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Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1

DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL GUIDEBOOK #1

I remember “guidebooks” from back in the day. They’d be a lot of text that were more like roleplaying game supplements than comic books. And that’s what I expected with Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1. I was also really wrong about that as well. The Dark Nights: Death Metal tie-in is full of standalone stories and tales that shed more light on what has happened. It’s also a perfect guide for those that skipped “Year of the Villain” and want to catch up.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 featured five stories from various creative teams and in between it has one-page guides/sketches that I was expected more of. As with all anthologies, the quality varies in story and art but this is the rare case where everything is at least good if not great. The story subjects, tones, and focus are all different delivering insight into the event.

The main chunk of the comic is made up of the “Fall of Earth”. The story goes into detail exactly what happened. While it skips some of the lead up it’s the perfect read for those who want to know what they missed. In goes into so much detail it spoils the first three issues of Dark Nights: Death Metal as well. It’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the event and when I got to the end, I felt like I had a good grasp as to what was going on and the why. None of it was Earth-shattering (pun intended) but I feel like I have a bit more of a grasp as to what’s going on now.

The other four stories focus on various heroes and villains and where they stand.

Harley Quinn gets a spotlight as she explores the irradiated wastelands and it answers some questions as to what has happened to some villains while raising questions as well. Aquaman is the most intriguing of the stories as it shows a former King subjugated and folded to protect his people. We learn more about Wonder Woman and her jail of villains. The story is the highlight of the comic delivering an emotional punch. Wrapping it up is a story featuring Batman, Jonah Hex, and the Joker Dragon. While the overall story is the weakest of the bunch it also has some key details that will impact the main story. There’s a reason Hex was chosen by Batman and something he must do if things go sideways.

The art is pretty solid all around. The styles vary a bit but none of it varies too much from each other. It’s unique but cohesive at the same time. All of it is good across the board and each has its moments that’ll leave you lingering. With a limited amount of pages to work with, the art is key to tell the story and bring emotion.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 is a one-shot tie-in that really works. While it feels like it should have come out earlier in the event, it does a great job of acting as a starting point for those who missed the first three issues. It answers a lot of questions and also drops some key hints for the main story as well. It’s a spin-off that feels as vital as any main event issue.

Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky, Becky Cloonan, Vita Ayala, Christopher Priest
Art: Doug Mahnke, Khary Randolph, Becky Cloonan, Dan Panosian, Eduardo Risso
Ink: Jamie Mendoza
Color: David Baron, Emilio Lopez, Tamra Bonvillain, Luis Guerrero, Eduardo Risso
Lettering: Tom Napolitano, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands, Ferran Delgado, Willie Schubert
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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ComiXology Delivers 4 New Digital Comics from DC Comics and Harlequin

ComiXology has four new digital comics for you today! Harlequin has two romance manga and DC has two new DC Digital First comics! Get them now or check out the individual issues below!

Callaghan’s Bride

Written by Diana Palmer
Art by Nanao Hidaka
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On the huge Texas ranch that’s run by the Hart brothers, Tess can’t understand why the second oldest brother, Callaghan, is always so cold to her. But it takes only one act of kindness from him to make her fall in love. One day, the two end up sharing a surprising and passionate kiss. So why does the much older Callaghan still keep pushing her away?

Callaghan's Bride

Luc’s Revenge

Written by Catherine George
Art by Maoko Nagasaki
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One day, Portia, a real estate agent, receives a call. It’s a request to see Turret House. As soon as she hears that, she feels light-headed. It’s the one place she never wants to visit ever again. When she arrives there, a sexy man with a smile on his face is waiting for her…

Luc's Revenge

Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #5

Written by Riley Rossmo
Pencils Riley Rossmo
Inks Riley Rossmo
Colored by Riley Rossmo
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“The Life and Death of Harley Quinn”
It’s the history of the life, the universe, and everything as told by HARLEY QUINN! From the big bang all the way to the end of the world! This one has got it all! Spaceships, parades, prison breaks, copious amounts of costume changes and most importantly: Harley, Harley, and more Harley!

Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #5

Shazam!: Lightning Strikes #2

Written by Phil Hester, Louise Simonson
Pencils Bret Blevins, Eric Gapstur
Inks Bret Blevins, Eric Gapstur
Colored by David Baron, Chris Sotomayor
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Story 1 – Pedro takes his new crossing guard responsibilities very seriously. But when disaster strikes, can he keep his Shazam Family identity a secret and keep his classmates safe?

 Story 2 – A mysterious glowing artifact proves to be the perfect power source for Eugene’s robotics project—until it grants his robot a life of its own! Now Eugene must dismantle the rogue battlebots before they destroy Fawcett High…and to do it, he’ll need the helpof his greatest rival!

Shazam!: Lightning Strikes #2

Preview: Shazam!: Lightning Strikes #2

Shazam: Lightning Strikes #2

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On the Job!” by Louise Simonson, Bret Blevins, Chris Sotomayor, and Marshall Dillon

Pedro takes his new crossing guard responsibilities very seriously. But when disaster strikes, can he keep his Shazam Family identity a secret and keep his classmates safe?

Destroying Eugene Choi” by Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, David Baron, and Marshall Dillon

A mysterious glowing artifact proves to be the perfect power source for Eugene’s robotics project—until it grants his robot a life of its own! Now Eugene must dismantle the rogue battlebots before they destroy Fawcett High…and to do it, he’ll need the helpof his greatest rival!

Shazam!: Lightning Strikes #2

DC Reveals this Week’s DC Digital First Releases

DC’s Digital First continues this week with another installment of Shazam: Lightning Strikes, plus the return of Birds of Prey: Sirens of Justice and a new story in Superman: Man of Tomorrow! These three, plus today’s Batman: Gotham Nights featuring a story by Tom Taylor and Daniel Sampere, give fans even more choice of characters while expanding DC’s digital publishing line with original stories.

And don’t forget to watch for the fifth chapter of Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red on Friday, July 24!

Monday July 20

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12

Superman’s Day Off” by Robert Venditti, Scott Hepburn, Ian Herring, and Dave Sharpe
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Metropolis is without the Man of Steel for a day and villains are coming out of the woodwork to take advantage. Can the city stand against the many threats? And where is Supeman?!

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #12

Tuesday July 21

Batman: Gotham Nights #14

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Bad News” by Tom Taylor, Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, Adriano Lucas, and Tom Napolitano.

Deathstroke is hired to take out the only witness to a corrupt politician’s mob ties, but his newest mark has some friends in high places…

Monster” by Frank Tieri, Tyler Kirkham, Arif Prianto, and Tom Napolitano

A surprise during a bank robbery brings back old memories for Killer Croc. But he’s not that bullied, defeated kid from the freakshow anymore…he’s something much worse.

Batman: Gotham Nights #14

Wednesday July 22

Birds of Prey: Sirens of Justice #2

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Disguises” by Robert Venditti, Isaac Goodhart, Chris Sotomayor, and Travis Lanham

Harley reluctantly agrees to meet with an old roommate from med school and finds herself considering the paths not taken. Turns out, she wasn’t missing much.

The Killing” by John Layman, Cully Hamner, Dave McCaig, and Justin Birch

Huntress is on the trail of a mobster on the lam, but her mission turns into a race when another bounty hunter joins the fray. And it’s no ordinary gun for hire—it’s none other than Deathstroke!

Birds of Prey: Sirens of Justice #2

Friday July 24

Shazam: Lightning Strikes #2

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On the Job!” by Louise Simonson, Bret Blevins, Chris Sotomayor, and Marshall Dillon

Pedro takes his new crossing guard responsibilities very seriously. But when disaster strikes, can he keep his Shazam Family identity a secret and keep his classmates safe?

Destroying Eugene Choi” by Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, David Baron, and Marshall Dillon

A mysterious glowing artifact proves to be the perfect power source for Eugene’s robotics project—until it grants his robot a life of its own! Now Eugene must dismantle the rogue battlebots before they destroy Fawcett High…and to do it, he’ll need the helpof his greatest rival!

Shazam: Lightning Strikes #2

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


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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

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Preview: Ghosts #2

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

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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ComiXology Delivers Seven New Digital Comics Including DC’s HBO MAX Comics for Free

ComiXology has seven new comics for you to check out today including three free tie-in comics by DC for HBO MAX. They’re free, might as well check them out!

Here’s all of the comics in one handy spot or check out each of them below!

HBO MAX Digital Comic (2020) #1

Written by Ivan Cohen
Pencils Scot Eaton
Inks Wayne Faucher
Colored by Hi-Fi
Cover by Jim Lee, Alex Sinclair
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To the Max: Hector – When a schoolteacher finds a mysterious device, it sends him flying into an incredible outer-space rescue mission.

HBO MAX Digital Comic (2020) #1

HBO MAX Digital Comic (2020) #2

Written by Ivan Cohen
Pencils Hendry Prasetya
Inks Mark Morales
Colored by Hi-Fi
Cover by Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez
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To the Max: Brian – A scuba instructor is transformed into a superhero who must save innocent people from a deadly storm in Singapore.

HBO MAX Digital Comic (2020) #2

HBO MAX Digital Comic (2020) #3

Written by Ivan Cohen
Pencils Laura Braga
Inks Laura Braga
Colored by Hi-Fi
Cover by Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts
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To the Max: Olivia – A down-on-her-luck standup comic is all that stands between her audience and gun-toting criminals who plan to rob a Las Vegas casino.

HBO MAX Digital Comic (2020) #3

Infinity 8 Vol. 7: All for Nothing

Written by Boulet, Lewis Trondheim
Art by Boulet
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Part Seven in the eight-part pulp sci-fi epic INFINITY 8, this new arc introduces us to Douglas, an average alien with modest dreams and regular problems who has been visited by a strange robot for most of his life, constantly offering him an odd talisman without explanation. Now, years later, that talisman is about to be the key to deciphering the origin of the massive galactic graveyard surrounding the stranded cruise-ship, Infinity 8! Answers unfold at last! Includes bonus production art not featured in the single issues.

Infinity 8 Vol. 7: All for Nothing

Orphans Vol. 3 #8: War Pigs

Written by Roberto Recchioni
Art by Davide Gianfelice
Cover by Massimo Carnevale
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As crowd control and martial law become a priority task, team leader Jonas is forced to make a tough decision for his squad, one that could lead to the end of them all…

Orphans Vol. 3 #8: War Pigs

Streamliner #4: Bye-bye Lisa Dora

Written by Fane
Art by Fane
Cover by Fane
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Race day looms near, and the qualifiers weed out the weak and slow. Billy Joe has his hands full enough just keeping the huge crowd of participants in line, but that’s before national broadcast television shows up to make this the biggest spectacle since the Superbowl…

Streamliner #4: Bye-bye Lisa Dora

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #7

Written by Dave Wielgosz
Pencils Miguel Mendonca, Yasmine Putri
Inks Miguel Mendonca, Yasmine Putri
Colored by David Baron, Yasmine Putri
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Story 1 – Jimmy Olsen quits the Daily Planet and joins up with a new hero in Metropolis, Soar. But Superman’s not quite sure the ViewTube superhero’s intentions are good. Story 2 – Superman’s in need of training to better control his powers and protect humanity, but will Wioska, a former member of Darkseid’s army on Apokolips, give him the best guidance?

Superman: Man of Tomorrow #7

This post 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 this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Preview: Batman: Gotham Nights #9

Batman: Gotham Nights #9

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A Flip of the Coin” by Frank Tieri, Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher, Hi-Fi, and Troy Peteri

Locked up in Arkham Asylum, Two-Face dreams of a better life—one with a white picket fence far away from Gotham City and Batman. He’s got the perfect plan, and it’s all within his grasp…as long as his coin flip turns up heads.

Joker’s Wild” aka “Wha’cha Got in the Trunk?” by Mark Russell, Christopher Mooneyham, David Baron, and Ferran Delgado

There’s a story that’s made its way around Gotham City’s comedy scene for years, the legend of a struggling young comic who finally snapped under the pressure of making it big. But who can say what really happened? No one knows for sure…

Batman: Gotham Nights #9
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