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Review: Future State-Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 concludes with a story that is part classic World’s Finest, part Grant Morrison’s JLA (Think the one where Superman wrestled an angel.), and all heart. Writer Dan Watters sets up a plot with mythic stakes, namely, a race and fight against two iterations of the sun: the villainous Solaris (Aka the Tyrant Sun from Morrison’s DC One Million) and Kuat, who is the sun god of the Kamayura people from the Amazon rain forest. Wonder Woman (Yara Flor) is set to fight the god from her pantheon, and Superman (Jon Kent) is set to fight the villain from his rogue’s gallery, but Watters throws in a little switcheroo that makes the match up an extra fun combination of mythology and science, brains and brawn. Having a hero fight another hero’s bad guy is just a plain enjoyable trope, and Watters, Leila Del Duca, and Nick Filardi lean into big time with hilarious reaction shots, flashy colors, clever monologuing, and one big, damn punch.

Speaking of punching, Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 goes for more of a problem solving than a brawling angle in Yara and Jon’s battles against Solaris and Kuat. Because Solaris’ red sun negates Jon’s ability and makes him a formidable foe despite appearing in only a few stories, they have to use their smarts instead of brute force to defeat them. This is why Watters’ plotting is more Doctor Who and less, say, Geoff Johns’ Justice League as he introduces cool gadgets, knowledge of the future, and just plain grit for his heroes to save the day. He and Del Duca also deploy the power of multi-faceted characterization in crafting Yara and Jon’s plans, and the lack of extraneous guest stars in this issues means that we really get to know them better by the end of the story.

Their opponents say that Yara isn’t strong enough to fight Solaris, and that Jon isn’t smart enough to beat Kuat in a race especially without his full powers. However, the readers know this isn’t the case with Jon demonstrating a knowledge of systems theory combined with futuristic technology to make sure a planet from an alternate dimension doesn’t get sucked into a black hole. Also, Yara is a total badass and familiar with both Greek and indigenous Brazilian mythology so she basically knows the rules of stories and get herself out of a jam. (Watters writes her as a little more mature than Joelle Jones did in Future State: Wonder Woman.)

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 also explores the heroic burden that Jon has set for himself as he basically says that his job as Superman is to maintain Earth and beyond’s status quo in a stirring monologue coupled with some earnest facial expressions from Del Duca. Although it’s the future, he’s the embodiment of the Protestant work ethic and is always completing some task or other throughout the comic and seems deathly scared to delegate tasks to other heroes like Yara. Speaking of Yara, she provides a lighter counter-measure to Jon and believes in things like work/life balance (See the previous issue where she took a break from superheroing to have a drink with her buddies.) and disorganized organization as she figures out why Jon is disoriented and weakened in the first pages of the issue. Filardi uses big reds and blues that visually convey blaring alarms saying, “Superman down” in the first page, but then Leila Del Duca and Dan Watters nail a comedy beat with Yara trying to tame a Headless Mule.

Even though she’s a powerful hero, Yara doesn’t take herself too seriously and gets all the good one-liners. Leila Del Duca has her pull some hilarious faces and poses like when she rolls up to Solaris and says that she’s a last minute replacement for Jon and looks like she’s taking a quick call on her Bluetooth receiver. Watters and Del Duca strike the right balance between buddy comedy and epic battles. Jon gets to be part of a cosmic chariot race with Del Duca zooming out and show the sheer scale of a race around Earth and Pluto, but he also gets to have a sheepish grin and look like your friend who just lapped you at Mario Kart. The cosmic epic-meets-quirky comedy also extends to the villains with Solaris being a “center an entire crossover around him” type while Kuat just needs to be taken down a peg and have his yellow dwarf star sized ego massaged a little bit.

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 wraps up what is almost the platonic ideal of a superhero team-up with Dan Watters, Leila Del Duca, and Nick Filardi telling a tale of troubleshooting on a universal scale with plenty of wit, bright colors, and heroes acting, well, like heroes. Mythology, science fiction, and a pinch of snark (Mainly Yara telling Jon that Earth could survive without him.) all come together in perfect harmony and minimal continuity baggage.

Story: Dan Watters Art: Leila Del Duca
Colors: Nick Filardi Letters: Tom Napolitano

Story: 8.6 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Written by: Dan Watters
Art by: Leila del Duca

Our heroes have challenged the gods themselves to a test of bravery for the fate of the Earth. But gods are notorious cheaters, and with Superman’s powers in flux, it falls to Wonder Woman to face down the sun itself! A utopian future awaits-but only if a Kryptonian peacemaker and an Amazon warrior can put aside their differences to become the World’s Finest Heroes!

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Review: Home Sick Pilots #2

Home Sick Pilots #2

The Old James House has lost its ghosts. With her new powers, it’s up to Ami to bring them back…whether they want to come home or not. Even when they’re really big ghosts wrapped in metal, with lots of sharp edges and things. Home Sick Pilots #2 continues the intriguing horror series giving us a better idea as to what to expect going forward.

Picking up where the debut issue left off, Ami attempts to retrieve a lucky horseshoe in Home Sick Pilots #2. The horseshoe seems to have an agenda of its own not wanting to return to the house. The issue delivers a tragic tale of someone who has experienced nothing but good from the haunted horseshoe. What will her life be without it and does she want to return to that existence? Writer Dan Watters delivers a story that feels almost like a parable mixed with a little ghostbusting.

The issue hints a bit more as to what we can expect with the series. Its focus isn’t a missing Ami, presumably killed by the house. Instead, the house is using her to gather these items and ghosts, we assume. It’s a house with a mission and something on its mind apparently as it’s also not being clear with Ami as to what it’s done and what it wants.

The artwork by Caspar Wijngaard and letterer Aditya Bidikar continues to impress. The art delivers an intriguing visually intertwined narrative of Ami and her friends. We get the story around the Old James House which doesn’t seem as much of a horror story but that’s juxtaposed by the blood covering her friends as they attempt to figure out what to do. We also get a look at the ghost Ami captures in multiple ways and each is a fascinating design well worth examining.

Home Sick Pilots #2 moves the story along as well as delivering the backstory of Ami and her friends. It’s a solid horror story that feels like some classics in the genre. It’s not completely clear what’s going on but what has been presented is surely interesting and well worth checking out.

Story: Dan Watters Art: Caspar Wijngaard
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar Designer: Tom Muller
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1

Written by: Dan Watters
Art by: Leila del Duca

The sun has set on the heroes of the past, and a new age is dawning! As two arrogant gods challenge one another to a contest of strength, Superman and Wonder Woman are forced to take action to save their cities from the chaos. Together, Jonathan Kent and Yara Flor, man of science and woman of myth, have the potential to become something powerful, but that’s only if they can learn to get along! Can the two fledgling heroes put their differences aside long enough to save the world they have sworn to protect?

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1

Review: The Picture of Everything Else #1

The Picture of Everything Else #1

It’s Sweeney Todd meets The Picture of Dorian Gray in this new series from Vault Comics. In The Picture of Everything Else #1, Paris’ elite begin turning up dead, their bodies looking as if they’ve been torn apart.

The story is told from the perspective of two struggling artists, Alphonse and Marcel. This is a smart choice on writer Dan Watters’ part. It elevates the story beyond a standard Gothic thriller. This choice of narrators allows him to explore themes of art and wealth as they relate to identity in a natural and nuanced way. Nothing in the story is forced, it all flows smoothly from one plot point to the next. Watters strikes a great balance between providing the reader with context and hinting at implications, leaving the reader to make their own assertions and discoveries.

As someone who is not well versed in art terminology nor early twentieth century history, a lot of the references went over my head. However, I was still drawn into the story. I was so captivated by Marcel that there were times I forgot this comic was a thriller. Then, almost without warning, Watters shocked me into remembrance. From that point onward, the story becomes equal parts forbidden romance and sinister plot.

Kishmore Mohan’s draws this first issue elegantly. If it weren’t impossible, I’d swear that Mohan traveled to Paris in 1897 and modeled this comic on what he saw. The artwork perfectly fits the picture that forms in my mind’s eye when I read novels set in this time period. Mohan’s color choices are wisely reminiscent of the types of oil paintings that comprise the subject matter of the story. All of his colors are muted or subdued, yet he is still able to capture the warmth of a sunset or the coolness of a canal street. Much like the comic’s story did, the artwork lured me into a state comfortability. Then my senses were awakened by a brutal and bloody full-page illustration of a gruesome murder.

In my opinion, The Picture of Everything Else is a comic book love letter to Oscar Wilde. It’s a modern philosophical examination of the nature of art and the role of the artist, that retains the setting and tone of The Picture of Dorian Gray. It has lovely art and a story that, while inspired by Gothic romance and Wilde’s imaginings, still has a contemporary feel. As much as I loved this comic, I recognize that it may appeal to all readers. This is a solid first issue, but it may lack enough action or mystery to engage those looking for a traditional murder mystery thriller. For those who always wondered what happened to Basil Hallward however, this is a series you’ll want to pick up.

Story: Dan Watters Art: Kishmore Mohan
Color: Kishmore Mohan Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Vault Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: The Picture of Everything Else #1

The Picture of Everything Else #1

Writer: Dan Watters
Artist & Colorist: Kishore Mohan
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Designer: Tim Daniel
Cover A: Kishore Mohan
Cover B: Nathan Gooden
Cover C: Adam Gorham
Cover D: Anand RK
On Sale: 12/23/2020

As the 20th century dawns, art promises to change the world…and steep it in blood. A rash of impossible killings sweep through Paris, tearing the rich and beautiful apart in their beds. When two art thieves stumble upon the portraits of the victims damaged in the exact same manner they died, it appears the man who once painted the immortal portrait of Dorian Gray has returned—with darker plans for future works. From the minds of Dan Watters (Coffin Bound, Lucifer, Home Sick Pilots) and Kishore Mohan comes a haunting balance of depravity and beauty.

The Picture of Everything Else #1

Superman Takes Off in 2021 with a New Anthology, Superman: Red & Blue

In the spirit of DC’s iconic Eisner Award-winning Batman: Black & White anthology series, DC has announced Superman: Red & Blue, a new six-issue DC comic book mini-series presenting fresh new visions of the Man of Steel, featuring an incredible slate of comics’ most exciting and innovative storytellers creating comics pared back to Superman’s two signature colors of red and blue (magenta and cyan for the color nerds)!

Around the world, everyone knows that when they see a red and blue streak in the sky, it’s not a bird…it’s not a plane…it’s Superman!

To start things off in March’s Superman: Red & Blue #1, Academy Award-winning writer of DC Future State: The Next Batman John Ridley joins artist Clayton Henry to tell a story of Clark Kent as he confronts a villain who still haunts him, in a story that shows what Superman can mean to a whole country. Then, Brandon Easton and Steve Lieber take readers to the streets of Metropolis to show how one hero can mean so much to an individual in pain.

Plus, writer/artist Wes Craig tells a tale of Superman’s early days and the man who inspired him to become the hero he is today! And Marguerite Bennett and artist Jill Thompson give us a tale of teenage Clark Kent, while Dan Watters and Dani, the team behind Coffin Bound, bring an outlandish fable about what happens when all colors are stolen!

Superman: Red & Blue #1 (of 6), featuring 40 pages of stories by Marguerite Bennett, Wes Craig, Dani, Brandon Easton, Clayton Henry, Steve Lieber, John Ridley, Jill Thompson and Dan Watters, retails at $5.99 with a cover by Gary Frank and variant covers by Lee Bermejo and Yoshitaka AmanoSuperman: Red & Blue will ship monthly beginning on March 9 in DC’s Prestige Format binding.

Review: Home Sick Pilots #1

Home Sick Pilots #1

I was not expecting that. That’s the main thought after reading Home Sick Pilots #1 an interesting ghost/horror debut. The first issue delivers some twists and turns and does it with a certain flair and style. It’s one of the more intriguing starts of the year.

Written by Dan Watters, Home Sick Pilots #1 centers around a punk band and its lead singer Ami and a haunted house. It’s 1984 and in its opening, a house strides across the suburban landscape like a wooden kaiju delivering restorative destruction. At its center is a woman who seems to be controling the constructed behemoth. It’s an unexpected start to the series teasing the reader with what’s to come and then delivering the steps of how we get there.

There’s a certain sense of style and cool about the world Watters has put together. The issue revolves around punk bands and their outsider status, a plot point that works and enhances the story. Like the house at the center of the story, the kids in these bands are broken a bit and rejected by society. The house and each character have much in common in how they’re perceived by society. They’re present and neither knows what to do with them.

Caspar Wijngaard‘s art brings a haunting eeriness to the series. Along with lettering from Aditya Bidikar, Home Sick Pilots #1 delivers a calm before its shocking moments drop. That calm helps to enhance and emphasize the crazy which is a literal house of horrors. Characters are murdered with almost glee widdling them down to a few to care about. It’s unexpected twists as to this point Watters’ story and dialogue had set up an interesting rivalry between groups making for an entertaining team-up. But, the house has a different direction to take it.

Home Sick Pilots #1 is a solid debut setting things up before pulling the rug out from under the reader. It takes us into a haunted house and delivers bodies without taking things over the top and making it about the gore. It focuses on the mystery of it all and like its victims, catches the reader off-guard. In what was expected to span out over a few issues, the body count is quick and swift hooking the reader and getting their attention. For those into horror and mystery, this is a debut to check out.

Story: Dan Watters Art: Caspar Wijngaard
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Vault Announces Anand Radhakrishnan Incentive Covers for The Picture of Everything Else #1

Vault Comics has announced two new gorgeous Anand Radhakrishnan incentive covers for The Picture of Everything Else #1. Anand’s cover art will come in two different versions: a regular cover will be available as a 1:15 variant, while a deluxe foil edition printed on thick card stock will be available as a 1:30 variant.

The Picture of Everything Else is written by Dan Watters, drawn and colored by artist Kishore Mohan, lettered by Aditya Bidikar, and designed by Tim Daniel.

As the 20th century dawns, art promises to change the world…and steep it in blood. A rash of impossible killings sweep through Paris, tearing the rich and beautiful apart in their beds. When two art thieves stumble upon the portraits of the victims damaged in the exact same manner they died, it appears the man who once painted the immortal portrait of Dorian Gray has returned—with darker plans for future works. From the minds of Dan Watters (Coffin Bound, Lucifer, Home Sick Pilots) and Kishore Mohan comes a haunting balance of depravity and beauty.

  • COVER A (Mohan): OCT201644
  • COVER B (Gooden): OCT201645
  • COVER C (Gorham): OCT201646
  • COVER D 15 COPY INC (RK): OCT208178
  • COVER E 30 COPY INC DLX FOIL (RK): OCT208179

The Picture of Everything Else #1 hits store shelves on December 23rd, 2020.

Home Sick Pilots Drops a Trailer Before its December Release

Image Comics has revealed an electric new video trailer to get fans excited about the upcoming new series launch Home Sick Pilots by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard.

This highly anticipated upcoming horror series is best described as The Haunting of Hill House meets Paper Girls and promises a fresh, day-glo drenched story of terror for readers this December.

In the summer of 1994, a haunted house walks across California. Inside is Ami, lead singer of a high school punk band—who’s been missing for weeks. How did she get there, and what do these ghosts want? Expect three-chord songs and big bloody action in the forthcoming Home Sick Pilots

Home Sick Pilots #1 (Diamond Code OCT200017) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, December 9.

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