Tag Archives: Tom Napolitano

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Review: Future State-Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 concludes with a story that is part classic World’s Finest, part Grant Morrison’s JLA (Think the one where Superman wrestled an angel.), and all heart. Writer Dan Watters sets up a plot with mythic stakes, namely, a race and fight against two iterations of the sun: the villainous Solaris (Aka the Tyrant Sun from Morrison’s DC One Million) and Kuat, who is the sun god of the Kamayura people from the Amazon rain forest. Wonder Woman (Yara Flor) is set to fight the god from her pantheon, and Superman (Jon Kent) is set to fight the villain from his rogue’s gallery, but Watters throws in a little switcheroo that makes the match up an extra fun combination of mythology and science, brains and brawn. Having a hero fight another hero’s bad guy is just a plain enjoyable trope, and Watters, Leila Del Duca, and Nick Filardi lean into big time with hilarious reaction shots, flashy colors, clever monologuing, and one big, damn punch.

Speaking of punching, Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 goes for more of a problem solving than a brawling angle in Yara and Jon’s battles against Solaris and Kuat. Because Solaris’ red sun negates Jon’s ability and makes him a formidable foe despite appearing in only a few stories, they have to use their smarts instead of brute force to defeat them. This is why Watters’ plotting is more Doctor Who and less, say, Geoff Johns’ Justice League as he introduces cool gadgets, knowledge of the future, and just plain grit for his heroes to save the day. He and Del Duca also deploy the power of multi-faceted characterization in crafting Yara and Jon’s plans, and the lack of extraneous guest stars in this issues means that we really get to know them better by the end of the story.

Their opponents say that Yara isn’t strong enough to fight Solaris, and that Jon isn’t smart enough to beat Kuat in a race especially without his full powers. However, the readers know this isn’t the case with Jon demonstrating a knowledge of systems theory combined with futuristic technology to make sure a planet from an alternate dimension doesn’t get sucked into a black hole. Also, Yara is a total badass and familiar with both Greek and indigenous Brazilian mythology so she basically knows the rules of stories and get herself out of a jam. (Watters writes her as a little more mature than Joelle Jones did in Future State: Wonder Woman.)

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 also explores the heroic burden that Jon has set for himself as he basically says that his job as Superman is to maintain Earth and beyond’s status quo in a stirring monologue coupled with some earnest facial expressions from Del Duca. Although it’s the future, he’s the embodiment of the Protestant work ethic and is always completing some task or other throughout the comic and seems deathly scared to delegate tasks to other heroes like Yara. Speaking of Yara, she provides a lighter counter-measure to Jon and believes in things like work/life balance (See the previous issue where she took a break from superheroing to have a drink with her buddies.) and disorganized organization as she figures out why Jon is disoriented and weakened in the first pages of the issue. Filardi uses big reds and blues that visually convey blaring alarms saying, “Superman down” in the first page, but then Leila Del Duca and Dan Watters nail a comedy beat with Yara trying to tame a Headless Mule.

Even though she’s a powerful hero, Yara doesn’t take herself too seriously and gets all the good one-liners. Leila Del Duca has her pull some hilarious faces and poses like when she rolls up to Solaris and says that she’s a last minute replacement for Jon and looks like she’s taking a quick call on her Bluetooth receiver. Watters and Del Duca strike the right balance between buddy comedy and epic battles. Jon gets to be part of a cosmic chariot race with Del Duca zooming out and show the sheer scale of a race around Earth and Pluto, but he also gets to have a sheepish grin and look like your friend who just lapped you at Mario Kart. The cosmic epic-meets-quirky comedy also extends to the villains with Solaris being a “center an entire crossover around him” type while Kuat just needs to be taken down a peg and have his yellow dwarf star sized ego massaged a little bit.

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2 wraps up what is almost the platonic ideal of a superhero team-up with Dan Watters, Leila Del Duca, and Nick Filardi telling a tale of troubleshooting on a universal scale with plenty of wit, bright colors, and heroes acting, well, like heroes. Mythology, science fiction, and a pinch of snark (Mainly Yara telling Jon that Earth could survive without him.) all come together in perfect harmony and minimal continuity baggage.

Story: Dan Watters Art: Leila Del Duca
Colors: Nick Filardi Letters: Tom Napolitano

Story: 8.6 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Man-Bat #1

Man-Bat #1

Man-Bat isn’t a character I know a lot about beyond the basics. I understand the concept of a scientist whose formula goes astray and turns him into a giant bat. There are some altruistic motivations as to why the formula was created, but it goes wrong. Instead, the scientist becomes addicted to their formula. It’s a concept played out over and over. I wasn’t sure what could be told that’d stand out, but Man-Bat #1 delivers an intriguing debut to the series that delivers a lot of potential.

Written by Dave Wielgosz, Man-Bat #1 delivers a comic that acts as a solid introduction to the character as well as the next chapter for long-time fans. Kirk Langstrom is still obsessed in his quest to perfect his formula with hopes of helping those who are hard of hearing. But, that formula still has its issues, as it has turned Langstrom into Man-Bat in the past. His obsession and focus has destroyed his relationship with Francine who is tired of watching Kirk love the formula more than her.

In the opening of Man-Bat #1 we’re hit hard with witnessing a man whose obsession has destroyed his life. This is addiction front and center creating a comic that’s an interesting allegory for those experiences. After a solid action sequence we get to the meat of the story, that after years of abuse, Langstrom is dying due to the formula. Man-Bat, his inner demon, is killing him. There’s little he can do beyond a miracle which opens up the question if he should accept his fate, fight to prevent it, or go out high… literally.

Man-Bat #1 is a not so thin look at drug addiction with the main character struggling to get literally high. We even get an enabler to the addiction in Batman who comes to a decision to no longer help Kirk in his spiral. No more excuses, Batman needs to act. It’s an interesting twist to Batman. While we often think of his role in putting individuals behind bars, here he treats Langstrom as a drug addict who should seek treatment instead of time behind bars. But, his actions have crossed a line reflecting a real-world debate between rehabilitation and incarceration.

Sumit Kumar‘s art is fantastic. Joined by Romulo Fajardo, Jr. on color and Tom Napolitano on lettering, the comic balances action and emotional moments. The opening is a solid drama, focused on the emotional fallout between characters. Something we experience later with Batman delivering the news to Langstrom and Kirk realizing his fate. Mixed in between is action as Man-Bat attempts to prove he can do good like Batman himself. There’s some great mimicry in images between the two characters as well enhancing the reflection of them.

Each character has an obsession, an addiction, as they pursue their goals. Batman and Man-Bat are similar in many ways. As the comic highlights, one is going down a monster driven dark path. The other journeys down a dark path full of monsters. Man-Bat #1 is a solid debut with an interesting underlying aspect to it about drug addiction. There’s a lot there and hopefully we get more of the thinly veiled story, it creates an interesting twist to the character.

Story: Dave Wielgosz Art: Sumit Kumar
Color: Romulo Fajardo, Jr. Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

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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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Man-Bat’s Murderous Meltdown Begins in Man-Bat #1 this February

In the battle between man and monster…the monster’s winning! Man-Bat, a five-issue series starring the long-running Batman antagonist, debuts in February from the creative team of writer Dave Wielgosz and artist Sumit Kumar!

For years Kirk Langstrom has struggled with his monstrous alter ego Man-Bat and the serum that transformed him. But he’s finally hit rock bottom following a devastating setback, and he’s going to take out his anger on every single citizen of Gotham City. Will the combined might of Batman and the GCPD be enough to stop Langstrom once and for all? Or will this just be the start of Man-Bat’s devastation?

Take a look at the first seven pages of interior artwork from Man-Bat #1, where Man-Bat’s murderous meltdown begins!

And in the following issues, Man-Bat is on the run from the law following a horrific night of blood and mayhem on the streets of Gotham City. But the police aren’t what Kirk Langstrom’s monstrous alter ego should worry about… it’s Task Force X, better known as the Suicide Squad! To undo the damage he has caused, Man-Bat must seek a cure for the innocents he has injured, all while staying out of the deadly sights of the world’s most dangerous mercenaries!

Man-Bat #1written by Dave Wielgosz with art by Sumit Kumar, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Tom Napolitano, arrives in stores on February 2 with a main cover by Kyle Hotz and Alejandro Sánchez and a variant cover by Kevin Nowlan.

Review: Generations Shattered #1

Generations Shattered #1

Generations Shattered #1 is an interesting comic. As a standalone miniseries, the story would be quite compelling and engaging. But, with its release of “Future State”, the comic isn’t released in a vacuum. Spinning out of Dark Nights: Death Metal, the story involves a villain using the messed up time and history to shape their own. A group of heroes throughout time are gathered to save the day.

The concept of Generations Shattered #1 and where it goes would be an event miniseries I’d take a lot of interest in normally. But, it’s a bit of an oddity with the release of all of the other “Future State” comics. While they focus on possible future events, this one features a villain attempting to shape a new reality and history. Where it fits into this reshaping of the DC Universe and history is a bit of a headscratcher. While time seems to have mended as per other comics, maybe not? It’s a little unclear how this fits into what’s going on.

Written by Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, and Robert Venditti, Generations Shattered #1 brings the heroes together in an oversized first issue. Dragged out feels like a better way to describe it. The issue is mostly the heroes being gathered as time is erased as it’s being rewritten. Over 45 pages are dedicated to this creating a slow build and long way to get to the point. Other comics have done the “gathering of characters” and their introduction quicker and in a much more entertaining way.

What this does though is give a massive amount of artists to stretch their legs. Each segment is handled by a different team giving the comic a jam-session sort of feel. That could be interesting as well if any of the art really popped. There’s not bad but there’s little that’s exciting either. Still, it’s fun to see the different styles and takes on the characters from so many artists.

Generations Shattered #1 is an oddity of a comic. It’s hampered by its release along “Future State” making its story a bit confusing. The concept is quite good and entertaining, especially where it leaves things. But, it takes forever to get to the interesting part. It’s a comic I both felt like a chore to read but at the same time I want to see where it goes.

Story: Dan Jurgens, Andy Schmidt, Robert Venditti
Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Scott Hanna, Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Emanuela Lupacchino, Wade Von Grawbadger, Bernard Chang, Yanick Paquette, Kevin Nowlan, Dan Jurgens, Klaus Janson, Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope, John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Doug Braithwaite, Rags Morales, Klaus Janson, Mike Perkins
Color: Hi-Fi Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal #7

Dark Nights: Death Metal #7

And this is it, the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal and the launch of a new DC Universe. The “Crisis Event” by a different name wraps up with Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 launching into a new era where anything can happen. The results, like much of the event, are a mixed bag.

Written by Scott Snyder, the series sees one final clash between the heroes and villains of the DC Universe taking a stand against the Darkest Knight. It’s an issue filled with grand ideas and grand visuals as Wonder Woman is front and center in the battle. Snyder makes things interesting by having unexpected characters make unexpected sacrifices. It keeps readers on their toes as to what might happen next and by who.

There’s some interesting concepts about the creation of the DC Universe thrown in and the various boundaries that have existed. In a meta sense the discussion of these boundaries is the most interesting aspect. It feels like a stance as to what has hampered the various eras of DC Comics. A limitation of worlds or multiverses or worlds is all brought up. In the end though, all of it is made cannon and an infinite number of possibilities is left on the table. What’s now possible is the real lasting impact and what’s hinted at to come is the most intriguing. Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 feels like the end to a messy attempt to right the ship. DC has stated in the past they’ve wanted continuity to not matter as much and the ability to tell whatever stories they’ve wanted. Dark Nights: Death Metal creates a clearer slate to do so. It took them a while but they’re finally really there with a best of all worlds scenario.

The art of the comic is over the top as expected. Greg Capullo handles most of the duties with Jonathan Glapion inking, FCO Plascencia on color and Tom Napolitano on lettering. Yanick Paquette and Bryan Hitch also provide pencils and inks while Nathan Fairbairn and Alex Sinclair also provide colors. The art is as it has been. There’s some very solid moments worth of the big screen and other moments that just feel off. The art itself feels a bit more “death metal” than previous issues as character die or battle it out in spectacular ways but overall there’s little images that feel iconic. For such a big event, the story and art come off as a bit forgettable. What they lead to is the bigger aspect. There’s a missing of that “it” moment.

While I can’t quite recommend Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 I also can’t quite say you can skip it either. It’s a curiosity more than anything else. It’s the end to an era and leading into what’s next shaking up the status-quo for DC Comics. If you’re interested in seeing how that comes about, it’s worth checking out. If not, then this is one you can pass on.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Greg Capullo, Yanick Paquette, Bryan Hitch Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Ink: Jonathan Glapion, Yanick Paquette, Bryan Hitch Color: FCO Plascencia, Nathan Fairbairn, Alex Sinclair
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Review: Quincredible Vol. 1

Quincredible Volume 1

Full disclosure: My email account may also be a time machine. Allow me to explain. When I saw the email from Lionforge with the opportunity to review this graphic novel, I thought it sounded like a very interesting read. Before I started reading this it, I did a little Google research. I discovered that Quincredible Volume 1 was already released in 2019. According to the publisher, the book I had the opportunity to review is due out on February 24th of next year. So, I’m not sure if my email has allowed me to travel to the past or if this is a second printing of this series’ first story arc or the first time this arc has been released as a trade paperback. In any case, if you don’t have access to a time machine of your own, missed this title the first time around, or are like me and have never heard of it before, now’s your chance to enter the world of Quincredible. (Note: The first volume gets a reprinting in a new trim-sized format for 2021 – Ed)

The first arc of this series, written by Rodney Barnes, is entitled, “Quest to be the Best.” After a meteor shower rained down on his Louisiana Parish, Quin woke up to find he’d gained the superpower of invulnerability. Unfortunately, he’s still just a lightweight teenager, and this power doesn’t seem to do him much good. Quin compensates for his lack of strength by outsmarting the criminals he faces by outmaneuvering them or catching them in traps. Although there were some things I liked about the first volume of this series, I wasn’t blown away by the storytelling.

There were of course a few high points. For one, Quin’s positive relationship with his father is front and center. Considering how many heroes either don’t have parents or don’t see eye to eye with them, this was a nice touch. I also found it very interesting, not to mention another nice change of pace, that it’s the smartest girl in school Quinn hopes will notice him one day and not the hottest, as is so often the case. The designs of the superhero’s costumes are cool, but many of them seemed almost too futuristic. Aside from this being a story featuring people with superpowers, everything else felt really grounded. Even with superpowers, Quinn leads an ordinary life. The book explores themes and events that occur in the real world every day. The one exception being that there just happen to be superheroes in the world of Quincredible as well. So the high tech looking costumes felt out of place, especially for a bunch of basically independent New Orleans superheroes.

In fact, I’m just going to come out and say it, this title would be better if it weren’t about superheroes at all. Take out the superpower aspects, and give me a black teenager who wants to make a difference in his community, so he uses his intelligence and elaborate traps to help the police fight crime. That’s what I would have liked to see out of Quincredible. Instead, his invulnerability often feels like an afterthought and most of the best moments in this first volume are all about Quin and his beliefs or relationships. None of which are made better when his superpower is factored into the equation. The invulnerability just seems unnecessary and I feel like it gets in the way of the storytelling. By the third time Quin took a laser blast and was unschathed, the gimmick got really old.

The synergy between illustrator Selina Espiritu and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick is obvious on every page. I loved the use of shadow as it really helped convey depth and perspective. If left to stand on their own, both the colors and line work would come off looking flat. Luckily, Espiritu and Fitzpatrick’s talents complement each other and elevate the artwork in Quincredible. Espiritu also does a great job of conveying motion throughout the book, keeping the still images from looking overtly static.

I assume this series is geared for a young adult audience, but with that being said, I found the dialogue to be too simple and juvenile. I read quite a bit of YA genre fiction, and it doesn’t have to be watered down to be relatable and entertaining to readers of all ages. Diversity and representation are always good, especially in comic books, but I found Quincredible’s story to be kind of boring. The characters are relatable and fun to root for, but the plot and dialogue were underwhelming. There are a few creative touches in regard to the writing, but overall, the story doesn’t really stand out. The artwork isn’t mind-blowing, but it is of good quality and technically well done. The artwork does keep the story visually interesting and helps sell an otherwise bland narrative.

The volume Lionforge provided me to review is solicited for release on 2-23-2021.

Story: Rodney Barnes Art: Selina Espiritu
Color: Kelly Fitzpatrick Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 4.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal #6

Dark Nights: Death Metal #6

I haven’t been the biggest fan of Dark Nights: Death Metal. The event as a whole has been uneven with an inconsistent voice. In an “anything can happen” sense, the comic has been fun for its insanity. That could have been part of the point and concept. As it begins to wrap up, we begin to get the big hits and moments. The heroes rally to take on the Darkest Knight and his nightmare worlds in their last stand. Dark Nights: Death Metal #6 is a combination of the night before the final battle in Les Miserable and Steve Rogers saying “I can do this all day”. The heroes rally to take on the forces against them as Wonder Woman attempts to succeed in her mission.

Writer Scott Snyder puts together an interesting mix of over the top imagery and touching moments in an issue that has a focus of that “last stand”. While gods battle above them, the remaining heroes and villains of Earth draw the line against the nightmare Batman gunning for them. Where Snyder hits it is his “grouping” of heroes putting an emphasis that these are families. While they may oppose each other at times, there’s something touching seeing the various pockets of the DC Universe standing together. Heroes and villains taking a stand of survival knowing their battle is likely a lost one with the slimmest of chances of success. Those moments are far too short but they deliver some heart to the bombastic issue that also sees a fight at a cosmic scale.

Part of the fun of the comic is its over the top visuals. Greg Capullo continues to deliver events on a grand scale. Characters are packed into pages or deities battle it out in space. Dark Nights: Death Metal #6, and the series as a whole, is one that’s very much a “show”. The comic seems to love going over the top in its imagery knowing its popcorn level of entertainment. This isn’t one about body language or facial expressions, this is about massive battles and tons of characters. Capullo is joined by Jonathan Glapion on ink and FCO Plascencia on color.

Tom Napolitano handles the lettering which stands out with such characters as Jarro. The slightly different lettering brings character to “Batman’s son”. The series as a whole has been gonzo in its designs bringing to the page some of the craziest ideas DC has presented in years and doing it all with the glee of a kid playing with their toys.

While Dark Nights: Death Metal #6 hasn’t won me over on the event, it does have its moments. There’s some of those that bring the good schmaltz. There’s far more that are popcorn worthy summer blockbuster visuals. It’s a turn off your brain and enjoy the ride of a comic and at times that’s a good thing.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Greg Capullo
Ink: Jonathan Glapion Color: FCO Plascencia Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.95 Overall: 7.15 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Discover the destiny of the DC Universe in Future State: Justice League #1 on January 12!

Welcome to DC Future State, a two-month extravaganza that reveals what lies in store for the World’s Greatest Heroes! Spinning out of the finale of Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 (on sale January 5), DC Future State will take you on a journey from the near future to the end of time to witness the destinies of heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League, the Teen Titans, and so many more.

In Future State: Justice League #1witness the start of a new era for the Justice League starring Jonathan Kent as Superman, Yara Flor as Wonder Woman, Jo Mullein as Green Lantern, Andy Curry as Aquawoman, a new Flash—Jess Chambers—from the Multiverse, and [REDACTED] as Batman! Together, they protect the future, yet apart, their identities are secret even from one another—but why? When their greatest adversaries wind up murdered in an abandoned Hall of Justice, all clues point to…the Justice League! The new team’s adventures begin here!

And in a new tale of the Justice League Dark, a witch hunt across the DC Universe begins as magic users are harvested and executed—and the team is on the run! Zatanna and Detective Chimp (now possessed by Etrigan) must round up new and old teammates, including John Constantine, Ragman, and Madame Xanadu. Their mission? To battle the power-mad Crow King, Merlin, before his plans for magical domination destroy the fabric of reality. But where is Dr. Fate? And what led the team to disband in the first place? Discover the truth here!

Future State: Justice League #1 (of 2), written by Joshua Williamson with art by Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Tom Napolitano, including Future State: Justice League Dark #1 by Ram V., Marcio Takara, Marcelo Maiolo, and Rob Leigh, featuring a cover by Dan Mora and a card stock variant cover by Kael Ngu, hits shelves January 12.

Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal #5

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5

There’s a point in recent DC events for me where the story becomes too much insider knowledge of DC Comic history. They often can feel like one needs a Ph.D. in DC Continuity to truly understand what’s going on. While Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 doesn’t quite cross that line, it comes right up to it.

Written by Scott Snyder, Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 has the heroes desperately attempting to save the day. The Batman Who Laughs has ascended to god-hood level battling Perpetua for the future of the multiverse. The remaining heroes are ants witnessing giants step around them battling at a cosmic level. But, there’s always hope as a plan is hatched in an attempt to turn the tide and defeat evil.

The event has been full of discussions of “Crisis Energy” weaving in DC’s history of multiverse shattering events. This issue introduces “Anti-Crisis Energy”, a concept when typed out feels a little silly. X hasn’t worked so its opposite will work is the general idea. Presented by Lex Luthor, the heroes are tasked with missions to either drain The Batman Who Laughs energy or seek out a solution to save the multiverse. Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 for one comic generally stops being a spot the different versions of Batman, and instead focuses on the heroes getting together for their final stand.

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 does bring some reveals as Batman and Superman finally come clean to what’s been hinted for some time. Neither of the revelations are surprising and what they mean for their future is unknown. What the comic does do is focus the event again around Wonder Woman, seeking truth to shine the light of hope. We get some rousing speeches and those “pop” moments of heroes looking at impossible tasks but the issue really is another launching point for what comes next. It’s the “explanation” of how the heroes will win, something that feels like it’s been done a few times already in the event.

Greg Capullo‘s art continues to be the draw of the series. Along with Jonathan Glapion in ink, FCO Plascencia on color, and lettering by Tom Napolitano, there’s some very cool visuals that’ll leave you lingering on the page. Capullo can hit the beat of Snyder’s writing and the two show off their connection of writer and artist that has been built over so many years. And while there’s a few solid moments, the product overall also feels a little forgettable. There’s a lack of iconic imagery so far. It looks great but five minutes later there’s little you really want to go back and look at.

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 is a fine chapter to the overall event and improved on previous issues. There’s more of a consistent voice from the issue. It knows what it is a bit more. The mix of gonzo, comedy, epic, horror, and superheroes is shrunk down to be more focused on the epic superhero event. It continues an overall frustrating event. It’s clear that this is the vessel by which DC will land the path set out by “Rebirth” but whose tone screams New 52. It wants to create new things and concepts but also is beholden to DC of the past. It’s an event whose chapters have been lesser than the whole, an example being one-shots better than the main series. Much like DC continuity, it’s a bit mixed for everyone. At this point, it feels like an end of the journey and I more want to see where it goes and what’s next than the details of the event itself.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Greg Capullo
Ink: Jonathan Glapion Color: FCO Plascencia Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 6.95 Art: 7.95 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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