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Review: Future State: The Next Batman #1

Future State: The Next Batman #1

With John Ridley writing the main story, there’s no way I wasn’t going to read Future State: The Next Batman #1. A new Batman in a fascist Gotham written by Ridley is a combination that’s right up my alley. And even with a high bar to cover, I was not only pleased, but excited to read the next issue and wishing we were getting more than two.

In this future Gotham, a militaristic police called The Magistrate has taken over pushing the Gotham P.D. to the side. “The Bat” and masks are outlawed and hunted down. A new Batman is in town not just stopping crime but attempting to save masks from a fate at the hand of the Magistrate.

Ridley delivers such a strong opening and familiar but different take on the character. There’s a classic Batman vibe to it all going back to the basics of a man in a costume with his grappling hook and smoke. It’s theatrical in many ways and feels like a cross of the early years of the character and Batman 1989. Ridley also spins things a bit with layers on the fascism and vigilantism. Some take Batman as an extension of a rightwing agenda as far as justice but to see him rail against an overreaching government is a nice and different spin. It makes me want to see Ridley release a maxi-series further exploring the concepts touched upon here.

The art by Nick Derington is top-notch. There are so many panels and pages that evoke classic Batman with a few paying an homage to classic imagery. Derington is joined by Tamra Bonvillain on color and Clayton Cowles on colors. The combination creates a look and feel of a “classic Batman” story and some of the modern classics that use the shadows to evoke fear and excitement for what’s to come.

Future State: The Next Batman #1 is one of the expanded “Future State” issues featuring two other stories.

Outsiders” is written by Brandon Thomas with art by Sumit Kumar, ink by Kumar and Raul Fernandez, color by Jordie Bellaire, and lettering by Steve Wands. We get to see a new crew of Outsiders as they attempt to take down The Magistrate. It’s a great extension of the world in the main story showing more of the resistance against the fascist police. There’s a lot packed into the story really setting things up and creating a world out of a dozen pages or so. It feels in a way two short stories itself but is such a strong entry that expands the world and compliments the main story. The art is fantastic as well delivering some great action.

Arkham Knights Chapter 1 Rise” is written by Paul Jenkins with art by Jack Herbert, color by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Much like the other story, this one also adds a lot to this new world. The Arkham Knights is a squad of Batman villains who have come together to take on The Magistrate. There’s a Suicide Squad vibe about it but the concept and how it’s presented is really interesting. It’s the specifics of the concept that really stand out. The art too is great with updates to classic characters.

Future State: The Next Batman #1 is a winner of a comic. I wanted to read more immediately and now I want an entire series exploring this world. There’s some great concepts here and an interesting exploration of the line between justice and fascism. Where the line is drawn is a great concept to dive in to and this comic dances around it with some fantastic writing and characters. A lot is packed into the extended issue and it’s such a welcome addition to the DC and Batman mythology.

Story: John Ridley, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins Art: Nick Derington, Sumit Kumar, Jack Herbert
Ink: Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez Color: Tamra Bonvillain, Jordie Bellaire, Gabe Eltaeb

Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1

Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1

One of the extended “Future State” issues, Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1 takes us to a future Metropolis protected by a new Superman, Jonathan Kent. His father is off somewhere (we’ll get that in another story) and it’s up to Jon to fill in the gap. Joining him is Supergirl who spends the issue mostly as an obstacle for this new Superman to battle.

In this Metropolis a tech company has low-jacked individuals with technology built from Brainiac. In the story, the villain, Brain Cells, are using the people for something leaving Jonathan to make a difficult decision to save the city and its people and attempt to not escalate things further. Which of course escalates things.

Writer Sean Lewis gives us a nice take on the character and world putting Jonathan in a difficult situation. The idea of a fairly new hero who’s not getting it right is a good spin to it all. It’s a hero who makes mistakes and whose decisions might have good intentions but the process to get there isn’t the best. It’s a hero who isn’t quite trusted, a rookie who makes mistakes. This is a Superman who has powers and fumbles something can ponder what would likely happen if any of us were to gain similar powers with similar responsibilites. It’s easier to relate to the character in this way.

The art by John Timms with color by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettering by Dave Sharpe is fantastic. The designs are really interesting though at times it takes a bit to make out exactly what everything is. There is a dynamic aspect to it all though and the battles and confrontations are full of excitement and tension. Sharpe’s lettering especially stands out with his take on Brain Cells’ unique world balloons. It’s a small detail that adds so much to the character.

The issue features so much more…

The Metropolis Menagerie” is written by Brandon Easton with art by Valentine de Landro, colors by Marissa Louise, and lettering by Sharpe. Shilo Norman is Mister Miracle in a fairly straightforward tale of a hero battling against odds and their powered suit failing. There’s something rather interesting and charming about it all. There’s a pulp sense about it all with the concept feeling like it’s something out of the era of Flash Gordon.

“The Guardian in Future State” is also written by Lewis with art by Cully Hamner and Michael Avon Oeming, color by Laura Martin, and lettering by AndWorld Design. We get to see a bit of a different aspect to the main story. The story focuses on The Guardian and some of the impact of Jonathan/Superman’s decision. It’s an interesting idea of having a shorter story that ties into the main one but I wish it was a bit clearer this was the case and maybe have taken a slightly different aspect with it all. I’m trying to not spoil it but showing more of the impact of Jonathan’s decision or the moments after would have possibly made for a more engaging story. The use of Hamner and Oeming is also a noticeable shift as the two style don’t quite match enough creating a jarring experience for the reader.

Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1 is a decent read but doesn’t quite have the excitement I was hoping for. As an arc for an ongoing series, it’d all be very interesting but as a two issue story it feels like we’re dropped into something well underway.

Story: Sean Lewis, Brandon Easton Art: John Timms, Valentine de Landro, Cully Hamner, Michael Avon Oeming
Color: Gabe Eltaeb, Marissa Louise, Laura Martin Letter: Dave Sharpe, AndWorld Design
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.95 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Young Justice #15

Young Justice #15

Young Justice versus S.T.A.R. Labs! What happens when a universe reboots right under you? Conner is about to find out! The entire Young Justice team confronts the evil genius behind S.T.A.R. Labs and the truth about Conner Kent. Young Justice #15 wraps up the current story arc while setting up what’s to come.

Conner Kent is back and the truth about how he fits into the DC Universe is revealed. Writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker wrap up this story arc with a fun and wild ride of a finale. Conner has been absent for years in DC, so where has he been? Bendis and Walker give us a simple answer in a way, an explanation that we’ve seen in other stories and media. It’s not a complicated reason and easy to accept and move on.

There’s a really intelligent direction about this in that it allows the reader to focus more on the interaction of the characters more. That’s where a lot of the strength of this series lays. There’s an energy and enthusiasm from the characters that’s fitting for their age. There’s also a sense of love and family that radiates from the page. You really get the sense these are heroes who are happy their friend is back, even the characters who didn’t know him. There’s lots of humor as everyone has their moment and quips fly around. It’s just a fun comic with a lot of energy.

Part of that enthusiasm is due to the art of John Timms and Scott Godlewski. Along with colors by Gabe Eltaeb and letterer Wes Abbott, there’s a lot packed in every panel. There’s a lot of characters here but it works. The fact there’s so many characters packed into the issue is a challenge, but Timms and Godlewski know exactly where to focus and where to put in some visual jokes as well. A facial expression or stance is used to tell the story and what a character might be thinking. Eltaeb’s colors pop on the page and deliver a vibe that matches the youthful exuberance of the series.

Young Justice #15 is a solid finale to the storyline delivering a simple explanation for a character’s absence. The reuniting of the team feels like the old friends back together like it should be. It ties into DC’s meta story well without shaking things up too much but also playing off of mysteries established years ago. It also sets up something to come that has been teased since this series launched. Young Justice #15 sets up an interesting team for the future bringing together the younger heroes in a large group that will hopefully rotate the members delivering something regularly new going forward. It’s a fun series that sticks to the more positive attitude of “Rebirth” and full of potential.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker Art: John Timms, Scott Godlewski
Color: Gabe Eltaeb Letterer: Wes Abbott
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read


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Review: Superman: Heroes #1

Superman: Heroes #1

I’m totally okay with Brian Michael Bendis finally allowing Superman to reveal his secret identity as Clark Kent. It seems like a sales gimmick or one that will be walked back in a couple years. It’s remarkably in-character and makes up for the half-assed “mystery” that was Event Leviathan. Superman: Heroes #1 shows the reactions to the big reveal. It does so from a variety of perspectives from Lois Lane to the Justice League. Drawn by the fantastic Kevin Maguire! to Clark Kent’s high school chemistry teacher in a sweet story by Matt Fraction and Scott Godlewski. Fraction also pens Jimmy Olsen’s reaction to his “pal” losing the secret identity. That features slick, emotive art from his Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen collaborator Steve Lieber.

And wait, that not’s all. After being terse in the Maguire 12 panel grid sequences, Batman gets to open up to Wonder Woman about his true feelings in regards to Superman’s reveal. It’s a powerful story written by Greg Rucka and drawn in atmospheric shadows by Mike Perkins. However, there’s room for comedy too. Booster Gold finally gets to shout that Superman is Clark Kent after keeping it in for so long because he’s from the future. This comic is a true marriage of different tones. Art and writing styles from Bendis and Maguire set up a running Plastic man gag to Batman coming up with legit, devil’s advocate style arguments for why Superman revealing his secret identity to the world is a terrible idea.

Bendis, Fraction, Rucka, Maguire, Perkins, Lieber, Mike Norton, and Godlewski use Superman: Heroes to show how important Superman is to the both the community of heroes in the DC Universe and the superhero genre as a whole. They also show his roots in Smallville, connections to Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, and the consequences of his actions. The best parts of this comic are connected to Smallville. The opening scene features a great conversation between Ma and Pa Kent and young Clark about feeling different or weird and having a greater responsibility to the world because of his abilities.

Superman: Heroes #1

The Fraction/Godlewski Superman and his chemistry teacher scene is really Eisner-worthy. From Godlewski’s clean line and the vivid colors to the underlying theme that it’s been Clark’s work ethic and moral compass that made him a great hero and man and not his superpowers. I also love how he draws Superman’s smile. Even if this means he got a C- in molecular chemistry. Clark Kent is the kid at the end of the bench who hustles for every loose ball, or the student that stays up late and goes to extra tutoring sessions that just happens to have the power of a god. Matt Fraction demonstrates his understanding of Superman’s moral character that pervades the “Truth” storyline as well as his, Rucka, and Bendis’ take on the Metropolis side of the DC Universe.

As evidenced by the “King Superman” plotline brewing over in Superman, Bendis isn’t afraid to look at the negative consequences of Superman revealing his secret identity. That extends to the moral dilemma he’s in as the Daily Planet is owned by Marisol Leone. However, that will be covered in later stories. Maybe Action Comics once the “Year of the Villain” shenanigans are over.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, Rucka and Perkins dig into it immediately in the form of the other 2/3 of the Trinity have a spirited conversation where neither Bruce or Diana is in the right. I really love the panels at the end of scene where Perkins’ heavy shadows lighten, and Diana tells Bruce that maybe he’s jealous that Superman can live his life out in the open and whole. The specters of Tom King’s botched Bat-marriage hang in the shadows of this one. Rucka’s dialogue gets to the core of Batman’s identity issues that have pervaded his best stories. He can’t retire or be a public-facing, but must strike fear into criminals as an archetype of fear.

Superman: Heroes #1 is a high note for Brian Michael Bendis’ current run on the Superman titles. It also features insightful writing from Matt Fraction as well as Greg Rucka reminding readers that he’s one of the greatest Batman and Wonder Woman writers. On the visual side, Mike Perkins shows a conversation can have just as much power as a good fight scene. Kevin Maguire is still the master of the superhero group shot. Steve Lieber’s comedic timing and use of beats works for friends being open and vulnerable together. Even if you aren’t current on Bendis’ Superman comics, Superman: Heroes #1 is worth picking up and dropping $5.99 on. It’s an intelligent and heartwarming take on the first superhero.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Greg Rucka
Art: Kevin Maguire, Mike Perkins, Steve Lieber

Art: Mike Norton, Scott Godlewski Colors: Paul Mounts, Gabe Eltaeb
Colors: Andy Troy, Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Clayton Cowles, Troy Peteri, Simon Bowland
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Lois Lane #9

Lois Lane #9

Written by Greg Rucka
Art and cover by Mike Perkins
Colors by Gabe Eltaeb
Letters by Simon Bowland
Variant cover by Bilquis Evely
In Shops: Mar 04, 2020

“Who, what, why, you know, all of it. Just do that thing you do, ok?” –Lois Lane

In the wake of a second attempt on her life, Lois takes the unprecedented step of…telling Superman to back off! As the Kiss of Death circles for another try, Lois’s search for answers takes her back into the political spotlight, while Renee uses a Gotham connection to find answers to another set of questions entirely.

Lois Lane #9 by Greg Rucka, Mike Perkins and Gabe Eltaeb hits shelves Wednesday March 4th, 2020.

Lois Lane #9

David F. Walker Joins the Young Justice Team With Young Justice #13. Get a First Look

Young Justice #13

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker
Art by John Timms, Michael Avon Oeming, and Mike Grell
Color by Gabe Eltaeb
Cover by John Timms
Variant cover by Mike Grell
In Shops: Feb 05, 2020
Final Orders Due: Jan 13, 2020

David F. Walker Joins ‘Young Justice’ Team
Mike Grell and Michael Avon Oeming Help Kick Off Second Year of Wonder Comics

The latest Wonder Comics extravaganza kicks off with Young Justice searching for Conner Kent, as the teen Superboy find himself trapped in the mysterious world of Skartaris—the home of DC’s legendary sword-and-sorcery character, Warlord!

Picking up where the first year of Young Justice ended, Wonder Comics curator Brian Michael Bendis and series artist John Timms welcome writer and Naomi co-creator David F. Walker to the team! Young Justice #13 also includes guest art from Warlord creator Mike Grell, and Bendis’ Powers collaborator Michael Avon Oeming!

Young Justice #13

Get an Early First look at Young Justice #12

Young Justice #12

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Interior and Cover art by John Timms and Gabe Eltaeb
In Shops: Jan 08, 2020
Final Orders Due: Dec 09, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Naomi, the Wonder Twins, and Young Justice United!

It’s an epic Wonder Comics crossover: Naomi, the Wonder Twins, and Young Justice all come together for the first time to confront the secrets behind the entire first year of the teen team’s series. Where did Connor Kent come from? Why does Bart Allen remember everyone but no one else does? How does it all connect to Jinny Hex’s trunk? It’s a Wonder Comics blockbuster!

Review: Aquaman #42

A “Drowned Earth” tie-in, Aquaman #42 follows Aquaman’s journey after he’s stabbed by Poseidon. Is this tie-in vital? Find out our thoughts!

Aquaman #42 is by Dan Abnett, Lan Medina, Vicente Cifuentes, Gabe Eltaeb, and Steve Wands.

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Harley Quinn #45

Harley Quinn #45 finds our favorite Brooklyn bad ass on vacation from all the drama back home. Writer Sam Humphries starts his story off with a phone chat between Mamma Quinn and Harley that by the end of the issue proves that sometimes Mamma does know best. We get treated to a cute little one page of teeny tiny Harley proving that she’s always been a bad ass who likes to dish out a good smack down to those who deserve it. We then get a visit from a couple of Female Furies, sent by Granny Goodness, to rain on Harley’s parade, or so she thinks.

John Timms artwork is sleek and on point. As usual, the stylized bubble gum aesthetic works well with the off putting violence, dark story, and blood tinged mayhem. The colors Gabe Eltaeb uses are dark and surround the pop art colored Harley making sure we know the focus of the story. He varies the shade just enough so we know when it’s a flashback, a dream, or the current truth, a simple yet effective technique. It’s a really pretty comic and the artwork alone tells a very compelling, page turning story.

The issue as a whole is brilliantly written, perfectly drawn, expertly colored and doesn’t waste an inch of any panel with erroneous information, fluff, or unnecessary silliness. Everything flows into each other so perfectly that they were to have ended the comic a page before they did it would have been a complete story but I’m not at all mad that they left us with a little something to look forward to. Even the last page is perfect and pulls us further into the story. Humphries and his art crew do a great job at keeping the reader engaged and making sure that even without words you know this is a Harley story and a good one at that.

Story: Sam Humphries Art: John Timms
Story: 9.1 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey Special #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Black Lightning teaming with Hong Kong Phooey!

Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey Special #1 is by Bryan Hill, Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jeromy Cox, Janice Chiang, ChrisCross, Gabe Eltaeb, Liz Erickson, Jim Chadwick, and Funky Phantom story by Jeff Parker, Scott Kolins, and Tony Avina.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

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