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The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 Sells Out Before Release

BOOM! Studios has announced that The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1, the premiere issue in a new original series from acclaimed comics creator Ram V, superstar artist Filipe Andrade, and letterer AndWorld Design, that explores the fine line between living and dying in Mumbai through the lens of magical realism, has sold out at the distributor level before release!

In response to the overwhelming support from retailers and fans, BOOM! has announced The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 Second Printing, featuring brand new cover art by superstar artist Christian Ward available in stores May 5, 2021.

With humanity on the verge of discovering immortality, the avatar of Death is fired and relegated to the world below to live out her now-finite days in the body of twenty-something Laila Starr in Mumbai. Struggling with her newfound mortality, Laila hatches a plan and soon discovers a way to be placed at the time and location where the creator of immortality will be born . . . But will Laila take her chance to permanently reverse the course of (future) history, or does a more shocking fate await her within the coils of mortal existence?

Print copies of The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 First Printing will be available for sale on April 14, 2021.

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 Second Printing

DC Reveals New Details for DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration

DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration, is an incredible anthology spotlighting DC’s past, present and even future Asian superheroes, featuring some of the most dynamic Asian storytellers in and out of comics. Featuring an incredible cover by the team of DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee, and colorist Alex Sinclair, this anthology includes a foreword by activist and CNN and WSJ Online contributor Jeff Yang, a selection of tribute pinups of DC’s Asian superheroes, plus an awesome variant cover featuring Cassandra Cain by artist Stanley “Artgerm” Lau.

A New Hero: Monkey Prince!
DC Festival of Heroes will treat readers to the first appearance of an all-new character, the Monkey Prince. Debuting in a story written by award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (Superman Smashes the Klan, Batman/Superman, New Super-Man) with art by Bernard Chang (Teen Titans, Batman Beyond), Monkey Prince is inspired by the Monkey King, legendary hero of Chinese mythology and the classic tale Journey to the West. In Yang and Chang’s original 12-page story, “The Monkey Prince Hates Superheroes,” Monkey Prince battles and teams up with Shazam to defeat both the evil Dr. Sivana and a Chinese deer demon spirit! To further celebrate this new superhero, the anthology will receive a special Monkey Prince 1 in 25 variant cover by Bernard Chang (check local comic book stores for availability).

Additional stories include:
“Masks” – Ram V, writer of CatwomanJustice League Dark, and The Swamp Thing, teams up with Audrey Mok, the artist of Sera and the Royal Stars, to tell a story featuring Jade Nguyen, a.k.a. Cheshire. Tying into V’s Catwoman run, Selina Kyle’s protégé Shoes has visions of being rescued as a child by Cheshire. Shoes takes these visions as a sign, donning a mask, taking the name “Cheshire Cat,” and asking Selina Kyle to train her. But is Catwoman ready to take on a sidekick?

“Sounds” – Detective Comics writer and Eisner Award winner Mariko Tamaki (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass) and artist Marcus To team up to tell a story featuring Cassandra Cain, a.k.a. Batgirl. Batgirl struggles to understand words, but with her ability to read body language and uncanny fighting skills, she really doesn’t have to…until she meets someone and wishes that she had the right words—ANY words—to say to them!

“What’s in the Box?” – Cassandra Cain steps into the spotlight once more, but this time with Colin Wilkes, a.k.a. Abuse (who first appeared in Detective Comics #947, October 2008), courtesy of words and art by Dustin Nguyen. Abuse finds Batgirl sitting by a bridge, upset by a comment made by Damian Wayne.

“Dress Code” – Green Lantern Tai Pham makes his first comic book debut in this story by Green Lantern: Legacy writer Minh Lê with artist Trung Le Nguyen. Green Lantern is fighting with Arkillo, and the villain taunts him for his costume “looking like a dress.” This reminds Tai of a memory with his dead grandmother who he inherited his powers from.

“Festival of Heroes” – In a story by writer Amy Chu and artist Marcio Takara influenced by current headlines, Katana, Cyborg, and Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) are asked to safeguard an Asian American and Pacific Islander community celebration against potential violence from a white supremacist group. But the heroes are quickly reminded that you don’t need capes, masks, or even special abilities to be a hero.

“Hawke & Kong” – Writer Greg Pak and artist Sumit Kumar team up on a story spotlighting the return of onetime Green Arrow Connor Hawke and Kong Kenan, also known as New Super-Man. Connor and Kenan need to do some quick thinking when a gift for Connor’s Korean aunt gets damaged in a battle with a dragon!

“Special Delivery” – Master of None writer Aniz Ansari makes his comic book debut with artist Sami Basri in this story featuring Robin (Damian Wayne). As Robin ponders about his heritage, he slowly discovers that something about this pizza place seems off…

“Kawaii Kalamity!” – Shadow of the Batgirl writer Sarah Kuhn and illustrator Victoria Ying (Diana: Princess of the Amazons) tell a story about Red Arrow’s reluctance of enjoying “kawaii” things because of people’s general assumptions of what she likes simply based on her Japanese heritage.

“Family Dinner” – Amazon juggernaut Grace Choi has to meet her girlfriend Anissa Pierce’s dad for dinner. But when your girlfriend is Thunder, that means meeting the parents is that much more stressful because her father is Black Lightning!

“Perceptible” – The Good Asian duo of Pornsak Pichetshote (writer) and Alexandre Tefenkgi (artist) tell a tale featuring The Atom (Ryan Choi) trying to defeat a microscopic robot sent from the future…to save our reality as we know it!

This 100-page commemorative anthology is a great way to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, awesome storytelling, and DC’s Super Heroes when it arrives in comic book stores and on participating digital platforms on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

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

Tune Into Radio Apocalypse #1 in October

Today Vault announced that, due to Covid-related delays, the release of Radio Apocalypse #1 has been pushed back to October 2021.

Radio Apocalypse is written by Ram V, star artist Anand RK, letterer Aditya Bidikar, and designer Tim Daniel.

Long after the rock out of space struck the world and turned it all to dust, in Bakerstown stands the last Radio Station on the planet. Radio Apocalypse broadcasting into the unknown, a beacon in the dark for those who wander the lost places. Now change is coming to Bakerstown. Among the refugees flocking into an already precarious settlement, an orphan boy Rion, caught in an indiscretion, will twine his fate with the Radio Station. And in doing so, begin this mixtape of love and heartbreak and interminable hope. This soundtrack to the end of the world.

Radio Apocalypse #1

Review: Justice League #59

Justice League #59

Although the Rebirth numbering is intact, both the Justice League and Justice League Dark titles get a bit of relaunch in Justice League #59. Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, and Tamra Bonvillain bring large scale action and a sequel to Bendis, David Walker, and Jamal Campbell’s Naomi in the lead story. While in the backup “Justice League Dark” story, Ram V, Xermanico, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. tap something a little more mystical as Merlin makes his return, and John Constantine and Zatanna investigate cults and prophecies in rural New Mexico. One of these strives to be modern mythology with all of the biggest toys in the DC Universe toy box while the other one might actually succeed with its riffs on Arthurian legends, the conflict between Heaven and Hell, and the senselessness of human existence underneath it all.

Justice League #59 is a 20 page story, but it feels a lot shorter thanks to an abundance of double page spreads from artist David Marquez. He and Brian Michael Bendis throw readers right into the middle of the fray as a mysterious interdimensional invader named Brutus lands in Kahndaq and confronts its king and protector, Black Adam. This later escalates into a kind of, sort of team-up between Adam and some of the members of the Justice League, which doesn’t thrill a monarch that is more into isolation than cooperation. However, this tension only really shows up towards the end of the battle when Black Adam immediately ejects the Justice League from his land and finally towards the end of the story. Having Black Adam has a wild card is Bendis’ smartest plotting decision, and he definitely fits Green Arrow’s idea of a “dissenting voice” when Oliver talks to the other members about doing “more” as a team.

But, for the most part, this initial Justice League story is lots of punching against a villain that is generically enough called “Brutus”, and the only interesting thing about him is that he’s most likely from Naomi’s home world giving her a reason to appear in the comic beyond being a Bendis co-creation. If you’re familiar with Bendis’ run on the Superman books, there’s a Rogol Zaar vibe to him in that he’s not an interesting character except in his connections to pre-existing characters or lore. You can definitely tell that he’s going to be forgettable character when he decides to peace out in the middle of the battle through an interdimensional portal before

Justice League #59 doesn’t really much to draw readers in beyond being a kind of sequel to the excellent Naomi comic, but it does have its bright spots. David Marquez and Tamra Bonvillain really embrace the wide screen nature of the book and make a middling script gorgeous with Bonvillain contributing deep blues to the bubble-shaped panels when Aquaman and his army of sharks battle Brutus. She also uses really intense red and blues to match Marquez’s speed lines as Superman and Black Adam race to grab Brutus before he disappears. This page is pretty busy, but it drives home the point that Black Adam thinks he’s beyond the Justice League and doesn’t respect Superman unlike the other heroes. (Even the edgy, cocky Green Arrow just wants Superman to agree with him.)

Justice League #59

To go along with the blockbuster visuals, Brian Michael Bendis’ writing is at its best when characters are ribbing or arguing with each other a la New Avengers. He seems to have a lot of fun with Green Arrow and Black Canary, who debate both sides of the Justice League’s current status quo and adds a little extra reverence when Superman opens his mouth. Superman also takes lead during the fight scenes, and you can tell he’s the team leader without any kind of exposition about it. We’ll see what Bendis does with them in future issues, but for now, Flash and Hawkgirl are exposition spouters while Batman just reacts to things. As the one non-powered hero during the fight scene, he may have been trying to make Batman a POV character, but few readers can react to an (ex) billionaire and genius strategist/martial artist. Thankfully, Naomi is coming soon to fill this role, and hopefully, she brings a hook too.

Ram V and Xermanico’s “Justice League Dark” doesn’t have a problem with hooks and opens with the return of Merlin to the mortal plane. If you’ve read V’s work on Future State: Justice League, then you know that his take on the mythical wizard is more nefarious than kindly, and Merlin definitely sets himself up as the Big Bad in the pages of this issue. His actions on the final pages definitely set up a need for a Justice League type of team to take him down as Xermanico’s lovely cathedral window layouts and Fajardo’s warm color palette turns bloody and scarlet. Also, V logically connects the John Constantine/Zatanna plot to Merlin’s rise through the appearance of a fan favorite character and basically shows that their mission was just a symptom of a larger disease. It’s tension and escalation all in ten pages.

However, as well as setting up a big-time enemy for this disassembled team to face, Ram V and Xermanico still find time to explore the relationship between John Constantine and Zatanna. There’s a real softness to their interactions even as Constantine does his usual con man hijinks to get them out of a bind as the narration goes slightly nihilistic and focuses on humanity’s stupidity and willingness to place their lives in religions and cults while there’s literally bigger fish to fry. I love how Constantine cares about Zatanna’s feelings after the loss of her father and the disbandment of Justice League Dark, and Xermanico shows this through a beat panel where their hands nearly touch. Constantine and Zatanna will never be a stable couple, but V and Xermanico know they have great chemistry and use it to carry this initial installment of “Justice League Dark” because while Merlin is quite metal, we need someone to root for.

Thanks to a one-dimensional baddie and the usual Brian Michael Bendis decompression issues, Justice League #59 only gets a slight recommendation for me. However, David Marquez and Tamra Bonvillain’s take on DC’s A-list is truly awe-inspiring, and their Black Adam exudes power and contempt as well. Hopefully, there’s more Naomi, Green Arrow, and Black Canary in future issues and less alien punching bag. But the real reason this comic crosses the line from trade wait to a purchase is Ram V, Xermanico, and Romulo Fajardo’s “Justice League Dark” backup, which features both Arthurian legends and supernatural hijinks and has a formidable villain plus witty, yet emotionally honest writing for its leads, John Constantine and Zatanna.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis, Ram V Art: David Marquez, Xermanico
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain, Romulo Fajardo Jr. Letters: Josh Reed, Rob Leigh
Story: 7.1 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Catwoman #29

Catwoman #29

Written by: Ram V.
Art by: Fernando Blanco

So far, Selina Kyle’s ambitious plan to gain control of Alleytown has been going purrfectly, but she’s about to run headlong into a brand-new foe…and pass right through them? Riddle us this, Catwoman! What do the Khadym mob, a non-corporeal assassin, and Poison Ivy have in common? And when it comes to solving riddles, there’s only one person Selina can go to—no matter how much she hates the idea.

Catwoman #29

Preview: Justice League #59

Justice League #59

Written by: Ram V., Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Xermanico, David Marquez

Writer Brian Michael Bendis reunites with artist David Marquez (Miles Morales, Iron Man, Batman/Superman) for a new, star-studded Justice League featuring Superman, Batman, the Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Hippolyta, new DC powerhouse Naomi, and…is that Black Adam?! Superman is leading the charge to reinvent the Justice League, and at the same time, a new, cosmic-powered threat arrives from Naomi’s homeworld to rule the Earth!

And in the backup story, dark days lie ahead for the new Justice League Dark. Zatanna and John Constantine take a road trip, only to discover horror around the bend as a friend-and sometime foe is reborn in fire! A legend is destroyed, and another takes a terrible turn, as Merlin reveals the beginning of a new, blood-drenched plot for all humankind. So begins writer Ram V’s new journey into the abyss with the Justice League Dark and artist Xermanico!

Justice League #59

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: Future State: Catwoman #2

Future State: Catwoman #2

Written by: Ram V.
Art by: Otto Schmidt

Catwoman has clawed her way through half of the Magistrate’s bullet train, but her fight has only just begun! Now, with Onomatopoeia in tow, Selina makes her way toward the car carrying a ghost of her past, and Gotham’s as well. It’s Bruce Wayne…but is it really him? And with Talia al Ghul on board as well, will this be a long-awaited reunion between the Bat and the Cat, or will Selina’s mission to rescue the Magistrate’s prisoners go off the rails?

Future State: Catwoman #2

DC Celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration

This May, grab your favorite boba, pull a chair up to the dim sum table, and celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration, DC’s newest comic book anthology debuting May 11, 2021.

The 96-page one-shot issue will commemorate DC’s rich roster of Asian and Asian American characters, presenting new tales by some of the most lauded storytellers in comics. Ram V— the current Catwoman series writer—will at last unveil the long-seeded mystery behind Shoes in an action-packed tale that follows the character as she becomes Catwoman’s protégé, revealing her real name, secret origin, and who her mother is. Eisner Award-winning author Mariko Tamaki will continue her work on the Batman mythos and present an original Cassandra Cain story, marking the author’s first time taking on DC’s iconic Asian Batgirl. Joining these stories, Minh —the acclaimed writer behind the smash-hit middle-grade graphic novel Green Lantern: Legacy—will team with artist Trung Le Nguyen (author and artist of The Magic Fish) for an all-new story featuring Vietnamese American Tai Pham, DC’s newest Green Lantern co-created by Lê and Green Lantern: Legacy artist Andie Tong. This anthology marks Nguyen’s first work with DC.

For the main event, New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang (Superman Smashes the Klan) and artist Bernard Chang will collaborate on a very special story fit for this celebratory month. Stay tuned for more details!

Additional stories and portraits will star iconic DC characters Katana, Lady Shiva, the Atom, and New Super-Man, among others, and will be written and drawn by fan-favorite writers and artists such as Francis Manapul, Greg Pak, Alyssa Wong, Marcio Takara, Sumit Kumar, Amy Chu, Dustin Nguyen, Cliff Chiang, Jen Bartel, Gurihiru and many more.

See below for the official description and full list of collaborators announced today and above for cover art by Jim Lee with Alex Sinclair. DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration hits stores and online retailers everywhere comics are sold on May 11, 2021.

DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration

Written by Gene Luen Yang, Mariko Tamaki, Minh Lê, Ram V, Greg Pak, Dustin Nguyen, Amy Chu, Alyssa Wong, and friends!
Drawn by Bernard Chang, Marcio Takara, Dustin Nguyen, Trung Le Nguyen, Francis Manapul, Marcus To, Sean Chen, Sumit Kumar, and others!
Portraits by Chiff Chiang, Jim Cheung, Jae Lee, Jen Bartel, Kevin Wada, Philip Tan, Gurihiru, and more!
Cover by Jim Lee with Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau
On Sale 5/11/21
MSRP: $9.99

Grab your favorite boba and pull a chair up to the dim sum table as we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with all your favorite Asian DC characters, old and new! Join Cassandra Cain, Katana, Green Lantern Tai Pham, the Atom, Dana Tan (a.k.a. Batman Beyond), Red Arrow, Lady Shiva, Damian Wayne and the al Ghul clan, New Super-Man, and more as we present new tales of these characters from their thrilling history! Plus, Cheshire Cat’s relationship to Cheshire is revealed as Shoes asks Selina Kyle to take her under her wing as Catgirl. And that’s just the start!

DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration
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