Tag Archives: futures end

By The Numbers: January 2015

By The Numbers: January 2015

Welcome readers for the first article in a new series at Graphics Policy!  Like in any industry, comic books and their companies listen most to one thing and that’s your money!  What does your money tell them?  What does it tell us as fans?  What series do people say they adore but can’t seem to catch a break and what books to people hate that sell out?  What are the trends?  What looks good?  What looks rough?

All these questions and more will be answered here, every month in ‘By The Numbers’ by comic writers, editors and fans, Glenn Matchett and Ray Goldfield.

Glenn Matchett is a comic writer and editor.  He’s worked in the industry for 5 years but grew up reading comics.  He loves the format deeply and spends way too much time concerned that his favorite books will be cancelled.  He intends to use these articles to help as therapy for his OCD.  He also releases comics now and then and has a weekly column right here at Graphics Policy where he talks about whatever takes his fancy.

Ray Goldfield is a fan of comic books for going on 25 years, starting with the Death of Superman. He is a writer and editor for GrayHaven Comics, in addition to his day job. He started out as a DC Zombie, but has broadened his tastes to Marvel and indie books in recent years. He follows the comic sales charts obsessively, primarily to cheer on Magneto’s steady hold each month.

All sales figures retrieved from ICv2.com

What Went Well

Glenn:  Well obviously the big debut and the big story this month is Marvel new Star Wars title which sold just over an astounding 985 thousand copies.  I don’t recall a Marvel book selling that well since the Obama, Amazing issue and I don’t think it did those kind of numbers right away.

This property is obviously back at Marvel who had in initially in the 70’s after being a solid backbone of Dark Horse for 20 years or so.  I don’t think the Dark Horse versions of the Star Wars comics ever broke 6 figures.  Why do you think that is here?

Ray:  I agree, this is just incredible. I think the Obama issue sold something in the 350K range, and that was a cultural event. This is probably the highest sales for any comic since the 90s. The big question, of course, is how it holds up from here, but the early rumors is that #2 sold over 200K. That would put it in a position to regularly be the top selling comic on the stands.

I think the big x-factor here is probably the sense of a new beginning. This is no longer expanded universe stuff, catering to an audience of die-hards following the complex continuity of the books and comics. This is the start of a new era, where the story of the original characters will continue in the movies. I think it felt much more important to the larger Star Wars fandom at large. I think the comic benefitted from that a lot, as well as the huge creative team and glut of variant covers, of course. It’s pretty much a perfect storm for massive success.

Another big success story for Marvel is Thor. This seems to be a rare case of a new status quo actually delivering a lasting sales change. The combination of buzz for the new female Thor and the continued excellence of the Aaron run has turned this into the second-highest selling Marvel Universe series, only behind Amazing Spider-man.

It’s a smaller-scale success, of course, but I feel like the debut of Jonathan Hickman’s The Dying and the Dead is noteworthy as well. Launching with 32K for a creator-owned book is pretty impressive in the superhero-dominated top 100.

I feel like the news is a bit more mixed for this month’s other four big Marvel debuts, though.

Glenn:  Yeah, it seems the big media push they gave the new Thor paid off.  This is likely why they have also decided to do a whole team of female Avenger’s.

It doesn’t seem like it’s paid off as well on the new Captain America but we’ll get there.

It seems like Hickman has now become a name that sells on its own.  I mean he’s been one of Marvel’s big names the last few years now, he actually made the Fantastic Four sell better than it has for like…years.  I’m not surprised his creator owned stuff would do well, he’s on the same level as Snyder who seemingly will get a big debut with Wytches.

Batman, Amazing and Walking Dead seem to be the reliable sellers for their respective companies.  It seems that concerns that Superior sales wouldn’t carry over to a Peter Parker led book but it seems those fears at least have been quelled but I’m sure Spider-Verse has helped there.

I think it should be noted that currently, Walking Dead is the cheapest book in the top ten and two of those books in the top ten were 4.99, which to me, could be a scary sign of things to come.

A new launch this month was Ant Man which debuted at number 7 with just over 70 thousand copies sold.  I’m not expected this to last up there, to be honest.   Even with the movie coming out.

Ray:  All-New Captain America did fall pretty hard right off the bat. I don’t think Remender’s style is really clicking with what the public expects a Cap comic to be, but this did make up for some of the slipping sales of the previous run. I think the timing of this run, with Sam Wilson debuting as Cap and then promptly being inverted to be evil, took a lot of the wind out of its sales.

Ant-Man debuted impressively for what it was, for sure. I think the critical acclaim might help it to keep some of its momentum, at least a bit longer than some books. It’s interesting that it debuted roughly in the same level as Uncanny Avengers, another big launch this month. I expect both of them to drop a good deal next month, just based on the pattern for Marvel relaunches lately.

One of Marvel’s most significant debuts this month was the weekly series “Wolverines“. This is their first foray into weeklies, as well as the first weekly comic priced at $3.99 besides the unconventional “Wednesday Comics“. It debuts in the top ten – and then promptly slips hard the same month, with #2 landing at #25 and out of the top 30 by #4. By the end of its first month – all ordered at the same time – it’s selling well below Batman: Eternal, which is almost a year in. If I was Marvel, I’d be pretty worried about what this looks like once orders get adjusted for the following months.

Glenn:  Well to me, since Brubaker left and really since Bucky stopped being Captain America, the book has struggled.  When you had Death Of Cap, obviously that was a big thing but then the book sold continuously well.  It just seems to be one of those nuts that overall are hard to crack, like Fantastic Four or Superman.  By all intents and purposes, those books SHOULD sell but for some reason or another they’re (at best) middle of the road.

Yeah no doubt.  I kind of made the joke that by killing Wolverine, Marvel have only made him stronger.  Overall they’re still coming out because instead of one Wolverine book that sells like 50-70 k or whatever, you have 4 so overall they’re ahead.

Squirrel Girl seems to have had a solid launch too for a D list (being generous) character.  Maybe because of her exposure on Bendis Avenger’s run but I think that’ll be short lived too.

One of the big surprises is having the Star Trek/Planet Of The Apes mini do so well.  I can’t remember what the Doctor Who crossover sold but I think this is a pretty solid debut.

Ray:  Squirrel Girl is a big question mark. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is closer to the mark in terms of demand than some of the other debuts, and so it starts lower but might hold better. I assume Marvel is trying for the same audience that is buying Ms. Marvel, and it’s not a bad idea. Of course, next month will tell the tale.

I’m pretty sure that is a very impressive debut for a licensed comic. One factor that might have helped it is that it’s one of the seven books that were sold on New Year’s Eve. Those tend to be ordered heavily because casual readers might take a chance on them during an unusually small week.

Steady books/books in the middle

Ray:  The first thing I notice is that comedy is still doing well. Harley Quinn, of course, is probably the most surprising big hit out of DC in years, and is still hanging around just below the top ten. Not a surprise this creative team is getting a new book and a spin-off in June. And Rocket Raccoon is hanging around in the upper 30s, about 40 spots before the other Guardians spin-offs. I expect to see more of this type of book from the companies.

Wonder Woman had a brief peak when the Finches landed on the title, but now it’s selling at about the same level as the end of the Azzarello run with far weaker response. DC has to be a bit worried about that one.

I’m surprised SHIELD fell this far with its second issue, from a top ten debut. I’m less surprised by the drops for Angela and Spider-man & the X-men, as those two seemed like they were dropped with relatively little fanfare. It’s a bit surreal to see an Angela comic in the top 50 again, heh.

Glenn:  I actually thought that they might be looking at the people buying Harley Quinn, the success of that book may be the oddest thing to happen in years.

Wonder Woman will be definitely one to watch, I think.  I mean the Azzarello run wasn’t a best seller but it was extremely stable.  Putting Finch on will definitely keep those sales but like you said, the critical response has been less than generous.  If Finch can stay on schedule, it may be fine but its likely to face a creative overall after Convergence I’d say.

SHIELD is kind of something with a specific hook.  It’s a kind of fringe book that don’t tend to stay stable long at the big two.  It kind of makes you wonder that if the same premise and writer had been done at Image how it would have performed in the current market.

I think a lot of the success of ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ has to attributed to Jason Aaron, now he’s gone and they’re trying to shoe horn Spider-Man in, I think this is the kind of response the current comic market will give you.  I’m as big a Spidey fan as anyone but I’m not picking up this book, it seems to be a bit of a hail Mary to me.

A lot of indie/creator owned books seem to stabilize very quickly.  They might not do as big number as say Amazing or Batman but the audience seems more dedicated.  No one can overlook the success of Star Wars this month but as you said, its set to lose like 700 thousand sales in one issue.  It seems like most Image or Dark Horse or whoever books obviously launch a lot lower but suffer less of a drop.

Green Lantern and Green Arrow have both seen better days at DC but both are stable sellers.  Of course, we’ve found out recently that Green Arrow is set for another creative change which I believe is the 5th since the new 52 launch 3 years ago.

Ray:  I think it’s actually six creative changes. All but one of them (the acclaimed Lemire/Sorrentino run) have only lasted one arc. And that’s not counting Judd Winick’s one-off. This title has been in creative flux since moment one. With Green Lantern, I think this is sort of course correction after they lost their A-list creator in Johns. The line will be paring back to only three books come June, which seems like a smart move.

Looking at the other weeklies for DC, it’s a world between Eternal and these books. Futures End is sort of a mid-level performer, but World’s End is really sinking fast. It probably doesn’t help that the title lost its chief architect right before the weekly began, with Tom Taylor leaving the line.

I must say, I’m sad to see three of my favorite Bat-books, Gotham Academy, Gotham By Midnight, and the short-lived Arkham Manor sinking out of the top 100 so quickly. These are clever, unique books, but they don’t seem to be reaping the benefit that Bat-titles seem to get.

This is where we start to see a lot of lower-tier books from Marvel and DC that just aren’t finding their footing, unfortunately. And I think the fact that Hulk’s main title is selling scarcely 1K more than Magneto’s solo book is testament to the diminishing returns we’re seeing with Marvel’s frequent relaunches. I’m interested to see if Secret Wars and the likely relaunch that follows will turn this around, or if we’ll continue to see the huge starts and huge drops. Marvel has developed a strategy of using tons of variant covers and mainstream press to launch huge, but it doesn’t seem to be carrying over past the first month or two.

Glenn:  This to me presents two very big problems in this market at the moment.  Firstly, people say they want something a little different/off-beat but when they deliver, it doesn’t seem that the market indicates the demand.

The second problem is like you mentioned, diminishing returns.  Back in the day, a relaunch was a big, big deal but 30’s-50’s, especially in terms of Marvel are rare.  It just seems to be relaunch, boom, sink, relaunch and so on and so on.

The Danger Zone

Glenn: This may sound a bit random but I noticed Halo on the charts, near the bottom.  I remember when this property was a big deal at Marvel, it seems to have fallen in a major way.

Then again, outside of the monster hit that it was Star Wars, it seems a very bad time for properties in the industry.  A lot of them are scarping around the low end of 5 figures.  Most of them are even being outsold by creator owned.  It doesn’t seem that properties like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Tomb Raider and more have a place in today’s market.

It also looks to me that Constantine is now down to the level ‘Hellblazer’ was at during its Vertigo days.  It’s due for a rebranding following Convergence though.

I would think that Bucky would be performing better given the fact that this title is essentially a follow on from ‘Original Sin’ and he was in a movie a lot of people went to see.

Ray: I also forgot Marvel was even putting out Halo comics, to be honest. And outside of Star Wars, as you said, it seems very hard for licensed comics to get any traction. Besides that and the Star Trek/Apes crossover, the next one down is My Little Pony all the way at 119, and that’s clearly an unconventional mix of fanbases driving it. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the TMNT/Ghostbusters crossover are hanging around the mid-130s. It seems like there’s a lot of problems getting a significant portion of the original fan base to check out the comic.

Constantine fell to earth rather quickly. I’m not surprised they’re relaunching it – it was the lowest-selling un-cancelled DC book for a while, before the Earth 2 tie-in briefly boosted its sales. While the relaunch should help, I wonder if the character is just a bit too unconventional to sell to a wide superhero audience.

With Bucky’s book, I think this is just a mismatch of property and comic. Original Sin was rather poorly received, and it has an odd concept with Bucky in space fighting aliens. I think if they launched a spy comic starring the Winter Soldier that resembled the movie more, they might have done better.

Two comics that jump out at me are Klarion at 225 and Star-Spangled War Stories at 245. For main-line DC comics only a few issues in, that’s shocking. It’s interesting that DC’s experiments in unconventional, non-superhero comics like these are landing with such a thud, but they seem to be doubling down on this type of book with the June relaunch. What is their plan to make things like Prez, Doomed, Bizarro, and Omega Men succeed, when they’ve had such trouble recently?

Glenn:  I think they’re going to be looking to replicate the success they’ve had with Harley but to me, that might be lightning in a bottle.

Again, at least they’re trying new things, which is fans say they want but sales prove different.

It’ll be an interesting summer at both companies, for sure.

Coming up next month

Ray: Looking ahead to next month, it’s sort of the calm before the storm. Next month’s chart will have a few interesting points, though. We’ve got the launch of Grant Morrison’s first Image ongoing, The Nameless. Marvel is bringing us the next Star Wars launch in Darth Vader, plus the internet phenomenon of Spider-Gwen makes its ongoing debut. Those will probably be dueling for #1. There’s also the launch of Silk, a more controversial character that Marvel has a lot of faith in. It’ll be interesting to see how those books shake up the charts.

Glenn: It should be the debut of Wytches on the sales chart, I believe.  I think this one might be one of the big winners from the company.  You’re right though, the majority of books will be treading water sales wise until we get our annual huge shake up.  Most of the ones to watch next month will be the indie books.  I’m personally hoping that Nailbiter can gain a stronger following over time.  Once upon a time, Walking Dead was down that part of the charts too.

Enjoyed what you read?  Let us know and follow us on Twitter @glenn_matchett & @raygoldfield





Review: Harley Quinn: Futures End #1

3HGVHisGenerally speaking I tend to stay away from series like Harley Quinn. There is nothing inherently wrong with the concept behind the series, but it depends on a number of key factors in order for it to be successful. It is similar in a way to Deadpool from Marvel, a series that takes itself seriously but doesn’t. One that relies on jokes about pop culture references in order to make for an easy chuckle, and one which relies on breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to the fans from a crazed mind. All of this is set up on one underlying premise, that the writer can actually make a plot that is both engaging and funny while also being fresh and original.  This is the inherent downfall of this specific format, at least in my opinion.

While this format is not for me, I don’t disparage those that do like it, and instead just stay away from either commentary on the format or the stories. In the case of Harley Quinn: Futures End, I found myself a little curious as to what was going to transpire, especially as I have read quite a few of the other issues and found their alternate timeline stories to be interesting enough.  In retrospect though, I probably should have stayed away, as I didn’t really enjoy this story that much to the point that it is likely my least favorite entry in Futures End thus far.

harley weddingThe story is quite convoluted and throws in things which are not even really relevant, such as the mode of transport which Harley chooses at the beginning of the movie. Soon the plot veers into what seems to be an homage to not only one but two Tom Hanks movies, as elements of Cast Away and Joe Versus the Volcano are stolen for what passes for a plot here. Mostly though the jokes and humor fall flat, to the point that it seemed like it needed a laugh track to highlight when I was supposed to be amused.

Generally speaking I am the type of reader that likes a story first and the art second, to the point that as long as the art is not confusing or distracting that I won’t let it affect my reading experience. In this case though, the art is absolutely the best thing about this issue. The high point of the story for me was the almost beautiful visual of Harley in her (first of two) wedding gown, which out of nowhere pays homage to Disney princesses as well as seemingly to Pepe Le Pew. In the end though, the entire issue pretty much an all-around disappointment, with a plot so inane that it is hard for me to fathom how even a Harley Quinn fan might find it entertaining. Even on the surface the promise of a wedding between the two seemed like a fun and promising idea, especially for a potential future time line, but there were so many other ways to go with it that this just feels like a dud.

 Story: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner Art: Chad Hardin
Story: 4.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Review: Sinestro: Futures End #1

052.DCC.Snstr.1.0_384x591_5390e32c825b73.89189651Like many of the Futures End series, the version with Sinestro starts out in a future that is broken off from the past. As this standalone issue progresses, one has to remember that this is only a possible version of the future.  The initial setting is fairly generic, and maybe even trying to steal a bit of the popularity of the prison sequence from Guardians of the Galaxy. Sinestro is held captive inside the Tartaros Ultra-Max Penitentiary, having been placed there by the Apex League, a newly introduced group of interstellar peacekeepers. What starts off as a fairly common setting rapidly starts to transform into a sequence of surprises. The first of these is this introduction of the Apex League, as one would assume that in the end that it would have been Hal Jordan that was the one to finally capture Sinestro.

Another development which is maybe foreshadowed and maybe not is the eventual turning of Soranik into a Yellow Lantern. Although this is not really consistent with her character development, it is an interesting though perhaps logical conclusion to having a series focused on Sinestro. This development is not so much of a spoiler though, as her presence here is really as an afterthought as she only appears in a few panels. What is not an afterthought is the end result of the Sinestro Corps. Although the series is still in its early days at only issue #5, this issue does highlight a possible outcome which perhaps many comic fans have never thought of, tying both the past and the future together.

In reading this issue, it starts off the same as a lot of others.  For instance, as compared to the Teen Titans version of Futures End, little seems to be different on the surface. In the Teen Titans version, a story was told with some new characters and some old, but which did not really change much in terms of the DC Universe, other than introducing a new villain. While this series might start like that, it builds well over its final pages and its ending is really worth reading, especially for those that are fans of Geoff John’s run on Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Igor Lima 
Story: 8.7 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Futures End Wonder Woman #1 and Superman/Wonder Woman #1

aa01Company-wide story arcs or events outside of the regular continuity of comic series can be particularly frustrating to regular readers, especially when the underlying concept or plot is of little interest to the reader.  Instead of reading the pre-planned progress of the series, fans are left with a choice either to buy into the whole event, or to take it piece by piece and to try to figure out how it affects a specific series.  Previous issues of Futures End have been fairly self-contained in terms of their content. It has been possible to follow along without understanding the bigger picture of the series, rather the event has just had the effect of creating a What If…? scenario where a potential future five years ahead is investigated. This is one the problems with the Futures End version of both Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman. Instead of being standalone issues, the two issues are tied together, a story arc within a story arc.

As a pair of standalone issues they end up in a bit of a weird place. Wonder Woman is about to get a new creative team, and the current direction of Wonder Woman while being wildly popular with fans, is unlikely to continue. This version of the character, though successful from a creative and commercial standpoint, is therefore likely not the one which is going to be seen in the future, rather a different one presumably more tied to the mainstream of DC continuity. This works to the detriment of the story which is not particularly inspired anyway, at least not to start. The story aa02picks up some momentum as it gravitates away from the initial setting, but also loses it again with the appearance of Superman. So far the romance between the two heroes has a been of a misfire for DC. The initial novelty of it was perhaps of interest to some, but the  unnatural handling of their romance has not done much to in grain this among readers and fans.

This would appear to be to the detriment of this story as well but it really doesn’t end up like that.  Instead the writer here has used both series as a way around having limited resources to tell the story. Except for a few panels on either side, the second issues (that being the SM/WW issue) is almost exclusively focused on Wonder Woman as well. The payoff is not as good as one might expect, but it is still better than one is led into believing after the first issue of this small two-part story arc. It may be obvious, but it is still a nice touch to the current incarnation of Wonder Woman as the goddess of war. It is still hard to recommend these two issues, especially as they do not really cover any new ground, but it is nice to at least see the writers get the main character right.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Rags Morales/Bart Sears
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Review: Batgirl: Futures End #1

bg02Generally speaking I tend to avoid company-wide crossovers. Readers of comics will not be surprised at my reasons – the need to buy more comics than usual, most of which are uninteresting to me; the loss of continuity in the monthly title; and the general poor execution of the stories themselves where the sum is lesser than its parts. Despite this hesitation, I decided to pick up the Batgirl entry for the DC wide event of Futures End. Futures End is not so much like most crossovers, more like the year-long stories of 52 or Countdown, so it maybe bode better for its chances in terms of being something a bit better.

In terms of crossovers, one of the most difficult aspects is the story. Sometimes the crossover entries are placed at the end of story arcs in the titles, but all too often enough they are placed in the middle of ongoing stories, destroying the fluidity of the storytelling. This is not the case here, and in fact Futures End is not so much out-of-place here as the entire series is getting a new creative team as of the next regular monthly issue. Thus far in the New 52 I have only been sort-of following Batgirl, having read about 5 out of the 35 issues, never enough to get me to pick it up full-time but occasionally with a decent story (although with some sometimes amazing cover artwork). In this regard it is not too hard for a casual reader to pick up this issue and to figure out what is going on, even not having followed most of Futures End thus far. This approachability to the story is somewhat pointless though, as the story itself is somewhat lacking.

bg01I won’t go into too many of the details for the story itself, but the story is sort-of a play on Barbara Gordon’s eventual change into Oracle, although the name Oracle is never mentioned here. The one-time physical damage of the Joker’s bullet takes a different form here, causing Barbara to hang up the cape and to lead the League of Batgirls from afar, similar to the pre-New 52 format of Birds of Prey.  It is nice as well to see so many Batgirls collected together here, but this is as far as the good stuff goes. Mostly this is a kind of a What If …? scenario where the question asked is kind of absurd – what if Barbara Gordon became like Bane? The writer maybe deserves some praise for trying something different, and the artist deserves some recognition for portraying a female version of Bane, but the end product is lacking. It is a What If? Question that need not be asked and the fans of the series might be wondering why they bothered. Instead fans might want to just wait an extra month for a change in direction in Batgirl with the introduction of the new creative team.

Story: Gail Simone Art: Javier Garron
Story: 6.2 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

Review: Swamp Thing Future’s End #1

swamp thing future's endIt’s never really recognized that Charles Soule is the only writer who has ever had to follow up Scott Snyder. What’s remarkable is that not only has Soule managed to brave these murky waters, he has also managed to do the near impossible and outdo him. Snyder’s creepy tale focused on Arcane and the romance between Alec and Abby was a delight, but Soule’s story, intent on lore-building and proving Swamp Thing’s glorious, righteous heroism, is superior. In Swamp Thing: Future’s End #1, any tying-in to the plot of the weekly Future’s End comic is avoided. Instead, what readers receive is a standalone, done-in-one story that warmly and triumphantly encapsulates what Soule’s Swamp Thing is all about, in the form of a fantastic comic book.

The comic book medium has seemingly moved on from certain storytelling mechanics, such as third-person narration boxes and thought balloons. Well, Soule lifts the former back from its supposed grave, doing a damn good job of putting it to use. The narration of this comic recalls works like Beowulf and Excalibur, offering a display of heroics that feels far bigger than the pages the comic is printed on. Soule has done a remarkable job of building a far more intricate and multi-faceted lore for the elemental kingdoms of the DC Universe, and this issue is that accomplishment in pill form. It feels so expansive and so fascinating and so very, very cool.

A few parts of this comic add massive puzzle pieces to the lore Soule has been building, and it all works seamlessly. The intake of information doesn’t even border on confusing, and the tastes of larger concepts don’t even feel underdeveloped or otherwise unfulfilling. It’s not all just added material either, with clever inversions of current lore to boot. So often in fiction, world-building is a snooze-fest only recommended for the hardest of hardcore fans, but what’s provided here is all so much fun to read. There is so much intellectually-stimulating, raw creativity here.

Swamp Thing as written by Snyder was an angry, vengeful force of nature, which was compelling yet simple. Soule keeps that characterization, but applies a microscope to the moral code and ethical fortitude of the hulking salad monster, making for more intriguing reading material. Other issues are a better example of this, but it’s certainly evident in this comic, emphasizing the point that Swampy will do whatever it takes to do what’s right, not for the “Green” (plant) kingdom he represents, but what’s truly right. If it means setting himself up for what seems like sure-fired failure, so be it.

swampy feWhile he can’t top Yannick Paquette, the artist Snyder worked chiefly with on Swamp Thing, Jesus Saiz has provided some lovely pencils for this series. This issue hosts some great work from him, made more impressive by the fact that he has to transition through a multitude of atmospherically different settings. One highlight is the pretty visualization of the “Divided” (bacteria) kingdom, wonderfully colored by Matthew Wilson. Another is the dark and scary drawings of the “Rot” (decay) kingdom, trudged into in a careful, effective way. Arcane is a menacing bastard, ruling a constantly uncomfortable kingdom.

So much comes together in this issue, providing a real doozy of entertainment. I was awfully nervous whenever I learned somebody else was taking the reins on one of my favorite ongoing comic series, but Soule has yet to disappoint. His Swamp Thing rocks, and this issue is perhaps the easiest way to see why. I feel bad for whoever has to follow him up.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Jesus Saiz
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

To check out Matt’s about.me, click here

DC Reveals More Futures End Covers

In September, DC Comics goes to Futures End with a special month that ties in their various series into their weekly storyline. Each comic will featured a 3D animated cover. DC has revealed the covers for week three and four. Here’s the first two weeks in case you missed them.

Here’s the week three book covers.

Here’s week four’s covers.