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Preview: Detective Comics Annual #2

Detective Comics Annual #2

(W) Peter J. Tomasi (A) Travis Moore (CA) Joe Quinones
In Shops: May 29, 2019
SRP: $4.99

After years on the shelf, Batman returns to the Black Casebook! Throughout his career, Batman has compiled his most disturbing cases into one volume, its every page filled with bizarre horror and crimes he never quite managed to solve. Now a case from the past has re-opened itself in the here and now…and Batman will find himself face-to-face again with one of the deadliest villains he fought in his early years: the Reaper!

Detective Comics Annual #2

Review: Heroes in Crisis #8

Heroes in Crisis #8

You’ve seen all the clues. You’ve heard the testimony and eavesdropped on the secret confessions of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes. Now, with the killer revealed, it’s time to find out why. What could have driven a hero to the brink, to turn a savior into a murderer? Rifts will form between old allies, and the trinity of Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman will have their leadership challenged and will question their own judgment. Sanctuary has become something they never imagined…and it’s still potentially carrying on without them!

Heroes in Crisis #8 will light up comic fandom with the reveal as to who the murderer is and what happened in Sanctuary. For seven issues there’s been hints and nods as to who was behind it all and now we know the truth.

Without spoiling the reveal, writer Tom King has taken a hero and sullied them in a way that hearkens back to the grim and gritty days of comics of the past which is not necessarily a good thing. The reveal, as presented, feels more like an odd stunt and choice based on this character’s recent history. There’s some logic there but there’s so much “why” surrounding it all, hopefully to be explored later.

But, where King both succeeds and fails is in the “why” of the action. Heroes in Crisis is supposed to be about heroes dealing with post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. There are echoes here of real life heroes who have snapped in a blind accident hurting others or even killing others or themselves. It’s a real world problem and could have been an amazing exploration. But, the reveal is fumbled with lots of elements that are a bit too “comicbooky.”

Instead of keeping the story simple that this person snaps we get things dealing with their powers that put them over the line and in a way causes them to snap. It goes from a hero with PTSD who has a horrible accident to a hero who becomes a murderer. The sympathy isn’t present. The empathy isn’t there. It feels like shock for shock’s sake.

Art duties by Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore, with coloring by Gerads and lettering by Clayton Cowles, is fantastic as expected. There’s a simplicity to it all as the “how” of the murders is explained and the focus remains on the murderer himself. It’s a clear choice as he goes through how everything was done and what made him snap.

The issue is one that I both love and hate. There’s so much right and so much wrong at the same time. This will easily be the most controversial superhero comic of the year and folks will be up in arms. Unfortunately, that emotion is what stands out most of the issue. For a series about PTSD it has been hit and miss as far as connecting emotionally with those hurting and this issue is a prime example of that flaw.

Story: Tom King Art: Mitch Gerads, Travis Moore
Color: Mitch Gerads Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.15 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Heroes in Crisis #7

Heroes in Crisis #7

Heroes in Crisis has been up and down in quality delivering a comic that at times nails its concept of heroes dealing with PTSD and at other times coming close to torture porn. Heroes in Crisis #7 gets things a bit back on track as the series begins to wrap up with an issue that focuses a bit on exactly what happened but also the trauma of three characters, Wally West, Booster Gold, and Harley Quinn.

Writer Tom King focuses the issue a bit revolving around those three characters at it explores each of their trauma while also driving the story forward. It’s what the series was pitched as and much more of what I expected.

Through various segments we see Wally West discuss his issues and dealing with them in a way using his powers. The empathy towards him builds until that final page where it’s hard to not feel sadness for his experience, especially about his possible death. I say possible as the issue touches on the time difference in bodies though doesn’t explain it yet. We also get some interesting things concerning Poison Ivy which points to the obvious that not everything we’ve witnessed in this series is as it seems and some of the deaths will be “undone” when things wrap up.

The rest of the comic mostly has to do with Booster Gold and Blue Beetle and Batgirl and Harley Quinn who have clashed as Harley and Booster battle each other. That too is cathartic in numerous ways as the two characters have their own breakdowns before getting their act together to eventually save the day. The highlight though is Batgirl and Blue Beetle who chat as Harley and Booster battle.

The art is split between Clay Mann, Travis Moore, and Jorge Fornes with color by Tomeu Morey and lettering by Clayton Cowles. Despite three different artists, the issue is smooth as far as look and there is some very solid pages and panels that’ll have you linger. Small artistic details add to the story enhancing the enjoyment and the emotional connection.

The issue gets back to basics in some ways exploring the emotional issues these three characters have due to their heroic nature and at the same time drives the murder mystery story. If only every issue was like this, the series would stand out more than it has and possibly have avoided its ups and downs in quality and focus.

Story: Tom King Art: Clay Mann, Travis Moore, Jorge Fornes
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Nightwing #57

Nightwing #57

(W) Scott Lobdell, Zack Kaplan (A) Travis Moore (CA) Chris Mooneyham
RATED T
In Shops: Feb 20, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Destiny…fate…predetermined inevitability… these are all things that Ric Grayson has struggled to reconcile now that he has been given a second chance at life. A life recently unburdened with years of trauma, defeat and struggle when the hero known as Nightwing was shot in the head. Now, Ric must come to terms with who he is, and what kind of hero he wants to be…if he wants to be one at all. And while Ric is content to walk away from the mantle, one woman has been hiding in the shadows, waiting to solidify an identity of her own…an identity tied for all eternity to the clown price of crime…enter The Joker’s Daughter!

Nightwing #57

Review: Batman #61

What happened to the boy who wanted to be Bruce Wayne? The young criminal mastermind orchestrates his own parents’ deaths to emulate his hero and was carted off to Arkham when Batman exposed his crimes, but that is not the end of the story.

Preview: Nightwing #55

Nightwing #55

(W) Scott Lobdell (A) Travis Moore (CA) Chris Mooneyham
In Shops: Dec 19, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The repercussions of the cataclysmic events of BATMAN #55 continue as a scarred Dick Grayson has given up his vigilante persona in favor a normal existence. A new job, new friends, new life-all are compromised when a safehouse full of old Nightwing gear falls into the wrong hands. Confronted with a past he’s worked so desperately to escape, will Dick Grayson answer the challenge by becoming Nightwing…or something else? The newest chapter in the evolution of Dick Grayson reaches its next level!

Nightwing #55

Preview: Batman #61

Batman #61

(W) Tom King (A) Travis Moore (CA) Tony Daniel
In Shops: Dec 19, 2018
SRP: $3.99

What happened to the boy who wanted to be Bruce Wayne? The young criminal mastermind orchestrates his own parents’ deaths to emulate his hero and was carted off to Arkham when Batman exposed his crimes, but that is not the end of the story. Tom King reteams with Nightwing artist Travis Moore to create a sequel to their masterpiece of dark horror from Batman #38.

Batman #61

Preview: Nightwing #53

Nightwing #53

(W) Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza (A) Travis Moore, Patrick Zircher (CA) Chris Mooneyham
In Shops: Nov 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Nightwing was shot in the head…and now, only Grayson remains, caught in the clutches of the Knight Terrors! As the group of vigilantes take on the persona and mantle of Nightwing, he is forced to ante up his hand when one of his close friends is murdered… Will he cast his lot with his old super hero friends to take down these rogues, or will he decide to embrace his “newfound” abilities and fight against those who have wronged him? The answer lies somewhere in the gray area, when an unexpected threat from Scarecrow changes the game.

Review: Heroes in Crisis #2

Suspected of murder, [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] find themselves on the run from the super-hospital called Sanctuary -with each thinking the other one is the real killer! It’s up to Batman to solve this heinous crime, but suspicion falls on him when Superman and Wonder Woman ponder just how much Sanctuary’s A.I. is telling them. Meanwhile, [REDACTED] tries to make a shady deal to hide from the Trinity, while [REDACTED] searches out an old friend to help him out of this mess-and only gets deeper in trouble.

That’s a whole lot of “redacted” in that description and going into this comic with as little information as possible is helpful. Heroes in Crisis #2 not only deals with the fallout of the murder of an unknown amount of individuals, but also peels back more about Sanctuary and those that have visited it.

Writer Tom King balances a lot in this issue with a few tracks along the way. Harley is on the run both wanting to get caught and not at the same time. Her actions as presented make her a prime suspect as to the massacre at Sanctuary. The trio of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are on the hunt for her and it’s not the eventual confrontation that is the key moment, it’s what it reveals. King intelligently adds a wrinkle to the situation with that reveal, one that will make relationships rocky going forward.

But what of our other suspect? Booster is on the run as well deciding what to do and his decision is simple, try to find the killer. That also might mean him. Unfortunately, he’s kind of rambling and while we can say it’s the trauma of the situation, he’s not off the hook. His intentions make it seem like he might be but again King gives us just enough to leave him as a suspect. It also expands the story bringing in another hero impacted by the events.

While all of that would be more than enough to enjoy, King uses confessionals to dive deeper into our heroes. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, are all explored showing each have deep trauma. No matter how much we think of them as together, they’re not. They have flaws and while brief, it’ll make you think of each of them and how their confessions add to their characters.

There’s also revelations of more murdered individuals, with one being a shocker. That leads to the most touching moment as one character mourns their loss. What’s said is sweet and beautiful in a way and gives us an emotional punch beyond the shock and anger we’ve seen.

Artists Clay Mann and Travis Moore, along with colorists Tomeu Morey and Arif Prianto, and letterer Clayton Cowles deliver a beautiful comic. It looks great on every level and a high profile comic like this deserves art like this. The characters are solid with much of the emotion delivered through their facial expressions. Teasing just enough for us to get the situation and where they’re at. There’s also solid transitions between scenes as the comic might go from a fight to a quieter moment in a page. And the art helps deliver those highs and lows of emotion from a high octane fight to mourning. What details are focused on add to the narrative.

The first issue was solid and second continues the pattern. This is an event you’ll likely either love or hate and I’m enjoying it as it explores layers we rarely see discussed when it comes to superheroes and all of that is wrapped up in a nice murder mystery.

Story: Tom King Art: Clay Mann, Travis Moore
Color: Tomeu Morey, Arif Prianto Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Nightwing #51

Nightwing #51

(W) Scott Lobdell (A) Garry Brown, Travis Moore (CA) Mike Perkins
In Shops: Oct 17, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Don’t forget, this issue features an enhanced foil cover by Mike Perkins!

After the cataclysmic events of BATMAN #55, our hero doesn’t remember training to fight, being a member of the Bat family, or being a superhero…and he could not be more content. It’s his life, and he’s happy to just live it with new friends and a roof over his head (wherever that roof might be). So when Blüdhaven finds itself without a protector and a new group of vigilantes pick up the slack, Grayson is more than happy to yield any perceived responsibility to the people of the city. But as things start to spiral out of control, muscle memory kicks in…and he is startled to discover that he’s more than just a pretty face.

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