Weekly Comic Book Roundup #17

Shazam and the Seven Magic Lands

(Shazam! (2018) (Single Issues) #1-12)

by Geoff JohnsDale Eaglesham (Illustrator), Scott Kolins (Illustrator), Marco Santucci (Illustrator), Mayo “SEN” Naito (Illustrator), Max Raynor (Illustrator), Mike Atiyeh (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)

The Synopsis 

Legendary comics writer Geoff Johns continues his modern reimagining of Shazam following the hit 2019 Warner Bros. movie starring Zachary Levi.

In these stories, after a stop at the mysterious subway location of the Rock of Eternity, source of his mighty powers, Shazam and his foster siblings take a trip to a series of magical lands including the Funlands and the Wozenderlands. But these dreamlike fantasy worlds hide a nightmarish reality, as the young heroes must face the tyrannical King Kid and try to avoid being fed to hungry tigers. Collects Shazam! #1-12. 

The Verdict

The latest chapter in the world of the Shazam family takes center stage as the reimagining of the character began in the hit Warner Bros. Film Shazam starring Zachary Levi, and it is fantastic! The exploration of the fabled “Magic Lands” and the mythology of the Rock of Eternity was perfectly balanced with the complex family dynamic not only between Billy and his foster siblings but his foster parents as well. Add to this the inclusion of a figure from Billy’s past and the introduction of some powerful new foes from these new lands, including the diabolical King Kid, as well as some well-established threats from Shazam’s past, make this series a shining example of DC’s future. 

Made in China – DC Universe Rebirth

(New Super-Man #1)

by Gene Luen Yang (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Viktor Bogdanovic (Artist), Richard Friends (Inker), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)

The Synopsis

#1 New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award nominee Gene Luen Yang continues his work at DC with New Super-Man, Volume 1, a part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

An impulsive act of heroism thrusts an arrogant young man into the limelight of Shanghai as China begins to form its own Justice League of powerful heroes. As the government creates their own Superman, will they live to regret the person they’ve chosen? Rising from the ashes of Superman: The Final Days of Superman and the death of the Man of Steel, will this New Super-Man step up to the challenge, or be crushed under the weight of his hubris and inexperience?

Award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born ChineseSuperman) and on-the-rise art star Viktor Bogdanovic (Batman: Arkham Knight) introduce readers to Kong Kenan, an all-new superhero who could change the world…or be the end of it, in New Super-Man, Volume 1.

CollectingNew Super-Man 1-6 

The Verdict

A truly fantastic new era of storytelling in DC Comics, a powerful new Chinese superhero is born in this first volume of The New Super-Man. Kong Kenan stands out because, unlike his American counterpart, the hero is just an average teenager with a complex family dynamic and a troubling worldview that can make him unlikable more times than not. However the comic highlights not only his rise to becoming a hero and gaining powers but his evolution as a character and person as he becomes acclimated to this world. His abrasive nature can be seen softening often in the face of injustice and heartbreak and promises a future for Kong Kenan that can make him a true force for good. Include this with Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman, and not only does the book become a narrative on Western influences on Eastern nations, but how competitive and high-stakes the governments of the world become with one another, often with their citizens caught in the crossfire on both sides. A truly great story and an excellent new cast of characters for the DC Universe.

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Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky, Vol. 1: Know Fear

(Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky #1)

by Chip ZdarskyMarco Checchetto (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Matt Murdock has clawed his way through physical therapy, but his near death experience that nearly left him crippled has left its mark on him. Reacquainted with pain and fear, the devil is back in hell’s kitchen, but is the man who returned to the rooftops the same man who fell off them? Find out, in CHIP ZDARSKY’S new era of DAREDEVIL!

COLLECTING: DAREDEVIL (2019) 1-5

The Verdict

Great use of Daredevil’s character, Marvel has taken one of their most self-critical and perpetually guilt-ridden characters to examine the concept of accountability and examination of who the true “villains” are in the world, let alone criminal “elements”. The character’s struggle with injuries and realigning his abilities as a crimefighter take a dark turn, and Matt is forced to examine how he approaches his life as a hero and protector of Hell’s Kitchen, as well as learning to find acceptance and peace after being part of some great loss. The action and morality that Daredevil has become known for is a masterful turn of events for Marvel and a much-needed story in today’s landscape. A must-read at Marvel!

King Deadpool, Vol. 1: Hail to the King

(King Deadpool #1)

by Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Chris Bachalo (Illustrations)

The Synopsis 

A new era begins for the Merc with a Mouth! Deadpool’s newest job has him going after the King of Monsters, who has claimed a new kingdom for his terrifying subjects…on Staten Island! But you know what they say, when you come at the king, you better not miss! Soon, Wade Wilson finds himself with a new role – one that leaves him neck deep in political intrigue, with major obstacles including Captain America and the monster-hunting Elsa Bloodstone in his way! Will Deadpool’s smooth charisma and deft diplomacy allow him to keep his head – or will he be royally screwed? Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown – particularly when it’s in the sights of some of the deadliest people in the Marvel Universe!

COLLECTING: DEADPOOL (2019) 1-5

The Verdict

A chilling yet still hilarious and unbelievable chapter in the world of Deadpool, readers are treated to a whole new side to the Merc as his latest job puts him in the role of becoming the King of the Monsters, who have come to State Island and made it their home as refugees. His humor and gritty fighting are a great play against the more structured and honored society that the kingdom of the monsters has crafted for itself, and the inclusion of Elsa Bloodstone in the series has paired Wade with a strong and fierce ally and foe throughout the series. 

S.W.O.R.D. by Al Ewing, Vol. 1

(S.W.O.R.D. #1)

by Al EwingValerio Schiti (Art)

The Synopsis

One giant leap for mutantkind! The new nation of Krakoa has quickly become a major force on the world stage…but why stop there? The X-Men have relaunched the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate — a fully independent organization dealing with all things extraterrestrial on behalf of Earth. And S.W.O.R.D. is thrown right into the deep end of a planetary crisis as Krakoa battles the invading King in Black! Meanwhile, Abigail Brand prepares a deniable operation all her own. What is Protocol V — and can the Earth survive it? Then, walk a mile in the Manifold’s shoes as S.W.O.R.D.’s Quintician takes a journey across the universe — and comes face to face with a deadly enemy! And as the Quiet Council discuss the rules of murder on Krakoa, in space the killings have already begun…

COLLECTING: S.W.O.R.D. (2020) 1-6 

The Verdict

A much-needed balance of cosmic storytelling and Earth-based heroics, the new iteration of SWORD comes straight out of the events of Empyre and the new era of X-Men comics. The new team comes together to explore alien politics and protection against cosmic threats just in time for the arrival of Knull, and the balance of threats at home and off-world is highlighted when looking into the nation of Krakoa’s influence on the new SWROD program. Getting one-on-one interaction with characters like Brand and Manifold made this new series shine brightly. 

Guardians of the Galaxy by Al Ewing, Vol. 1: Then It’s Us

(Guardians of the Galaxy by Al Ewing #1)

by Al EwingJuann Cabal (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Once they were a team of misfits. Now they’re a family, and they’ve earned their peace. But the universe is not a peaceful place – and it’s only getting worse. The Great Empires are in turmoil. The rule of law is dead. And amid the chaos, the gods of Olympus have returned – harbingers of a new age of war, reborn to burn their mark on the stars themselves. Someone has to guard the galaxy – but who will accept the mission? And will they survive it?

Al Ewing (IMMORTAL HULK) and Juann Cabal (FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN) bring you in on the ground floor of a whole Marvel Universe of action and suspense!

COLLECTING: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2020) 1-5 

The Verdict

It wouldn’t be a Guardians series if there wasn’t some cosmic threat bearing down on the universe, and yet the foes thrown in their path are quite a shock to behold. From the introduction of a deadly pantheon of gods on the warpath throughout the galaxy to the shocking loss of a major character early on in the series and the introduction of not one but two new iterations of the Guardians make this series a true delight. The weight of loss hits them all hard, but the action and humor the team always brings to the table is enhanced by both members old and new and makes this new series a true must-read for all longtime Marvel fans. 

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Spider-Woman, Vol. 1: Bad Blood

(Spider-Woman (2020) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Karla PachecoPere Pérez (Art), Paulo Siqueira (Art), Jung-Geun Yoon (Cover Art)

The Synopsis

Spider-Woman is back, and she’s pulling no punches! But Jessica Drew hasn’t been feeling like herself lately. When the angry, irritable, and unwell Spider-Woman takes a simple security gig to help get back on her feet, she finds herself suddenly besieged by unknown forces out to destroy everything around her. What’s wrong with Jessica? Just how did she get this job? Who are these violent lunatics who keep trying to blow her up? What does her illness have to do with the daughter of her old nemesis Otto Vermis? And how does a shipment of black-market spiders fit in? Jessica Drew is fighting for her life while someone pulls her strings, in an explosive new adventure that takes Spider-Woman to new heights!

COLLECTING: SPIDER-WOMAN (2020) 1-5

The Verdict

I am a longtime fan of Jessica Drew, and her evolution in recent years has been great to see. The dark new road that she is forced to go down is both relatable and classic heroic storytelling at its best. Her decision to take on odd jobs to help pay for her child is something many can relate to, and yet her journey leads her to discover more haunting secrets of her past, as well as a haunting illness that threatens not only her but possibly her son as well. The further down the path she is forced to go down, the more chilling her evolution, which makes for some incredible storytelling for Jessica and her friends and allies. A must-read for longtime fans of Spider-Woman.

King in Black

(King in Black: Collected Editions)

by Donny CatesRyan Stegman (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Knull is coming, and when he arrives, everyone from the Avengers to the X-Men will learn just how unprepared they are to face off against the God of the Symbiotes. Everything in Cates and Stegman’s landmark run on VENOM has led up to this monumental story, and readers will finally witness Eddie Brock’s climatic standoff with one of Marvel’s most terrifying villains. 

The Verdict

The last couple of years’ worth of storytelling of Venom, aka Eddie Brock, have been some of Marvel’s strongest yet. The introduction of this cosmic god of the symbiotes was an inspired choice, and Knull has officially become one of Marvel’s most deadly foes in years. The shocking turn of events upon his arrival to Earth hits readers like a ton of bricks. The evolution of Eddie Brock and the introduction of a powerful new cosmic threat make this a must-read event for Marvel Comics. 

Atlantis Attacks

(Atlantis Attacks #1-5)

by Greg Pak (Goodreads Author), Ario Anindito (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

The armies of ATLANTIS face ATLAS in a showdown destined to shake allegiances and break hearts! AMADEUS CHO, SILK, WAVE, SHANG-CHI, and all the heroes of the Atlas have bonded with each other after the challenges of WAR OF THE REALMS. But when a terrible secret incurs the wrath of KING NAMOR, who’s the true friend — and who’s the true enemy? A titanic tale of love and betrayal, heroes and monsters, gods and underdogs — plus the shocking return of JIMMY WOO and the original AGENTS OF ATLAS!

COLLECTING: ATLANTIS ATTACKS (2020) 1-5

The Verdict

Namor proves once again why he is such a formidable foe in the Marvel Universe. With the weight of an entire kingdom at his back, the King of Atlantis showcases the terror of the sea against the forces of ATLAS. This team of heroes must not only contend with Namor but with a shady backer of their work, and the incredible artwork and focus on one of the most needed yet unexplored corners of the Marvel Universe makes this a truly fantastic book.

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Black Cat, Vol. 4: Queen in Black

(Black Cat by Jed Mackay #4)

by Jed Mackay

The Synopsis

Felicia Hardy is back for a classic game of cat and…symbiote? Knull’s attack on Earth interrupts the Black Cat’s latest heist, and if you know Felicia, you know that’s a problem. So the Cat and her crew aim to steal something of great value — both to Knull and to Earth’s hope of survival! But Felicia never shows up inappropriately dressed  — and a job like this requires a special kind of suit. You won’t believe it when the Black Cat gets her own Anti-Venom costume! Felicia Hardy returns to center stage in an action-packed adventure guest-starring the X-Men, Captain America and Doctor Strange! 

COLLECTING: Black Cat (2020) 1-5 

The Verdict

Felicia proves once again why she is one of Marvel’s best-underrated characters. Her balance of heroism and thievery makes her an instant hit with fans, while her command of heroism in the face of Knull’s arrival on Earth plunges her into a cosmic and magic adventure that puts her unique skills to the test. Running against Knull’s army alongside the likes of the Avengers and more of Earth’s heroes highlights the struggles of the everyday heroes in the face of this great cosmic foe. This is a must-read for any fans of Black Cat and the King in Black event. 

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