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Preview: Wonder Woman #771

Wonder Woman #771

Written by: Jordie Bellaire, Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan
Art by: Paulina Ganucheau, Travis G. Moore

Wonder Woman’s adventures through the Sphere of the Gods continue as she embarks on a quest with the cunning Ratashok to search for answers. Something is changing the rules of the Norse afterlife, and it’s up to our hero to set things right. Now she must face warriors and beasts of mythic proportions, starting with the Nidhogg! Can our Amazon Princess survive this staggering serpent? Meanwhile, in a seemingly simpler time in our hero’s life, a younger Diana continues her journey to uncover the secret behind the scriptures that hold the hidden history of Themyscira. Is she ready for the truth? Or will it change her perception of “paradise” forever?

Wonder Woman #771

Preview: Batman: Black & White #4

Batman: Black & White #4

Written by: Karl Kerschl, Becky Cloonan, Daniel Warren Johnson, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Terry Dodson, Daniel Warren Johnson, Riley Rossmo, Nick Bradshaw

Gotham City’s past, present and future all come together to haunt the Dark Knight in exhilarating new stories from some of comics’ most noted luminaries as Batman Black & White continues!

• Eisner Award-winning writer Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil, Stillwater) and fan-favorite artist Nick Bradshaw (Wolverine & the X-Men, Spidey) team up for a story that brings Poison Ivy to the front door of Wayne Manor to demand ecological responsibility from Bruce Wayne!

• Superstar writer Joshua Williamson (The Flash, Batman/Superman, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad) pairs with superstar artist Riley Rossmo (Harley Quinn, Dark Nights: Death Metal: Robin King, Martian Manhunter) for a horrific night in Gotham as a new villain emerges, as seen through the eyes of Batman himself.

• Eisner Award-winning writer/artist Becky Cloonan (Wonder Woman, Gotham Academy) concocts a murder mystery for Batman to solve set at a circus, featuring art by legendary artist Terry Dodson (Wonder Woman, X-Men, Adventureman).

• Red-hot cartoonist Daniel Warren Johnson puts Batman at the mercy of Two-Face. Batman will have to remember the words of Alfred Pennyworth if he’s going to make it through this ordeal alive.

• Karl Kerschl, artist of Gotham Academy, writes and draws a tale of Batman investigating the occult mysteries of Gotham City’s past with his new Robin…Gotham Academy’s Maps Mizoguchi?!

Batman: Black & White #4

Preview: Action Comics #1029

Action Comics #1029

Written by: Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by: Michael Avon Oeming, Phil Hester

“The Golden Age” reaches its conclusion in this issue that continues directly from Superman #29. Following an almost-deadly attack by an alien foe, the new Superman realizes that any threat could be the one! Neither Superboy nor Superman know what’s behind this latest attack. Two words: the Wall.

Plus, in an all-new backup “Tale of Metropolis,” writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad continue the Midnighter story they started in DC Future State. But is the DC Universe ready for Trojan Solutions?

Action Comics #1029

Wonder Woman Black & Gold Launches with Covers by Jen Bartel, Ramona Fradon, Yanick Paquette, and Joshua Middleton, and Killer Creative Lineup

Just in time for Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary, DC Comics is launching a new six-issue anthology series starring the Amazon Princess embellished in the color of her famous lasso, Wonder Woman: Black & Gold. You won’t want to miss celebrating the woman who inspires us all…and that’s the truth!

Kicking things off, John Arcudi and Ryan Sook re-unite to show us the grace immortality grants a hero. Becky Cloonan weaves a spine-tingling tale of Diana’s most precious weapon against the darkness. Then Amy Reeder takes us back to the Golden Age for a fun romp co-starring Etta Candy. AJ Mendez Brooks and Ming Doyle travel to Themyscira for a tense family reunion. And finally, Nadia Shammas and Morgan Beem show us a story of Diana’s past failures come to haunt her.

Wonder Woman Black & Gold #1, written by John Arcudi, Becky Cloonan, Amy Reeder, AJ Mendez Brooks, and Nadia Shamas with art by Ryan Sook, Becky Cloonan, Amy Reeder, Ming Doyle, and Morgan Beem, arrives on June 22 (40 pages for $5.99) with covers by Jen Bartel, Ramona Fradon, Yanick Paquette, and Joshua Middleton!

Preview: Wonder Woman #770

Wonder Woman #770

Written by: Jordie Bellaire, Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan
Art by: Paulina Ganucheau, Travis G. Moore

What. Is. Happening?! Wonder Woman just woke up in the middle of battle with rampaging hordes of mythological beasts bearing down on her! Not even the Princess of the Amazons can survive such an assault, but that’s okay—it’s just another day in Valhalla! The warriors here spend their days fighting and their nights drinking, and if they die in combat, they’ll be resurrected in time for the party. Strange, though, that no one seems surprised to see Wonder Woman in this crowd. It’s up to Diana to find out why things are going wrong in the Sphere of the Gods—and whether it has anything to do with what landed her in the Norse afterlife.

This bombastic adventure comes from the new creative team of writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad (DC Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman) and artist Travis Moore (Nightwing)! In the backup story, the world may know her as Wonder Woman, but once upon a time she was just Diana of Themyscira, a young girl struggling through adolescence on the shores of a mysterious island. Brought to you by Eisner Award winner Jordie Bellaire and fan-favorite artist Paul Ganucheau, this new backup story will present an intimate look into the princess’s upbringing and the hidden secrets of her past.

Wonder Woman #770

Review: Infinite Frontier #0

Infinite Frontier #0

Dark Knights: Death Metal is over and we’ve seen a possible future timeline in “Future State”. Now, DC begins to chart its path with the first crumbs teased in Infinite Frontier #0. The issue serves as a guide as to the various series and status-quo that awaits them. With a new omniverse to explore, anything is possible and the comic does its job to remind us of that.

The comic’s story is delivered in a narrative driven by two characters as our guide. It’s a spin on the classic Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. Wonder Woman believes a threat is looming and wants to witness the state of things before making a major decision about her role in the DC Universe.

With Wonder Woman and Spectre as our guide, we’re taken on a tour of the characters highlighting the comics to come. The Justice League, Batman, Wonder Girl, Alan Scott, Teen Titans Academy, Superman, Green Arrow and Black Canary, Star Girl, Green Lanterns, and the Flash all get a moment to show off where things stand. All of it is good and interesting though few of what’s presented really excites. It feels like an extended teaser and preview. It takes its concept as a guidebook almost too seriously. The comic feels a bit more like the extension of the ending of Dark Knights: Death Metal where we saw many of these ideas initially teased.

Infinite Frontier #0 credits

But, what’s intriguing is what’s presented and doesn’t have a comic attached to them. Infinite Frontier #0 teases more than what’s already announced giving hope as to what we’ll see in July and beyond. There’s also teases through artwork of the various series DC teased at the recent ComicsPro. It’s interesting in that way that the stories feel less like the exciting first 15 minutes before the credits to get you pumped. Instead, the stories are a bit dry and more to lay out where things stand with the concepts thrown out being the hooks. The action isn’t the hook, the ideas are.

The art of the comic is solid. Each segment flows into the next and with a few exceptions, the styles work well together. There are some fantastic spreads with Wonder Woman as she talks to Spectre about what she’s witnessing. There’s a few panels and pages that’ll leave you lingering to stare at. The colors really pop on pages delivering a sense of energy that really fits the new status of the DC Universe.

Infinite Frontier #0 isn’t bad but it doesn’t quite excite. By the end of the issue I found myself more excited about concepts than the comics themselves. Very few of the segments left me wanting to immediately find out what happens next. Instead, it the comic feels like a short ashcan, teasing what’s to come with a few pages and back material to fill things out. It shows what’s to come but it never quite puts things over. Instead, it nails its role as a guide, a way to browse what DC has to offer.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Joëlle Jones, Tim Sheridan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Joshua Williamson, Geoff Johns, Geoffrey Thorne
Art: David Marquez, Jorge Jimeez, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, Joëlle Jones, Stephen Byrne, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Jamal Igle, Alex Maleev, Todd Nauck, Dexter Soy, Howard Porter, John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson
Color: Tamra Bonvillain, Tomeu Morey, Emilio Lopez, Jordie Bellaire, Stephen Byrne, Alejandro Sanchez, Hi-Fi, Alex Sinclair, Brad Anderson
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Infinite Frontier #0

Infinite Frontier #0

Written by: Michael Conrad, Brian Michael Bendis, Joshua Williamson, Scott Snyder, Tim Sheridan, Joëlle Jones, Becky Cloonan
Art by: Jamal Igle, Rafa Sandoval, Stephen Byrne, Joëlle Jones, Alitha Martinez, Jorge Jimenez, David Marquez, John Timms

The next phase of the DC Universe begins here! Dark Knights: Death Metal presented the darkest threats of the Multiverse. DC Future State revealed what may lie ahead. Now it’s time to look into the Infinite Frontier of the current-day DC Universe. In Gotham City, The Joker jolts citizens awake with an attack even the Dark Knight never expected. In Brazil, a young woman discovers her destiny and her connection to the Amazons. In Belle Reve, Amanda Waller plots an invasion of Arkham Asylum. In the far reaches of space, Mongul dreams of galactic domination, while the Green Lantern Corps hosts a summit of its greatest enemies. At the Hall of Justice, the League joins forces with Black Adam. Beyond the mortal world, Wonder Woman settles into a new role in the godsphere. And somewhere in the DC Universe-it’s the return of Stargirl, in an all-new tale written by Geoff Johns! This oversized, all-star issue kicks off the next great era of storytelling and excitement as top writers and artists reveal what’s next for the World’s Greatest Heroes and opens the door to some of the greatest stories of 2021.

Review: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

The lead story in Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 deals with the actual end of the DC Universe, and it’s brilliant, poetic work from writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad and artist Jen Bartel. We get to see the final battle between Superman and Darkseid, and it’s epic as hell. However, it’s not the center of the narrative, which is Wonder Woman traveling the universe looking for signs of life and hope and trying to avoid the Undoing. Except for the ending and little glimmers, this whole issue is Diana staring into the abyss and trying to find purpose in a world that doesn’t need saving anymore and is truly in its death throes.

In the first issue, Jen Bartel demonstrated that she could operate on an epic scale in both linework and color palette, and this extends to Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2. Her punches have true power and weight behind them, the lasso finds the truth in the last few characters it entangles, and the contrast between light and shadow in her color palette is operatic, especially in Wonder Woman’s final moments as well as Superman and Darkseid’s. There’s a kind of glow in her trail as she flies across the void of space, past the ruins of the Daily Planet or Brainiac’s ship, that is in direct opposition of the black tendrils of the Undoing. Cloonan and Conrad don’t go deep into The Undoing’s backstory, but they’re the inevitability personified and wipe out the whole Legion of Superheroes in a single page that establishes their universe ending threat level. They’re like “The End” on the last page of a story, and the final pages of Immortal Wonder Woman #2 definitely take on a metafictional quality and set up yet another myth cycle.

Cloonan, Conrad, and Bartel definitely use the lead story of Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 to deal with weighty philosophical issues, like the purpose (or purposelessness) of life and the effects of revenge, especially when Spectre comes into the picture. The whole Ragnarok/Twilight of the Gods vibe carries through from the previous issue, but with the Undoing, not Darkseid, being responsible for the end of the universe. In the big picture, he’s just a god, not an unknowable cosmic force. These themes and ideas as well as the general scale of Jen Bartel’s visuals truly makes this story feel like it’s a kind of modern mythology instead of using gods from various pantheons as window dressing, comic relief, or public domain action figures.

However, Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel don’t forget what makes these myths and legends endure, and that is these heroes’ flaws and recognizable emotions. (For example, young queer people are making Tik Toks about Achilles and Patroclus just like Alexander the Great was writing fan fiction about them two millennia ago.) Bartel does a wonderful job showing Wonder Woman’s emotions throughout the story with many close-ups of her crying, and those tears floating in space to make these panels even more tragic. She also differentiates sad tears like when she witnesses Superman’s death from happy ones like when she finds the Spectre, the last living being. However, Wonder Woman isn’t all sadness in Immortal Wonder Woman #2. There’s a lot of anger too, especially in her last fight, against the Undoing as Cloonan and Conrad’s narration reveal her last thoughts about how she’s a contradictory figure: a warrior, yet peaceful. This ties into the conclusion of the two part storyline, which is quite satisfying, primal, and touches on the nature of immortality in a very cosmological way.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2’s second story, “Nubia”, definitely plays second fiddle to the lead story with writer L.L. McKinney continuing to cram a six issue miniseries’ amount of lore and exposition in six issues. However, she and artists Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales and colorist Emilio Lopez do show Nubia being a hero and kicking ass against the likes of Grail and Circe, who Grail has summoned to get the last artifact: Nubia’s tiara. This artifact is magical, and Grail is more into science so she needs an assist from a sorceress of her own. However, little does she know, that this crown is imbued with magic from the Yoruba goddess, Oshun, and it only strengthens Nubia. But, of course, there is a price, and Nubia still owns Aunt Nancy a favor. McKinney definitely leaves plenty of plot threads and potential supporting players and goddesses on the table for future stories.

But for most of the pages of “Nubia”, McKinney, Martinez, and Morales focus on the task at hand: a battle royale between Nubia, Grail, and Circe. Grail and Circe definitely underestimate their opponent so it’s quite vindicated when she breaks free from their control in an iconic full page image, and then throws, kicks, and punches them in a double page spread. Instead of going the stiff pinup route, Martinez and Morales use the spread to showcase Nubia’s speed and strength using borderless panels for her battle with Grail and the bordered panels for her fight against Circe. The choreography is gorgeous in this sequence as McKinney, Martinez, Morales, and Lopez are all on the same page and cut to the best moves. For example, Nubia ducks under a magic blast from Circe and switches opponents to throw Grail with her super strength before delivering a gut punch to the sorceress. Alitha Martinez’s layout choices give a real flow to the action while Mark Morales accentuates details like Nubia’s shoulder muscles when she hurls Circe into the sky, and Emilio Lopez uses bright primary colors during intense moments like when Circe and Grail struggle to take Nubia’s crown off.

Although, these characters are highly powered, the fight has a personal feel to it culminating in Nubia reinforcing the fact that she’s Wonder Woman, an Amazon warrior, and you can’t take important artifacts from her. L.L. McKinney gives Nubia some great one-liners to show that she’s becoming more confident as a hero and coming into her own as a “Guardian”. The flashback with the different gods might be a little text-heavy, but seeing Nubia break free from a villain who is literally staring her down and saying “Submit” is well worth it. But she doesn’t get a chance to celebrate in the epilogue of this story, and Martinez and Morales draw her with tense body language while setting up another potential arc down the road. I’ve really grown to enjoy Nubia’s courage and determination as well Alitha Martinez’s fight choreography, and I would definitely like to see more stories with this creative team. Having a Nubia limited or ongoing series would also give L.L. McKinney an opportunity to pace out some of her worldbuilding elements as well as her protagonist’s connection to Yoruba mythology and Akan folklore plus the magical/superheroic side of Atlanta in the DC Universe.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 wraps up with two very different takes on the iconic DC Comics superhero. Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel tell an archetypal self-contained story of life and death, hope and despair, and finding purpose when there’s nothing to live for starring Diana Prince. Plus it really captures the range of emotions one would feel before the inevitable end of the universe. In the second story, L.L. McKinney, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, and Emilio Lopez cram in lore, exposition, multiple villains, and one kick-ass fight scene to lay the foundation for future stories featuring Nubia. It’s like a two-hour pilot screaming for a series order whereas the lead story is a beautiful elegy with career-best interior art from Jen Bartel, who masterfully depicts both the cosmic and human.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, L.L. McKinney Art: Jen Bartel, Alitha Martinez with Mark Morales
Colors: Jen Bartel, Emilio Lopez Letterer: Pat BrosseauBecca Carey
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2

Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2

Written by: Jeremy Adams, Brandon Easton, Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by: Michael Avon Oeming, Siya Oum, Gleb Melnikov, Valentine De Landro, Mikel Janin

Meet the rising champion of the gladiatorial pits of Warworld: Superman! The Man of Steel is still down in the pits duking it out with Mongul’s hordes and working his way up to the big boss himself. But since it’s Superman, there has to be more to this than a simple determination to win the title belt, right? Yes, because he’s also got Midnighter out there on a mission to chase down a dangerous new power source…but the man standing in his way is all too familiar.

Plus, the Black Racer smashes her way to freedom and Mister Miracle, now trapped on Warworld himself, has to find his way back to the bottle city of Metropolis—and his only mode of transportation is a busted Boom Tube!

Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2

Preview: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

Written by: L.L. McKinney, Michael Conrad, Becky Cloonan
Art by: Alitha Martinez, Jen Bartel

The Undoing is here. Superman couldn’t stop it. Darkseid couldn’t stop it. Only Diana Prince is left to hold back the being that could spell the complete disintegration of the cosmos. But will even she be powerful enough for the task? Meanwhile, in another future, Nubia’s attempts to stop the theft of ancient artifacts have led her to an even bigger conspiracy, and an even bigger foe. Circe is up to her old tricks, even after all these years-and she has an offer that Nubia will find hard to refuse.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2
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