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Preview: Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1

Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1

Written by: Tony Patrick
Art by: Christian Duce

The Signal comes back as Gotham City’s daytime protector after his time with the Outsiders. But during his sabbatical from his hometown, everything about the city and the people closest to him changed. And the mystery of the White Market, a deadly source of weapons being trafficked into Gotham City that even Batman can’t track down, will only push the Signal further away from everything he knows and into a brand-new world of danger. Writer Tony Patrick returns to pen a new chapter in the life of Duke Thomas alongside fan-favorite artist Christian Duce!

Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1

DC Shares First Look at Batman: Secret Files – The Signal

DC has released the first look at Batman: Secret Files, a new monthly spotlighting more of Batman’s allies fighting for justice and a safe Gotham City in one-shot solo adventures. This series pairs some of the most talented writers and artists in comics together to deliver action-packed stories featuring the deep bench of characters that make up the Batman Family.

Beginning Tuesday, July 7, writer Tony Patrick and fan-favorite artist Christian Duce team up to bring you a new Gotham City adventure featuring Duke Thomas, a.k.a. The Signal! Patrick returns to write this adventure for the first time since 2017’s Batman and The Signal miniseries.

After his time as a member of the Outsiders, Duke Thomas, a.k.a. The Signal, returns home to be the daytime guardian of Gotham City. But during his time away everything has changed, including those closest to him. And with a deadly influx of weapons being trafficked into Gotham by the mysterious White Market, The Signal enters a brand-new world of danger in his hometown, one that will push him farther away from everything he knows!

This 40-page $4.99 one-shot arrives in comic book stores and at participating digital retailers on Tuesday, July 7, 2021, with a main cover by Ken Lashley and a variant cover by Batman and The Signal artist Cully Hamner. Lashley also provides the art for a 1 in 25 “ratio” variant cover, available for $5.99 (check local comic book stores for availability and pre-order).

Batman: Secret Files

Explore the Bat-Family in Batman Secret Files

Gotham is full of heroes, far more than Batman. He can’t be everywhere and has a family of heroes to help him out. This July, DC launches Batman Secret Files, a new monthly series of one-shots featuring Batman’s partners in crimefighting. In this series, Bat-fans will see new adventures in Gotham City, exploring the deep bench of heroes the Dark Knight has inspired.

Batman Secret Files: The Signal #1

The return of Duke Thomas, a.k.a. The Signal, kicks off this series on Tuesday, July 7. In a story written by Tony Patrick with art by Christian Duce, The Signal comes back as Gotham City’s daytime protector after his time with the Outsiders. But during his sabbatical from his hometown, everything about the city and the people closest to him changed. And the mystery of the White Market, a deadly source of weapons being trafficked into Gotham City that even Batman can’t track down, will only push the Signal further away from everything he knows and into a brand-new world of danger.

This 40-page one-shot features a main cover by Ken Lashley with a variant cover by Cully Hamner.

Batman Secret Files: Huntress #1

On Tuesday July 27, Detective Comics and Eisner Award-winning writer Mariko Tamaki teams up with acclaimed Stray Bullets writer/artist David Lapham for a new tale featuring Gotham City’s Violet Vengeance! Huntress has been through a LOT lately…including her brain being invaded by a violent parasite bent on sending her on a deadly slugfest. If that wasn’t enough, now she has to deal with enhanced abilities too, thanks to a villain by the name of Vile. This parasite has given her the ability to see through the eyes of his victims and this is not her idea of a good time! Huntress isn’t one to be played with, and she’s on the hunt for Vile, with a crossbow bolt with his name on it!

Also weighing at 40 pages, this one-shot features a main cover by Irvin Rodriguez, with a card stock variant by Riccardo Federici.

Preview: X’ED

X’ED

written by Tony Patrick
illustrated by Ayhan Hayrula, Brian Level, Chris Peterson
colorists Doug Garbark, Dee Cunniffe
lettered by Jim Campbell
$16.99 | full color | 164 pages
MATURE

A sci-fi thriller about a next-gen form of psychiatry: ‘subliminal hitmen’ injected into your mind who hunt down the demons that haunt you. 

Ex-military sharpshooter Colin McClure is Mezign Corp’s most recent recruit for the still-experimental (and often deadly) job of subliminal hitman. McClure is the perfect candidate for two reasons: a- he’s a killing machine, and b- he lost his legs in the war, so subliminal-ops are his only way to see any action. But he’s also a dangerous candidate for one reason unknown to Mezign: Colin’s true motive is to enter the mind of his catatonic daughter and bring her out of a coma.

From writer Tony Patrick (Batman And The Signal) and artist Ayhan Hayrula.

X'ED

Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1 is the latest Dark Nights: Death Metal one-shot that’s better than the main story. Focusing on the hit Robin King character, we learn more about his history and his relationship with The Batman Who Laughs.

The issue is an interesting one. We dive further into this twisted version of Bruce Wayne and “Batman”. Bruce is the one who killed his parents. From there goes on a mission to take on the adult heroes and their rules. There’s a brilliance to it all and we get to see why the Robin King is so good at what he does. Like Batman, he plans, and plans a lot. But, that’s both good and bad.

Writer Peter J. Tomasi handles the main story and adds depth to the breakout character. We get a vision and a mission and it’s one that’s consistent. With distrust of adults and rules and wanting the children to rise up, Robin King has a distrust of everyone. That includes The Batman Who Laughs. With that small detail, Tomasi gives us someone who can rival that character and likely will be a thorn in his side down the road. He’s more than just another evil Batman now. The crumbs for what’s to come are sprinkled here. Like the other one-shots, Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1 is going to be a vital chapter in Dark Nights: Death Metal.

What Tomasi also does is deliver a chaotic glee about everything. Robin King has a kid-like excitement about the carnage and destruction. The attitude and actions make sense and are fun in a weird way. We see heroes murdered and there’s a bit of humor about it. That’s partially due to Tomasi’s writing but also the art by Riley Rossmo.

Rossmo is joined by Ivan Plascencia on color and Rob Leigh on lettering. Rossmo’s distinctive style with Plascencia’s colors creates a chaotic symphony of destruction visually. There’s an almost Looney Tunes feel about it all as Robin King’s joy explodes off the page. Rossmo’s character style adds to that and what could easily be gore and horror comes off as over the top humor. The glee with which the art presents Robin King too is somewhat infectious. Mixed with his at times child-like innocence, there’s a combination of a comic that’s reminiscent of 90s Bisley Lobo, a celebration of over the top destruction.

The issue also features a second story, “The Quiet Ones.” Featuring Signal, it has him going up against a new evil Batman we haven’t seen before. It too feels like a key moment that’ll have an impact down the road as the character “rights” his power and gets focus. Written by Tony Patrick with art by Daniel Sampere, color by Adriano Lucas, and lettering from Andworld Design, it’s another story that probably should be in the main comic but is relegated to this one-shot.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1 is an odd comic like many of the one-shots. It’s likely an important part of the story filling in key moments not in the main comic. There’s clearly things here that’ll have an impact down the road and play in to what’s to come. But, at the same time, I’m not sure how you would add any of this to the main series. Even adding an issue, it’s too much of a side quest focus to keep the flow of that going. It’s also far more entertaining than what we’ve seen there. It’s focus on a few characters allows them to have depth delivering a comic that feels like it’s more about the character than the gimmick. That’s something that has plagued Dark Nights: Death Metal as a whole.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1, like the other one-shots, stands out. If you want to learn more about Robin King, it’s out there but there’s just enough having to do with the main event, it also doesn’t stand on its own. Still, it’s an entertaining read that’s beyond insane and fun.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi, Tony Patrick Art: Riley Rossmo, Daniel Sampere
Color: Ivan Plascencia, Adriano Lucas Letterer: Rob Leigh, Andworld Design
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1

Written by: Tony Patrick, Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Daniel Sampere, Riley Rossmo

With a utility belt filled to the brim with weapons designed to kill every hero in the DCU, Robin King is the most sadistic soldier in the Darkest Knight evil army! Can anyone stop him from laying waste to Earth’s last line of defense? And how did he become one of the Batman Who Laugh’s groblins in the first place? And in the backup story, can the Robins liberate Gotham City from the Darkest Knight’s control?

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1

Review: Batman and the Signal

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the focus on Duke Thomas… the Signal!

Batman and the Signal collects Batman and the Signal #1-3, “Role Call” from New Talent Showcase 2017 #1, and “The Cursed Wheel” from All-Star Batman #1-4 and #6-9 by Scott Snyder, Tony Patrick, Cully Hamner, Declan Shalvey, Fracesco Francavilla, Minkyu Jung, Klaus Janson, Laura Martin, Jordie Bellaire, Pete Pantazis, Deron Bennett, Steve Wands, and Dezi Sienty.

Get your copy in comic shops today and book stores on August 28. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: Batman and the Signal #3

As the sun sets, chaos erupts and the Bat-Family jumps into action to help the Signal (a.k.a. Duke Thomas) against the mysterious Gnomon and his minions. While his allies keep the battle going on the streets, Duke must go above and beyond to track down the malicious man who has single-handedly caused the dangerous boom in meta-activity in the Narrows. Little does he know, Gnomon holds the key to his past and the future of heroes in Gotham City!

I like Duke Thomas as a character. What has been set up, and the potential teased, he’s a great character that really exemplifies the “light” that a sidekick is supposed to juxtapose Batman’s “dark.” The concept of a daytime vigilante to protect Gotham is something that’s long overdue. And, the introduction of metas to Batman’s rogues gallery is also long overdue. With that said, I’ve been reading Batman and the Signal with both interest and frustration.

Written by Tony Patrick, with concepts by Patrick and Scott Snyder, Batman and the Signal #3 feels like a finale that never quite delivers everything it sets up. We get a lot of teasing but never to the point. We get a lot of interesting concepts that are never fleshed out. And, it doesn’t look like we’re getting anything more in the near future. So, it’s a series that promises to set Duke up and make him his own but never quite gets to the point.

With the Narrows burning and metas running amok, Duke must face the villain behind it all while team Batman is called in to help contain the mess. There’s some references to Dark Nights: Metal but even that is just a line or two. The logo on the cover makes you feel like this should be a direct continuation but, like “The Button” we’re left with a narrative that never quite stands on its own. It launches from what came before but never quite leads us anywhere specific. And while it’s a piece of the bigger puzzle we’re never directed where we should look next for pieces. It’s frustrating in that way.

The art by Cully Hamner, with color by Laura Martin, and lettering by Deron Bennett is also just ok. While the characters look decent enough, something doesn’t click. The issue, and series, plays with that concept of light and dark, and never quite delivers on it. It’s all light with little dark. It’s an issue that was also present in Batman v Superman. There’s also a lack of spreads and moments that jump out to me. None of it looks bad, it services the story and never transcends it. The spreads are standard. The fight scenes generally average. Moments, that should be dynamic and exciting feel like a comic strip. There’s a lack of excitement much like the comic itself.

The three issues series feels like there’s something missing. It wanted to do some reveals and explore some concepts but it never makes those concepts and reveals interesting. They tend to land as standard comic tropes and in just three issues it feels like it wraps up quickly leaving us with nowhere to go next. While none of it is bad, it’s also not all that great, especially when compared to the excellent work being done in other Bat series. Duke Thomas is a character with great potential and by the end of three issues it feels like he was done a disservice.

Story: Scott Snyder, Tony Patrick Art: Cully Hamner
Color: Laura Martin Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Batman and the Signal #3 (of 3)

Batman and the Signal #3 (of 3)

(W) Scott Snyder, Tony Patrick (A/CA) Cully Hamner
In Shops: Apr 25, 2018
SRP: $3.99

As the sun sets, chaos erupts and the Bat-Family jumps into action to help the Signal (a.k.a. Duke Thomas) against the mysterious Gnomon and his minions. While his allies keep the battle going on the streets, Duke must go above and beyond to track down the malicious man who has single-handedly caused the dangerous boom in meta-activity in the Narrows. Little does he know, Gnomon holds the key to his past and the future of heroes in Gotham City!

Preview: Batman and the Signal #2 (of 3)

Batman and the Signal #2 (of 3)

(W) Scott Snyder, Tony Patrick (A/CA) Cully Hamner
RATED T+
In Shops: Feb 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

As Bruce Wayne fulfills his corporate duties at Wayne Industries, Duke Thomas (a.k.a. the Signal) embraces his role as Gotham City’s daytime protector while battling a deadly new rogues gallery. Could these teenage villains be connected to the recent metahuman population boom in the Narrows? To find out, the Signal must learn to work with a different kind of ally… the GCPD!

Almost American
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