“SHAZAM!” With a single magic word, the powers of six ancient gods—the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury—are placed in the hands of teenage Billy Batson, transforming him into The World’s Mightiest Mortal! A new Shazam! four-issue mini-series from Tim Sheridan and Clayton Henry, spinning out of the pages of Teen Titans Academy, arrives July 20!
Billy Batson came to Titans Academy looking for answers, but so far has kept his Shazam! identity a secret from his new classmates. Why was the rest of his adopted family cut off from the power of Shazam!? Why are his own powers becoming increasingly unreliable? What has happened to the Rock of Eternity, where is the Wizard, and who can help Billy get his powers back to normal before these mysterious events turn into a full-blown crisis?
The answers send Billy on an outrageous adventure that’ll not only change him…but have an immense impact on the school and other students on Titans Island!
Shazam! #1 (of 4) by Tim Sheridan, Clayton Henry, and Marcelo Maiolo arrives on July 20 with covers by Henry and Maiolo (main), Gary Frank and Brad Anderson (card stock variant), and Steve Lieber (1:25 card stock variant). Shazam! will retail for $3.99 US for 32 pages ($4.99 for card stock variants).
Bat-computer, queue “Holliday Road” because it’s “Batman’s European Vacation”! Batman: The Detective #1 kicks off a European mystery for Batman as a Wayne Airlines jet goes down due to terrorist action. This gets Bruce, as Batman, out of the Batcave and across the ocean to figure who is behind the attack and why.
The story is a good one with a simple action and mystery to it that feels like a fun, self-contained story. With an opening that’s worthy of the big screen, writer Tom Taylor balances things well. There’s an emphasis on a Batman who has been beaten down. He’s older, and slower, than his opponents. But, he still has the skill the rely upon and defeat the enemy. It forces Taylor to dance between the detective aspect of the character and that of the skilled fighter. By, the issue’s end, Batman has figured out what stands out about the individuals on the downed plane but not why. And in-between figuring that out, there’s fantastic action serquences.
The art is by Andy Kubert with Brad Anderson on color and Clem Robins on lettering. The art has a bit of a retro-feel to it in a good way. The art and story together remind me a bit of the oversized Batman comics I read growing up where a story was wrapped up in two-issues. Kubert delivers a punch, literally. The action sequences are big and the fights sequences solid. Kubert and the team also capture a broken Batman. Bruce looks worn down and tired, Kubert captures this perfectly. You can see and “feel” the pain.
Batman: The Detective #1 is a fun start to a self-contained Batman story. It takes him to unfamiliar territory and seems to mix his different aspects well. It’s a nice break from the greater macro Batman story taking place currently in other series. There’s some that’s a bit classic about it, a comic you can just pick up and enjoy.
Story: Tom Taylor Art: Andy Kubert Ink: Andy Kubert Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Clem Robins Story: 8.25 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Written by: Tom Taylor Art by: Andy Kubert Colorist Brad Anderson
An epic tale begins that will take Batman on a harrowing, action-packed European adventure in a new miniseries by superstar creators Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert!
A horrific tragedy in the United Kingdom sends a very personal and deadly message to the Dark Knight—one that will draw Batman out of Gotham City to investigate! From the moment he lands in Europe, Batman will face a difficult investigation and unheard-of adversaries and find the assistance of a partner once more—all in the hunt for the villain known as Equilibrium! New villains! New allies! A thrilling overseas adventure begins for the Dark Knight!
Geiger #1 kicks off the high-profile indie series from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. The duo previously worked on DC’s Doomsday Clock, a series that overall fell short of expectations. Geiger #1 does the same.
Geiger #1 really should be called “Old Man knock-off”. The series focuses on the myth of a glowing individual out in the desert who survives the irradiated wastes without a radiation suit. We’re taken through the tragedy of a man who lost his family and was caught in a nuclear explosion leading to today.
The problem is, the setup doesn’t really help the story at all. Johns and Frank leave far too many questions that distract from the main story. It also feels like a retread of so many stories before. There just isn’t that originality or spark to make the debut stand out. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t deliver an interesting enough debut.
In Tariq, aka The Meltdown Man, we get an origin that’s been done to death, an individual caught in a nuclear explosion. With his family safely in a shelter, he’s caught outside to experience things along with attackers attempting to take over the shelter from his family. It’s a fine enough start but there’s no attachment at all. These aren’t characters we get to know. There’s little to feel sympathy for what they go through. Some racism is thrown in by the attackers in what I think is an attempt to do that but it falls flat overall. The attack too comes out of nowhere. There’s not a lot of setup, it just happens which causes a distraction. There’s a detachment with the story due to those two things.
Frank’s art is good. Along with Brad Anderson‘s color, the story is nice to look at. But, as presented we get a world that also doesn’t feel one and the same. There’s scavengers in irradiation suits, the Meltdown Man in his superhero gear, and then a kingdom… where they don’t wear suits? It’s all a little odd and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense visually. But, it looks nice. Rob Leigh‘s lettering packs in a lot as Johns scripts tend go dialogue heavy. It’s impressive how much makes it on to some pages and panels without issue. The only thing is one bit of dialogue at the bottom of a panel that feels like it’s cut off by the imaginary border.
Geiger #1 has a lot of good ideas. It just doesn’t present them well. There’s a choppiness to the story and a disconnect that has me not caring about the characters or what happens. It’s concepts without logic or heart. Maybe it comes together a bit more down the line but as is, this is a debut that doesn’t live up to the excitement and hype.
Story: Geoff Johns Art: Gary Frank Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Rob Leigh Story: 5.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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.
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
New Bat-Villains! New Bat-Allies! Batman heads across the ocean for new adventure in Batman: The Dark Knight which launches on April 13! Batman: The Dark Knight will take a seasoned Batman—a lifetime of broken bones but not a broken spirit—out of Wayne Manor and on a harrowing, action-packed European quest in a new six-issue miniseries with superstar creators Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert at the helm!
But how does this Batman story begin? A horrific tragedy in the United Kingdom sends a very personal and deadly message to the Dark Knight—one that will draw Batman out of Gotham City to investigate! From the moment he lands in Europe, Batman will face a challenging investigation, unheard-of adversaries, and find the assistance of a partner once more—all in the hunt for the villain known as Equilibrium! And what does “BATMAN 147” mean to Bruce Wayne when it appears after a deadly plane crash—is it a clue, or a riddle? Or just another trap for the Batman?
And who is Batman’s new partner? All signs point to Knight or Squire (from the pages of Batman Incorporated) to help Batman crack this case, but who are the people behind these aliases, and how much will an aging Bruce Wayne be able to help them with cracked ribs, or a dislocated shoulder, or the pain associated with being Batman in the first place? When will enough be enough for the Dark Knight?
Batman: The Dark Knight #1 (of 6), written by Tom Taylor with art, cover and card stock variant cover by Andy Kubert and Brad Anderson, along with a 1:25 card stock variant cover by Riccardo Federici, arrives on April 13 with an extra-sized 26-page debut story!
DC has announced the release date for Batman: Earth One Vol. 3. The graphic novel will be released on June 8, 2021. Geoff Johns returns to the standalone graphic novel series and joining him is Gary Frank, Jon Sibal, and Brad Anderson. In the third volume of the series, a mysteriously well-armed gang of thieves thrusts Gotham City into a state of fear. The criminals are highly organized and locked and loaded with the latest in military-grade weapons: flame-throwers, grenade-launchers, and even tanks.
And this gang claims it is funded by none other than former district attorney Harvey Dent. But Harvey Dent is dead…isn’t he?
Balancing his two lives, Bruce Wayne must find the truth with the help of his growing network of agents, including Alfred, Jim Gordon, Waylon “Killer Croc” Jones, and the savvy new Catwoman. However, Bruce finds himself distracted by the seemingly impossible return of another figure believed dead—his grandfather, Adrian Arkham. He must also comfort his longtime friend, Gotham City Mayor Jessica Dent, who is scarred both physically and mentally from her experience with the Riddler which resulted in the gruesome death of her brother.
But Harvey seems to be back, plotting revenge on a city he proclaims to be guilty. And when Batman discovers the truth to these many mysteries, his entire world starts to unravel…
There’s something odd about getting to the end of Batman: Three Jokers #3 and asking yourself “what was the point”?! Batman: Three Jokers has weaved us through the possibly interesting concept that there are indeed multiple Jokers. There’s never been one. This explains the very different personalities on display. It also explains how their approaches have varied so much. The three issues has juxtaposed that with a trio of heroes, Batman, Batgirl, and Red Hood. Each have their own history with the character and their own trauma. There was something potentially there but writer Geoff Johns has missed the mark with each issue. Batman: Three Jokers #3 delivers the punchline that is neither funny nor makes you ponder anything.
Team Batman has figured out that the Joker is more than one individual and are trying to make more. We’re left to wonder why and why the Joker has taken Joe Chill. The answers are pretty obvious and Johns delivers nothing new from any of this. The Joker wants to be Batman’s number one source of trauma. He sees himself as the only thing that should be in Batman’s orbit. It’s the same schtick we also recently heard in the recent “Joker War.” Johns conclusion is nothing we haven’t seen before in other stories.
Johns’ ultimate Joker is one whose entire goal is for an eternal dance with Batman. One were they both suffer and both deliver pain to each other. That in the end, all the Joker wants is to be Batman’s top source of pain. The only source of chaos in Batman’s life.
And where Johns takes the series after is even flatter. We learn the truth of what Batman and Bruce Wayne knows about the Joker. It’s a definitive when a mystery would have been so much better. It attempts to give form to a force of nature and humanize pure chaos. It ends with the Joker being the exact opposite of what he’s recently become over the years and generally has been for much of his creation. Like so many other characters, adding backstory ruins the character. There’s just some things we don’t need to know. This is a prime example of that.
Jason Fabok‘s art is really nice to look at throughout. With Brad Anderson on color, there’s a stiffness about the page panels that works. Working off of nine panel page grids, those panels are broken only to emphasize compartmentalized scenes. The lack of splash pages or character breaking panels fits the controlling nature of all of the characters. Whether it’s Batman, Batgirl, or Red Hood, or the Joker controlling the chaos, there’s an order to it all. Small details on characters look nice and crisp but, like Johns’ storytelling, there’s a cold nature about it all. There’s a certain lack of emotion about it all beyond a small smile from Batman or Joker’s maniacal glee. There’s a loss of kinetic flow to the storytelling that is regularly seen in other Bat-titles.
Batman: Three Jokers #3 in the end was a boring let down. The idea and build up were intriguing but the conclusion felt like someone ranting for an hour with no point. It adds very little to Batman, Joker, Batgirl, and Red Hood. The characters are the exact same with little to no insight into them. If anything, it erases some of what makes the Joker interesting but attempting to give him backstory. Like a joke with no punchline, it misses its own point.
Story: Geoff Johns Art: Jason Fabok Color: Brad Anderson Story: 5.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis Art by: John Romita, Jr. Ink by: Klaus Janson Color: Brad Anderson
This issue, it’s the Superman family versus everybody! In this blistering conclusion to the epic “House of Kent” saga, huge choices are made to defend the great city of Metropolis. Plus, amid all the chaos, the new owner of the Daily Planet is revealed-and it’s…Jimmy Olsen?! Guest-starring Jonathan Kent, Conner Kent, Supergirl, and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
There’s a lot to like with Batman: Three Jokers #2. The first issue of this series was a bit of a mixed bag, but underneath the stilted dialogue, there’s concepts that show promise. And that might describe the entire series, a lot of interesting concepts that show promise. The execution, that’s another thing.
Written by Geoff Johns, the concept of the series is that there are multiple Jokers. It explains such varied takes on the character and why at times it feels like he can be at multiple places. Dubbed “The Criminal,” “The Comedian,” and “The Clown,” each are distinct in their style. They also seem to want to add to their ranks.
While the series revolves around these Jokers, the second issue is a bit clearer in Johns’ initial focus for the series, the trauma each has lead to. The debut issue circled around Jason Todd’s death and resurrection while the second issue dives further into the trauma of that. Todd’s experience with the Joker is played off of the experiences of both Barbara Gordon and Bruce Wayne, each having their own traumatic experiences.
And that’s actually interesting.
Johns focuses in on a trio of characters who are all attempting to recover and heal from their pasts in their own way. Some have done so better than others. And, in many ways the trio hurt each other. Batman’s cold distance from Jason upon his return only drove him further into the Red Hood persona. Jason’s adoption of that persona, which was once the Joker’s, is a hot topic.
These are all things that are worthy of a story. But, Johns depiction of it all feels cold and distant. There’s a lack of emotion in some ways that makes the result feel rather clinical. That might be due to the actual coldness of Batman, the “detective” aspects of the comic, or that it’s just written that way. But, there’s a lack of connection to the characters. We watch them deal with their pasts from a distance as readers as if watching a play going through the motions but not connecting with the audience.
Part of the emotional oddness of the comic is that it’s very much a “horror” comic. Jason Fabok‘s art, with color by Brad Anderson, is one of nightmares. Continuing a modern-Watchmen like riff in the style, the comic features the hunt for the two Jokers and a discover of failed conversions with a suffocating like attack. Add in yet more torture of Jason Todd and it’s a comic that’s just not very uplifting. The colors look beautiful but are dark with a sickly tint to everything. Batman isn’t necessarily known for a cheery style but this feels a bit gloomy even for that line of comics. Rob Leigh‘s lettering stands out especially as the lettering navigates the Joker’s moods. The lettering is what really drives those moments.
Batman: Three Jokers #2 isn’t a bad comic. There’s a lot to like. But, there’s also something stilted and cold in its execution. Where we should feel empath, we don’t. Where we should be shocked, we’re not. The issue wants to be mature but also never feels like it full grasps the adult nature of the themes and concepts explored. There’s something to say about Batman replacing Jason with more Robins. There’s a very twisted aspect to that.
There’s something to say about Jason’s path in general. There’s something to say about recovery from trauma and while we all have our own path, we still need support. All of that is there but it’s never feels like any of it is really discussed or explored, it’s all surface deep. Hopefully we get a bit more of these interesting ideas but as is, this is a series that feels like it knows what it wants to say but not how to say it.
Story: Geoff Johns Art: Jason Fabok Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Rob Leigh Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review