singgih Nugroho & Ryan Cady Art: Sami Basri
Colors: Sakai Yuwono Letterer: Jake Ady
Cover: Varsam Kurnia Creator: Melina Curphy

Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Maestros #1

2E6866E8-9BF3-48A3-A836-D3BA7E71304C*MINOR SPOILERS BELOW*

If I had to describe Maestros #1, and I should since you took the time to read this review, I would say it’s part Tarantino, part Big Trouble in Little China, and part fantasy story. That is simplifying what is essentially one of the craziest, and prettiest comics I have read and looked at in recent memory. The only book I can think of that rivals the beautiful art married with a ridiculousness fun story of this level is Head Lopper.

The story starts off with the murder of Maestro, and the rest of the royal family. All signs point to the evil wizard, Mardok, who kind of looks like a Shaman and a flying Monkey from Wizard of Oz combined. We meet Margaret, who is told the news by a talking flower person who lets her know that since she had divorced Maestro, her and her son, Willy were spared. She then realizes she must go to her son to protect him. It’s a fun set up, and from here we see things start to go off the rails from a traditional fantasy plot.

We then meet her son, Willy, who is a wizard who is using his magic powers to enlarge the genitals of an oil salesmen in a seedy bar. He admits to a few of the ladies that he is speaking with that he could use his powers for more, but this is just temporary. Chaos breaks out and the mother and son are on the run from the evil forces of Mardok. It happens very quickly, and it is a lot of fun. The dialogue by Steve Skroce is witty, edgy, and works within the craziness of this world. They actually speak like real people, even though they are inside of a wacky fantasy tale.

I couldn’t finish talking about this book without discussing the beautiful art, which was drawn by Steve Skroce as well, and it is really something to see. Even with some graphic scenes of violence in the beginning, I found myself taking in all of the little details. Skroce is a heck of an artist, as he showed on the Brian K. Vaughn book, We Stand on Guard, and he does a stellar job again here while pulling double duty as the writer. The colors are also masterfully done by Dave Stewart, and really help this awesome book come to life. What would a good fantasy or sci-if story be without an awesome palette? Not very good or full of imagination, and thankfully that isn’t the case here. All bets are off as we see a wide array of color, and it is beautiful.

I recommend this book, as long as you do not mind a little swearing, a little violence, a little nudity, and a lot of craziness. If you like books like Head Lopper, or other out there original stories that are trying to do their own thing, and incredible art, then give Maestros a shot. It’s insane, in all the right ways.

Story: Steve Skroce Art: Steve Skroce Colors: Dave Stewart Lettering: Fonografiks
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Spencer and Locke Vol. 1 TP

Spencer_and_Locke_1_COVER-A-Jorge-Santiago-Jr-MAINMINOR SPOILERS BELOW

I heard about Spencer and Locke a few months ago. I had seen the premise somewhere online, and thought it was an interesting concept, but never got around to reading it until this past week. I soon discovered I was missing out on something that was familiar, but also new. Sure, it’s no secret that Spencer and Locke borrows its basic idea of a childhood toy coming to life for adventures with his human friend from the legendary Calvin and Hobbes, but it adds a wrinkle to the classic formula by having the boy be a full-grown man, Detective Locke, and the childhood toy and friend, Spencer, be a blue panther, complete with a button for an eye.

You constantly hear the term page turner, but that is exactly what this is. Writer David Pepose writes a fantastic and quick-moving story following the death of Detective Locke’s high school sweetheart, Sophie Jenkins. Along with the help of his panther friend, Spencer, whom to everyone else is of course a stuffed animal, they uncover many things from their past. The story gets dark in spots, but it never felt out-of-place. That may seem odd, since much of this is familiar to the childhood tale most everyone loves, but this is still an adventure after all, similar to what Calvin and Hobbes went on. The only difference is the adventures of Spencer and Locke involve murder, alleyways, abuse, and many more horrible things that exist in the real world of a traumatized boy who grows up to be a man.

The art by Jorge Santiago Jr. and colors by Jasen Smith works quite well with the story, and while most of the book has a distinct cartoon noir style, there are some great pages that channel the classic style made famous by greats like Bill Watterson. You really feel like you’re looking at a Calvin and Hobbes strip until the end where something like violence, child abuse, or something else really deep hits you hard. It’s effective, nostalgic, and really pulls off something that could have come off as cheesy, or as a cheap rip off. That’s the beauty of this entire book. It’s an ode to the past while bringing a new perspective to an old idea.

While it borrows from Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip, there’s a lot of Frank Miller and Ed Brubaker type inspired crime drama here as well. It’s somehow a perfect marriage of the two, which probably wasn’t an easy thing to pull off by the creators.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new take on an old classic, or just some original idea to what seemed like an already done formula. It’s a buddy cop story with a man and his stuffed panther doll. The ending was intense, and left me wanting more. The producer of the Hitman movies has optioned the movie rights, so hopefully something comes of this, because it would be awesome on the big or small screen. This could work awesome as a Netflix series. I look forward to more of this series, and think you should check it out as well, because there is something here to love for everyone.

Story: David Pepose Art: Jorge Santiago Jr. Colors: Jasen Smith Lettering: Colin Bell
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Ether Vol. 1 TP



Ether Vol. 1: Death of the Last Golden Blaze is the first collected volume of a fantastic comic book from Dark Horse. The book is penned by the multi-talented writer/artist, Matt Kindt whom you may know from MIND MGMT, Dept. H, or so much more, and pencilled by David Rubin who draws the hell out of this book, balancing the feeling of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? with Steamboat Willie.

The world of Ether is fun, weird, vibrant, and sometimes scary. It is full of rich characters like the primate guide, Glum, the evil creepy old man, Ubel, as well as a large cast of oddities like a bird who sings that will make you sick, screaming bullets, giant metal golems, and so much more. Their world is not like our own. A minute in their world is a lot longer in ours, so the longer you stay there as an Earthling, the older you get in a short time. We learn that by following the goofy, yet brilliant, Boone Dias who visits the Ether in search of who killed The Golden Blaze. The plot unfolds over time, and while we learn things as Boone does, we also get glimpses into his and other characters pasts that explain the world, and the context of everything much better.

About halfway through this book, or maybe a bit more, we get to see more of Hazel, Boone’s former lover and partner. Here is where the story turns on its axis a bit, and delivers us a lot more information about the world, Boone, and their relationship. We see Boone as a loner, aside from his working with Glum in Ether, but here we can see a man so obsessed with this world and it’s secrets, it changes him in the process. Kindt does an excellent job at storytelling through flashbacks, as well as bits dropped by some of the other characters about what happened in the past.

20170718_171118031_iOSRubin really shines on the artwork, and gives this book so much personality. From Glum, the fairies, Ubel, Hazel, Boone, and the other ridiculous things we see, everything looks like stills from a cartoon. Now I know that sounds like any comic book can be, but I can’t help but imagine this book in motion, and wanting it immediately. Give me an Ether animated film, and I will be a happy man. Either way, this book is enough of that to make me smile with each page turn. I tip my hat to Rubin, especially when Kindt is such a good artist himself. That shows the confidence in Rubin that Kindt has. I mean it, this book is absolutely beautiful.

20160705_155406000_iOSI read the comics as they came out each month, but I would highly recommend this book in this collected volume. This is an exciting page-turner that is truly so much fun. It’s light hearted, but can also be touching at times when you least expect it. The creators have crafted a rich deep world with interesting characters, and mysteries. I always want to read more Matt Kindt, and now I want to see more David Rubin, and honestly, I want to see more of them on this book. Sometimes, it is best to leave something when it is good, and not deliver too much of a product, but I think the world of the Ether still has a few stories left to tell.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: David Rubin

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Curse Words Vol. 1 TP



Curse Words Vol. 1 collects the first arc of the hilarious, action-packed adventures of a wizard named Wizord. He’s a man on a mission, or so he thinks, until he learns how awesome our planet is. Soon he becomes a hipster, and begins working magic for self-centered people like pop stars (in a very funny opening scene I have attached to this review), and is enjoying life with his talking koala sidekick, Margaret. That is until all hell breaks loose. The evil Sizzajee from his former home, The Hole World has sent assassins after Wizord and we soon get our first awesome wizard fight.

This book shows us that even the almighty and powerful, like wizards don’t have it all figured out. For instance, to keep an entire stadium full of witnesses from knowing what really happened and keep them safe, Wizord shrinks the entire place to the size of a matchbox car and places it in his pocket. He soon learns that everything has consequences, and even the seemingly chill and laid back Earth will have people that have a problem with his methods. This book is fun and it contains multiple laugh out loud moments in my opinion. I won’t go spoiling everything in the story, but just know it is off the rails, great to look at, and delivers everything I want in a comic.

Charles Soule really shines on this kind of story, and he feels very comfortable here. I have read many of his other comics, including many over at Marvel in the last few years, and those seem to be much slower and dragged out tales. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but you can see what Soule is capable of when he is allowed to just flat out write. He balanced the action and comedy so well in this book, and it instantly hooked me from the first issue. This is exactly the kind of comic that is perfect to read in a collected volume, because you don’t want to put it down.

A comic book wouldn’t be one with just the writer, and Ryan Browne shows he’s no slouch on art either. The book is filled with fun wizard fight scenes, hilarious conversations and facial expressions between our characters (Wizord and Margaret steal the show together), and Browne gives everyone a great personality. Even the villains are fun, and you truly never know what craziness awaits you on the next page. The colors by Browne, Jordan Boyd, and Michael Parkinson are bright and vibrant and are beautiful even when things are being smashed, destroyed, or exploding. I cannot wait to see more work from Browne, because this book has made me even more of a fan.

I highly recommend Curse Words to anyone who likes to have fun, likes action, likes to party, likes awesome things, likes wizards, likes koalas, oh you know what I mean. I think almost everyone can find something to like about this book, and I can’t wait for more of the crazy and chaotic magic in the future.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Ryan Browne Color: Ryan Browne, Jordan Boyd, Michael Parkinson Letters: Chris Crank, Ryan Browne, Shawn Depasquale
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman #26


After the fallout with Manchester Black, in the last arc, Superman #26 is a slower and more happier issue between a father and son, Clark, and Jon. It also reflects on Clark’s experience as a child with his own father. Jon aka Superboy is just learning his powers, as we’ve seen in this book, and in Super Sons, and sometimes, in Clark’s opinion, goes in head first without thinking. Just like Pa Kent showed Clark a lesson when he was a boy, Clark gets the idea to do that with Jon.

Throughout the issue, Jon is seen smashing and punching things and not thinking things through at first, or planning ahead, like Clark wants him to do. After a few flashbacks to Clark’s own childhood, he realizes he may need to listen to Jon more, and they can learn from each other. The two super Kent’s finally meet eye to eye and beat up some baddies before they reflect on a touching final page. Michael Moreci tells a simple tale of a father and son learning to work around each other’s differences and come together as a team. It is touching, and it works with these two characters.

The art in the book by Scott Godlewski is a little more cartoony than this series usually has, and it had almost a Doonesbury comic strip look to the faces. That isn’t a bad thing, it was just much different than we’ve seen on the book, and worked just fine for a one shot issue like this. It’s a smart tactic by DC with the bi-weeekly format, letting new creators or different creators try their chops at their big names, while also only having a month to get back to the main story and the main creators. The colors by Hi-Fi were solid as usual, and added to the style Godlewski was going for.

This was an issue that went quick, and was short and sweet. I don’t think it was anything spectacular, but it didn’t have to be. It was a nice breath of air before we begin our next arc, and this book uses these little breaks well, because this comic is usually going full speed ahead. Now that Clark has given Jon that confidence in himself, it will be interesting to see if that spills over to Super Sons and Damian’s constant lecturing and attitude toward Superboy.

Story: Michael Moreci Art: Scott Godlewski
Colors: Hi-Fi Letters: Rob Leigh Cover: Lee Weeks & Brad Anderson
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman #26


Tom King is putting his own touches on the long and incredible Batman history with Batman #26, which continues The War of Jokes and Riddles. In the second chapter of this tale, we discover that this war between The Joker and The Riddler had happened a year after Bruce became Batman. This is similar to the excellent Zero Year Scott Snyder and Greg Cappulo created in their run a few years ago. Batman’s past is always being retold, and it is amazing that after this many fantastic runs by so many good creators, it can still be interesting. Thankfully, in my opinion, King is off to a great start with this arc, and I am excited to see where this goes.

Here we get a different version of The Riddler. He’s angrier, a little more out there, and even has his shirt unbuttoned, exposing his bare chest (now complete with a carved in question mark), and a long ponytail. There have been so many different versions of Nigma, and it was fun to see another one. He came across as a little bit of a Guy Ritchie character, and while he was still obsessed with the riddles, seemed a much more intimidating foe physically, instead of just mentally. The Joker is mostly similar to the classic version you all know and love (or hate), and he is obsessed with jokes, and punchlines, and searching for them in this story. It creates some awkward comedy, as he’s a lost comedian looking for a reason to laugh. Unfortunately killing seems to be the only thing that he seems to find humor in. Together these two crime kings of mind games are preparing to go to war with each other (see, this arc is not just a clever name), which will set up the other villains of Gotham City to join sides.

As for art, Mikel Janín once again shows he was made for this book. I have enjoyed every artist on this book. Be it, Gerads, Finch, and others, but Janín provides splash pages that are pure works of art. Each of the artists provide a unique style to this run, and it makes it so much better. DC should be applauded for this, and more specifically, the editorial team. The other thing I wanted to mention about Janín, is the way he draws emotion. The looks on The Joker, Riddler, Ivy, Batman, and others in this book is incredible. Sometimes you don’t even need the text to know what they’re thinking.  June Chung does a fantastic job on colors, by playing with the different shades of green, purple, and blue for each of their respected villians and hero.

So far, The War of Jokes and Riddles is a lot of sadistic fun, and while it is another dark and brooding Batman story, sometimes those are the best ones. There’s just enough intrigue and mystery just around the shadowy corner of this arc to be excited to see where it goes, even if it does seem a bit disturbing at times. King has proven he can deliver an ending before, and I am hopeful that this story cements his run as another iconic tale in the bat-history. I recommend this book, as well as Batman #25, which started this arc.

Story: Tom King Pencils, Inks & Cover: Mikel Janín
Colors: June Chung Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman #24


I will admit, when I was first reading Superman #24, I was confused for a moment, due to the last issue of Action Comics. In that issue we see Clark, Lois, and Jon back in Metropolis, and here they are still in Hamilton County, wrapping things up with aliens, giant beasts, and more weirdness. That being said, chapter five of the Black Dawn story-line offered some fun and interesting twists.

We finally get to see who is behind all of the weird cult-like townspeople, visits from aliens, and other weird mysteries in Hamilton County that has plagued this series from the start, and it’s none other than Manchester Black. Due to his core beliefs, Black has a problem with Superman letting bad guys live. This is similar to other anti-heroes, like The Punisher, and so on, but Black is a little more evil here. Black reveals his true motives, and they involve Clark’s son, Jon aka Superboy. By the end of the book things get pretty crazy with his plans, and it will be interesting to see how the next issue, and this story plays out. Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have done a good job with this series, and I have confidence that this will at least be another fun adventure when all is said and done.

Doug Mahnke and Patrick Gleason are both excellent artists. Neither of these talents are strangers to this book, and Gleason even co-writes with Tomasi. My only problem is with the switching on pencils about halfway through. Again, both artists are fantastic, but it was jarring and very noticeable to me as you can clearly see the switch. I am not sure if this was based on time, and scheduling, and it isn’t terrible or hurts the comic in a bad way, it was just very noticeable. The colors by Wil Quintana, John Kalisz, and Hi-Fi are bright and vivid, covering all types of aliens and ships, while the inks by Jaime Mendoza, Mick Gray, Joe Prado, and Doug Mahnke are crisp and well done, even with the different pencil styles.

The issue is a fun and wild ride featuring the cast of characters we know from this series. The Kent family is awesome, and I have had a blast going on these adventures with them. My only hope is that since they’ve been put through so much as a family, especially poor Jon, is that they find some more time to relax soon. Also Krypto makes another appearance, which is always awesome.

Story: Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason Art: Doug Mahnke & Patrick Gleason
Inks: Jaime Mendoza, Mick Gray, Joe Prado, and Doug Mahnke
Colors: Wil Quintana, John Kalisz, and Hi-Fi Letters: Rob Leigh

Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman #24


Batman #24 takes a big breath of fresh air and relaxes after the chaos of I Am Bane, and The Button. These issues are a nice change of pace before large story-line starts, which it will again soon with The War of Jokes and Riddles. Tom King delivers another issue where we get to reflect on all of the chaos, before things inevitably get insane again.

There is some fantastic dialogue between Gotham Girl and Batman in this issue, with her wanting him to show her what to do, and show her the way, but Batman says she needs to find her own path. This makes sense, with what Batman has dealt with in the past, with Jason Todd, and the other young heroes he has trained. He does however give a bit of advice, considering the fact that she is an actual super-powered being, in that she should train to fight without her powers, so she can be prepared in case she loses them. I loved the reflection and fun poking at Superman, with the fact that Batman is just a man, and had to learn how to fight, as opposed to being given powers. The jab at “Up, up, and away!” made me laugh.

Much like Superman #24, this issue also switches the art style between David Finch and Clay Mann, and both are excellent artists. They do different pages throughout the book, and not all of them sequential. I found this worked a little better than in Superman, with how this issue was told, with it going between Batman and Gotham Girl, and Batman and Catwoman. The colors by the great Jordie Bellaire are as good as expected, while the inks by Danny Miki and Seth Mann add to the story in a meaningful way. When the story is showing Gotham Girl going around the city with Batman, the scenes are brighter, and they reflect hope, but when we see Batman with Catwoman, we see deep shadows, as they reflect the darkness to their relationship. When it comes to the Cat, the Bat shows his flaws. He is scared, and isn’t afraid to be himself around her. Selina seems to feel the same way. Their love appears to be real, but inside they both hold a lot of darkness, and the inks show that so well. It is effective storytelling.

The ending of this issue leaves us with a jaw dropping panel that made me both smile and cringe. It looks like we are going to wait awhile to see what the outcome and fallout of this moment is, as The War of Jokes and Riddles begins next.

Story: Tom King Art: David Finch & Clay Mann Inks: Danny Miki & Seth Mann
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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