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Preview: Justice League #61

Justice League #61

Written by: Ram V., Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Xermanico, David Marquez

The new Justice League is trapped on a world devastated by a super-powered war, and Brutus hungers for a new home of his own-our Earth! With their powers gone haywire, the League must fight their way out of a post apocalyptic Thunderdome of depravity and desperation. On the run with Batman, Naomi learns more dark secrets of her birth world’s broken legacy, while Hawkgirl and Black Canary battle through the henchmen trenches. But where are Superman and Black Adam, and what kind of trouble is Aquaman in? (Hint: it’s bad.) And in the Justice League Dark story, Ragman joins the hunt! Zatanna, Constantine, Etrigan, and Detective Chimp hit the books-literally-in a possessed library, as Merlin’s plan takes shape before them…and spells doom for the universe.

Justice League #61

Get a First Look at DC and The CW’s Naomi

DC and The CW have released an official image from the anticipated series Naomi. The image is of actress Kaci Walfall as Naomi McDuffie.

Created by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, and Jamal Campbell, the series is about Naomi an adopted high school student living in a small town unaware of her history.

The released image is a bit of an homage to the cover of the first issue that introduced the character which you can see below. If given a green light, the series will stay true to the comic series which ran for six issues (so far).

Along with Walfall, Naomi also stars Alexander Wraith as Dee, Cranston Johnson as Zumbado, and Camila Moreno as Lourdes. It’s executive produced by Ava DuVernay, Jill Blankenship, Sarah Bremner, and Paul Garnes, and produced by DuVernay’s Array Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Preview: Justice League #60

Justice League #60

Written by: Ram V., Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Xermanico, David Marquez

Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman and Hawkgirl join forces with Black Adam to fight an all-new world conqueror! But how do they stop the unstoppable power known as Brutus? Enter new mega-power sensation Naomi, who comes face to face with the League and brings along Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons for a blockbuster battle for the ages—with a last-page cliffhanger that will leave everyone guessing what’s next!

And in the backup tale, the new Justice League meets the new Justice League Dark, and the demon Etrigan calls the team to action—but Batman has other plans. This team needs a leader, but what twisted secret prevents Zatanna from stepping forward? Plus, Ragman makes a startling discovery—one that may cost his life!

Justice League #60

Review: Justice League #59

Justice League #59

Although the Rebirth numbering is intact, both the Justice League and Justice League Dark titles get a bit of relaunch in Justice League #59. Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, and Tamra Bonvillain bring large scale action and a sequel to Bendis, David Walker, and Jamal Campbell’s Naomi in the lead story. While in the backup “Justice League Dark” story, Ram V, Xermanico, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. tap something a little more mystical as Merlin makes his return, and John Constantine and Zatanna investigate cults and prophecies in rural New Mexico. One of these strives to be modern mythology with all of the biggest toys in the DC Universe toy box while the other one might actually succeed with its riffs on Arthurian legends, the conflict between Heaven and Hell, and the senselessness of human existence underneath it all.

Justice League #59 is a 20 page story, but it feels a lot shorter thanks to an abundance of double page spreads from artist David Marquez. He and Brian Michael Bendis throw readers right into the middle of the fray as a mysterious interdimensional invader named Brutus lands in Kahndaq and confronts its king and protector, Black Adam. This later escalates into a kind of, sort of team-up between Adam and some of the members of the Justice League, which doesn’t thrill a monarch that is more into isolation than cooperation. However, this tension only really shows up towards the end of the battle when Black Adam immediately ejects the Justice League from his land and finally towards the end of the story. Having Black Adam has a wild card is Bendis’ smartest plotting decision, and he definitely fits Green Arrow’s idea of a “dissenting voice” when Oliver talks to the other members about doing “more” as a team.

But, for the most part, this initial Justice League story is lots of punching against a villain that is generically enough called “Brutus”, and the only interesting thing about him is that he’s most likely from Naomi’s home world giving her a reason to appear in the comic beyond being a Bendis co-creation. If you’re familiar with Bendis’ run on the Superman books, there’s a Rogol Zaar vibe to him in that he’s not an interesting character except in his connections to pre-existing characters or lore. You can definitely tell that he’s going to be forgettable character when he decides to peace out in the middle of the battle through an interdimensional portal before

Justice League #59 doesn’t really much to draw readers in beyond being a kind of sequel to the excellent Naomi comic, but it does have its bright spots. David Marquez and Tamra Bonvillain really embrace the wide screen nature of the book and make a middling script gorgeous with Bonvillain contributing deep blues to the bubble-shaped panels when Aquaman and his army of sharks battle Brutus. She also uses really intense red and blues to match Marquez’s speed lines as Superman and Black Adam race to grab Brutus before he disappears. This page is pretty busy, but it drives home the point that Black Adam thinks he’s beyond the Justice League and doesn’t respect Superman unlike the other heroes. (Even the edgy, cocky Green Arrow just wants Superman to agree with him.)

Justice League #59

To go along with the blockbuster visuals, Brian Michael Bendis’ writing is at its best when characters are ribbing or arguing with each other a la New Avengers. He seems to have a lot of fun with Green Arrow and Black Canary, who debate both sides of the Justice League’s current status quo and adds a little extra reverence when Superman opens his mouth. Superman also takes lead during the fight scenes, and you can tell he’s the team leader without any kind of exposition about it. We’ll see what Bendis does with them in future issues, but for now, Flash and Hawkgirl are exposition spouters while Batman just reacts to things. As the one non-powered hero during the fight scene, he may have been trying to make Batman a POV character, but few readers can react to an (ex) billionaire and genius strategist/martial artist. Thankfully, Naomi is coming soon to fill this role, and hopefully, she brings a hook too.

Ram V and Xermanico’s “Justice League Dark” doesn’t have a problem with hooks and opens with the return of Merlin to the mortal plane. If you’ve read V’s work on Future State: Justice League, then you know that his take on the mythical wizard is more nefarious than kindly, and Merlin definitely sets himself up as the Big Bad in the pages of this issue. His actions on the final pages definitely set up a need for a Justice League type of team to take him down as Xermanico’s lovely cathedral window layouts and Fajardo’s warm color palette turns bloody and scarlet. Also, V logically connects the John Constantine/Zatanna plot to Merlin’s rise through the appearance of a fan favorite character and basically shows that their mission was just a symptom of a larger disease. It’s tension and escalation all in ten pages.

However, as well as setting up a big-time enemy for this disassembled team to face, Ram V and Xermanico still find time to explore the relationship between John Constantine and Zatanna. There’s a real softness to their interactions even as Constantine does his usual con man hijinks to get them out of a bind as the narration goes slightly nihilistic and focuses on humanity’s stupidity and willingness to place their lives in religions and cults while there’s literally bigger fish to fry. I love how Constantine cares about Zatanna’s feelings after the loss of her father and the disbandment of Justice League Dark, and Xermanico shows this through a beat panel where their hands nearly touch. Constantine and Zatanna will never be a stable couple, but V and Xermanico know they have great chemistry and use it to carry this initial installment of “Justice League Dark” because while Merlin is quite metal, we need someone to root for.

Thanks to a one-dimensional baddie and the usual Brian Michael Bendis decompression issues, Justice League #59 only gets a slight recommendation for me. However, David Marquez and Tamra Bonvillain’s take on DC’s A-list is truly awe-inspiring, and their Black Adam exudes power and contempt as well. Hopefully, there’s more Naomi, Green Arrow, and Black Canary in future issues and less alien punching bag. But the real reason this comic crosses the line from trade wait to a purchase is Ram V, Xermanico, and Romulo Fajardo’s “Justice League Dark” backup, which features both Arthurian legends and supernatural hijinks and has a formidable villain plus witty, yet emotionally honest writing for its leads, John Constantine and Zatanna.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, Ram V Art: David Marquez, Xermanico
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain, Romulo Fajardo Jr. Letters: Josh Reed, Rob Leigh
Story: 7.1 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Justice League #59

Justice League #59

Written by: Ram V., Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Xermanico, David Marquez

Writer Brian Michael Bendis reunites with artist David Marquez (Miles Morales, Iron Man, Batman/Superman) for a new, star-studded Justice League featuring Superman, Batman, the Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Hippolyta, new DC powerhouse Naomi, and…is that Black Adam?! Superman is leading the charge to reinvent the Justice League, and at the same time, a new, cosmic-powered threat arrives from Naomi’s homeworld to rule the Earth!

And in the backup story, dark days lie ahead for the new Justice League Dark. Zatanna and John Constantine take a road trip, only to discover horror around the bend as a friend-and sometime foe is reborn in fire! A legend is destroyed, and another takes a terrible turn, as Merlin reveals the beginning of a new, blood-drenched plot for all humankind. So begins writer Ram V’s new journey into the abyss with the Justice League Dark and artist Xermanico!

Justice League #59

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.

Justice League #59 gets a Zack Snyder’s Justice League Inspired Variants

Justice League #59 is getting variants inspired by the upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League. DC has revealed the covers for the comic which will be on sale March 16, 2021. The film debuts on March 18. Justice League #59 also signals the debut a new League lineup as well as a new creative team, featuring award-winning writer Brian Michael Bendis, with art by fan-favorite artist David Marquez.

These variant covers feature artwork inspired by the film and its characters, and come courtesy of three of comics’ greatest artistic talents – DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee, Lee Bermejo, and Liam Sharp.

In Justice League #59, Bendis reunites with artist David Marquez for a new, star-studded Justice League featuring Superman, Batman, the Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Hippolyta, new DC powerhouse Naomi, and Black Adam. Superman is leading the charge to reinvent the Justice League—and at the same time, a new, cosmic-powered threat arrives from Naomi’s home world to rule the Earth! And in the backup story by Ram V and Xermanico, dark days lie ahead for the new Justice League Dark. Zatanna and John Constantine take a road trip, only to discover horror around the bend as a friend—and sometime foe—is reborn in fire! A legend is destroyed, and another takes a terrible turn, as Merlin reveals the beginning of a new, blood-drenched plot for all humankind.

These special variant covers are available in both full color and black and white versions at participating comic book stores for $5.99 each. 

Preview: Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Riley Rossmo

The unthinkable has happened: one of the Legionnaires has betrayed the entire galaxy! The United Planets is in ruins, the team has been scattered across the cosmos, and madness reigns on multiple worlds! Now the surviving Legionnaires are just discovering the real truth behind what has happened to their dream of a new age of heroes. Don’t miss this shocking twist 1,000 years in the making from the team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and visionary artist Riley Rossmo.

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2

The CW Orders a Pilot for Ava DuVernay and DC’s Naomi

Naomi #1

When we originally read it, we knew there was something big coming from Naomi. The 2019 comic series written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker with art by Jamal Campbell is getting a pilot for The CW by Ava DuVernay. The comic was released by DC Comics under Bendis’ Wonder Comics imprint.

The series follows a young girl with a mysterious history and her journey to being a hero from her small town to the multiverse. It’s a true origin story and one of the best comics of 2019.

The CW series is being written and exec produced by DuVernay and Jill Blankenship. The project will be produced by DuVernay’s Array Filmworks in association with Warner Bros Television, with Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes also set as EPs.

If the series is picked up, it’d be the first DC drama on the network that’s not produced by Greg Berlanti. The CW has been shifting and figuring out what’s next for DCTV as numerous series wind down or have ended. It was recently announced that Black Lightning will end along with Supergirl after the current season. That leaves The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and the upcoming Superman & Lois. Stargirl is also moving to The CW from DC’s digital service.

A spin-off from Black Lightning is also in the works as well as the Greg-Berlanti produced Wonder Girl, both are DC properties. The pilots announced by the CW doesn’t mean these projects aren’t going forward, there may be “room for more”.

DuVernay is also working on the DC/Vertigo series DMZ which will air on HBO Max.

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