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Preview: Secrets of Sinister House #1

Secrets of Sinister House #1

(W) Paul Dini, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Bryan Hill, Dan Watters, Others (A) Rafael Albuquerque, Cian Tormey, Jorge Fornes, Others (CA) John Romita, Bill Sienkiewicz
In Shops: Oct 09, 2019
SRP: $9.99

Witness what hides within the Sinister House-the DCU’s most horrific secrets and mysteries! Travel alongside Harley Quinn, John Constantine, Detective Chimp, Zatanna, the Atom and others as they face this macabre devastation firsthand! And in the bowels of this dark mansion…we return to the world of the legendary Red Rain to meet once again with the dreaded vampire Batman. Don’t miss this year’s DC Halloween special-because if you do, it’ll haunt you!

Secrets of Sinister House #1

Review: Secrets of Sinister House #1

Celebrate the Halloween season with this anthology of spooky tales featuring DC’s superheroes and villains!

Story: Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Robbie Thompson, Dan Watters, John Layman, Paul Dini, Che Grayson, Diego Lucero Lopez, Bryan Edward Hill
Art: Rafael Albuquerque, Tom Raney, Sumit Kumar, Jorge Fornes, Cian Tormey, Miguel Mendonca, Phil Hester, Alessandro Vitti
Color: Dave McCaig, Hi-Fi, John Kalisz, Jordie Bellaire, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Bill Crabtree, Jeromy Cox, Adriano Lucas
Ink: Ande Parks
Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh, Troy Peteri, Steve Wands, Travis Lanham, Dave Sharpe, Andworld Design, Willie Schubert

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.


DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Ava DuVernay Teams with HBO Max for Brian Wood’s DMZ


Ava DuVernay is in the DC Comics property business as she’s working on her second property for the comic publisher. DuVernay and HBO are adapting the second American Civil War comic DMZ. DuVernay is currently working on New Gods adapting the Jack Kirby DC Comics creations. HBO and DC Comics have the same parent company, AT&T.

DMZ was published by the DC imprint Vertigo and followed a young man as he navigated the maze that is the DMZ of Manhattan which separates the split American nation of the former federal government and Free States. Wood worked on the series with co-creator and artist Riccardo Burchielli and it was released from 2005 to 2012. John Paul Leon also provided art on the series, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, and colored by Jeromy Cox.

DMZ‘s creator Brian Wood is not without issues. The comic creator has been accused of harassment by multiple women which resulted in publisher Dark Horse canceling their current and future projects with the creator.

The television series focuses on a female medic on the island who tries to keep the residents alive while also trying to find her lost son.

This is the second series that HBO has produced based around a civil war. Confederate was a planned series that was developed for the channel by David Benioff and D. B. Wess. The concept was the American Civil War ending in a stalemate and some described it as “slavery fan fiction.” That project was scrapped due to public reaction.

DMZ too is a stalemate civil war story, without the slavery, which indicates HBO is looking for this narrative to play to a certain demographic.

Production of DMZ is set to begin in early 2020.

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

Review: Deathstroke #30 – Deathstroke vs. Batman part 1

When Batman discovers a mysterious package containing DNA test results proving that he is not Damian Wayne’s biological father, the Dark Knight sets his sights on his son’s true father-Deathstroke! But Damian Wayne can’t really be Slade Wilson’s son-can he? And who sent the package-and why? The ultimate custody battle ensues as the World’s Greatest Detective and the World’s Deadliest Assassin clash in this instant classic!

It’s always noteworthy when Deathstroke and Batman cross paths, it’s a special event when the writer is master scribe Christopher Priest.

In Deathstroke #30, the first issue of this six part arc, Priest uses a Venn diagram with genius effect, breaking the characters down he’s able to intertwine their worlds by connecting then through their aides de camp, the relationships with their son’s and past histories with Talia Al Ghul.

The art team of Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Jeromy Cox take Priest’s hot script and turn in slick art filled with action and cool shots of the two badasses going at it. And as nice as the action is, I really enjoyed the moody Batman doing his detective scenes the most.

My one criticism of this issue is it felt more like a Bat book, which makes me wonder why he hasn’t written one of the main Bat titles before. All in all a great start to a great read, buy it, I’ll be adding it to my pull list.

Story: Christopher Priest Art: Carlo Pagulayan
Inks: Jason Paz Color: Jeromy Cox Letterer: Willie Schubert
Cover: Lee Weeks & Brad Anderson
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham Editor: Alex Antone Assistant Editor: Dave Wielgosz


DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Who in their right mind wasn’t intrigued by this one when it was first announced? The Black Racer is, after all, one of the more immediately-arresting and enigmatic characters in all of Jack Kirby‘s Fourth World canon, and Shilo Norman was fondly remembered as the trusted “kid sidekick” of Mister Miracle — but given the Racer’s occupation/mission, it was pretty obvious from the outset that any story that would bring these two together would possibly, if not probably, mean that poor Shilo’s days were numbered.

And so it would seem right from the outset of Reginald Hudlin‘s script for The Black Racer And Shilo Norman Special #1, wherein Shilo, having assumed and/or inherited the Mister Miracle mantle for himself, is strapped to a missile (a hat-tip to a concept The King first utilized in Scott Free’s adventures four decades back) as part of a charity event sponsored by a casino magnate who’s an obvious stand-in for — shit, do I even need to say it? Suffice to say, we all want to see this asshole forced to fork over the cash to Shilo’s charity of choice, but the Racer appears to have other plans —

If, like me, you prefer your Kirby homages to be of the big, bold, and brash variety, then Hudlin and pencillers Denys Cowan and Ryan Benjamin, along with inkers Bill Sienkiewicz and Richard Friend, certainly deliver the goods — this is fast-paced, and decidedly high-stakes, storytelling that gives a number of terrific comics veterans who we don’t see nearly enough of anymore the chance to really flex their creative chops on some of Jack’s out-and-out coolest characters and concepts as Shilo, desperate to stay alive, finds himself not only making a quick pit stop into the world of Kamandi, but getting into an underwater tussle with none other than OMAC himself! In short, strap yourself in tight because this is one wild ride.

For all its breakneck action, though, there is also plenty of humanity at the heart of these proceedings — we get a deeper look at the Racer’s civilian alter-ego, Willie Walker, than we have at any point since his first appearance way back in New Gods #3, Shilo is both as likable and, frankly, immature (not to mention a tad bit sexist) as ever, and a genuine air of mystery and the unknown is imbued back into “The Source” in a manner that would no doubt make Kirby himself smile with appreciation. Yes, this is as much a re-hash as any and all of the other “King 100” specials, and there’s certainly nothing revolutionary about its sabotage/betrayal central plot conceit, but damn, it hits all the right notes and frankly hits them so well that I think it will have appeal to more than just the “hopeless nostalgia” crowd.

Needless to say, that’s not entirely due to the story alone although, as discussed, that’s certainly quite good — the simple fact, however, is that for a book that’s got an “art by committee” approach, this thing looks pretty damn seamless (thanks in large part to Jeromy Cox‘s vibrant and attention-grabbing colors throughout), and the Cowan/Sienkiewicz team, in particular (always a winning combination “back in the day”), appears not to have lost a step at all. This is fluid, graceful, and expressionistic stuff, rendered with obvious love for both the creations they’re playing with and, crucially, their creator. Heck, it’s borderline majestic in many instances — particular Willie Walker’s Vietnam flashbacks — and consistently dynamic and bracing from start to finish. Prepare to be thoroughly impressed indeed.

Finish it all off with three Kirby “Young Gods Of Supertown” back-up strips from New Gods #s 4, 5, and 6, respectively, and you have a comprehensively fun and entertaining spectacle with plenty of soul to both balance out and underpin all the gloriously far-out cosmic otherworldliness. I’ll be the first to admit that these DC Kirby tribute books have been a decidedly mixed bag on the whole, but The Black Racer And Shilo Norman Special #1 is definitely the best of the bunch and well worth its, fair enough, pretty steep $4.99 asking price. As The King himself used to say : “Don’t ask — just buy it!”

Story : Reginald Hudlin  Art : Denys Cowan, Ryan Benjamin, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Richard Friend

Story : 7.5  Art : 8.5  Overall : 8  Recommendation : Buy

Review: Batwoman #2

Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV add another feather to their cap as they give us another well thought out, perfectly executed issue of Batwoman. Their sophomore turn at the superheroine’s current story arc is nothing short of brilliant. They weave together backstory and present conflicts in a way that doesn’t seem like it’s spoonfeeding us plot points. The duo go out of their way to give us a complete story that not only builds empathy for Batwoman but, makes us crave more.

In this issue, we find our title hero back in a place that she’s abandoned and the people she left there. We see frenemies, enemies and old loves all come into play and no character or place is frivolous. Bennett and Tynion cut all the fat from the story to give us nothing short of a gripping tale, with fully realized characters and interesting entry points into the world of the island and its inhabitants.

Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox give us great panels with perfectly muted colors that showcase the story being told. While the style of art is consistent throughout the comic, they change up on the intensity of the colors to show the difference between current scenes and flashbacks. The great art style, smart color choices and sleek lines make this issue beautiful to look at and it complements the story perfectly.

This second undertaking of an underutilized character in the DC universe is perfect. It has a real chance of bringing her and her story into the light and, I’m always here for complex, solo female (anti)heroes. The writing makes her interesting and adds a layer of dimension to her that I’m happy to see. The art team does ethnicity well in its drawing and color choices making it so that it doesn’t feel like we are just looking at a homogeneous group in different shades and,, they do so without making other ethnicities look like caricatures. Overall, I can’t wait to see what this team does with this character and arc because, if this issue is any indication there’s so much talent happening that it can only keep going up from here.

Story: Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV Art: Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox
Story: 9.2 Art: 9 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batwoman #1

Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV weave an interesting and diverse tale in Batwoman #1 the return of the character to her own ongoing series. This isn’t just a Rebirth, it is an awakening of a compelling and interesting story where a fluff line used to reside. There’s real emotion and a real story being told and I’m more than happy to allow myself to get engaged in it and take this arc up on its offer for what seems to be a very compelling ride. The women in this story are strong, vulnerable, relatable and human. There are layers to everything that peek through the surface and pull you in deeper. The beginning of the “Many Arms of Death” storyline has Kate’s chickens coming home to roost as she finds herself living on her yacht and hunting down the surge of a lethal drug that has hit the streets of Cortana. We not only get to see Batwoman in action, without the brooding caped crusader stealing her thunder but, we get to learn a little bit more about her lost years which it turns out weren’t all parties and passion.

Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox provide some really cool, muted and realistic art for the panels in this issue. The colors only pop when that red hair is in the middle of kicking some ass, keeping the focus on our somber hero. The rest of the time the art stays muted and dark which matches the tone of the story of a killer street drug on an island of criminals. There’s a sense of danger, foreboding and death that lingers in the edges of the panels that makes the story feel real and dark but, also engaging.

There isn’t a useless panel, word, or action in any of the pages of this story. Each conversation, fight, intel gathering computer screen flash is meaningful and important. Everything moves the story forward and engages the reader giving off flashes of insight to air of mystery that surrounds Batwoman. You can’t help but be drawn in and fascinated by everything about the character and the writers put the focus squarely on her, literally and figuratively. There is also not a trace of Batman which means that we are treated to a Batwoman story and arc that is, gasp, all about Batwoman as it should be.

Bennett and Tynion give her character some much-needed urgency and fire. Having established Kate’s sexuality in the previous start-up issue, Bennett doesn’t revisit it outside of a flashback showing that there may have been something going on between Kate and someone from the island. The way Bennett chose to have this play out is brilliant, she isn’t washing over her sexuality nor is she exploiting it. Having established it already it allows the story to continue, like in real life because no one goes about their daily business professing their sexuality.  This choice normalizes something that is normal and allows us to get to know the character better and, doesn’t use her being a lesbian as a gimmick or as a diversity red herring. There’s something to be said about being able to tell a compelling story without the use of cheap tricks AND still having diversity and inclusion in the story.

Overall, I found this issue a fast, compelling, well-written read and I can’t wait until the next installment in, if this opening issue is any indication, what I am sure will be a very interesting arc and a wonderful upgrade to the Batwoman legacy and series.

Story: Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV Art: Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Review: Batwoman Rebirth #1

batwomanrebirthcoverMost of Batwoman Rebirth #1 is a rehash of the past ten years of major storylines featuring Kate Kane from the tragic murder of her mother when she was 12 to the most recent “Batwoman Begins” arc in Detective Comics. Writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion provide a decent primer for potential new fans of Batwoman while dropping some very intriguing teasers for her ongoing series that starts next month. It’s nice to have the whole of Kate Kane’s arc in a single issue of a comic, but most of it feels like a single issue of a comic-length “Previously on Batwoman Elegy” that costs $2.99.

However, Steve Epting‘s art and Jeromy Cox‘s colors present a possibly compelling reason to at the very least flip through some gorgeous, red tinged full page spreads. Epting’s skill with espionage action from his work on Captain America and especially Velvet with Ed Brubaker serves him well in a scene set in Kate Lane’s lost year where she was living with her girlfriend Safiyah on a Mediterranean Island. The interaction between shadows, shifting angles, and a focus on the background instead of the foreground during certain panels definitely whetted my appetite for more stealth incursions in the Batwoman ongoing title. Epting also plays off J.H. Williams stellar work with layouts by setting up pages at the beginning and end of the comic that look like something has shattered in Batwoman with figures from her past accusing her and asking her questions about what she’s doing with her life. The faded red from Cox evokes her costume as well as her rage and tumultous life from childhood to being kicked out of West Point and even the past year of Detective Comics. And the juicy image on the final page shows that these events have taken perhaps a little bit too much of a negative toll on her.


Most of the big beats in Batwoman Rebirth #1 were already explored in depth in the excellent Batwoman Elegy comic, but Bennett and Tynion make a valiant effort to add shading to that classic story. The interactions between Bennett is an excellent writer of flirting as seen in Bombshells, the Angela comics, and Josie and the Pussycats, and Epting’s gift with body language along with close-ups on lips and hands create instant chemistry between Kate and her three girlfriends that pop up in the flashbacks. The nearly silent page  of Kate and Renee Montoya is a pure masterpiece and a visual argument for why they should be a couple. Except these hints of romance are suddenly swept away for boring recaps of “Batwoman Begins” combined with one tantalizing image at the end. The scales of interesting and a skippable re-do aren’t evenly balanced though.

Batwoman Rebirth #1 has fantastic art and colors from Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox, who will hopefully return her book’s visuals to the lofty heights of J.H. Williams and Amy Reeder several years back. Bennett and Tynion’s plot is skippable for long time Batwoman aficionadoes, and Elegy is a better introduction for new fans so this is definitely a comic you pick up just for the art and the occasional spark of intrigue or romance.

Story: Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV Art: Steve Epting Colors: Jeromy Cox
Story: 6 Art: 9 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Deathstroke #11

deathstroke11coverIn Deathstroke #11, writer Priest and a stellar guest art team of Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and regular colorist Jeromy Cox tackle the problem of gun violence. The story is set in Chicago, and Priest does his usual non-linear narrative thing switching from neighborhood to neighborhood and getting a variety of perspectives on how Chicago can have less homicides. Is it okay to take revenge on your killer’s children with your own gun, or the gun of a mercenary? Priest and Cowan explore this question through the specific lens of the city of Chicago in a scratchily inked (Sienkiewicz is kind of the best at this.) mystery yarn.

Deathstroke #11 is a master class in both how to tell a story that is both engaging and socially relevant in a non-preachy way and with an O. Henry twist ending. Priest’s writing gives insights into the characters of Detective Gill, the journalist Jack Ryder who has been following Deathstroke since he was responsible for a string of killings in Philadelphia, and the mysterious reverend. He focuses on ideas and characterization while letting Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz seed in visual clues about who has been killing the child killers in Chicago.

Cowan and Sienkiewicz’s artwork feels like a talented lead guitarist and rhythm guitarist trading riffs and creating a flawless wall of sound. Except nothing about the artwork of Deathstroke #11 is smooth or refined with Cowan going for gritty almost photorealism with his figures and backgrounds, and Sienkiewicz adding crosshatching and thin lines. Jeromy Cox adds splashes of red when Deathstroke makes his kills, an exclamation point in the wintry gloom. Yes, there is a lot of snow in this comic, and you can feel the subzero Chicago temperatures on almost every page. And when Creeper shows up, Cowan channels George Perez, Cox assaults our eyeballs with Christmas-like reds and greens, but the scratchy inks are still there because this is definitely not an issue of New Teen Titans.


Creeper himself is an agent of chaos, who literally won’t die and messes with Priest’s  procedural-meets-journalism with little eruptions of violence tone. Jack Ryder is a kind of oblivious, kind of empathetic investigative journalist and keeps the narrative as the facts keep changing with victims and murderers switching, and the urban legend of Deathstroke lurking in the background. He centers the narrative until he transforms into a straight up freak hellbent on violence. This might be a bit of a logical leap, but I think that Creeper symbolizes using over-the-top violence to stop crime in the United States. Like the tanks in Ferguson after Trayvon Martin was killed, or Donald Trump tweeting about sending “the Feds” to Chicago when he was too afraid to even give a speech there while campaigning. It’s tone deaf destruction and noise like Creeper’s over the top dialogue, or George Zimmerman’s repeated 911 calls, and doesn’t even come close to helping out.

Priest and Cowan face the intersection of racism and gun usage head on in Deathstroke #11. Why are Oregon militamen who occupy a wildlife sanctuary for 41 days and leave shit, bombs, and guns behind for government employees to clean up, and a police officer who shot a 12 year old boy in Cleveland  named Tamir Rice acquitted? It’s white privilege plain and simple, and Priest echoes that in the dialogue of the mothers of the dead children in Deathstroke #11. They just want justice for their kids even if they have to spend their hard earned money on a masked assassin. Their desperate straits makes you sympathize with them even if the killings by Deathstroke in the comic are horrific like a jarring image of a fireman’s ax in a rich white man, who sent his secretary to buy his drugs in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Vigilante justice is cathartic, yet hollow, but again Priest doesn’t go the “message route” and ends the story on an ambiguous line of dialogue to go with Cowan’s pure black and white art.

Deathstroke #11 is an intelligent, tightly plotted, and well-researched piece of vigilante fiction from Priest, Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Jeromy Cox aka the comic book equivalent of the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls starting lineup  It’s worth picking up even if you don’t know your Deathstrokes from your Deadshots (Or Deadpools.) and rewards rereading.

Story: Priest Pencils: Denys Cowan Inks: Bill Sienkiewicz Colors: Jeromy Cox
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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