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Uncanny X-Men #1 Gets a Digital Director’s Cut

THE CHILDREN OF THE ATOM ARE BACK! Marvel’s mutants return with a new ongoing series, a 10-part weekly epic with X-Men: Disassembled! Pick up #1 of Uncanny X-Men…back and better than ever! Starting with a mysterious and tragic disappearance, the X-Men are drawn into what might be their final adventure! Fan favorite writers Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, and Kelly Thompson and all-star artists Mahmud Asrar, R.B. Silva, Yildiray Cinar, and Pere Pérez join forces to bring you…X-MEN DISASSEMBLED! Available wherever Marvel comics are sold!

For a limited time, you can get a behind-the-scenes peek at this can’t-miss 10-part epic…by purchasing #1! Those who have preordered or purchased a digital copy of Uncanny X-Men #1 or subscribed to the series via the Digital Comics Shop or Marvel Comics App before 12/4, 11:59  PM ET, will receive the DIRECTOR’S CUT edition of Uncanny X-Men (2018-) #1!*

This exclusive content will feature: a draft of #1’s script (including a script to #1’s back-up bonus story!), pencil pages, color pages, a variant cover gallery, never-before-seen character designs and MORE! Preview an all-new chapter for the strangest heroes of them all…who are about to challenge a new status quo! Limited time offer, act now!

Offer Details

* Limited time offer. You must purchase or pre-order a digital copy of Uncanny X-Men (2018-) #1 or subscribe to the series via the Digital Comics Shop or Marvel Comics App before 11:59 p.m. (ET) December 4th, 2018 to be eligible to receive a copy of Uncanny X-Men (2018-) #1 Director’s Cut. Offer is limited to one per account. The offer expires on 12/5/18. ComiXology reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time. Offer is valid for one-time use only, is non-transferable and may not be resold. If any of the products or content related to this offer are returned, your refund will equal the amount you paid for the product or content, subject to applicable refund policies. If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid.

Around The DC Universe: Titans, Jason Todd, The Longbow Hunters, and More!

Welcome to “Around the DC Universe,” Graphic Policy’s weekly guide to the best comics and shows on DC Entertainment’s premium subscription service.

Original Series

After a week away from this column I had a bit of catching up to do with Titans. The show continues to be one of the best that DC has ever produced, finally bringing the team together in one episode and introducing the second Robin, Jason Todd in another. With the series entering its second half the characters are really starting to gel as a group. It’s a lot of fun to see the chemistry between them at work and watching Dick take on the villainous Nuclear Family as Robin was tremendously satisfying. Jason too is very well done. There aren’t many portrayals of the character to hold up against Curran Walters’ for comparison but he does a good job defining him nonetheless. Walters’ Jason evokes the blend of sympathy and disdain that the character demands with a screen presence that is magnetic. He’s a great addition to the regular ensemble and I hope to see more of him as the series develops.

Comics

One of the earliest series I recommended through this column was Kevin Smith’s run on Green Arrow. This time around I call your attention to another classic story featuring the emerald archer: The Longbow Hunters by writer/artist Mike Grell. From the same era as Miller and Mazzuchelli’s Batman Year One and Tim Truman’s Hawkworld, this three issue mini series reintroduced Oliver Queen to the post-Crisis DC Universe. Grell’s Ollie is a grounded, urban vigilante on the hunt for a serial killer who stalks the streets of Seattle amidst a much larger affair involving rogue intelligence operatives and mysterious assassins. Fans of the TV show Arrow will recognize many familiar elements in the mini series itself and the follow up ongoing series with artist Ed Hannigan, several issues of which are also available on DC Universe in Green Arrow (1987). While the art is gorgeous and the stories compelling in their own right I do think this run is missing something. A notably conservative creator Grell never fully embraces the liberal politics that have been one of  Oliver’s trademarks ever since Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams got their hands on him in the late seventies.  One might expect a critique of the lefist point of view, coming as the series does at the height of the Reagan era, but ideology is mostly ignored to the detriment of the characterization of comics’ proudest liberal. While it does strike slightly right of the bullseye, The Longbow Hunters is still a high water mark in Green Arrow’s career and is worth the attention of anyone who is interested in his adventures.

Technical Issues

The addition and subtraction of new comics remains the biggest problem with the DC Universe service. As I reported several weeks ago, the powers that be seem to be discussing how to improve the comics portion of the site by changing how the library is curated. What this means is still being left vague by the moderators of the community forums but the sense of disaffection among users is palpable. Nothing has been added to the comics library to replace Dark Victory after that title expired on November 12th and there have been no announcements about any forthcoming special features.

While I appreciate DC’s commitment to using subscriber feedback to improve the user experience, by not continuing  to rotate new special feature titles while they discuss a fix they’re giving the impression to anyone who doesn’t follow the community forums that they’ve abandoned comics streaming as a feature. Coming on the heels of the demise of Filmstruck it doesn’t breed confidence in Warner Brothers’ long term commitment to this product or its users. I for one think that there is a lot of untapped potential in DC Universe and would hate to see it fail to live up to it. 

eigoMANGA Has Launched A Free Streaming Service Called Comic Climax

eigoMANGA announced today that the company has launched a free comic media streaming service for iOS and Android called Comic Climax.

Comic Climax includes access to digital comics, video animation, and music soundtracks. Users are be able to stream and discover comic media, search and filter by genre, creator and title, save comics to read offline, as well as find out more about their favorite creators.

At launch, the service includes comic titles such as, ‘Give My Regards To Black  Jack’, ‘Vanguard Princess’, ‘Danity Kane’, ‘God Drug’, ‘Soul Ascendance’, original animation videos such as ‘Demian’, ‘Break Ups’, ‘Short Age’, the official soundtrack to the video game ‘Vanguard Princess’, and the award-winning feature-length animated film ‘Padak’ among others.

Comic Climax is free to download worldwide on iOS and Android with no sign up required to access the streaming service.

Comic Climax is eigoMANGA’s latest digital comic distribution platform; in March 2018, the company released a virtual reality (VR) digital comic app for iOS and Android called ‘ComX VR’.

Disney+ Gets a Second Star Wars Live-Action Series Plus a Loki Live Action Series is Being Developed

Disney‘s much talked about digital service finally has a name, Disney+. Along with that announcement, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger has revealed new series that are being developed for it.

The service is getting a second live-action Star Wars series. This series will focus on Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the early years of the Rebellion and before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Diego Luna will reprise the role of Cassian Andor.

The service is also getting a live-action series centered around the Marvel character Loki and will star Tom Hiddleston.

This is on top of other new stories set in the worlds of Monster Inc. and High School Musical as well as another Star Wars set live-action series, The Mandalorian which takes place after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.

Disney+ is scheduled to launch in the U.S. in late 2019.

Around the DC Universe: Titans, Doom Patrol, Dark Victory, and Green Lantern

Welcome to “Around the DC Universe,” Graphic Policy’s continuing feature that helps you get the most out of your subscription to DC’s premier comic book and video streaming service.

Originals

This week Titans introduced their version of The Doom Patrol. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about any of the comic book versions of the team but I did enjoy watching this episode. Brendan Fraser especially stood out as Robot Man, striking a perfect balance between goofiness and pathos that made me want to watch more.

I hate to say it but the one part of this show I’m not loving is Starfire/Kory Anders. Anna Diopp does a fine job of portraying the character but I don’t think the writers really know what to do with her.  Her costume is also completely ridiculous. I was willing to accept it in the beginning since it made sense in the context in which she’s introduced but four episodes (and a transatlantic flight) later the fact that she’s still wearing it stretches the bounds of credibility by making her stick out like a sore thumb. Hopefully the whole crew will be due for a change of clothes soon.

Special Features

Last Tuesday Batman: Dark Victory was added to the service for a limited time (they’ll be taking it down November 11th). This sequel to The Long Halloween, which features the fallout of the Holiday murders on the Gotham underworld and a version of Robin’s origin, is an improvement on the original but it does rely on it rather heavily for the purposes of continuity. It’s probably not the best choice if you steered clear of The Long Halloween and its not good enough in my opinion to make reading The Long Halloween worth it. If you ignored my advice or if you’re only discovering this column after learning that the original was not your taste, then check it out. It’s by far Jeph Loeb’s most readable epic.

Comics

If you were hoping for some Green Lantern comics to go along with the release of the first issue of Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s run, then prepare to be disappointed. DC Universe’s current selection is rather spotty and missing some well regarded material including most of the classic runs by Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams and Geoff Johns. The best stuff currently available to binge are the first twenty issues of Hal Jordan’s original series from the 1960s with stories by John Broome and art by Gil Kane. While these comics are plenty goofy (as well as being full of the casual racism and sexism of the silver age) they are still worth reading as historical documents. It was editor Julius Schwartz’s reinvention of Green Lantern (along with The Flash) that set the tone for a new generation of comics. Gil Kane is perhaps the best representative of DC’s silver age style with his dynamic sense of motion and more modern page layouts (though he would not really hit his stride until later in the run when he began to ink himself) and Broome managed to weave entertaining science-fiction yarns that saw Hal adventuring across both time and space, introducing key concepts and characters along the way.

Andy Bean and Derek Mears will play Swamp Thing in the new Live Action Series

After some casting announcements have been made in recent weeks, we finally know who will play the title character in DC Universe‘s Swamp Thing series.

Two individuals are stepping in the role to play the two sides of the character. Andy Bean will play Alec Holland, the biologist who transforms into Swamp Thing. Derek Mears will play the creature he turns into after his accident.

The actors join Will Patton as Avery Sunderland and Crystal Reed as Abby Crane.

The show is set to debut in 2019 as part of the DC Universe digital platform.

Marvel Unlimited Expands this November

Marvel Unlimited, Marvel’s digital comics subscription service, offers members unlimited access to over 20,000 issues of Marvel’s classic and newer titles, delivered digitally through your desktop web browser and the Marvel Unlimited mobile app. With classic and newer issues added every week, here are some of the amazing Marvel titles coming to Marvel Unlimited this month:

Week of 11/5

ASTONISHING X-MEN #11
AVENGERS #1
AVENGERS: BACK TO BASICS #5
CAPTAIN AMERICA #701
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: WEAPON LOST #1
INFINITY COUNTDOWN #3
RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER #5
ROGUE & GAMBIT #5 SERIES COMPLETE!
SPIDER-MAN #240 SERIES COMPLETE!
STAR WARS #47
VENOMIZED #5 SERIES COMPLETE!
WEAPON X #17
X-MEN: GOLD #27
YOU ARE DEADPOOL #1

 

Week of 11/12

DARTH VADER #16
DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #300 SERIES COMPLETE!
DOMINO #2
EXILES #3
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: ADAMANTIUM AGENDA #1
INCREDIBLE HULK #716
NEW MUTANTS: DEAD SOULS #3
OLD MAN LOGAN #39
PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #304
RUNAWAYS #9
SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #32
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI ADAPTATION #1
STAR WARS: THRAWN #4
THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #32
VENOM #1
X-MEN: BLUE #27
YOU ARE DEADPOOL #2

 

Week of 11/19

ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #35 SERIES COMPLETE!
AVENGERS #2
AVENGERS: BACK TO BASICS #6 SERIES COMPLETE!
BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #18
CABLE #157
CAPTAIN AMERICA #702
DAREDEVIL #602
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER #1
INFINITY COUNTDOWN: DAREDEVIL #1
MIGHTY THOR: AT THE GATES OF VALHALLA #1
QUICKSILVER: NO SURRENDER #1
STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #27
THE PUNISHER #224
WEAPON H #3
X-MEN: RED #4
X-MEN: THE WEDDING SPECIAL #1
YOU ARE DEADPOOL #3

 

Week of 11/26

BLACK PANTHER #1
CHAMPIONS #20
DOCTOR STRANGE #390 SERIES COMPLETE!
FALCON #8 SERIES COMPLETE!
HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: MYSTERY IN MADRIPOOR #1
INCREDIBLE HULK #717 SERIES COMPLETE!
INFINITY COUNTDOWN: DARKHAWK #1
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #600 SERIES COMPLETE!
LEGION #5 SERIES COMPLETE!
MOON KNIGHT #195
OLD MAN HAWKEYE #5
OLD MAN LOGAN #40
S.H.I.E.L.D. BY HICKMAN & WEAVER #5
SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #33
STAR WARS #48
STAR WARS ANNUAL #4
STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #20
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI ADAPTATION #2
WEAPON X #18
X-MEN: GOLD #28
YOU ARE DEADPOOL #4

Not a Marvel Unlimited member? Join today!

Marvel Unlimited members have access to some of the greatest Marvel Comics featuring The Avengers, Spider-Man, Thor, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel and more! With November’s update, Marvel Unlimited will also be expanding its back catalog with the following issues: Thunderbolts (1997) #51-74, Mutant X (1998) #1-17, Taskmaster (2002) #1-4, Warlock and the Infinity Watch (1992) #36-42, Elektra: Glimpse and Echo (2002) #1-4 and much, MUCH more! This amazing service is accessible through Marvel Unlimited on the web and through the Marvel Unlimited app on iPhone, iPad and on select Android devices.

Breaking: Image Comics Will Stop Selling DRM-free Titles Starting November 5

Image Comics has sent an email alert stating they will stop selling DRM-free titles through their website beginning November 5th. DRM-free versions of their books will no longer be available for purchase and all sales of DRM-free versions through ImageComics.com will be discontinued.

The company announced in 2013 at Image Expo that they would be offering DRM-free digital comics through their website.

What this means for folks who have already purchased?

  • From November 5th, 2018 through February 3rd, 2019 customers can still access their previous purchases. Image recommends that customers download and save their purchases at their earliest convenience before February 3rd, 2019.
  • Future titles will be available for purchase through other digital vendor partners, and DRM-free versions through other services that offer it, like comiXology.
  • You will still be able to purchase physical copies of Image books and subscribe to series through Image Direct as well as your local comic book store. Image Direct will NOT be affected by this change.

Around the DC Universe: Titans, Swamp Thing, and More!

Originals

Stuff is finally starting to come together on Titans. This week saw Starfire and Beast Boy pulled into the main thread alongside Dick and Rachel. I like how they’re using Starfire to add an element of real mystery to Raven’s story line. Just about everyone knows what Rachel’s big reveal is but it will be interesting to see exactly how Kory fits into it. That said, after the Hawk and Dove episode I’m worried they won’t keep her core background as an alien intact. The juxtaposition of sci-fi and fantasy elements is a feature of superhero comics that has been largely neglected on TV and it would be nice for Titans to break the mold.

Comics

Between Halloween and recent casting news regarding the upcoming Swamp Thing series, this is the perfect time to read some of the best horror comics ever published by DC or anyone else. Alan Moore‘s run on The Saga of Swamp Thing is one of the high water marks of the medium as groundbreaking as The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen and maybe even more influential by virtue of the fact that it was an ongoing monthly series. The earliest issues with art by Stephen Bissette and and John Tottlebein are currently on DC Universe and it actually stands apart from the bulk of the run quite well though you do miss out on the early appearances of John Constantine. What’s here is more than worth it, a look into some of the murkier corners of the DC Universe including a guided tour of Hell itself. Be warned that there are many uncomfortable themes including rape, incest and necrophilia. These are not comics for the squeamish either. No evokes the corrupting atmosphere of body horror quite like the team of Bissette and Totlebein. If you’re a big fan of movies like John Carpenter’s The Thing or David Cronenberg’s The Fly, then The Saga of Swamp Thing is a must read. Available on DC Universe in The Saga of The Swamp Thing (1982) #21-34 and Swamp Thing Annual (1985) #2. Read the Swamp Thing Annual between issues 31 & 32.

Technical Issues

After almost 2 months since release it’s time for an update on technical issues. Overall I’d say DC Universe has gotten a lot better. The community portion of the site has added moderator tags and restricted one of the boards to moderator posts so it’s much easier to get official announcements.The inability to directly interact with other users remains a stumbling block but there has been improved functionality in terms of what you can post and the ability to bookmark threads. Communication  is greatly improved but there are still blind spots. Death of Superman was up for the better part of October missing key issues in the story. This was never addressed despite the fact that this was pointed out by myself and other users in several spots on the community and through direct communication with customer service using the form available through the app itself.

The rotation of special feature comic titles continues to prove frustrating. While DC has mostly been adding worthwhile titles on a regular schedule, the rate at which they rotate out is inconsistent and you have to dig to find out how long a given issue will be available. It would be nice to know in advance how much time there is to read a given special feature without have to trawl through a message board. Similarly three out of four issues of Batman: Year One, which I had thought would be part of the regular library until at least the end of this month, mysteriously vanished while issues of Batman ’66 seemed to appear without warning.

To add a further wrinkle to the matter DC originally stated that their full digital library would be available for purchase in October, presumably at a per issue price similar to ComiXology (though DC has stated that the two services’ libraries will not sync meaning you would need to purchase a book twice to read it on both apps). This note has now been replaced with one that states more comics are coming soon. Whether this means that DC is planning to retool DC Universe to have an unlimited library similar to Marvel’s remains to be seen. It does seem unlikely that DC, a company that relies far much on “evergreen” trades like The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen, would want to hazard risking those sales by making such titles available digitally for such a low price point (especially given the cost of producing their original shows) but there is also a lot of discontent in the community with the current vault approach. If anyone from DC is reading this I would suggest a hybrid approach: regular monthly titles released in a style similar to Marvel Unlimited with a six month or even a year lead time to preserve comic shop sales and a rotating, themed  selection of the best selling boutique material in trade. This should allow for a better value for money for readers who are primarily interested in new material while DC is able to maintain the value of their older titles.

Around the DC Universe: Titans Debuts

Welcome once again to Graphic Policy’s regular roundup of the best, the worst and the goofiest content on DC Universe, the premier subscription service for all things from DC Entertainment.

Originals

A new heading gets added to the feature this week with the much anticipated debut of Titans, the first DC Universe exclusive original series. Early reactions to the series’ teaser material was decidedly mixed with many fans decrying what appeared to be it’s dark and gritty tone and the open use of profanity, especially when associated with a franchise with many younger fans thanks to the animated series Teen Titans (also available on DC Universe) and Teen Titans Go!

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed the premier episode. The show is indeed dark and gritty but the tone works really well to provide a fresh take on thirty year old material that has been adapted several times before.

In this iteration Titans is very much an examination of young people coping with trauma, a theme that is all too relevant in the wake of #metoo and a generation of young veterans suffering from PTSD. Raven (played by Tegan Croft) is the real standout of the show and much of what occurs is seen from her viewpoint, something that makes the tone very apropos. I was a little worried that they were going to draw Dick Grayson too far towards the rendition from All Star Batman and Robin but Brenton Thwaites retains an essential likeability and vulnerability even while brutally wading into criminals with no quarter asked or given. “Fuck Batman” was a shocking and needlessly edgy line in the trailer but in the context in which it used it did work for me. I’d go so far as to say that this portrayal of the “boy” wonder might be the definitive live action one for a generation.

If there’s a flaw in the first episode it’s that Anna Diop’s Starfire is too far divorced from Robin and Raven’s plotline for much of the runtime. I get the feeling they were trying to make her mysterious but she came across as more of a distraction than anything else. Hopefully their paths will dovetail together next week. While I’m mostly over the idea of R (or in this case TV MA) rated superheroes I think it does work here.

One episode is not enough to justify $75 for a year’s subscription but if the rest of the season is as good or better a month or two to binge the entire thing will certainly be worth it.

Comics

I’ve been busy catching up on analog comics for the last two weeks so I haven’t spent as much time reading on DC Universe as usual. One title I did get to finish though was Hawk and Dove (2011) by artist Rob Liefeld, scripted for the first five issues by Sterling Gates and done solo by Liefeld for the last three. Hawk and Dove‘s cardinal sin isn’t that it’s bad; it’s that its boring. At no point in this run do we get a sense of the characters as anything other than generic super heroes. There’s nothing compelling here, no reason why we should care what happens to anyone. The story also seems to be a continuation of threads laid down in a previous series, an odd choice given that the New 52 was supposed to be a fresh start for all but the most successful DC titles. It’s not even worth it for Liefeld fans as his work here feels rushed and bland. It’s almost like he lost interest or ran out of time halfway through, producing  a forgettable story and a poor introduction to the characters.

A much better use of your time is the first six issues of All Star Western (2011) written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with artwork by Moritat. Bringing Jonah Hex to Gotham City in the late nineteenth century was a stroke of brilliance and making his sidekick Amadeus Arkham makes for some great odd couple dynamics as the two try to solve a series of murders similar to the Jack the Ripper killings. The art (reminiscent of the french master Moebius) is in turns sexy, and disturbing and never less than brilliant. The only bad thing I can say about these comics is that there are not enough of them. All Star Western ran longer than any of the other New 52 launch titles without traditional superhero leads and only the first trade’s worth of material is available to read online with a DC Universe subscription. Hopefully more will be uploaded soon as these are some of the best comics produced by a major company in recent years and the series only gets better from here.

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