Tag Archives: michael w. conrad

DC announces Tales From Earth-6: A Celebration of Stan Lee!

This December, in honor of what would have been Stan Lee’s 100th birthday, DC is releasing Tales from Earth-6: A Celebration of Stan Lee, a commemorative one-shot anthology featuring new stories based on Lee’s (with film producer Michael Uslan) interpretations of core DC characters from his Just Imagine series of one-shots (2001-2002).

This 96-page Prestige format one-shot hits comic book stores and participating digital platforms on Tuesday, December 27; the anthology features 10 new stories spotlighting the Just Imagine characters from an incredible mix of celebrated comic book storytellers and new and emerging voices in comic books. In addition to a new story from Michael Uslan, this anthology includes stories written by Mark Waid, Jerry Ordway, Kenny Porter, Stephanie Williams, Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan, Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, Meghan Fitzmartin, Steve Orlando, and Zac Thompson.

Story art and variant covers will be delivered by some of the best artists in comics, including Lee Weeks, Kevin Maguire, Jerry Ordway, Karl Mostert, Juan Ferreyra, Anthony Marques, Pablo M. Collar, Belén Ortega, Max Dunbar, and Hayden Sherman. In addition to a wraparound main cover by Jim Cheung, this can’t-miss issue features variant covers by Steve Beach, Riley Rossmo, Jason Howard, Kelley Jones, Ariel Colon, Kyle Hotz, Christian Ward, Clayton Henry, Jorge Corona, Belén Ortega, and Dan Panosian, plus a 1-in-25 ratio variant cover by Cully Hamner.

Valiant reveals a much different future for the publisher

Bloodshot Unleashed

A recent press release from Valiant hyping the upcoming Bloodshot Unleashed wasn’t exciting for what it said, it raised eyebrows for what it didn’t and what it hinted at.

The publisher is currently going through some rocky times though specifics seem scarce and it looks like those issues are impacting the publisher’s release schedule. In recent months releases have been scarce, far less than the usual release schedule pre-pandemic and during some of it. The publisher will now move putting out one release per month according to CBR. Reading in between the lines of Valiant’s press release, this lines up with much of what’s danced around.

Writer Steve Foxe announced on Twitter that Archer & Armstrong Forever #4 would be the last issue of the series. Not the original plan, the series was solicited through #6. According to Foxe, “plans changed” leading to the unfinished series.

With that series no longer being released, Valiant’s next release will be Blooshot Unleahsed, an adults-only series from writer Deniz Camp and artist Jon Davis-Hunt. It’ll come to shops on September 21st with issues coming out monthly. It’s planned for four issues.

That means the recently released Book of Shadows will be pushed back. The first issue from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Vicente Cifuentes was released in July. The next issue won’t see print until January 2023, a six month gap. X-O Manowar Unconquered by Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad and Liam Sharp will then launch in March 2023. That comic was originally scheduled for December 2022.

Also awaiting release is Eternal Warrior: Scorched Earth, an original graphic novel Kickstarted in December and expected to be released in November 2022. That project raised a little over $55,000 from 531 individuals and the latest update said the graphic novel was on schedule. This was before the recent issues which has caused individuals to go to the comments of the project voicing their concerns.

The publisher seems to be having a rough time of late finding its footing. Staff has left and the company itself has dipped its toes into the digital world with NFTs and other “get rich quick” pivots. Licensing has increased with shoes and an upcoming toy line but from the outside it looks to be a company attempting to find its way throwing darts and seeing what lands.

Preview: Trial of the Amazons #2

Trial of the Amazons #2

(W) Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, and Joëlle Jones (A) Joëlle Jones, Elena Casagrande, Skylar Patridge, and Laura Braga (CA) Jim Cheung
In Shops: Apr 26, 2022
SRP: $4.99

Written by Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, and Joelle Jones Art by Joelle Jones, Elena Casagrande, Skylar Patridge, and Laura Braga With the trial postponed and the greater evil revealed, the very existence of the Amazons is at stake! A foe from Diana’s past has come through Doom’s Doorway seeking revenge and anarchy to destroy Wonder Woman and her people once and for all. Only then can he escape Themyscira and bring Man’s World to its knees! Now the Amazons must unite to save their way of life and carry out the sacred mission of peace and justice passed down to them by the goddesses all those years ago. Led by Wonder Woman, these women are now ready for the battle they’ve spent all their lives preparing for. Can anything stop the combined strength of the Bana-Mighdall, Esquecida, and Themyscirans? Find out in the final chapter of our crossover that will change the world of the Amazons for good!

Trial of the Amazons #2

Valiant announces X-O Manowar Unconquered, Bloodshot Unleashed, and Book of Shadows

The Year of Valiant, continues as the publisher has announced three brand-new titles!

ShadowmanPunk MamboEternal WarriorDoctor Mirage. And [CLASSIFIED]. The supernatural protectors of the Valiant Universe unite for the very first time to stand against a terrifying ancient threat. No one is safe as Exarch Fane has his cold hands on the Book of Shadows. From the master of horror Cullen Bunn and rising star artist Riccardo LatinaBook of Sadows is a supernatural event that forms a brand-new team in the Valiant Universe… but will they be enough to stop Exarch Fane’s wrath? The all-new team arrives this July.

Book of Shadows
Promo Art by Riccardo Latina & Nick Filardi

When living weapons break out of a top-secret facility, the nanite-infused supersoldier Bloodshot must journey across the United States to stop these twisted and lethal creations from unleashing more bloodshed and devastation on the neglected small towns and forgotten corners of the country. Will Bloodshot need to kill all of them… or can some of them be redeemed just like he was? From Ringo Award-nominated writer Deniz Camp and acclaimed artist Jon Davis-Hunt comes Bloodshot Unleashed, the popular character’s first mature readers story that truly lives up to its name. The mayhem begins this September.

Bloodshot Unleashed
Promo Art by Jon-Davis Hunt

Aric of Dacia is X-O Manowar, a relentless and brave warrior torn from the past who wields the most powerful sentient armor in the universe. When X-O’s latest battle brings him into uncharted cosmic territory, he encounters a powerful enemy that will rip open old wounds and force Aric into treacherous, uncertain waters. Fan-favorite co-writers Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad are joined by blockbuster artist Liam Sharp to present X-O Manowar Unconquered, a gripping sci-fi epic that embraces the beloved character’s history while challenging him in a whole new way. X-O’s next battle begins this November.

X-O Manowar Unconquered
Promo Art by Liam Sharp

Review: Batgirls #3

Batgirls #3

The Batgirls are facing a lot of issues and enemies are all around. There’s a serial killer. There’s Tutor. And then there’s the Saints as well. Plus, they’re a new trio that’s figuring out how to work together and their dynamic. It all comes together for a fun and entertaining comic that’s full of kinetic energy. Batgirls #3 is another solid entry with eye-popping visuals and some great humor.

Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad have delivered another fantastic issue with Batgirls #3. The team is confronting Tutor and getting a better idea as to how the mysterious villain is controlling everyone. They why… well that’s still up in the air.

Cloonan and Conrad have put together a hell of an issue that’s full of solid action and a lot of laughs as has become a standard of the series. The Batgirls deliver a lot of the action but also some humor as Barbara runs into an old flame while they’re on a mission. The back and forth is fantastic taking what would be a rather dull and slow point of the story and ramping it up with some fun banter.

The comic is full of small moments that really stand out. A call between Barb and Dick is interesting, then delivers a twist. A small moment at the end adds a lot of heart. Then there’s small details of the art that add a hell of a lot.

Jorge Corona along with colors by Sarah Stern and Ivan Plascencia and lettering by Becca Carey deliver what feels like a pop art explosion. The series is a perfect match of attitude and visuals. The colors are bright and jump from the page creating a feel of kinetic energy that’s beyond fitting for the series and characters. The art reflects the main villain who’s a graffiti artist and the use of colors all comes together in a solid synergy of style and story.

Batgirls #3 is another fantastic issue that perfectly combines the story and art. Action, humor, and a little heart along with some unexpected twists make for another winning entry for the series. This is a comic to look forward to with each release. It’s beyond infectious.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad Art: Jorge Corona
Color: Sarah Stern, Ivan Plascencia Letterer: Becca Carey
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: Batgirls #2

Batgirls #2

Batgirls‘ debut was such a shot of kinetic energy. Picking up after “Fear State”, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Barbara Gordon are a bit wobbly having to find a new headquarters and lay low. The Batgirls are being blamed for the destruction of the clock tower, their former base, and have a foe who’s as good on the computer as Barbara. Now, they have some disciples of the Magistrate to contend with too. Batgirls #2 introduces us formally to The Saints, a trio of villains who follow Simon Saint and use his technology to fight crime.

Written by Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad Batgirls #2 kicks things off with those solid additions to the Batman rogue gallery. Each character of the trio could be a stand-alone villain but the three together bring a shot of technology that you don’t see a ton of in Batman comics. Like the Magistrate himself, the three each have a tech suit that gives them a style and focus that feels a bit like a video game. Each has a role. There’s Tarsus, the brute/tank, Valentine who is the assassin type, and then Assisi is the tech person and sniper. While each has a silo we’ve seen before, it’s still an interesting group and switches up the terror that Simon Saint brought with his Magistrate program.

What’s particularly solid about these two issues is that they seem to have a nice theme running through them. The Batgirls, The Saints, and the mystery zombie issue, all have a tinge of blind faith about them. Each is a group that’s following someone and putting their trust, and blinders, on because of that. How deep the series will explore this will be interesting but there’s a great dynamic being set up all around.

The art by Jorge Corona with color by Sarah Stern and lettering by Becca Carey is unique. The comic continues to pop with the same kinetic energy from that first issue. The art style is “pop art” in the same way tagging and graffiti is. And they share a style in many ways, in fact graffiti is part of the story. There’s an exaggeration between the art styles that works here to bring about the youthful energy of the characters from the comic and delivers the exuberance in visuals that jump from the page.

Batgirls #2 is another solid issue. It delivers the same excitement and fun as the debut issue. There’s a style about it that lets you know this is a comic that knows what it is… and that’s a hell of a lot of fun. Even if you don’t know the characters, this is a series to check out and join in on. It’s hard to get through it without finding yourself smiling and enjoying the energetic ride.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad Art: Jorge Corona
Color: Sarah Stern Letterer: Becca Carey
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.65 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Batgirls #1

Batgirls #1

It’s been building to this for a while, and they’re finally here in their own series! Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle now have their own series and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. They not only need to get used to a new headquarters, and living together, but they need to deal with the mysterious hacker Seer and some really bad public relations. There’s also curfew too. Batgirls #1 brings everything together for a solid debut that should leave fans of the characters and new readers very pleased.

Written by Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad, Batgirls #1 picks up on the storylines that have been seeded in other series in previous months. The old bell tower is trashed and Cassandra and Stephanie have been framed to look like terrorists. There’s also the hacker Seer who is giving Oracle a run for her money and forcing all the old tech tricks to be thrown out the window.

Batgirls #1 feels like it is going a similar route as the recent Batman storylines in that it takes the characters back to basics. All the crazy contraptions and supercomputers are gone making things a bit more grounded. Like Bruce Wayne losing his fortune, Barbara has lost her amazing network and must start over with a low-tech solution to try to achieve a lot of what she was already doing. Out are the amazing communication systems and in are walkie-talkies.

There’s also a focus on public perception which has been key in the Batman mythos since early on. The Batgirls have been framed and the public think they’re dangerous. They can’t go out and fight crime as easily as they once did so need to go back to sneaking around and keeping a lower profile. That’s at the behest of Barbara who acts as a mentor to the two. The dynamic of the trio is great and you have two young and brash individuals with the much more pragmatic and conservative approach to things. The interactions of them all are great and sure to make the series really stand out especially compared to the relationship between Batman and Robin. It’s a very different take on things that so far really stands out.

Jorge Corona‘s art style pops. With color by Sarah Stern and lettering by Becca Carey, the comic has a look that mixes youthful exuberance and energy with the chaotic aspects of the story. With blues and greens, purples, and pinks, the comic has a look about it that stands out from the shelves. It’s unique and different delivering a visual treat where the look matches the content well. Corona’s fights have a energy and flair about them that captures the duo in the center. There’s also a solid switch from the action and humor to some horror for a bit too. The art fits the comic so well and is another reason this debut issue stands out.

Batgirls #1 is a great balance of action, humor, and mystery. While it continues the back-up shorts, the first issue is a “fresh start” that new readers can easily pick up and enjoy and long time readers will want to see what’s next. There’s so much packed in a comic that knows what it is from the start and makes its vision and voice clear. One hell of a debut and great start to help wrap up DC’s year.

Story: Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad Art: Jorge Corona
Color: Sarah Stern Letterer: Becca Carey
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Batman #116

Batman #116

Fear State” continues in part 5 that has everything coming together as Batman and Miracle Molly confront the Scarecrow. Batman #116 is fully of action and drama with some fantastic moments.

James Tynion IV does an excellent job of bringing so much together in Batman #116. There’s really dramatic and “cinematic” moments that highlight an issue that at times feels epic at scale. Balanced well are Batman and Miracle Mommy taking on Scarecrow, some more on Magistrate-01, Ivy, and so much more. It’s an issue that’s bursting from the seems with so much packed in. So, lets take each moment at a time.

Saint’s forces have invaded Ivy’s lair. Standing against them is Ghost-Maker who brings a swashbuckling classic style to the fight. For a character that was a shrug to start, he’s grown into one I really like delivering an over the top style in everything. But, this is all going on in Ivy’s lair. She’s not too happy with it all and the series has hinted that we should expect something big for her in the future. That begins here in a moment that feels like it should be on a movie screen. Epic is an understatement and could be an entire issue and event by itself.

Batman and Miracle Molly’s adventure has them confronting Scarecrow. Tynion delivers a lot of emotion with that as Scarecrow does his thing. But, it also turns into a rather shocking moment as well. It leads to a new confrontation between Magistrate-01 and Batman and a double-page spread of action that’s fantastic. One panel in particular is amazing as a blade gets a bit close to Batman. This has summer popcorn film all about it.

And that’s just a small bit of an issue that feels like a popcorn flick on the printed page.

The art by Jorge Jimenez is fantastic. With color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the issue’s visuals are everything you’d want from a comic book. It pops in every sense with amazing colors and a great flow to it all. What’s great is that the team gives us some visuals that feel like “traditional” Batman while putting on their own spin. Magistrate-01 confronting Batman is fantastic with two moments really standing out visually. Scarecrow’s mask being taken off feels terrorizing for a brief moment, the madness unleashed. The series has a style that’s all its own blending the past with the neon manga-inspired style of “Future State”.

We also get a backup story by Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad with art by Jorge Corona, color by Sarah Stern, and lettering by Becca Carey. Stephanie and Cass are in the tower with Barbara long gone. They’re confronted by Simon Saint’s team who do the unthinkable. It’s a sliver of a story but the impact feels like it’s one that’ll reverberate for years to come. It also sets up an intriguing dynamic for everything to come. It also again shows the extreme that Saint and his forces will go.

Batman #116 is another solid chapter of “Fear State”. There’s an epic scale to it all yet also feels like so much is packed into the issue. None of it feels shorted at all. It’s an impressive balancing act and a highlight of one of the best Batman storylines in years.

Story: James Tynion IV, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad Art: Jorge Jimenez, Jorge Corona
Color: Tomeu Morey, Sarah Stern Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Becca Carey
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Double Walker by Michael Conrad and Noah Bailey Available July 13th from comiXology Originals

From writer Michael W. Conrad and artist Noah Bailey, the creators of the acclaimed graphic novel Tremor Dose, comes an all-new original graphic novel: Double Walker. This mind-bending tale of neurotic folk horror written by Conrad and illustrated by Bailey, arrives July 13, 2021 from comiXology Originals, the exclusive digital content line of comiXology, an Amazon company, with lettering by Taylor Esposito and designs by Kyle Arends.

In Double Walker, Americans Cully and Gemma McCarthy decide to take one last trip before their carefree, childless days come to an end. Headed to the magical Scottish Highlands to hit up all the tourist locations, their romantic getaway soon spirals into a nightmare full of paranoia and violence. While staying at a B&B, the young couple soon find themselves at the local pub where they meet a barkeep who weaves tales of Scottish myths and legends and learn of a bizarre string of murders in the area. Haunted by the stories and their recent personal tragedy, their marriage is challenged, forcing them to confront their deepest, darkest fears.

Conrad has returned to his horror roots with Double Walker. “I have always been fascinated by psychology and human motivation, my background in the mental health field will always inform every story I tell,” says Conrad. “While I love writing for mainstream comics, a book like Double Walker allows me to push myself further into the surreal, twisted, and often terrifying worlds where I feel most at home. The worlds Noah and I are able to create with comiXology Originals are our own, places where anything can happen, and no one is safe.”

Bailey’s traditional mixed media work is presented here with a fresh, dream-like take on the four-color palette. The artwork all at once lures you into the fantastic gloominess of the fairytale environments and violently attacks with vibrant scenes of brutality. Bailey provides Double Walker with a pace and tension rarely seen in Western comics.

Together, Conrad and Bailey weave another twisted tale of identity, anxiety, and fear that will linger with readers day and night.

Tremor Dose arrives in print from Dark Horse Comics on November 30, 2021, and is available for pre-order now through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local comic shop.

ComiXology Originals titles are available at no additional cost for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited, and for purchase on the Amazon Kindle Store and comiXology. Prime Reading offers all Amazon Prime members a rotating selection of over a thousand top Kindle books, magazines, short works, comic books, children’s books, and more – all at no additional cost. Kindle Unlimited gives customers access to more than 1 million titles, including thousands of audio books, and current magazines for just $9.99 a month with a free trial period. ComiXology Unlimited offers over 30,000 comics, graphic novels and manga for just $5.99 a month with a 30-day free trial.

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

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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