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Preview: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #22

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #22

(W) Gene Luen Yang (A) Brent Peeples, Matt Santorelli (CA) Philip Tan
In Shops: Apr 11, 2018
SRP: $3.99

“SEAS OF CHANGE” part three! The saga of the Aqua-Man of North Korea crashes to a close! As the Justice League of China heads off an international incident on their shores, our heroes discover that sometimes villainy is only a matter of perspective – and reasoning with North Korea’s most menacing metahuman and his marine militia may be the only hope both countries have of survival!

C2E2 2018: The Action Comics #1000 Panel

At C2E2 this past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Action Comics #1000 panel, which had a lot of information about that specific issue as well as reveals of upcoming Superman artwork and stories, mostly involving new DC Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis. Along the way, the talented group of creators on the panel talked about their connection to Superman while teasing their stories, and some surprise swag was given out at the end…

It’s seriously insane that a monthly comic book has hit four digits in issue numbers and has basically been published since 1938. Some of DC’s best creators convened at the Action Comics #1000 panel to talk about their work on upcoming Superman titles, their relationship to the iconic hero, and most importantly, should his costume have underwear on the outside, or not? The panel included writer Brian Michael Bendis (Alias), who is making his DC Comics debut on Action Comics #1000, writer/artist Patrick Gleason (Superman), writer Tom King (Batman), artist Clay Mann (Batman), artist Jill Thompson (Beasts of Burden), and artist Philip Tan (Suicide Squad: Rebirth).

It kicked off with some information about the 80 page celebration that is Action Comics #1000 as well as a 384 page hardcover book called 80 Years of Superman with all kinds of essays, tributes, stories, and art that looked perfect for a coffee table along with an unpublished story by Jerry Siegel and artists from Joe Shuster’s studio. Continuing with the unpublished theme, Bendis reminded the moderator that Action Comics #1000 has some unpublished art by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan that Marv Wolfman scripted over and geeked out about it. He showed a real passion for being involved with Superman and DC Comics on the panel.

After saying he had almost no time off between doing his last Marvel book, Invincible Iron Man #600, and his first DC book so he could jump in on Action Comics #1000, Brian Michael Bendis set up the first reveal of the panel. It was four pages of lettered Jim Lee art as well as his and Bendis’ first original DC creation, the mysterious villain Rogol Zaar. (There was a snarky joke about red trunks in there too.) Bendis said that the villain will be connected to a secret from Superman’s past. The secret will be revealed in Action Comics #1000 and then expanded upon in the weekly Man of Steel miniseries. He then told Rogol’s secret origin, which was connected to his hospitalization for a MRSA infection in late 2017. Dr. Rogol was a no-nonsense doctor in the hospital, who helped him get better so he decided to name his first big DC villain after her. When Bendis told Dr. Rogel this, she nodded like he was crazy. The next day, she had Googled him and brought out an old Marc Silvestri drawing and said she should look like a bloodstained, bikini wearing barbarian woman. It’s safe to say she wasn’t impressed with Jim Lee’s final design. In his first DC story, Bendis made sure to “write big” for Jim Lee and was influenced by some of his collaborations with Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder on Justice League and Superman Unchained respectively in the salad days of the New 52.

The topic turned to May 2’s DC Nation #0, which is coming out the same week as Free Comic Book Day, but is on sale for $0.25 so the comic could feature more story pages. The book has previews of Tom King’s upcoming work on Batman and Scott Snyder’s upcoming work on No Justice as well as a brand new Superman story by Bendis and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Working with the 70 year old Garcia-Lopez was on Bendis’ bucket list, and he came out of retirement to deliver some beautiful pages featuring group shots of the Daily Planet bullpen reacting to Superman. Also, apparently he’s a super nice guy and still lives for collaborating on comic book stories.

About a month after DC Nation, The Man of Steel #1 will be released with Brian Michael Bendis writing and Ivan Reis and Joe Prado on artwork. In each issue of this weekly miniseries, Bendis is collaborating with a new artist he’s never worked with before except Kevin Maguire and diving feet first into the DC Universe. Bendis talked about how he wanted to make Metropolis a lived-in setting where each nook and cranny has its own story much like Gotham and also how he wants to show why Clark Kent became a reporter to “tell the truth Superman can’t”. He pointed out that unlike his powers and coming to Earth as an infant, becoming a reporter was his choice. Plus there’s going to be a big space conspiracy story featuring various alien races, including the Guardians of the Universe, and its logo was based off of John Byrne’s Man of Steel even if the stories aren’t really similar.

The Man of Steel leads into Action Comics #1001, which will be written by Bendis and drawn by Patrick Gleason, who previously was the co-writer with Peter Tomasi and occasional artist on Superman. Gleason says that Action #1000 is the celebration/jam issue while the real story starts in issue 1001. He talks about how Superman is an all-out superhero book while Action Comics will focus on the Clark/Superman dichotomy and also build up Metropolis and the Daily Planet. He then proved that he is one of the harder working creators in comics and said that he had to draw 15 pages of Action Comics #1000 while also doing full interiors on Superman #45, his farewell to the title. Luckily, all 15 pages of his Action Comics #1000 story “The Neverending Battle” were splashes and was a love letter to Superman stories across time. One of them featured the old Superman “S”, which his six year old son said was incorrect. His son ended up appearing on a page where Superman stops a train, and all four of his kids helped ink a page with Superman fighting Nazis in World War II with Sgt. Rock.

The moderator turned the focus to Tom King and Clay Mann’s five page Action Comics #1000 story, which is already available online. It is set way in the future, fairly depressing, and King began with a little joke about how Batman was better than Superman. King said that he when was he younger that he thought Superman was a fairly “generic” hero. However, through his grandmother, who is from Nebraska and his wife, who is from Chicago, he began to see him as an embodiment of Midwestern values aka focusing on the solution, not just the problem. Then, artist Clay Mann got a nice ovation from the audience for his art skills and talked about King giving him reference material of Mars to draw this future Earth. He also joked about Superman’s tears not evaporating in the sun, which severely hurt Tom King’s “scientific” credentials. King’s explanation was “super tears”, which led to Bendis telling a story about how he wrote an angry letter to John Byrne while he was a comic book store clerk about how Superman shaves with a mirror and heat vision and ended up getting roasted by Byrne in the letters page of Next Men #8. The ghost of John Byrne definitely seemed to be haunting this panel.

Next, Jill Thompson teased some of her art for the upcoming Action Comics Special story with Mark Russellwhich is about Clark Kent roasting Lex Luthor at the White House Correspondents Dinner. It looks super hilarious, and various members of the Justice League are there in dressier versions of their costumes. The wrestler Alex Chamberlain posed for her art. Then, the moderator asked her and the panel who their favorite Superman artists were. Thompson said she liked Steve Rude, especially his work with Dave Gibbon on World’s Finest, where he gave Metropolis and Gotham two distinct looks. Philip Tan’s definitive artist was Alex Ross on Kingdom Come and Mann’s were the aforementioned Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens, and John Byrne. King picked Byrne and Curt Swan because “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” is his favorite Superman story. Patrick Gleason said he liked the Superfriends and Bruce Timm Superman cartoons before getting into comics, but his favorite artists were Jurgens and Ross. Bendis closed by giving a shout out to the jam issue (He loves those.) Action Comics #400, which featured Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Moebius, and more’s take on Superman. And they all commiserated over the difficulty of drawing the Superman “S”.

Towards the end of the panel, Brian Michael Bendis talked about how what a solid foundation Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, and Patrick Gleason left him on the Superman titles as they went from having two Supermen to just one hopeful, optimistic Superman even with some super crazy stories like the Boyzarro and Rozarro starring Superman #45, which is basically a Bizarro-verse version of the DC Rebirth one-shot. Bendis says the ideal is taking over a struggling book, like Frank Miller on Daredevil, because you have creative freedom, but it’s a tougher challenge to take over a book that has hit a creative peak like Superman.

Bendis said that his take on Superman wouldn’t be a reboot and that he had a seven page manifesto of Superman is relatable to him, especially as a father. (Of course, King quipped about Batman being more relatable.) Plus there is a lot of adoption in his family. He retold a story where as a struggling artist in Cleveland, he took on a gig to do art for a Superman parade where he was paid for Superman merchandise. Siegel and Shuster cancelled so Stan Lee of all people was the guest of honor and called him by name, but it was really because he was wearing a nametag. However, this parade gave him to the opportunity to talk with many comic creators about his career, including George Perez, who gave him 20 minutes of solid advice, including to focus on one project at a time, which has helped him with all those crazy deadlines and juggling multiple books.

The panel concluded with a roundtable discussion about the return of Superman’s red trunks, and Gleason talking about how he and Jim Lee basically designed around them when they were coming up with Superman’s new costume for DC Rebirth. But the panel seemed pretty pro-trunks, and each member of the panel audience was rewarded with their own pair of Superman trunks (Mostly XL.) with #TheTrunksAreBack embroidered on the back.

Basically, Action Comics #1000 seems like it’s going to be historic and epic, and you should pick it up when it drops on April 18.

Dynamite, Rob Williams, and Sergio Davilla Launch a New Project Superpowers Series

Dynamite Entertainment has announced their biggest launch of the year, Project Superpowers #0 at the special introductory price of just $0.10 cents! That super low price is in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the titles original debut in 2008. Heading up the new series is the fan-favorite creative team of writer Rob Williams and artist Sergio Davila. This special #0 issue hits comic shops this July, is the perfect lead in for new readers and will feature an all-star line-up of cover artists.

An all new threat faces the Earth, while the team faces turmoil from within and must overcome all obstacles to prove their worth and value in a world that desperately needs its heroes. The Black Terror, The Death-Defying ‘Devil, Sampson, Masquerade, Green Lama, Scarab and more are all here as the adventure begins again.

Project Superpowers #0 has a cover by superstar artist Francesco Mattina that will also be available as an ultra-limited-edition virgin cover. Plus, there are five sneak peek variant covers to choose from by John Royle, Philip Tan, Sergio Davila, Ed Benes and J.G. Jones. And don’t miss out on the Project Superpowers Omnibus Vol. 1: Dawn of Heroes collecting three full graphic novels and the never before collecting Project Superpowers #1/2 issue. This new collection coincides with the release of the new Project Superpowers #1 in August.

Review: The Curse of Brimstone #1

Joe Chamberlain would do anything to save his small, forgotten town-even make a deal with the devil. But things get worse, and Joe finds himself cursed with the power of Brimstone. With the power of fire and destruction coursing through his hands, Joe must now track down and destroy the demon he made his deal with before the power he now wields destroys the town he was trying to save. But as the fiery pain inside him grows, can this young man overcome his own demons before his power rips him apart from the inside out?

The Curse of Brimstone is the latest entry into DC Comics’ “New Age of Heroes” which introduces us to new characters, new settings, and hopefully new ideas. Justin Jordan and Philip Tan are the team behind this series whose first issue is a solid set up.

In particular, the issue takes us to small town America, something we don’t see too often in comics beyond Smallville. This is the part of America left behind where factories have closed and the people struggle to make ends meat. The simplest tasks seem huge and in a world where people can fly, it’s an interesting concept that these places are forgotten. With wonders like Metropolis and Superman, what does it say for dying towns with no future? That seems to be at the heart of this series and it’s a concept that’s not explored enough in comics which makes this one stand out.

The art by Tan, colors by Rain Beredo, and lettering by Wes Abbott adds to the sense of desperation and lost. It’s one thing to tell the story in words but visually you need to see it as well and the creative team have nailed it down.

What’s presented in both story and look is small town America not many of us experience. These are the towns I see driving between DC and New York. You wonder how they function and why the people are still there and this series takes us into that in a ways. With that, we get a fresh voice and perspective to comics and one that’s hopefully explored more as the series continues.

Storytellers: Philip Tan, Justin Jordan Dialogue: Justin Jordan
Color: Rain Beredo Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover: Philip Tan, Rain Beredo
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham Editor: Jessica Chen
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.35 Overall: Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Curse of Brimstone #1

The Curse of Brimstone #1

Storytellers: Philip Tan, Justin Jordan
Dialogue: Justin Jordan
Color: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover: Philip Tan, Rain Beredo
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham
Editor: Jessica Chen
In Shops: Apr 04, 2018
SRP: $2.99

Joe Chamberlain would do anything to save his small, forgotten town-even make a deal with the devil. But things get worse, and Joe finds himself cursed with the power of BRIMSTONE. With the power of fire and destruction coursing through his hands, Joe must now track down and destroy the demon he made his deal with before the power he now wields destroys the town he was trying to save. But as the fiery pain inside him grows, can this young man overcome his own demons before his power rips him apart from the inside out?

Preview: Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues #1

Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues #1

writer: Marc Guggenheim
artist: Andrea Mutti
color: Chris Sotomayor
letterer: Taylor Esposito
editor: Kevin Ketner
covers: Butch Guice (A), Philip Tan (B), Andrea Mutti “Raader Character Design” (RI), Butch Guice (RI-Virgin), Philip Tan (RI-B/W), Butch Guice (RI-B/W)
FC | 32 pages | $3.99 | Teen +

The last we saw of the crew of the Starshadow in the pages of Bill Mantlo and Butch Guice’s Swords of the Swashbucklers, it seemed that all was lost. Decades later, Raader and her crew return to bring their adventuring to the cosmos once again!

Marc Guggenheim (X-Men Gold, Spider-Man) and Andrea Mutti (Rebels, Port of Earth) team up to continue the epic space adventure. Learn of the return of the legendary space pirates as The Saga Continues!

Preview: Ninja-K #5

NINJA-K #5

Written by CHRISTOS GAGE
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO
Cover A by TREVOR HAIRSINE (JAN182012)
Cover B by LUCAS TROYA (JAN182013)
Interlocking Variant by KENNETH ROCAFORT (JAN182014)
Ninjak Icon Variant by PHILIP TAN (JAN182015)
Pre-Order Edition by TONCI ZONJIC (SEP172024)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale MARCH 21st

London falling!

The murderous assault on MI6 has spilled out of the shadows and onto the streets of Britain’s capital! With his would-be killer unmasked, can Ninjak grapple with the truth behind the bloodstained legacy of MI6’s covert Ninja Programme…and an opponent with more experience, more precision, and more ruthless instincts than any he’s faced before?

Acclaimed writer Christos Gage (Netflix’s Daredevil) and superstar artist Tomás Giorello (X-O MANOWAR) unlock the secret of “THE NINJA FILES” as Colin King dares death onward!

Preview: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #21

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #21

(W) Gene Luen Yang (A) Brent Peeples, Matt Santorelli (CA) Philip Tan
In Shops: Mar 14, 2018
SRP: $3.99

“Seas of Change” part two! The Justice League of China is on its own and restoring balance to the world one problem at a time. But when a fleet of North Korean warships arrives on their shores hunting down an emerging aquatic metahuman, Kong Kenan and his friends may be in over their heads-literally! The saga of the Aqua-Man of North Korea continues here!

Preview: Vampirella Vol. 4 #10

Vampirella Vol. 4 #10

writer: Jeremy Whitley
artist: Andy Belanger, Matt Gaudio, Alex Sanchez
covers: Philip Tan (A), Gisele Lagace (B), Cosplay Photo Variant (C), Jimmy Broxton (D-Sub), Cosplay (RI Virg), Philip Tan (RI B/W), Jimmy Broxton (RI B/W), Philip Tan (RI Virgin)
FC | 32 pages | $3.99 | Teen+

A thousand years in the future is a really weird place to run into someone you know. Especially when that person is now hell bent on destroying you. Which is exactly what happens when Vampirella and Vicki came face to face with their antagonist—PANTHA!

Preview: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20

(W) Gene Luen Yang (A) Brent Peeples, Richard Friend (CA) Philip Tan
In Shops: Feb 14, 2018
SRP: $3.99

“SEAS OF CHANGE” part one! It’s the dawn of a new era for the Justice League of China! The New Super-Man of China and his teammates have struck out on their own, and even the Ministry’s newly formed Lantern Corps is no match for this renegade force to be reckoned with! But as China’s superhero community reorganizes itself, trouble is brewing in North Korea…and from the depths emerges a new metahuman that will change everything.

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