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Get a First Look at DC’s Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular!

On June 29, join DC in celebrating eight decades of emerald-clad swashbuckling, crime-fighting, and trick arrows of every kind when the Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1! Honoring Green Arrow and his allies across his 80-year history, from the Golden Age to now, the anniversary special includes 12 stories from some of DC’s most esteemed writers and artists who have contributed to the legacy of Oliver Queen. The title will also include 8-decade variant covers depicting the Emerald Archer through the ages.

This anthology not only features a “who’s – who” of comic book storytellers but also includes a unique and heartfelt tribute to the career of iconic DC and Green Arrow scribe Denny O’Neil“Tap, Tap, Tap” is a silent, wordless story from Denny O’Neil’s son Larry, Jorge Fornes, and Dave Stewart. The story chronicles the challenges and victories in Denny’s life both in and out of comics, from his childhood, raising a family, his stellar career as a writer, until his passing in 2020

Additional stories in this anthology include:

  • “The Disappearing Bandit”
    Written by Mariko Tamaki, Art by Javier Rodriguez
    It’s the Golden Age of Green Arrow and Speedy, brought to humorous and loving life by New York Times bestselling writer Mariko Tamaki (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass) and acclaimed artist Javier Rodriguez (Batgirl: Year One). A lot of people attempt to affectionately show the silliness of the first age of super heroes, but few have done it as exceptionally as Mariko and Javier. Trick arrows for everyone!
  • “Punching Evil”
    Written by Tom Taylor, Art by Nicola Scott, Colors by Annette Kwok
    To become a more adept superhero and fighter, Green Arrow goes to train with the Golden Age superhero Wildcat at his gym. In true Wildcat fashion, he shows Ollie the hard way of what it takes to be your own hero. Tom Taylor (NightwingSuicide SquadInjustice) brings this story to life, with incredible artwork from Nicola Scott (Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special) and Annette Kwok (Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity).
  • “Who Watches the Watchtower?”
    Written by Stephanie Phillips, Art by Chris Mooneyham, Colors by Mike Spicer
    The Green Arrow is left behind on the Justice League Satellite while the rest of the team goes on an important mission. Oliver is less than thrilled, and righteously indignant about the situation as usual until an alien armada invades the Satellite. Can Ollie stand alone against an alien onslaught before it reaches earth? Acclaimed writer Stephanie Phillips (Harley Quinn) captures that “Denny O’Neil Green Arrow”-voice, and this story is brought to life in gorgeous fashion by Christopher Mooneyham’s (Nightwing) retro/modern bronze age aesthetic.
  • “Out of the Shadows”
    Written and Art by Mike Grell, Colors by Lovern Kindzerski
    Legendary Green Arrow writer and artist Mike Grell return to the 1980’s era of The Longbow Hunters. The Green Arrow must team up with the legendary anti-hero Shado to stop a shipment of smuggled guns from making it into Seattle. Depicting The Emerald Archer as only he can, Grell will remind readers why his take on Ollie Queen is still a Green standard.
  • “The Arrow and the Song”
    Written by Ram V, Art by Christopher Mitten, Colors by Ivan Plascencia
    This tale is a beautiful meditation on the love between Green Arrow and Black Canary through the years and the found family that they’ve created. Writer Ram V (Catwoman) puts together this beautiful story of love and how life takes turns you don’t expect. Gloriously brought to life by the work of Christopher Mitten (Batman: Arkham Unhinged) and Ivan Plascencia (The Flash).
  • “One”
    Written by Brandon Thomas, Art by Jorge Corona, Colors by Matheus Lopes
    We go right back to the mid-90s with this story. Oliver Queen is dead. Connor Hawke is Green Arrow and he has to save the main Queen Industries building in Star City, the home of a business and family he was never part of, from a group of terrorists. Brought to you by Infinite Frontier and Future State writer Brandon Thomas (Future State: Aquaman) and amazingly drawn by Jorge Corona (We Are Robin).
  • “Green Man and Autumn Son”
    Written by Devin Grayson, Art by Max Fiumara
    Catwoman writer Devin Grayson and artist Max Fiumara shine a spotlight on Roy Harper, a.k.a Red Arrow, as he continues to manage his transition from “sidekick” to adult hero, along with single parenthood and his struggles with addiction and recovery.
  • “Star City Star”
    Written and Art by Phil Hester, Inks by Ande Parks, Colors by Trish Mulvihill
    Phil Hester drew nearly fifty issues of Green Arrow in the early 2000s, working with popular writers like Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer, and Judd Winnick. Here, Phil synthesizes what was so great about his run into a tremendous eight-page story. Green Arrow tries to save a young girl named Star who has been kidnapped but has to run through a gauntlet of his greatest villains and allies to get to her. Including: Onomatopoeia, Speedy (Mia Dearden), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Black Canary, Arsenal, Connor Hawke, and Count Vertigo.
  • “Happy Anniversary”
    Written by Vita Ayala, Art by Laura Braga, Colors by Adriano Lucas
    This story focuses on the point in time where Green Arrow and Black Canary were married right before the New 52. On the day of their anniversary, the two are at each other’s throats and then Green Arrow gets kidnapped. Black Canary thinks the kidnapping is part of an anniversary game/present but quickly discovers that Green Arrow has REALLY been kidnapped by DEATHSTROKE and she has to save him. Vita Ayala (Future State: The Next Batman) writes a wonderful Mr. and Mrs. Smith-style action rom-com brought to life by Laura Braga (DC Comics Bombshells).
  • “The Sympathy of the Woods”
    Written by Ben Percy, Art by Otto Schmidt
    It’s the DC Rebirth Era, Green Arrow is feeling lost, the world is getting worse, and he doesn’t feel like he’s making enough of a difference. To cheer him up, Black Canary, Red Arrow (Emiko Queen), Diggle, and Henry Fyffe try to throw him a party to remind him of the beautiful community he’s built. But what starts as a celebration will become a rescue mission as Green Arrow is hunted down by the Dark Archer known as MERLYN. From DC talents Ben Percy (Nightwing) and Otto Schmidt (Harley Quinn).
  • “The Last Green Arrow Story”
    Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Andrea Sorrentino, Colors by Jordie Bellaire
    The acclaimed Green Arrow creative team from the New 52, New York Times Bestselling author Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth)  and Andrea Sorrentino (Joker: Killer Smile) tell a transcendent final tale of Oliver Queen. In his older years, he requests to be left alone on the island where he was stranded so many decades ago. He’s gone there to connect to his own myth, his legacy, and to die in peace. But is it ever that simple for The Green Arrow?

The variant covers for this must-have collector’s item come from some of the most prolific artists in comics:

  • 1940’s Variant: Michael Cho
  • 1950’s Variant: Daniel Warren Johnson
  • 1960’s Variant: Neal Adams
  • 1970’s Variant: Derrick Chew
  • 1980’s Variant: Gary Frank
  • 1990’s Variant: Howard Porter
  • 2000’s Variant: Jen Bartel
  • 2010’s Variant: Simone Di Meo

Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 arrives in participating comic book stores and digitally on Tuesday, June 29, 2020, for $9.99.

The New World Order Rises in Stillwater #8

Image Comics and Skybound revealed a first look at Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8, the newest chapter of the critically acclaimed hit series from the superstar team of Chip Zdarsky, Ramón K. Pérez, and Mike Spicer.

Nothing will ever be the same in the town of Stillwater now that Kreegs and his team of outsiders have arrived to enforce a new world order—and Daniel must join the clandestine resistance. But now it’s time for Sheriff Tanya to take a road trip, dispose of a body and deal with the consequences of her choices.

Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8 will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, June 16:

  • Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8 Cover A by Perez – Diamond Code APR210336
  • Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8 Cover B Pride Month variant by Gabrielle Kari – Diamond Code MAR219151

Fans of Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez won’t want to miss the monumental Skybound X #2, featuring the unexpected secret origin of Daniel’s powerful new ally, available in stores & digital platforms on Wednesday, July 14. 

  • Skybound X #2 Cover A by Cliff Rathburn – Diamond Code MAY210042
  • Skybound X #2 Cover B by Andrei Bressan – Diamond Code MAY210043
  • Skybound X #2 Cover C by Tri Vuong & Irma Kniivila – Diamond Code MAY210044

A new Ultramega Debuts in Ultramega #4

Image and Skybound is pleased to unveil a  new variant cover and first look at interior art from Ultramega #4 by James Harren. This key upcoming issue continues the smash-hit series—which has sold out of every issue so far—with the first appearance of a new Ultramega.

Harren is the creator, writer, and artist of Ultramega, with Eisner award-winning colorist Dave Stewart. In the world of Ultramega, a cosmic plague has spread and transformed everyday people into violent, monstrous kaiju. Only the Ultramega—three individuals imbued with incredible powers—hold the line against this madness.

Now, it’s the FIRST APPEARANCE of a new Ultramega… but with great power comes incredible horror and violence. It’s the NEW Ultramega vs Kaiju King for the future of humanity!  

This extra-length issue, features 46 story pages and powerful new variant covers from superstars Paul Pope and Mike Spicer, a Pride variant by Kris Anka, and B&W incentive versions of Harren, and Pope and Spicer’s, covers. 

Ultramega #4 will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, June 16:

  • Cover A by Harren (Diamond Code APR210344) 
  • Cover B by Pope & Spicer (Diamond Code APR210345) 
  • Cover C by Pope & Spicer B&W 1:5 incentive copy (Diamond Code FEB218442) 
  • Cover D by Harren B&W 1:10 incentive copy (Diamond Code FEB218443) 
  • Cover E Pride Variant by Anka (Diamond Code MAR219152)  

Review: Beta Ray Bill #2

Beta Ray Bill #2

Beta Ray Bill continues to be such a good time going into its second issue as its titular hero looks for Odin to gift him with a new weapon so that he can change back into his humanoid form and be able to romance his love, Sif. Writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson, colorist Mike Spicer, and letterer Joe Sabino bring both a high level of energy and vulnerability to Beta Ray Bill #2 with their attention to detail, smooth storytelling, and cool sound effects. Johnson uses this second issue to introduce Beta Ray Bill’s supporting cast and their motivations as well as give him some kind of long term goal to achieve by the end of the miniseries.

With down to Earth dialogue and striking images, any back story or exposition fits seamlessly into the story and lets us get to know the characters more. For example, in a similar way to watching Hook over and over again in the first issue, Bill playing ping pong against himself shows his loneliness, and how he’s gotten good at self-soothing or entertaining himself. This feeling segues nicely into Daniel Warren Johnson’s cutaway, double page spread of his sentient ship Skuttlebutt that seems to be the only one to have his back. This spread also establishes a key location in the series that is a home, source of transportation, weapon of war, and even friend.

As befitting an epic quest narrative, Johnson gives Bill companions to help him out and fend off the loneliness. A bored with Valhalla, Skurge the Executioner appears fairly early on and brings a sense of humor and empathy towards Bill. After making jokes about Valhalla not having guns, he gives Bill a big ol’ hug and takes on the role of wingman going foward. Also, Skurge knows where Odin likes to hang out. Bill’s other companion is Pip the Troll, who looks up to him as a hero and hopes to learn to be okay with his own outward appearance as the journey progresses. Even though they’re species that don’t exist in the real world, there’s a real humanity behind Skurge and Pip’s actions, and their motives of boredom and self-growth are relatable.

Whether reuniting old friends, setting up an epic quest, or depicting a bar room brawl, Johnson is a master of body language in his artwork for Beta Ray Bill #2. I’ve mentioned his double page spread, but he also uses lots of small panels to let a scene breathe and sink in instead of going to the next battle, planet, or obstacle. Early on, Johnson shows that Skurge really cares about Bill and isn’t a threat by including beat panels of him putting down his beer glass (He already feels at home.) or affectionately patting Bill on the shoulder to show their bromantic bond. The principles of this almost dance of conversation apply to the issue’s one fight scene that show wrestling moves like Bill spinning his opponent by his arm across the page before being taken by surprise by another brawler because he and Skurge are definitely outnumbered. Speed lines, sound effects, big fists, and a punchy color palette from Mike Spicer show that Skurge and Bill needed to get some steam off until Odin put things to a stop. He may be in total retirement mode, but his presence still commands a room.

And it’s in Beta Ray Bill #2’s conversation between Odin and Bill about finding a new weapon that Daniel Warren Johnson’s no bullshit approach to dialogue really shines. The artist formerly known as All-Father is about to wax poetic about inner beauty when Bill immediately undercuts him and says a fancy speech won’t make him human again. Like a lot of people, especially those living in a neo-liberal, pandemic-ridden police state, action is preferred over conversation, and Johnson brings that out in the character of Bill, who gets Odin to provide a concrete solution to his hammer/mortality problem. Achieving these things will be difficult as the last third of the comic shows, but it also provides a real focus and goal for Bill. He’s not just traveling the Nine Realms willy-nilly although with Daniel Warren Johnson’s chops, I would be fine with that.

Beta Ray Bill #2 is a rare opportunity to see an auteur cartoonist put their mark on an in-continuity, mainstream comic, and Johnson makes me both emotionally connect with Bill’s personal journey while also rocking my socks off with his approach to humor, page design, and fight choreography. Bring on the next three issues as well as the latest addition to Bill’s space adventure party.

Story/Art: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colors: Mike Spicer Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Beta Ray Bill #1

Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill #1

There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in Daniel Warren Johnson’s new Beta Ray Bill mini-series. In fact, it’s what stands out despite a giant set-piece fight in Asgard against a Fin Fang Foom bearing the mark of the King in Black. What’s at the heart of this comic is a very aesthetically charged look at beauty and self-worth, one that takes place amidst perfectly chiseled Vikings and Norse gods.

Beta Ray Bill #1 is basically a character study of the titular Korbinite (whose origin story sees the character transformed into the cybernetic creature he is today after the destruction of the Burning Galaxy by the hands of Surtur). Set within the events of The King in Black, Beta Ray Bill is tasked with protecting Asgard as its Master of War, wielding every weapon available to him except Stormbreaker, his iconic hammer. Thor broke Stormbreaker during a disagreement with Bill.

The story is adamant on getting to Bill’s insecurities and frustrations quick. Without spoiling much, his battle with Foom doesn’t go all that well and he’s upstaged by Thor. Bill thinks he’s at a disadvantage in these cosmic battles given Stormbreaker isn’t available to him, which makes him feel somewhat unprepared, inadequate even, to uphold the title given to him by Thor.

Daniel Warren Johnson, who also scripted the comic, portrays Bill like an exposed nerve, a powerful being that—regardless of being considered one of the strongest heroes in the galaxy—is still destined to lead the life of an outsider based on the way he looks. Johnson takes full advantage of this characterization to set him almost completely apart from the Asgardians, all of which are gloriously sculpted to physically embody the very concept godhood. Bill, on the other hand, looks uncomfortable in his own skin, self-aware. The comic points to making this type of self-perception the crux of its narrative, seemingly with the intent to challenge it.

Along with Mike Spicer on colors, Johnson’s art is outstanding. The energy he brings to all his stories have a deeply metal feel to it, almost as if you could hear Iron Maiden or Dio blasting in the background as the story unfolds. Beta Ray Bill is no exception. If anything, the book forms a certain kinship with another of Johnson’s books: Murder Falcon.

Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill #1

In Murder Falcon, heavy metal and giant monsters clash in a story that’s also about the emotional composition of a person’s sense of self, about how people feel in terms of regret, time, and death. That story’s approach to raw emotion seems to carry over somewhat to Beta Ray Bill, as does its contemplation on relationships and how they can be both restorative and destructive. For Bill, this aspect comes up with through his relationship with Lady Sif.

This is where the comic finds its most heart-wrenching moments. The degree of honesty behind them result in a series of emotionally harrowing sequences that make Bill questions his feelings as to his place in Asgard, among those he’s either befriended or expressed a more intimate kind of love to. By the end of my first read of this first issue, I felt my heart give a heavy pound or two as certain intimate things came to the fore. It’s a testament to how well-crafted Johnson’s script is and how good he is at capturing emotions in his comics.

Beta Ray Bill #1 is primed to be an emotional adventure with a mind to keep things cosmic both inside and outside its main character. To say that it’s exceptionally illustrated and colored is to state the obvious. Johnson and Spicer are a formidable storytelling team and if there’s one guarantee in all this is that the comic’s visuals will settle for nothing less than unforgettable. While that is special in itself, it’s the story’s heart where new narrative possibilities spring forth to entice readers. Expect this journey to tap into your entire emotional spectrum and remember to take your time enjoying each panel. Wondrous things abound in every one of them.

Script/Art by Daniel Warren Johnson Colors by Mike Spicer
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and keep a box of Kleenex close by.

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Beta Ray Bill Spins Out of Thor and King in Black Into His Own Series

Beta Ray Bill recently made a thunderous appearance in the pages of Donny Cates and Nic Klein’s epic run on Thor. Now, the former Mjolnir wielder will get a brand-new limited series written and drawn by superstar creator Daniel Warren Johnson! Beta Ray Bill will begin a new saga for the worthy alien hero, spinning directly out of the events of Thor and King in Black.

Beta Ray Bill is tired of playing second fiddle to Thor – and with Beta Ray’s famous hammer, Stormbreaker, recently destroyed at the new All-Father’s hands, tensions are higher than ever. The mighty Korbinite must strike out in search of a new weapon…and a new destiny. Assuming he can first defeat a Knullified Fin Fang Foom! Joined by colorist Mike Spicer, Daniel Warren Johnson will take Beta Ray Bill on a journey beyond the shadow of a god!

The special oversized debut issue also contains an exclusive conversation between Johnson and Beta Ray Bill’s creator, the legendary Walter Simonson! Don’t miss this exciting new era for one of comic book’s most beloved warriors when Beta Ray Bill #1 hits stands this March!

Beta Ray Bill #1

Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse That Laughs #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs

I’ve been vocal in my mixed feelings about Dark Nights: Death Metal. The main event has been mixed in quality and the one-shots, while they used to stand out, are now fumbling themselves. Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs is another stumble presenting four stories with few standing out and most being forgettable.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs opens with an introduction introducing the scary stories to follow. Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson, the intro isn’t so much Cryptkeeper as it’s a tease. Juan Gedeon handles the art, Mike Spicer color, and Troy Peteri the lettering and the art is solidly entertaining. But, the tales the Robin Kings aren’t what’s presented, and sadly what is, is far less interesting. A nice introduction to lay out the concept of the comic but it actually hurts what’s really could have been accomplished with some text on the first page.

Patton Oswalt, Sanford Greene, David Baron, and Josh Reed to a twisted take on Zsasz in “Feeding the Beast”. Sadly, the story itself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at all. It feels like interesting ideas chopped together without a strong narrative. To say it’s a frustrating start is an understatement and the issue stumbles from there.

The Super-Pets get the spotlight in “The Super-Threats“. Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, the story is a Super-Pets spin on DCeased. Krypto returns from space to find a planet ravaged and all that remains are the Super-Pets. It’s a nice horror short story packed in well and filled with a little bit of humor to make it different and stand out from DCeased. Chad Hardin‘s art with color by Enrica Eren Angiolini‘s color is solid as the animals are filled with emotion as the story unfolds. There’s a slight coloring issue when one infected creature is described as having yellow eyes and red teeth and neither being present. Lettering by Carlos M. Mangual really stands out with the unique speech bubbles that makes the story really fun.

In “Hard-Traveled“, Earth has been taken over by Hal Jordon who’s used his power to bring order to the planet. Standing in his way is Green Arrow. Saladin Ahmed‘s story is interesting in concept but sadly doesn’t get enough pages to really stand out. But, it’s a comic I’d love to read. What does stand out is Scot Eaton‘s art. With Norm Rapmund on ink and Hi-Fi on color, the story builds to a Rocky vs. Apollo ending.

Much like the story leading into it, “The Fear Index” also suffers from not enough pages. Steel has to deal with a planet that has been enveloped by Scarecrow’s toxin. It’s a great idea that we’re mostly teased with. Written by Brandon Thomas, the story itself is the trailer for a film we want to see more of. The art by Thomas Mandrake is solid. With color by Sian Mandrake, it comes off as the twisted fear-induced visions you’d expect. It’s not the over the top trip that has been done before but it’s presented as unsettled. That’s helped by Deron Bennett‘s lettering which enhances the hallucinations from the fear toxin. It emphasizes the situation and world.

There are some things to like about Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs. The idea of an anthology telling stories in this twisted world has potential but few are given the space they’re needed to really be interesting. Instead, they all fall short as teases for something far more entertaining. Both the Green Arrow and Steel stories are worthy of their own one-shots and an entire line could be done like the other Dark Multiverse one-shots releases. But, as is, there’s not a lot here to get excited about.

Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Patton Oswalt, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Saladin Ahmed, Brandon Thomas
Art: Juan Gedeon, Sanford Greene, Chad Hardin, Scot Eaton, Thomas Mandrake
Color: Mike Spicer, David Baron, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Sian Mandrake, Hi-Fi
Ink: Norm Rapmund
Letterer: Troy Peteri, Josh Reed, Carlos M. Mangual, Deron Bennett
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 Has an Exclusive Variant Comic Bundle on Dark Horse Direct

With it being released this coming Wednesday, Dark Horse Direct has an exclusive variant bundle of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem#1! Forget everything you already knew about The Fabulous Killjoys! Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, along with Illustrator Leonardo Romero, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Nate Piekos team up to present an all-new modern-day Killjoys series as Way and Simon take it all the way back to the original story that inspired My Chemical Romance’s concept album Danger Days and its dystopian comic book series in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem.

Limited to just 300 total copies, this $49.99 bundle features an exclusive black and white variant cover comic with cover art by Daniel Warren Johnson and also a deluxe limited-edition lithograph colored by Mike Spicer. This lithograph is printed on a high-quality, premier rose-colored paper with hints of white to really make Daniel Warren Johnson’s line art and Mike Spicer’s colors pop off the page!

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 Variant Comic Bundle will begin shipping to pre-order customers on October 28th, 2020.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 Variant Comic Bundle

Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal Multiverse’s End #1

DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL MULTIVERSE'S END #1

I’ve been a bit mixed about the Dark Nights: Death Metal event. The story so far hasn’t quite lived up to the “attitude” that was pitched. It’s not so much “death metal” as “geek/nerd metal”. My other issue is that the event feels like the latest “Crisis” but with a different title. There’s also a habit of key events taking place in one-shots instead of the main title. Dark Nights: Death Metal Multiverse’s End #1 is one of those “key” event stories which is frustrating but the issue has a lot going for it too. Those things? That’d be humor and heart.

Written by James Tynion IV, Dark Nights: Death Metal Multiverse’s End #1 focuses on the teams whose role is to destroy the various towers fueling Perpetua. Dubbed “Justice Incarnate,” heroes from across the multiverse have teamed up to save the day. John Stewart, Guy Garder, President Superman, and Captain Carrot, are just some of the characters featured in the comic and each role is interesting.

There’s a lot to like about the comic. For those who haven’t been reading the event, Stewart acts as narrator catching readers up with the details. He presents the current situation to Owlman who has captured Stewart and debating if he wants to help save the day. It’s the best description of the current event and how it ties into classics DC “Crisis” events. It’s also the nail in the coffin that this is indeed just the latest of those. What Stewart delivers is a clearer understanding of DC meta history. After reading the issue, I actually “got it” and could explain things better. It’s info that’d be so useful in other aspects of the comic event.

But, the comic is more than a primer to Dark Nights: Death Metal and the previous Crisis. Tynion delivers an action packed issue of the heroes attempting to shut down the towers to stop Perpetua from siphoning more energy. With different teams on different worlds, we get to see Justice Incarnate battle vampires, Nazis, and the Crime Syndicate. Each fight has its own moments. To see Guy Gardner and Captain Carrot punch Nazis delivers a bit of catharsis in these times.

And, Tynion delivers some heart too. While it feels a little bit out of place, there’s moments where character reflect on their friends lost and the hope they’re delivering. Much of that is through Captain Carrot who I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of after the dust settles from the latest event.

Tynion also has some fun with the silliness of the event. Perpetua sends more Evil Batman creations to stop the heroes introducing the Rainbow Batman Corps led by Evil Batman Baby. Yes, a baby Batman who’s cute as can be but also deadly like a small dog on the attack. Tynion recognizes the over the top nature of it all and just goofiness and decides to make that a part of the story as the evil Batman Corps is battled. There’s a layering to the story like that which provides a fascinating aspect.

The art from Juan Gedeon delivers a Simon Bisley Lobo vibe to the comic emphasizing the exaggerated nature of events and adding to the humor of it all. There’s a lighthearted aspect in that way as punches are over the top and the action full of color delivered by Mike Spicer. Nazis, vampires, and more never quite feels like an ominous scary threat. The situation is dire and downright depressing at times but there’s a cartoonish quality to the style that makes the comic fun. Punches lack “pow” and “blam” but the style has readers adding that as we bounce from fight scene to fight scene and planet to planet.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Multiverse’s End #1 is a chapter in the bigger picture event. It doesn’t quite stand on its own but there’s a certain insanity to it that almost makes it worth it. But, what’s truly impressive with the comic is a self-awareness that doesn’t seem present elsewhere. It makes fun of itself and the silliness we’ve seen throughout the event. It goes all out, then makes fun of itself for doing so. And that brings a certain enjoyment.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Juan Gedeon
Color: Mike Spicer Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation:
Read

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Review: Stillwater #1

Stillwater #1

Welcome to Stillwater, a small town with a secret. What that is? You’ll have to read the first issue to find out. Stillwater #1 kicks off an interesting horror series that has some familiar aspects but is a great start.

Written by Chip Zdarsky, Stillwater #1 is a must for those who enjoy the horror and mystery genres. The debut issue delivers two interesting characters, neither of whom are particularly likable. But, what works well is the build-up to those final pages full of twists and turns.

The issue revolves around Daniel. Daniel has a bit of a temper and after being fired from his job for shoving a fellow employee, he’s delivered a bit of mystery news. A relative has left him something and he needs to travel to the town of Stillwater to find out exactly what. With him is his semi-bro friend Tony. They head off on a road trip to find out what’s going on and get their reward.

The issue is a hell of a start and by the end it’s fairly clear what’s going on with Stillwater and we’re left with the how, why, and a who. Zdarsky does an amazing job of the build-up to the end. There’s a torture/horror aspect to the series where tension just builds and builds. There’s a lot of stories that Stillwater owes a nod to and it does them all a service with quality.

Zdarsky is joined by Ramón K. Perez on art, Mike Spicer on color, and lettering by Rus Wooton. Matching Zdarsky’s story and pacing, the art helps ratchet up the tension. There’s a calm before the storm. Much like the horror films the comic mimics, the art builds up the tension until it’s clear things are going south. The team gives us a nice shift as the comic progresses as we move from Daniel and Tony’s world to the small-town life of Stillwater. It’s a perfect combination of story and art coming together for pacing and tension.

Stillwater #1 is a fantastic comic that’s a must for fans of the horror genre. It’s a solid debut issue that while has a lot of familiar elements, puts them together in such a way that they suck you in. Where this series goes should be fascinating and what happens next is unknown. But, it’s that mystery that we want to explore more of.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Ramón K. Perez
Color: Mike Spicer Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

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