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DC Doubles Down on the Scary with Legend of the Swamp Thing Halloween Spectacular and DC: The Doomed and the Damned in October

October always brings stories of ghosts, goblins, fright, and picking out our favorite candies for Halloween. But this year, DC’s got twice the spooks and scares for comic book fans with two anthology titles featuring the World’s Greatest Super Heroes in tales of fear and terror!

LEGEND OF THE SWAMP THING HALLOWEEN SPECTACULAR #1

DC invites you to welcome Swamp Thing to your witching hour festivities. In this 48-page collection of six all-new stories, the Guardian of the Green reveals past lives and the unforgettable horrors that befall those who cross his path. From ancient Rome to present day, Swamp Thing stalks these ghostly and ghastly tales—all of which are best read by the light of a jack o’ lantern!

Writers Tom King, James Tynion IV, Vita Ayala, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Ram V are among the writers penning these creepy tales with Domo Stanton, Mike Perkins, Emma Rios and Christian Ward providing the bone-chilling artwork.

Legend of the Swamp Thing Halloween Spectacular #1 is priced at $5.99 and debuts on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at all open and operating comic book stores and participating digital retailers.

DC: THE DOOMED AND THE DAMNED #1

It was a dark and stormy night when the creatures of the DC universe began to emerge from their lairs into the cool evening air. Tales of the macabre, the murderous, and the morbid abound in this spine-chilling special about monsters and mayhem! What happens when Batman encounters a true urban legend after speaking its name three times in a mirror, or when Madame Xanadu enlists the help of Man-Bat to take town shadowy specter? And who can stop an intergalactic demon from turning people into frog beasts? Only the unlikely team up of Green Lantern and Etrigan! All this and seven more fang-tastic tales to trick your treats and bob your apples!

This prestige format one-shot features some of comics best scary storytellers, including writers Carmen Maria Machado, Marv Wolfman, Ken Porter, John Arcudi, Saladin Ahmed, Alyssa Wong, Travis Moore and others. Artists contributing to this blood-curdling comic include Riley Rossmo, Mike Perkins, Leonardo Manco, Travis Moore, Tom Mandrake and others.

This 80-Page one-shot is priced at $9.99 and arrives at open and operating comic book stores and participating digital retailers on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

Preview: Justice League Dark #21

Justice League Dark #21

(W) James Tynion IV, Ram V. (A) Kyle Hotz (CA) Guillem March
In Shops: Mar 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Rot ‘n’ roll! Wonder Woman, Detective Chimp, and special guest star Animal Man fend off a horde of monstrous Rot-infected creatures-but risk contamination with every soul they save! Meanwhile, Zatanna and Constantine discover the secret of the Parliaments in an estranged ally’s dreams, but there they find no lullabies-only nightmares!

Justice League Dark #21

Ram V and Anand RK Enter the Mind of a Tortured Musician in Blue in Green

Bestselling creators Ram V and Anand RK team up for an exploration of ambitions, expectations, and the horrific depths of their spiraling pursuit in Blue in Green. This original graphic novel will hit stores in October from Image Comics.

The dark and haunting portrayal of a young musician’s pursuit of creative genius— the monstrous nature of which threatens to consume him as it did his predecessor half a century ago.  

Blue in Green (ISBN: 978-1-5343-1713-0) will be available on Wednesday, October 28 and in bookstores on Tuesday, November 3.

Blue in Green

Preview: Justice League Dark #20

Justice League Dark #20

(W) James Tynion IV, Ram V. (A) Kyle Hotz (CA) Guillem March
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The Floronic Man’s unintended rise to power has thrown The Parliaments of Life into chaos. Even though the villain lies deep in the cells of the Hall of Justice, life itself is being warped by his reach! With Swamp Thing gone, the Justice League Dark must join forces with some of the most powerful avatars, like Animal Man, to help set things right. But the magical team’s troubles are just beginning, as an old evil from a familiar swamp casts its shadow over them all, waiting for the perfect time to strike!

Justice League Dark #20

Vault Joins Local Comic Shop Day with These Savage Shores Gold Edition Trade Paperback

Vault Comics joins Local Comic Shop Day 2019 where they will release a limited, exclusive Gold Edition of These Savage Shores – with a cover printed with special gold ink.

Local Comic Shop Day takes place on Saturday, November 23rd, 2019.

These Savage Shores LCSD Gold Edition TPB

Writer:  Ram V. 
Artist:  Sumit Kumar 
Colorist: Vittorio Astone
Cover Artist: Sumit Kumar 
Letter:  Aditya Bidikar 
Designer: Tim Daniel

This Local Comic Shop Day exclusive Gold Edition comes with a cover printed with special gold ink.

Two centuries after the first European ship sailed to the Malabar Coast and made landfall at Calicut, The East India Company seeks to secure its future along the lucrative Silk Route, in the year 1766. An old evil now sails aboard a company ship, hoping to make a home in this new found land. But he will soon find that the ground along the Indus is an ancient one with daemons and legends far older than himself.

Along These Savage Shores, where the days are scorched and the nights are full of teeth.

These Savage Shores LCSD Gold Edition TPB

Preview: Catwoman #15

Catwoman #15

(W) Ram V. (A) Mirka Andolfo (CA) Joëlle Jones
In Shops: Sep 11, 2019
SRP: $3.99

After running a gauntlet of assassins to get her hands on the dossier detailing all the illegal activities of Villa Hermosa, Selina Kyle must go up against the big bosses of the criminal underworld. She must deal with their gun-toting mercenaries, yakuza hit women and the masked bounty hunter Lock-Up. All while still carrying a price on her head. Is there a way she can collect both big prizes herself and still walk away alive?

Catwoman #15

Preview: Catwoman #14

Catwoman #14

(W) Ram V. (A) Mirka Andolfo (CA) Stanley Lau, Joëlle Jones
In Shops: Aug 14, 2019
SRP: $4.99

A secret file out-lining the ins and outs of the criminal underworld of Villa Hermosa is on the streets, and every crook is after it. Whoever possesses this info can control everything, and some of the town’s hoods are even bringing in outside agents like Lock-Up and Gentleman Ghost to act as their champions-which, let’s face it, you’re going to need if you’re going to try to outsmart Catwoman. Making things even more dangerous for Selina Kyle, there is also a price on her head. If you can capture the database and kill the Catwoman, the payoff is double!

Catwoman #14

These Savage Shores #1 – #3 Gets New Printings with Special Collector’s Covers

Vault Comics is thrilled to announce that, due to extremely high demand in the series, These Savage Shores #1 – #3 will receive an additional printing with special collector’s set covers.

These design-led covers, created by Vault’s VP of Branding & Design, Tim Daniel, feature striking silhouettes of the book’s main characters while highlighting exceptional inks from the books within the outline.

These Savage Shores readers can purchase the covers as 24 X 36 poster prints right now at the Vault Store.

One of the most critically-acclaimed comics of 2018 with interest that continues to grow rapidly as the series concludes this year, These Savage Shores is written by Ram V, drawn by Sumit Kumar, colored by Vitorio Astone, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar.

There’s still time to order: These Savage Shores #1-3 reprints will hit shelves May 22, 2019.

Issue #1, Cover art featuring Bishan.

Two centuries after the first European ship sailed to the Malabar Coast and made landfall at Calicut, The East India Company seeks to secure its future along the lucrative Silk Route, in the year 1766. An old evil now sails aboard a company ship, hoping to make a home in this new found land. But he will soon find that the ground along the Indus is an ancient one with daemons and legends far older than himself.

These Savage Shores Issue #1, Cover art featuring Bishan

Issue #2, Cover art featuring Kori.

The untimely demise of a nobleman gives the East India Company a new angle in negotiations to build their trade route. A vampire hunter finds bigger prey than he had bargained for, deep within the royal reserve.Along These Savage Shores, where the hunt is eternal, and hunter and hunted move in shadow.

These Savage Shores Issue #2, Cover art featuring Kori

Issue #3, Cover art featuring Count Grano.

The stench of war clings to the air as Hyder Ali of Mysore comes calling for the levy. Good men and demons alike are set to march, even as lovers part with the promise of a safe return. But in these troubling times the promise of a hunt brings the devil himself to this faraway coast.Along These Savage Shores where blood begets blood and dawn-light shimmers over a land soaked in betrayal.

These Savage Shores Issue #3, Cover art featuring Count Grano

Messages from Midgard #3: Daredevil Rules, Punisher Drools

Wait, I thought this was an Asgard-centric event? Even though the bad guys are all elves, trolls, giants, and evil minotaur CEOs, the predominantly Big Apple-centric setting of War of the Realms #1 and #2 allows for some of Marvel’s street level vigilante to shine (Daredevil) or fall flat on their faces (Punisher). This week’s issue of War of the Realms and its tie-ins were the true definition of a mixed bag. War of the Realms #2 continued and wrapped up the big New York battle from the previous issue before spending a lot of its page count setting up various upcoming tie-ins in a pretty way from artist Russell Dauterman and colorist Matthew Wilson. Plot-wise, there’s one small surprise, and we’re finally up to the events described in last week’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl tie-in. Speaking of tie-ins, they run the gamut from the instant classic that is Thor #12 to the should have been a one-shot and the first true stinker of “War of the Realms” that is War of the Realms: Punisher #1. In the middle is War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1, which tells some entertaining side-stories about Daredevil, the Warriors Three, and Wolverine (Confession: I don’t know how he’s back from the dead.) and squanders a cult book creator reunion.

War of the Realms #2

Feeling a little nostalgic for the 1980s, writer Jason Aaron titles this story “Midgard Massacre” in homage to the “Mutant Massacre” crossover where Morlocks were killed by Reavers, and characters like Daredevil, Thor, and the Power Pack showed up in X-books. A bunch of seemingly mismatched characters show up in War of the Realms #2, but Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s story lacks the emotional resonance of the previous Massacre until the final page. Plus Aaron and Dauterman wring out some great moments for Jane Foster and Freya beneath the fighting/strategic retreats. Jane gets to ride Valkyrie’s horse, Aragorn, fight with a sword, and is hinted to want to become Thor again even though it would mean the return of her cancer.

So, a big pitched battle in New York between superheroes and various fantasy creatures is an objectively cool idea and a reason why I decided to do this weekly column. However, it really starts to drag in War of the Realms #2 even with gorgeous Dauterman/Wilson tapestry pages to show the Valkyries entering the battle with a heavily wounded Odin to turn the tide Wagner style. Aaron tries to do the whole Battle of Hoth, “good guys get their butts kicked and retreat to another area” plot maneuver and succeeds in getting all the heroes from point A to point B, but stumbles in the execution. They don’t lose because they’re overwhelmed by sheer numbers, but because Dr. Strange’s teleport spell malfunctioned, which is a weak plot device featuring a tangential character. We don’t even see the costs of his spells like in Bendis and Hickman’s Avengers runs.

The big plot development other than a death for a character, who is already in a grey area between life and death and is about to be swapped out with her more popular movie version, is Malekith and his forces taking over Midgard. This is told to us with word balloons instead of on-panel, or in the tie-ins, which mainly take place in New York. There’s no heroic last stand, or emotional connection, but Aaron rushes off to characters setting up the next issue or tie-in’s plot in expository dialogue with the occasional fish out of water joke like Luke Cage’s eye roll when he talks about fighting trolls in Harlem. War of the Realms #2 feels like a giant action figure battle with a slight touch of emotional resonance every time Jane Foster brandishes her sword, or when Freyja decides to lead the rescue mission to get Thor in Jotunheim. It barely gets the overall verdict of Read because of a harrowing final page, Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson’s art, and because it has the seeds of potential to be a great Freyja and/or superhero buddy team-up book.

Thor #12

For better or worse, the modern character of Loki will always be defined by the way Tom Hiddleston portrayed him in the MCU films and the way Kieron Gillen wrote him in Journey into Mystery and Young Avengers doing clever plotting, world-building, and crafting a character that desperately wants to change, but can’t. These stories were often in the middle of event tie-ins, and Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo join this tradition in Thor #12, which is Journey into Mystery meets A Christmas Carol. Loki is being eaten by his own father, Laufey the Frost Giant, and wants to just die when he’s visited by his past, present-ish (Kid Loki), and future self aka Loki the NecroGod. Aaron has established the past and future selves in various flashback and flashforward stories in Thor so he can get straight to the character study part.

Thor #12 is full of “a-ha” moments beginning when Loki realizes that he basically created the villain Malekith when he orchestrated a war between the Dark Elves and trolls, and young Malekith was subjected to the trauma of constantly burning the corpses of his people into a mass grave. He and his past sins are responsible for the War of the Realms, and Del Mundo nails this moment of recognition with great facial expression work for an artist who is mostly known for his layouts and Heavy Metal approach to superhero stories. He uses a varying color palette as Loki goes from the fires of Svartalfheim to the cold of Jotunheim and finally ooey gooey stained glass of the end of all things. This issue is easily my favorite work of his since Elektra.

But Thor #12 is more than great art. Jason Aaron offers a pinpoint look into how Loki is just a man who has been lying to himself all his life about who he is and the consequences of his actions beginning with one about how his magic tutor, Eldred, would have died in a dungeon any way. This lie led to others and became Loki’s character and story that he is fated to follow even though fate, er, the Norns are off the table in Aaron’s Thor run. This self-deception coupled with a death wish persists until the end of time, or currently, in some kind of hellscape caused by being eaten by his own father. Even if you’ve sworn off “War of the Realms”, Thor #12’s overall verdict is a Read because of Mike Del Mundo’s triple threat of art styles and Jason Aaron’s razor sharp characterization of Loki that is conversation with Gillen’s work while also breaking fantastic new ground.

War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1

One of my favorite pleasures from event comics are the anthology miniseries that tell either serial or one-shot stories about fan favorite D-list characters or give up and coming creators a chance to play in a shared universe sandbox. War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1 has a good amount of this with Josh Trujillo (Dodge City) and Ricardo Lopez-Ortiz (Kingpin) doing a combo Warriors Three and Cloak and Dagger story while Ram V (Paradiso) and Cafu (Imperium) tell the story of an Asian-American teenager’s experience with Wolverine. Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, and Rico Renzi’s return to Howard the Duck is well-drawn, if underwhelming and sophomoric. This is made up for by an intelligent, wonderful Daredevil by Jason Aaron and drawn by Andrea Sorrentino in a looser style with colors by Matthew Wilson that should have gotten its own mini and is the multi part serial of the bunch.

Jason Aaron’s Thor: The God of Thunder (Especially the “God Butcher” arc.) was as much theodicy as Viking metal space opera, and his work on the various Asgardians have touched on big questions, like faith, belief, fate, and higher powers, from a predominantly skeptical point of view. So, it’s very intriguing to see him write Marvel’s man of faith, Daredevil, who is shocked when he meets Thor and his heartbeat is steady when talking about being a god.

Plus the flashback is a chance for Sorrentino to kick it Silver Age style, Ben-Day dots and all. The present narrative features Daredevil playing the role of street level hero, protecting his neighborhood from otherworldly threats, and then getting an Asgardian upgrade that will be described in an upcoming issue of War of the Realms. It’s nice to see one of Marvel’s consistently best written and drawn heroes play a key role in an event comic, and Kingpin’s role in the story makes my mouth water. There’s also the aforementioned Andrea Sorrentino style switch up that isn’t at the cost of making his work less iconic beginning with a little Frost Giant dismemberment.

Speaking of cartooning, Trujillo, Lopez-Ortiz, and colorist Felipe Sobreiro go for lower stakes, but don’t skimp on the fun in their Warriors Three story where Hogun, Fandral, and Hildegarde have to drag an indisposed Volstagg to the Sanctum Sanctorum. There’s action, derring do, Shakespearean English type banter, and slapstick humor with a side of horror as they meet up with Cloak and Dagger and protect the ordinary citizens of New York on the way to their destination. Ram V and Cafu’s Wolverine story is in a similar vein as teens named Jae and Chris rush through the streets of New York to make it to the Sanctum Sanctorum and watch Logan’s six along the way. Cafu’s renderings are a little stiff, but Ram V truly believes in the inspirational power of superheroes even ones that are rough around the edges. His banter between Wolverine and Punisher is also deadpan funny too, which makes it all the more sad that Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones return to Howard the Duck isn’t witty, satirical, and filled with sight gags, but one long pee joke. However, War Scrolls #1’s overall verdict is still Read, and I’m very excited to see what Jason Aaron and Andrea Sorrentino do with Daredevil and Kingpin.

War of the Realms: Punisher #1

On the surface, I thought that War of the Realms: Punisher #1 and “War of the Realms” was just an excuse for Frank Castle to kill things with no moral dilemmas, and unfortunately, I was right. Writer Gerry Duggan, and capital “G” gritty artists Marcelo Ferreira and Roberto Poggi along with solid colorist Rachelle Rosenberg make the Punisher a heroic figure compared to the dark elves and fire trolls he fights and the prisoners he recruits as allies to escort patients from a hospital in Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel into New Jersey. Old Uncle Frank will ignore your weed stash in return for some piano wire, not take revenge on a Frost Giant to get a man out of a burning car, and even shoot a criminal in the head to show what happens if you don’t help him escort some “innocent” patients to Jersey.

The Punisher shooting elves and trolls while helping people get from New York to New Jersey with hardened criminals as allies would make a decent action-oriented one-shot. Like a high fantasy version of The Raid, but with a vigilante, not a cop. However, War of the Realms: The Punisher #1 spends almost its entire page time on Frank Castle hero worship and mowing down purely evil creatures and only sets up its premise at the very end saving the tunnel action bits for the upcoming two issues.

War of the Realms: The Punisher #1’s is drawn in a superhero house style with thicker and darker inks from Roberto Poggi and flashes of powerful colors from Rachelle Rosenberg like when a car becomes almost entirely flame. It’s the comic book equivalent of Eli Roth’s footloose and conscience free Death Wish remake with extra trolls, giants, and elves and no pesky moral grey areas. It’s no surprise that its overall verdict is Pass.

Two issues in, and Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson are still in pure action figure geek mode matching up a plethora of superheroes against fantasy races established in their work on Thor’s solo title. There are still compelling stories between the fights, obvious tie-in setups, and off panel plot developments like Aaron and Mike Del Mundo’s captivating standalone Loki story in Thor #12, Aaron and Andrea Sorrentino’s intriguing Daredevil/Kingpin serial, and Josh Trujillo and Ricardo Lopez-Ortiz’s Warriors Three short. But there are also stinkers like War of the Realms: Punisher, an ill-fated Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones Howard the Duck reunion, and hopefully not the core War of the Realms miniseries. But, hey, at least, we have a few more issues of Sorrentino drawing Daredevil.

Panel of the Week

Logan circa 2013 feels personally attacked by this panel. In all seriousness, Jason Aaron writes a great Loki (Thor #12, Art by Mike Del Mundo.)

Review: War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1

The War of the Realms is raging across the Marvel Universe and there’s so many stories to be told. War of the Realms: War Scrolls #1 kicks off the anthology miniseries with four stories.

It features the works of Jason Aaron, Andrea Sorrentino, Matthew Wilson, Josh Trujillo, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Felipe Sobreiro, Ram V., Cafu, Brian Reber, Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Joe Rivera, Rico Renzi, and Joe Sabino.

Get your copy in comic shops April 17th! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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