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Review: Blue & Gold #1

Blue & Gold #1

Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are two DC characters I don’t know a ton about. They’ve been ancillary characters in the various DC Comics I’ve read. But, a series starring the two isn’t something I’ve experienced. I know the basics of each and generally don’t have a lot of opinions about them. The read I’ve had is it’s the buddy cop type combo with one being rather serious and grounded while the other plays the role of a comedian. Blue & Gold #1 gets the duo front and center in a new miniseries that reintroduces them in a way to the “Infinite Frontier” direction of the DC Universe.

Dan Jurgens returns to his creation of Booster Gold who’s chasing clout and dollars as a superhero. He’s taken to social media live streaming his antics in hopes of getting viewers and that translating into dollars. It’s a perfect update to the character and the situation makes a whole lot of sense based on his personality. Unfortunately, his abilities are taxed when he goes up against an alien who has captured the Justice League. Somehow, Booster thinks he can stop a threat that’s taken out the Justice League. Hence Blue Beetle being called in to help Booster with his task.

Jurgens uses social media well in the issue as we get a solid sense of how the public sees these two and their reactions. The responses generally the tone is right though the comments feel a little tame to what reality would be. It gives a good gauge in the public response. We also get a sense of how well Booster’s schtick is going over as a whole. Jurgens also nails the banter between Booster and Beetle. There’s a perfect flow and back and forth between the two that’s straight out of the buddy cop stories that work. It’s a classic formula but it’s one that works well for these two.

The art by Ryan Sook is solid. With lettering by Rob Leigh, the look of the comic has a modern mixed with 80s feel about it. It’s not flashy in any way but is really great visually. This isn’t a comic full of splash pages and dynamic poses but instead fits its comedic duo. It focuses on the reactions of the two playing off the physical comedy they bring to the story. The alien ship and robot obstacle don’t feel all that exciting but instead it’s the details the art brings. When the two walk down a street, as an example, the reaction of those around them is something to focus in on. It adds to not just the story but the characters as well.

Blue & Gold #1 is a fun debut. It has a nice mix of classic DC and modern DC setting this duo on their new adventure. The comic brings something to DC’s line we’re not getting anywhere else and is a solid addition to the superhero lineup. Here’s hoping there are some bigger plans for them beyond these issues because based on this debut, this is a team that we’ll want to see more of when this adventure wraps up.

Story: Dan Jurgens Art: Ryan Sook Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Superman: Red and Blue #2

Superman: Red and Blue #2

I loved the debut of Superman: Red and Blue. The first issue was such a fresh take on Superman with a delivery that mixed in socio-political issues and the character’s limits and failures. Mixed with beautiful art, it was a debut that forced you to take notice. Superman: Red and Blue #2 is entertaining in its own way but falls far short of that first issue that soared.

There isn’t anything particularly bad about Superman: Red and Blue #2. There are five stories that are all entertaining in their own way. The stories vary in their focus and art style each delivering its own take on the character and his world. But, none of the stories really stand out. They’re entertaining while you read but I didn’t find the issue sticking with me in the same way as the first. It’s a case of starting out with a debut that’s almost “too good”. It’s difficult to match that level of quality.

Superman: Red and Blue #2 has its highlights. The comic debuts and opens with an interesting and emotional take on Clark’s relationship with his parents. It’s one that takes on negative perceptions about adoption and stamps them down.

An entry that pits Lex Luthor against Superman has a tinge of humor that pays homage to past stories. It’s a cute, fun story that I’d love as a backup feature in a Superman comic.

Where the comic stands out is in its varied subject matter. The anthology features stories focused on Martha Kent, Val-Zod, Lex Luthor, a random young girl, and Cyborg Superman. Each story is good in its own way and are worth reading. Superman: Red and Blue #2 is a frustrating comic in a way. All of the stories would be great as backups to a regular running series. But, as an anthology the stories are a bit too different in their subjects and topics and far too often fall into Superman battling something or they fall into predictable cheese.

Superman: Red and Blue #2 is hampered by that amazing first issue. It hasn’t stuck with me as that debut has. It’s not one that I immediately raved about to others. It’s good. It’s an entertaining read to sit back and relax to. But, it doesn’t challenge or do anything really new or interesting with an iconic character. An anthology feels like it presents a way to try something new, not something we’ve seen before.

Story: Steven T. Seagle, Chuck Brown, Dan Panosian, Stephanie Phillips, Jason Howard
Art: Duncan Rouleau, Denys Cowan, John Stanisci, Dan Panosian, Marley Zarcone, Jason Howard
Color: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Pat Brosseau, Dave Sharpe, Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Geiger #1

Geiger #1

Geiger #1 kicks off the high-profile indie series from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. The duo previously worked on DC’s Doomsday Clock, a series that overall fell short of expectations. Geiger #1 does the same.

Geiger #1 really should be called “Old Man knock-off”. The series focuses on the myth of a glowing individual out in the desert who survives the irradiated wastes without a radiation suit. We’re taken through the tragedy of a man who lost his family and was caught in a nuclear explosion leading to today.

The problem is, the setup doesn’t really help the story at all. Johns and Frank leave far too many questions that distract from the main story. It also feels like a retread of so many stories before. There just isn’t that originality or spark to make the debut stand out. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t deliver an interesting enough debut.

In Tariq, aka The Meltdown Man, we get an origin that’s been done to death, an individual caught in a nuclear explosion. With his family safely in a shelter, he’s caught outside to experience things along with attackers attempting to take over the shelter from his family. It’s a fine enough start but there’s no attachment at all. These aren’t characters we get to know. There’s little to feel sympathy for what they go through. Some racism is thrown in by the attackers in what I think is an attempt to do that but it falls flat overall. The attack too comes out of nowhere. There’s not a lot of setup, it just happens which causes a distraction. There’s a detachment with the story due to those two things.

Frank’s art is good. Along with Brad Anderson‘s color, the story is nice to look at. But, as presented we get a world that also doesn’t feel one and the same. There’s scavengers in irradiation suits, the Meltdown Man in his superhero gear, and then a kingdom… where they don’t wear suits? It’s all a little odd and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense visually. But, it looks nice. Rob Leigh‘s lettering packs in a lot as Johns scripts tend go dialogue heavy. It’s impressive how much makes it on to some pages and panels without issue. The only thing is one bit of dialogue at the bottom of a panel that feels like it’s cut off by the imaginary border.

Geiger #1 has a lot of good ideas. It just doesn’t present them well. There’s a choppiness to the story and a disconnect that has me not caring about the characters or what happens. It’s concepts without logic or heart. Maybe it comes together a bit more down the line but as is, this is a debut that doesn’t live up to the excitement and hype.

Story: Geoff Johns Art: Gary Frank
Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

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Review: Green Lantern #1

Green Lantern #1

It’s been a while since I read a Green Lantern comic. The various shifts in focus and tone turned me off and I tuned out. With “Future State” refocusing DC’s line and the expansive omniverse on the horizon, I was interested to see where this series would go. Green Lantern #1 lays out those seeds. The United Planets is forming and have convened on Oa to discuss the future order of DC’s cosmos. It’s an action-packed debut with a political focus and its results are a bit mixed.

Geoffrey Thorne puts on the ring to guide the series and its various members to the future. Green Lantern #1 is an interesting comic that has to balance a lot and does so well. It’s just what it balances is a bit mixed. The United Planets is forming to figure out the new order for the various worlds of the DC cosmos. They have convened on Oa to discuss how things will work and if Oa should become a member. It’s an interesting question that I hadn’t thought of.

Unfortunately, Thorne rushes through things skipping over what could be a very interesting debate. Oa, and the Guardians, have been the center of so many issues that have plagued the universe. It’s a legacy that’s touched upon with a few speeches but isn’t debated enough. It’s a great concept that’s only an inch deep. It also has hampered by delivery and setup that’s a bit too Star Wars prequel. Even how the various groups are set up screams the Galactic Senate. It’s an odd visual that distracts and takes what could be a very interesting direction and makes it feel a bit short in how it’s been thought out.

There’s also some hints around those against Oa joining the organization. There’s something about “freeing a heart” and what amounts to a terrorist attack but that too feels all a bit odd. It’s like there was an idea of an attack but not really how it’d play out and some quick ideas were thrown out. There’s the “science cells” which we assume are filled but instead of just freeing a bunch of criminals, the terrorist attack frees an odd being that’s soon defeated. It all fills like something had to just get filled in instead of again being fleshed out.

What really works in Tween Lantern. Thorne’s writing of this relatively new character is great and the mystery surrounding her is great. She gives a spunk and energy to the comic which otherwise might play things a bit too straight and serious. This is a breakout character who deserves the spotlight (and a solo series).

The art by Dexter Soy and Marco Santucci is good. They’re joined by Alex Sinclair on color and Rob Leigh on lettering. The look of the characters is good and there’s a lot packed in. But again, things feel a bit short. The comic has so many worlds and alien races all on Oa but the art doesn’t feel like it takes advantage. It’s also too focused at times and falls short of the “cosmopolitan” feel it should.

Green Lantern #1 has some great concepts. There’s a lot of them. But, the details don’t feel fleshed out enough. They also feel a bit rushed. The debate about Oa joining this new order feels a bit short in debate. There should be far more discussion as to whether it should happen. There’s little doubt it would. The terrorist attack and action sequences too feel a bit too neatly wrapped up. This is a comic though could easily have been two or three issues worth of material. Instead, Green Lantern #1 is a start that has great ideas but not a great execution to go along with it.

Story: Geoffrey Thorne Art: Dexter Soy, Marco Santucci
Color: Alex Sinclair Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Teen Titans Academy #1

Teen Titans Academy #1

Heroes training the next generation in a school is nothing new. The X-Men was built on the concept. The Avengers have done it. There have been numerous mentor programs within the DC Universe. Now, the Teen Titans put their spin on the concept with Teen Titans Academy #1. It’s an interesting debut that sets up some of the key players while hinting at the conflict to come.

That conflict was show in DC’s Future State where we found out about the academy and the death of its students. A concept that’s also not really knew. But, that “future story” harkened back to Titans history, specially Nightwing and Red X. And that’s where a lot of the debut issue revolves around.

Writer Tim Sheridan ties what’s possibly to come with the present as the students gather to the island for the start of the school year. Beyond introducing the cast and getting the teachers some overdue interaction, the issue mainly focuses on Nightwing and Red X. This is a part of DC history I don’t know so much of the concern or interesting aspects went over my head. But, you get a sense that this wasn’t a good time and it’s an ominous thing. Sheridan gives just enough for new readers, like me, won’t feel lost or scratching their heads as to the big deal.

The story really is an introduction laying out key characters, their personalities, and powers. The original Teen Titans get time to interact and remind us of their dynamic as well. In many ways it all feels like “coming home”. It also feels familiar. There’s very much an X-Men quality to it all with the original members training the next generation. That’s not a bad thing as the formula worked very well and was a lot of fun. Teen Titans Academy #1 sets things up with a playful charm about it all also nailing down that “fun” aspect to it all.

Rafa Sandoval does an impressive job of keeping things clean on the page. There’s a lot packed in at times but the pages and panels never feel like there’s too much there. Jordie Tarragona handles the ink, with Alejandro Sanchez on color, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Together, the visuals of the comic have a bit of a light (not a bad thing) style to it all. There’s nothing dark or brooding about the art. But, there’s also something ominous about it all as well. There’s something underlying the story and the art style helps enhance that in some ways. This is the light before the dark.

Teen Titans Academy #1 is a solid start to the series. While it doesn’t go off in a bold original direction, it does deliver a solid take on the concept it uses. The new characters are interesting and the original team is great together. It’s a comic that you know there are hard times ahead but in the present, things are fun, enjoyable, and positive. There’s a charm and innocence about it, which also makes it a superhero comic that’s unique for the stands.

Story: Tim Sheridan Art: Rafa Sandoval
Ink: Jordi Tarragona Color: Alejandro Sanchez Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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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

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Review: Crime Syndicate #1

Crime Syndicate #1

Crime Syndicate #1 takes us to Earth-3 where “evil” version of our known superheroes rule. The issue is an interesting one presenting the group it would seem before they’ve come together and instead giving us a tease of each. Some of it works and some of it doesn’t with an issue that’s a bit choppy in quality.

Written by Andy Schmidt, the comic re-introduces us to the various members. It has them plant their flags in their own ways. All of the members are horrible individuals in their own special way. This isn’t a team or “heroes” to be rooting for, Schmidt nails that aspect down. But, the tone of the comic still feels a bit “light’ for such evil individuals. There’s a pulp vibe to it in some ways with a dose of humor thrown in which feels a bit off.

Schmidt has some fun with that “pulp” aspect though referencing comics that don’t exist and haven’t happened. It delivers a wink a nod to the history all of these characters have.

But, what’s odd is that this feels a bit of an echo to the Justice League relaunch with the New 52 bringing the team together. There’s both history and newness to it all. It doesn’t pack the punch when it the Crime Syndicate was revealed years ago as to the evil that lurked in the DC Universe and sparked “Trinity War”.

The art by Kieran McKeown is ok but doesn’t quite fit the tone of the characters. With ink by Dexter Vines, color by Steve Oliff, and lettering by Rob Leigh there’s a bit of a classic feel to the art. It matches the comedic aspects of the comic but the style doesn’t quite match that “evil” and “dark” aspect of the team I was expecting. The art is a bit to bright and light to fit well with these characters.

Schmidt is also joined by Bryan Hitch, Alex Sinclair, and Leigh in an origin story for Ultraman. The back-up story is more of what I was expecting with the main story. It’s a bit darker in tone and shows more of the torture and twisted nature of these characters. Juxtaposed with the main story, the tone issues are more apparent.

Crime Syndicate #1 is a bit too much of a fresh start with an unexpected tone that doesn’t quite fit. These were brutally evil characters who were always plotting. Here we’re presented with more goofy mirror images of heroes we know. There’s potential for the series as it goes on with more interactions but as is, the comic is a bit choppy in its presentation getting them to that point.

Story: Andy Schmidt Art: Kieran McKeown, Bryan Hitch
Ink: Dexter Vines Color: Steve Oliff, Alex Sinclair Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read


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Review: Future State: Justice League #1

Future State: Justice League #1

Future State: Justice League #1 is an interesting comic. There’s a lot to like about it. But, there’s also a lot to be frustrated by as well. There’s two stories and each has their strengths and weaknesses.

Joshua Williamson handles the writing duties for the first story focused on the Justice League of the future. With a new Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, The Flash, Aquawoman, and Wonder Woman, the comic gives us familiar characters but new takes. It also delivers an interesting new status quo in some ways.

In Future State: Justice League #1, the Legion of Doom has been murdered leaving the Justice League to figure out who did it. Roles aren’t quite as straightforward as one might expect changing up some of the expectations for the team. There’s also a new dynamic in that this is a team that doesn’t know each other’s identities. We’re told of some major events in the past that has lead to that but it doesn’t hamper the story. There are some hints as to what has happened but it doesn’t linger in the details. We’re absolutely left wanting more but it’s not the focus brought up over and over.

Instead, Williamson focuses on the lasting reverberations of the past and how they impact this new team. There’s a discussion if these heroes should be hampered by the ghosts of the past. That’s really interesting and I wish there was more of it. Sadly, it’s all cut short as the real villains are revealed. A group I have no connection to so I was left shrugging my shoulders.

The art by Robson Rocha is fantastic. Daniel Henriques is on ink, Romulo Fajardo, Jr. is on color, and Tom Napolitano on lettering. There’s solid page layouts and the design and look of the characters are great. The comic had me looking at the art and pages to check out the details and dissect the look of the comic. It just looks really good and has a good pacing despite much of the comic is standing around and chatting.

The comic also features a Justice League Dark story, “Prophéties“. It’s written by Ram V., with art by Marcio Takara, color by Marcelo Maiolo, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Here we’re given a different future where magic users are under attack. It’s a wasteland post-apocalyptic world where instead of a lot of what we’ve seen elsewhere, this one is more sword and sorcery. Zatanna and Bobo are attempting to figure out what has happened as they also do what they can to survive. Merlin has returned taking the magic and hunting down users and murdering them.

It’s an interesting story that has a nice blending of settings. Where it goes and what’s revealed has me wanting to find out more and see what’s next. But, it also feels like a story arc that’s a bit of a filler between bigger arcs. It’s not bad, it doesn’t quite hit the mark with its big moments.

Future State: Justice League #1 is an ok comic. It’s not bad. It’s also not exciting enough. Both stories have their moments and interesting aspects. But, the Justice League characters are a bit more interesting in their own “Future State” series. The Justice League Dark story packs a lot in but misses that punch to really make it exciting. This is one for those who really want to see more of these characters or worlds.

Story: Joshua Williamson, Ram V. Art: Robson Rocha, Marcio Takara
Ink: Daniel Henriques Color: Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Marcelo Maiolo Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Future State: The Next Batman #1

Future State: The Next Batman #1

With John Ridley writing the main story, there’s no way I wasn’t going to read Future State: The Next Batman #1. A new Batman in a fascist Gotham written by Ridley is a combination that’s right up my alley. And even with a high bar to cover, I was not only pleased, but excited to read the next issue and wishing we were getting more than two.

In this future Gotham, a militaristic police called The Magistrate has taken over pushing the Gotham P.D. to the side. “The Bat” and masks are outlawed and hunted down. A new Batman is in town not just stopping crime but attempting to save masks from a fate at the hand of the Magistrate.

Ridley delivers such a strong opening and familiar but different take on the character. There’s a classic Batman vibe to it all going back to the basics of a man in a costume with his grappling hook and smoke. It’s theatrical in many ways and feels like a cross of the early years of the character and Batman 1989. Ridley also spins things a bit with layers on the fascism and vigilantism. Some take Batman as an extension of a rightwing agenda as far as justice but to see him rail against an overreaching government is a nice and different spin. It makes me want to see Ridley release a maxi-series further exploring the concepts touched upon here.

The art by Nick Derington is top-notch. There are so many panels and pages that evoke classic Batman with a few paying an homage to classic imagery. Derington is joined by Tamra Bonvillain on color and Clayton Cowles on colors. The combination creates a look and feel of a “classic Batman” story and some of the modern classics that use the shadows to evoke fear and excitement for what’s to come.

Future State: The Next Batman #1 is one of the expanded “Future State” issues featuring two other stories.

Outsiders” is written by Brandon Thomas with art by Sumit Kumar, ink by Kumar and Raul Fernandez, color by Jordie Bellaire, and lettering by Steve Wands. We get to see a new crew of Outsiders as they attempt to take down The Magistrate. It’s a great extension of the world in the main story showing more of the resistance against the fascist police. There’s a lot packed into the story really setting things up and creating a world out of a dozen pages or so. It feels in a way two short stories itself but is such a strong entry that expands the world and compliments the main story. The art is fantastic as well delivering some great action.

Arkham Knights Chapter 1 Rise” is written by Paul Jenkins with art by Jack Herbert, color by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Much like the other story, this one also adds a lot to this new world. The Arkham Knights is a squad of Batman villains who have come together to take on The Magistrate. There’s a Suicide Squad vibe about it but the concept and how it’s presented is really interesting. It’s the specifics of the concept that really stand out. The art too is great with updates to classic characters.

Future State: The Next Batman #1 is a winner of a comic. I wanted to read more immediately and now I want an entire series exploring this world. There’s some great concepts here and an interesting exploration of the line between justice and fascism. Where the line is drawn is a great concept to dive in to and this comic dances around it with some fantastic writing and characters. A lot is packed into the extended issue and it’s such a welcome addition to the DC and Batman mythology.

Story: John Ridley, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins Art: Nick Derington, Sumit Kumar, Jack Herbert
Ink: Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez Color: Tamra Bonvillain, Jordie Bellaire, Gabe Eltaeb

Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Batman: Black & White #1

Batman: Black & White #1

Anthology series are always something I enjoy to read in comics. In a comic, you get varied voices and styles, getting to see what creators you might not read would do with characters. It’s also a chance to see what different creators would do in the same sandbox. That often results in a lot of variation showing how versatile comics and their characters can be. Batman: Black & White #1 kicks off a new series with one hell of a start.

Batman: Black & White #1 is one of the best anthologies I’ve read in some time. While the stories are varied and interesting, this debut issue’s art is what really stands out. There’s a common theme, beyond Batman, of artists breaking the mold delivering visuals that “break the page”.

With five stories, Batman: Black & White #1 gives us variation not just in styles but the perspectives and subjects. There’s some “traditional” Batman focused stories but others come from different perspectives. The opening for example is told from the perspective of a member of the League of Assassins.

Each story is entertaining in their own way. They are varied in pacing, tone, and focus, keeping things interesting. Some keep things more traditional in the narrative while others are presented in a more poetic style. The dialogue and types of stories alone are worth picking up the issue. But, it’s the art that really stands out in this issue.

The styles of art vary but they all have one thing in common. Each story breaks traditional page layouts and panels. The opening story uses Batman’s cape to break up the sequences, another is laid out like poem flowing across the page. Another story uses the pearls of Bruce Wayne’s mother to break up the page. In an amazing visual, art from throughout the years is laid out on page like a collage of Batman’s history. You’ll linger on every page in awe as to what’s been laid out. Every inch of the page is used and used well. Only one of the stories comes close to expected page layouts and even then, that tale delivers a lot for Batman fans in the background.

All of that is delivered in black and white.

Batman: Black & White #1 is a hell of a start to the series. It had me lingering on pages in awe of what was before me and wanting more. It shows off some amazing art and will have you longing for more of this and fewer boxes on the page. This is a fantastic issue for Batman fans and fans of beautiful art. It also creates a high bar for future issues to reach.

Story: James Tynion IV, J.H. Williams III, G. Willow Wilson, Emma Rios, Paul Dini
Art: Tradd Moore, J.H. Williams III, Greg Smallwood, Emma Rios, Andy Kubert, Dexter Soy
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Todd Klein, Clem Robins, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
Story 8.45 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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