Tag Archives: louise simonson

ALA 2019: DC Reveals a Massive Slate of Graphic Novels Geared Towards Young Adults and Middle Grade Readers Releasing Through 2021

The 2019 convention for the American Library Association (ALA) kicked off with huge news that DC was consolidating its line under three “brands.” That left many to wonder about the future of the DC Zoom and DC Ink graphic novel lines. Launched last year, the new graphic novel imprints were focused on the young adult and middle grade readers and have been hits so far. DC followed up those concerns with an announcement of a slate of graphic novel releases aimed at those young adult and middle grade readers.

These graphic novels continue the focus on stories not part of DC’s ongoing continuity making them accessible to new fans. The releases also focus on the original mandate of YA titles being about “everyday aspirations, struggles, and triumphs,” while the middle grade releases being focused on stories about “friends, family, and growing up.”

Spring 2020 Lineup

Young Adult Titles

  • Gotham High – Written by Melissa de la Cruz and illustrated by Thomas Pitilli (February 2020)
  • The Oracle Code – Written by Marieke Nijkamp and illustrated by Manuel Preitano (March 2020)

Middle Grade Titles

  • Green Lantern: Legacy – Written by Minh Lê and illustrated by Andie Tong (January 2020)                       
Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime
Zatanna & the House of Secrets
  • Batman: Overdrive – Written by Shea Fontana and illustrated by Marcelo DiChiara (March 2020)
Batman: Overdrive
DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless
  • Anti/Hero – Written by Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta and illustrated by Maca Gil (April 2020)
  • ArkhaManiacs – Written by Art Baltazar and Franco and illustrated by Art Baltazar (April 2020)
ArkhaManiacs
My Video Game Ate My Homework

Upcoming Titles Debuting in 2020 and 2021

  • Upcoming Young Adult Titles (Not all titles are final)
    • Catwoman: Soulstealer – Adapted by Louise Simonson from Sarah J. Maas’ DC Icon prose novel and illustrated by Samantha Dodge
    • Galaxy: The Prettiest Star – Written by Jadzia Axelrod and illustrated by Cait Zellers
    • House of El Book 1 – Written by Claudia Gray and illustrated by Eric Zawadzki
    • I Am Not Starfire—Written by Mariko Tamaki
    • Mister Miracle – Written by Varian Johnson
    • Nubia – Written by L.L. McKinney and illustrated by Robyn Smith
    • Swamp Thing – Written by Maggie Stiefvater and illustrated by Morgan Beem           
    • Teen Titans: Beast Boy – Written by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
    • Victor & Nora: A Mr. Freeze Story – Written by Lauren Myracle and illustrated by Isaac Goodhart
    • Whistle – Written by E. Lockhart and illustrated by Manuel Preitano
    • Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed – Written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Leila del Duca
    • You Brought Me the Ocean – Written by Alex Sanchez and illustrated by Julie Maroh
    • Zatanna: The Jewel of Gravesend – Written by Alys Arden and illustrated by Jacquelin De Leon
  • Upcoming Middle Grade Titles (Not all titles are final)                         
    • Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld – Written by Shannon and Dean Hale
    • Batman and Robin…and Howard – Written and illustrated by Jeffrey Brown
    • DC Super Hero Girls – Written by Amy Wolfram
    • Dear Super-Villains – Written by Michael Northrop and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte
    • Green Arrow: Stranded – Written by Brendan Deneen and illustrated by Caleb Hosalla
    • Indestructibles Book 1—Written by Ridley Pearson
    • Lois Lane – Written by Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brittney Williams
    • Metropolis Grove – Written and illustrated by Drew Brockington
    • Primer – Written by Thomas Krajewski and Jennifer Muro and illustrated by Gretel Lusky
    • Superman Smashes the Klan – Written by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Gurihiru
    • Super Sons Book 3: Escape to Landis – Written by Ridley Pearson and illustrated by Ile Gonzalez          
    • Teen Titans Go! to Camp – Written by Sholly Fisch
    • Teen Titans Go! Roll with It – Written by Heather Nuhfer and P.C. Morrissey 
    • The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel – Written by Ryan North and illustrated by Derek Charm

Power Pack is Back in a New Adventure this August from Louise Simonson and June Brigman!

Acclaimed creators Louise Simonson and June Brigman are bringing an all-new special story to the Marvel Universe this August, as Power Pack’s young super heroes set the stage for an exciting, thrilling ride!

Power Pack jumps into action when the Brood crash a concert, but it’s a race against time as they battle the invasion against their own anxieties, as well as each other, in hopes of saving the world. Join Alex, Julie, Katie, and Jack Power and special guests Wolverine and Kitty Pryde for an incredible new adventure! Plus, don’t miss fan-favorite artist Gurihiru teaming up with Louise Simonson for the first time in a special short story!

Power Pack: Grow Up! #1 hits comic shops this August!

DC Showcase Delivers New Animated Shorts Starting with Sgt. Rock

Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, in partnership with DC, are in production on five new DC Showcase animated shorts for release in 2019-2020.

Inspired by characters and stories from DC’s robust portfolio, the all-new series of shorts will be included on upcoming DC Universe Movies releases, with exception of an innovative Batman: Death in the Family long-form animated short, which will anchor a compilation set for distribution in late 2020.

Each of the five shorts – entitled Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death, The Phantom Stranger, and Batman: Death in the Family – opens with a new, live-action branding sequence that features a few Easter Eggs specially added for observant fans.

DC Showcase Sgt. Rock

Sgt. Rock is executive produced and directed by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) from a script by award-winning comics writers Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson and Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen). The original tale finds battle-weary Sgt. Rock thinking he has seen everything that World War II can dish out. But he is in for the surprise of his life when he is assigned to lead a company consisting of legendary monsters into battle against an unstoppable platoon of Nazi zombies. Karl Urban (Star Trek & Lord of the Rings film franchises) provides the voice of Sgt. Rock. Also voicing characters in Sgt. Rock are Keith Ferguson, William Salyers, and Audrey Wasilewski.

Adam Strange is produced and directed by Butch Lukic (Batman Unlimited franchise), who also conceived the original story – which is written by J.M. DeMatteis (Constantine: City of Demons). On a rugged asteroid mining colony, few of the toiling workers are aware that their town drunk was ever anything but an interplanetary derelict. But when the miners open a fissure into the home of a horde of deadly alien insects, his true identity is exposed. He is space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long. Charlie Weber (How To Get Away with Murder) provides the voice of Adam Strange, alongside with Roger R. Cross, Kimberly Brooks, Ray Chase, and Fred Tatasciore.

Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” Death is produced and directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. The Fatal Five) and written by J.M. DeMatteis (Batman: Bad Blood). In the story, Vincent, an artist with unresolved inner demons, meets a mysterious girl who helps him come to terms with his creative legacy … and eventual death. Leonardo Nam (Westworld) provides the voice of Vincent, and Jamie Chung (The Gifted, Big Hero 6) is the voice of Death. The cast includes Darin De Paul, Keith Szarabajka, and Kari Wahlgren.

The Phantom Stranger has Bruce Timm (Batman: The Killing Joke) at the helm as executive producer and director, and the short is written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract). Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth. When odd things begin to happen to Jess and her friends, the Phantom Stranger intervenes to save her from a dreary fate. Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) gives voice to The Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor) provides the voice of Seth. The Phantom Stranger also features the voices of Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin, and Roger Craig Smith.

More information regarding Batman: Death In The Family will be available in 2020.

All five new DC Showcase shorts credits include Jim Krieg as co-producer, Amy McKenna as producer, and Sam Register as executive producer.

Initially launched in 2010, DC Showcase was originally comprised of four animated shorts produced by Bruce Timm and directed by Joaquim Dos Santos: The Spectre (released on 2/23/2010), Jonah Hex (7/27/2010), Green Arrow (9/28/2010) and Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (11/9/2010). An additional short, Catwoman (10/18/2011), was attached the following year to the release of Batman: Year One, and was directed by Lauren Montgomery and executive produced by Bruce Timm. Screenwriters on the initial quintet were Steve Niles (The Spectre), Joe Lansdale (Jonah Hex), Greg Weisman (Green Arrow), Michael Jelenic (Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam) and Paul Dini (Catwoman).

Actors featured on the first five shorts were Malcolm McDowell, James Garner (in his final performance), Jerry O’Connell, Linda Hamilton, Gary Cole, Alyssa Milano, Thomas Jane, Michael Rooker, Eliza Dushku, Neal McDonough, Ariel Winter, Danica McKeller, George Newbern, Michelle Trachtenberg and Arnold Vosloo, as well as Jon Polito, Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennett, Steve Blum, Grey Delisle, John DiMaggio, Josh Keaton, Zach Callison, Jason Marsden, Liliana Mumy, Tara Strong, Cree Summer and Kevin Michael Richardson.

Review: DC Primal Age 100-Page Comic Giant

DC Super Heroes in a barbarian world team up for a battle against evil, with the fate of Paradise Island in the balance! DC Primal Age is the new comic book based on the retro-style Funko action figure line.

Toys and comics have had a long history but is this history we need to revisit?

DC Primal Age’s main story is by Marv Wolfman, Scott Koblish. Check out the full line up!

“The Primal Age” (32-page main story) – Written by Marv Wolfman with art by Scott Koblish
“Born on a Monday” – Written and drawn by Jerry Ordway
“Ice and Fire” – Written by Louise Simonson with art by Phil Winslade
“Darkest Knight” – Written by Louise Simonson with art by Brent Anderson
“The Joker’s Wild” – Written by Jerry Ordway with art by Chuck Patton, Karl Kesel and Tom Derenick
“Not a Bird…” – Written by Marv Wolfman with art by Keith Pollard and Jose Marzan Jr.

The comic is available now at Target.

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Enter the DC Primal Age at Target Now

How do superheroes save the world in a universe without technology?

Magic, sword fighting and mystical beasts, obviously!

DC Primal Age—a new comic book based on the popular retro-style Funko action figure line of the same name—is now available for purchase exclusively at Target stores.

DC Super Heroes in a barbarian world team up for a battle against evil, with the fate of Paradise Island in the balance! As Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Superman work together to stop The Joker and King Shark from sinking Themyscira into the sea, Batman must decide whether he can trust the alien Superman long enough to join forces. He’s ready to help, but at what cost?

Then, learn more about these primitive heroes and villains in five thrilling short stories. Wonder Woman rescues a young boy in the forest and takes an interest in his fate. Mr. Freeze faces a fire-breathing dragon in a fight to save his frozen wife! Batman saves a sorcerer who offers to join his battle against evil. The Joker visits a small village, to devastating effect. And Superman goes rogue…or is there another explanation for his bizarre antics?

Acclaimed comic book writer Marv Wolfman and artist Scott Koblish tell a 32-page main story featuring an epic battle between the Justice League and The Joker, which is followed by five short stories from fellow legendary comics creators Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway with artists Phil Winslade, Brent Anderson, Chuck Patton, and Keith Pollard.

DC Primal Age 100-Page Comic Giant retails for $9.99. It includes:

  • “The Primal Age” (32-page main story) – Written by Marv Wolfman with art by Scott Koblish
  • “Born on a Monday” – Written and drawn by Jerry Ordway
  • “Ice and Fire” – Written by Louise Simonson with art by Phil Winslade
  • “Darkest Knight” – Written by Louise Simonson with art by Brent Anderson
  • “The Joker’s Wild” – Written by Jerry Ordway with art by Chuck Patton, Karl Kesel and Tom Derenick
  • “Not a Bird…” – Written by Marv Wolfman with art by Keith Pollard and Jose Marzan Jr.
DC Primal Age 100-Page Comic Giant

Relive the X-Men’s Biggest Events with X-Men Milestones

They are the tales of triumph and tragedy that changed Marvel’s mutants forever…and now, fans everywhere can relive these stories in a new series of trade paperbacks designed to form one complete library of X-Men events!

To start, dive into history with the tragic Jean Grey story that rocked the X-Men and the Marvel Universe in Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont and John Byrne! Brace yourself as the specter of death looms over three X-teams in Fall of the Mutants by Claremont, Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri, Bret Blevins and Walter Simonson! And charge into the epic battle between the Morlocks and the Marauders in Mutant Massacre by Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr., Blevins, Rick Leonardi, Alan Davis, Barry Windsor-Smith, Terry Shoemaker, Butch Guice, Sal Buscema and Jon Bogdanove!

With this new collection, relive the X-Men’s best and the biggest storylines as their adventures remind you why the X-Men have been a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe for decades!

What other earth-shattering events will follow? Stay tuned to Marvel for more…

X-MEN MILESTONES: DARK PHOENIX SAGA

By Chris Claremont and John Byrne

X-MEN MILESTONES: FALL OF THE MUTANTS

By Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri, Bret Blevins and Walter Simonson

X-MEN MILESTONES: MUTANT MASSACRE

By Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Ann Nocenti, John Romita Jr., Blevins, Rick Leonardi, Alan Davis, Barry Windsor-Smith, Terry Shoemaker, Butch Guice, Sal Buscema and Jon Bogdanove!

The Death of Superman Animated Movie Gets a Comic Tie-In

DC Comics has launched The Death of Superman: Part 1, a new Digital First series following the digital release of The Death of Superman animated film from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The new series comes from famed Superman writer Louise “Weezie” Simonson, and kicking off art duties is superstar Wonder Woman ’77 artist, Cat Staggs, followed in subsequent chapters by Joel Ojeda, Laura Braga and more. Readers can download the first chapter now.

What is it like to be Superman—when the events of a day can be completed in a matter of minutes? This series begins as readers follow the hours that lead to the Man of Steel’s face-off with Doomsday—the alien that is destined to destroy him. He’ll save an astronaut when a meteor crashes into their shuttle, he’ll save Major Lane when his experiment-gone-wrong Metallo comes for revenge, plus he’ll save time for a visit when Ma and Pa come to Metropolis to meet his new lady, Lois—and that’s just the beginning. The series contains additional chapters following the path of the Daily Planet’s Jimmy Olsen in those fateful hours, plus the aftermath of the loss of a true hero.

These are never-before-told stories of what happened before, during, and after the conflict with Doomsday that cost Superman his life. Each story will explore what power means—for someone like Superman who wields it for the good of humanity, or the villains who use it to further their own selfish agendas.

The Death of Superman: Part 1 is a 12-part series, released weekly. The first chapter is available for download now via the DC Comics App,readdc.com,  iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store and Nook Store.

The Death of Superman is the inaugural film in the DC Universe Movies series, produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. The film finds Superman in a fight to the finish against his ultimate foe, Doomsday, as he unleashes unstoppable rampage and destruction on Earth. The animated film was released digitally by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on July 24, 2018, and will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD August 7, 2018.

SDCC 2018: DC Entertainment Announces More DC Ink and DC Zoom Graphic Novels

At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, DC Enterainment announced the next wave of titles, authors and artists for the publisher’s upcoming young reader imprints, DC Ink and DC Zoom.

Marieke Nijkamp, the #1 New York Times best-selling YA author of This Is Where It Ends, will bring her storytelling to DC’s young adult line of graphic novels—DC Ink—with an original tale about a teenage Oracle, the superhero alter-ego that Barbara Gordon assumes after an encounter with The Joker confines her to a wheelchair. Oracle: Rising will be joined by another tale about a teenage Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, in Shadow of the Batgirl, written by acclaimed author Sarah Kuhn, known for her popular Heroine Complex novels.

Additional DC Ink titles announced today include: Truth or Consequences: A Jack Hyde Story, the working title of an Aqualad story written by award-winning author Alex Sanchez; Dick Grayson: Lost Carnival, written by critically acclaimed comics writer Michael Moreci; and Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer, which will be adapted from its prose form into a graphic novel by writer Louise Simonson.

DC Zoom, DC’s middle grade graphic novel line, will introduce its first story starring Wonder Woman in Diana, Princess of the Amazons, written by Shannon and Dean Hale. Past collaborations from the husband-and-wife duo include the Eisner-nominated Rapunzel’s Revenge graphic novel and Marvel’s bestselling The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl prose novel series. Shannon Hale is also the Newbery Honor-winning author of the Princess Academy series and the New York Times best-selling Real Friends.

New artists and on-sale dates for previously announced titles were also revealed. Gurihiru Studios will provide illustrations for Gene Luen Yang’s Superman Smashes the Klan, Andie Tong will draw Minh Lê’s Green Lantern: Legacy graphic novel, Gustavo Duarte will join author Michael Northrop on Dear Justice League and Thomas Pitilli has been tapped to illustrate Melissa de la Cruz’s Gotham High graphic novel. DC also announced Chris Wildgoose as the artist for Stuart Moore’s adaptation of Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker and revealed the graphic novel’s official cover.

Both publishing lines will launch in April 2019 with previously announced titles Mera: Tidebreaker (DC Ink), written by Danielle Paige and illustrated by Stephen Byrne; and Super Sons: the Polarshield Project (DC Zoom), written by Ridley Pearson with art by Ile Gonzalez.

The complete list of DC Ink and DC Zoom titles and creative teams announced to date include:

  • DC Ink:
    • MERA: TIDEBREAKER (April 2019)—written by Danielle Paige and illustrated by Stephen Byrne
    • UNDER THE MOON: A CATWOMAN TALE (May 2019)—written by Lauren Myracle and illustrated by Isaac Goodhart
    • HARLEY QUINN: BREAKING GLASS (June 2019)—written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Steve Pugh
    • TEEN TITANS: RAVEN (July 2019)—written by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
    • BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER (August 2019)—adapted by Stuart Moore from Marie Lu’s prose novel for the DC Icon series and illustrated by Chris Wildgoose
    • DICK GRAYSON: LOST CARNIVAL—written by Michael Moreci
    • GOTHAM HIGH—written by Melissa de la Cruz and illustrated by Thomas Pitilli
    • ORACLE RISING—written by Marieke Nijkamp
    • SHADOW OF THE BATGIRL—written by Sarah Kuhn
    • TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES: A JACK HYDE STORY—written by Alex Sanchez (working title)
    • WONDER WOMAN: TEMPEST TOSSED—written by Laurie Halse Anderson
    • WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER—adapted by Louise Simonson from Leigh Bardugo’s prose novel for the DC Icon series
  • DC Zoom:
    • SUPER SONS: THE POLARSHIELD PROJECT (April 2019)—written by Ridley Pearson and illustrated by Ile Gonzalez
    • DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: SPACED OUT (May 2019)—written by Shea Fontana and illustrated by Agnes Garbowska
    • SUPERMAN OF SMALLVILLE (June 2019)—written and illustrated by Art Baltazar & Franco
    • DEAR JUSTICE LEAGUE (July 2019)—written by Michael Northrop and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte
    • BATMAN: OVERDRIVE (August 2019)—written by Shea Fontana and illustrated by Marcelo Di Chiara
    • BLACK CANARY: IGNITE (October 2019)—written by Meg Cabot and illustrated by Cara McGee
    • BATMAN TALES: ONCE UPON A CRIME (November 2019)—written by Derek Fridolfs and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
    • GREEN LANTERN: LEGACY (December 2019)—written by Minh Lê and illustrated by Andie Tong
    • DIANA, PRINCESS OF THE AMAZONS—written by Shannon and Dean Hale
    • SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN—written by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Gurihiru Studios

Review: Action Comics #1000 Captures Superman’s Inspirational Power

In Action Comics #1000, an all-star team of writers, artists, and colorists try and for the most part succeed at getting to the heart of Superman. Some stories touch on different eras of history from his time in the 1930s as a non-flying, slumlord buster and the Mort Weisinger Silver Age sci-fi kookiness to classic comics like Kingdom Come. Others look at his relationships with his parents, wife/co-worker Lois Lane, and his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. One story even looks far in the future of the DC Universe while another acts as a semi-controversial prologue to Brian Michael Bendis’ upcoming Man of Steel miniseries and his runs on Action Comics and Superman.

To give each story the attention it needs, I will do a short review of each one and score it at the end of the paragraph. A final aggregated score  will conclude this (hopefully not that long) “80 page giant” review.

Action Comics #1000 opens with one hell of a curtain call from writer/penciler Dan Jurgens, inker Norm Rapmund, and colorist Hi-Fi that acts as a victory lap for Jurgens’ DC Rebirth run on Action Comics and his tireless work turning Superman from the edgy, armor wearing New 52 version to his classic role as a heroic hope bringer and a family man too. The story is simple. Metropolis is holding a Superman celebration day, but Superman doesn’t want their praise and adulation and wants to keep saving the day. However, through a little trickery from Lois and the Justice League, he ends up getting his moment in the sun. Jurgens’ writing cuts to the core of Superman and his positivity with a small-time Metropolis criminal named Benning talking about how he got him a job after prison so he wouldn’t keep relapsing and running with different supervillains. His art is a little old school, but that’s not a bad thing, and Rapmund’s inking helps make the crowd shots sharp in a story that shows Superman’s bond with the citizens of Metropolis and the superhero community while not neglecting the family elements that have been a big part of the Rebirth era of Superman. There really wouldn’t be a superhero genre without him.

Story: 9.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.8

The next story “Neverending Battle” from the Superman creative team of Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Alejandro Sanchez is a tiny bit philosophical, somewhat historical, and definitely epic as a story only done in full page spreads. It’s about Vandal Savage weaponizing Hypertime to trap Superman in his own history so he can’t get back to Jon and Lois to celebrate his birthday. Tomasi’s writing is a little corny at times with adages like “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and “History repeats itself”, but Gleason and Sanchez’s glorious visuals and the through-line of Superman consistently overcoming great odds wins out just like Superman over Vandal Savage. The first spreads are the most iconic with Golden Age Era Superman punching out gangsters, stopping locomotives, and throwing tanks around with Tomasi commentating on the simplistic, good vs. evil nature of these early stories. But he and Gleason aren’t afraid to get vulnerable with a poignant homage to the scene in The Dark Knight Returns where Superman is weakened after stopping a nuclear explosion that blocks out the sun or a page where he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. However, despite cunning and powerful enemies and occasionally death itself, nothing will stop Superman from being a hero or spending time with his loved ones on his birthday. Gleason has a strong handle on the moral clarity and goodness behind Superman’s strength and I look forward to his upcoming work as the main Action Comics artist.

Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.3

The third story “An Enemy Within” with a script from Marv Wolfman, Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger inking over recently discovered Curt Swan, and colors by Hi-Fi straddles a thin line between optimism and naivete and definitely falls on the naive side. Superman is too busy fighting Brainiac in Japan so he relies on Maggie Sawyer and the Metropolis PD to take out a mind controlled teacher, who is holding his students hostage. There is an opportunity to address social issues, like school shooting, gun control, police violence, and even homelessness in a scene towards the end, but Wolfman, Swan, and Guice gloss over these issues with a simplistic “humanity is good and will save themselves” mantra and use the mind control plot device to cover their asses. Honestly, your enjoyment of this story will depend on how much you believe in the idea of original sin or your tolerance level for after school specials. Guice’s inks bring an interesting grit to Swan’s usually clean, bright pencils, and honestly, the best part of the story is a solemn Superman pinup at the end inked by the late Schaffenberger.

Story: 4.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 5.5

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Olivier Coipel, and Alejandro Sanchez turn in a stoic, 1930s era Superman story about a small time crook named Butch who gets his car beat up when trying to fight Superman. It’s probably the car from the cover of Action Comics #1. Johns and Donner’s take on Superman is a little rougher and little more stern, but he has a solid moral compass and cares for humanity as shown by his empathy towards Butch, who lost his dad in combat during World War I. Coipel’s art is wonderfully rough hewn and is like Norman Rockwell’s work without the sentimentality, and he even plays the “It’s a bird, it’s a plane…” line for sardonic, silent comedy. His Superman commands the page and is someone who you would listen to and definitely take seriously. He doesn’t smile either. But the ending of “The Car” has an earned happiness and is a little spark of light in a cynical world. Johns and Donner really get that heroism is about the little things and not flying the world backwards or time travel shenanigans.

Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.8

Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Dave McCaig tell a quiet, yet time spanning story about the relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor, and how Superman chooses to see the good even in his worst enemy. The story starts intense with shadow wreathed art and dark colors from Albuquerque and McCaig as Luthor has assembled some powerful MacGuffins to take out Superman. But he’s actually just star gazing at the Smallville Planetarium? Albuquerque’s art is sharper and sadder after that with a nostalgic orange palette from McCaig as Lex tells Superman that the planetarium was an escape from bad weather and his abusive parents. They seamlessly blend past and present as it’s revealed that a young Clark Kent gave Lex’s space laser a little boost and saved his life. Snyder uses this anecdote/flashback sequence to hold out hope for a time when “maybe” the cycle of hero and villain will be broken between Superman and Lex Luthor as the story fades to black.

Story: 9.6 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7

Tom King makes a case for winning back to back Eisners for Best Short Story in his, Clay Mann, and Jordie Bellaire’s contribution to Action #1000, “Of Tomorrow”. It’s a tone poem about Superman’s last day on Earth as he says goodbye to Ma and Pa Kent one last time as the Earth is engulfed in the sun with flames and winds that are reminiscent of the last days of Krypton. King writes Superman as an old man wrestling with his past and legacy, wishing he could save more people, and being supremely proud of his wife and son. And it gets deep at the end when he reflects on his father’s blend of science and faith. Mann captures each tiny, beautiful moment in his artwork as he makes art with his strength, tears, and freeze breath: a frozen statuette of Jonathan and Martha Kent like the one of Jor-El and Lara-El in the Fortress of Solitude. Bellaire goes for Earth tones in her colors as Superman immerses himself in his adopted planet before flying off forever. He loves his parents, he loves Earth, but he realizes that all planets die and all story ends. (Except for his comic book for now.)

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10

Two veteran comics creators Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway show they still have a lot in the tank in their “Five Minutes” story with colorist Dave McCaig that expertly intertwines Superman’s life as a superhero and Clark Kent’s life as a journalist in five minutes. Simonson’s narration shows that both Clark and Superman’s “powers” come in handy in different situation as Superman is able to dart from a train accident to a hold up and finally to save the city from an asteroid just like Clark is able to write a story and get it in under deadline. It’s a quick, zippy read with a lot of heart and a kind of cheesy “twist” ending, but Simonson and Ordway show how much passion Superman/Clark Kent has for both saving people and reporting. He is precise, efficient, and knows when to fly to next crisis just like a writer juggling different projects. Plus there’s a Bibbo Bibbowski cameo, which will be a treat for Superman fans of the 80s and 90s.

Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3

Paul Dini, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Kevin Nowlan, and Trish Mulvihill turn in a cheeky homage to Superman’s history, Garcia-Lopez’s ability to skillfully render almost every DC Comics hero and villain, and most of all, Mr. Mxyzptlk. Mxyzptlk has the ability to wipe out Superman from the existence in the blink of an eye, but he’s more of a prankster than a coldblooded villain and enjoys toying with him instead. Dini, Garcia-Lopez, and Nowlan also provide a little meta-commentary on how stories involving superheroes in comics never seem to end even after they’re killed off or have passed their mantle to sidekicks or legacy heroes. Probably, because they’re too much fun. This story’s kryptonite is Dini indulging his sleazy side towards the end, but the energy and humanity of Garcia-Lopez’s figures and Mulvihill’s heroic colors more than make up for it.

Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0

In a much darker story than the previous one, “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” happens in a very short span of time as Superman tries to stop a domestic abuser from shooting his girlfriend, Lila, in the head. Artist John Cassaday tells the story in a series of freeze frames as you can see the strain of Superman flying to stop the bullet, and the red, yellow, and blue of Laura Martin’s colors as his chances increase. Brad Meltzer starts incredibly dark in his script with Superman running calculations in his head that he won’t be able to save Lila and ends with Superman admitting that he is inspired by humanity as much as they are inspired by him. “Faster than a Speeding Bullet” is a taut, mini-thriller that also captures Superman’s essence and the strength of his and the people he inspire’s resolves.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

The final story in Action Comics #1000 is Brian Michael Bendis’ DC debut with Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair doing the art. Lee and Williams definitely put the “action” in Action Comics, and most of the story is a third act of Man of Steel fight sequence with collateral damage galore as new giant sword wielding alien conqueror villain Rogol Zaar crashes all over Metropolis and tries to kill the last two Kryptonians on Earth. Yes, Supergirl has a cameo in this comic and is there to get her ass kicked as much as Superman. Bendis’ writing is quippy as ever and doesn’t really pair well with the disaster movie feel of Lee and Williams’ art. He seems to be going for an “Avengers Disassembled” type of throughline in his approach to Superman by physically breaking him down and also taking shots at his past. Yes, the final page of Action Comics #1000 is a huge retcon for Superman’s character, and hopefully, Bendis has the reasoning and great story to back it up, or Rogol Zaar might just be a Mongul knock-off with a cooler sword.

Story: 6.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0

 

Story: Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis  Art: Dan Jurgens with Norm Rapmund, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan with Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez with Kevin Nowlan, John Cassaday, Jim Lee with Scott Williams  Colors:  Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Action Comics #1000

Celebrate 1000 issues of Action Comics with an all-star lineup of top talent as they pay tribute to the comic that started it all! From today’s explosive action to a previously unpublished tale illustrated by the legendary Curt Swan to the Man of Tomorrow’s future-this very special, oversized issue presents the best of the best in Superman stories!

Action Comics #1000 feels like an end, a beginning, and a celebration of a landmark moment, one thousand issues and almost 80 years of Superman. The issue is full of some top notch talent with numerous stories of varied style and quality. All of it though is entertaining in some way.

The issue opens up with writer Dan Jurgens‘ finale to his latest run with “From the City That Has Everything.” It’s clear from his latest run (and all his Superman material) that he loves the character and this story which features art by Jurgens, ink by Norm Rapmund, color from Hi-Fi and letters by Rob Leigh, is that recognition as Metropolis honors the Man of Steel. It’s a cheesy story but one that is so in a way that a speech from someone honoring someone else might be. Touching and a fine way for Jurgens to wrap up his run.

The second story is a really cool one that weaves a story out of what is essentially pin-ups. It’s a great way to include such a thing in a comic without it just being images. I hope we see more of this and the art is from a who’s who of creators. It involves Superman going through time and gives a way for artists to take advantage to take us readers through Superman’s history, some of his key moments, and different artistic styles we’ve seen. It’s an utterly brilliant story and presentation and a highlight of the celebration.

Marv Wolfman and Curt Swan team up for “An Enemy Within” which feels like a bit of a retro story in both pacing and art. While not bad it’s an interesting reminder of how much storytelling has changed over the years. I don’t want to give too much away but the story has some nice twists involving a hostage situation.

“The Game” sees Superman and Lex Luthor match wits in a game of chess. Paul Levitz and Neal Adams team up for the story and it’s interesting and one you can probably debate about the deeper meaning. It’d be nice to see this story in a longer form as there’s a lot to work but with just a few pages we don’t get a lot of depth, just fun twists that feel like they’re from the 80s and an homage to an Adams classic moment.

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, and Olivier Coipel come together for “The Car” which has a criminal recounting how his car was destroyed by a mysterious flying man. The art is fantastic and I think some of my favorite work by Coipel who seems to be channeling Frank Quitely. It’s such a simple story but one that really digs into what makes Superman super.

“The Fifth Season” sees Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque come together as Superman and Lex Luthor come together in Smallvill. It’s an interesting story that again explores the relationship of the two characters. Particularly it focuses on Luthor being oblivious to the good that Superman does that he doesn’t acknowledge or is even aware of. It’s another story that can be debated as far as its deeper meaning and themes.

“Of Tomorrow” is Tom King, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, and John Workman having Superman revisit Earth one last time before it’s consumed by the sun. It’s a reminder of the loss of the character and a deeply touching entry.

Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway come together for “Five Minutes” which reminds us that Superman has a few jobs, hero and reporter (as well as husband and father). It’s a fun story that plays on the speed of the character and that how he can some times mess up one job due to the other. A funny ending that gave me a chuckle.

“Actionland!” has Paul Dini and José Luis García-Lopez focus on our favorite imp who has it out for Superman. It’s the odd story of the bunch with the focus on the villain but is a reminder that like Superman, some of them have infinite power that they hold back due to… something.

Writer Brad Meltzer and artist John Cassaday honor Christopher Reeve with “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” that has Superman racing to prevent a gun going off and killing a woman. It’s a fantastic story and I had no idea how it’d resolve. Again though, it’s a reminder of some of the things that makes Superman great and boils the character down to his goodness and how he inspires and is inspired.

“The Truth” is Brian Michael Bendis‘ DC debut with art by Jim Lee and what is supposed to lead into the miniseries The Man of Steel which kicks off Bendis’ run. Out of all of the stories, this is the low point of the issue honestly. Maybe it’s the hype but there’s a new baddie who’s out to kill Kryptonians and while Metropolis is getting destroy two civilians are focused on Superman’s underwear? It’s very Bendis and while funny, especially with Lee on art, it doesn’t quite work and honestly lowered my excitement for what he has coming.

There’s a lot packed in here and something for everyone. No matter the era of your enjoyment there’s a story that fits it and this is really a comic that has an amazing amount of talent. It’s truly a celebration of such an iconic character and for the celebration alone it’s a purchase. At times, comics like this are a let down, but this is the exception with every story entertaining in some way and a few that shine. It’s the rare oversized celebration comic that lives up to the occasion.

Story: Dan Jurgens, Peter J. Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Neal Adams, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Dan Jurgens, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, José Luis García-Lopez, John Cassaday, Jim Lee
Ink: Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Williams
Color: Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McGaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano, Dave Sharpe, Nick Napolitano, John Workman, Carlos M. Mangual, Josh Reed, Chris Euopoulos, Cory Petit
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

« Older Entries