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Preview: Batman #113

Batman #113

Written by: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thoma
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

Ghost-Maker reveals a dark revelation about his past connection to Jonathan Crane while Batman puts together the pieces of Scarecrow’s master plan. Using the Unsanity Collective’s technology, the villain plans to detonate a “Fear Bomb” in Gotham City! Backup: Clownhunter has been dosed by the Scarecrow with a deadly fear toxin and is now traveling through his greatest nightmare of Gotham City. Will the Clownhunter center himself and strike back at Scarecrow? Or will he succumb to all his worst fears?!

Batman #113

Preview: Batman #112

Batman #112

Written by: Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

A story over a year in the making and set into motion with Infinite Frontier #0, Fear State begins! Batman played into the hands of the Scarecrow, who has unleashed a coordinated attack on Gotham City through his manipulation of Simon Saint and Peacekeeper-01! But there are other forces at work with the emergence of an Anti-Oracle spreading fake news across all channels and inciting terror and violence on the streets of Gotham! Backup: Clownhunter has turned down help from Batman, Leslie Thompkins, the Red Hood, and everyone else who has offered it to him, thinking that he can handle being a vigilante on the streets of Gotham City by himself. But when he takes a shot at fighting the Scarecrow one-on-one, he’ll learn very quickly how much in this city he’s not ready for yet. NEW HERO – PEACEKEEPER X!

Batman #112

Review: Batman #112

Batman #112

With the recent “Alpha” issue of Batman: Fear State acting as a nice primer for those new to the event as well as moving the story along, Batman #112 overlaps it a bit but also sets up the challenge ahead. After months of build-up, Scarecrow and Simon Saint’s plans for Gotham are starting to come together. The issue is, the duo, who were working together, no longer are on the same page. Saint has given Scarecrow what he wants and Gotham is going to suffer.

Writer James Tynion IV delivers an amped up Scarecrow who has moved beyond toxins to inflict his fear. New technology drives this amped up villain who really is proving a challenge for Batman. Add in the fact that Scarecrow has also dispatched Saint’s Peacekeeper-01 and you have a city on the brink of chaos and few able to do anything about it.

Batman #112 is the set-up to the challenge. Tynion uses the issue to focus on how much Scarecrow has beaten down everyone already. Batman realizes there’s something more than toxin going on. Saint realizes that things are off the rails and he needs to get his plan back under control. This is the issue that really sets the bar as to difficult of a fight this will be.

It also overlaps that alpha issue a bit. While that gave a wide view of what’s going on, this issue narrows it down a bit focusing on Batman and Saint. What’s solid is Tynion has built Saint up beyond just some tech-bro with money able to equip his army with the latest toys. There’s a media savvy about him where he uses manipulated perception to get what he wants and move the narrative in his direction. It’s something Batman hasn’t really faced before.

Jorge Jimenez handles the art with Tomeu Morey on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering. The art is fantastic and gives a new take on Scarecrow’s attacks. A lot of artists in the past have delivered trippy visuals that show Batman spiraling out of control as the toxin takes over. While there’s a little of that here, the main focus is in Batman’s eyes and face as he really expresses the fear that’s overcome him. We get the sense that he’s realizing that things aren’t the same as they’ve been in the past. There’s a real sense of tension and chaos building throughout the visuals, they nail the story Tynion is crafting.

Brandon Thomas, Jason Howard, and Cowles deliver a back-up featuring Clownhunter as he takes on Scarecrow. The confrontation feels a little left-field but the story crafted is solid. I’s best to not spoil it but how it plays out is great and feels a bit like a “traditional” Batman story featuring the Dark Knight taking on Scarecrow.

Batman #112 is a really solid start to “Fear State”. It amps up Scarecrow so he feels like a real threat to everyone. Tynion does is best to give us a new take on what we’ve seen before over and over. The visuals too give a slightly different take to what we’ve seen before. And, most importantly, it doesn’t feel like a distraction from the direction the Batman titles are moving when it comes to “Future State” and a possible future Gotham. This is a great example of an event tying into the greater meta story. More of this please.

Story: James Tynion IV, Brandon Thomas Art: Jorge Jimenez, Jason Howard
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Batman #112

Batman #112

Written by: Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV
Art by: Jason Howard, Jorge Jimenez

A story over a year in the making and set into motion with Infinite Frontier #0, Fear State begins! Batman played into the hands of the Scarecrow, who has unleashed a coordinated attack on Gotham City through his manipulation of Simon Saint and Peacekeeper-01! But there are other forces at work with the emergence of an Anti-Oracle spreading fake news across all channels and inciting terror and violence on the streets of Gotham! Backup: Clownhunter has turned down help from Batman, Leslie Thompkins, the Red Hood, and everyone else who has offered it to him, thinking that he can handle being a vigilante on the streets of Gotham City by himself. But when he takes a shot at fighting the Scarecrow one-on-one, he’ll learn very quickly how much in this city he’s not ready for yet. NEW HERO – PEACEKEEPER X!

Batman #112

C.O.D.E. from Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard Debuts in Skybound X #5

Image and Skybound revealed today that the acclaimed duo of Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard will reunite for the first appearance of their new series C.O.D.Ein Skybound X #5.

C.O.D.E. tells the story of humanity in the far future surviving a technological hellscape through the assistance of a device known as Combat Orb Defense Engines. Seven orb wielders who hail from six different warring factions have set aside their differences to band together and carry out a mission that may be humanity’s last hope to thwart a technological menace that has nearly completely overtaken earth.

This extra-length issue also features the final chapter of “Rick Grimes 2000,” along with new stories from the worlds of The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton from Kyle Starks and Chris Schweizer and Gasolina from Sean Mackiewicz and Niko Walter!  

Skybound X #5  will be available at  comic book shops  and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, August 4: 

  • Skybound X #5 Cover A by David Finch (Diamond Code MAY210052) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover B by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code MAY210053) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover C by Jason Howard (Diamond Code MAY210054) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover D 1:10 Incentive Cover by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code APR219079) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Jason Howard (Diamond Code APR219080)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover F 1:25 Incentive Cover by David Finch (Diamond Code APR219081) 
Skybound X #1
Skybound X #5

Rick Grimes 2000 Concludes, Gasolina Returns, and something New from Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard in Skybound X #5

Image Comics and Skybound revealed a first look at Skybound X #5, concluding the weekly event series with…THE DEBUT OF SOMETHING NEW BY ROBERT KIRMAN AND JASON HOWARD!

We’ve also got the final chapter of “Rick Grimes 2000,” along with new stories from the worlds of The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton and Gasolina! Thank goodness Kirkman, Howard, Ryan Ottley, Kyle StarksChris Schweizer, Sean Mackiewicz, and Niko Walter all teamed up for this extra-length issue because it might just be the most talked-about release of the whole darn series!

Skybound X #5  will be available at  comic book shops  and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, August 4: 

  • Skybound X #5 Cover A by David Finch (Diamond Code MAY210052) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover B by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code MAY210053) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover C by Jason Howard (Diamond Code MAY210054) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover D 1:10 Incentive Cover by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code APR219079) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Jason Howard (Diamond Code APR219080)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover F 1:25 Incentive Cover by David Finch (Diamond Code APR219081) 

Image and Skybound Reveals New Skybound X Covers

The comic book event of the summer is almost here and Image and Skybound revealed rare new variant covers to all five issues of Skybound X. The weekly series features the first appearances of Clementine (the star of the bestselling video game series TELLTALE’S THE WALKING DEAD), Everyday Hero Machine Boy and Sea Serpent’s Heir along with the return of fan-favorite “Rick Grimes 2000”! Join the most-superstar-packed lineup in comics as Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Tillie Walden, Donny Cates, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky, James Harren, and Daniel Warren Johnson celebrate the past, present, and future of the Skybound beginning Wednesday, July 7.

The newly revealed incentive variant covers feature stunning black and white versions of the previously announced covers to Skybound X, with extra rare versions of the main cover art featuring “Rick Grimes 2000” and the most shocking vision of The Walking Dead you’ve ever seen!

Skybound X #1  will be available at  comic book shops  and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, July 7 with subsequent issues releasing weekly.

On-Sale Wednesday, July 7, 2021:

  • Skybound X #1 Cover A by Ryan Ottley (Diamond Code MAY210037) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover B by James Harren (Diamond Code MAY210038) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover C by Tillie Walden (Diamond Code MAY210039) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover D by Charlie Adlard (Diamond Code MAY210040) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover E Blank Sketch Cover (Diamond Code MAY210041) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover F 1:10 Incentive Cover by James Harren (Diamond Code APR219065) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover G 1:10 Incentive Cover by Tillie Walden (Diamond Code APR219066) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover H 1:10 Incentive Cover by Charlie Adlard (Diamond Code APR219067) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover I 1:25 Incentive Cover by Ryan Ottley (Diamond Code APR219068) 

On-Sale Wednesday, July 14, 2021: 

  • Skybound X #2 Cover A by Cliff Rathburn (Diamond Code MAY210042) 
  • Skybound X #2 Cover B by Andrei Bressan (Diamond Code MAY210043) 
  • Skybound X #2 Cover C by Tri Vuong & Irma Kniivila (Diamond Code MAY210044) 
  • Skybound X #2 Cover D 1:10 Incentive Cover by Andrei Bressan (Diamond Code APR219069) 
  • Skybound X #2 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Tri Vuong & Irma Kniivila (Diamond Code APR219070) 
  • Skybound X #2 Cover F 1:25 Incentive Cover by Cliff Rathburn (Diamond Code APR219071) 

On-Sale Wednesday, July 21, 2021: 

  • Skybound X #3 Cover A by Arthur Adams (Diamond Code MAY210045) 
  • Skybound X #3 Cover B by Cory Walker (Diamond Code MAY210046) 
  • Skybound X #3 Cover C by Erica Henderson (Diamond Code MAY210047) 
  • Skybound X #3 Cover D by Daniel Warren Johnson (Diamond Code MAY210048)
  • Skybound X #3 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Cory Walker (Diamond Code APR219072) 
  • Skybound X #3 Cover F 1:10 Incentive Cover by Erica Henderson (Diamond Code APR219073) 
  • Skybound X #3 Cover G 1:10 Incentive Cover by Daniel Warren Johnson (Diamond Code APR219074) 
  • Skybound X #3 Cover H 1:25 Incentive Cover by Arthur Adams (Diamond Code APR219075) 

On-Sale Wednesday, July 28, 2021: 

  • Skybound X #4 Cover A by Charlie Adlard (Diamond Code MAY210049) 
  • Skybound X #4 Cover B by Khary Randolph (Diamond Code MAY210050)
  • Skybound X #4 Cover C by Pablo Tunica (Diamond Code MAY210051) 
  • Skybound X #4 Cover D 1:10 Incentive Cover by Khary Randolph (Diamond Code APR219076) 
  • Skybound X #4 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Pablo Tunica (Diamond Code APR219077) 
  • Skybound X #4 Cover F 1:25 Incentive Cover by Charlie Adlard (Diamond Code APR219078) 

On-Sale Wednesday, August 4, 2021: 

  • Skybound X #5 Cover A by David Finch (Diamond Code MAY210052) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover B by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code MAY210053)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover C by Jason Howard (Diamond Code MAY210054) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover D 1:10 Incentive Cover by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code APR219079) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover E 1:10 Incentive Cover by Jason Howard (Diamond Code APR219080) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover F 1:25 Incentive Cover by David Finch (Diamond Code APR219081) 

Review: Superman: Red and Blue #2

Superman: Red and Blue #2

I loved the debut of Superman: Red and Blue. The first issue was such a fresh take on Superman with a delivery that mixed in socio-political issues and the character’s limits and failures. Mixed with beautiful art, it was a debut that forced you to take notice. Superman: Red and Blue #2 is entertaining in its own way but falls far short of that first issue that soared.

There isn’t anything particularly bad about Superman: Red and Blue #2. There are five stories that are all entertaining in their own way. The stories vary in their focus and art style each delivering its own take on the character and his world. But, none of the stories really stand out. They’re entertaining while you read but I didn’t find the issue sticking with me in the same way as the first. It’s a case of starting out with a debut that’s almost “too good”. It’s difficult to match that level of quality.

Superman: Red and Blue #2 has its highlights. The comic debuts and opens with an interesting and emotional take on Clark’s relationship with his parents. It’s one that takes on negative perceptions about adoption and stamps them down.

An entry that pits Lex Luthor against Superman has a tinge of humor that pays homage to past stories. It’s a cute, fun story that I’d love as a backup feature in a Superman comic.

Where the comic stands out is in its varied subject matter. The anthology features stories focused on Martha Kent, Val-Zod, Lex Luthor, a random young girl, and Cyborg Superman. Each story is good in its own way and are worth reading. Superman: Red and Blue #2 is a frustrating comic in a way. All of the stories would be great as backups to a regular running series. But, as an anthology the stories are a bit too different in their subjects and topics and far too often fall into Superman battling something or they fall into predictable cheese.

Superman: Red and Blue #2 is hampered by that amazing first issue. It hasn’t stuck with me as that debut has. It’s not one that I immediately raved about to others. It’s good. It’s an entertaining read to sit back and relax to. But, it doesn’t challenge or do anything really new or interesting with an iconic character. An anthology feels like it presents a way to try something new, not something we’ve seen before.

Story: Steven T. Seagle, Chuck Brown, Dan Panosian, Stephanie Phillips, Jason Howard
Art: Duncan Rouleau, Denys Cowan, John Stanisci, Dan Panosian, Marley Zarcone, Jason Howard
Color: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Pat Brosseau, Dave Sharpe, Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Image and Skybound Launches Skybound X, a Weekly Series featuring New Stories with Rick Grimes and the First Appearance of Clementine

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment will launch a five-issue, limited comic book series, Skybound X. This exciting comic event will feature iconic characters such as The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes, Telltale’s The Walking Dead’s Clementine, and more Skybound favorites. Heavy hitter creators including Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Tillie Walden, Donny Cates, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky, James Harren, and Daniel Warren Johnson will contribute stories from the best Skybound series past, present, and future.

Each oversized, weekly issue will kick off with a chapter from “Rick Grimes 2000“, a story originally introduced in the back of The Walking Dead issue 75 and reuniting the Invincible team Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley. In addition, all-new series with brand new comic book characters will debut throughout. The first new comic book character featured will be Clementine, the star of the bestselling video game Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Skybound X will also include new stories from the worlds of Assassin Nation, Excellence, and Manifest Destiny.

Skybound X will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play, starting with issue #1 on Wednesday, July 7, 2021:

SKYBOUND X #1
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, TILLE WALDEN, JAMES HARREN & CHRIS DINGESS 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, TILLIE WALDEN, JAMES HARREN & MATTHEW ROBERTS 
COVER A: RYAN OTTLEY (Diamond Code MAY210037)
COVER B: JAMES HARREN (Diamond Code MAY210038)
COVER C: TILLIE WALDEN (Diamond Code MAY210039)
COVER D: CHARLIE ADLARD (Diamond Code MAY210040)
COVER E: BLANK SKETCH COVER (Diamond Code MAY210041)
JULY 7 / 52 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99 

Celebrate a sensational 10 years of Skybound with a cavalcade of your favorite creators for all-new stories of your favorite series past, present and future! Each issue of this oversized, weekly series will kick off with a new chapter of a serialized THE WALKING DEAD story—RICK GRIMES 2000—by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley!  

In addition, we’ll be debuting all-new series and characters every issue, starting with the First Appearance of the most requested WALKING DEAD character of all-time: Clementine, star of the bestselling Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game series! 

Did we mention new ULTRAMEGA and MANIFEST DESTINY stories?! If you want to know what to expect in Skybound’s next 10 years, it all starts here!  

SKYBOUND X #2 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, CHIP ZDARKSKY, DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, IRMA KNIIVILA & TRI VUONG 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, RAMON K. PEREZ, DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, TRI VUONG & IRMA KNIIVILA 
COVER A: CLIFF RATHBURN (Diamond Code MAY210042)
COVER B: ANDREI BRESSAN (Diamond Code MAY210043)
COVER C: TRI VUONG & IRMA KNIIVILA (Diamond Code MAY210044)
JULY 14 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99 

The second chapter of the wildest WALKING DEAD story ever–RICK GRIMES 2000! Plus, the debut of a major new STILLWATER character, a rip-roaring MURDER FALCON throwdown, and the First Appearance of EVERYDAY HERO MACHINE BOY! 

SKYBOUND X #3 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, KYLE STARKS 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, ANDREI BRESSAN, ERICA HENDERSON, CORY WALKER 
COVER A: ARTHUR ADAMS (Diamond Code MAY210045)
COVER B: CORY WALKER (Diamond Code MAY210046)
COVER C: ERICA HENDERSON (Diamond Code MAY210047)
COVER D: DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Diamond Code MAY210048)
JULY 21 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99 

The third chapter of RICK GRIMES 2000! Plus, a surprising coda to the BIRTHRIGHT saga, a spotlight on ASSASSIN NATION fan-favorite, F*ck Tarkington, and the latest installment of the greatest genius canine adventurer, SCIENCE DOG! 

SKYBOUND X #4 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, DONNY CATES, BRANDON THOMAS, MAIRGHRED SCOTT 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, LISANDRO ESTHERREN, KHARY RANDOLPH, PABLO TUNICA 
COVER A: CHARLIE ADLARD (Diamond Code MAY210049)
COVER B: KHARY RANDOLPH (Diamond Code MAY210050)
COVER C: PABLO TUNICA (Diamond Code MAY210051)
JULY 28 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99 

The fourth chapter of RICK GRIMES 2000! Plus, new REDNECK and EXCELLENCE stories, and the First Appearance of SEA SERPENT’S HEIR!  

SKYBOUND X #5 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, KYLE STARKS & SEAN MACKIEWICZ 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, JASON HOWARD, CHRIS SCHWEIZER & NIKO WALTER 
COVER A: DAVID FINCH (Diamond Code MAY210052)
COVER B: CHRIS SCHWEIZER (Diamond Code MAY210053)
COVER C: JASON HOWARD (Diamond Code MAY210054)
AUGUST 4 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99 

RICK GRIMES 2000 concludes! Plus, new THE SIX SIDEKICKS OF TRIGGER KEATON and GASOLINA stories! ALSO, something COMPLETELY NEW from ROBERT KIRKMAN & JASON HOWARD! SECRETS! 

Review: Big Girls #1

Big Girls #1

Science fiction can often hold a mirror up to society delving into socio-political issues delivering an allegory by which we can learn. These stories are often layered and deep where a deep analysis can be made to understand what the story is a reflection about. Then there’s comics like Big Girls #1 that wears its thoughts on its sleeve and bashes you over the head with them.

Men are the problem and only women can stop them.

In the future a weird mutation turns men into giant monsters and the only thing standing in their way from destroying civilization are giant women who battle them like organic mecha. The concept is interesting if it didn’t feel familiar an despite it’s less than subtle leaning and thoughts, there’s something potentially there.

Written by and with art by Jason Howard, Big Girls #1 is an entertaining debut. It also might have a bit more to say than what’s on the surface. Howard gives us a world of what we need to know. There’s monsters and giant women to battle them. The women protect a walled off city that’s a safe zone compared to the utter destruction on the outside. The women are also managed by a no-nonsense man which is where the comic finds its most interesting aspect.

As the comic repeats over and over, men are the problem and women are the solution. It rings of Pacific Rim’s voice overs concerning kaiju and jaegers without the veiled layers. But, if men are the problem and the women answer to men, isn’t their boss part of the problem? And what about the monsters? They seem to be controlled by a woman? There’s clearly more here to what Howard lays out bluntly, enough to make future issues intriguing. If there’s something there, all the better. If that’s not addresses, it kind of undercuts the message a bit.

The art by Howard is interesting and fun. There’s a very clear vision to it all and a reliance on the art to build the world we’re being introduced to. Backgrounds, buildings, damage scenery, it all helps tell the story and informs us as to what might have happened to get to this point. It’s very much a show and not tell storytelling. The action from Howard is solid and at times shocking. Moments of victory are then compounded with a snap that catches the reader off guard. Battles with giant monsters deliver a blunt battle lacking you’d expect with creatures this size foregoing the finesse of smaller statures. It’s the battle between giants you’re expecting and we’ve seen many times before.

Big Girls #1 is an interesting debut. It’s either much smarter than initially sold or might undercut itself. It’s hard to say with one issue but it’s something that’s worthy to explore further. It might be a bit blunt in its messaging but it features a lot more than its giant battling women might have you believe.

Story: Jason Howard Art: Jason Howard Letterer: Fonografiks
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation:
Read


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