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Review: Heroes Reborn #2

Heroes Reborn #2

Heroes Reborn #2 is an intriguing comic. The second issue in the event, the issue feels more like a tie-in than the main event. Split between two stories, it definitely delivers some insight and teases the overall story but it doesn’t feel like much of a drawn. It’s both good and bad in a way.

Invaders From the Negative Zone” focuses on Hyperion delivering a bit of an origin in some ways but more showing us more about this “hero”. Writer Jason Aaron gives us a hyper-patriotic Superman who has no problem killing and whose philosophy seems to be “might makes right”. It’s an intriguing story that gives a good sense of who we’re dealing with as Hyperion must stop a jailbreak from the Negative Zone.

Like the debut, it also feels like the more interesting aspects are the other versions of characters we know in this world. Like the debut, all of that is surface deep. It drops hints and teases of a twisted world but doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail to really become interesting. Where the issue is most important is it teases Hyperion knows something isn’t right but is willing to fight to keep things as is.

Dale Keown provides the art with Carlos Magno. Magno also handles inks with Scott Hanna and Edgar Delgado is on color. The story is full of over the top visuals emphasizing the hyper-violence that Hyperion brings to the fight. Murdering villains is not an issue. Between the visuals and the dialogue, there’s also a lack of remorse in doing so. There’s some visuals that pop with memorable moments. There’s definitely a few that’ll get readers to pause. They do a solid job of emphasizing Hyperion’s brutality.

Welcome Home, Soldier” feels more like the continuation of the first issue. It features a veteran checking in on Hyperion with a reveal as to who it is towards the end. Aaron gives a decent story that has its moments but overall is too little of a movement on the main storyline. It also features some gaps in the story forcing readers to strain a bit to pieces of the puzzle together.

Ed McGuinness handles the art with Mark Morales on ink and Matthew Wilson on color. It’s a story that has some zing to it but whose visuals feel a bit like a throwback to the 70s and 80s at times. It generally looks good but doesn’t feature the memorable moments like the opening story. While the visuals also keeps its individual a mystery, it’s not too hard to guess who it is, which makes the whole reveal lack a punch.

Heroes Reborn #2 isn’t a bad comic at all. It just doesn’t feel like the “main event”. The stories feel like either slivers of an issue’s worth of storytelling or they feel like something that’d normally be relegated to a tie-in. It’s not bad at all but like the debut, it feels a bit like a throwback in some ways. Overall, not bad and will work when read all-together, but on its own, it’s a bit of ho-hum.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Dale Keown, Carlos Magno, Ed McGuinness
Ink: Scott Hanna, Carlos Magno, Mark Morales Color: Edgar Delgado, Matthew Wilson Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Heroes Reborn #1

Heroes Reborn #1

What if Marvel was DC? That’s the vibe I got from Heroes Reborn #1, the latest Marvel “event” that has Blade awaken in a world he does not know. This is a world where the Avengers never formed and existed. Instead, the Squadron Supreme has stepped in and things have progressed differently in other ways. The result is a ho-hum start that has an interesting mystery but lacks memorable excitement.

Jason Aaron continues his Avengers run with this sidequest. Heroes Reborn #1 isn’t a bad debut but it also doesn’t quite deliver a punch. Instead, we’re guided around the world by Blade as he attempts to figure out what has happened. He’s the only one, maybe, that remembers the world isn’t right. Blade, as our guide, introduces us to the various members of the Squadron Supreme and lets us know what has happened to key Avengers members like Tony Stark, Carol Danvers, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk. We also get to meet this world’s twist on classic Marvel villains. Most just feel like riffs on the combination of characters we’ve seen so many times before. Take two characters, mash them together for a whole new thing to sell.

And that’s part of the problem with the comic. It’s entire draw is to see what’s different expecting readers to be excited that Dr. Doom is mashed with the Juggernaut. The dialogue is a bit on the cheese end of things and the various introductions don’t feel like complete stories. In fact most are not. So there’s an emptiness in a way. We’re also left pondering how Blade is getting around in this strange world as he travels to see Thor or his final stop. We just accept he’s able to.

But, in a way, Aaron has a bit of a success with the comic. It hearkens back with a retro style in its dialogue and battles. It forgoes an edgy darkness for a classic pop-superhero sensibility about it. When I read the comic, I didn’t feel like I was reading a Marvel comic. Instead, the style in dialogue and look was more akin to DC. It’s an interesting stylized choice and not too surprising based on the fact the Squadron Supreme is front and center.

There’s also a lot that does work in the comic. Blade’s confrontation with Nighthawk and Thor are solid and the teases at the end is the really “meat” of the debut issue. But, it doesn’t quite feel like enough. This feels more like a “zero” issue than a solid debut issue.

Ed McGuinness‘ art is fantastic as expected. There’s some fun imagery on the pages with interesting layouts that catch the eye. With Mark Morales on ink, Matthew Wilson on color, and lettering by Cory Petit, the art pops often. There’s some rough spots, some uninspired villain designs, but like the writing there’s a bit of a throwback to the art style and some of the panels. The art does some interesting things blending “classic” comics, the 90s, and modern comics seamlessly. Page layouts are a bit more modern. Some the character design is more 90s and 00s and some of the character stances feel much older and classic. It works in a fun sort of way.

Heroes Reborn #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. Some of what works does so really well. But, there’s also a lot that feels like clunkers. There’s a mix of styles and voices in a way and it doesn’t always blend together. Some of the comic feels like a spoof of the past. Some of the comic feels like an homage. And some of the comic feels like it’s taking itself too seriously. It’s a bit mixed as to what it wants to be. But, its mystery is one that has me wanting to come back and see what’s behind all of this and more importantly, what comes after.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Ed McGuinness
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Matthew Wilson Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Infinite Frontier #0

Infinite Frontier #0

Dark Knights: Death Metal is over and we’ve seen a possible future timeline in “Future State”. Now, DC begins to chart its path with the first crumbs teased in Infinite Frontier #0. The issue serves as a guide as to the various series and status-quo that awaits them. With a new omniverse to explore, anything is possible and the comic does its job to remind us of that.

The comic’s story is delivered in a narrative driven by two characters as our guide. It’s a spin on the classic Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. Wonder Woman believes a threat is looming and wants to witness the state of things before making a major decision about her role in the DC Universe.

With Wonder Woman and Spectre as our guide, we’re taken on a tour of the characters highlighting the comics to come. The Justice League, Batman, Wonder Girl, Alan Scott, Teen Titans Academy, Superman, Green Arrow and Black Canary, Star Girl, Green Lanterns, and the Flash all get a moment to show off where things stand. All of it is good and interesting though few of what’s presented really excites. It feels like an extended teaser and preview. It takes its concept as a guidebook almost too seriously. The comic feels a bit more like the extension of the ending of Dark Knights: Death Metal where we saw many of these ideas initially teased.

Infinite Frontier #0 credits

But, what’s intriguing is what’s presented and doesn’t have a comic attached to them. Infinite Frontier #0 teases more than what’s already announced giving hope as to what we’ll see in July and beyond. There’s also teases through artwork of the various series DC teased at the recent ComicsPro. It’s interesting in that way that the stories feel less like the exciting first 15 minutes before the credits to get you pumped. Instead, the stories are a bit dry and more to lay out where things stand with the concepts thrown out being the hooks. The action isn’t the hook, the ideas are.

The art of the comic is solid. Each segment flows into the next and with a few exceptions, the styles work well together. There are some fantastic spreads with Wonder Woman as she talks to Spectre about what she’s witnessing. There’s a few panels and pages that’ll leave you lingering to stare at. The colors really pop on pages delivering a sense of energy that really fits the new status of the DC Universe.

Infinite Frontier #0 isn’t bad but it doesn’t quite excite. By the end of the issue I found myself more excited about concepts than the comics themselves. Very few of the segments left me wanting to immediately find out what happens next. Instead, it the comic feels like a short ashcan, teasing what’s to come with a few pages and back material to fill things out. It shows what’s to come but it never quite puts things over. Instead, it nails its role as a guide, a way to browse what DC has to offer.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Joëlle Jones, Tim Sheridan, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Joshua Williamson, Geoff Johns, Geoffrey Thorne
Art: David Marquez, Jorge Jimeez, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, Joëlle Jones, Stephen Byrne, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, Jamal Igle, Alex Maleev, Todd Nauck, Dexter Soy, Howard Porter, John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson
Color: Tamra Bonvillain, Tomeu Morey, Emilio Lopez, Jordie Bellaire, Stephen Byrne, Alejandro Sanchez, Hi-Fi, Alex Sinclair, Brad Anderson
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: The Next Batman: Second Son #1

The Next Batman: Second Son #1

DC‘s Digital First series have been knocking it out of the park. The digital comics have been engaging, intriguing, and feel like they’re comics we might not otherwise see on the printed page. They give creators a new avenue for their voices to be heard and generally allowed them to do so without having to worry about continuity. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off the newest series that interestingly has some major ramifications for Batman’s pocket of the DC Universe.

Tim “Jace” Fox is the estranged son of billionaire Lucius Fox and man of mystery…what has the eldest son of one Gotham’s premiere families been up to for these ‘missing’ years and how does he find himself getting shot at in the jungles of Vietnam? The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off a series that’ll have some repercussions and part of a dark future for Batman.

Writer John Ridley is absolutely brilliant. He’s known for so many thought-provoking releases, he’s a creator that I’ll read or so whatever he’s involved in. In “Future State” Ridley has driven Jace’s story and his role as the future Batman. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 gives us the pieces to that path and kicks things off with a James Bond-esque adventure.

Ridley doesn’t tell us a ton about the who or the why, instead of focuses on Jace’s abilities, actions, and personality. The opening chapter is the opening 15 minutes of a Bond film dropping our hero into the middle of the action without explanation. We just accept the direction and the cool and overlook what we don’t know. It’s a ride that sets the tone. By the end of the issue we get a good sense of who Jace is and what we should expect as far as the character going forward. It plants the flag as to who our protagonist is.

The art by Tony Akins, with breakdowns by Ryan Benjamin, is interesting. There’s such a fantastic sense of action in the comic that really feels like a solid Bond adventure. Mark Morales provides inks, with Rex Lokus on color, and lettering by Deron Bennett. It all comes together for a sense of cool but subtle visual details let us know that Jace is still learning. There’s one glaring issue for me in the final two panels of the digital comic as Jace returns to his apartment and finds a visitor. The panels should be flipped going Jace then visitor not visitor then Jace. That might have been an issue with my digital copy but it’s something that stands out taking the wind out of the up to that point excellent ride.

The Next Batman: Second Son #1 is an intriguing series as it looks to have some major implications for the print comics of Batman. It’s a digital series that’s going to be a “major player” and one to keep one’s eye on. Luckily, it’ll eventually make it’s way to print but this is one you won’t want spoiled for you.

Story: John Ridley Art: Tony Akins Breakdowns: Ryan Benjamin
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Rex Lokus Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.75 Art: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy

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Preview: The Next Batman: Second Son #1

The Next Batman: Second Son #1

Written by John Ridley
Pencils Tony Akins
Inks Mark Morales
Colored by Rex Lokus
Cover by Doug Braithwaite
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Meet Tim “Jace” Fox, estranged son of billionaire Lucius Fox and man of mystery…what has the eldest son of one Gotham’s premiere families been up to for these ‘missing’ years and how does he find himself getting shot at in the jungles of Vietnam? Learn these answers and many more as the story of the SECOND SON begins!

The Next Batman: Second Son #1

Review: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2

The lead story in Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 deals with the actual end of the DC Universe, and it’s brilliant, poetic work from writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad and artist Jen Bartel. We get to see the final battle between Superman and Darkseid, and it’s epic as hell. However, it’s not the center of the narrative, which is Wonder Woman traveling the universe looking for signs of life and hope and trying to avoid the Undoing. Except for the ending and little glimmers, this whole issue is Diana staring into the abyss and trying to find purpose in a world that doesn’t need saving anymore and is truly in its death throes.

In the first issue, Jen Bartel demonstrated that she could operate on an epic scale in both linework and color palette, and this extends to Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2. Her punches have true power and weight behind them, the lasso finds the truth in the last few characters it entangles, and the contrast between light and shadow in her color palette is operatic, especially in Wonder Woman’s final moments as well as Superman and Darkseid’s. There’s a kind of glow in her trail as she flies across the void of space, past the ruins of the Daily Planet or Brainiac’s ship, that is in direct opposition of the black tendrils of the Undoing. Cloonan and Conrad don’t go deep into The Undoing’s backstory, but they’re the inevitability personified and wipe out the whole Legion of Superheroes in a single page that establishes their universe ending threat level. They’re like “The End” on the last page of a story, and the final pages of Immortal Wonder Woman #2 definitely take on a metafictional quality and set up yet another myth cycle.

Cloonan, Conrad, and Bartel definitely use the lead story of Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 to deal with weighty philosophical issues, like the purpose (or purposelessness) of life and the effects of revenge, especially when Spectre comes into the picture. The whole Ragnarok/Twilight of the Gods vibe carries through from the previous issue, but with the Undoing, not Darkseid, being responsible for the end of the universe. In the big picture, he’s just a god, not an unknowable cosmic force. These themes and ideas as well as the general scale of Jen Bartel’s visuals truly makes this story feel like it’s a kind of modern mythology instead of using gods from various pantheons as window dressing, comic relief, or public domain action figures.

However, Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel don’t forget what makes these myths and legends endure, and that is these heroes’ flaws and recognizable emotions. (For example, young queer people are making Tik Toks about Achilles and Patroclus just like Alexander the Great was writing fan fiction about them two millennia ago.) Bartel does a wonderful job showing Wonder Woman’s emotions throughout the story with many close-ups of her crying, and those tears floating in space to make these panels even more tragic. She also differentiates sad tears like when she witnesses Superman’s death from happy ones like when she finds the Spectre, the last living being. However, Wonder Woman isn’t all sadness in Immortal Wonder Woman #2. There’s a lot of anger too, especially in her last fight, against the Undoing as Cloonan and Conrad’s narration reveal her last thoughts about how she’s a contradictory figure: a warrior, yet peaceful. This ties into the conclusion of the two part storyline, which is quite satisfying, primal, and touches on the nature of immortality in a very cosmological way.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2’s second story, “Nubia”, definitely plays second fiddle to the lead story with writer L.L. McKinney continuing to cram a six issue miniseries’ amount of lore and exposition in six issues. However, she and artists Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales and colorist Emilio Lopez do show Nubia being a hero and kicking ass against the likes of Grail and Circe, who Grail has summoned to get the last artifact: Nubia’s tiara. This artifact is magical, and Grail is more into science so she needs an assist from a sorceress of her own. However, little does she know, that this crown is imbued with magic from the Yoruba goddess, Oshun, and it only strengthens Nubia. But, of course, there is a price, and Nubia still owns Aunt Nancy a favor. McKinney definitely leaves plenty of plot threads and potential supporting players and goddesses on the table for future stories.

But for most of the pages of “Nubia”, McKinney, Martinez, and Morales focus on the task at hand: a battle royale between Nubia, Grail, and Circe. Grail and Circe definitely underestimate their opponent so it’s quite vindicated when she breaks free from their control in an iconic full page image, and then throws, kicks, and punches them in a double page spread. Instead of going the stiff pinup route, Martinez and Morales use the spread to showcase Nubia’s speed and strength using borderless panels for her battle with Grail and the bordered panels for her fight against Circe. The choreography is gorgeous in this sequence as McKinney, Martinez, Morales, and Lopez are all on the same page and cut to the best moves. For example, Nubia ducks under a magic blast from Circe and switches opponents to throw Grail with her super strength before delivering a gut punch to the sorceress. Alitha Martinez’s layout choices give a real flow to the action while Mark Morales accentuates details like Nubia’s shoulder muscles when she hurls Circe into the sky, and Emilio Lopez uses bright primary colors during intense moments like when Circe and Grail struggle to take Nubia’s crown off.

Although, these characters are highly powered, the fight has a personal feel to it culminating in Nubia reinforcing the fact that she’s Wonder Woman, an Amazon warrior, and you can’t take important artifacts from her. L.L. McKinney gives Nubia some great one-liners to show that she’s becoming more confident as a hero and coming into her own as a “Guardian”. The flashback with the different gods might be a little text-heavy, but seeing Nubia break free from a villain who is literally staring her down and saying “Submit” is well worth it. But she doesn’t get a chance to celebrate in the epilogue of this story, and Martinez and Morales draw her with tense body language while setting up another potential arc down the road. I’ve really grown to enjoy Nubia’s courage and determination as well Alitha Martinez’s fight choreography, and I would definitely like to see more stories with this creative team. Having a Nubia limited or ongoing series would also give L.L. McKinney an opportunity to pace out some of her worldbuilding elements as well as her protagonist’s connection to Yoruba mythology and Akan folklore plus the magical/superheroic side of Atlanta in the DC Universe.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2 wraps up with two very different takes on the iconic DC Comics superhero. Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel tell an archetypal self-contained story of life and death, hope and despair, and finding purpose when there’s nothing to live for starring Diana Prince. Plus it really captures the range of emotions one would feel before the inevitable end of the universe. In the second story, L.L. McKinney, Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, and Emilio Lopez cram in lore, exposition, multiple villains, and one kick-ass fight scene to lay the foundation for future stories featuring Nubia. It’s like a two-hour pilot screaming for a series order whereas the lead story is a beautiful elegy with career-best interior art from Jen Bartel, who masterfully depicts both the cosmic and human.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, L.L. McKinney Art: Jen Bartel, Alitha Martinez with Mark Morales
Colors: Jen Bartel, Emilio Lopez Letterer: Pat BrosseauBecca Carey
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1

Some Future State stories have dealt with dark, dystopian futures, but the lead story in Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1 takes it a step further with Diana, the remaining Amazons, and an aging Superman fighting to defend Swamp Thing, the Green, and basically the symbol of life on Earth from both Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation. Writers Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad and spectacular artist Jen Bartel tell a story about fighting a war with love to the bitter end as Diana doesn’t want to fight for the dying Earth and instead start somewhere fresh with Swamp Thing and her sisters, but is overridden by the warlike Amazons as well as Darkseid popping in for one last chance to conquer Earth.

Cloonan and Conrad’s writing in Immortal Wonder Woman #1 can be described as truly poetic and matches the emotion-tinged visual from Bartel. The opening sequence has Diana interacting with a hologram of Batman and meditating on their relationship as part of DC’s Trinity’s with Batman telling her that she’s a true symbol of hope to rally around. However, Diana is also a realist about what’s going as she wistfully sees a star blink out of existence, and the story cuts to Apokolips where Darkseid realizes the end aka the Anti-Life Equation is near and abandons his empire, son Orion, and follower Big Barda and immediately heads to Earth. Bartel does a great job of contrasting the Amazons’ perspective of Earth with its reality using an almost beach vacation color palette for when the Amazons decide to defend the planet from an unknown threat to using a dark and rusty one for when Darkseid flies through space to the “husk”.

Jen Bartel is known for beautiful character design and capturing deep emotion out of her figures, but she can also draw one hell of a fight scene when Diana and Darkseid finally throw down with again Superman having one heroic moment and then getting flattened. She channels her inner Jack Kirby with colorful explosions and speed lines every time Darkseid lands a blow, or Diana kicks the Apokoliptian tyrant or gets a grip on him with her lasso. Bartel also uses interesting (or heartbreaking) panel shapes like when she lays one out that looks just like Darkseid’s Omega sanction and ends in a stark, panel of skulls on a stark background. On a more macro-level, Cloonan and Conrad keep the objective of the battle high, yet simple, Diana, the Amazons, and Superman have to protect Swamp Thing from Darkseid and the Anti-Life Equation for a chance at filling Earth (or maybe a new planet) with life again. The stakes of this comic are literally life and death.

The first story in Immortal Wonder Woman #1 is a Ragnarok for the DC Universe courtesy of Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel, who makes everyone look epic, pretty, and/or war worn while nailing the look and color palette of utter cosmic darkness too. It’s the last of the old gods battling the embodiment of utter evil with only a small chance for rebirth in the form of Swamp Thing, who is given a frail form and halting speech patterns. It’s also a masterclass in pacing with Cloonan and Conrad getting to the emotional breaking point before hitting that “To Be Continued” with literal tears streaming in the last panel that Bartel draws.

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1

The second story in Immortal Woman #1 is written by LL McKinney with art from Alitha Martinez, Mark Morales, and Emilio Lopez, is set earlier in the Future State timeline, and features Nubia, an Amazon who has taken up the mantle of Wonder Woman while an off-panel Diana is queen of Themiscyra. Like the lead story, its plot has a world-ending conflict as Grail, the daughter of Darkseid, is stealing parts of an artifact connected to various gods that if put together could rip a hole in time and space. Most of this is explained in many expository text boxes by McKinney, who seems to be trying to fit a 4-6 issue miniseries in two issues.

A feeling of being overstuffed aside, “Nubia” is not without its charms. Martinez and Morales are veteran storytellers, who excel at everything from an exciting bout of close quarters combat between Grail and Nubia with a poster-worthy splash of the protagonist saying, “I am Wonder Woman” to capturing Nubia’s pained facial expressions when Aunt Nancy asks her for a favor in return for helping her solve the mystery behind these artifact thefts. Speaking of Aunt Nancy, McKinney’s background writing YA urban fantasy comes in handy with some of the little world-building touches like having her run a night club called the Ebony Web with a spider on the door and with a (quite handsome) minotaur bouncer. With her punnish name, knowledge of almost everything, and propensity for single malt whisky, Aunt Nancy has a lot of personality and would be an intriguing permanent edition to Nubia’s supporting cast, or the Wonder Woman side of the DC Universe as it’s good to see a god from West African folklore pop up. Also, I think this might be the first time that the wonderful city of Atlanta has popped up in a DC comic that I’ve read.

However, Nubia’s heroism and Aunt Nancy’s charisma don’t completely make up for a story that is mostly telling and not showing with L.L. McKinney basically undercutting the two page vision that Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales draw earlier in the story by explaining it all in a wall of text. On more of a new reader front, she also doesn’t really introduce Grail except that’s she strong (By defeating Nubia in combat.), generically evil, and wants the artifacts. If I hadn’t (unfortunately) read Geoff Johns’ Justice League run, I wouldn’t know that she was Darkseid’s daughter and basically the Anti-Life version of Wonder Woman. I mean, this is the comic book equivalent of a two episode mini Big Bad arc on a CW show so we don’t need a super deep villain, but including this context could deepen the threat against Nubia and reality. I really wanted to like the Nubia story and look forward to McKinney’s graphic novel take on the character, but it was disappointed and definitely felt like a first published comic.

Overall, Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1 has one strong, epic story and another story with potential that it doesn’t fully live up to that also shows the difficulty of transitioning from prose fiction to comics. However, this book is definitely worth picking up for Jen Bartel’s career best take on the final battle between good and evil in the DC Universe with punches that make galaxies trembles and facial expressions that will make you tear up while Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad write a Diana, who is trying to cling onto hope in an utterly no-win situation.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, L.L. McKinney
Art: Jen Bartel, Alitha Martinez with Mark Morales
Colors: Jen Bartel, Emilio Lopez
Letterer: Pat Brosseau, Becca Carey
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

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John Ridley Explores Tim Fox’s Whereabouts in The Next Batman: Second Son

Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley’s groundbreaking take on Tim Fox as The Next Batman has been a runaway hit, receiving critical acclaim from press and fans alike, as well as second printings for the first two issues of Future State: The Next Batman!

In addition to his upcoming short story in Batman: Black and White #3 (on sale February 23), DC and Ridley have more in store to expand the growing legacy of this new Dark Knight. The Next Batman: Second Son is a new miniseries, launching weekly digital chapters beginning February 23. The first three digital chapters will be collected into the debut print issue, available at comic book stores on April 6.

Now that the world knows Tim Fox is behind the mask fighting against The Magistrate in Gotham City, what’s the truth behind his origin and his connection to the current DC Universe? Featuring art by Tony Akins, Travel Foreman, and Mark Morales this miniseries answers the questions behind Tim’s estrangement from Lucius Fox and the rest of the Fox family and his evolution from a man of mystery to Gotham’s newest guardian.

On June 29, experience all of Ridley’s trailblazing work returning Tim Fox to comics in the Batman by John Ridley Deluxe Edition. This 128-page must-have hardcover collection is led by an original story by Ridley, with art by Dustin Nguyen and collects Future State: The Next Batman issues #1-#4, in addition to stories from Batman: Black and White and “Family Ties,” from Batman: The Joker War Zone #1.

Review: Star Wars: High Republic #1

Star Wars: High Republic #1

Star Wars: High Republic #1 helps kick off a new era in the Star Wars Universe. It takes us to a time well before the fall of the Jedi. It’s a time of peace ruled by the Republic and protected by the Jedi Knights. The Starlight Beacon has been launched. A space station in the far reaches of the Outer Rim, it’s a ray of hope for the galaxy. It’s also very Star Trek.

Star Wars: High Republic #1 is an interesting debut. We get a “new world” with new characters. While it’s interesting it’s also a mix as far as excitement. There’s a bit of pulp adventure and feels like the opening to a potentially interesting science fiction world. That world being Star Trek.

There’s an emphasis on order, peace, and hope. The Republic feels very much like the Federation in this way. The feel of samurai or even the Western genre isn’t present. There’s an air of naivete about it all too. The positive aspects. The “clean” look of the world. The talk of hope. It all feels quaint in some ways. A bit childish and simple. This is just the beginning though.

A darkness is looming, and the series’ success will hinge on what exactly that is. Writer Cavan Scott has set up a potentially interesting series but as far as a start, this has a bit of a wait-and-see feel about it all.

Ario Anindito‘s art is very solid. With ink by Mark Morales and color by Annalisa Leoni there’s a crisp, clean look to it all. The design fits the world of Star Wars but it’s a “newer” vibe to it all. The characters are interesting and there’s a nice mix of new and familiar. There’s alien races we’ve seen before and we’re also delivered a lot of new as well. The art helps ease us into this world with that sort of mix.

Star Wars: High Republic #1 is an ok start hampered by it’s almost too-innocent take. That’s part of the point of it all and where this world is at this time but compared to what we’ve seen and our world now, it feels quaint. There’s potential here and this is a series I’m going to stick with. But, the Pollyanna take, so far, feels rather off in this day and time.

Story: Cavan Scott Art: Ario Anindito
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Annalisa Leoni
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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DC Officially Announces Future State, a Two-Month Line Wide Event

DC Comics is kicking off 2021 with a look into the future with DC Future State. The rumored line-wide event has been revealed today. It kicks off in January 2021 and goes through 2021. DC Future State features a combination of monthly and twice-monthly oversize anthologies, as we well as a miniseries and one-shots,

DC Future State spotlights the World’s Greatest Super Heroes in fresh new roles, with all-new characters taking up their iconic mantles. DC Future State features an incredible array of creative talent, combining award-winning writers and artists with new voices from the worlds of TV, movies, and animation. In March 2021, the regular DC title lineup resumes, continuing existing storylines from 2020 and introducing new arcs for the year.

In DC Future State, the Multiverse has been saved from the brink of destruction, but the triumph of DC’s heroes has shaken loose the very fabric of time and space! The final chapter of Dark Nights: Death Metal (on sale January 5, 2021)  brings new life to DC’s Multiverse, kicking off this glimpse into the unwritten worlds of DC’s future!

A stellar array of writers and artists are on hand to deliver this unique look at beloved DC characters, including fan favorites such as Mariko Tamaki, Brian Michael Bendis, Gene Luen Yang, Joëlle Jones, Joshua Williamson, Nicola Scott, Cully Hamner, and John Timms, along with new voices such as award-winning screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), Brandon Vietti (Young Justice), Meghan Fitzmartin (SupernaturalDC Super Hero Girls), Brandon Easton (Thundercats, Transformers: War for Cybertron), Alitha Martinez (REPRESENT! It’s A Bird!), L.L. McKinney (Nubia: Real One), Paula Sevenbergen (Stargirl), and Siya Oum (Lola XOXO), among others.

Check out below to see what the future beholds!

Batman Family

In this future, Gotham City is controlled by the Magistrate. This villainous regime has taken control of the city, now under constant surveillance. All masked vigilantes have been outlawed and Batman has been killed. But led by an all-new Batman, a new assembly of Gotham’s guardians rise to give hope to all of those who lost it!

Oversized Comics:

Future State: The Next Batman #1-4

  • The Next Batman, by John Ridley, Nick Derington and Laura Braga
  • Outsiders, by Brandon Thomas and Sumit Kumar
  • Arkham Knights, by Paul Jenkins and Jack Herbert
  • Batgirls, by Vita Ayala and Aneke
  • Gotham City Sirens, by Paula Sevenbergen and Emanuela Lupacchino

Future State: Dark Detective #1-4

  • Dark Detective, by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora
  • Grifters, by Matthew Rosenberg and Carmine di Giandomenico
  • Red Hood, by Joshua Williamson and Giannis Milonogiannis

Monthly Miniseries:

  • Future State: Batman/Superman, by Gene Luen Yang and Ben Oliver
  • Future State: Catwoman, by Ram V and Otto Schmidt
  • Future State: Harley Quinn, by Stephanie Phillips and Simone Di Meo
  • Future State: Nightwing, by Andrew Constant and Nicola Scott
  • Future State: Robin Eternal, by Meghan Fitzmartin and Eddy Barrows
Superman Family

Due to his involvement in an international crisis happening in the near future, Clark Kent has been rejected by Earth, causing him to focus his lifesaving efforts outside his adopted home. He travels to Warworld to rise through the ranks of gladiatorial combat in order to defeat Mongul with the help of some unlikely heroes. Back in Metropolis, Clark’s son Jon has taken on the mantle of Superman. After seeing the horrors that befell Gotham, he bottles Metropolis in order to keep it safe, putting him at odds with Supergirl.

Connecting the two oversized Future State: Superman titles, Shilo Norman, the man known as Mister Miracle, finds himself caught between the city he grew up in and the battle-torn planet that could be his downfall.

Meanwhile in the Amazon rainforest, Yara Flor is chosen to be the new Wonder Woman. Years later, the new Superman and Wonder Woman join forces to save their cities in a new superhero team-up the likes of which the world has never seen.

Oversized Comics:

Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1-2

  • Superman of Metropolis, by Sean Lewis and John Timms
  • The Guardian, by Sean Lewis and Cully Hamner
  • Mister Miracle, by Brandon Easton and Valentine De Landro
Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1-2

Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1-4

  • Superman: Worlds of War, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Mikel Janin
  • Midnighter, by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Gleb Melnikov
  • Black Racer, by Jeremy Adams and Siya Oum
  • Mister Miracle, by Brandon Easton and Valentine De Landro
Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1-4

Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1-2

  • Immortal Wonder Woman, by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Jen Bartel
  • Nubia, by L.L. McKinney, Alitha E. Martinez and Mark Morales
Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1-2

Monthly Miniseries and One-Shots

  • Future State: House of El, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski (one-shot on sale February)
  • Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman, by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage
  • Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes, by Brian Michael Bendis and Riley Rossmo
  • Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman, by Dan Watters and Leila del Duca
  • Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex, by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (3-issue series ending March 2021)
  • Future State: Wonder Woman, by Joëlle Jones
Justice League Family

A thread of great change runs through the Justice League heroes: a new League is built upon secret identities (even from each other), but an old and evolved enemy will use these secrets to try and overthrow the world. For the supernatural heroes of Justice League Dark, the very fabric of reality has shifted, and heroes are being hunted.

For Flash, Shazam, and the Teen Titans, it all begins when the four Riders of the Apocalypse unleash hell in a battle at Titans Academy, Barry Allen is cut off from the Speed Force, a Famine-controlled Wally West may be beyond saving, and Billy Batson makes a deal with the devil that will change Shazam forever. Off-world, John Stewart and the remaining Green Lanterns are stranded in the shadow of a dead power battery; Jackson Hyde and Andy Curry are separated across the galaxy; and Amanda Waller executes her ultimate plan with a new but terrifyingly familiar Suicide Squad on Earth-3.

At the end of time, Swamp Thing reveals its true intention, ruling supreme until a remnant of humanity launches a rebellion, and Black Adam looks to the past as the only way to save the future of the Multiverse.

Oversized Comics:

Future State: Justice League #1-2

  • Justice League, by Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha
  • Justice League Dark, by Ram V and Marcio Takara
Future State: Justice League #1

Future State: Green Lantern #1-2

  • Last Lanterns, by Geoffrey Thorne and Tom Raney
  • Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, by Josie Campbell, Ryan Cady and Ernie Altbacker, with Sami Basri and Clayton Henry
Future State: Green Lantern #1

Future State: Suicide Squad #1-2

  • Suicide Squad, by Robbie Thompson and Javi Fernandez
  • Black Adam, by Jeremy Adams and Fernando Pasarin
Future State: Suicide Squad #1

Monthly Miniseries:

  • Future State: Aquaman, by Brandon Thomas and Daniel Sampere
  • Future State: The Flash, by Brandon Vietti and Dale Eaglesham
  • Future State: Teen Titans, by Tim Sheridan and Rafa Sandoval
  • Future State: SHAZAM!, by Tim Sheridan and Eduardo Pansica
  • Future State: Swamp Thing, by Ram V and Mike Perkins
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