Tag Archives: clayton cowles

Shazam Debuts on DC Digital First as Harley Quinn Returns

DC’s Digital First launches a new series this week, Shazam: Lightning Strikes! The digital comic features a story by Dan Jurgens and Travis Moore about DC’s Big Red Cheese vs the gods of Egypt! Also of note this week is the return of Harley Quinn: Make ‘em Laugh with a story by Mark Russell and Laura Braga, and a new story in Superman: The Man of Tomorrow by Robert Venditti and Gleb Melkinov, giving fans even more choice of characters while expanding DC’s digital publishing line with original stories.

And watch DC’s digital space this week for the fifth chapter of DCeased: Hope at World’s End on Tuesday July 14, the seventh chapter of Batman: The Adventures Continue on Thursday July 16, and the fourth chapter of Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red on Friday July 17!

Monday July 13

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #11

Fight of a Lifetime” by Robert Venditti, Gleb Melkinov, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles
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A powerful warrior from space arrives to Earth with the sole purpose of fighting the Man of Steel himself. Can Superman defeat Grikus, the champion of 10,000 battles?

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #11

Tuesday July 14

Batman: Gotham Nights #13

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Nothing 2 See Here…” by Michael Grey, Carlos D’Anda, Luis Guerrero, and Ryan Christy.

Damian Wayne, the most powerful adversary crime has ever known, sits alone in the Batcave, twiddling his thumbs. Where is Batman? Why won’t he allow Robin to help? And most importantly, why has he left Damian to die of boredom?

Incorruptable Force” by Scott Bryan Wilson, Christopher Mooneyham, Ivan Plascencia, and DC Hopkins

Two-Face and Commissioner Gordon walk into a bar. When old grudges are resurrected and new plots are revealed, it’s a coin toss as to who walks out.

Batman: Gotham Nights #13

Wednesday July 15

Harley Quinn: Make ‘em Laugh #3

Escape Therapy” by Mark Russell, Laura Braga, Luis Guerrero, and Marshall Dillon
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Therapist extraordinaire Harley Quinn has been knocking it out of the park while helping Gotham’s criminal element navigate their psychological burdens. But not everyone shares her dedication to the mental health, and now Harley and her patients are stuck in Arkham Asylum with a robot who doesn’t make coffee and no way out!

Harley Quinn: Make ‘em Laugh #3

Thursday July 16

Titans: Titans Together #4

Career Day” by Phil Hester, Skott Koblish, John Kalisz, and Marshall Dillon
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When Wonder Girl, Starfire, and Raven give a presentation at a local high school, they’re confronted by a student with an ax to grind against the Titans. Raven is compelled to investigate, and they learn this teenager’s grievances might run deeper than they thought…

Titans: Titans Together #4

Friday July 17

Shazam: Lightning Strikes #1

Home Quest” by Dan Jurgens, Travis Moore, Nick Filardi, and Marshall Dillon. Cover by Evan “Doc” Shaner.

A class trip to an exhibit on Ancient Egypt goes all wrong when Billy tries to set a bragging classmate straight. Now they’ll have to work together to help a lost spirit find its way home!

Shazam: Lightning Strikes #1

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Review: Strange Academy #2

Strange Academy #2

It’s been quite some time since the debut of this series. Strange Academy #2 feels like no time has passed at all. It’s the first day of classes at Strange Academy. The issue hops around in a frenetic pace giving us the big picture of the school, students, and courses. We’re taken to numerous classes, introduced to the professors, and get to know the personalities of the students a bit more. We also get the first hints as to what the “big bad” will be.

Writer Skottie Young has a lot of fun with this second issue which can be picked up and enjoyed without needing to read the first. Young along with artist Humberto Ramos, deliver story pacing and a vibe that’s full of fun and energy. It’s a chaotic issue and you’ll either enjoy it or dislike it just for that. There doesn’t feel like enough time is spent in any one situation or on any one focus. But, you still feel like you get a lot of the issue as it gives us the quick tour of everything.

There are absolutely some aspects that get a bit more time on the page. Some of that is just to set up punchlines but it also helps move the characters along as well as they must deal with the situations at hand. There’s clearly some fun thought into each course and how they’re presented. That’s obvious by small jabs they make and so much is left for the reader’s imagination.

Ramos’ art is full of energy and that’s helped by the colors of Edgar Delgado and lettering of Clayton Cowles. The colors pop on the page with a bright aspect to them. Everything just looks exciting and fresh and full of energy in part due to the artistic choices. It’d be so easy to do a dour take on the same issue but as presented there’s a youthful energy about it all. There pages are full of mystical details that often tell the entire story of that particular segment. The issue relies heavily on the visual. Cowles’ lettering too is key as it often helps bring out the personality of the various characters as the lettering shifts between them.

Strange Academy #2 is a crazy paced issue where entire scenes and situations are left for a single page or a single panel gag. It’s a whirlwind tour of the school and what the kids will be dealing with. It also drops hints as to where things will be going. And it needed to be this way. An issue focusing more on any of the elements would have felt like it dragged on and given other aspects the short end of things. Instead, everyone gets their moments with a lot of humor thrown in. For as crazy as it is, it’s a great read and a welcome return of the series.

Story: Skottie Young Art: Humberto Ramos
Color: Edgar Delgado Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


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Review: Batman #94

Batman #94

With the previous arc over, Batman #94 acts as a bridge to the highly anticipated “Joker War” storyline. It’s an interesting issue that’s a bit cliche. The story really emphasizes how much the previous arc was really a setup of what’s to come. Written by James Tynion IV, Batman #94 feels like Tynion’s attempt to give us his own iconic moment. We don’t get Batman realizing he must strike terror in the heart of villains. Instead, we get a take that falls a bit flat.

Tynion takes us to the past as Bruce Wayne seeks out a teacher to help him become a greater detective. It’s an interesting beginning as it ties in a bit with the concept of the Designer whose arc just ended. Baker is another mentor for the character, one who’s “the world’s greatest detective.” With the name Baker, it’s not hard to figure out the inspiration for the character. It’s an interesting concept. The concept plays nicely into the previous arc and whose purpose is about the present and future.

Tynion is laying the seeds for his vision of Batman. In this case his statement is the character has been too cerebral and in doing so has missed things like the Joker’s latest move. It’s a line in the sand that is emphasized at the end that what we’ll see going forward is an evolution of Batman. This is a character who has relied on others like Alfred and Lucious Fox. With all of that failing, we’re going to get something that’s different in the months to come. This is a character who is both alone and also surrounded by friends and allies. Exactly what that is should be interesting but this issue lays out the vulnerabilities and faults of Batman as is.

It’s also that cliche of the hero confronting the villain over the phone. It’s a parlay of words that points us to the clash ahead and unfortunately feels like a waste of concept in this bridge to “Joker War.”

The art by Guillem March and Rafael Albuquerque is pretty good. There’s a clear difference in the styles that’s noticeable and does stand out. It’s not quite enough to derail the visuals but it’s a small bump in what has been a visually intriguing run. The color by David Baron and lettering by Clayton Cowles helps tie things together. The big letdown in the visuals is we never quite get the full picture of just how beaten and bruised Batman is. The man is clearly hurting and we’re told so multiple times but visually the character never really feels more than “bruised” while we’re to believe he could collapse or worse any minute. The physical toll is never sold visually.

The issue is an ok one and a step back in what has been a good run so far. The issue feels like it’s full of cliches and tropes that never quite standout. Add in plotlines it feels like we’ve seen before. There’s also groan-worthy moments that just feel like shallow attempts to recreate previous magic. Add in a lack of exciting visuals, the comic is a forgettable bridge to “Joke War.” Batman #94 isn’t a bad read at all but it also lacks the excitement or interesting ideas that Tynion has entertained us with so far.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Guillem March, Rafael Albuquerque
Color: David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #10

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #10

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Pro-Lobo” by Dave Wielgosz, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, and Tom Napolitano

The Main Man himself, Lobo, has come to Earth chasing a bounty, but Superman thinks Lobo is just hurting the little creature. Will Superman put a stop to Lobo, or does the alien have other plans?

The Champion” by Michael Moreci, Thony Silas, Wil Quintana, and Clayton Cowles

Superman wakes up in chains and doesn’t know where he is. He’ll need to put the pieces together quickly if he’s to survive a brutal bout in this gladiator arena!

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #10

This Week’s DC Digital First Includes Our Fighting Forces from Priest and Christopher Mooneyham

DC’s Digital First delivers new comics every day! New series Our Fighting Forces joins the lineup next Sunday July 12 and Flash: The Fastest Man Alive returns for another “Flash Friday” with a new issue, giving fans even more choice of characters while expanding DC’s digital publishing line with original stories. And Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red’s third chapter will hit on Friday July 10 with a story by Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez!

Monday July 6

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #10

Purchases

Pro-Lobo” by Dave Wielgosz, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, and Tom Napolitano

The Main Man himself, Lobo, has come to Earth chasing a bounty, but Superman thinks Lobo is just hurting the little creature. Will Superman put a stop to Lobo, or does the alien have other plans?

The Champion” by Michael Moreci, Thony Silas, Wil Quintana, and Clayton Cowles

Superman wakes up in chains and doesn’t know where he is. He’ll need to put the pieces together quickly if he’s to survive a brutal bout in this gladiator arena!

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #10

Tuesday July 7

Batman: Gotham Nights #12

Five Little Robins” by Tim Seeley, V. Ken Marion, Sandu Florea, Andrew Dalhouse, and Troy Peteri
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Every current and former Robin has been captured by a mysterious villain! Will these distinctly different students of Batman be able to stand each other long enough to fight off a horde of their greatest enemies?

Batman: Gotham Nights #12

Wednesday July 8

Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #9

Obsession Aggression” by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Hendry Prasetya, Hi-Fi, and Travis Lanham
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Wonder Woman’s been ambushed! After receiving a house from the will of a person she’s never met, Wonder Woman must investigate, but finds a house of horrors out to kill her! Who’s done this and can Wonder Woman survive the onslaught?

Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #9

Thursday July 9

Titans: Titans Together #3

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What’s ‘Normal’” by Marc Guggenheim, Steve Pugh, Mike Spicer, and Marshall Dillon

A charismatic cult leader has been recruiting followers to join his “church,” a highly suspicious organization locked behind the walls of a private compound. For Raven, freeing this vulnerable flock is imperative…the question is, how can she save people who don’t want to be saved?

Cool and HIPAA” by Andrew Aydin, Juan Gedeon, Mike Spicer, and Marshall Dillon

When reports surface that LexCorp has gained access to confidential government health records, Raven realizes that this could mean the unmasking of countless superheroes. With Beast Boy’s help, she must infiltrate LexCorp’s private servers and destroy the information before it falls into the wrong hands.

Titans: Titans Together #3

Friday July 10

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #10

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Bullet” by Van Jensen, David Lafuente, Paul Mounts, and Rob Leigh

It’s an all-out brawl between Reverse Flash and Flash as Barry tries to save a cop from an errant bullet. Will the Flash be fast enough to stop a bullet?

Burnout” by Dave Wielgosz, Brad Walker, Nathan Fairbairn, and Rob Leigh

Barry is running himself ragged, and his best friend Hal Jordan comes to check on him, but Flash doesn’t want the help. When the Top goes on a rampage, can the two friends put their differences aside to work together?

The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #10

Saturday July 11

Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Inc. #3

Scooby’s Last Rep” by Scott Gross, Franco Riesco, and Saida Temofonte
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A mysterious giant is bringing chaos to a local gym. Can Scooby and the gang stop him and save the day?

Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Inc. #3

Sunday July 12

Our Fighting Forces #1

House Call” by Priest, Christopher Mooneyham, Ivan Plascencia, and Willie Schubert (cover by Mikel Janín)

A cable news reporter embedded with a mysterious U.S. Army tactical unit tries to figure out which one of the team’s members is the immortal covert operative code-named the Unknown Soldier—and discovers much more than she bargained for!

Our Fighting Forces #1

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This week’s DC Digital First includes Titans, Scooby-Doo!, Ghosts, From Beyond the Unknown, DCeased, Harley Quinn, and more!

DC’s Digital Firsts continues with new content every day! New series Titans: Titans Together, From Beyond the Unknown, Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Inc. and Ghosts all continue with their second issues, giving fans even more choices. And watch DC’s digital space next week for new chapters of DCeased: Hope at World’s End on Tuesday, June 30, Batman: The Adventures Continue on Thursday, July 2, and Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red on Friday, July 3!

Monday June 29

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #9

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What Lives Inside” by Jeff Parker, Sam Lofti, John Rauch, and Clayton Cowles

Superman and Lois respond to an emergency call at the mines outside of Metropolis. Can Superman save the miners from a horde of mysterious rock creatures? And where did these creatures come from?

Invasive Species” by Jeff Parker, Mike McKone, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Clayton Cowles

Brainiac unleashes a monstrous creature on the Portland airport. Can Superman stop it before it spawns and overwhelms the planet!

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #9

Tuesday June 30

Batman: Gotham Nights #11

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Reunion” by Steve Orlando, Priscilla Petraites, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Ryan Christy

A face from Red Hood’s past needs his help when he’s targeted by Codename: Assassin—he just doesn’t know it yet!

One Minute After Midnight” by Marc Guggenheim, Robert Gill, Luis Guerrero, and Marshall Dillon

The clock counts down as a prisoner on death row awaits his sentence…but Nightwing and Red Hood believe there’s more to his case than meets the eye, and now they have one night to prove it!

Batman: Gotham Nights #11

Wednesday July 1

Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #8

Awakening” by Louise Simonson, Paul Pelletier, Norm Rapmund, Adriano Lucas, and Janice Chiang
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While on an archeological dig in Peru, Diana Prince uncovers the burial chamber of the Ayar Cachi, the Incan god of Earthquakes. Her dig is interrupted by the arrival of Cheetah who wants the power of Ayar Cachi for herself!

Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #8

Thursday July 2

Titans: Titans Together #2

The Bride of Blood” by Phil Hester, Scott Koblish, John Kalisz, and Marshall Dillon
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Master mercenary Deathstroke needs the Titans’ help. His daughter, Ravager, was infiltrating the demonic Church of Blood when she succumbed to the hypnotic power of its leader, Brother Blood. Red Hood believes that the plea is real…but is Deathstroke telling them the whole story?

Titans: Titans Together #2

Friday July 3

From Beyond the Unknown #2

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The Butler” by Tom Sniegoski, Eric Gapstur, Marissa Lousie, and Ferran Delgado

On Earth-A.D. (After Disaster), the world is a very different place—a postapocalyptic wasteland, full of talking animals and other strange sights. While exploring his dystopian home, Kamandi, the last living human, stumbles upon a robot butler patiently awaiting the return of his human masters, who disappeared years before. Kamandi takes pity on the loyal butler and tries to reunite him with his long-lost family…however unusual that reunion might be.

Stealth Mode” by Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Hi-Fi, and Ryan Christy

In the far future of the 31st century, the super-powered teens known as the Legion of Super-Heroes protect all the citizens of the United Planets. But when Legionnaires Sun Boy and Wildfire are kidnapped, their teammates must infiltrate a mysterious ice planet to try to save their friends…and the planet!

From Beyond the Unknown #2

Saturday July 4

Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Inc. #2

Now You See Them…” by Sholly Fisch, Dario Brizuela, Franco Riesco, and Saida Temofonte
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One by one, the members of the Scooby gang are disappearing! Can Scooby solve the mystery alone?

Scooby-Doo!: Mystery Inc. #2

Sunday July 5

Ghosts #2

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The Ghost Inside” by John Layman, Andy Clarke, David Baron, and Travis Lanham

John Constantine discovers that nothing is ever what it seems, especially inside a haunted house…

Child of the Night” by Keith Giffen, Priscilla Petraites, John Rauch, and Travis Lanham

A young girl on the run finds more than she bargained for when she takes cover in a house occupied by none other than Gentleman Ghost!

Ghosts #2

This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Preview: Superman: Man of Tomorrow #9

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #9

Purchase

What Lives Inside” by Jeff Parker, Sam Lofti, John Rauch, and Clayton Cowles

Superman and Lois respond to an emergency call at the mines outside of Metropolis. Can Superman save the miners from a horde of mysterious rock creatures? And where did these creatures come from?

Invasive Species” by Jeff Parker, Mike McKone, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Clayton Cowles

Brainiac unleashes a monstrous creature on the Portland airport. Can Superman stop it before it spawns and overwhelms the planet!

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #9

Get an Early Look at Batman #95, the First Part of “Joker War”

Batman #95

Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Jorge Jimenez
Colors by Tomeu Morey
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Main cover by Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey
The Joker variant cover by Francesco Mattina
1:25 Cardstock variant cover (The Joker) by Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey
Standard and Variant cover price $3.99 US
1:25 Cardstock variant cover price $4.99 US
On Sale July 21, 2020
32 Pages

“Joker War,” Part One

It’s coming… The final showdown between Batman and The Joker explodes in Batman #95, part one of “Joker War,” on sale Tuesday, July 21! Here’s a look at some fantastic art by Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey!

It was always going to come to this. The Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight Detective go head-to-head for the last time. The Joker has never wanted to win before, he’s never wanted his battle with Batman to end, but now his motivation has shifted. He has decided that one way or another, this will be the final chapter to their story. “Joker War” begins here!

Batman #95 cover

Review: Batman #93

Batman #93

Their Dark Designs” wraps up in Batman #93, the opening arc of writer James Tynion IV‘s run on the iconic character. While the issue is action-packed and full of excitement it’s also at times predictable, especially its ending.

The cover really says it all. Batman #93, and the arc as a whole, is just a “journey to Joker War,” the next big story. It’s a setup of what’s coming giving Tynion time to establish his take on Batman. It’s a transition arc of sorts introducing new characters while acting as a post-mortem for the previous run.

The issue has Batman squaring off with The Designer, the character who has been the focus of this arc. Like a magician revealing his tricks, we see everything that was planned and hinted at previously. The Designer’s various projects with Gotham’s villains is gone over one by one before the inevitable physical showdown. It’s also revealed why The Designer’s overall plan would have failed. There was an x-factor, an agent of chaos, whose goals didn’t align with the master planner. And that’s when we go down the rabbit hole learning who The Designer really is and where things go from there.

It’s an interesting moment in the comic as it becomes clear, this is all a setup for “Joker War.” Where the comic ends has been telegraphed for some time and isn’t surprising at all. Where Tynion takes it will be the interesting thing. There’s been some willingness to explore Bruce Wayne’s soft diplomacy. We were finally seeing that being wielded. Now, the question is, where does that go from here? What does this all mean for Bruce and Gotham?

The art by Guillem March and Javier Fernandez is fantastic. They’re joined by Tomeu Morey and David Baron on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering. The art has been a highlight of this run and this issue is no exception. There’s something that really pops with the art style and color choices. There’s also some fun with the eventual physical fight playing it off with a swashbuckling flair. I’s all very pleasing to the eye and overall there isn’t quite the use of splash pages you might expect. It also helps key moments as opposed to dramatic entrances, even if that key moment is told in a panel on a page with numerous other panels. Others may have dedicated a larger footprint for the moment or even an entire spread.

“Their Dark Designs” is an interesting arc. It’s an entertaining read but the landing doesn’t quite stick as it is revealed it directly ties into “Joker War” as opposed to being two stories running side by side. It takes what was an interesting new villain for Batman and turns him into a puppet, deflating the balloon. It’s not bad and does the job of transition from the last run to the current but by issue’s end, something felt a bit off. It no longer was the self-contained storyarc, it’s just the beginning of something much longer.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Guillem March, Javier Fernandez
Color: Tomeu Morey, David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read


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