Tag Archives: mike norton

Review: Superman: Heroes #1

Superman: Heroes #1

I’m totally okay with Brian Michael Bendis finally allowing Superman to reveal his secret identity as Clark Kent. It seems like a sales gimmick or one that will be walked back in a couple years. It’s remarkably in-character and makes up for the half-assed “mystery” that was Event Leviathan. Superman: Heroes #1 shows the reactions to the big reveal. It does so from a variety of perspectives from Lois Lane to the Justice League. Drawn by the fantastic Kevin Maguire! to Clark Kent’s high school chemistry teacher in a sweet story by Matt Fraction and Scott Godlewski. Fraction also pens Jimmy Olsen’s reaction to his “pal” losing the secret identity. That features slick, emotive art from his Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen collaborator Steve Lieber.

And wait, that not’s all. After being terse in the Maguire 12 panel grid sequences, Batman gets to open up to Wonder Woman about his true feelings in regards to Superman’s reveal. It’s a powerful story written by Greg Rucka and drawn in atmospheric shadows by Mike Perkins. However, there’s room for comedy too. Booster Gold finally gets to shout that Superman is Clark Kent after keeping it in for so long because he’s from the future. This comic is a true marriage of different tones. Art and writing styles from Bendis and Maguire set up a running Plastic man gag to Batman coming up with legit, devil’s advocate style arguments for why Superman revealing his secret identity to the world is a terrible idea.

Bendis, Fraction, Rucka, Maguire, Perkins, Lieber, Mike Norton, and Godlewski use Superman: Heroes to show how important Superman is to the both the community of heroes in the DC Universe and the superhero genre as a whole. They also show his roots in Smallville, connections to Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, and the consequences of his actions. The best parts of this comic are connected to Smallville. The opening scene features a great conversation between Ma and Pa Kent and young Clark about feeling different or weird and having a greater responsibility to the world because of his abilities.

Superman: Heroes #1

The Fraction/Godlewski Superman and his chemistry teacher scene is really Eisner-worthy. From Godlewski’s clean line and the vivid colors to the underlying theme that it’s been Clark’s work ethic and moral compass that made him a great hero and man and not his superpowers. I also love how he draws Superman’s smile. Even if this means he got a C- in molecular chemistry. Clark Kent is the kid at the end of the bench who hustles for every loose ball, or the student that stays up late and goes to extra tutoring sessions that just happens to have the power of a god. Matt Fraction demonstrates his understanding of Superman’s moral character that pervades the “Truth” storyline as well as his, Rucka, and Bendis’ take on the Metropolis side of the DC Universe.

As evidenced by the “King Superman” plotline brewing over in Superman, Bendis isn’t afraid to look at the negative consequences of Superman revealing his secret identity. That extends to the moral dilemma he’s in as the Daily Planet is owned by Marisol Leone. However, that will be covered in later stories. Maybe Action Comics once the “Year of the Villain” shenanigans are over.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, Rucka and Perkins dig into it immediately in the form of the other 2/3 of the Trinity have a spirited conversation where neither Bruce or Diana is in the right. I really love the panels at the end of scene where Perkins’ heavy shadows lighten, and Diana tells Bruce that maybe he’s jealous that Superman can live his life out in the open and whole. The specters of Tom King’s botched Bat-marriage hang in the shadows of this one. Rucka’s dialogue gets to the core of Batman’s identity issues that have pervaded his best stories. He can’t retire or be a public-facing, but must strike fear into criminals as an archetype of fear.

Superman: Heroes #1 is a high note for Brian Michael Bendis’ current run on the Superman titles. It also features insightful writing from Matt Fraction as well as Greg Rucka reminding readers that he’s one of the greatest Batman and Wonder Woman writers. On the visual side, Mike Perkins shows a conversation can have just as much power as a good fight scene. Kevin Maguire is still the master of the superhero group shot. Steve Lieber’s comedic timing and use of beats works for friends being open and vulnerable together. Even if you aren’t current on Bendis’ Superman comics, Superman: Heroes #1 is worth picking up and dropping $5.99 on. It’s an intelligent and heartwarming take on the first superhero.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Greg Rucka
Art: Kevin Maguire, Mike Perkins, Steve Lieber

Art: Mike Norton, Scott Godlewski Colors: Paul Mounts, Gabe Eltaeb
Colors: Andy Troy, Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Clayton Cowles, Troy Peteri, Simon Bowland
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: DC Crimes of Passion #1

DC Crimes of Passion #1

(W) James Tynion IV, Steve Orlando, Sina Grace, Jay Baruchel, Stephanie Phillips, Others (A) Greg Smallwood, Riley Rossmo, Andie Tong, Mike Norton, Anthony Spay, Others (CA) Yasmin Putri
In Shops: Feb 05, 2020
SRP: $9.99

Passion. Betrayal. Murder. When you’re a private investigator, these are things you experience daily. But when you add capes to the mix-like Batman, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn? Things get even messier. The name’s Slam Bradley, and I’m telling you that this year’s Valentine’s Day special has more intrigue than you can shake a stick at. Ten tales of love-the kind of love that can push people over the edge. Don’t miss it…or I’ll make you pay.

DC Crimes of Passion #1

Preview: Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year #1

Harley Quinn’s Villain of the Year #1

(W) Mark Russell (A) Mike Norton (CA) Amanda Conner
In Shops: Dec 11, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Harley Quinn hosts “Villainy’s Biggest Night” as the DCU’s most dastardly gather at the Hall of Doom to do what they do best-congratulate themselves! But one villain has a secret plan, fueled by years of being overlooked by his peers, and the burning desire to receive the praise he so rightly deserves… Don’t miss out on a one-of-a-kind comic book experience, with the winners decided by you, the fans! Who will be crowned DC’s Villain of the Year? Go to dcvillainoftheyear.com for more information!

Harley Quinn's Villain of the Year #1

DC Releases a First Look at Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1

Written by Mark Russell
Art by Mike Norton
Colors by Hi-Fi
Cover by Amanda Conner
In Shops: Dec 11, 2019
Final Orders Due: Nov 18, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Who is DC’s Villain of the Year? Find out the results of YOUR votes in Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1! Harley Quinn hosts “Villainy’s Biggest Night,” as the DCU’s most dastardly gather at the Hall of Doom to do what they do best—congratulate themselves! But one villain has a secret plan, fueled by years of being overlooked by his peers, and the burning desire to receive the praise he so rightly deserves… Don’t miss out on a one-of-a-kind comic book experience, with the winners decided by you, the fans!

Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1

Preview: Batman Annual #4

Batman Annual #4

(W) Tom King (A) Mike Norton, Jorge Fornes (CA) Lee Weeks
In Shops: Oct 30, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Now features art by Jorge Fornes and Mike Norton and a new story: What’s it like to be Batman from day to day? What are the challenges that the Dark Knight Detective faces? From thieves to marauding monsters, writer Tom King takes us across the gamut of experience to show the vast scope of what it takes to fill the Batman’s boots…and then what it means when he goes back home.

Batman Annual #4

Preview: Wonder Twins #8 (of 12)

Wonder Twins #8 (of 12)

(W) Mark Russell (A) Mike Norton (CA) Stephen Byrne
In Shops: Oct 09, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The Wonder Twins are charged with their most important mission yet-planning the 30-year reunion for Morris High School! As it turns out, the Class of ’89 is full of unresolved conflict and unrequited love, and if that alone doesn’t ruin the event, Jayna’s former best friend Polly will!

Wonder Twins #8 (of 12)

NYCC 2019: Dark Horse and Panda Money Toys Presents Alter Nation: The Mystery of Whining Winny

Dark Horse Comics and Panda Mony Toys have announced a new publishing partnership based on Panda Mony Toy’s line of exciting and unique human-animal hybrid figures, Alter Nation!

At a top-secret island base off the California coast, these human-animal hybrids, also known as the GK Delta Special Forces, dedicate themselves to protecting humanity from forces that no typical human can defeat – and no one is allowed to know. Find out what happens when they discover that their origin isn’t what it seems and is part of a larger cover-up. On October 31, 2019, Dark Horse and Panda Mony Toys will release a 12-page digital comic preview of an upcoming graphic novel, Alter Nation: The Mystery of Whining Winny

In Alter Nation: The Mystery of Whining Winny, the GK Delta team is the only line of defense against threats that normal humans can’t stop. Join the team as they’re dispatched to Nevada where it’s rumored that a monster is menacing locals and this monster may be the newest member of the team. If not, GK Delta will be trapped between this new monster and the townspeople they need to save.

Alter Nation: The Mystery of Whining Winny is written by Tim Seeley, illustrated by Mike Norton, colored by Allen Passalaqua, and lettered by Crank!!

The Alter Nation:The Mystery of Whining Winny 12-pagedigital comic preview will be available for fans to download for free on October 31, 2019. Fans can pre-order Alter Nation’s line of toys through the Panda Mony Toys store, which will go on sale on October 31, 2019, and each toy will contain a free mini-comic book. The Alter Nation:The Mystery of Whining Winny original graphic novel will go on sale in summer 2020, and will retail for $14.99.

Alter Nation:The Mystery of Whining Winny

Preview: Marvel Action Classics: Spider-Man Two-In-One

Marvel Action Classics: Spider-Man Two-In-One

Marc Sumerak, Peter David (w) • David Nakayama, Mike Norton (a) • Patrick Scherberger (c)

Two classic Spider-Man tales, pulled from the legendary Vault of Heroes! First—a chance encounter with the Enchantress pits Spidey against Thor—with the whole of Asgard right behind! Then, when Flash Thompson gets a bite from a werewolf, Spidey seeks the aid of the sorcerer supreme—Doctor Strange!

FC • 48 pages • $4.99

Marvel Action Classics: Spider-Man Two-In-One

Review: Grumble #6

Grumble #6

What the Hell are we doing in New Jersey? Eddie and Tala barrel full-force into the Garden State in search of the one man who can turn Eddie human again. But standing in their way are some small-time mobsters, a crew of inter-dimensional bounty hunters, and an army of toothless grannies! Oh, and Eddie summons The Devil! New arc! A perfect jumping on point!

It’s rare that I find a comic I enjoy as much as Grumble, and yet have so little to say about it. The series stays on the fantasy side of things, in a world where the supernatural and interdimensional could easily be one and the same, where talking dogs aren’t as out of the ordinary as you’d think (though in fairness this could be because Tala is making people forget/not notice that Eddie is a bipedal pug). Regardless of the reasoning, it makes for a fantastic comic.

Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is effortlessly entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story. More importantly, they’re very consistent with each comic – there’s something with each issue that hooks you in and pulls you further into the world as one of the main characters does something that leaves the other speechless (usually Eddie) that hasn’t failed to leave me entertained.

After the revelations of the previous issue, Grumble #6 eases up a little and allows you to digest what you know, and allows you to adjust your perspectives a little as the comic goes on. The pacing of this issue after the last is perfect – Roberts allows you to breath and digest the emotional impact of issue five while keeping the story moving with his customary wit and charm. Norton, once again, is also brilliant. His page construction, the facial expressions and body language often made me smile as much as the words upon the page.

Truly one of my favourite series on the racks right now… one could easily say it’s a magical experience.

…I’ll stop talking now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Grumble #5

Eddie and Tala have narrowly escaped the forces of good and evil, but now they face the ultimate danger: each other!

Grumble #3 is what far too few comics are lately; fun. And funny, without ever coming off as forced; nor is it the main focus of the comic as Grumble is naturally funny whilst telling a really enjoyable story.” I quote that paragraph because aside from updating the issue number, the same can be said quite perfectly about Grumble #5. Rafer Roberts and Mike Norton have created a comic that is remarkably entertaining and funny without sacrificing the strength of the story.

That probably sounds familiar, right? It should. It’s the opening from my last review of Grumble #4, and the same is just as true now as it was. Roberts and Norton are nothing if not consistent, which is great news for fans of this series.

This issue sees us taking a bit of a look back at the events leading up to the first issue as we learn a little about Tala and her back story – and the revelation in this issue will hit you harder than a freight train. I’m not going to tell you want it is, but you will go back and reread the previous four issues in an entirely new light.

I’m not going to lie to you friends, there’s really not a lot I can talk about here without revealing too much of the comic itself; Roberts does reveal a little more about the world at large, hinting toward a conflict in the recent past and revealing more about the force driving Tala in the series that until now we really haven’t seen or read much of (unless… well, maybe we have and I didn’t notice it initially). Grumble #5 will change your perceptions on the series, and while we now have a bit more light shed on the tale’s direction, we’ve also got a lot of questions that need answers.

No, I won’t ask them here. Spoilers, and all.

I’ve praised the series before, and rightly so, but this issue is a huge payoff for those having read the previous ones. It’s a brilliant comic because of how Roberts and Norton build upon everything in the series so far and present a fully formed story that we’re only now beginning to figure out.

I need the sixth issue now.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton
 Colours: Marissa Louise Letters: Crank 
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Albatross Funnybooks provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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