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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Radiant Black #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Black Hammer: Visions #1 (Dark Horse) – The world of Black Hammer opens up with guest creators. Should be a lot of fun to see what others do with the characters and world.

Casual Fling #1 (AWA Studios) – An affair leads to torment from a mysterious stalker.

Children of the Grave #2 (Scout Comics) – The first issue ended with a hell of a cliffhanger. Who’s the mysterious “Mother”?

Eternals #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was fantastic as the classic characters get a bit of an update and reintroduction to the masses before their film drops.

Freiheit: The White Rose Graphic Novel (Plough Publishing House) – The story of the White Rose, an undercover resistance movement in Nazi Germany.

Ginseng Roots #8 (Uncivilized Comics) – The series exploring Craig Thompson’s life around the ginseng community continues to focus on the generations involved and the changing market.

Mapmaker #1 (Scout Comics/Scoot Comics) – Any map he creates comes to life, a power highly desired by King Gus, who will stop at nothing to obtain it.

Morbius: Bond of Blood #1 (Marvel) – A film is coming from Sony so we’re interested in seeing what Marvel does with the character.

Orcs #1 (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!) – Bog and his crew venture out into the world to seek their fortune, and hopefully find their way back home again.

Parenthesis (IDW Publishing/Top Shelf) – A memoir about the creator’s experience with tumor-related epilepsy-losing herself, and finding herself again.

Radiant Black #1 (Image Comics) – A new superhero series coming out of Image, Kyle Higgins, and Marcello Costa. With Higgins writing, we’re really intrigued to see where this all goes.

Rorschach #5 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – As a crime/political thriller comic, it’s been great so far.

Scarenthood #4 (IDW Publishing) – A horror series focused on parents attempting to solve the mystery of the haunted school their kids go to. It’s been an interesting one so far that’s perfect for parents into horror.

Scout’s Honor #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue shook up the whole belief structure the Ranger Scouts have been built on. What will the second issue bring?

Space Bastards #2 (Humanoids) – The first issue was over the top violence in this sci-fi postal service adventure.

Undiscovered Country #12 (Image Comics) – This series has kept us on the edge of our seat. You never know what to expect with each issue which gets us excited to see what’s next.

Review: Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung’s apocalyptic Swamp Thing yarn comes to a conclusion in Future State: Swamp Thing #2. Swamp Thing, his children, and the last remnants of humanity storm a STAR Labs bunker in Canada where Jason Woodrue is using the body of the superhero Obsidian to black out the sun forever and bring an end to the world. Swamp Thing #2 is definitely heavier on the action than the previous installment, but it also sets up kind of an ideological duel between Swamp Thing and one of his greatest villains, Woodrue aka the Floronic Man. Basically, Woodrue is a human who feels more of a natural kinship with plants and wants to destroy humanity while Swamp Thing sees their potential and capacity for things like hope, transcendence, and belief. This book has discussions on the nature of the soul and fisticuffs.

June Chung’s color palette hammers home the themes of Future State: Swamp Thing #2 along with the nature of its characters, and Aditya Bidikar’s letters do a similar thing by using a more vibrant world balloon color for Swamp Thing and cold, dying one for Woodrue. Chung’s glimpse into the STAR fortress shows an environment that is utterly sterile with a blast of purple energy around Obsidian and a red hoodie for Woodrue that symbolizes his opposition to Swamp Thing and the Green. It complements the twisted nature of Mike Perkins’ art as he goes full horror in showing Woodrue’s face that looks like the exposed bark of a tree, and his rib cage where he’s replaced his human organs with plant parts. Perkins can do the action-packed double-page spreads of Swamp Thing’s children overwhelming STAR’s soldiers as well as the defiant poses of Swamp Thing walking through the flames while Chung makes his hue greener and greener. But he also has a gift for the macabre in his close-ups of Woodrue and other sequences towards the end of the comic, which come back to Swamp Thing’s horror roots. This is why I’m excited to see Perkins’ work on the ongoing Swamp Thing series with Ram V.

Speaking of Ram V, his writing once again is very florid, but it matches the tone of Future State: Swamp Thing #2. Woodrue and Swamp Thing have lived for millennia, and Swamp Thing has even participated in sub-creation so, of course, they have beautiful thoughts about life and death, creation and destruction, and nature and humanity. V and Perkins go beyond the conflict between good and evil and instead play with Swamp Thing’s complex relationship to humans and nature via the Green. As evidenced by the first issue and the “anatomy” flashbacks to his process in creating them, he deeply cares about his children, but they are only emanations of him and don’t have that “something extra” (i.e. a soul) that humanity has. This is why he storms the STAR fortress and explains his actions in the final act of the comic. Even though hope is a recurring theme and life and new growth is a recurring image in Future State: Swamp Thing, this is actually a pretty tragic comic in the end.

As well as Swamp Thing, Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung also do a wonderful job making Jason Woodrue a compelling villain. For the most part, he’s an ecoterrorist on steroids with his mission of ridding the Green of the blight of the humanity taken the furthest extreme. So, he’s not the most sympathetic figure. However, he does have one great panel where he connects with Swamp Thing’s children and shows them that Swamp Thing (In some shape or form; it’s a bit ambiguous.) is responsible for destroying the world. He seeds doubt in the mind of these children, and Perkins draws him like an anatomy diagram with skin and the Green in the place of muscle tissue. Looking at the narrative from a big picture view as well as in light of what Swamp Thing eventually does, his children are right to be wary of how much he cares about the humans, who have treated the environment terribly and even attacked them in a previous issue. Swamp Thing even criticizes humanity’s propensity for violence in the middle of Future State: Swamp Thing #2’s fight sequence while lifting them up. Through this doubt-tinged dialogue, Ram V truly shows the conflict in Swamp Thing between the Green and his human host, who we never see in this issue.

Future State: Swamp Thing #2 is a powerful and thought-provoking conclusion to Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung’s saga of humanity versus nature in the shadow of the end of the world. Swamp Thing himself is portrayed as a complex figure, who must make difficult choices about whether to cast his lot with his children (Who are really just extensions of himself) or with the humans, who have some good eggs but are also trying to blot out the sun and end life on this planet. Future: Swamp Thing is a disaster story with soul that ends on just the right note of hope and tragedy.

Story: Ram V Art: Mike Perkins
Colors: June Chung Letters: Aditya Bidikar

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

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Transformers: Beast Wars #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Avengers: Mech Strike #1 (Marvel) – The Avengers face a big threat and decide to suit up in Mechs. It sounds like a toy tie-in and it sounds completely silly. We’re in.

Chained to the Grave #1 (IDW Publishing) – A tail of intrigue, murder, magic, and the wild, wild, west! Westerns in comics have been rare lately, so we’re always interested in checking out a new one.

Deep Beyond #1 (Image Comics) – Humanity has been devastated by a disease and a small group of scientists studies the hidden depths of the abyss. Something there may be even more destructive!

Far Sector #10 (DC Comics/DC’s Young Animal) – The truth begins to be revealed!

Fear Case #1 (Dark Horse) – Two Secret Service agents attempt to track down the Fear Case which appears throughout history at sites of disaster and tragedy.

Future State: Harley Quinn #2 (DC Comics) – Wrapping up the series, the first issue was a neon-infused interesting take on Harley and this second issue delivers the endgame in her situation.

Future State: Swamp Thing #2 (DC Comics) – Humanity has been rediscovered but what does that mean for Swamp Thing ans his people?

Legend of Shang-Chi #1 (Marvel) – With a big movie coming, Marvel is upping the amount of comics starring Shang-Chi. We’re up to seeing what each creative team does with him, especially after the recent miniseries reworking his origin a bit and taking on the problematic aspects of his past.

Luna #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A hippie cult whose leader claims to have met the divine, secret blood rituals, power drugs and sex… yeah, we’re intrigued.

Man-Bat #1 (DC Comics) – A character that has come and gone as far as the spotlight. We get a new take on the character delivering a tragic other side of the coin to Batman.

Maniac of New York #1 (AfterShock) – A masked slasher stalks New York City. He’s inhuman, unkillable, and unstoppable. So, the authorities decided to ignore him. When he returns to kill, two disgraced cops decide to attempt to destroy him.

Redemption #1 (AWA Studios) – A despot rules a town with an iron fist after the apocalypse. A legendary gunslinger is asked to come out of retirement to help save a young girl’s mother.

Sea of Sorrows #3 (IDW Publishing) – The horror series has been great setting up tension and we’re back for more.

The Shepherd #1 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – A Professor becomes convinced he can rescue his son’s wandering soul.

Specter Inspectors #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A group of ghost hunters, the comic sounds like the fun goofiness that the television shows on the topic bring.

Star Wars Adventures: The High Republic #1 (IDW Publishing) – The new Star Wars setting has been interesting so far and we want to see what else spins out of it.

Teddy (Dead Reckoning) – A graphic novel about the life of Teddy Roosevelt.

They Fell From the Sky #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A teenage kid meets an alien and must balance his day-to-day life and prevent an interplanetary war.

Transformers: Beast Wars #1 (IDW Publishing) – The beloved comic series gets a comic celebrating 25 years!

The Walking Dead Deluxe #8 (Image Comic/Skybound) – The series has been fascinating to read again in the age of COVID. A great way to experience the comic for the first time or good excuse to return and experience it again.

Preview: Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Written by: Ram V.
Art by: Mike Perkins

Humanity strikes back! The shadow of Swamp Thing Supreme stretches across the globe as it has for centuries. The world is at peace, until a rebellious faction of humanity ignites their terrible plan, fueled by Woodrue Wilson’s appetite for power. But Swamp Thing, too, harbors a secret-one he must reveal in order to restore peace to the planet once again. But it will cost him everything he has.

Future State: Swamp Thing #2

DC Future State Heads Back to Print

DC’s two-month Future State event launched this week with a bang! You can check out all of our reviews.

The sales success and acclaim of this linewide look into potential futures of the DC Universe has resulted in the publisher returning to press to reprint several titles:

  • Future State: Dark Detective #1
  • Future State: The Next Batman #1
  • Future State: The Next Batman #2
  • Future State: Wonder Woman #1
  • Future State: Harley Quinn #1
  • Future State: Swamp Thing #1

These dynamic “character portrait” style covers feature art from some of the hottest artists in comics, including Nick Derington, Joelle Jones, Dan Mora, Jen Bartel, and Mike Perkins. If you missed a chance to read these groundbreaking stories make sure and pick up your favorite when they hit participating comic book stores on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

Around the Tubes

Star Wars: High Republic #1

It was new comic book day yesterday. What’d you all get? What’d you enjoy? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Beat – The Beat’s 2021 Creator Survey Part 3: indies vs corporations – The third part of The Beat’s survey!

Reviews

The Nerd Daily – After the Rain
Games Radar – Future State: Swamp Thing #1
Nerds and Beyond – Psi-Lords
Laughing Place – Star Wars: High Republic #1
Collected Editions – Terrifics Vol. 4: The Tomorrow War

Review: Future State Swamp Thing #1

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

“Who killed the world?”- Mad Max: Fury Road

Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung turn in a very post-apocalyptic take on DC Comics’ famous (and often critically acclaimed) swamp creature in Future State: Swamp Thing #1. True to its iconic cover, the book feels a lot like a more botanical version of Planet of the Apes. V saves the overarching conflict of the two-issue miniseries for the final page of the comic and instead spends most of its running time showing the relationship between Swamp Thing (Called simply “Green”) and his children, Calla, Indigo, Vruk, and his “firstborn”, Heather, who he created after the end of the world. Swamp Thing’s mission is to find humanity, but that mission is controversial and leads to jealousy from his people, who think that he cares more about humans than them.

In the past, I’ve really enjoyed Mike Perkins’ art on action-driven superhero stories like Captain America and Iron Fist. However, he really get to flex his storytelling range in Future State: Swamp Thing #1 as he gets to work on both a Biblical scale in his double page spread that shows the DC Universe falling prey to violence and basically being to destroyed and a more intimate one in the interactions between Swamp Thing, his people, and later a human survivor. Perkins and colorist June Chung definitely fall back on the superhero idiom in some sequences like a glorious full page image of Swamp Thing encircling his roots around a falling building in the ruins of New York. But he definitely looks more like a monster with a huge, gnarly hand covering his people and mayhem in his wake in a similar manner to the subterranean monster on the cover of Fantastic Four #1. However, Heather and the other folks are beaming and treat him like a savior figure. You can definitely tell that this is a world bereft of heroes, and it may have even been screwed up by their actions although this is outside the scope of Ram V’s script, and the story he and Perkins are trying to tell.

My favorite visual flourish in Future State: Swamp Thing #1, and that extra piece that makes it go beyond a dystopian disaster story with a side of vegetation, is the bits of narration and art that Ram V and Mike Perkins provide showing Swamp Thing’s process of creation. Perkins draws these panels like images in early modern anatomy textbooks with Chung giving its colors that faded out feel compared to the more detailed rendering on his other linework. V’s narration uses purple prose a la classic Swamp Thing while providing insight into how characters like Heather and Indigo feel and interact with their environment. For example, their emotions come from pheromones, but they don’t have any feelings that didn’t already originate with Swamp Thing.

This is why Indigo is so angry and skeptical while Heather is full of determination and leadership qualities while still being deferential to her “creator”. These special panels also connect smoothly to the ongoing narrative like V and Perkins’ description of their vocal organs coinciding with Swamp Thing talking to the “child” Calla. Or their description of their transpiratory (Think respiratory for humans.) systems being literally sandwiched between two panels showing a journey through the show. It’s an added layer of verbal and visual commentary on these characters and a corner of the nearly post-human world that Ram V and Mike Perkins have crafted as Swamp Thing and his people behave in very human ways although their equivalent of first aid is sunlight, water, and keeping roots planted in a bit.

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

However, Future State: Swamp Thing #1 doesn’t shy away from showing their differences compared to the human they run into with them being unable to communicate with him until he eats a bit of fruit, which is a wonderful (and much less erotic) riff on the classic Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben story. However, you don’t have to be familiar with this 36 year old comic to understand Swamp Thing trying to find common ground through the breaking of bread even though Indigo and Heather want to take the human out for killing one of their people in self-defense. Communication versus violence is a throughline in this comic with a nice chat or a story revealing more context about this very strange world in contrast with tree limb on tree limb contact, which is why it’s fitting that Swamp Thing #1 is bookended by a pair of visually interesting flashbacks. On a pure aesthetic level, I love how Mike Perkins and June Chung depict snow and whites, which is set against (G)reen and trees.

Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung use Swamp Thing’s immortality, sub-creator instincts, and preference for communication over fisticuffs to tell a wonderful post-apocalyptic yarn in Future State: Swamp Thing #1. V’s prose is beautiful, and you really get to know the dynamic between Swamp Thing and his people throughout the book. Perkins gets to experiment with different kinds of layouts, including powerful spreads and interesting grids, to keep things lively and weird while Chung’s colors tell a story of green, or life, trying to flourish in an inhospitable environment as Swamp Thing and his people move farther North. Future State: Swamp Thing #1 is a smart take on one of DC’s most beloved characters as well as being a holistic take on the “dark future” genre, and it even adds a touch of mystery at the end.

Story: Ram V Art: Mike Perkins
Colors: June Chung Letters: Aditya Bidikar

Story: 8.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Scout's Honor #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Crossover #3 (Image Comics) – The series has been fun so far mixing solid action and mystery with a love letter to comics as a whole. Part of the fun is playing “spot the character” with each issue. An enjoyable comic on multiple levels, this is one to snag and catch up on if you haven’t been reading it.

DC’s Future State (DC Comics) -Dark Knights: Death Metal is over and now we get “what if” and possible futures for the next two months. The first round is out this week and what we’ve read, we’ve really enjoyed. You can get Future State: Harley Quinn #1, Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1, Future State: Swamp Thing #1, Future State: The Flash #1, Future State: The Next Batman #1, and Future State: Wonder Woman #1.

Eternals #1 (Marvel) – The first issue is amazing bringing the Kirby creations back into comics ahead of their film. Check out our review and then make sure to get this debut!

The Last Witch #1 (BOOM! Studios) – It’s the one time of the year when the witch known as Cailleach hunts the children of the village – so Saoirse, a brave and reckless young girl, decides this is the perfect opportunity to defy her father and discover the secrets of the witch’s tower! A new series about witches and magical powers. The art looks great and the concept really fun. It looks like a great start to a new magical fantasy series.

Scout’s Honor #1 (AfterShock) – It’s years after a nuclear apocalypse and a new society has risen based on the teachings of an old Ranger Scout manual. It’s a fantastic start with lots of twists and turns.

Star Wars: High Republic #1 (Marvel) – A new era of Star Wars kicks off here as we travel to a galaxy even further away. With a fairly blank slate to work with, we’re excited to see where all of this goes.

The Walking Dead Deluxe #6 (Image Comics/Skybound) – The series has been interesting to revisit and re-read during COVID. There’s definitely a different layer to it now. Add in the bonus material and each issue is definitely something to get to experience the series again or for the first time.

The Wrong Earth: Night and Day #1 (AHOY Comics) – The alternate-earth versions of the same masked crimefighter meet! Will they team-up or fight? The previous volumes have been great and we’re excited to check out the latest series.

Preview: Future State: Swamp Thing #1

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

Written by: Ram V.
Art by: Mike Perkins

From the ashes of a terrible war, life blooms anew in Swamp Thing’s image. The remnants of humanity lie in hiding, forever in the shadow of the green god who now rules the planet. When the new avatar of the Green uncovers a stray human, a rebellion is revealed! But this Swamp Thing is no stranger to violent ends, and neither are his creations. If it’s war humanity wants, it will be at their doorstep-and Swamp Thing will never be the same!

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

Discover the Destiny of the DC Universe! What is Swamp Thing’s Obsidian Sun? Get a Look at Future State: Swamp Thing #1

Welcome to DC Future State, a two-month extravaganza that reveals what lays in store for the World’s Greatest Heroes! Spinning out of the finale of Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 (on sale January 5), DC Future State will take you on a journey from the near future to the end of time to witness the destinies of heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League, the Teen Titans, and so many more.

In Future State: Swamp Thing #1from the ashes of a terrible war, life blooms anew in Swamp Thing’s image. The remnants of humanity lie in hiding, forever in the shadow of the green god who now rules the planet. When the new avatar of the Green uncovers a stray human, a rebellion is revealed! But this Swamp Thing is no stranger to violent ends, and neither are his creations. If it’s war humanity wants, it will be at their doorstep—and Swamp Thing will never be the same!

Future State: Swamp Thing #1 (of 2), “Obsidian Sun,” written by Ram V. with art and cover by Mike Perkins, colors by June Chung, lettering by Aditya Bidikar, and a card stock variant cover by Dima Ivanov, hits shelves January 5.

Future State: Swamp Thing #1
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