Comic Book Roundup #21

Superman: Red and Blue

The Synopsis

The Man of Steel Stars in DC’s New Superman: Red & Blue anthology mini-series!

In the spirit of DC’s iconic Eisner Award-winning Batman: Black & White anthology series, DC proudly announces Superman: Red & Blue, a new anthology mini-series presenting fresh new takes on the Man of Steel.

Around the world, everyone knows that when they see a red and blue streak in the sky, it’s not a bird…it’s not a plane…it’s Superman!

Academy Award-winning writer of DC Future State: The Next Batman John Ridley joins artist Clayton Henry (Batman/Superman) to tell a story of Clark Kent as he confronts a villain who still haunts him, in a story that shows what Superman can mean to a whole country.

Brandon Easton (DC Future State’s Mister Miracle) and Steve Lieber (Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen) take readers to the streets of Metropolis to show how one hero can mean so much to an individual in pain.

Writer/artist Wes Craig (Deadly Class) tells a tale of Superman’s early days and the man who inspired him to become the hero he is today!

Marguerite Bennett (DC Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman) and artist Jill Thompson (The Sandman, Black Orchid) give us a tale of teenage Clark Kent, while Dan Watters and Dani, the team behind Coffin Bound, bring us an outlandish fable about what happens when all colors are stolen!

This collection includes Superman Red & Blue #1-6

The Verdict

I absolutely loved this anthology series. The authors and artists who presented this wide range of different interpretations of the iconic hero did a great job of not only showing individuality and creativity with their work but of showcasing the unique characteristics that make Superman the hero that he is. The humanity that he shows through his heroics and his care for everyone, from the child being bullied on the playground to the inter-dimensional imp plaguing his world and beyond, is what makes Superman so great, and that heart shines through in these stories.

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Superman: Son of Kal-El Vol. 1: The Truth

The Synopsis 

A new Man of Steel for a new era! Jonathan Kent dons his father’s cape as the 21st century Superman in this new series, from the bestselling writer of DCeased and Injustice!

Jonathan Kent has experienced a lot in his young life. He’s fought evil with Robin, traveled across galaxies with his Kryptonian grandfather, and lived in the future with the Legion of Super-Heroes, who were intent on training him for the day his father could no longer be Superman.

There is a hole in the Legion’s history that prevents Jon from knowing exactly when that will happen, but all signs point to it being very soon. It’s time for the son to wear his father’s cape and continue the never-ending battle as a symbol of hope for his home planet.

But can Jon be Superman and still have a normal life? The son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane will learn the hard way as he heads to college and combats the dangers of the modern world.

Superstar writer Tom Taylor (DCeased, Injustice) teams with visionary artist John Timms (Future State: Superman of Metropolis) to tell the saga of the 21st century Superman!

This volume collects Superman: Son of Kal-El #1-6.

The Verdict

I loved this new direction for the Superman comics. After years of getting to see Clark Kent’s journey, watching him pass the baton of Earth’s protector to his son was such a brilliant move on DC’s part. The duality of Jon’s story was great to watch in this comic. Firstly, the journey to discovering his path as Superman, from living in his father’s shadow to trying to live up to the ideal the mantle has had for years, was really heartfelt to watch, as was his struggle once his father left on his galactic journey of his own. Yet it was introducing Jon’s exploration of his sexuality and showcasing a new type of Superman, as well as his new relationship, that made him an instant icon that I cannot wait to read more about. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend this comic series!

Teen Titans Academy, Vol. 1: X Marks His Spot

The Synopsis

The original New Teen Titans have reteamed and formed the Titans Academy to teach the next generation of superpowered teens …if the students can survive the training.

Nightwing, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Donna Troy are the teachers at the school and will pass along their knowledge to the young recruits looking to learn how to use their powers to reach their full potential.

Meet the student body – a new Australian Speedster who runs on prosthetics, a trio of Batman obsessed Goth kids from Gotham, a teen expatriate from Gorilla City and a kid who’s possibly the anti-Christ.

Plus, Billy Batson has enrolled to master his powers as Shazam!

But the big mystery is the which member of this first class is the mysterious Red X.

Fans of any era of the Teen Titans will love this new graphic novel collection that continues the legacy.

Collecting Teen Titans Academy #1-5, Suicide Squad #3, Teen Titans Academy Yearbook #1

The Verdict

I was so invested in this series. I’ve been a longtime fan of the Teen Titans, and this new direction showing the Titans becoming teachers and instructors gave serious Xavier Academy vibes from Marvel. The new class of heroes and the mysteries surrounding them were so engaging, and the return of some shocking characters, both heroes and villains alike, will have fans on the edge of their seats. Yet it is the tie into the Future State storyline teased previously about the apocalypse that had me hooked, as I’m interested to see if the heroes can prevent that horrible future from coming to life. The artwork perfectly contrasted the bright heroes and the dark and gritty future that they are fighting to avoid. A must-read! 

Batman: The Detective

The Synopsis

An epic tale begins that will take Batman on a harrowing, action-packed European adventure in a new miniseries by superstar creators Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert!

A horrific tragedy in the United Kingdom sends a very personal and deadly message to the Dark Knight–one that will draw Batman out of Gotham City to investigate! From the moment he lands in Europe, Batman will face a difficult investigation and unheard-of adversaries and find the assistance of a partner once more–all in the hunt for the villain known as Equilibrium! New villains! New allies! A thrilling overseas adventure begins for the Dark Knight!

As Batman’s pursuit goes on, the mystery around the organization known as Equilibrium deepens! Just who are these enigmatic villains, and why are they out to erase the Dark Knight’s legacy? And how does Henri Ducard play into all this–can this face from Bruce Wayne’s past be the key to it all?

Collects Batman: The Detective #1-6.

The Verdict

After getting so many adventures of Batman and his crusade in Gotham, getting to see Bruce Wayne and his influence as the caped crusader on a global scale was so engaging to read. The idea of confronting villains of our own making and the past catching up to us is always one of the most interesting story devices in comic books, and this gritty story does a great job of blending the international mystery genre with murder mysteries. A definite must-read! 

Batman: Reptilian

The Synopsis

What strikes fear into the hearts of those who terrorize Gotham? It used to be Batman, but something far more frightening stalks the shadows-and it’s after Gotham’s villains, leaving a trail of carnage through the underworld. Now, with Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, and many more left bloodied and broken in its wake, Batman opens the case on this mysterious reptilian menace and finds himself vexed by one very important question: What on Earth is it? Collects Batman: Reptilian #1-6.

The Verdict

One of the strangest, most bizarre Batman series to date, and yet I loved it. A very dark, grittier version of the dark knight than we know, the story is a great juxtaposition of the almost animalistic nature of the crime itself, as well as the ruthless nature that Batman himself can go to if he allowed himself to stop caring altogether. If Batman were to become a creature feature, this would be that story! A brilliant departure from the typical Batman lore, and the almost abstract horror artwork style really kept the reader invested. 

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Mister Miracle

The Synopsis

No prison can hold him. No trap can contain him. He is Scott Free, the worldwide celebrity sensation known as Mister Miracle, and he is the greatest escape artist who ever lived. But can he pull off the ultimate trick–and escape death itself?

Something has gone horribly wrong with the perfect life that Scott and his wife Big Barda have made for themselves on Earth. With war raging between their homeworlds of Apokolips and New Genesis, Scott’s cruel adoptive father, Darkseid, seems to have finally found the Anti-Life Equation–the weapon that will give him total victory.

As the mountains of bodies on both sides grow ever higher, only Mister Miracle can stop the slaughter and restore peace. But the terrible power of the Anti-Life Equation may already be at work in his own mind, warping his reality and shattering the fragile happiness he’s found with the woman he loves.

Is death the trap that’s been waiting for him all along? Or is it life itself? And what price will Scott Free have to pay to learn the answer?

Eisner Award winners Tom King and Mitch Gerads present a bold new vision of one of Jack Kirby’s greatest creations with Mister Miracle–powerful, intimate and utterly unique, this modern comics classic will challenge everything you know about super-heroism!

Collects Mister Miracle #1-12.

The Verdict

I loved this series! The exploration of Mister Miracle as a person and his family life with Big Barda was amazing to behold, and the way that family life mirrored the ruthless nature of Apocalypse and the relentless war between Apocalypse and New Genesis was so fascinating to read. The writing style very much reminded me of another recent run of DC Comics graphic novel, Strange Adventures. The grim war that delves into the complex dynamics of Scott Free and his role in the battle against Darkseid is an incredible story to delve into. A definite must-read!

Justice League Infinity

The Synopsis

Return to the world of the beloved Justice League Unlimited animated series with all-new comic book adventures!

From the producer of Justice League Unlimited James Tucker and animated series writer J.M. DeMatteis comes all-new adventures starring the World’s Greatest Heroes!

There is a being wandering the universe searching for its true purpose, but what it finds out one the furthest edges of the cosmos will change not just our universe, but multiple universes! Across the globe, people begin disappearing, replaced with different but similar individuals. So where is Superman and who is his evil counterpart–the monstrous Overman?

In order to get to the bottom of what’s happening, the Justice League will need to first take down the new villain! And what horrors are revealed in the twisted mirror room?!

In the tradition of Batman: The Adventures Continue, this series returns to the world of the fan-favorite Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series, presenting fresh stories starring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter!

This volume collects Justice League Infinity #1-7.

The Verdict

As a longtime fan of the original Batman, Superman, and Justice League animated series universe, I was so happy to see this comic book series coming to life. Finally introducing the multiverse concept to this animated series was an inspired choice, introducing everything from the Vandal Savage-led Nazi world housing a Nazi-version of Superman, a world in which Darkseid married a certain Amazonian hero, and so much more. The artwork matched the original animation perfectly, and the rich story expanded the already engaging world that the shows had already left behind, leaving me wanting a new animated series to pick up where this comic series leaves off. A must-read for longtime JLU fans! 

Dark Ages

The Synopsis

This is what the Watcher has been watching for. A danger older than the Earth threatens everything. And for once, the heroes who have saved the planet time and again find themselves almost completely powerless in the face of it. X-Men and Avengers will assemble. Spider-people and the Fantastic Four will come together. Heroes for Hire will fight alongside Champions. But none of it will be enough. The lights are about to go out. The world outside our window…is about to end. Nothing can prepare you for an all-new saga of the Marvel Universe as you’ve never seen it before — from acclaimed talents Tom Taylor and Iban Coello!

COLLECTING: Dark Ages (2021) 1-6

The Verdict

This was such a brilliant dystopian What If…? series from Marvel. The exploration of a Marvel universe without power or electricity was an inspired choice, given how high-tech the Marvel universe and its heroes has always been. The devastation and loss from the initial event drives home the dangerous world the heroes have inherited, and the cast of villains who band together in the wake of this event will have Marvel fans eager to see how the heroes will respond. The modern artwork brings the deadly world to life in a visceral way, and with everyone at risk and no one safe, this is one series fans won’t want to miss. A definite must-read for Marvel fans!

Strange Academy: First Class

The Synopsis

The Marvel Universe’s first school for sorcerers throws open its doors! The world has mysteriously changed in such an alarming way that Doctor Strange has finally done what he has avoided for decades – established an academy for the Mystic Arts! Young people from around the world with an aptitude for magic are brought together in New Orleans to study under Stephen Strange, Brother Voodoo, the Ancient One, the Scarlet Witch, Magik, Daimon Hellstrom and all your favorite Marvel mages. But with so many new and deadly magical menaces lurking out there, is the Academy too little too late?! School’s in session – and it’s going to be spellbinding!

COLLECTING: STRANGE ACADEMY (2020) 1-6

The Verdict

With magic has always been such a prominent component of the Marvel universe, the exploration of the next generation of Marvel magic wielders was an inspired choice for a brand new series. Having an academy opened by Doctor Strange but featuring other prominent magic users such as Doctor Voodoo and others was such a nice touch. Each new student’s backstory and history are so engaging, and I love the story explored through Doyle, the son of Dormammu, who is plagued by nightmares of the role he has been told he will play in the future prophecy involving his father’s grand designs. It was a fun, creative, and world-expanding series! 

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Champions, Vol. 1: Outlawed

The Synopsis

In the wake of a devastating tragedy, the United States passes a law outlawing teenage super heroes! The crackdown has begun, and the lives of Marvel’s next generation will never be the same again. This new law goes against everything that Ms. Marvel, Nova and Spider-Man founded the Champions for…and they know that the world still needs heroes. They won’t go down without a fight! But as a group of teen vigilantes gathers to plan their next move, the task force called CRADLE is hot on their trail – and there’s a spy in their midst! As protests break out across Chicago, the Champions risk their freedom to restore order – but why has Chicago’s hometown hero Ironheart abandoned the Champions?

COLLECTING: OUTLAWED (2020) 1, CHAMPIONS (2020) 1-5

The Verdict

This was such a fascinating and engaging series. The Champions have quickly become a fan favorite new teen superhero team, and the complex nature of their dynamics has made them a much sought-after hero group. The exploration of the themes this story introduces mirror past stories like Civil War and Civil War II, but add a unique twist. The idea of teen or children superheroes has always been complex, given their age and the understanding of the consequences of their actions. Yet the other side of the coin is the exploration of their rights and the need to address these teens in a non-confrontational way and to ensure they share the same rights as adults, making this such a complex storyline that I loved delving into. Mix that with bright artwork and action-packed storylines and you have a must-read series!

Magnificent Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: Destined

The Synopsis

Ms. Marvel is back – and she’s magnificent! But there’s no such thing as business as usual in Jersey City. Aliens are wreaking havoc in Kamala’s corner of the world, and they seem weirdly interested in Ms. Marvel…and her family! Kamala is about to face a devastating loss – but with an alien invasion ravaging her neighborhood, she’s not going to have much time to grieve. Even if Kamala saves her hometown, will her life ever be the same? And what’s all this business about a “Chosen One”? Eisner Award-winner Saladin Ahmed (BLACK BOLT, EXILES) and rising star Minkyu Jung take the reins of one of Marvel’s most beloved new characters, with the shocking start of an all-new era!

COLLECTING: MAGNIFICENT MS. MARVEL #1-6

The Verdict

The exploration of Kamala’s home life and her connection to her parents has never been stronger than in this series. The galactic nature of the beginning of her journey, as well as the emotional aspects of her journey of learning of a devastating health crisis amongst her family, kept the story both grounded and out of this world (pun intended). The culture and importance of Kamala Khan’s heroics have never been needed more, and the warm artwork reflects that perfectly in the story. A definite must-read!

House of X/Powers of X

The Synopsis

Mutants are the future, and the future begins now! Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (INFINITY, SECRET WARS) takes the reigns of the X-Men universe with artists Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva to change the way you look at every X-Men story. HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X intertwine to reveal the secret past, present, future, and far future of Mutantkind! It all starts when Charles Xavier reveals his new masterplan for Mutantkind, one that will bring mutants out of the shadow of humanity and into the light.

COLLECTING: House of X 1-6, Powers of X 1-6

The Verdict

I am in love with the new direction the X-Men side of Marvel is taking. The establishment of a successful nation of mutants, as well as the secret history of Moira MacTaggart as a mutant herself, were too amazing to read. The alternating timelines gave a brilliant glimpse into the past, present, and future of mutant-kind, and showed both the highs and lows of life where mutants could finally feel free and equal. Seeing mutants who became enemies long ago coming together was such an intriguing idea, and seeing the Marvel universe’s reactions to this new power rising in the world was so brilliantly captured. A definite must-read for longtime mutant and Marvel fans! 

Deadpool by Skottie Young, Vol. 1: Mercin’ Hard for the Money

The Synopsis

Deadpool is back to mercin’ for a living! It’s been a while since Wade Wilson has struggled to make ends meet, but things are tough all over. While Deadpool tries to get his humble mercenary-for-hire business back off the ground, a catastrophic threat so unfathomably huge – so mind-breakingly cataclysmic that it defies description – is heading toward Earth, and there’s only one person who can stop it! Oh no, wait…it’s not Deadpool, is it? Oh, %$@#. It’s Deadpool. Good thing he has a plan. But what happens when things take a turn for the weird – Weirdworld, that is? Find out as Wade ventures into a realm of monsters, sorceresses, Man-Things…and romance? Is this part of the plan?! Hop back on board the Deadpool train as Skottie Young and Nic Klein reinvent the Merc with a Mouth!

COLLECTING: DEADPOOL (2018) 1-6

The Verdict

This was a truly incredible and masterful story to bring readers back into the twisted mind of Deadpool. Getting back to basics and showcasing the merc’s return as a…well, as a merc, was great to read. Being able to read the Avenger’s connection to his arc and how he views their dialogue and interactions was great to see, as was the use of Negasonic Teenage Warhead as his intern of sorts. The action and hilarious storylines were well developed, as were the character’s typical fourth-wall-breaking quips. An iconic yet still fan favorite must-read series! 

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Marvel Zombies

The Synopsis

On an Earth shockingly similar to the Marvel Universe’s, an alien virus has mutated all of the world’s greatest super heroes into flesh-eating monsters! It took them only hours to destroy life as we know it – but what happens when they run out of humans to eat?

The Verdict

Throwing this back to an iconic and beloved What If…? series, as a longtime horror fan, this was the perfect Marvel comic series for me. The grim and horrific nature of the Marvel universe in this series shows the depth of horror that the heroes sink into when this virus corrupts them completely. The brutality and violence that overcomes them highlight not only the scare factor this series bring but just how powerful of a threat the heroes could be if they were to ever be turned, showing the dark side of heroism in the Marvel universe. A definite must-read for any Marvel Comics fan!

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