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A First Look at Batman #82 part eight of City of Bane

Batman #82

Written by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janín
Color by Jordie Bellaire
Cover by David Finch and Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover by Travis Charest
In Shops: Nov 06, 2019
Final Orders Due: Oct 14, 2019
SRP: $3.99

It’s “City of Bane” part eight, as Mikel Janín rejoins Tom King for the climactic chapters of the epic, sold-out storyline that’s sent Gotham spinning into chaos and tragedy! Batman and his allies wage war on the City of Bane, but an unexpected turn of events will send everyone reeling. Will there be another death in the family, or can the Dark Knight break Bane’s iron grip over Gotham City?

Preview: Batman #81

Batman #81

(W) Tom King (A/CA) John Romita, Klaus Janson
In Shops: Oct 16, 2019
SRP: $3.99

It’s time for the big showdown. Batman is calling Bane out. But is the Dark Knight Detective ready to take on the foe who broke him worse than any other that came before? And what else stands in Batman’s way, to put an obstacle between him and his enemy? Tread lightly, Batman, because not only do the lives of your son and trusted friends hang in the balance, but your entire home could collapse on top of you!

Batman #81

Preview: Superman: Up in the Sky #4 (of 6)

Superman: Up in the Sky #4 (of 6)

(W) Tom King (A) Sandra Hope (A/CA) Andy Kubert
In Shops: Oct 02, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Available to comics shops for the first time! While Superman searches the galaxy for a kidnapped girl, she retells the tale of the Man of Steel’s race against the Fastest Man Alive! Then, the human and Kryptonian sides of Superman clash as the hope of finding the girl becomes increasingly unlikely. Originally published in SUPERMAN GIANT #9 and #10.

Superman: Up in the Sky #4 (of 6)

Preview: Batman #80

Batman #80

(W) Tom King (A/CA) John Romita, Jr., Klaus Janson
In Shops: Oct 02, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The bad guys thought they had it made with Bane in control, but with Batman back in Gotham they’ll be reminded what justice feels like… and how it hurts when it hits you in the face. With Catwoman at his side, the Caped Crusader is looking to take down Bane’s army and reclaim his city. But what happens when old allies like Gotham Girl also stand in his way? The legendary art team of John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson join BATMAN for two action-packed issues that will rock Gotham City to its foundation.

Batman #80

Preview: Batman #79

Batman #79

(W) Tom King (A) Clay Mann (CA) Tony S. Daniel
In Shops: Sep 18, 2019
SRP: $3.99

In the concluding chapter of the two-part “City of Bane” interlude, Batman and Catwoman pull a job to stop Bane’s supply ship from smuggling dangerous cargo into Gotham City. It’ll send a message back to the big guy that his reign of terror is soon to be over…but what does it also signal for the future of Bruce and Selina?

Batman #79

Batman #78 Gets a Second Printing

Batman #78, the first part of the highly anticipated two-issue interlude to the “City of Bane” story arc, has flown off shelves for a same-day sell-out! Following in the footsteps of issues #75, #76, and #77, Batman #78 has sold out from Diamond Comic Distributors and is headed for a second printing. The fan-favorite team of writer Tom King, pencillers Tony S. Daniel and Mikel Janin, inker Norm Rapmund, letterer Clayton Cowles, and colorists Jordie Bellaire and Tomeu Morey have captivated readers with this tragic tale of a beaten Bat-family, the unthinkable death of Alfred Pennyworth, and a Gotham City ruled by Bane.

Featuring stunning art by Clay Mann, issue #78 spotlights Batman and Catwoman, reunited for the first time since issue #50 and the ill-fated wedding of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. After Batman endures brutal punishment from both Bane and Thomas Wayne, a.k.a. Flashpoint Batman, Selina Kyle returns—determined to whip the Dark Knight back into shape, help him heal from his injuries, and take Gotham City back from Bane’s brutal regime.

Anyone who missed out the first time will get their chance to experience this issue when it returns to stores on October 2. In the meantime, fans should hit their local comic book stores now to reserve a copy of the second part of this story in Batman #79, on sale September 18, as the stakes only get higher as the finale of King’s epic run grows nearer.

Batman #78

Preview: Batman #78

Batman #78

(W) Tom King (A) Clay Mann (CA) Tony S. Daniel
In Shops: Sep 11, 2019
SRP: $3.99

In the first part of a “City of Bane” interlude, Batman receives help from an ally he thought he had lost for good: Catwoman! Still recovering from the beatings he took from Bane and Flashpoint Batman, the Dark Knight readies himself for a return to Gotham City, and it’s Selina Kyle who holds the key. She knows how Bane is fueling his regime, and she’ll help Batman shut down the supply line-but first she has to whip the battered hero into shape.

Batman #78

Preview: Superman: Up in the Sky #3 (of 6)

Superman: Up in the Sky #3 (of 6)

(W) Tom King (A) Sandra Hope (A/CA) Andy Kubert
In Shops: Sep 04, 2019
SRP: $4.99

Available to comics shops for the first time! Superman is tormented by visions of the death of Lois Lane while awaiting his release from a bureaucratic prison planet! Then, a detour through time lands the Man of Steel on the battlefields of World War II next to Sgt. Rock and the combat happy joes of Easy Company! Originally published in SUPERMAN GIANT #7 and #8.

Superman: Up in the Sky #3 (of 6)

Underrated: A Once Crowded Sky

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: A Once Crowded Sky


It’s no secret how much I love comics. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

While most pretty much all of the comics I read can, to varying degrees, be placed on the superhero side of things, sometimes I’ll pick up the odd non-superhero comic.  I’m a big fan of the modern comic book re-imaginings of the early pulp heroes such as The Black Bat, The Spider, and The Phantom, although one could argue their closeness to the superhero genre renders the example moot, so let me be blunt; the point I am poorly trying to make is that I love superhero stories (of all varieties) in my comics more than any other type of story. 

Amazingly enough, I also read books.

If you look at my book shelf you’ll see a lot of fantasy, sword and sorcery, and historical fiction. There isn’t much set within the last one hundred years or so that I tend to pick up and read. I can think of, maybe, twenty books (or series) that I’ve read in the last fifteen years or so that are set within the last century, and only a handful of them were based around superheroes. One was an average Wolverine tale I read on Kindle, one is the hugely enjoyable Dresden Files series and another was A Once Crowded Sky by some dude named Tom King, which  is the subject of today’s column.

Although the story wasn’t quite mind blowing, it was remarkably well told, and had some incredible ideas within its pages. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the book is actually the way it is told. In a book with multiple point of view characters, each character’s point of view is laid out like a comic book; the book is set up like a text version of a collected comic book tie-in event across multiple issues. It’s a brilliant way to tie in the obvious influence and homage to the four colour medium, as is the occasional comic book page within the book itself.

A Once Crowded Sky is a relative anomaly for me; it’s a superhero story that I read, and enjoyed, that wasn’t in a comic book. Now, my sample size of superhero books is obviously incredibly small compared with that of superhero comics, but the thing I must stress here is it isn’t that I’ve had no access to superhero books, it’s that I simply have no desire to read about superheroes in any other medium that isn’t a comic book, and I have no idea why.

Maybe it’s because up until A Once Crowded Sky every superhero book I’ve looked as has been hard to justify the price tag. I found A Once Crowded Sky for $3 on a table of reduced hardcover books at a chain book store – it’s easily worth four times that amount, but would I have looked at it for more than $3? Seeing as how it took me two days to decide to pick the book up even for about the price of a comic, well, then probably not. Maybe I don’t like superhero books because they lack the visual nature of comics, which probably does have something to do with it, but I’m more then happy reading the Dresden Files novels and graphic novels, but then the Dresden Files and superheroes occupy two different genres. Maybe, and most likely, it’s because there simply hasn’t been much buzz about any superhero books.

So what’s A Once Crowded Sky about, and why should you read it?

“The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane.

After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he’s forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice–PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day.”

Tom King’s debut novel has some lofty ideas, and some great presentation ideas that more than out weigh the at times overly wordy moments as King at times loses himself in backstory and internal monologues. There are flashes of his later brilliance in this 2012 novel, and it’s fascinating to see how he’s grown as a writer since this book. Despite having some rather interesting names for his characters (no, that’s not food – that’s my tongue in my cheek), it’s not hard to identify where their inspiration came from. Soldier of Fortune and Captain America do bear more than a slight similarity, after all.

But by using his own versions of these characters we’re all so familiar with, King is able to tell the story he wants without worrying about the guiding hand of either of the big two publishers impacting his story.

What we’re left with at the end of the day is a solid, and very enjoyable superhero novel written by a man who would go on to write some utterly fantastic comics. This book isn’t on that level, but it’s still well worth checking out should you come across it.

Someday, hopefully soon, superhero books will have their own section in the book store and when they do, that’s where you’ll find me.

Preview: Batman #77

Batman #77

(W) Tom King (A/CA) Tony S. Daniel
In Shops: Aug 21, 2019
SRP: $3.99

“City of Bane” continues! The last of the independent villains are on the run, leaving Gotham City entirely to Bane and his cronies-including Flashpoint Batman and Gotham Girl! Though this means a semblance of peace on the streets, the iron grip of tyranny is squeezing all life out of Gotham. And with Bane’s machinations keeping other heroes out, the city really needs the Batman to return. Is Bruce Wayne ready to face his toughest foes yet…his father and the man who broke his back?

Batman #77
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