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Review: The Next Batman: Second Son #1

The Next Batman: Second Son #1

DC‘s Digital First series have been knocking it out of the park. The digital comics have been engaging, intriguing, and feel like they’re comics we might not otherwise see on the printed page. They give creators a new avenue for their voices to be heard and generally allowed them to do so without having to worry about continuity. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off the newest series that interestingly has some major ramifications for Batman’s pocket of the DC Universe.

Tim “Jace” Fox is the estranged son of billionaire Lucius Fox and man of mystery…what has the eldest son of one Gotham’s premiere families been up to for these ‘missing’ years and how does he find himself getting shot at in the jungles of Vietnam? The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off a series that’ll have some repercussions and part of a dark future for Batman.

Writer John Ridley is absolutely brilliant. He’s known for so many thought-provoking releases, he’s a creator that I’ll read or so whatever he’s involved in. In “Future State” Ridley has driven Jace’s story and his role as the future Batman. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 gives us the pieces to that path and kicks things off with a James Bond-esque adventure.

Ridley doesn’t tell us a ton about the who or the why, instead of focuses on Jace’s abilities, actions, and personality. The opening chapter is the opening 15 minutes of a Bond film dropping our hero into the middle of the action without explanation. We just accept the direction and the cool and overlook what we don’t know. It’s a ride that sets the tone. By the end of the issue we get a good sense of who Jace is and what we should expect as far as the character going forward. It plants the flag as to who our protagonist is.

The art by Tony Akins, with breakdowns by Ryan Benjamin, is interesting. There’s such a fantastic sense of action in the comic that really feels like a solid Bond adventure. Mark Morales provides inks, with Rex Lokus on color, and lettering by Deron Bennett. It all comes together for a sense of cool but subtle visual details let us know that Jace is still learning. There’s one glaring issue for me in the final two panels of the digital comic as Jace returns to his apartment and finds a visitor. The panels should be flipped going Jace then visitor not visitor then Jace. That might have been an issue with my digital copy but it’s something that stands out taking the wind out of the up to that point excellent ride.

The Next Batman: Second Son #1 is an intriguing series as it looks to have some major implications for the print comics of Batman. It’s a digital series that’s going to be a “major player” and one to keep one’s eye on. Luckily, it’ll eventually make it’s way to print but this is one you won’t want spoiled for you.

Story: John Ridley Art: Tony Akins Breakdowns: Ryan Benjamin
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Rex Lokus Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.75 Art: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Excellence Gets a Deluxe Hardcover Version on Kickstarter

Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph, Deron Bennett, and Emilio Lopez’s Skybound and Image Comics action fantasy series Excellence is getting an exclusive deluxe hardcover, available exclusively through Kickstarter. Comic book enthusiasts can order starting on February 23, 2021.

Excellence: Book One will encompass the first nine issues of the magic series, with additional never-before seen content. The deluxe hardcover is the first release from Skybound Signature, a line of graphic novels debuting on Kickstarter.

Excellence Deluxe Edition Book One

Nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards Announced

GLAAD Media Awards

GLAAD has announced the nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The awards honor media for “fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues”. The awards began in 1990 and this year features 198 nominees in 28 categories.

Award recipients will be announced during a virtual ceremony scheduled for April 2021.

Below are the nominees in the comic category. You can get the full list of nominees at the GLAAD website.

The Old Guard, based on the comic series by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández, Daniela Miwa, and Jodi Wynne was nominated for “Outstanding Film – Wide Release“.

Harley Quinn, the HBO MAX/DC Universe animated series based on the DC Comics character created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini was nominated in “Outstanding Comedy Series“.

Supergirl, based on the DC Comics character, Wynonna Earp based on the character created by Beau Smith, and The Umbrella Academy based on the comic by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá were nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series”.

Outstanding Comic Book

  • Empyre, Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling, Empyre: Aftermath Avengers, written by Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira, Valerio Schiti, Manuel Garcia, (Marvel Comics)
  • Far Sector, written by N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett (DC Comics)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, written by Al Ewing and Marcio Takara (Marvel Comics)
  • Juliet Takes a Breath, written by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote (BOOM! Studios)
  • Lois Lane, written by Greg Rucka, Juan Cabal, and Mike Perkins (DC Comics)
  • The Magic Fish, written by Trung Le Nguyen (Random House Graphic)
  • Suicide Squad, written by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo (DC Comics)
  • Wynd, written by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas (BOOM! Studios)
  • X-Factor, written by Leah Williams and David Baldeon (Marvel Comics)
  • You Brought Me the Ocean, written by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh (DC Comics)

Summoners War Gets a Prequel Comic in April

The highly anticipated tie-in comic book series Summoners War: Legacyby writer Justin Jordan and artist Luca Claretti with colors by Giovanna Niro and lettering by Deron Bennett (Excellence, Assassin Nation)—is set to launch in April 2021 from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment in partnership with game publisher Com2uS.

Fans of the game and newcomers alike will have the chance to journey to Alea in this dramatic, action-packed prequel comic book based upon the wildly popular Summoners War mobile game. Summoners War: Legacy comic series is the latest expansion to the Summoners War IP, along with upcoming mobile games Summoners War: Lost Centuria and Summoners War: Chronicles. The variety of expansions is a testament to the game’s success and longevity which proves to be a major tentpole for Com2uS’ gaming portfolio.

In Summoners War: Legacy, Rai knows there’s only one way out of a nothing town—to become a summoner! Armed with a summoning book of monsters, there would be nowhere she couldn’t go, and no adventure she couldn’t have. There’s only one problem: the world is at war and even untrained summoners like Rai must join the fight.

Recruited by Abuus Dein as an apprentice, Rai finds herself thrust into a battle for the fate of the world that none of them expected. Rai must learn there’s a lot more to life than having fun, but can she become the summoner the world needs in time?

Summoners War: Legacy takes place 35 years before the universe-shattering conflict at the mobile game’s center. The comic series features fan-favorite monsters, explores the fate of Durand’s parents, and expands on the mystical land of Alea and its colorful characters including Abuus, Rai, and Tomas. This riveting addition to Summoners War canon brings a rich lore to the franchise and draws new connections to the upcoming Summoners War games and the Summoners War: Sky Arena game that fans know and love.

Summoners War: Legacy #1 (Diamond Code FEB210054) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, April 28.

Summoners War: Legacy

Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse That Laughs #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs

I’ve been vocal in my mixed feelings about Dark Nights: Death Metal. The main event has been mixed in quality and the one-shots, while they used to stand out, are now fumbling themselves. Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs is another stumble presenting four stories with few standing out and most being forgettable.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs opens with an introduction introducing the scary stories to follow. Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson, the intro isn’t so much Cryptkeeper as it’s a tease. Juan Gedeon handles the art, Mike Spicer color, and Troy Peteri the lettering and the art is solidly entertaining. But, the tales the Robin Kings aren’t what’s presented, and sadly what is, is far less interesting. A nice introduction to lay out the concept of the comic but it actually hurts what’s really could have been accomplished with some text on the first page.

Patton Oswalt, Sanford Greene, David Baron, and Josh Reed to a twisted take on Zsasz in “Feeding the Beast”. Sadly, the story itself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at all. It feels like interesting ideas chopped together without a strong narrative. To say it’s a frustrating start is an understatement and the issue stumbles from there.

The Super-Pets get the spotlight in “The Super-Threats“. Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, the story is a Super-Pets spin on DCeased. Krypto returns from space to find a planet ravaged and all that remains are the Super-Pets. It’s a nice horror short story packed in well and filled with a little bit of humor to make it different and stand out from DCeased. Chad Hardin‘s art with color by Enrica Eren Angiolini‘s color is solid as the animals are filled with emotion as the story unfolds. There’s a slight coloring issue when one infected creature is described as having yellow eyes and red teeth and neither being present. Lettering by Carlos M. Mangual really stands out with the unique speech bubbles that makes the story really fun.

In “Hard-Traveled“, Earth has been taken over by Hal Jordon who’s used his power to bring order to the planet. Standing in his way is Green Arrow. Saladin Ahmed‘s story is interesting in concept but sadly doesn’t get enough pages to really stand out. But, it’s a comic I’d love to read. What does stand out is Scot Eaton‘s art. With Norm Rapmund on ink and Hi-Fi on color, the story builds to a Rocky vs. Apollo ending.

Much like the story leading into it, “The Fear Index” also suffers from not enough pages. Steel has to deal with a planet that has been enveloped by Scarecrow’s toxin. It’s a great idea that we’re mostly teased with. Written by Brandon Thomas, the story itself is the trailer for a film we want to see more of. The art by Thomas Mandrake is solid. With color by Sian Mandrake, it comes off as the twisted fear-induced visions you’d expect. It’s not the over the top trip that has been done before but it’s presented as unsettled. That’s helped by Deron Bennett‘s lettering which enhances the hallucinations from the fear toxin. It emphasizes the situation and world.

There are some things to like about Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs. The idea of an anthology telling stories in this twisted world has potential but few are given the space they’re needed to really be interesting. Instead, they all fall short as teases for something far more entertaining. Both the Green Arrow and Steel stories are worthy of their own one-shots and an entire line could be done like the other Dark Multiverse one-shots releases. But, as is, there’s not a lot here to get excited about.

Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Patton Oswalt, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Saladin Ahmed, Brandon Thomas
Art: Juan Gedeon, Sanford Greene, Chad Hardin, Scot Eaton, Thomas Mandrake
Color: Mike Spicer, David Baron, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Sian Mandrake, Hi-Fi
Ink: Norm Rapmund
Letterer: Troy Peteri, Josh Reed, Carlos M. Mangual, Deron Bennett
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Far Sector #8

Far Sector #8

Far Sector has been one of the best series DC Comics has been releasing. The comic has captures the zeitgeist exploring police brutality, social unrest, the right to protest, and racial injustice. It has done all of that with a shine and style that delivers a visually beautiful comic. It’s a story that’s as deep to read as it is jaw-droppingly gorgeous to look at. Far Sector #8 has Jo attempting to make her arrest. But, she realizes that she’s facing similar issues she faced on Earth.

Jo continues her fight in the artificial intelligence world attempting to arrest the assassins who have killed a member of the council that guides the world. It’s a hell of a sequence with popping visuals and such fantastic concepts. The art, story, everything comes together for a treat of a read.

Even with the focus on the arrest/police procedural aspects of Far Sector #8, writer N.K. Jemisin adds small details, and some not so small, focusing on Jo’s past and the abuses she saw and even committed as a police officer. But the issue really shifts on the bureaucracy that she deals with. With a council watching every step she makes and wanting immediate answers, she’s unable to do the job that now faces her, figuring out who murdered an elected official.

Jemisin throughout the series has infused it with commentary about society and especially the police. Jo, in general, feels like a “cop” who’s attempting to do their job but is sucked into the system and in this alien world that’s happening as well. She wants to solve the case but is forced to jump through hoops to do so and do it in a system that is designed to make that difficult.

If that wasn’t enough to sell you on the comic and the series, Jamal Campbell‘s art should be more than enough. The alien world presented is beautiful to look at and the concepts and designs are amazing. But, what stood out to me in this issue is Jo herself. This is the first issue where it really has stood out how non-typical of a character she is. She’s always been presented with curves but in her civilian clothes, it becomes more apparent with a body shape not typically seen in superhero comics. That is literally in your face as she faces the council and we get a better look at her thighs and waist. Not sure why, but this is the issue where that stands out to me.

Deron Bennett‘s lettering too is a nice touch to the issue and series. As this world is made up of alien races, the lettering shifts a bit depending on who is talking. It’s a nice way to make characters and the aliens stand out a bit. While it’s not needed, it’s a touch that really enhances the story.

Far Sector is an amazing series, one of the best of the year. Far Sector #8 delivers another chapter in a police procedural that’s infused with socio-politico commentary. This is a series that’s “in the now,” not afraid to tackle current issues and real-world discussions. Most importantly, it entertains while doing so. With each issue, the series makes the case for “best of 2020.”

Story: N.K. Jemisin Art: Jamal Campbell
Color: Jamal Campbell Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Review: Batman: The Joker Warzone #1

Batman: The Joker Warzone #1

DC’s “Joker War” has been a bit of a mixed bag for me as an event. Some of it feels like we’ve seen it before. While it has some good moments, it also feels like it never quite commits to the chaos. What bothers me the most is that the story feels like it’s just a bridge to what comes next. It’s not a story I feel like I can pick up on its own to enjoy. Through the issues of Batman, it never quite feels like a story that is a stand-alone adventure to enjoy. That might be even more pronounced in Batman: The Joker Warzone #1. It’s a tie-in comic filled with creative talent, solid stories, art, and a few “continued in 2021”. It’s also very good.

A Serious House” opens the comic. Written by James Tynion IV with art by Guillem March, color by Tomeu Morey, and lettering by Clayton Cowles it focuses on a confrontation between the Joker and Bane. The story is fantastic with a fascinating back and forth as Joker goes over his issues with Bane and contemplates ending his life. There’s a “play” like quality about the segment and with amazing art it’s the highlight of the issue. It sets up something for 2021 which feels a bit frustrating in that it telegraphs more to come instead of surprising and hints that the Joker survives “Joker War” for that to happen.

Family Ties” features writer John Ridley, art by Olivier Coipel, color by Matt Hollingsworth, and lettering by Deron Bennett. Focused on the Fox family, the story focuses on their receiving information to unlock Bruce Wayne’s fortune. But, Ridley takes that concept and adds so much to it giving us a mini-debate about what good Bruce, and thus Batman, are doing with all of this money. Could they use the money in a better way to help people? Should it go back to Bruce. With an ending that feels ripped from the headlines, Ridley shows why he’s one of the best storytellers in any medium today.

The Symbol” is by writer Joshua Williamson, art by David LaFuente, color by Hi-Fi, and lettering by Gabriela Downie. Orphan and Spoiler are on a mission to get a Bat-symbol where they wind up fighting Hench Master. Hench Master feels like a new character whose job it is to “train” henchmen for various villains. It’s a fun story that feels like it’d fit in any Batman anthology and an entertaining fun distraction that’s a bit cheerier with some good action sequences.

Ashes of Eden” is by writer Sam Johns, art by Laura Braga, color by Antonio Fabela, and lettering by Tom Napolitano. Ivy is dealing with the destruction of Eden. The entire segment is a declaration from Ivy about where her head is at and what’s to come. It’s also another story arc that we’ll see in 2021. What’s interesting, and possibly the most controversial, is Ivy seems to reject all humans and that might include Harley. Whether I’m reading too much into it, I have no idea but the Ivy/Harley stans may get a bit angry about what’s to come for these two.

Wrapping up the comic is “Clown Hunt” by writer James Tynion IV, art by James Stokoe, and lettering by Clayton Cowles. This is our first real story about Clownhunter who has stalked the Joker’s henchman and delivered brutal justice. We don’t know much about the character but we get our first good look at Clownhunter without the mask and better sense of what the citizens of Gotham thinks about him. There’s a lot of potential for a long-term interesting addition to the world of Batman and where this one goes is exciting.

Overall, Batman: The Joker Warzone #1 is a solid one-shot. It adds some stories within “Joker War” without making them vital. There’s a bit too much left to be experienced in 2021 which emphasizes my issues with “Joker War” overall. It doesn’t feel self-contained enough. If you took those segments and left out the “too be continued,” these would be really solid on their own. Even if you’re not reading “Joker War,” there’s enough here to enjoy and worth checking out. It’s the rare event one-shot where you can ignore the actual event.

Story: James Tynion IV, John Ridley, Joshua Williamson, Sam Johns
Art: Guillem March, Olivier Coipel, David LaFuente, Laura Braga, James Stokoe
Color: Tomeu Morey, Matt Hollingsworth, Hi-Fi, Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Deron Bennett, Gabriela Downie, Tom Napolitano
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Resonant Returns in December 2020 with Skylar Patridge Joining the Team

Vault Comics has announced the return of Resonant, with artist Skylar Patridge joining the creative team. The series will return to monthly serialization in December 2020 with issue #6. David Andry and Patridge will be joined by colorist  Jason Wordie, letterer Deron Bennett, and designer Tim Daniel.

Paxton, Claire, and Miki enact their plan to escape Honcho’s island, but they won’t get away without a fight! The arrival of Preacher, Maw, and their followers interrupts Ty’s new life with the Congregation, while Bec struggles to protect the family homestead from other hungry visitors.

Resonant originally debuted from Vault Comics in January 2019 to universal acclaim and multiple sell outs. Resonant‘s new story arc begins with issue #6, hitting stores shelves in December 2020.

Resonant #6

Review: Plunge #6

Plunge #6

Plunge #6 might be the perfect example of a horror story fumbling the finale. I’ve loved this series up to this point. But, that love has also floundered a bit as it became clear the series was rushing to a Cthulhu-like ending. It’s a great concept and amazing ideas looking for a great story to carry them through.

Written by Joe Hill, Plunge #6 feels like a monster movie where they’ve built up to the monster, got to the point, and then said, “let’s blow the budget.” It’s an ending that’s predictable and anti-climactic in so many ways.

For those who’ve gotten to this point in the series, the giant portal has been opened and the intelligent space worms have skittered back through freeing what’s within. That, not surprisingly is yet another Lovecraft inspired being here to destroy reality. Little is explained and we’re just expected to roll with it as our rag-tag group has to figure out how to destroy it and save everything.

The comic feels like Hill had a limited number of issues, ran out of ideas, and needed a way to wrap things up. Where the series leading up to this has been relatively creative and creepy, the finale just delivers things we’ve seen time and time again. The creative of the previous five issues is out the window for a cookie cutter ending.

Hill also leaves so much hanging and unanswered. This being can eat reality, so isn’t the reality of where it came from destroyed then? Why do the worms want to go back? What are they other than other-dimensional beings? There’s just volumes of interesting material to mine and the series feels like it’s hampered by its six-issue run. It needed to wrap up and this was the easiest way to do it.

The art is the usual fantastic. Stuart Immonen delivers sites that truly feel epic and the lookers on do come off as they are witnessing something grand. That’s helped by Dave Stewart‘s colors and Deron Bennett‘s lettering. As a Cthulhu-inspired spectacle, the comic does rock. There’s some inspiring visuals and interesting spins to concepts in the art. But, it also emphasizes this is something we’ve generally seen so many times before. The creep factor of the previous five issues is gone and we’re delivered over the top monsters.

Plunge #6 doesn’t stick the landing. It crashes hard. The series was one full of mystery and such interesting concepts and ideas. The package just doesn’t come together and jettisons all of them for a standard ending that’s been done before so many times. I wanted to see how this series ended but when I got to the end, it actually lessens what comes before spotlighting that it was great ideas with nowhere to go.

Story: Joe Hill Art: Stuart Immonen
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 6.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics

Preview: Plunge #6 (of 6)

Plunge #6 (of 6)

(W) Joe Hill (A) Stuart Immonen (CA) Jeremy Wilson
In Shops: Aug 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Sixty fathoms below the ocean’s surface, a massive hatch waits to be opened…Something within wants to emerge; wants to be born; wants to rise; wants to feed. The child is coming, desperate to fill its belly-by devouring reality itself!

Plunge #6 (of 6)
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