Tag Archives: tom king

Preview: Rorschach #4

Rorschach #4

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Jorge Fornes

At last, it’s time for Laura’s story. The detective following Rorschach’s trail turns his eyes toward the vigilante’s female companion. Who is behind that domino mask, and what led her to team up with an old comic book creator to try to assassinate a controversial presidential candidate? These are the threads the detective must unravel-and they lead him to a circus side show and the strong man she once convinced to kill for her.

Rorschach #4

Preview: Batman/Catwoman #2

Batman/Catwoman #2

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Clay Mann

Phantasm has come to Gotham City! Andrea Beaumont, the one-time love of Bruce Wayne, is looking for her lost child, and she’s pretty sure The Joker is involved. So, who better to have as an ally than Batman? And what better way to get to Batman than through Catwoman? It’s a knotted history for this costumed quartet, spanning past, present, and future. What The Joker did to Selina Kyle at the beginning of her career will have deadly consequences at the end of their lives. Tom King’s ultimate tale of the Dark Knight kicks into high gear as the story roars down the avenues only hinted at in the pages of Batman.

Batman/Catwoman #2

Preview: Rorschach #3

Rorschach #3

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Jorge Fornes

In an instant, 15 million people are dead! What happens when the human psyche is forced to accept such a devastating truth? Follow the story of “the Kid,” a radicalized, gun-toting performer and the right-hand woman of the new Rorschach. See how this masked woman grows from an innocent child to the would-be cold-blooded assassin of a presidential candidate. This detective thriller will unravel the mysteries behind the assassination attempt and reveal how the struggles of these killers connect to larger turmoils of the world. Eisner Award-winning writer Tom King delves into the desperation that leads to radicalization and the questions that can lead a person into violence. Featuring art by new sensation Jorge Fornes with acclaimed colorist Dave Stewart.

Rorschach #3

Preview: DC’s Very Merry Multiverse #1

DC’s Very Merry Multiverse #1

Written by: Paul Scheer, Derek Fridolfs, Sholly Fisch, Ivan Cohen, Tom King, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Brittany Holzherr, Jay Baruchel, John Layman, David F. Walker, Nick Giovannetti
Art by: Dani Strips, Gustavo Duarte, Vanesa Del Rey, Steve Lieber, Eleonora Carlini, Dustin Nguyen, Keith Giffen

Joy to all 52 worlds-it’s time to celebrate the holiday season across the DC Multiverse! In ten stories that will light your yule log and spike your eggnog, Batman decks the gaslit halls, Lobo goes Old Testament in space, Ragman learns the true meaning of Saturnalia, President Superman attempts to figure out how Bizarro stole Christmas, and Harley Quinn tries her hand at interdimensional caroling. These seasonal sagas are sure to help you have yourself a very merry Multiverse!

DC's Very Merry Multiverse #1

Review: Batman/Catwoman #1

Batman/Catwoman #1

After a lot of anticipation, Batman/Catwoman #1 kicks off off writer Tom King‘s next chapter in his Batman saga that began so many years ago. Spinning out of his Batman run, the series focuses on three eras in Batman and Catwoman’s lives. The past deals with Bruce Wayne and a previous love interest. The present has that love interest return as Bruce and Selina are now an item. And in the future, the two have found a sort of happiness in their lives. We’ve seen glimpses of the future King has envisioned before but this series expands upon that while reflecting on the past.

King is a solid writer, but Batman/Catwoman #1 falls into an issue that King’s work has run into in recent years. King has found a niche in maxi-series events where the whole is the piece of entertainment. But, the whole is made up of individual parts. That can work at times but it often leads to weaker individual issues compared to reading through the story in one go. That can result in a frustrating reading experience and that’s on display here.

Each era King takes us to is interesting and each could be a series by themselves. Batman/Catwoman #1 attempts to juggle its trio of stories resulting in at times confusing mess of a narrative. The shifts between eras aren’t clear such as in King’s Strange Adventures and too little time is spent with scenes. Things come off more as teases than an actual story. Yes, comics are serialized storytelling. They need to be judged by the individual chapter along with the whole. As a beginning chapter, the issue is a bit unsatisfying.

There are some great moments within Batman/Catwoman #1 but the issue as a whole is a tease of what’s to come. There doesn’t feel like an arc within the issue, instead it’s short segments setting up what’s to come. With the comic balancing it’s three story arcs, those setups are shortened and in the end choppy. That’s partially due to the art.

Clay Mann handles the art with colors by Tomeu Morey. The art is great, that’s not the issue. The problem comes with an unclear transition between the eras at times. Only in the future is it really clear when things shift. The present and past blend a bit too well. If that was part of the narrative, it’d be great but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The breaks aren’t clear enough resulting in at times a confusing reading where it’s not clear “when” the segment takes place. The character designs, colors, and inks look fantastic though. There are some great pages and panels and there’s strength there. It’s just a transition issue. The lettering by Clayton Cowles is solid as well. The lettering and speech bubbles let the art shine, even when a page is dialogue-heavy. The bubbles add to the flow of the visuals.

Batman/Catwoman #1 is a bad start, it’s just not as engaging as it thinks it is. There’s some great ideas and each era could be a hell of a story by itself. The issue is that there’s too much attempted in the first issue with not enough time spent on each. It makes for a beginning that sets things up but doesn’t feel satisfying by itself. It’s the teaser before a film’s credit. It can catch your attention but rarely is it good by itself.

Story: Tom King Art: Clay Mann
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.85 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Strange Adventures #7

Strange Adventures #7

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Evan “Doc” Shaner, Mitch Gerads

Adam Strange was right! In this issue guest-starring Batman, the Pykkts have come to Earth, and they plan to claim the planet as their own. Earth’s greatest heroes have faced alien invasions before, but they’re about to learn that the Pykkts are more formidable, more determined, and more deadly than any invading force they’ve faced before. Only Adam Strange has ever defeated them, but it nearly cost him everything-including his own sanity! How did he survive? Mr. Terrific will need to uncover that secret if humanity is going to survive!

Strange Adventures #7

Preview: Batman/Catwoman #1

Batman/Catwoman #1

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Clay Mann

At last, Tom King returns to the rocky, romantic saga of Batman and Catwoman with his Heroes in Crisis collaborator, superstar artist Clay Mann! Echoing plot points from King’s epic Batman run, this sweeping tale is told across three timelines: the past, when the Bat and the Cat first fell in love; the present, where their union is threatened by one of Batman’s lost loves; and the future, where the couple have a happy life and legacy-including their daughter Helena, the Batwoman. And as the story begins, after a long marriage, Bruce Wayne passes away-which frees Selina Kyle to settle an old score. At every stage of their relationship, Bruce and Selina have an unwelcome chaperone: The Joker! Oh, and that lost love of Bruce’s? It’s Andrea Beaumont-a.k.a. Phantasm. Just thought you’d want to know.

Batman/Catwoman #1

Underrated: A Once Crowded Sky

This week we’re revisiting a previous entry in the series with Tom King’s 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.


Join us next week when we explore another Underrated aspect that may be at best tangentially related to comics!

Review: Rorschach #2

Rorschach #2

The debut of Rorschach was an interesting one. As a political thriller and crime comic, it works quite well. As a follow-up to Watchmen, the comic is a bit mixed. Its connection feels like it could easily be swapped out for other random characters. It’s currently tenuous at best. Rorschach #2 dives further into the mystery of the attempted assassination. The investigation, and issue, focuses on Wil Myerson, a reclusive artist known for his pirate comics.

As far as a “crime” comic focused on the investigation, it’s a fine entry. Writer Tom King has shown in the first two issues he has a deft handling of the genre. It’s one it’d be interesting to see him do more of. The comic as a tie-in to Watchmen is a bit looser and in that way, it stumbles a bit. Still, like many of King’s works, this is a series that’ll be best measured on its whole than individual parts.

And part of that stumbling is what feels like an attempt to shoe-horn in some concepts. The fact that Myerson is a creator on pirate comics, tiptoeing around the pirate story within a story of the original, doesn’t come off so much as a wink and no as it does a replay of part of what made the original work so well. Here too sees a story within a story. It’s full of morality and deeper messaging begging to be examined and dissected. While the execution is impressive the inclusion feels a little pretentious and a rehash of what was done before.

Jorge Fornés‘ art is commendable though. Along with color by Dave Stewart and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic within a comic in Rorschach #2 is impressive. That alone makes the comic worth checking out. From the design of those pages to the details of the dialogue, the section of the comic pops and stands out as the best thing from the first two issues. There’s still an issue where the design of the characters and world doesn’t fit the time period. While it matches the first issue, it’s in contrast with the television shows’ more modern style, even though they both are in the same world. Rorschach #2 continues to look like the 1970s in style and design.

As far as a sequel to Watchmen, Rorschach #2 falls a little short and feels like it’s connection is currently shoehorned in. But, as a crime comic, Rorschach #2 is a solid entry taking us through a detective attempting to figure out a puzzle and piecing together what’s presented before him. Like the first issue, I’m enjoying more for that aspect than anything having to do with the world it takes place in. In that way, Rorschach has its own duality in the story, whether that’s intended or not.

Story: Tom King Art: Jorge Fornés
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.95 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.99 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Rorschach #2

Rorschach #2

Story: Tom King
Art: Jorge Fornes

What’s the connection between an aging comic book artist and Rorschach? That’s the question the detective investigating the attempted assassination of a presidential candidate must answer. Wil Myerson, a reclusive artist known for his pirate comics, went from drawing the adventures of Pontius Pirate and the Citizen to working with a mysterious young woman hellbent on making sense of a post-Watchmen world. Somewhere in the life of Wil Myerson lies the key to learning more about Rorschach. Eisner Award-winning writer Tom King teams with rising star artist Jorge Fornés to delve into backroom maneuvering and political corruption in a story that asks how far a man with ideals will go to make them a reality.

Rorschach #2
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