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Review: Batman: Black & White #1

Batman: Black & White #1

Anthology series are always something I enjoy to read in comics. In a comic, you get varied voices and styles, getting to see what creators you might not read would do with characters. It’s also a chance to see what different creators would do in the same sandbox. That often results in a lot of variation showing how versatile comics and their characters can be. Batman: Black & White #1 kicks off a new series with one hell of a start.

Batman: Black & White #1 is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in some time. While the stories are varied and interesting, this debut issue’s art is what really stands out. There’s a common theme, beyond Batman, of artists breaking the mold delivering visuals that “break the page”.

With five stories, Batman: Black & White #1 gives us variation not just in styles but the perspectives and subjects. There’s some “traditional” Batman focused stories but others come from different perspectives. The opening for example is told from the perspective of a member of the League of Assassins.

Each story is entertaining in their own way. They are varied in pacing, tone, and focus, keeping things interesting. Some keep things more traditional in the narrative while others are presented in a more poetic style. The dialogue and types of stories alone are worth picking up the issue. But, it’s the art that really stands out in this issue.

The styles of art vary but they all have one thing in common. Each story breaks traditional page layouts and panels. The opening story uses Batman’s cape to break up the sequences, another is laid out like poem flowing across the page. Another story uses the pearls of Bruce Wayne’s mother to break up the page. In an amazing visual, art from throughout the years is laid out on page like a collage of Batman’s history. You’ll linger on every page in awe as to what’s been laid out. Every inch of the page is used and used well. Only one of the stories comes close to expected page layouts and even then, that tale delivers a lot for Batman fans in the background.

All of that is delivered in black and white.

Batman: Black & White #1 is a hell of a start to the series. It had me lingering on pages in awe of what was before me and wanting more. It shows off some amazing art and will have you longing for more of this and fewer boxes on the page. This is a fantastic issue for Batman fans and fans of beautiful art. It also creates a high bar for future issues to reach.

Story: James Tynion IV, J.H. Williams III, G. Willow Wilson, Emma Rios, Paul Dini
Art: Tradd Moore, J.H. Williams III, Greg Smallwood, Emma Rios, Andy Kubert, Dexter Soy
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Todd Klein, Clem Robins, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
Story 8.45 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Batman: Black & White #1

Batman: Black & White #1

Written by: J.H. Williams III, Paul Dini, G. Willow Wilson, Emma Rios
Art by: J.H. Williams III, Andy Kubert, Greg Smallwood, Emma Rios, Tradd Moore

The iconic anthology series returns with a brand-new slate of comics’ most exciting and innovative storytellers to explore the Batman mythos in stark black-and-white! In this debut issue: • James Tynion IV and Tradd Moore explore the world of Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins • J.H. Williams III returns to DC Comics for a trip through the Dark Knight’s history • Emma Rios explores the eternal struggle of the Dark Knight • Paul Dini and Andy Kubert pit Batman against an infestation of ninja Man-Bats in the Batcave • G. Willow Wilson and Greg Smallwood portray Batman in his strangest standoff ever with Killer Croc With a lineup this strong and a cover by legendary Batman artist Greg Capullo, you won’t want to miss the start of this tremendous collection of Batman tales by some of comics’ top creators!

Batman: Black & White #1

Invisible Kingdom Reaches its Exciting Conclusion in May 2021

Off the heels of this summer’s Eisner win for Best New Series, G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward’s epic sci-fi Invisible Kingdom from Berger Books reaches its exciting conclusion in a full-length graphic novel adventure, on sale May 2021.

Just when the crew of the Sundog makes it through the most dangerous edge of space, they’re overtaken by a faction of mysterious new Nones to an even further and more deadly place: The Point of No Return. As a revolution looms, these Siblings of Rebirth have an unthinkable mission to carry out, and they can’t do it without Vess… or with Grix in the picture. But who can be trusted? And will Vess choose destruction… or love?

Invisible Kingdom Volume 3: In Other Worlds arrives in comic shops on May 12, 2021.

Invisible Kingdom Volume 3: In Other Worlds

Preview: The Dreaming: Waking Hours #4

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #4

Written by: G. Willow Wilson
Art by: Nick Robles
SRP: $3.99

Ruin has traveled to Worlds’ End to seek help from the denizen of the Dreaming who set him free in the first place…unfortunately, Brute and Glob have followed him there-on the orders of Dream himself! And back in the Dreaming, Lindy has taken on the challenge of discovering who the “true” Shakespeare is, via a staging of the apocryphal play The Birth Of Merlyn. But when you tell a tale inside the Dreaming, it has a strange way of becoming very real indeed…

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #4

Review: The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3 continues to play a fantastic, two world balancing act as single mom/struggling academic Lindy tries to solve the Shakespeare authorship question in the Dreaming surrounded by different versions of the Bard of Avon while Ruin, Jophiel, and the sorceress Heather try to get her out of there. G. Willow Wilson, Nick Robles, and Mat Lopes take what were personally my favorite bits of Sandman (The Shakespeare appearances/historical flashbacks) and put their own compelling spin on it through the addition of their original creations, Lindy and Ruin, who is nightmare that doesn’t want to scare anyone and came to the waking world to be with the man he loves.

Depending on the setting (Shakespeare’s part of The Dreaming, Box of Nightmares, New Jersey), Nick Robles and Mat Lopes switch up their art style and color palette. This makes for engaging reading. These stylistic shifts also mirror plot points and how characters are feeling, especially in the Dreaming which can go from Lindy giving an earnest soliloquy about her decision process into becoming a single mom and struggles into academia to a laid back, double page spread of her enjoying a world that’s just different versions of Shakespeare hanging out, making out, and enjoying life. Lindy’s name drop of Aristophanes’ The Clouds in this scene isn’t just G. Willow Wilson flexing her literary knowledge, but acts as a kind of warning to our protagonist to not get caught up in the theoretical and lose sight of being reunited with her child and, ugh, her thesis in the Waking World.

The art goes from idyllic, even semi-utopian to intense and terrifying when Wilson, Robles, and Lopes check in on The Dreaming: Waking Hours‘ plotlines that don’t involve Lindy and the Shakespeares. Heather has the bright idea of sneaking Jophiel and Ruin through Faerie to get to the Dreaming, but as anyone who has read any classic fairy tales or Vertigo comics, this backfires on them thanks to her ineptitude with magic. (For example, Jophiel was originally summoned because of a spelling error.) In keeping with the Shakespearean theme, Nick Robles does a pure horror take on the mischievous Puck from A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and Mat Lopes uses hot greens and blues to show how close they are to losing control over him. Getting back to the Dreaming isn’t so easy, and the method of their return is Wilson and Robles’ current hook for upcoming issues.

This is reinforced by a watercolor interlude set in the Box of Nightmares that connects directly to plot points in Sandman and gives a glimpse into how Daniel, Morpheus’ successor as Dream of the Endless, runs things. This sequence also features some of Nick Robles’ and Mat Lopes’ most gorgeous art that shows the dark and otherworldly nature of this region, and its rigidity compared to the light and airy cartooning in the other parts of the comic. It’s more Dave McKean than Bill Sienkiewicz, for sure, and re-establishes the seriousness of what Lindy, Heather, Jophiel, and Ruin are going up against.

Nick Robles using watercolors versus pen and ink also acts as a kind of visual metaphor for the theme of chaos versus order that undergirds The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3, and by extension, all human life. Most folks can’t plan out their entire lives or adhere rigidly to one role like some of the more compliant nightmares in The Dreaming. They are more like Lindy or Ruin, who have to deal with issues like an unexpected pregnancy, the terrible academic job market, or dealing with a job they don’t fit in at. (Being a nightmare in this case.) Robles’ art style matching the content and themes of The Dreaming: Waking Hours makes it even more compelling and adds depth to the main characters beyond G. Willow Wilson’s excellent, insightful dialogue. (I love her comparison of adjunct/visiting professor work to monastic life.)

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3 features magic, even more chaos, surprise cameos, and a visually striking look at human problems through angels, anthropomorphic embodiments, witches, fairies, and dead authors. G. Willow Wilson, Nick Robles, and Mat Lopes have crafted both memorable characters and settings, and I care equally as much about Lindy, Ruin, Jophiel, and even Heather as I do about their take on the Shakespeare authorship question and additions to the Sandman mythos.

Story: G. Willow Wilson Art: Nick Robles
Colors: Mat Lopes Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/DC Black Label provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3

Written by: G. Willow Wilson
Art by: Nick Robles

In the waking world, Ruin and the fallen cherub Jophiel have teamed up with the sorceress Heather After to try to pull Lindy out of the Dreaming, and home to her newborn daughter…but they’d better work fast. Lindy’s mind is rapidly disintegrating as she reckons with thousands of possibilities for who Shakespeare really was, each one alive and walking around in front of her-and if she can’t keep it together, then she’ll be lost forever!

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3

Iman Vellani is Ms. Marvel

Iman Vellani Ms. Marvel

Marvel Studios has found their Ms. Marvel in Iman Vellani. Vellani will reportedly star in the Disney+ series which will feature the beloved character.

Marvel nor Disney have confirmed the casting.

Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, a Muslim Pakistani-American teenager in New Jersey. The character debuted in 2013 in Captain Marvel #14 and was created by Sana Amanat, Adrian Alphona, Jamie McKelvie, and G. Willow Wilson. The character in the comics is an Inhuman who gains her powers after Terrigen Mist is unleashed across the world. Her powers include shapeshifting and healing factor which she uses to protect her town and worldwide adventures with teams such as the Champions, Secret Warriors, The Mighty Avengers, and The New Avengers.

Iman Vellani is a newcomer with new credits according to IMDB.

Ms. Marvel is one of numerous Marvel shows coming to Disney+. Up first this year is WandaVision with Falcon and The Winter Soldier after. She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Nick Fury, and more are all being worked on.

(via Deadline)

Preview: The Dreaming: Waking Hours #2

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #2

(W) G. Willow Wilson (A) Nick Robles (CA) Bill Sienkiewicz
In Shops: Sep 01, 2020
SRP: $3.99

New mother Lindy is trapped in the Dreaming, and the lovestruck nightmare Ruin is loose in the real world. Dream must put this situation right – but to do so, he’ll have to travel into the Black Chest where he keeps his most dangerous nightmares…and pull the answers right from the mouth of the unimaginable Endless Teeth!

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #2

Preview: The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1

Written by: G. Willow Wilson
Art by: Nick Robles

A new chapter in the Sandman saga begins with an all-new miniseries populated by faces both familiar and new! One of Dream’s heaviest responsibilities is the creation of nightmares-the beings that haunt our sleep and turn our thoughts toward darkness. In the form of Ruin, the nightmare of catastrophic failure, Dream was certain he’d built his next masterpiece…but Ruin can’t help but live up to his name, sending every situation into a spiral of unexpected consequences. Unfortunately, Shakespearean scholar (and exhausted new mother) Lindy has dreamed of Ruin…and in the process, she’s delivered him unto the waking world! The Sandman Universe is changing-and Hugo and World Fantasy award-winning writer G. Willow Wilson (Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel, The Bird King) and breakout artist Nick Robles (Euthanauts) are here to welcome you!

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1
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