Tag Archives: lee weeks

Tales From the Dark Multiverse Takes Classic Moments Down a Dark Twisted Path

DC has announced today plans to put a twisted and terrifying spin on some of the biggest, most game-changing events in its publishing history with a series of prestige format one-shots called Tales From the Dark Multiverse. Beginning in October, DC’s most talented artists and writers will take fan-favorite events from the DC Universe down a dark and twisted path.

TALES FROM THE DARK MULTIVERSE: BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL #1

Co-written by Scott Snyder (DARK NIGHTS: METAL, JUSTICE LEAGUE, THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS) and Kyle Higgins (DEATHSTROKE, BATMAN ETERNAL, NIGHTWING: THE NEW ORDER), with art by Javier Fernandez (JUSTICE LEAGUE) and a cover by Lee Weeks (BATMAN), this one-shot takes place in a Gotham City 30 years after a broken Bruce Wayne failed to take back the mantle of the Bat. In his place arose Jean-Paul Valley, also known as Saint Batman. Under his iron rule, Saint Batman has turned Gotham into the city of his dreams – killing has become commonplace and criminals live in constant fear—all in the name of justice.

But just when all seems lost, a new hope for Gotham rises: The Son of Bane.

TALES FROM THE DARK MULTIVERSE: THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN #1

The Dark Multiverse takes on the highest-selling comic book event of all time, courtesy of writer Jeff Loveness (Rick and Morty, DC’S NUCLEAR WINTER SPECIAL, DC’S MYSTERIES OF LOVE IN SPACE), with art by Brad Walker (DETECTIVE COMICS) and Andrew Hennessy (SINESTRO, THE DEMON: HELL IS EARTH, TITANS), with a cover by Lee Weeks.

In a broken world much like our own, Lois Lane, twisted by rage and grief over the Man of Steel’s death, becomes the Eradicator, taking revenge on those who let Superman die and the corrupt world he could never defeat. Now, with the power of a god, she’s going to end the “never-ending” battle by any means necessary, halting the Reign of the Supermen before it even begins.

These are the first of several titles in this new line; additional one-shots will focus on other events such as Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night, New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, and more. Each of these prestige format one-shots is 48 pages long at a price of $5.99.

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Batman: Knightfall #1 will be available at comics shops and participating digital retailers on Wednesday, October 16. Tales From the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1 arrives at comic book shops and digital retailers two weeks later, Wednesday, October 30.

Timed to the release of each Tales From the Dark Multiverse title, fans can also purchase a one-dollar reprint of the original comic each story is based on, Batman #497 (October 16) and Superman #75 (October 30).

Neal Adams, David Finch, Tom King, and Lee Weeks Come to Baltimore Comic Con

Baltimore Comic-Con returns to the Baltimore Convention Center on October 18-20, 2019. The Baltimore Comic-Con will feature some of Batman’s most prolific creators in 2019, including Neal Adams, David Finch, Tom King, and Lee Weeks.

Neal Adams‘ work on such DC Comics characters as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow redefined an era of comics, bringing a photorealistic feel to the pages of their respective books. In the late-’60s, while freelancing for DC Comics, Adams also began working at Marvel Comics on X-Men with Roy Thomas. He continued to work for DC and Marvel throughout the late-’60s and ’70s, working on The AvengersDetective Comics, and Green Lantern/Green Arrow. More recently, Adams did a Deadman limited series and the 7-issue second volume of Batman: Odyssey for DC Comics, and handled art duties on Marvel Comics’ First X-Men and DC’s Harley’s Little Black Book, parodying his famous Superman vs. Muhammad Ali comic from the 1970s.

Joining the convention from Canada, Eisner Award-winning  David Finch received recognition for his early work at Top Cow Productions on titles such as CyberforceAscension, and Aphrodite IX. He then went on to spend a number of years at Marvel Comics, working on blockbuster titles including Ultimate X-MenAvengers(and the relaunched New Avengers), and Moon Knightbefore jumping into an exclusive contract with DC Comics in 2010 where he flexed his writing muscles as well as his drawing skills on Batman: The Dark Knight. He also worked on DC’s Forever Evil, and provided art on Wonder Woman (with his wife Meredith on writing duties).

Ringo and Eisner Award-winning Tom King is currently the writer of Batman at DC Comics, where he has also written Mister MiracleGraysonThe Omega MenDC NationSwamp Thing Winter SpecialHeroes in Crisis, and has a story in Action Comics #1000, not to mention his award-winning work at Marvel on The Vision. King’s first book, A Once Crowded Sky, a postmodern super hero novel, was recognized by USA Today as one of the best Graphic Novels of the year. He was named by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the five comic creators to watch in 2015. He was the 2018 Ringo Awards winner of Best Writer, and collected awards for Best Series (Mister Miracle, DC Comics), and Best Single Issue or Story and Best Humor Comic (Batman/Elmer Fudd Special, DC Comics).

Debuting professionally in the 1980s, artist and occasional writer Lee Weeks initially received publication in Eclipse Comics’ Tales of Terror horror anthology. He has contributed to much lauded work on titles such as Marvel’s DaredevilCaptain America, and Spider-Man’s Tangled Web, DC Comics’ bookshelf format Batman Chronicles: Gauntlet, and Dark Horse Comics’ Tarzan vs. Predator. He was also the featured artist in Volume 17 of TwoMorrow Publishing’s Modern Masters. In 2018, he was the recipient of numerous Ringo Awards, including Best Artist or Penciller, and Best Humor Comic and Best Single Issue or Story for his work on DC’s Batman/Elmer Fudd Special.

Arantza, Cho, King, McNeil, Petersen, Stout, Waid, and Weeks Join Baltimore Comic Con 2019

Baltimore Comic-Con returns to the Inner Harbor’s Baltimore Convention Center on October 18-20, 2019. The Baltimore Comic-Con has announced the addition of Arantza, Frank Cho, Tom King, Carla Speed McNeil, David Petersen, William Stout, Mark Waid, and Lee Weeks to the 2019 event.

Arantza Sestayo was born in San Sebastian, Basque Country Spain. Her artistic process is self-taught and she developed professionally through portraiture, in ceramic design, and in the production of cartoons in Camelot Studios of Castellon. Her journey in illustration began with publications such as Red Ears of erotic and humorous comics, the Swedish children’s magazine Psago Prinsessan, and the American publishing house S.Q.P. In Spain, she has contributed to Wicked Kisses with Norma Comics and participated in the book Vampires from Heavy Metal. Her art has been featured on merchandise from Schmidt, Bioworld, and Heavy Metal. The municipality of Castellon commissioned an illustration for a facade of the Ateneo Assembly Hall, and published Duende as a compilation of her work. She exhibits at events related to comics and movies, such as Expomanga, Salon del Comic de Irun, Cavacon in Italy, and the Terror Film Festival of San Sebastian. Currently, some of her work has can be seen on products at Penguin Random House, and in the special edition Game of Thrones 20th Anniversary by HarperCollins Publisher. This year, her piece Ophelia has been awarded third place at the Imaginative Realism of Art Renewal Center.

Ringo Award winner and Harvey and Eisner Award nominee Frank Cho launched his career as a comic strip artist at the University of Maryland-College Park student newspaper, penning University2, which was the predecessor of his creator-owned syndicated strip and comic series, Liberty Meadows. His body of work also includes Marvel Comics’ New AvengersMighty AvengersShanna the She-DevilNew Ultimates, and X-Men: Schism, as well as Jungle Girl for Dynamite Entertainment. His recent work can be seen on covers from DC’s Harley Quinn.

Ringo and Eisner Award-winning Tom King is currently the writer of Batman at DC Comics, where he has also written Mister MiracleGraysonThe Omega MenDC NationSwamp Thing Winter SpecialHeroes in Crisis, and has a story in Action Comics #1000, not to mention his award-winning work at Marvel on The Vision. King’s first book, A Once Crowded Sky, a postmodern super hero novel, was recognized by USA Today as one of the best Graphic Novels of the year. He was named by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the five comic creators to watch in 2015.

Carla Speed McNeil is the author and artist of Finder. She started working in comics since 1997 and hasn’t stopped since. She has also worked on a variety of projects like providing art for Queen & Country: Operation: Stormfront from Oni Press, adapted and drew Pendragon: The Merchant of Death (based on the prose book by D. J. MacHale) for Simon & Schuster, and drawn fan-favorite Frank Ironwine for Apparat/Avatar, as well as two pages of Transmetropolitan for DC/Vertigo, both by Warren Ellis. Bad Houses was released in 2013 by Dark Horse Comics, after which she began a long series of collaborations with writer Alex De Campi, including AshesMy Little Pony (IDW), and No Mercy (Image) beginning April 2015. Other smaller projects have included drawing Legends of Red Sonja (Dynamite), the short story Here. In My Head (with writer Elizabeth Genco) for Comic Book Tattoo from Image, and shorts in notable anthologies such as The Sleep of Reason and Cautionary Fairy Tales of Africa. She has won an Eisner Award, Ignatz Awards, the Kim Yale New Talent Award from Friends Of Lulu, the L.A. Times Book Prize for graphic novel in 2012, and three Stumptown Comic Arts Awards.

David Petersen is best known as the creator of Mouse Guard. He enjoys fantasy, folklore, myth, and legend. Even more than that, he loves to draw and write about it. A steady diet of cartoons, comics, and tree-climbing fed his imagination and is what still inspires his work today. David won the 2007 Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer. In 2008, David won the Eisners for Best Publication for Kids (Mouse Guard Fall 1152 & Winter 1152) and Best Graphic Album – Reprint (Mouse Guard Fall 1152 Hardcover). He won the Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work in both 2014 and 2015. David is a cartoonist and children’s book illustrator who began his career in 2004 with the release of Voices, a self-published anthology from ComiXpress. Possessing a distinctive art style reminiscent of A.A. Milne (creator of Winnie the Pooh), Petersen has worked on such comics as The Dark CrystalSnowy Valentine, and Muppets & Fairytales from Archaia, as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Seriesfrom IDW. His artwork also graced the cover for the 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con program, as well as the show-exclusive t-shirt.

William Stout was born in Salt Lake City on the way to Los Angeles. While attending CalArts on a full scholarship, he began his professional career illustrating the first four issues of Coven 13. In 1971, Stout began assisting Russ Manning on the Tarzan of the Apesnewspaper strips and Eisner Award-winning graphic novels. Stout wrote and drew stories for Cycle-Toonsand Car-Toons, then joined Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on Playboy’s Little Annie Fanny. After becoming one of the first American contributors to Heavy Metalmagazine, Stout created the one-sheet for Wizards, ultimately working on posters for over 120 films. His first one-man show was held at the American Comic Book Company. Stout has worked on over 40 feature films including Buck Rogers, both Conan films, PredatorRaiders of the Lost ArkDisney’s DinosaurThe PrestigeStephen King’s The Mist, and Men In BlackReturn of the Living Dead made Stout the youngest production designer in film history. He wrote films for Roger Corman and Jim Henson. Bill designed Masters of the Universe and helped Pan’s Labyrinth win two of its Oscars. His most recent films are SpongeBob Squarepants 3 and LucasFilm’s Monster Roll. Stout’s groundbreaking THE DINOSAURS-A Fantastic New View of a Lost Era (1981) was followed by Ray Bradbury’s Dinosaur Tales and The Little Blue Brontosaurus (1984 Children’s Choice Award and the basis for The Land Before Time). Michael Crichton acknowledged Stout’s work as an inspiration for Jurassic Park. After voyaging to Antarctica and Patagonia, Stout began working to make Antarctica the first World Park. He considers his most important current book project to be LOST CONTINENT-Modern and Prehistoric Life in Antarctica. Stout worked with Jean “Moebius” Giraud on Arzach and with Will Eisner on a Harvey Award-winning Spirit series. Stout’s own tales have appeared in Dark Horse’s 911, their Eisner-nominated AutobioGraphix book, and Bernie Wrightson’s Night Terrors. Stout’s Animal Planet DRAGONS poster was distributed to every comic shop and convention in America. Stout has created covers for Cadillacs and DinosaursAlien Pig Farm 3000TURFJurassic Park, and Alien Worlds, for which he also recently illustrated an eight-page Bruce Jones story. 

Bill is the author and illustrator of the bestselling book Legends of the Blues, the first of three volumes on the creators of the world’s greatest blues music. Bill co-founded the Comic Art Professional Society, designed their logo, and served as their tenth president. Over 24 million William Stout trading cards have been sold. Stout’s twelve murals depicting the prehistoric life of San Diego are on permanent display at the San Diego Natural History Museum, as are his two recent murals for the San Diego Zoo. His first two murals are at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. He painted three Cretaceous murals for Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Stout’s huge fifty-year career overview, Fantastic Worlds – The Art of William Stout, was published in late 2018.

The multiple Harvey and Eisner Award-winning Mark Waid has been the voice behind numerous issues, mini-series, and title runs that have resonated throughout comics fandom and the creative community alike. His acclaimed runs and series include DC Comics’ The FlashKingdom ComeThe KingdomJLA: Year One,JLALegion of Super-Heroes, and Superman: Birthright, Marvel Comics’ Captain AmericaFantastic FourAmazing Spider-ManThe Indestructible Hulk, and Daredevil, BOOM! Studios’ Incorruptible and Irredeemable, Archie Comics’ The Fox, and Empire, originally published by Gorilla Comics and later by DC Comics. He has been Editor-in-Chief and then Chief Creative Officer at BOOM! Studios, as well as one of the principals behind Thrillbent Comics, a digital comics initiative.

Debuting professionally in the 1980s, artist and occasional writer Lee Weeks initially received publication in Eclipse Comics’ Tales of Terror horror anthology. He has contributed to much lauded work on titles such as Marvel’s DaredevilCaptain America, and Spider-Man’s Tangled Web, DC Comics’ bookshelf format Batman Chronicles: Gauntlet, and Dark Horse Comics’ Tarzan vs. Predator. He was also the featured artist in Volume 17 of TwoMorrow Publishing’s Modern Masters. In 2018, he was the recipient of numerous Ringo Awards, including Best Artist or Penciller, and Best Humor Comic and Best Single Issue or Story for his work on DC’s Batman/Elmer Fudd Special.

In addition to on-site CGC grading, this year’s confirmed guests for the show include: Arantza (fantasy artist), Howard Chaykin (Hey Kids! Comics!), Frank Cho (Harley Quinn), Matthew Clark (Green Arrow), Ramona Fradon (The Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (DC Nation), Cully Hamner (Batman Beyond), Adam Hughes (Superman), Matt Kindt (X-O Manowar), Sharlene Kindt (Dept. H), Tom King (Batman), Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer), Carla Speed McNeil (Twisted Romance), Pop Mhan (Raven, Daughter of Darkness), David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Afua Richardson (Run), Louise Simonson (Death of Superman), Walter Simonson (Ragnarok), Allison Sohn (The Art of Red Sonja, Volume 2), William Stout (Fantastic Worlds – The Art of William Stout), Mark Waid (Avengers: No Road Home), and Lee Weeks (Batman).

Review: Heroes in Crisis #3

Tragedies deepen as more secrets behind the “superhero hospital” called Sanctuary are revealed! What compelled Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to create it in the first place? How was it built? And if the hospital truly is alive via A.I., who – or what – is the brain of “Sanctuary?”

What is Sanctuary? We know this is the location heroes can go if they need help to deal with the issues they experience. It’s a hospital of sorts but up to this point, we don’t know much about it. This issue changes that as we learn how it all works and the more we learn, the more heartbreaking the series is.

Writer Tom King has delivered an issue that’s hard to not reflect upon and come out the other end rather depressed. Through various patients of the facility, we learn how Sanctuary works. We also learn those individuals’ pain. Why was Wally West there? What about Lagoon Boy? How about Booster Gold? King dives into them in various ways and reveals how much they hurt, each in their own way. And, that makes their deaths even more tragic and sad.

King reveals more regarding that as well as who the killer might be. But, the issue also throws up some flags that all might not be what it seems. I left it pondering if there’s not more going on and there still isn’t a rabbit hole for us readers to go through.

The art by Clay Mann and Lee Weeks with color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles is as fantastic as expected. It’s top notch work that has you focusing in on the details to enhance the emotional ride. The look on a character’s face or their body language says as much about what’s going on or how they feel as the words that King puts on the page.

This is a hell of a downer of an issue but it makes the story so far even more tragic. We’ve gone past the shock of it all to the point of realization of what has happened and who it has happened to. The team presents heroes not cut down in battle protecting the world but individuals murdered at their most vulnerable.

Story: Tom King Art: Clay Mann, Lee Weeks
Color: Tomeu Morey Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman #53

The jury in the Mr. Freeze trial is hopelessly deadlocked because one man won’t vote guilty-and that man is Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s defense is that Batman used excessive force, making his arrest illegal, and Bruce is the one man who actually knows for sure what went down between Batman and his ice-cold nemesis. And if Bruce is right, that means everything he’s devoted himself to as the Caped Crusader is a lie; he is hurting more than helping. With Dick Grayson putting the Batsuit back on to keep Gotham City safe while Bruce is sequestered, could this be the out Bruce needs to discard the cape and cowl forever?

There is something that few will discuss that have been on a jury, the fact you get to play god with someone’s life. Whether it’s letting them walk free, be behind bars for a time period, or decide on taking their life through the death penalty, as a juror, you have to make a decision that will make or break the future of the accused. I’ve sat on a jury for a murder trial, I was the foreman, and I can’t deny this concept crossed my mind on a few occasions during the few weeks of my experience.

Writer Tom King takes this head on but expands it to Batman as a whole who we are reminded is just a man, a fallible man. He’s not the god-like being that so many in Gotham has made him out to be since he has saved so many of their lives. And this case is made through the words of Bruce Wayne. Batman #53 is the conclusion of the story arc focusing on the arrest of Mr. Freeze and whether Batman made a mistake in doing so. But, there’s a bigger picture. It’s Bruce Wayne coming to grips with Batman, what he means in his life, and the recent event of being left at the altar. This is the closest we’ve gotten Bruce to confess to his reality in a while and it’s a heartbreaking one that’s worthy of a confession to a Priest. King has been deconstructing Wayne and Batman and by issue’s end we’re at square one going back to basics.

King is helped by artist Lee Weeks and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser whose art gives us an arc that feels like a classic play in look. Taking place in the jury room, everyone discusses the case and their thoughts with panels focused on each character and their every movement. It’s the details here that stand out, like a cross around the neck. The coloring is limited with a style that reminds me of some of the classic Batman stories like “The Long Halloween.” Lettering by Clayton Cowles emphasizes keywords as if noting to the actor were to deliver the emotional punch.

This entire arc feels like a play with actors taking on roles and delivering an emotional punch. It’s a story that helps define Batman not as a god who is always right, but as a man who makes mistakes. It’s a realization of reality by Bruce. This is one hell of an arc and a story that I can go back to over and over to pick out the tiny details. A fantastic ending that launches both Batman and Bruce Wayne in a new direction and a dose of reality.

Story: Tom King Art: Lee Weeks
Color: Elizabeth Breitweiser Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Batman #53

Batman #53

(W) Tom King (A/CA) Lee Weeks
In Shops: Aug 15, 2018
SRP: $3.99

“Cold Days” continues! The jury in the Mr. Freeze trial is hopelessly deadlocked because one man won’t vote guilty-and that man is Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s defense is that Batman used excessive force, making his arrest illegal, and Bruce is the one man who actually knows for sure what went down between Batman and his ice-cold nemesis. And if Bruce is right, that means everything he’s devoted himself to as the Caped Crusader is a lie; he is hurting more than helping. With Dick Grayson putting the Batsuit back on to keep Gotham City safe while Bruce is sequestered, could this be the out Bruce needs to discard the cape and cowl forever?
The Eisner Award-nominated team of Tom King and Lee Weeks reexamine the relationship between hero and foe, as Batman relives not just that one violent night when he took down the King of Cold, but every time the two have come to blows.

Review: Batman #52

The jury in the Mr. Freeze trial is hopelessly deadlocked because one man won’t vote guilty-and that man is Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s defense is that Batman used excessive force, making his arrest illegal, and Bruce is the one man who actually knows for sure what went down between Batman and his ice-cold nemesis. And if Bruce is right, that means everything he’s devoted himself to as the Caped Crusader is a lie; he is hurting more than helping. With Dick Grayson putting the Batsuit back on to keep Gotham City safe while Bruce is sequestered, could this be the out Bruce needs to discard the cape and cowl forever?

One of the events in my life that had an impact on me was my not just sitting on a jury but being the foreman for one. It was a murder trial, just like the one Bruce Wayne is experiencing in Batman #52. While some details are fudged as far as process, the courtroom drama writer Tom King focuses on is riveting and brings me back to that trial almost a decade ago where we had to decide the fate of a man who murdered his wife. Unlike our case, the one Wayne must debate isn’t a 100% lock. Instead, he begins to question what Batman has done, going through the details as if he has never thought about this end of the process before. Batman is the judge and executioner in many ways, but the jury part is a role he often seems to skip. The rogues he deals with, he’s convinced of their guilt, and he’s usually right. But, there’s times maybe he’s wrong in his actions and it’s possible this is the case.

We get to see the duality of Batman in this issue as Wayne breaks down the evidence as if he’s not just there to convince the rest of the jurors but himself as well. Is he making a case to them or is this his justifying his actions?

The issue is writer Tom King‘s continuation of his examination of Batman that began with Rebirth and becomes evident as the issues get into the 40s. With each arc he is writing about one facet of the character, examining it and making us question what we know. Can Batman be happy? What drove the character towards justice instead of revenge? Can he be fallible?

The art by Lee Weeks is memorizing turning what is an issue set within a jury room into a tense drama. The focus on certain characters in panels, the detail of body and facial movement, it all comes together for a story that feels like a dramatic play acted out on the printed page.

Having been on a jury, the arc is hitting me a bit more than I’d expect without that experience. Like Wayne and those around him, the role is a tough one as you decide the fate of an individual and possibly condemn them to death. Luckily, the guilt in mine wasn’t in doubt just if it was an pre-determined act. Still, this issue, and the last, have gotten me to think about the decisions we made and whether we debated everything properly. It’s a fascinating piece of work that shows that even without the cowl, Batman works at an entertaining and amazing level.

Story: Tom King Art: Lee Weeks
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Batman #52

Batman #52

(W) Tom King (A/CA) Lee Weeks
In Shops: Aug 01, 2018
SRP: $3.99

“Cold Days” continues! The jury in the Mr. Freeze trial is hopelessly deadlocked because one man won’t vote guilty-and that man is Bruce Wayne. Freeze’s defense is that Batman used excessive force, making his arrest illegal, and Bruce is the one man who actually knows for sure what went down between Batman and his ice-cold nemesis. And if Bruce is right, that means everything he’s devoted himself to as the Caped Crusader is a lie; he is hurting more than helping. With Dick Grayson putting the Batsuit back on to keep Gotham City safe while Bruce is sequestered, could this be the out Bruce needs to discard the cape and cowl forever?

The Eisner Award-nominated team of Tom King and Lee Weeks reexamine the relationship between hero and foe, as Batman relives not just that one violent night when he took down the King of Cold, but every time the two have come to blows.

Review: Batman #51

After last month’s polarizing (not really a) wedding issue, writer Tom King reunites with his Batman/Elmer Fudd collaborator Lee Weeks and atmospheric colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser for a courtroom drama with a bit of twist ending in Batman #51. Bruce Wayne chooses to make a mockery of the legal system over awkwardly revealing his secret identity and sits on a jury where Mr. Freeze is being tried for the murder of three women, and, of course, was apprehended by Batman. It’s a fairly thought provoking look at how Batman fits into the larger legal system of Gotham, and at times, may do more harm than good. And far from being a mere procedural, King and Weeks use the contradiction of Bruce Wayne sitting on a jury in a trial connected to the actions of his alter ego (Or real personality.) to probe into the anger and guilt buried in Bruce/Batman. Never has a quick restroom visit been so chilling in Weeks’ violent pencil and ink strokes as he blurs the boundaries between billionaire playboy and creature of the night, who definitely isn’t an impartial juror.

King and Weeks juxtapose the relatively restrained setting of the courtroom and jurors’ quarters with dynamic, brutal beatdowns and classic chiarascuro lighting from Breitweiser in Batman #51. It starts with the relatively mild mannered Bruce Wayne arriving at the courthouse for jury duty and the Frank Miller-channeling fists on face beatdown that Batman gives Mr. Freeze, one of the more sympathetic members of his rogue’s gallery. The flashback sequence crescendoes into a close-up of Freeze’s face in anguish, his goggles flying that takes up the whole middle of the page. Lee Weeks is truly a master of pain and gives him a furrowed brain and slobbering mouth. All the while, Bruce Wayne is calmly lying about his connection and thoughts about the Batman to the district attorney in measured, almost sterile dialogue from Tom King. However, this calmness turns into guilt beginning with a darkly framed silent scene in Bruce’s hotel room where it seems like he might slip into his costume and play Dark Knight until court in the morning. It hits a breaking point when Bruce breaks a sink off in the bathroom as he is wracked by the fear that his actions as Batman might have doomed an innocent man.

Until the end of the comic, King and Weeks portray Batman as a hypocrite and even insert little asides like Jim Gordon’s testimony and the jury deliberations that show the city of Gotham gives his violent vigilantism too much of a pass. Mr. Freeze’s defense attorney makes the point that the women were considered to have died of natural causes until Batman did his own autopsy and connected them to Freeze because their brain stems were “cold” in a true leap of logic setting up a darkly humorous nine panel grid of Gordon squirming and finally stating that Batman doesn’t have the authority to conduct autopsies in whatever state Gotham is in. Batman basically framed Mr. Freeze and coerced him into making a confession, but the jury is already convinced that Freeze is an evil villain and Batman is a perfect hero so who cares about the laws of the land. There isn’t really time to do a 12 Angry Men and develop all of the personalities of the jurors in Batman #51, but King does the next best thing and has them share quick personal stories about how Batman helped them instead of evidence to decide a verdict.

Many arguments for vigilantes, Batman included, state that they can execute justice in a more effective way than the legal and judicial system. However, Batman #51 shows that this isn’t all the case as the deaths of three women from natural causes has turned into a full blown murder investigation and has probably taken the place of more pressing matters. Tom King, Lee Weeks, and Elizabeth Breitweiser venture into the real world a little bit in this issue and go into the actual court systems while still having stylized moments like Batman dangling Freeze off the roof top.

In Batman #51, King, Weeks, and Breitweiser go beyond inserting Batman into the court room drama genre and use the trial of Mr. Freeze to probe into his anger and pain and the roots of Bruce/Batman’s sense of justice. Lee Weeks’ naturalistic approach to figures and faces really helps as most of the denizens of this book are ordinary citizens and not superheroes or villains.

Story: Tom King Art: Lee Weeks
Colors: Elizabeth Breitweiser Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Batman #51

Batman #51

(W) Tom King (A/CA) Lee Weeks
In Shops: Jul 18, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The honeymoon’s over for Bruce Wayne as Gotham City’s most prominent citizen gets selected for jury duty in a chilling court case involving Mr. Freeze! Freeze claims the charges should be dismissed because Batman used excessive force; cue the outrage and media circus. While doing his civic duty, Wayne’s forced to take a hard look at the Dark Knight’s methods. And hey…what is Dick Grayson doing running around the city dressed as Batman?

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