Written by: Matthew Rosenberg, Brandon Thomas, Cecil Castellucci, Chip Zdarsky Art by: Ryan Benjamin, Marguerite Sauvage, Max Dunbar, Eddy Barrows Cover by: Hicham Habchi
The new Batman anthology series continues! In part two of Chip Zdarsky and Eddy Barrows’s epic Batman/Red Hood story, Jason Todd has taken a man’s life, and now his mission is to keep the dead man’s young son safe. But Batman plans to take down Jason before he can make another mistake. Then, in chapter two of Matthew Rosenberg and Ryan Benjamin’s senses-shattering tale, Cole Cash earns his pay as personal bodyguard to billionaire Lucius Fox, but what led him to Gotham in the first place? How does the mysterious HALO Corporation play into it all? And which Bat-Family character does he have an unfortunate meeting with in this chapter? And in part two of Brandon Thomas and Max Dunbar’s epic Outsiders story, see Katana’s perspective on what brought the Outsiders to Japan, who wants her dead, and what her ultimate punishment will be for no longer having her husband’s spirit in the Soultaker sword. Plus, Barbara Gordon has identified a citywide system hack from a foe she faced before as Batgirl…but this time around, Babs may have found a way to defeat her for good as Oracle!
Doctor Octopus. Kraven the Hunter. Green Goblin. These iconic Spider-Man villains and many more belong to one of the most legendary rogues gallery in pop culture history, and this June, they’ll be getting the spotlight on 20 all-new variant covers by some of the industry’s leading artists. See explosive matchups like the Immortal Hulk taking down Rhino, Daredevil going head to head with Shocker, Miles facing off against Lady Octopus, and Shang-Chi caught in the grip of King Cobra on incredible artwork on the covers of your favorite ongoing Marvel series. Fans can collect all 20 pieces from a range of top artists. Here are some of the action-packed brawls you can expect from this collection:
Black Cat vs. Scorpia
Black Widow vs. Electro
Captain America vs. Kraven the Hunter
Captain Marvel vs. Vulture
Fantastic Four vs. Sandman
Iron Man vs. Boomerang
Jean Grey & Emma Frost vs. Beetle (Janice Lincoln)
Silk vs. White Rabbit
Spider-Man vs. Chameleon
Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus
Spider-Man vs. Taskmaster & Black Ant
Star-Lord vs. Trapster
Thor vs. Lizard
Wolverine vs. Stegron
Check out the first four now and stay tuned for more Spider-Man Villains Variant Cover reveals in the coming weeks!
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #67 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by JAVIER GARRÓN
BLACK CAT #7 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by TERRY DODSON
FANTASTIC FOUR #33 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by DIKE RUAN
IMMORTAL HULK #47 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by DECLAN SHALVEY
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #68 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by LEINIL FRANCIS YU
IRON MAN #9 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by DAN PANOSIAN
X-MEN #21 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by EMA LUPACCHINO
CAPTAIN AMERICA #30 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by TAURIN CLARKE
DAREDEVIL #31 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by GREG LAND
MILE MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #27 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by ROSE BESCH
THE MIGHTY VALKYRIES #3 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by TBA
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #69 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by TBA
CAPTAIN MARVEL #29 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by DAVID LAFUENTE
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #15 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by CARLOS PACHECO
SILK #4 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by BETSY COLA
THOR #15 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by TONY DANIEL
WOLVERINE #13 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by RYAN BENJAMIN
BLACK WIDOW #8 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by DAVI GO
GIANT-SIZE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: CHAMELEON CONSPIRACY #1 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by RYAN STEGMAN
SHANG-CHI #2 SPIDER-MAN VILLAINS VARIANT COVER by NATACHA BUSTOS
Out on June 8, Batman: Urban Legends #4 features Grifter, Red Hood, Tim Drake, Luke Fox, and a story by Batwoman‘s Camrus Johnson.
The comic features:
The Penultimate chapter of the Grifter story is here! Grifter’s walking a deadly line between Lucius Fox and HALO’s plan…can he survive the endgame? Oh, and yeah, now Superman is after him!
As old wounds threaten to Sabotage Batman and Red Hood’s investigation into the Cheerdrop drug turning Gotham City upside down they run afoul of Gotham’s coldest criminal MR. FREEZE! And the force behind the Cheerdrops will be banking on the former dynamic duo’s demise…
TIM DRAKE has returned to the streets of Gotham City and is seeking a new purpose, but what he finds is a string of young adult kidnappings committed by someone known only as “The Chaos Monster” will Tim be able to get to the root of the kidnappings or will he fall prey to them? Critically acclaimed Future State Robin Eternal writer Meghan Fitzmartin returns to tell this Tim Drake story with rising star artist Belén Ortega
Acclaimed creator and actor Camrus Johnson writes an action-packed story featuring Luke Fox—the character he portrays on The CW’s hit television series BATWOMAN!
Batman: Urban Legends #4 will feature stories and art by Chip Zdarsky, Meghan Fitzmartin, Matthew Rosenberg, Camrus Johnson, Eddy Barrows, Belén Ortega, Ryan Benjamin, Marcus To, Eber Ferriera, and more, with a cover Jorge Molina and variant covers by Dustin Nguyen and Irvin Rodrigues.
As seen in TheLego Batman Movie, the Arkham video games, and the Batman comics of the 1990s and early 2000s, Batman’s strength is in the world and characters that he creates access to. Whether that’s his allies, villains, nooks and crannies of Gotham, or even police officers that he either works with or against, these personalities and settings are why I continue to return to the Batman side of the DC Universe. The creators of Batman: Urban Legends #1 understand this and flesh out different Batman-adjacent characters and even sometimes explore their relationship to the Dark Knight while also telling action, romance, and crime stories.
First up in this Gotham-themed anthology is the beginning of a six part Batman and Red Hood serial where Batman and his former protege-turned-killer vigilante (He’s switched to rubber bullets for the moment.) investigate a source of a hallucinatory street drug tackily called Cheerdrops. Writer Chip Zdarsky has a firm grasp on Jason Todd’s voice, including the darkness inside his soul and his hunger for justice, especially for Gotham’s beleaguered working class. Artists Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira and colorist Adriano Lucas nail the grit of the city with explosive linework and jagged layouts to go with a color palette that has had all the light sucked out of it. However, Excalibur’s MarcusTo does the art in the flashbacks, which features brighter colors as well as simpler, cleaner lines with a more traditional superhero feel even though one of the scenes is set during “Under the Red Hood” when Jason Todd came back from the dead and started killing criminals.
“Batman and Red Hood” is also a study in contrasts in how two very different crime fighters deal with the same crisis. Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective and is super methodical with Barrows and Ferreria drawing him looking at the chemical makeup of Cheerdrops CSI-style, and his All-Star Superman-esque moment with a jumper is less feel-good and more evidence collection. On the other hand, Jason fights crime with his guts and heart and even admits in a wry line from Zdarsky that he’s not a great detective as he struggles to find a Cheerdrop stash house. However, he does find a boy named Tyler, and of course, Jason is great with kids and even lets him wear part of his mask while he looks for his dad in a dodgy part of Gotham. Zdarsky, Barrows, and Ferreira create something truly heartwarming between Jason Todd and Tyler.
There’s a throughline between this and the flashbacks where Batman (Portrayed as more of an action figure than man by To) struggles being a father figure to Jason, and Alfred does the job perfectly because he sees him as a human being and not an obstacle in his war on crime. Chip Zdarsky writes Alfred Pennyworth as the perfect parent to the Bat-family, who isn’t afraid to tell Batman that he’s full of shit and chooses compassion over a closed fist. And speaking of Batman, I love how Zdarsky doesn’t give him an inner monologue and depicts him more as a force of nature than a gun toting, broken man like Jason Todd, who agonizes over every decision and whose interaction with Tyler bring back memories of his mom who died of a drug overdose. Also, he’s not afraid to go a little dark, and Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira jagged layouts and emotional poses are along for the ride.
The second story in Batman: Urban Legends #1 is an eight page Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy one-off from writer Stephanie Phillips, artist Laura Braga, and colorist Ivan Plascencia. Plascencia is this story’s secret weapon that shows the happy, hilarious times of Harley and Ivy’s first dates and the bleak current times for Harley as she has moved back to Gotham in her solo title and as a recurring character in Batman. Braga’s art is expressive and high energy for both the good times (Harley and Ivy smooching and snapping selfies) and bad times (A sudden bolt of lightning shattering their pictures), and she is a good fit for a story that isn’t centered around a heist or fight against a superhero, but a relationship. She and Phillips tap into the depth of feelings that Harley has for Ivy, and through some handy plant symbolism, they create hope for the relationship that has become very popular for fans in the past decade. “Harley and Ivy” is a nice, nearly slice of life oasis in the midst of the three other stories, which have more moving parts.
The third story in this comic is a 10 page “Outsiders” feature by Brandon Thomas, Max Dunbar, and Luis Guerrero starring Black Lightning, Katana, and an interesting take on Metamorpho. Thomas turns in kind of a mystery plot with the story starting with Black Lightning and an unseen Metamorpho in a Japanese prison before cutting to a bonkers, two page spread of a speedboat chase. Unlike the previous two stories in Batman: Urban Legends #1, Thomas and Dunbar go for a action over character focus, and honestly, I’m here for it. Dunbar uses arrows from their pursuers to act as eye-lines to follow the high speed chase, and he and Thomas have a clever moment or two up their sleeve, especially in regards to Metamorpho’s first appearance. The story isn’t particularly deep, but it has the vibe of a James Bond cold open with superpowers as Guerrero really makes Black Lightning’s abilities sizzle. Finally, Brandon Thomas’ plotting really kept me engaged with thinking about why characters were acting a certain way, and the the mini mystery box structure has me intrigued for the upcoming issue.
Grifter is a character I didn’t really know a lot about except for some random comics like the New 52 Team 7 and JLA/WildCATs, but Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, and Antonio Fabela have made this anti-hero/rapscallion and his various pratfalls quite lovable and hilarious Batman: Urban Legends #1’s final story. Grifter is like that guy who bluffs at poker, but never has a good hand. And until maybe the penultimate page of the comic, he’s either screwing up or making a joke about it beginning with his mad rush towards supervillain fire during his Team 6 days with a lot of characters with familiar names from Wildstorm comics. (I’m not an expert on these characters, and you don’t have to be to enjoy the story.) Grifter uses his sense of humor to detract from his mediocre performance as Lucius Fox’s bodyguard or to avoid getting his ass kicked by Batman, but he also has a mystery side that is revealed when he has a “date” at one of Penguin’s bars. The mystery starts to really unfold towards the end of the comic, but Rosenberg hints at every time, he talks on a headset with what I assume is his older brother.
The comedy in “Grifter” isn’t just limited to Matthew Rosenberg’s delightfully smartass dialogue. It shows up a lot in Ryan Benjamin’s visuals, which range from G.I. Joe or Authority homages (When the superheroes clean up Team 6’s mess.) in the flashback to pure slapstick. For example, Grifter spills a drink at a party Lucius Fox is meeting a client at and spills a drink on a woman. In this situation, Benjamin doesn’t just show a simple facial expression, but throws in some growlixes and makes you know that she’s furious that the soaking wet guy in Converse and blue jeans is even in the same room with her. This playfulness extends to the fight between Batman and Grifter, which starts as a serious throwdown and ends up in a total cat and mouse situation with Grifter finally getting enough self-awareness to call it quits. However, their paths will cross, and you can tell that Batman understands he’s a wildcard with his connections to Lucius Fox, the criminal underworld, and probably those Wildstorm guys. All in all, Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, and Antonio Fabela turn in a hilarious action-comedy set in DC’s weirdest and (sometimes) dourest city and also slowly unveil what seems to be a master plan to merge the worlds of Wildstorm and Gotham.
Batman: Urban Legends #1 is an absolute win for the anthology format that DC Comics has been trying out with all of the four stories in the comic being entertaining and shedding light on a unique cast of characters. The longer stories that bookend the comic are especially noteworthy thanks to Chip Zdarsky’s pitch-perfect handle on the fascinating character of Jason Todd in “Batman and Red Hood” and Matthew Rosenberg and Ryan Benjamin’s skill with verbal and visual humor in “Grifter”.
Story: Chip Zdarsky, Stephanie Phillips, Brandon Thomas, Matthew Rosenberg Art: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Marcus To, Laura Braga, Max Dunbar, Ryan Benjamin Colors: Adriano Lucas, Ivan Plascencia, Luis Guerrero, Antonio Fabela Letters: Becca Carey, Deron Bennett, Steve Wands, Saida Temofonte Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Dark Horse Comics and Blizzard Entertainment are releasing an updated and expanded Overwatch Anthology with Overwatch Anthology: Expanded Edition. This hardcover includes the previously collected Overwatch one-shots along with seven more stories and a new cover by Bengal.
In this exciting comic series, explore the backstories and motivations behind Overwatch’s most popular heroes—from Ana to Zarya! This updated hardcover anthology now collects all of Blizzard Entertainment’s existing digital Overwatch comics from an all-star lineup of creators, including Ryan Benjamin, Matt Burns, Robert Brooks, Micky Neilson, Nesskain, Bengal, and more. Whether you’re starting in bronze or a Grandmaster, this expanded anthology adds over fifty pages of new comics and behind the scenes content, making it an essential companion to the Overwatch universe!
Overwatch Anthology: Expanded Edition hardcover will be in comic shops on November 10, 2021 and in book stores on November 23, 2021. It is available for pre-order and will retail for $24.99.
Written by: Brandon Thomas, Stephanie Nicole Phillips, Matthew Rosenberg, Chip Zdarsky Art by: Eddy Barrows, Laura Braga, Ryan Benjamin, Marcus To
Batman may be the biggest name in Gotham City, but there are lots of other heroes—and villains—who will get a turn to shine in Batman: Urban Legends, a brand-new monthly series tying into the biggest events in Gotham City. The series begins with these can’t-miss tales:
– Superstar writer Chip Zdarsky enters the world of Gotham City with celebrated Detective Comics and DC Future State: Robin Eternal artist Eddy Barrows for a six-part story chronicling Red Hood’s investigation of a new drug sweeping through Gotham. It’s a night that will change his life forever—and put him in Batman’s crosshairs.
– Writer of the DC Future State “Grifters” story Matthew Rosenberg picks up where he left off, continuing from the pages of Batman #101! Superstar artist Ryan Benjamin joins the team as we learn why Cole Cash is in Gotham in a tale that hints at what Halo might be…and we also get Batman vs. Grifter-round two!
– New Harley Quinn writer Stephanie Phillips and DC Future State: The Next Batman artist Laura Braga join forces for a Harley tale set just before the launch of her new series. Harley’s determined to sort out her history with Poison Ivy—but first, she’ll have to find her!
– Coming off the DC Future State “Outsiders” tale, writer Brandon Thomas begins a three-part saga reuniting Black Lightning, Katana and Metamorpho. But this reunion quickly turns into a confrontation with a figure from Katana’s past, in a story drawn by fan-favorite artist Max Dunbar (Champions, Dungeons and Dragons, Judge Dredd)!
DC‘s Digital First series have been knocking it out of the park. The digital comics have been engaging, intriguing, and feel like they’re comics we might not otherwise see on the printed page. They give creators a new avenue for their voices to be heard and generally allowed them to do so without having to worry about continuity. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off the newest series that interestingly has some major ramifications for Batman’s pocket of the DC Universe.
Tim “Jace” Fox is the estranged son of billionaire Lucius Fox and man of mystery…what has the eldest son of one Gotham’s premiere families been up to for these ‘missing’ years and how does he find himself getting shot at in the jungles of Vietnam? The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off a series that’ll have some repercussions and part of a dark future for Batman.
Writer John Ridley is absolutely brilliant. He’s known for so many thought-provoking releases, he’s a creator that I’ll read or so whatever he’s involved in. In “Future State” Ridley has driven Jace’s story and his role as the future Batman. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 gives us the pieces to that path and kicks things off with a James Bond-esque adventure.
Ridley doesn’t tell us a ton about the who or the why, instead of focuses on Jace’s abilities, actions, and personality. The opening chapter is the opening 15 minutes of a Bond film dropping our hero into the middle of the action without explanation. We just accept the direction and the cool and overlook what we don’t know. It’s a ride that sets the tone. By the end of the issue we get a good sense of who Jace is and what we should expect as far as the character going forward. It plants the flag as to who our protagonist is.
The art by Tony Akins, with breakdowns by Ryan Benjamin, is interesting. There’s such a fantastic sense of action in the comic that really feels like a solid Bond adventure. Mark Morales provides inks, with Rex Lokus on color, and lettering by Deron Bennett. It all comes together for a sense of cool but subtle visual details let us know that Jace is still learning. There’s one glaring issue for me in the final two panels of the digital comic as Jace returns to his apartment and finds a visitor. The panels should be flipped going Jace then visitor not visitor then Jace. That might have been an issue with my digital copy but it’s something that stands out taking the wind out of the up to that point excellent ride.
The Next Batman: Second Son #1 is an intriguing series as it looks to have some major implications for the print comics of Batman. It’s a digital series that’s going to be a “major player” and one to keep one’s eye on. Luckily, it’ll eventually make it’s way to print but this is one you won’t want spoiled for you.
Story: John Ridley Art: Tony Akins Breakdowns: Ryan Benjamin Ink: Mark Morales Color: Rex Lokus Letterer: Deron Bennett Story: 8.0 Art: 7.75 Art: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Explore the world of Gotham in a brand new anthology series, Batman: Urban Legends which launches in March 2021 from DC Comics. Batman may be the biggest name in Gotham City, but there are lots of other heroes—and villains—who will get a turn to shine in a brand-new monthly anthology series highlighting top talent and a mix of new voices making their mark on the city the Dark Knight calls home.
The first six issues are anchored by a Batman/Red Hood thriller from writer Chip Zdarsky and fan-favorite artist Eddy Barrows. Renegade vigilante Jason Todd, a.k.a. Red Hood is investigating a new and lethal drug sweeping through Gotham City. In the course of one night, this investigation will change his life forever – and put him in Batman’s crosshairs.
Future State: Grifters writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Ryan Benjamin continue from the pages of Batman #101, as gun-for-hire Cole Cash is still in Gotham, on the trail of the true motives of the Halo Corporation…and yes, Batman and Grifter go head-to-head again!
In a story set before the launch of the new ongoing Harley Quinn series, writer Stephanie Phillips and Future State: The Next Batman artist Laura Braga team up to help Harley sort out her complicated history with Poison Ivy – but first she’ll have to find her!
This debut issue also launches a three-part tale of the Outsiders, courtesy of Future State: Outsiders writer Brandon Thomas with art by Max Dunbar. This saga reunites team members Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho, but this reunion quickly turns into a confrontation with the appearance of a figure from Katana’s past!
Batman: Urban Legends #1 is a $7.99 prestige format series, debuting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 with covers by Hicham Habchi (main), David Finch (variant), and Kael Ngu (variant).
Mixing Batman with Saw sounds like an awesome concept. Batman #104 dances around diving into that combination as Batman, Harley Quinn, and Clownhunter have been captured by Ghost-Maker. The first story arc after “The Joker War” continues to stumble as the series fails to excite.
Batman #104 has the group capture by Ghost-Maker bouncing between that and Nightwing and Oracle discussing Bruce’s history with Ghost-Maker. Writer James Tynion IV dips his toes in what could be a very interesting concept and direction. Ghost-Maker forcing Batman to make a tough decision with Clownhunter and Harley Quin while trapped within a room. But, the issue focuses mostly on Bruce’s past with the mysterious Ghost-Maker. By the end, we have learned only a little more than we knew before.
Almost half of the comic is dedicated to the past of Bruce and the anti-hero, about six times as is needed. We already knew they trained together, so adding in a little more is fine but much of the issue sets up the relationship between the two to once again emphasize that Bruce/Batman cares. The focus feels like filler to some extent presenting a sequence extended far more than it needs to be.
Where things would get interesting is presenting Batman with an actual dilemma, one where he needs to make a difficult choice. We get that tease in what looks like the set of Saw. Pitting Batman, Clownhunter, and Harley Quinn together in the situation really emphasizes Ghost-Maker’s point. And while the basics are there, it never really gets to the interesting aspects. That’s teased for the next issue.
Things aren’t helped with the art on the issue which is inconsistent. Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, and Guillem March all contribute to the issue and it’s noticeable that there’s so many hands in it. There’s a dip in details from segment to segment and at times page to page that’s distracting. While DC has gotten away with multiple artists where things aren’t an issue, Batman #104 features such a variation that it’s jarring at times. Not even the art can really save the issue.
Much like much of the Ghost-Maker arc so far, Batman #104 continues a story which has potential but never quite nails the interesting meat of it. The issues feel like a build-up to what will be a packed final issue that really lays things out. This seems to be Tynion’s pattern with his multiple arcs so far. The initial issues lay out some interesting concepts, dances around them, and the final issue lays out the theme and “conclusion” of the arc. It creates for issues where things don’t feel satisfying and as a reader we’re left with potential with little payoff.
Story: James Tynion IV Art: Ryan Benjamin, Danny Miki, Bengal, Guillem March Color: David Baron Letterer: Clayton Cowles Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:Read
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a Free copy for review