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Preview: The Swamp Thing #2

The Swamp Thing #2

Written by: Ram V.
Art by: Mike Perkins

The trials of Levi Kamei, the new avatar of the Green, grow darker as the Pale Wanderer’s bloody spree leaves a trail of death across the Sonoran Desert. While his “lessons” begin to show Levi the true nature of what he is becoming, it is Jennifer Reece who’ll show Levi that he must contend with his past and his trauma in order to stop the murderous wraith. Will Levi Kamei grasp his newfound place in this world as the Swamp Thing? Or will his fears consume him before the new avatar can even take root? Find out as this eternal conflict of life and death comes to a head!

The Swamp Thing #2

DC Announces DC Pride Anthology and Crush & Lobo

DC has announced new releases coming to store shelves in June. DC Pride is an 80-page anthology comic featuring LGBTQIA+ characters from across the DC Universe. Crush & Lobo is a new eight-issue miniseries written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Amancay NahuelpanCrush & Lobo will launch on June 1 and DC Pride will publish on June 8. DC will also publish a series of nine Pride-themed variant covers in June, showcasing DC’s top characters as realized by the comic book industry’s leading artists.

DC Pride #1 will feature LGBTQIA+ characters from all corners of DC’s ever-expanding Universe, including cameos by fan favorites Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Alan Scott, Midnighter, Apollo, Extraño, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and more. The DCPride creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, are:

  • Batwoman (Kate Kane) by James Tynion IV & Trung Le Nguyen
  • Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn by Mariko Tamaki & Amy Reeder
  • Midnighter by Steve Orlando & Stephen Byrne
  • Flash of Earth-11 (Jess Chambers) by Danny Lore & Lisa Sterle
  • Green Lantern (Alan Scott) & Obsidian by Sam Johns & Klaus Janson
  • Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) by Andrew Wheeler & Luciano Vecchio
  • Dreamer by Nicole Maines & Rachel Stott
  • Renee Montoya by Vita Ayala and Skylar Patridge
  • Pied Piper by Sina Grace, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Additionally, DC Pride #1 will include full-page profiles of DCTV’s LGBTQIA+ characters and the actors who play them, and fans of The CW’s Supergirl will be thrilled to see the first comic book appearance of Dreamer, a trans woman superhero, in a story written by actor Nicole Maines, who plays Nia Nal/Dreamer on Supergirl.

Rounding out the DC Pride anthology is a forward by Marc Andreyko (Love is Love), single-page pin-ups by artists Kris Anka, Sophie Campbell, Mildred Louis, Travis Moore, Nick Robles, and Kevin Wada, with more surprises to come! The DC Pride #1 cover is by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Tamra Bonvillain.

DC Pride #1

DC will also release a series of Pride themed variant covers showcasing DC’s leading characters through the month of June, giving fans the opportunity to purchase comics featuring covers with Batman, Harley, Ivy, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more, all by cutting-edge comic book artists!

  • Batman #109 Pride variant cover by Jen Bartel
  • Crush & Lobo #1 Pride variant cover by Yoshi Yoshitani
  • DC Pride #1 Pride variant cover by Jen Bartel
  • Harley Quinn #4 Pride variant cover by Kris Anka
  • Nightwing #81 Pride variant cover by Travis G. Moore
  • Superman #32 Pride variant cover by David Talaski
  • Teen Titans Academy #4 Pride variant cover by Stephen Byrne
  • Wonder Girl #2 Pride variant cover by Kevin Wada
  • Wonder Woman #774 Pride variant cover by Paulina Ganucheau

Crush & Lobo spins out of the pages of Teen Titans Academy, and will debut with a cover by Kris Anka, a Pride variant cover by Yoshi Yoshitani, a 1:25 ratio variant by Christian Ward, plus an exclusive Dan Hipp team variant for participating retailers. In this new eight-issue miniseries publishing between June 2021 and January 2022, Crush, daughter of the Czarnian bounty hunter Lobo, is in full-on self-destruct mode! After rage-quitting the Teen Titans and blowing up her relationship with her girlfriend Katie, Crush decides it’s time to finally confront her father in space jail and get her baggage sorted before she wrecks everything. Like father, like daughter?

DC will also publish GLAAD Media Award-nominated Suicide Squad: Bad Blood by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo on April 27, DC’s gothic LGBTQIA+ romance Poison Ivy: Thorns by Kody Keplinger and Sara Kipin on June 1, and Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani’s highly anticipated YA graphic novel, I Am Not Starfirewill publish on July 27 as part of the publisher’s overall Pride plans in 2021. Lois Lane by Greg Rucka and Mike PerkinsFar Sector by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell and You Brought Me The Ocean by Alex Sánchez and Julie Maroh have also been nominated for GLAAD Media Awards in 2021!

Preview: The Swamp Thing #1

The Swamp Thing #1

Written by: Ram V.
Art by: Mike Perkins

Swamp Thing returns in a new 10-issue series that stars Levi Kamei as the next Guardian of the Green. Unable to control his transformation into the monstrous Swamp Thing, Levi is thrust into the harsh, unforgiving mystery of grisly murders committed by a supernatural desert legend. Levi must revisit past events in his homeland of India and face the deadly reality of a ravenous new villain in order to comprehend what he is truly, and horrifyingly, becoming. A new era of global action and horror blossoms here, and Swamp Thing will be at the root of it!

The Swamp Thing #1

Preview: Generations Forged #1

Generations Forged #1

Written by: Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, Robert Venditti
Art by: Bryan Hitch, Dan Jurgens, Mike Perkins, Bernard Chang

Dispersed through time by the villain Dominus, our ragtag team of generational heroes-featuring 1939 Batman, Kamandi, Superboy, Steel, Starfire, Sinestro, Booster Gold, and Dr. Light-must find a way to restore the timeline…and what they ultimately discover is something far, far greater. You’ll have to read it to believe it as time dies…and generations rise!

Generations Forged #1

Review: Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung’s apocalyptic Swamp Thing yarn comes to a conclusion in Future State: Swamp Thing #2. Swamp Thing, his children, and the last remnants of humanity storm a STAR Labs bunker in Canada where Jason Woodrue is using the body of the superhero Obsidian to black out the sun forever and bring an end to the world. Swamp Thing #2 is definitely heavier on the action than the previous installment, but it also sets up kind of an ideological duel between Swamp Thing and one of his greatest villains, Woodrue aka the Floronic Man. Basically, Woodrue is a human who feels more of a natural kinship with plants and wants to destroy humanity while Swamp Thing sees their potential and capacity for things like hope, transcendence, and belief. This book has discussions on the nature of the soul and fisticuffs.

June Chung’s color palette hammers home the themes of Future State: Swamp Thing #2 along with the nature of its characters, and Aditya Bidikar’s letters do a similar thing by using a more vibrant world balloon color for Swamp Thing and cold, dying one for Woodrue. Chung’s glimpse into the STAR fortress shows an environment that is utterly sterile with a blast of purple energy around Obsidian and a red hoodie for Woodrue that symbolizes his opposition to Swamp Thing and the Green. It complements the twisted nature of Mike Perkins’ art as he goes full horror in showing Woodrue’s face that looks like the exposed bark of a tree, and his rib cage where he’s replaced his human organs with plant parts. Perkins can do the action-packed double-page spreads of Swamp Thing’s children overwhelming STAR’s soldiers as well as the defiant poses of Swamp Thing walking through the flames while Chung makes his hue greener and greener. But he also has a gift for the macabre in his close-ups of Woodrue and other sequences towards the end of the comic, which come back to Swamp Thing’s horror roots. This is why I’m excited to see Perkins’ work on the ongoing Swamp Thing series with Ram V.

Speaking of Ram V, his writing once again is very florid, but it matches the tone of Future State: Swamp Thing #2. Woodrue and Swamp Thing have lived for millennia, and Swamp Thing has even participated in sub-creation so, of course, they have beautiful thoughts about life and death, creation and destruction, and nature and humanity. V and Perkins go beyond the conflict between good and evil and instead play with Swamp Thing’s complex relationship to humans and nature via the Green. As evidenced by the first issue and the “anatomy” flashbacks to his process in creating them, he deeply cares about his children, but they are only emanations of him and don’t have that “something extra” (i.e. a soul) that humanity has. This is why he storms the STAR fortress and explains his actions in the final act of the comic. Even though hope is a recurring theme and life and new growth is a recurring image in Future State: Swamp Thing, this is actually a pretty tragic comic in the end.

As well as Swamp Thing, Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung also do a wonderful job making Jason Woodrue a compelling villain. For the most part, he’s an ecoterrorist on steroids with his mission of ridding the Green of the blight of the humanity taken the furthest extreme. So, he’s not the most sympathetic figure. However, he does have one great panel where he connects with Swamp Thing’s children and shows them that Swamp Thing (In some shape or form; it’s a bit ambiguous.) is responsible for destroying the world. He seeds doubt in the mind of these children, and Perkins draws him like an anatomy diagram with skin and the Green in the place of muscle tissue. Looking at the narrative from a big picture view as well as in light of what Swamp Thing eventually does, his children are right to be wary of how much he cares about the humans, who have treated the environment terribly and even attacked them in a previous issue. Swamp Thing even criticizes humanity’s propensity for violence in the middle of Future State: Swamp Thing #2’s fight sequence while lifting them up. Through this doubt-tinged dialogue, Ram V truly shows the conflict in Swamp Thing between the Green and his human host, who we never see in this issue.

Future State: Swamp Thing #2 is a powerful and thought-provoking conclusion to Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung’s saga of humanity versus nature in the shadow of the end of the world. Swamp Thing himself is portrayed as a complex figure, who must make difficult choices about whether to cast his lot with his children (Who are really just extensions of himself) or with the humans, who have some good eggs but are also trying to blot out the sun and end life on this planet. Future: Swamp Thing is a disaster story with soul that ends on just the right note of hope and tragedy.

Story: Ram V Art: Mike Perkins
Colors: June Chung Letters: Aditya Bidikar

Story: 8.6 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Preview: Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Written by: Ram V.
Art by: Mike Perkins

Humanity strikes back! The shadow of Swamp Thing Supreme stretches across the globe as it has for centuries. The world is at peace, until a rebellious faction of humanity ignites their terrible plan, fueled by Woodrue Wilson’s appetite for power. But Swamp Thing, too, harbors a secret-one he must reveal in order to restore peace to the planet once again. But it will cost him everything he has.

Future State: Swamp Thing #2

Nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards Announced

GLAAD Media Awards

GLAAD has announced the nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The awards honor media for “fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues”. The awards began in 1990 and this year features 198 nominees in 28 categories.

Award recipients will be announced during a virtual ceremony scheduled for April 2021.

Below are the nominees in the comic category. You can get the full list of nominees at the GLAAD website.

The Old Guard, based on the comic series by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández, Daniela Miwa, and Jodi Wynne was nominated for “Outstanding Film – Wide Release“.

Harley Quinn, the HBO MAX/DC Universe animated series based on the DC Comics character created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini was nominated in “Outstanding Comedy Series“.

Supergirl, based on the DC Comics character, Wynonna Earp based on the character created by Beau Smith, and The Umbrella Academy based on the comic by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá were nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series”.

Outstanding Comic Book

  • Empyre, Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling, Empyre: Aftermath Avengers, written by Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira, Valerio Schiti, Manuel Garcia, (Marvel Comics)
  • Far Sector, written by N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett (DC Comics)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, written by Al Ewing and Marcio Takara (Marvel Comics)
  • Juliet Takes a Breath, written by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote (BOOM! Studios)
  • Lois Lane, written by Greg Rucka, Juan Cabal, and Mike Perkins (DC Comics)
  • The Magic Fish, written by Trung Le Nguyen (Random House Graphic)
  • Suicide Squad, written by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo (DC Comics)
  • Wynd, written by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas (BOOM! Studios)
  • X-Factor, written by Leah Williams and David Baldeon (Marvel Comics)
  • You Brought Me the Ocean, written by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh (DC Comics)

DC Future State Heads Back to Print

DC’s two-month Future State event launched this week with a bang! You can check out all of our reviews.

The sales success and acclaim of this linewide look into potential futures of the DC Universe has resulted in the publisher returning to press to reprint several titles:

  • Future State: Dark Detective #1
  • Future State: The Next Batman #1
  • Future State: The Next Batman #2
  • Future State: Wonder Woman #1
  • Future State: Harley Quinn #1
  • Future State: Swamp Thing #1

These dynamic “character portrait” style covers feature art from some of the hottest artists in comics, including Nick Derington, Joelle Jones, Dan Mora, Jen Bartel, and Mike Perkins. If you missed a chance to read these groundbreaking stories make sure and pick up your favorite when they hit participating comic book stores on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

Review: Generations Shattered #1

Generations Shattered #1

Generations Shattered #1 is an interesting comic. As a standalone miniseries, the story would be quite compelling and engaging. But, with its release of “Future State”, the comic isn’t released in a vacuum. Spinning out of Dark Nights: Death Metal, the story involves a villain using the messed up time and history to shape their own. A group of heroes throughout time are gathered to save the day.

The concept of Generations Shattered #1 and where it goes would be an event miniseries I’d take a lot of interest in normally. But, it’s a bit of an oddity with the release of all of the other “Future State” comics. While they focus on possible future events, this one features a villain attempting to shape a new reality and history. Where it fits into this reshaping of the DC Universe and history is a bit of a headscratcher. While time seems to have mended as per other comics, maybe not? It’s a little unclear how this fits into what’s going on.

Written by Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, and Robert Venditti, Generations Shattered #1 brings the heroes together in an oversized first issue. Dragged out feels like a better way to describe it. The issue is mostly the heroes being gathered as time is erased as it’s being rewritten. Over 45 pages are dedicated to this creating a slow build and long way to get to the point. Other comics have done the “gathering of characters” and their introduction quicker and in a much more entertaining way.

What this does though is give a massive amount of artists to stretch their legs. Each segment is handled by a different team giving the comic a jam-session sort of feel. That could be interesting as well if any of the art really popped. There’s not bad but there’s little that’s exciting either. Still, it’s fun to see the different styles and takes on the characters from so many artists.

Generations Shattered #1 is an oddity of a comic. It’s hampered by its release along “Future State” making its story a bit confusing. The concept is quite good and entertaining, especially where it leaves things. But, it takes forever to get to the interesting part. It’s a comic I both felt like a chore to read but at the same time I want to see where it goes.

Story: Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, Robert Venditti
Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Scott Hanna, Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Emanuela Lupacchino, Wade Von Grawbadger, Bernard Chang, Yanick Paquette, Kevin Nowlan, Dan Jurgens, Klaus Janson, Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope, John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Doug Braithwaite, Rags Morales, Klaus Janson, Mike Perkins
Color: Hi-Fi Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: Future State Swamp Thing #1

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

“Who killed the world?”- Mad Max: Fury Road

Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung turn in a very post-apocalyptic take on DC Comics’ famous (and often critically acclaimed) swamp creature in Future State: Swamp Thing #1. True to its iconic cover, the book feels a lot like a more botanical version of Planet of the Apes. V saves the overarching conflict of the two-issue miniseries for the final page of the comic and instead spends most of its running time showing the relationship between Swamp Thing (Called simply “Green”) and his children, Calla, Indigo, Vruk, and his “firstborn”, Heather, who he created after the end of the world. Swamp Thing’s mission is to find humanity, but that mission is controversial and leads to jealousy from his people, who think that he cares more about humans than them.

In the past, I’ve really enjoyed Mike Perkins’ art on action-driven superhero stories like Captain America and Iron Fist. However, he really get to flex his storytelling range in Future State: Swamp Thing #1 as he gets to work on both a Biblical scale in his double page spread that shows the DC Universe falling prey to violence and basically being to destroyed and a more intimate one in the interactions between Swamp Thing, his people, and later a human survivor. Perkins and colorist June Chung definitely fall back on the superhero idiom in some sequences like a glorious full page image of Swamp Thing encircling his roots around a falling building in the ruins of New York. But he definitely looks more like a monster with a huge, gnarly hand covering his people and mayhem in his wake in a similar manner to the subterranean monster on the cover of Fantastic Four #1. However, Heather and the other folks are beaming and treat him like a savior figure. You can definitely tell that this is a world bereft of heroes, and it may have even been screwed up by their actions although this is outside the scope of Ram V’s script, and the story he and Perkins are trying to tell.

My favorite visual flourish in Future State: Swamp Thing #1, and that extra piece that makes it go beyond a dystopian disaster story with a side of vegetation, is the bits of narration and art that Ram V and Mike Perkins provide showing Swamp Thing’s process of creation. Perkins draws these panels like images in early modern anatomy textbooks with Chung giving its colors that faded out feel compared to the more detailed rendering on his other linework. V’s narration uses purple prose a la classic Swamp Thing while providing insight into how characters like Heather and Indigo feel and interact with their environment. For example, their emotions come from pheromones, but they don’t have any feelings that didn’t already originate with Swamp Thing.

This is why Indigo is so angry and skeptical while Heather is full of determination and leadership qualities while still being deferential to her “creator”. These special panels also connect smoothly to the ongoing narrative like V and Perkins’ description of their vocal organs coinciding with Swamp Thing talking to the “child” Calla. Or their description of their transpiratory (Think respiratory for humans.) systems being literally sandwiched between two panels showing a journey through the show. It’s an added layer of verbal and visual commentary on these characters and a corner of the nearly post-human world that Ram V and Mike Perkins have crafted as Swamp Thing and his people behave in very human ways although their equivalent of first aid is sunlight, water, and keeping roots planted in a bit.

Future State: Swamp Thing #1

However, Future State: Swamp Thing #1 doesn’t shy away from showing their differences compared to the human they run into with them being unable to communicate with him until he eats a bit of fruit, which is a wonderful (and much less erotic) riff on the classic Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben story. However, you don’t have to be familiar with this 36 year old comic to understand Swamp Thing trying to find common ground through the breaking of bread even though Indigo and Heather want to take the human out for killing one of their people in self-defense. Communication versus violence is a throughline in this comic with a nice chat or a story revealing more context about this very strange world in contrast with tree limb on tree limb contact, which is why it’s fitting that Swamp Thing #1 is bookended by a pair of visually interesting flashbacks. On a pure aesthetic level, I love how Mike Perkins and June Chung depict snow and whites, which is set against (G)reen and trees.

Ram V, Mike Perkins, and June Chung use Swamp Thing’s immortality, sub-creator instincts, and preference for communication over fisticuffs to tell a wonderful post-apocalyptic yarn in Future State: Swamp Thing #1. V’s prose is beautiful, and you really get to know the dynamic between Swamp Thing and his people throughout the book. Perkins gets to experiment with different kinds of layouts, including powerful spreads and interesting grids, to keep things lively and weird while Chung’s colors tell a story of green, or life, trying to flourish in an inhospitable environment as Swamp Thing and his people move farther North. Future State: Swamp Thing #1 is a smart take on one of DC’s most beloved characters as well as being a holistic take on the “dark future” genre, and it even adds a touch of mystery at the end.

Story: Ram V Art: Mike Perkins
Colors: June Chung Letters: Aditya Bidikar

Story: 8.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

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