Tag Archives: tom king

Danger Street gets a new street date and a trailer!

Danger Street, by Tom King, Jorge Fornés, and Dave Stewart, has a new release date! The 12-issue DC Black Label maxiseries will now launch on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at all participating comic book shops and digital platforms.

Joining the Justice League is a goal for any superhero, but what happens when a quest for membership takes a sinister turn? Join Starman, Metamorpho, and Warlord as they look to prove themselves worthy by summoning and defeating Darkseid in battle. Soon they’ll learn that calling upon a New God never ends well, and their world is headed for a crisis as a result!

The journey to save the day will be a treacherous one filled with princesses, knights, and all kinds of monsters. Each person the heroes encounter plays a crucial role in this sprawling yet gripping narrative that is a little bit silly, a whole lot dark, and completely cool. Expect the unexpected with a supporting cast featuring Manhunter, Lady Copy, the Green Team, and the Creeper!

Inspired by the heroes and villains of 1st Issue Special, Tom King and Jorge Fornés (Rorschach) return for an unforgettable maxiseries that reimagines these characters and their stories. A multi-character, multilayered crime drama starring some of DC’s most obscure creations. No one will see it coming, but everyone will want to see where it goes!

Danger Street #1 features variant covers by Steve Rude, Lee Weeks, and Ben Oliver with a main cover by Fornés.

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!

Preview: Tales of the Human Target #1

Tales of the Human Target #1

(W) Tom King (A) Mikel Janin, Rafael Albuquerque, Kevin Maguire and Greg Smallwood
In Shops: Aug 23, 2022
SRP: $5.99

Building on the most critically acclaimed series of the year, Tom King and four of comics’ top artists tell the tales of what happened before Chance drank Luthor’s poison. Chance teams up with fan-favorite members of the JLI in four connecting mysteries that lead them to that fateful day when one them will kill the Human Target.

Tales of the Human Target #1

Preview: Tales of the Human Target #1

Tales of the Human Target #1

(W) Tom King (A) Mikel Janin, Rafael Albuquerque, Kevin Maguire and Greg Smallwood
In Shops: Aug 23, 2022
SRP: $5.99

Building on the most critically acclaimed series of the year, Tom King and four of comics’ top artists tell the tales of what happened before Chance drank Luthor’s poison. Chance teams up with fan-favorite members of the JLI in four connecting mysteries that lead them to that fateful day when one them will kill the Human Target.

Tales of the Human Target #1

Review: Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler

Batman: One Bad Day - Riddler

Riddle me this. When is a Riddler story more than a riddle? When writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads are involved. Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler kicks off a series of one-shots focused on Batman’s villains and it’s one hell of a start. By the end, not only do we get a better sense of the character’s motivations but also a whole new outlook.

Written by King, Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler is an interesting comic that starts off with a murder. In the wide open, the Riddler has killed a man. No riddle. No apparent motivation. Why has he done this? Why does he want to speak to Batman so badly?

The comic bounces back and forth between the Riddler’s current crime and his youth. We get a little of his motivation as to why he is the way he is. It creates some understanding and some sympathy but also a coldness. There’s a strange lull after reading the comic as you think about the Riddler’s life. There’s a disconnect in some ways. And that makes it all the more scarier. Add in the character’s new outlook at things and it becomes all the more uneasy. Where King takes the character is hopefully a direction other writers pick up on as it takes him from a character with a rather tired and played out schtick and turns him into a psychotic stone cold killer. It’s no longer about the riddles and more about how intelligent he is and how he uses that.

Mitch Gerads is once again in-sync with King. The art is fantastic with a a look that’s a little off. The character, the coloring, it all feels sickly in some ways, a scary nightmare of the Riddler’s we’re witnessing. The comic jumps back and forth in time using the colors to easily indicate when we are but there’s a brilliance to the transitions as it slides between the two visually and thematically. In the modern times the world is a sickly green, playing off the character’s iconic look but adding a drab aspect. It too signifies the radical change in the character.

Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler is a hell of a start to this series of one-shots. It delivers a rather unnerving tale as the Riddler unravels and builds himself back up. It’s a new status-quo that hopefully becomes the Riddler we know going forward creating an even more frightening foe for Batman to tangle with. On it’s own, it’s one hell of a read that’ll stick with you.

Story: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Preview: Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler #1

Batman: One Bad Day – Riddler #1

(W) Tom King (A) Mitch Gerads
In Shops: Aug 16, 2022
SRP: $7.99

The Dark Knight’s greatest villains get their greatest stories yet! The Riddler, Two-Face, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Bane, Clayface, and Ra’s al Ghul-Batman’s most iconic villains are all given 64-page Prestige format specials that show why they are the greatest villains in all of comics, spearheaded by today’s top talent. We begin with Batman – One Bad Day: The Riddler! Tom King and Mitch Gerads, the Eisner Award-winning duo behind Mister Miracle, The Sheriff of Babylon, and Strange Adventures, reunite to dive deep into the mind of Batman’s most intellectual foe…the Riddler. The Riddler has killed a man in broad daylight for seemingly no reason, but…there’s always a reason. The Riddler is always playing a game, there are always rules. Batman will reach his wits’ end trying to figure out the Riddler’s true motivation in this epic psychological thriller; this is not to be missed!

Batman: One Bad Day - Riddler #1

Review: Love Everlasting #1

Love Everlasting #1

Though you don’t see the genre as much today, there was a time that romance comics ruled the stands. They were a regular release from all the major publishers with a massive reach. In recent years, we mostly get a kitschy return to the genre that lasts a short time period or is a miniseries. Love Everlasting #1 takes us back to that classic genre with an updated and intriguing twist.

Written by Tom King, Love Everlasting #1 introduces Joan, a woman who’s looking for love in our first story and finds it. Unfortunately the love she finds is with George who is dating her roommate. What will she do!? Or, is it Kit, the musician she loves? But will her dad approve? Wait, isn’t she supposed to marry Chad? Why’s she in the old west? King delivers a few shorts as Joan bounces around time looking for love. Or, is she bouncing around time because of love? Is it the same Joan? Is this a multiverse of romance!? Will we find out answers!? Not in this comic. Instead, King delivers a start that feels like a series of shorts before it all comes together. It’s a spin that’s unexpected and adds far more than just a well written romance comic.

The art by Elsa Charretier is great. With color by Matt Hollignsworth and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic has a look that both evokes the classic genre but also updates it a bit as well. It’s great to see Joan placed in different time periods with a little change but it’s the same character throughout. Then there’s the various time periods themselves. Each stands out as unique but that all have a style that connects them together. Charretier also nails down a lot of the visual tics that the genre is known for. With Ben Day dots, the comic would have nailed the classic look.

Love Everlasting #1 is an intriguing debut. It both feels like an homage and a slight twist to the romance comic genre. There’s a lot of details that were clearly added to make sure the comic nailed the style but at the same time, it all feels updated and fits modern comics. It’s an intriguing start to the series that has a lot of potential for what’s to come.

Story: Tom King Art: Elsa Charretier
Color: Matt Hollingsworth Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Preview: Batman: Killing Time #6

Batman: Killing Time #6

(W) Tom King (A/CA) David Marquez
In Shops: Aug 02, 2022
SRP: $4.99

All hell breaks lose as a gang war in Gotham erupts over the mysterious artifact stolen by Catwoman and the Riddler! Blood will be shed, lives be lost, and a shocking ending will leave your head spinning!

Batman: Killing Time #6

SDCC 2022: Tom King and Phil Hester share the secret origin of Gotham City

DC Comics has announced Gotham City: Year One from Tom King and Phil Hester. The duo will team for the first time to tell the definitive origin of Gotham City from how it became a cesspool of violence and corruption to how it unleashed the sin that led to the Dark Knight. King and Hester, along with Eric Gapstur, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles, launch Gotham City: Year One on October 4.

Private investigator Slam Bradley gets tangled in a headline grabbing kidnapping as the infant Wayne heir Hele disappears in the night. The story takes place two generations before Batman.

The debut issue features a variant cover by Ryan Sook and 1:25 variant cover by David Marquez. It debuts October 2022 and runs for six issues ending in March 2023.

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