Tag Archives: comic book reviews

Weekly Comic Book Roundup 22

Deathstroke Inc. Vol. 1 HC

(Deathstroke Inc. #1-7)

by Joshua WilliamsonHoward Porter (Artist), Paolo Pantalena (Artist), Stephen Segovia (Artist), Trevor Hairsine (Artist), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colorist), Rain Beredo (Colorist), Steve Wands (Goodreads Author) (Letterer)

The Synopsis

DC’s deadliest assassin gets a major upgrade, a new mission, and a new partner…Black Canary? Slade Wilson joins a secret organization to take down the biggest villain!

After suffering too many losses, Slade Wilson decides it’s time for a change. When he’s enlisted to work with an ages-old secret organization called T.R.U.S.T. who want to take down the heavy-hitter villains, he’s all in. They’ll supply him with an all-new team and resources for his new mission into the depths of the weirdest parts of the DCU, including a new partner…Black Canary! Wait what?!

What kind of missions does T.R.U.S.T. have in mind for Slade? How about heading into deep space and stop Cyborg Superman from spreading his consciousness to every machine in the Multiverse! But as they battle the dangers of space, Black Canary begins to uncover the truth about T.R.U.S.T and exactly why they want to control Deathstroke… Maybe T.R.U.S.T. isn’t so trustworthy after all.

This volume collects Deathstroke Inc. #1-7 and a story from Batman: Urban Legends #6.

The Verdict

The clash of different personalities in this unique new team makes added depth to the new direction that the writers are taking Deathstroke as a character. The exploration of Slade as a person and how he defines himself really did a great job of showcasing the fight for his own identity. The determination and ruthless nature of his fighting skills paired well with Black Canary’s own skills, and yet the clash of her optimism and morality with his “do whatever needs to be done” mindset made for such an interesting character dynamic between them. A definite must-read for longtime Deathstroke fans, and a fresh new direction in the DC Universe.

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The Swamp Thing, Volume 1: Becoming

(The Swamp Thing (2021) #1-4)

by Ram V.Mike Perkins (Illustrator), Mike Spicer (Color Artist), June Chung (Color Artist), Aditya Bidikar (Letterer)

The Synopsis

Swamp Thing returns in a new series that stars Levi Kamei as the next Guardian of the Green!

Unable to control his transformation into the monstrous Swamp Thing, Levi is thrust into the harsh, unforgiving mystery of grisly murders committed by a supernatural desert legend. Levi must revisit past events in his homeland of India and face the deadly reality of a ravenous new villain in order to comprehend what he is truly, and horrifyingly, becoming. A new era of global action and horror blossoms here, and Swamp Thing will be at the root of it!

Collects Future State: Swamp Thing #1-2 and Swamp Thing #1-4 

The Verdict

I love this new direction for the iconic DC Comics character. Levi is a heartwarming and heartbreaking new host for the Avatar of the Green, and the artwork and narrative do an excellent job of highlighting both Levi’s unique culture and backstory with the horror and gritty reality of Swamp Thing titles throughout the company’s history. The juxtaposition of the harsh desert landscape introduced in the early chapters of this new series with the beauty of the Green was great to see on the page, and having Levi as the new host allows readers to get new glimpses into the mythos surrounding the Green itself. A definite must-read for longtime Swamp Thing fans. 

Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Give Peace a Chance

(Suicide Squad (2021) (Single Issues) #1-6)

by Robbie ThompsonEduardo Pansica (Illustrator), Julio Ferreira (Illustrator), Dexter Soy (Illustrator), Joe Prado (Illustrator), Marcelo Maiolo (Color Artist), Alex Sinclair (Color Artist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)

The Synopsis

The Suicide Squad enters a brand-new era as they encounter fresh foes and threats at every turn!

All hell breaks loose for the squad! With all new do-badders they don’t only have to worry about surviving their next mission…they have to survive each other! This volume collects the most daring tales of the antiheroes as the DC Universe spins out in the aftermath of Future State!

Collecting Future State: Suicide Squad #1-2 and Suicide Squad #1-6.

The Verdict

As a longtime fan of the Suicide Squad titles, I loved this new direction the team and series are taking. The new concepts introduced with these new characters and members of the squad were fantastic to see, and the mysteries were so intriguing to dive into. From Amanda Waller’s powerful new endgame to the divide between her and Rick Flagg and the way Waller was able to gain control of Superboy all drove this new team led by the new fan-favorite character Peacemaker. The bright and intense artwork really kept me invested in this story as it evolved, and the chemistry of this new team was unique enough to make the title feel fresh and alive on the page. A must-read new direction for the squad!

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Future State: Gotham Vol. 1

(Future State: Gotham #1-7)

by Joshua WilliamsonDennis Culver (Goodreads Author), Giannis Milonogiannis (Illustrator), Nikola Cizmesija (Illustrator), Troy Peteri (Letterer)

The Synopsis

The event that was DC Future State continues in this graphic novel collection starring the Red Hood and the entire Bat-Family.

Disaster strikes Gotham City, and all evidence points to the Next Batman! Red Hood must choose justice over his family and allies when the corrupt Magistrate enlists him to bring in the new Batman dead or alive! Featuring the entire cast from the popular Future State Batman titles, this story line kicks off the next chapter in this forbidding world of tomorrow, and does so in brilliant, monochromatic storytelling! This black-and-white collection will showcase the brutal world that’s around the corner in Future State Gotham!

Includes stories from Future State: Dark Detective #2 and #4, plus Future State: Gotham #1–7. 

The Verdict

As the present-day DC Universe attempts to curtail some of the darker futures seen during the Future State event, this title takes readers back into the grim world of Gotham’s Future State, following Jason Todd when he is once again alone and separated from his Bat family. As he works to protect Gotham from the threats looming over them, the powerful hand of the Magistrate he now works for threatens the freedoms and lives of both heroes and villains alike. The gritty future the story depicts reflects beautifully in the black and white artwork that brings these futuristic versions of iconic characters to life. A great title in DC’s Future State line.

Harley Quinn Black + White + Red

(Harley Quinn Black + White + Red #1-14)

The Synopsis

Harvey Award nominated and one of the crown jewels of the DC library is the inimitable BATMAN: BLACK & WHITE – innovative short tales of the Caped Crusader, told purely in primal black and white ink. Unfortunately, now Harley Quinn wants in on the action…and she’s got her red pen, and some NOTES.

For the first time in print, 19 short tales of Gotham City’s craziest clown princess are presented in nothing but black, white, and bold splashes of red. See how Harley’s story unfolds in worlds beyond the DC Universe, in the alternate timelines of Batman: White Knight, Harleen, and the Harley Quinn animated series! Witness her darkest hours and her happiest moments! Behold a-wait a second, did she just…win an underground rap battle?!

An incredible array of talent from across the comics industry have put their reputations in jeopardy to bring you these stories. So show a little gratitude, will ya?

This volume collects Harley Quinn Black + White + Red Digital Chapters #1-17 in print for the first time-along with two all-new, never-before seen stories by writer David Mandel (Veep) and artist Adam Hughes; and Harley’s co-creator, writer Paul Dini, with legendary Batman: The Animated Series artist Kevin Altieri!

Collects Harley Quinn Black + White + Red 1-19

The Verdict

While there are so many authors and artists in this collection it would be impossible to stop and name them all, each one of these amazing creators did an incredible job of crafting unique moments in Harley Quinn’s history and bringing them to life on the page. The action, humor, and special connection Harley has to the greater DC Universe are felt profoundly in these stories, and the titles each reflect a different side of Harley’s personality and mindset that makes her character so unique. The short story/anthology aspect of this collection makes for such an entertaining and captivating new direction for this fan-favorite character. A definite must-read for Harley Quinn fans!

Crush and Lobo

(Crush & Lobo #1-8)

by Mariko TamakiAmancay Nahuelpan (Illustrator), Tamra Bonvillain (Color Artist), Nick Filardi (Color Artist), Ariana Maher (Letterer)

The Synopsis

The thrilling and chaotic fan-favorite miniseries from Detective Comics dream team Mariko Tamaki and Amancay Nahuelpan collected for the first time! In case anyone was wondering, Crush is doing just fine, actually. Sure, she effectively quit being a Teen Titan. And okay, her relationship with her girlfriend, Katie, is kind of on the rocks, if you want to get all technical about it. Oh, and she recently found out her dad, Lobo, is in space jail. But that’s cool, because he’s the worst. Okay, so maybe Crush has some stuff. But that doesn’t mean she’s gonna do anything

Collects Crush and Lobo #1-8 

The Verdict

I loved this title, as it gave the classic insanity and madness that Lobo is known for, while also doing an excellent job of diving more into the mindset and backstory of his daughter and new fan-favorite Titan character, Crush. The LGBTQ romance storyline that weaves so naturally into her interstellar adventure to confront her father makes this story so engaging, and the gritty conflict between father and daughter promises to keep the DC Universe more dangerous and zanier than anyone would ever imagine. A brilliant title in DC’s new lineup. 

X-Corp by Tini Howard, Vol. 1

(X-Corp #1-5)

by Tini HowardAlberto Foche (Illustrator), Valentine De Landro (Illustrator), Sunny Gho (Color Artist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Jason Loo

The Synopsis

Krakoa is for closers! The deals have been made. Mutantkind is safe on its new island nation. As the Reign of X continues, what are the wants of the mutants who have everything? Leading the charge is X-Corporation, headed by CXOs Monet St. Croix and Warren Worthington — a duo as cutthroat and ruthless in the boardroom as they are on the battlefield. But X-Corp needs more than just its figureheads. And as Monet sets out to staff their team with some of the brightest and most devious mutant minds available, Warren finds himself in a tense meeting with one of Krakoa’s first allies, who wants to know the truth: on Angel’s wings, will X-Corp crash or soar?

COLLECTING: X-Corp (2021) 1-5

The Verdict

The development of Marvel’s new age of mutants as the nation of Krakoa came to be formed has been the comic book publisher’s crowning achievement in the current Marvel Multiverse. The exploration of the nation’s various teams and assets has been so fun to read, and this comic was no different. The blend of business meets corporate espionage was a welcome new addition to the mutant’s evolving storyline in the Marvel Universe, and the chaos that erupts from both Monet’s cutthroat moves and Warren’s brilliant mind for business relationships adds both action and depth to the growing story that is Krakoa. 

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X-Men: X of Swords

(X-Men: X of Swords #1-22)

by Jonathan HickmanGerry Duggan (Goodreads Author), Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author), Tini HowardLeah Williams (Goodreads Author), Vita Ayala (Goodreads Author), Zeb WellsEd BrissonLeinil Francis Yu (Illustrations), Matteo Lolli (Illustrations), Joshua Cassara (Illustrations), Pepe Larraz (Illustrations), Carlos Gómez (Illustrations), Viktor Bogdanovic (Illustrations), Carmen Carnero (Illustrations), Rod Reis (Illustrations), Phil Noto (Illustrations), R.B. Silva (Illustrations), Mahmud Asrar (Illustrations), Stefano Caselli (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

A tower. A mission. A gathering of armies. Swords will be drawn in the first epic crossover of the astonishing Dawn of X! Wolverine, the X-Men, Cable, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, the New Mutants, the Marauders, the Hellions and the rest of Krakoa’s residents will all feel the effects — but which ten mutants will wield the blades? Weapons both new and familiar are drawn from their scabbards as the X-Men prepare to do mythic battle against a truly daunting foe! Jonathan Hickman and his fellow visionary creators — who have painstakingly put all the pieces into place during Dawn of X — join forces to smash the board!

Collects: X of Swords: Creation (2020) #1, X of Swords: Stasis (2020) #1, X of Swords: Destruction (2020) #1, X-Men (2019) #12-15, Excalibur (2019) #13-15, Marauders (2019) #13-15, X-Force (2019) #13-14, New Mutants (2019) #13, Wolverine (2020) #6-7, Cable (2020) #5-6, Hellions (2020) #5-6, X-Factor (2020) #4.

The Verdict

This was one of Marvel’s best X-Men crossover series in recent years. The exploration of Apocalypse’s history and the war-driven world of Arakko was such a brilliant new direction to take the mutants now that they are formed into their own nation. The multi-world tournament showcases the brutal history of the mutants and the fight for survival that so many have had to face over the years. The action, mythos, and world-building took the mutants to all new heights, and the shocking conclusion will see one major change to one of the nation’s most vital mutants. A Must-read!  

Hellions, Vol. 1

(Hellions (2020) #1)

by Zeb WellsStephen Segovia (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Bad is the new good! When the new nation of Krakoa opened its doors to all mutants and forgave all past crimes, its leaders knew that they’d have to accept some of their worst foes into the fold…but they didn’t plan for what to do with them. Not to worry – Mister Sinister has plans for the troublemakers. Meet his new Hellions: Scalphunter, Wild Child, Empath, Nanny, Orphan-Maker, Psylocke…and Havok?! Under Sinister’s direction, they are sure to become productive members of mutant society…and the new mutant team that you’re going to hate to love! Though right now the Hellions can barely keep from killing one another, let alone find a way to fit into Krakoan society. Of course, that might be just what Mister Sinister is counting on when he sends them to clean up his messes…

COLLECTING: HELLIONS (2020) 1-4 

The Verdict

The Marvel Universe’s answer to the DC Comics team Suicide Squad just got another contender with a mutant twist! The twisted and chilling nature of some of Marvel’s deadliest and most damaged mutants leads one team to form in an attempt to find a place for these misfits in their nation before they are forced into Krakoa’s prison deep in the bowels of the island. Between Psylocke’s morality and Sinister’s devious nature keeping the team torn in two, and the emotional exploration of each team member’s unique psyche, this was a brilliant new direction for Marvel’s mutant nation. 

New Mutants by Jonathan Hickman, Vol. 1

(New Mutants (2019) #1)

by Jonathan HickmanRod Reis (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

The new generation claims the dawn! The classic New Mutants — Sunspot, Wolfsbane, Mirage, Karma, Magik and Cypher — get together with new friends Chamber and Mondo for a new mission…tracking down their teammate Cannonball! Hitching a ride into outer space with the Starjammers, the New Mutants soon find themselves in trouble and on trial for crimes against the Shi’ar Empire! But when Deathbird returns and throws the Empire into turmoil, the New Mutants’ happy reunion soon becomes a complicated struggle for galactic freedom! Who will claim the Shi’ar throne? It’s a star-spanning adventure from the mind of X-visionary Jonathan Hickman!

COLLECTING: NEW MUTANTS (2019) #1-2, 5, 7 

The Verdict

Marvel’s next generation of mutant heroes finally reunites on the island nation of Krakoa just in time for a space-faring adventure. The unique stories told in this narrative showcase the New Mutants unique chemistry together, and the writers find a great balance of intimate character growth for several characters, (Wolfsbane, Mirage, and Magik to name a few), and space-shattering action. A truly brilliant story.

X-Force, Vol. 1

(X-Force (2019) #1)

by Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author), Joshua Cassara (Illustrator), Stephen Segovia (Illustrator), Dean White (Colorist), GURU-eFX (Colorist)

The Synopsis

X-Force is the CIA of the mutant world–one half intelligence branch, one half special ops. Beat, Jean Grey and Sage are on one side. In a perfect world, there would be no need for an X-Force. We’re not there…yet.

COLLECTING: X-FORCE (2019) 1-6

The Verdict

The black-ops team of the Marvel Mutants was a brilliant addition to the nation of Krakoa. The cold, calculating mind of team leader Beast showcases the evolution that some of Marvel’s OG mutants have undergone. Jean’s morality clashes with Hank often, and Wolverine’s clash with Kid Omega on the ground makes for both humorous and bloody action scenes. The introduction of this secret society of mutant-hating powerful humans makes for a great foil and need for X-Force. 

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Marauders, Vol. 1

(Marauders (2019) #1)

by Gerry Duggan (Goodreads Author), Matteo Lolli (Illustrator), Michele Bandini (Illustrator), Lucas Werneck (Illustrator), Mario Del Pennino (Illustrator), Federico Blee (Colorist), Erick Arciniega (Colorist)

The Synopsis

Ahoy, muties – the X-Men sail at dawn! Mutantkind has begun a glorious new era on Krakoa, but some nations’ human authorities are preventing mutants from escaping to this new homeland. Which is where Captain Kate Pryde and her high-seas allies come in! Funded by Emma Frost and the Hellfire Trading Company, Kate and her crew of Storm, Pyro, Bishop and Iceman sail the seven seas to liberate their fellow mutants – as the Marauders! But the real cutthroats are back home in the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle, where Sebastian Shaw has recruited a new Black Bishop to aid in his machinations against the Club’s two queens. As tensions rise, Kate’s crew finds itself caught in the dead center of the Battle of Madripoor! Can the Marauders avoid being made to walk the plank?

COLLECTING: MARAUDERS #1-6 

The Verdict

Kate Pryde shines brightly in this new series. The comic does an excellent job of diving into the black market work and missionary work that Krakoa undertakes to protect mutants and help their allies around the world. The intricacy of the Hellfire Trading Company and Emma Frost’s manipulations to secure her seat of power lead to some great tension with Sebastian Shaw, and the story also highlights some of the sexism that exists in Shaw as he tries to assert his dominance in the company. Yet it was Kate’s humor and heart that shone the brightest, as she fought to find the answer to her inability to resurrect herself on Krakoa. A truly beautiful comic series for the mutant nation. 

DC Pride 2022 Review

DC Comics returns for their second annual collection of heroes, villains, and everyone in between celebrating all things Pride related in the graphic novel “DC Pride 2022”.

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The Synopsis

DC’s 2022 celebration kicks off with more stories, more characters, and more pride than ever before! The DC Pride 2022 creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, include:

• Alysia Yeoh and Batgirl by Jadzia Axelrod and Lynne Yoshii

• Aquaman (Jackson Hyde) by Alyssa Wong and W. Scott Forbes

• Green Lantern (Jo Mullein) by Tini Howard and Evan Cagle

• Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy by Dani Fernandez and Zoe Thorogood

• The Ray by Greg Lockard and Giulio Macaione

• Superman (Jon Kent) by Devin Grayson and Nick Robles

• Tim Drake by Travis G. Moore

• A Multiversity: Teen Justice kickoff story spotlighting Kid Quick and written by the miniseries team, Danny Lore and Ivan Cohen!

• An introduction by activist, actress, and real-life superhero Nicole Maines that will include a teaser for her upcoming Dreamer project!

• Pinups by P. Craig Russell, J.J. Kirby, and more!

The Review

Just because the month of June has come and gone doesn’t mean all things Pride must come to an end. Pride is a year-long celebration here on Author Anthony Avina’s Blog, and I had to share this special review of DC’s Pride Anthology. The wonderful array of varying artwork and designs reflected the beautiful collection of writers who brought these powerful and shining heroes to life on the pages of this collection. The inclusion of newly revealed heroes like Jonathan Kent’s Superman and Tim Drake’s Robin as LGBTQ+ heroes was a welcome addition to the roster of characters this collection housed. I loved the action and connectivity to the larger DC Universe within these stories as well.

I absolutely adored the sheer volume of representation these stories and characters had. From Asexual and Bisexual heroes sharing what it means to truly be themselves, to powerful Trans heroes expressing the ever-expansive understanding our culture is starting to understand of the gender identities we all have, this collection had it all. As a special note, I was absolutely floored by actress, activist, and newly revealed writer Nicole Maines with her powerful introduction to this year’s Pride anthology. I’ve been a fan of hers since her introduction to Supergirl as Dreamer, and her honesty, strength, beauty, and sheer talent all shined through so brightly in this collection’s introduction. She is such an inspiration and I cannot wait to read Dreamer’s upcoming series.

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The Verdict

Heartfelt, emotional, and captivating, DC Comic’s “DC Pride 2022” is a must-read LGBTQ+ driven comic book anthology and one of my top reads of 2022. The bright and inspiring artwork blended well with the uplifting, romantic, and heartening stories the authors told through these amazing characters across the DC Multiverse and beyond. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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!

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #20

Justice League: Last Ride

by Chip ZdarskyMiguel Mendonça (Illustrator)

The Synopsis 

Once the most powerful group in the world, the Justice League was destroyed by tragedy and time, disbanding under a veil of mistrust and anger. Now, on the eve of the universe’s greatest murder trial, the League must come together one last time.

Can Superman and Batman bury the past before the cosmos’ greatest villains bury them? Learn the shocking truth about why the World’s Greatest Super Heroes disbanded in this unforgettable story by writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Miguel Mendonça!

Includes Justice League: Last Ride #1-7

The Verdict

The great divide between longtime allies and friends Superman and Batman is finally explored. The cosmic adventure sees Batman’s inner turmoil and struggles with the knowledge of the sacrifice he knew had to be made come to the surface as he clashes with Superman, whose sense of hope makes him bitter towards Batman for sacrificing a friend of theirs in the struggle against Darkseid. The drama within the fractured team and the almost apocalyptic nature of the cosmic threat facing them all make this such a brilliant story, and I highly recommend it.

Batman: Urban Legends, Vol. 1

(Batman: Urban Legends #1)

by Ben Abernathy (Editor – Series & Collected Ed), Jessica Chen (Editor – Original Series), Dave Wielgosz (Editor – Original Series), Matthew RosenbergChip ZdarskyEddy Barrows (Artist), Ryan Benjamin (Artist), Jesús Merino (Artist, Inker), Marcus To (Artist, Inker), Oclair Albert (Inker), Eber Ferreira (Inker), Julio Ferreira (Inker), Diogenes Neves (Inker), Antonio Fabela (Colorist), Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Jordie Bellaire (Goodreads Author) (Cover Artist), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Cover Artist), David Finch (Cover Artist), Hicham Habchi – Pyroow (Cover Artist), Klaus Janson (Cover Artist), Annette Kwok (Cover Artist), Danny Miki (Cover Artist), Jorge Molina (Cover Artist), John Romita Jr. (Cover Artist), Alejandro Sánchez (Cover Artist), Nicola Scott (Cover Artist)

The Synopsis

Two of Gotham City’s edgiest heroes, Red Hood and Grifter, cross paths with Batman himself in this collection of stories from the new anthology series Batman: Urban Legends.

Two top comics writers, Matthew Rosenberg and Chip Zdarsky, enter the world of Gotham City with new tales of Batman, Red Hood, and Grifter in the first volume collecting stories from the thrilling new anthology series Batman: Urban Legends.

First, writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Eddy Barrows chronicle Red Hood’s investigation of a new drug in Gotham City called Cheerdrops. But this night will NOT go as planned–and as a result, he will end up back in Batman’s crosshairs!

Then, writer Matthew Rosenberg joins forces with artist Ryan Benjamin for a new tale of Cole Cash–better known as Grifter. Picking up story points from recent Batman issues, readers will learn why Cole is in Gotham to begin with. Plus, discover the truth about the mysterious organization known as HALO, and witness round two of Batman versus Grifter.

This title collects stories from Batman: Urban Legends #1-6. 

The Verdict

This gripping look into the many facets of Gotham City and its heroes, antiheroes, and villains is truly remarkable. The varying artwork styles and writing overall were a great way to introduce an anthology series into the DC Comics world, and the world of Batman and the Bat-Family is the perfect vehicle to launch this type of storytelling. The stories also seem to showcase the impact not only Batman has on everyone around him, but how he and the rest of the Bat-Family connect with one another, for better or for worst. The action and depth of character that Gotham takes on personally make it such a rich playground to explore, and the amazing cast of writers and artists did a phenomenal job of fleshing these characters out.

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Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey: The Hunt for Harley

(Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey: The Hunt for Harley #1-4)

by Amanda Conner (Author/Illustrator), Jimmy PalmiottiChad Hardin (Illustrator), Alex Sinclair (Color Artist), Paul Mounts (Color Artist), Enrica Erin Angiolini (Color Artist), John J. Hill (Letterer), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)

The Synopsis

Harley Quinn has avoided Gotham City ever since she broke up with The Joker — she found a home, and a kind of family, in Coney Island. But when she gets an offer she can’t refuse, she has no choice but to slip back into the city as quietly and quickly as she can, before anyone — especially her ex — learns she’s been there. But for Harley, as quietly as she can is plenty loud…and before she can say Holee bounty hunters, Batman, The Joker’s sicced every super-villain in the city on her pretty ombre head! And she only has one hope — it’s the only team tough enough (or crazy enough) to come to her defence — The Birds of Prey! 

The Verdict

One of the things that makes Harley Quinn such a fan-favorite character is her ability to balance humor and her surreal view of the world with the allies who get caught in her crosshairs. This story takes that all into consideration in the best way as the antihero finds herself confronting her past, facing the Joker, and deciding to take from him what he took from her and then some. Her reluctant allies prove that no matter how annoying or trouble she may bring, Harley has a quality about her that draws people in to help, and the Birds of Prey pull this narrative out so expertly. The wit and bright artwork are the perfect pairings to make this story shine so brightly.

Suicide Squad: Bad Blood

(Suicide Squad (2019) #1-11)

by Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Bruno Redondo (Illustrator), Daniel Sampere (Illustrator), Juan Albarrán (Illustrator), Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)

The Synopsis

The Suicide Squad are back, and deadlier than ever! The fan-favorite Injustice team of writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo reunite for an explosive new series, starring Harley Quinn and Deadshot!

Task Force X returns for its bloodiest mission yet, with a new team of unlikely villains from across the DC Universe! The Suicide Squad are assigned to neutralize a group of international super-terrorists known as the Revolutionaries–and the survivors are forced into joining the Squad! Who can Harley Quinn and Deadshot trust when their new teammates are the very people their crew was assigned to kill? This Squad might survive their next mission, but they may not survive each other–with a “team” like this, the body count starts high, and only gets higher!

Tom Taylor, the acclaimed writer of DCeased, delivers his flair for high-octane mayhem to the Suicide Squad in this new series where quite literally no one is safe. Joining Taylor is artist Bruno Redondo, his collaborator on Injustice, for a deadly new take on DC’s dysfunctional villain team.

Collects Suicide Squad #1-11. 

The Verdict

Bloody and gritty in its delivery, this story sees Task Force X take on all new heights. After years of being the personal hit squad of Amanda Waller, several of the key Squad members will find themselves facing the ultimate test. While I loved the inclusion of this new team of antiheroes known as the Revolutionaries, I absolutely loved the personal story shown of Floyd Lawton, aka Deadshot. To see the desperation to be a better man and regretting his forced participation in the bloody nature of this team as he hopes to be there for his daughter added an emotional depth to a typically dark humor-filled story. The shocking twists and turns as squad members fall, and shocking villains take to rise to make this a must-read series!

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Harley Quinn, Vol. 1: No Good Deed

(Harley Quinn (2021) #1)

by Stephanie PhillipsRiley Rossmo (Illustrator), Laura Braga (Illustrator), Jay Leisten (Inker), Ivan Plascencia (Color Artist), Arif Prianto (Color Artist), AndWorld Design (Letterer)

The Synopsis 

Harley Quinn returns to Gotham City after The Joker War and has decided to turn over a new leaf and make up for the sins of her past by becoming its newest protector.

Harley Quinn here, to let everyone know that I’m starring in a brand-new graphic novel collection with a brand-new status quo. I’m coming back to Gotham City to make up for the sins of my past, and help the city recover from The Joker War!

But there’s no welcoming committee waiting for me, your favorite Maid of Mischief! And between you and me, some real creeps are working to keep the city broken. We can’t let that happen, can we?

Rising-star writer Stephanie Phillips, my new partner in crime, takes me into a bold new era with her partner in artistic crime Riley Rossmo, who I gotta say designed a real nice new costume for me. You’re not gonna wanna miss this one, folks!

Collects Harley Quinn #1-6 and Batman: Urban Legends #1 

The Verdict

Aside from the truly unique new take on Harley’s artwork and the almost Alice in Wonderland style it exudes, this comic book series does an incredible job of fueling Harley’s new pursuit as one of Gotham’s protectors. At least in her own unique way. Her hope to save former Joker gang members is a novel pursuit, as is her friendship with a new ally who is drawn along unwittingly towards her mission. Pitting Hugo Strange, another villain who showcases the psychology expert side of himself with the mad mind obsessed with another larger than life figure, against Harley as the rise of the Magistrate hits Gotham is the perfect parallel to Harley’s journey, and seeing her POV of Gotham as it wrestles with the recent years of tragedy it has endured made this a must-read story.

Death of Doctor Strange

(Death of Doctor Strange #1-5)

by Jed MackayLee Garbett (Artist)

The Synopsis

Doctor Stephen Strange is the Master of the Mystic Arts. Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. A one-man barrier protecting our world from all the nightmares, demons and warlords out there in dimensions beyond our comprehension. So what happens…when Doctor Strange is murdered? As his friends mourn — and his enemies rage at having been deprived of the killing blow — dark forces set their sights on an unprotected Earth. The Avengers…the Fantastic Four…all of our mightiest heroes are woefully out of their depth. Now, as the world’s remaining magicians race to protect our world from an unimaginable sorcerous threat, one very surprising investigator must unravel the mystery of Doctor Strange’s murder. But can he do it before his own time runs out?

COLLECTING: Death of Doctor Strange (2021) 1-5 

The Verdict

This was such a gripping and chilling Marvel read. Highlighting why Doctor Strange is such an important figure in the Marvel Universe, the shocking murder of the famed sorcerer not only features some great detective work but showcases how ill-equipped the rest of the Marvel heroes are to face demonic and magical threats. The shocking help of a powerful sorcerer of the past to help solve the mystery of Strange’s death and the exploration of how the Avengers and other heroes must grapple with the magical realms converging on Earth were visually haunting and gripping as a story. A definite must-read, especially with the horror-filled Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness hitting theaters.

The Darkhold

(The Darkhold #1-7)

by Steve OrlandoDaniel Kibblesmith (Goodreads Author), Jordie Bellaire (Goodreads Author), Ryan North (Goodreads Author), Mark Russell (Goodreads Author), Alex PaknadelCian Tormey (Illustrator), Jesus Aburtov (Color Artist), Federico Sabbatini (Illustrator), Rico Renzi (Color Artist), Claire Roe (Illustrator), Guillermo Sanna (Illustrator), Ian Herring (Color Artist), David Cutler (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator), Roberto Poggi (Illustrator), Matt Milla (Color Artist), Diogenes Neves (Illustrator), Jim Charalampidis (Color Artist), Marc Deering (Illustrator), Walden Wong (Illustrator), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Synopsis

DARKHOLD sees Doctor Doom unearth the ancient Darkhold, a text written by the elder god Chthon, and unintentionally opening a passageway for Chthon to return to our dimension. To stop him, the Scarlet Witch recruits five heroes-Iron Man, Wasp (Janet), Black Bolt, Spider-Man (Peter), and Blade. To enter Chthon’s dimension and fight him, the heroes must read from the Darkhold, which drives them insane.

Collects The Darkhold Alpha (2021) #1, The Darkhold: Blade (2021) #1, The Darkhold: Wasp (2021) #1, The Darkhold: Iron Man (2021) #1, The Darkhold: Black Bolt (2021) #1, The Darkhold: Spider-Man (2021) #1, The Darkhold Omega (2020) #1. 

The Verdict

Another great horror-themed Marvel read just in time for Scarlet Witch’s feature in Multiverse of Madness this weekend. The chilling look into the power of the Darkhold, a mind-melting book of a demonic elder god, will take readers on a horrifying ride as some of Marvel’s best heroes find themselves warped by the madness that sweeps them into their most terrifying forms. Seeing these heroes turned into monstrous forms of themselves and seeing Scarlet Witch facing not only them but the elder god himself made this story so engaging, and the beautiful artwork captured the terrifying transformation that these characters undergo. A definite must-read!

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America, Vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez

(America (Collected Editions) #1)

by Gabby Rivera (Writer), Joe Quiñones (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

At last! Everyone’s favorite no-nonsense powerhouse, America Chavez, gets her own series! Critically acclaimed young-adult novelist Gabby Rivera and all-star artist Joe Quinones unite to shine a solo spotlight on America’s high-octane and hard-hitting adventures! She was a Young Avenger. She leads the Ultimates. And now she officially claims her place as the preeminent butt-kicker of the entire Marvel Universe! But what’s a super-powered teenager to do when she’s looking for a little personal fulfi llment? She goes to college! America just has to stop an interdimensional monster or two first and shut down a pesky alien cult that’s begun worshipping her exploits before work can begin. Then she can get on with her first assignment: a field trip to the front lines of World War II – with Captain America as her wingman!

COLLECTING: AMERICA 1-6

The Verdict

The perfect continuation of America Chavez’s story! Another great read for anyone wanting to prep for Multiverse of Madness, this story sees America at her best, fighting her way through time and space as she faces not only the past but her future. The exploration of America’s origins and the depth of her abilities made this such a great story, as was her more personal mission and look into her life, from her LGBTQ-driven romances to her friendships and yearning to connect more with the world she now lives in. A definite must-read!

Wolverine by Benjamin Percy, Vol. 1

(Wolverine by Benjamin Percy #1)

by Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author), Adam Kubert (Illustrator), Frank Martin (Color Artist), Viktor Bogdanovic (Illustrator), Matt Wilson (Color Artist)

The Synopsis

The best is back! Wolverine has been through a lot. He’s been a loner. He’s been a killer. He’s been a hero. He’s been an Avenger. He’s been to hell and back. Now, as the nation of Krakoa brings together all mutantkind, can he finally be…happy? With his family all together and safe, Logan has everything he ever wanted…and everything to lose. But he’s never been one to back down from a fight – not even a combined assault from Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth and Dr. Cornelius. Yet the fearsome Flower Cartel might have enlisted his worst and greatest foe: Wolverine himself! Writer Benjamin Percy (X-FORCE, WOLVERINE: THE LONG NIGHT) and legendary WOLVERINE artist Adam Kubert unite to put Logan at the heart of a criminal conspiracy that threatens to darken the Dawn of X!

COLLECTING: WOLVERINE (2020) 1-5 

The Verdict

This was such an inspired and captivating new chapter in the story of Wolverine. With so much of the mutant community changing thanks to the nation of Krakoa and the Dawn of X storyline, seeing Logan’s adaption to this new life while still maintaining his rough and tumble, take no prisoners approach to heroism made this such an interesting story. The inclusion of familiar faces and threats was great to see, but it was the inclusion of new characters like a CIA agent who brings a heartbreaking and emotional component to Wolverine’s new struggle that makes this story shine so brightly.

Moon Knight, Vol. 1: The Midnight Mission

(Moon Knight (2021) #1)

by Jed MackayAlessandro Cappuccio (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Color Artist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

The Synopsis

The mysterious Mr. Knight has opened his Midnight Mission, his people petitioning him to shelter them from the weird and horrible. The Moon Knight stalks the rooftops and alleys marked with his crescent moon tag, bringing violence to any who would harm his flock. Marc Spector, in whichever guise he dons, is back on the streets, a renegade priest of an unworthy god. But while Khonshu languishes in prison, Moon Knight’s duty still must be observed: the protection of those who travel at night. But what happens when those he would save are turned into weapons against him? When gangs of elderly residents leave a trail of bizarre violence, Moon Knight must put his body, mind and very soul on the line to end the carnage!

COLLECTING: Moon Knight (2021) 1-6

The Verdict

With Moon Knight now officially joining the MCU, fans are determined to get as much Moon Knight as possible. This story does a great job of exploring Marc’s new purpose in the aftermath of his defeat of Khonshu, the god he’s served for years. After he was forced by the god to help defeat the Avengers and take over the world, he turned from his benefactor and helped put him away. Seeing the aftermath of that adventure and seeing Marc now back on the streets and helping the helpless was great to see. The exploration of another fist of Khonshu and the deadly arrival of a new threat made this such an engaging story. The visceral artwork and grittier nature of the character, as well as a returning face from his Avenger’s past, made this comic so unique. 

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection, Volume 1

(Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The IDW Collection #1)

by Kevin Eastman (Writer), Tom Waltz (Writer), Brian Lynch (Writer), Erik Burnham (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Bobby Curnow (Writer), Dan Duncan (Illustrator), Franco Urru (Illustrator), Andy Kuhn (Illustrator), Sophie Campbell (Illustrator), Valerio Schiti (Illustrator), Charles Paul Wilson III (Illustrator), Mateus Santolouco (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

IDW’s re-launch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been a hit with fans and critics alike. Now, collect the series in all-new oversized hardcovers that present the stories in recommended reading order. Collects the first 12 issues of the new ongoing series plus the Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Splinter Micro-Series one-shots spliced in between.

The Verdict

One of my favorite film series as a child was the iconic and classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle live-action films. The action, the humor, and the villains all drew me into this wild and incredible world. This collection from the IDW run of the heroes in a half-shell was able to capture the magic of those films while also crafting a somewhat more mature and gritty writing and artwork style. The origin story that the writers came up with exploring a past life’s situation as a means of exploring their natural tendencies towards heroism was great to see, and the overwhelming sense of family and belonging the themes of this series explored was amazing to see. Fun, witty, and action-packed, this is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at their best!

The Apocalypse Suite

(The Umbrella Academy #1)

by Gerard Way (Writer), Gabriel Bá (Artist), Dave Stewart (Colourist)

The Synopsis

In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born to women who’d previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, “To save the world.”

These seven children form the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.

Collecting: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite 1-6, as well as out-of-print short stories and an expanded sketchbook section featuring work by Gabriel Bá, James Jean, and Gerard Way.

The Verdict

I absolutely loved this first volume in the series that inspired the Netflix original series. The almost steampunk artwork style and the family tension and drama made for a fun and exhilarating read. The exploration of past memories that featured old villains the group of teen heroes faced was a welcome addition to the story that the show hadn’t focused on yet, and the fast-paced nature of the narrative kept readers on the edge of their seats throughout this volume. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #18

Eternals, Vol. 1: Only Death is Eternal

(Eternals (2021) #1-6)

by Kieron GillenEsad Ribić (Art)

The Synopsis

Never die…never win. What’s the point of an eternal battle? For millions of years, one hundred Eternals have roamed the Earth, secret protectors of humanity. Without them, mankind would be smears between the teeth of the demon-like Deviants. Their war has waged for all time, echoing in our myths and nightmares. But today, the Eternals face something new: change! Can they — or anyone on Earth — survive their discovery? An Eternal has been murdered by one of their own, and this may not be the last such killing. But Sersi’s number one suspect is — Thena?! Plus, titans clash in a city driven mad, as Ikaris battles Thanos! From the thought-provoking minds of Kieron Gillen (YOUNG AVENGERS, UNCANNY X-MEN) and Esad Ribić (THOR: GOD OF THUNDER, SECRET WARS) comes a new vision of the classic Marvel mythology!

COLLECTING: Eternals (2021) 1-6

The Verdict

A truly remarkable and well-crafted look into some of the most powerful figures in the Marvel Universe. The shocking death of one of their own leads to an Eternals serial killer hunt, and the shocking confrontation with Thanos will lead to an even more shocking betrayal within their group. The politics, social structure, and mythology explored within the Eternals, Deviants, and Celestials as a whole through this series was fantastic, and the artwork was visceral and thoughtful in its approach. A definite must-read for Marvel fans, especially with the film’s release for the MCU.

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Heroes Reborn: America’s Mightiest Heroes

(Heroes Reborn: America’s Mightiest Heroes #1)

by Jason AaronDale Keown (Artist), Ed McGuinness (Artist), Federico Vicentini (Artist), James Stokoe (Artist), R.M. Guéra (Artist), Erica D’Urso (Artist), Aaron Kuder (Artist)

The Synopsis

A world without Avengers! Tony Stark never built an Iron Man armor. Thor is a hard-drinking atheist who despises hammers. Wakanda is dismissed as a myth. Captain America was never found in the ice – because there were no Avengers to find him. Instead, this planet has always been protected by Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: the Squadron Supreme of America! Now Hyperion, Blur, Doctor Spectrum, Power Princess and Nighthawk face an attack from some of their fiercest enemies – including Dr. Juggernaut, the Black Skull, the Silver Witch, the Goblin and Thanos with his Infinity Rings. But why is Blade the vampire hunter the one man alive who seems to remember that the entire world has somehow been…reborn? And what is the Daywalker going to do about it?

Collects Heroes Reborn (2021) #1-7, Heroes Return (2021) #1

The Verdict

Shocking, gripping, and a brilliant way of combining the magic of a Marvel What If…? storyline within the main Marvel Universe. The exploration of the history and mythos of the Marvel Version of a Dark Justice League was so awe-inspiring, and seeing the dark path Phil Coulson in the comics has taken and the growing power and influence Mephisto is building not just in the main 616 Universe, but in the Multiverse as a whole was chilling and exhilarating all at once to read. The artwork was inspired and the exploration of the characters and who they are when their heroic identities were taken away was brilliant to see. 

Avengers by Jason Aaron, Vol. 8: Enter the Phoenix

(Avengers by Jason Aaron #8)

by Jason AaronJavier Garrón (Artist), Dale Keown (Artist), Luca Maresca (Artist)

The Synopsis

The planet-burning cosmic firebird known as the Phoenix Force has returned — and the Avengers are drawn into a globe-spanning battle for ultimate power! In the distant past of One Million B.C., learn the story of one young girl whose only crime was being born with red hair…and whose destiny would change human history forever! In the present, the Phoenix Force searches the globe for a new avatar — and many of Marvel’s most powerful heroes and villains are contenders! As the battle to wield the Phoenix grows ever bloodier and more desperate, Thor leads the Avengers in a fight to contain the Phoenix Force. But the quest is complicated by the Thunder God’s mysterious connection to the cosmic firebird! Who will be the all-new Phoenix?! All will be transformed…but not all will survive!

COLLECTING: AVENGERS (2018) 39-45

The Verdict

The jaw-dropping power of the Phoenix Force arrives on Earth, and its fire burns inside the chosen heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe as they fight for a new host. As the heroes try to hold on in their fight to find a way to either contain or defeat the cosmic bird, the secret history of the Phoenix on Earth is revealed, as is the shocking origins of one classic Avenger. Meanwhile, the final battles will show either the rise of a powerful new Avenger or a dangerous new foe. The artwork has brilliant contrasts of bright and dark colors as the story unfolds, and the writers showcase the far-reaching new directions the Avengers and the Marvel Universe are taking moving forward. A must-read Avengers tale!

Miles Morales, Vol. 1: Straight Out of Brooklyn

(Miles Morales (Collected Editions) #1)

by Saladin Ahmed (Goodreads Author), Javier Garrón (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Miles Morales swings back into the spotlight! Balancing a normal life, school, friends, family and super-heroing has never been easy for Miles, but when the rampaging Rhino and a cadre of mysterious criminals start plaguing Brooklyn, things take a dark turn for the young Spider-Man! And Miles doesn’t even know the half of it yet. What mystery lurks under the surface of this newest villainous uprising? Eisner Award-winner Saladin Ahmed (BLACK BOLT) and Young Gun Javier Garrón (ANT-MAN & THE WASP) bring you the latest and greatest adventures of the coolest character in the Marvel Universe!

COLLECTING: MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN 1-6

The Verdict

I absolutely love the new storylines that this character is creating. Miles is a fantastic hero and worthy of the Spider-Man mantle. The changes to his path as a hero from Peter Parkers, from his parent’s knowledge of his heroic identity to his contrasting relationship with his criminal Uncle and more, this character really does bring the wonder and fun of the Spider-Man comics back into the modern-day. The representation that Marvel has employed in this series is incredible to see, and the artwork is sleek and modern, showcasing the future generations of heroes the Marvel Universe is developing.

Injustice: Year Zero

(Injustice: Gods Among Us – The Complete Collection #0)

by Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Roge Antonio (Illustrator), Cian Tormey (Illustrator), Rain Beredo (Color Artist)

The Synopsis

The beloved series INJUSTICE is back–with a prequel! INJUSTICE: YEAR ZERO!

Before Superman, Batman, or the Justice League were household heroes, there was the JSA! But when a secret begins to unravel within the JSA, will it lead to the unraveling of the heroes we know today? Is there a traitor within the ranks of our heroes? Or is someone hiding something that could ruin every DCU superhero forever? No one is safe in INJUSTICE: YEAR ZERO!

Collects Injustice: Year Zero #1-14.

The Verdict

This was such a brilliant prequel to the highly acclaimed Elseworlds series. The world of Injustice is so visceral and equally horrifying to the worlds of DCeased and Kingdom Come. The inclusion of the JSA and their influence on the modern-day Justice League heroes, as well as the new heights of the Joker’s villainy, make this such a brilliant read. The artwork really reflects the chaos and darkness that the villain brings upon the heroes, and how his influence darkens the world and its heroes as a whole. 

DC Meets Looney Tunes

(DC Meets Looney Tunes)

by Tom King (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Frank J. Barbiere (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Tony Bedard (Writer), Sam Humphries (Writer), Steve Orlando (Writer), Jimmy Palmiotti (Writer), Bill Morrison (Writer), John Floyd (Artist), Tom Grummett (Artist), Scott Hanna (Artist), Kelley Jones (Artist), Aaron Lopresti (Artist), Jerome K. Moore (Artist), Mark Texeira (Artist), Lee Weeks (Artist)

The Synopsis

DC’s iconic superheroes meet the wacky characters of Looney Tunes in some of the most surprising stories in comics in DC MEETS LOONEY TUNES!

When Elmer Fudd sets his sights on Bruce Wayne, it’s a “wabbit hunt” you’d never imagine! Prospector Yosemite Sam strikes it rich, but can circus performer Foghorn Leghorn and bounty hunter Jonah Hex keep him alive long enough to enjoy it?

Plus, Wonder Woman enlists the help of the Tasmanian Devil to save the Amazons; Lobo gets caught in the war between a mutated Road Runner and a wily super-genius of a coyote; and the last survivors of Mars fight over the fate of planet Earth! Finally, when the Legion of Super-Heroes needs help, a wrong turn at Albuquerque means the future’s survival depends on…”Super” Bugs Bunny!

Worlds collide, courtesy of some of comics’ greatest talents, among them Tom King, Lee Weeks, Jimmy Palmiotti, Mark Texeira, Tony Bedard, Bill Morrison, Kelley Jones, Steve Orlando, Sam Humphries and more!

Collects BATMAN/ELMER FUDD SPECIAL #1, JONAH HEX/YOSEMITE SAM SPECIAL #1, WONDER WOMAN/TASMANIAN DEVIL SPECIAL #1, LOBO/ROAD RUNNER SPECIAL #1, MARTIAN MANHUNTER/MARVIN THE MARTIAN SPECIAL #1 and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES/BUGS BUNNY SPECIAL #1!

The Verdict

Such a fun and brilliant read! The authors all did a marvelous job of balancing the grim nature of the DC Universe stories with the zany fun and wackiness of the Looney Tunes Universe. Not only is this reflected in the artwork in each contrasting story, but in the character development and action, each story employs. A fun departure for each character and hero, this is not a collection readers will want to miss.

Strange Adventures

(Strange Adventures (2020-2021) #1-12)

by Tom King (Goodreads Author), Mitch Gerads (Illustrator), Evan Doc Shaner (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Bestselling writer Tom King is back with a new epic that reinvents one of DC’s classic science-fiction adventurers, Adam Strange, examining whether his actions were heroic or disgraceful.

This new science fiction epic written by bestselling author Tom King reinvents one of DC’s classic adventure characters, Adam Strange. Born on Earth and hero of the distant planet Rann, Adam Strange is famous throughout the galaxy for his bravery and honor. After leading his adopted home to victory in a great planetary war, Adam and his wife, Alanna, retire to Earth, where they are greeted with cheers, awards, and parades. But not all is as it seems, as the decisions Adam made during battles on Rann come back to haunt his family. It will take an investigation by one of the most brilliant heroes in the DC Universe, Mr. Terrific, to uncover the truth and reveal whether Adam Strange is a hero or a disgrace.

The Mister Miracle team of writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads are joined by fan-favorite artist Evan “Doc” Shaner to bring you an epic tale in the tradition of Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, and DC: The New Frontier–a story of blood, war, and love that readers will be talking about for years to come.

Collects Strange Adventures #1-12.

The Verdict

This was such a fun and epic sci-fi thriller! The DC Universe delves into the grim reality of war and psychological trauma in war through the characterization of Adam Strange. The roller-coaster he and his wife go on as the heroes of Earth go from allies and friends to distrustful frenemies was such an engaging psychological thriller of a story, and the stark contrast of colors and alternating timelines in the narrative helped the pacing of the mystery this story deployed, capturing that classic noir mystery vibe the narrative was developing. Such an amazing read.

Batman Beyond, Volume 1: Escaping the Grave

(Batman Beyond (2016) #1)

by Dan Jurgens (Writer), Bernard Chang (Artist), Marcelo Maiolo (Colourist), Travis Lanham (Letterer)

The Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Terry McGinnis takes on the Batman cowl amidst rumors that the original Joker has returned. An entire section of Gotham City has decended into the Jokerz’ hands, creating a community of clown-worshipping crazies called Jokerztown! Rising from the chaos, Terminal unifies the gang of Jokerz and he’s after the new Batman.

Written by Dan Jurgens and illustrated by Bernard Chang, the in-continuity tales of the Dark Knight of the future continue here in Batman Beyond, Volume 1: The Return!

CollectingBatman Beyond 1-5, Rebirth

The Verdict

I was such a huge fan of the Batman Beyond series growing up. This futuristic version of Gotham the comics describe takes on a whole new life, showing the aftermath of Brother Eye’s attacks and the return of the city’s heroes. As the Jokerz gang terrorizes the city, Batman must make his triumphant return and stop this growing threat. The splash of futurist technology and artwork contrasted with the grim and gritty reality that Gotham has always represented was amazing to see here, as was the contrast in Batman’s fight for justice and order against the Jokerz vision of chaos and destruction. There were enough twists and turns in this storyline to keep readers not only invested but thrilled at the return of some truly terrifying Batman villains.

Dark Nights: Death Metal

(Dark Nights: Collected Editions #2)

by Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author), Greg Capullo (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Get ready for the earth-shattering encore as writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the legendary team behind Dark Nights: Metal and Batman: Last Knight on Earth, reunite for one last tour of DC’s Dark Multiverse.

When the DC Universe is enveloped by the Dark Multiverse, the Justice League is at the mercy of the Batman Who Laughs. Humanity struggles to survive in a hellish landscape twisted beyond recognition, while Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman have all been separated and must fight to survive. Along the way, Wonder Woman roars across the horrifying Dark Multiverse landscape in the world’s most demented monster truck, with Swamp Thing riding shotgun! And when the Justice League launches its assault on New Apokolips, the team’s goal is to free Superman from his solar prison–but it all goes off the rails when they learn that the Man of Steel is gone for good thanks to the Anti-Life Equation. Collects Dark Nights: Death Metal #1-6.

The Verdict

The epic conclusion to the crisis the Batman Who Laughs has been building the DC Multiverse to for years has finally arrived. Seeing the heroes pushed to their limits and fighting with everything they have really showcased the strength and courage they represent, and the story of truth and light being the legacy these heroes leave behind as the next generation of heroes takes over was so well represented here. What was amazing was getting to see Wonder Woman take the role of leader in this fight, becoming the light itself against the Batman Who Laugh’s darkness. Their contrasting viewpoints and equal willpower made them formidable opponents, and the wild artwork and visuals of this series captured the punk and metal vibes the series represented. Such an essential and must-read series for DC Comics fans!

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Justice League: Endless Winter

(Justice League: Endless Winter #1-9)

by Andy LanningRon MarzHoward Porter (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Spanning across time, continents, and DC comics titles, a cold new threat arises at the former site of the Fortress of Solitude!

1000 years ago, a disparate group of heroes — Hippolyta, Black Adam, Swamp Thing and the Viking Prince — banded together to prevent the world from freezing at the hands of the Frost King, an exiled Norse god with the ability to control entire ecosystems. The heroes triumphed, but victory came at a terrible price, one that has been kept secret until now.

When the Justice League discovers an extinction-level storm at the former site of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, their search for answers will put them in direct conflict with the Frost King, an ancient entity who wields great power and an army of loyal soldiers. What does he want? And what’s his tie to some of the oldest heroes in the DC Universe?

Justice League: Endless Winter is a crossover event collection that includes Aquaman #66, The Flash #767, Justice League #58, Justice League Dark #29, Justice League: Endless Winter #1-2, Teen Titans: Endless Winter Special #1, Black Adam: Endless Winter Special #1, and Superman: Endless Winter Special #1.

The Verdict

A fantastic follow-up to the multiversal battle of Dark Nights: Death Metal, the series really does an incredible job of highlighting the secret history some of the DC Universe’s oldest figures and powerful foes have with one another, united against a tragic figure in the Frost King. Exploring ancient mythology and cultures, the narrative and contrasting timelines will unite the heroes and highlight how people’s judgments and misperceptions can create the monsters we so desperately fear. A memorable and fantastic series to read, especially with Winter 2021 approaching!

DC PRIDE #1 (DC CULTURAL ANTHOLOGIES) REVIEW

DC Pride (2021-) #1 (DC Cultural Anthologies (2021-))

by Andrew WheelerSam Johns (Goodreads Author), Nicole MainesVita Ayala (Goodreads Author), Sina Grace (Goodreads Author), Danny LoreMarc AndreykoMariko TamakiSteve OrlandoJames Tynion IVTamra Bonvillain (Cover Art), Scott Williams (Cover Art), Jim Lee (Cover Art), Luciano Vecchio (Penciller), Klaus Janson (Penciller), Kevin Wada (Penciller), Travis Moore (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Sophie Campbell (Penciller), Rachael Stott (Penciller), Skylar Patridge (Penciller), Ro Stein (Penciller), Mildred Louis (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Kris Anka (Penciller), Nick Robles (Penciller), Brittney Williams (Penciller), David Talaski (Penciller), Amy Reeder (Penciller), Stephen Byrne (Penciller), Trung Le Nguyen (Penciller), Ted Brandt (Inker), Rex Lokus (Colorist), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Enrica Eren Angiolini (Colorist), Marissa Louise (Colorist), Dave McCaig (Colorist), José Villarrubia (Colorist)

I am proud to share my review of the brand new collection of PRIDE inspired stories within the DC Universe, featuring some of the greatest LGBTQ DC Heroes around in the new anthology, DC Pride. 

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The Synopsis

DC Pride #1 will feature LGBTQIA+ characters from all corners of DC’s ever-expanding Universe, including cameos by fan favorites Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Alan Scott, Midnighter, Apollo, Extraño, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and more. The DC Pride creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, are:

Batwoman (Kate Kane) by James Tynion IV & Trung Le Nguyen

Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn by Mariko Tamaki & Amy Reeder

Midnighter by Steve Orlando & Stephen Byrne

Flash of Earth-11 (Jess Chambers) by Danny Lore & Lisa Sterle

Green Lantern (Alan Scott) & Obsidian by Sam Johns & Klaus Janson

Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) by Andrew Wheeler & Luciano Vecchio

Dreamer by Nicole Maines & Rachael Stott

Renee Montoya by Vita Ayala and Skylar Patridge

Pied Piper by Sina Grace, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Additionally, DC Pride #1 will include full-page profiles of DCTV’s LGBTQIA+ characters and the actors who play them, and fans of The CW’s Supergirl will be thrilled to see the first comic book appearance of Dreamer, a trans woman superhero, in a story written by actor Nicole Maines, who plays Nia Nal/Dreamer on Supergirl.

Rounding out the DC Pride anthology is a forward by Marc Andreyko (Love is Love), single-page pin-ups by artists Kris Anka, Sophie Campbell, Mildred Louis, Travis Moore, Nick Robles and Kevin Wada, with more surprises to come!

The Review

Some of my favorite heroes in the DC Universe are proud members of the LGBTQ community. From the incredible story of Alan Scott trying to bond with his son Obsidian in an attempt to recognize how far the world has come since the days of gay men having to hide in secret bars, to the heartfelt romance of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and even the promise of a future league within the DC Universe that celebrates the wide range of LGBTQ heroes that the comic book company has to offer, this collection celebrates a wide range of stories and heroes that showcase not only their PRIDE but of the power and rich stories that they embody. 

However, my personal favorite story within this collection comes from the Arrowverse, which focuses on one of my favorite new heroes and favorite actresses, Dreamer, played by the lovely and incredible Nicole Maines. Her story of fighting for peace and allowing people’s dreams to become a reality was beautifully brought to life with rich artwork and a story that felt both fresh and unique to the character dynamics established in the Supergirl corner of the Arrowverse. Nia is a truly great hero to embody the future of the DC Comics universe, embodying both powerful heroics and in-depth and emotional character development, making her story feel like the future so many of us comic book fans have been waiting so long for.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and action-packed comic book anthology comic, DC Comics’s “DC Pride” is a must-read anthology for not only PRIDE month, but for the future of DC Comics. Engaging characters and emotional storytelling make these stories both entertaining and resonate with fans around the world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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https://www.bookbub.com/books/dc-pride-2021-1-by-andrew-wheeler-sam-johns-nicole-maines-luciano-vecchio-klaus-janson-kevin-wada

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. 

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #13

Justice League Dark, Volume 1: The Last Age of Magic

(Justice League Dark (2018) #1)

by James Tynion IVAlvaro Martinez (Illustrations), Daniel Sampere (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

The new Justice League Dark is here! Led by Wonder Woman this team of Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and Detective Chimp (?) must bring the fight against all supernatural foes too big for the World’s Greatest Super Heroes!

From the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE comes writer James Tynion IV’s epic new series JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK! Earth’s magic once belonged to them. Now they want the magic back. But who exactly are they? It’s up to the new Justice League Dark to find out and stop this nightmarish new threat at all costs! After the events of NO JUSTICE, Wonder Woman guides the misfit magic mix against enemies too fantastic even for the Justice League. Plus, what awful things are coming through the Tree of Wonder? Dark days ahead…

Written by James Tynion IV (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) with phenomenal illustrations from Alvaro Martinez (Detective Comics), this bold new graphic novel series is one of the most anticipated in years! Collects issues #1-3 and 5-6.

The Verdict

A brilliant new dive into the world of magic for DC Comics, everything fans thought they knew about this world is turned upside down. The emergence of new magical threats, as well as the rules of magic being rewritten and magic’s origins all come into play here as Wonder Woman finds herself leading a team into a world she only partially understands. Shocking betrayals and amazingly horror-themed artwork make this a must-read for DC Comics fans.

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Old Lady Harley

(Old Lady Harley #1-5)

by Frank Tieri

The Synopsis

After liberating New York City from her now-feral Gang of Harleys, poor Harley wants nothing more than to slip back into retirement in her coastal (and heavily guarded) paradise. But the Laughing Boys Gang has another idea–they’ll follow her to the ends of the Earth, to drag her back to their leader!

If you think that’s a big problem, just wait. The Joker couldn’t possibly still be alive, could he? After all … Harley killed him with her bare hands! Should she turn to President Power Girl for help? Or flee to the 51st state, Atlantis? Step into an insane vision of a future DC Universe we all better hope we don’t live to see!

In this dystopian-future tale, Harley’s quest to find out how The Joker could possibly still be alive has taken her back to their old stomping grounds, but Gotham City is very different nowadays! Nobody’s allowed on the streets without the Batman’s permission–but who is this Batman, anyway? Harley’s only choice is to return to Arkham…the Arkham Home for Criminally Insane Retirees, that is! Fancy a round of bingo with the Riddler? Or some pool aerobics with Killer Croc? Collects Harley Quinn #42 (Rebirth Series) and Old Lady Harley #1-5

The Verdict

A hilarious and gritty dystopian future for the world of DC Comics, only a zany character like Harley Quinn could appropriately bring this story to life. Seeing the state of the world in this apocalyptic world is fascinating to see, with a nation of zombies on one side and a nation led by a villain on the other, the United States is in a state of chaos, and Harley must navigate it her way to find out if the Joker has truly returned. Dark secrets and shocking revelations await for this amazing series, with fantastic artwork that is reminiscent of Mad Max. 

The Hellblazer, Volume 1: The Poison Truth

(The Hellblazer (2016) #1)

by Simon Oliver (Writer), Moritat (Artist), Andre Szymanowicz (Colourist), Sal Cipriano (Letterer)

The Synopsis

John Constantine, the hard-hearted Hellblazer returns home to London to face an impossible choice: live an immortal life bonded to a demonic curse, or shift that curse to eight million people–killing each and every one of them! What to do, what to do…

The Hellblazer is back in the first volume of the continued story of one of DC’s most iconic and long-lasting characters by writer Simon Oliver (FBP) with art by Moriat (The Spirit).

CollectingHellblazer 1-6

The Verdict

A true testament to the character of John Constantine, the fantastic gothic artwork compliments the story of one of DC Comics most fascinating magical antiheroes. The story focuses on the character’s ability to con his way out of any situation, and the consequences that come as a result. A marvelous look at the delicate balance John walks between the real world and the magical one just beneath the surface. 

The Batman Who Laughs

(The Batman Who Laughs #1–7)

by Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author), James Tynion IVJock (Illustrator), Eduardo Risso (Illustrator), David Baron (Colorist)

The Synopsis

Left rattled by the events of Dark Knights: Metal, Bruce Wayne must come face to face with the ultimate evil spawned from the Dark Multiverse. One part Batman one part Joker. The Batman Who Laughs.

“A Batman who laughs is a Batman who always wins.”

The mastermind behind Dark Nights: Metal, Scott Snyder, gives you a look inside the most terrifying version of Batman ever! He and superstar artist Jock (Batman: The Black Mirror) kick off a chain of events that makes Dark Nights: Metal seem like child’s play.

The Batman Who Laughs not only survived his fight with The Joker at the end of Dark Nights: Metal, but is now enacting a sinister plan across the Multiverse–something both terrifying and oddly familiar. When Bruce Wayne realizes the only way to stop this madman is to kill him, he must consider violating the very rule Batman can’t ever break … the rule that created this insatiable villain–the Batman Who Laughs!

As Bruce begins to deduce that his current life is somehow wrong and that all the mistakes he’s made are somehow connected, the Batman Who Laughs unleashes a brand-new evil. Enter one of the most punishing Batmen of the Dark Multiverse: the Grim Knight!

Collects The Batman Who Laughs #1-7 and The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1.

The Verdict

This marks the next chapter of one of Batman’s darkest chapters. After the events of Dark Nights: Metal, Batman got a grim look at the darkest aspects of himself across the dark multiverse. However things aren’t what they seem, as the most evil of them all survived and is now haunting Batman and the DC Universe. The Batman Who Laughs is a fantastic and dark new edition to the DC Universe villains, and this story sets up several future storylines in the multiverse. 

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Thor, Vol. 1: God of Thunder Reborn

(Thor (2018) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Jason Aaron (Writer), Mike del Mundo (Illustrations), Christian Ward (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

LET SOUND THE CRY – THE GOD OF THUNDER HAS RETURNED! Thor Odinson has regained his mantle – and with it, a wild new world of trouble on his mighty hands! The artifacts of Asgard have been scattered across the Earth, and to reclaim them, Thor will have to face some ugly truths. Like the production cost on hundreds of new hammers! And the Thunder God is going to need every last one of them if he’s going to stop the unstoppable Juggernaut. Jason Aaron takes the Prince of Asgard in a whole new direction with YOUNG GUN artist Mike Del Mundo joining him at the helm! And don’t miss the latest chapter of the King Thor saga with acclaimed BLACK BOLT artist Christian Ward, as the Thor of the far future encounters an old friend who’s undergone some startling changes.

COLLECTING: THOR (2018) 1-6

The Verdict

A new era of Thor kicks off here with this original story that sees Thor and Loki on an adventure straight to Hel. With the War of the Realms nearly on them, the two brothers and adversaries must traverse Hel and find a way of stopping a fiery army hellbent on taking over the realm for themselves, all in the name of Malekith. Exploring Thor’s complex family and his path to reclaiming the mantle of Thor, this was a visually stunning and exciting read. 

Tony Stark: Iron Man, Vol. 1: Self-Made Man

(Tony Stark: Iron Man (Collected Editions) #1)

by Dan Slott (Text), Valerio Schiti (Illustrations), Gang Hyuk Lim (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

From the cusp of tomorrow’s dreams to the forefront of imagination, one man always soars on the cutting edge of adventure! You know his name. Everyone knows his name! Tony Stark is Iron Man. And Iron Man…is an idea. Always changing. Always evolving. Now Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti propel the ultimate self-made hero to new heights of inventiveness! But Tony has been holding back an enormous secret since his return, and there’s only one person on Earth he’d trust with it: James Rhodes?! This will change everything. Plus: Jocasta! Machine Man! The Gauntlet! The Wasp! The arrival of Tony Stark’s new rival…Sunset Bain! And the Manticore, the most powerful assault vehicle in the Marvel Universe! Tony Stark is Iron Man. The future is now. Strap in!

COLLECTING: TONY STARK: IRON MAN 1-5

The Verdict

Tony Stark is back! The new and improved Iron Man takes the world by storm as he adds new team members to his company and he begins his work as Iron Man once more. However his new lease on life comes with a cost, and he begins to question just how much of himself returned to the land of the living. A bustling new series that has a great focus on the tech side of the Marvel Universe, and the age old question of rights and morality for the AI heroes of the universe. 

The Immortal Hulk, Volume 1: Or is he Both?

(Immortal Hulk (Collected Editions) #1)

by Al EwingJoe Bennett

The Synopsis

THE RETURN OF BRUCE BANNER! You know Bruce Banner. He’s quiet, calm, never complains. He’s a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world. If someone were to shoot him in the head… All he’d do is die. But the horror lives deeper. A horror that refuses to die. When night falls something other than the man gets up again. The horror is the Immortal Hulk. COLLECTING: IMMORTAL HULK 1-5, MATERIAL FROM AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER 684

The Verdict

The story of the Incredible Hulk returns to a more horror-centric story, as the Hulk gains a new persona in the Immortal Hulk. The many horror motifs are present throughout this comic, and it was refreshing to see Bruce Banner and the Hulk on the run, hitting the road much like he did in his early years. This was a fantastic first run in the new Hulk’s story.

Black Panther, Vol. 6: The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, Part One

(Black Panther (2016/2018) (Collected Editions) #6)

by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Text), Daniel Acuña (Illustrations), Jen Bartel (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

A bold new direction for the Black Panther! For years, T’Challa has kept foreign invaders out of his homeland, protecting his people from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed…across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name! Jump on now and learn the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda! Ta-Nehisi Coates welcomes aboard fan-favorite artist Daniel Acuña for a Black Panther story unlike any other!

COLLECTING: BLACK PANTHER (2018) 1-6

The Verdict

First and foremost, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the late and great actor and the King himself, Chadwick Boseman, aka T’Challa of the MCU. It was a devastating loss to not only Marvel fans but the world and his family. My deepest sympathies to everyone impacted by this loss.

This comic does a great job of taking Black Panther and the lore of Wakanda into a whole new direction. A great blend that puts the world of Marvel Comics into a galactic setting like no other, the story behind how T’Challa found his way into a whole other galaxy is both fascinating and engaging. This is a story not to be missed in the Marvel Universe.

Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer, Vol. 1: Back to Basics

(Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #1)

by Nick Spencer (Writer), Ryan Ottley (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

An alien invasion attacks New York City and the only one who can stop it is…Spider-Man?! But that’s far from all you’ll find here – a revelation from the past puts Peter Parker’s job, relationships and whole life in jeopardy! And if even that’s not enough, you’ll see a new roommate, new love interests and a new villain!

COLLECTING: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1-5, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2018 (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN STORY)

The Verdict

Back to Basics is an appropriate title for the brand new Spider-Man series. Peter Parker is back to his life as Spidey, and dealing with the complications as a result of it. Being framed as Wilson Fisk’s new buddy by the Mayor himself, all the heroes see Pete as a sell-out to one of New York’s worst villains. Meanwhile, Pete’s job is in jeopardy and his newest roommate is a shock even to himself. This is a great new start to one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes. 

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Venom by Donny Cates, Vol. 1: Rex

(Venom (2018) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Donny Cates (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist)

The Synopsis

An ancient and primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York. With it, something equally evil has been awakened in that most wicked of web-slingers: Venom! The symbiote may still be a Lethal Protector of innocents in New York, but this never-before-seen threat could possibly force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear — including its human host, Eddie Brock! As Eddie and Venom summon the strength to defend New York against the most powerful foe they’ve ever faced, there’s one more thing standing in their way: Miles Morales, Spider-Man! Two of the hottest creators in comics today, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, join forces to deliver a Venom adventure a thousand years in the making!

COLLECTING: VENOM (2018) 1-6

The Verdict

The origin story of Venom and the Symbiotes takes a dark and cosmic turn as the true nature of this alien race is revealed. As Eddie Brock bonds with his symbiote once more, he discovers that an ancient and powerful force deriving from the Symbiote’s origins is awake, and is setting it’s sights for Earth. He must fight to stop this powerful force before everything is consumed by the coming of a dark god. A gritty and twisted new spin on the Venom mythos. 

Absolute Carnage

(Absolute Carnage (Collected Editions))

by Donny CatesRyan Stegman (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

After turning Venom’s world upside down a year ago, DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN are about to put the Sinister Symbiote through hell again, only this time CARNAGE has come calling, and everyone who’s ever worn a symbiote is dead in his sights! He’s skirted the periphery of the Marvel Universe for months, but Cletus Kasady at last stands poised to make his grand return to New York in a blistering, action-packed story…and he wants to paint the town red! And there’s NOTHING anyone can do to stop it!

COLLECTING: Absolute Carnage 1-5 

The Verdict

One of Marvel’s deadliest and most terrifying crossover events in recent years was also one of its best. The development of the Venom/Carnage mythos is fascinating to see unfold, and treating the Carnage event like a more terrifying zombie apocalypse was an inspired choice. Definitely a must-read for Marvel fans. 

Occupy Avengers, Vol. 1: Taking Back Justice

(Occupy Avengers #1-4)

by David F. Walker (Writer), Carlos Pacheco (Penciler), Rafael Fonteriz (Inker), Sonia Oback (Colourist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Synopsis

Super heroes – they’re a privileged class. Doing what they want, when they want, and suffering no consequences. They have no regard for the ordinary people who are left behind to suffer in their wake. Who will stand up for the little guy? There is a man. If you can find him, and if he believes in your story, he and his friends will put things right. Some call him an outlaw, rebel, Robin Hood. To others, he is a hero. No powers to speak of – just skills, smarts and a burning drive to take back justice. The man’s name is Hawkeye. He doesn’t look for trouble, but trouble finds him – and he’ll quickly drag Western hero Red Wolf into it as well! It’s a shame that they’re facing certain death; they would have made a great team.

COLLECTING: Occupy Avengers 1-4 and Avengers (1963) 80-8

The Verdict

A refreshing new vision for the famed archer and classic Avenger, Hawkeye gets to hit the road and become a new kind of hero. Righting wrongs wherever he goes, he seeks to make a difference for those who have no one to fight for them, all while being haunted by his slaying of his friend Bruce Banner during the Civil War II events. It’s a great introduction for some new heroes like Red Wolf and a great new direction for Clint Barton overall. 

A-Force, Volume 1: Hypertime

(A-Force (Collected Editions) #1)

by G. Willow Wilson (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Marguerite BennettJorge Molina (Artist), Jim Cheung (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

What do you do when a sentient cosmic event rampages through Japan? ASSEMBLE A-FORCE! Marvel’s newest hero, SINGULARITY, has escaped Battleworld and found her way to the Marvel Universe! But she didn’t make the journey alone. To combat the villainous ANTIMATTER, Singularity will call upon Earth’s mightiest team of Avengers. And one thing’s for sure: They are A FORCE to be reckoned with!

CollectingA-Force 1-4, Avengers 83, A-Force 1, material from Avengers 0 

The Verdict

A fantastic new direction for some of Marvel’s most powerful female heroes. The dynamic between characters like She-Hulk and Medusa are fascinating to see unfold here, and the new hero Singularity is a great new character to include in the Marvel Universe. Beautiful artwork and a much deserved all-female heroic team make this a must-read comic. 

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Falcon: Take Flight

(Falcon (2017) #1-8)

by Rodney BarnesJosh Cassara (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

LEGACY! In the wake of SECRET EMPIRE, Sam Wilson has laid down the shield and taken to the sky once again! Reborn and recommitted, THE FALCON takes flight on a personal mission to reconnect with the American people and train his new partner THE PATRIOT. But when a gang war overtakes the streets of Chicago, Sam finds himself stuck in the middle of a situation far more dangerous than he could’ve imagined-one with its roots in an unexpected corner of the Marvel Universe! COLLECTING: FALCON 1-5

The Verdict

A brilliant follow-up to the events of Secret Empire, the personal journey of Sam Wilson and the anger he harbors for the betrayal he felt after Steve Rodgers (actually a faux-Rodgers at the time) led a HYDRA invasion. With the true Steve Rodgers returned as Captain America, Sam begins his life as Falcon once more. Introducing the character to the world of the supernatural while also showcasing the racial tension and violence in our world today made this an instant must-read for Marvel fans.

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #12

Batman: White Knight

(Batman: White Knight #1-8)

by Sean Gordon Murphy (Writer/Illustrator), Matt Hollingsworth (Colorist)

The Synopsis

He’s been called a maniac, a killer and the “Clown Prince of Crime” but “white knight”? Never. Until now…

Set in a world where the Joker is cured of his insanity and homicidal tendencies, The Joker, now known as “Jack,” sets about trying to right his wrongs. First, he plans to reconcile with Harley Quinn, and then he’ll try to save the city from the one person who he thinks is truly Gotham City’s greatest villain: Batman!

Superstar writer and artist Sean Murphy (PUNK ROCK JESUS, THE WAKE) presents a seven-issue miniseries of a twisted Gotham City with a massive cast of heroes and villains that, at its heart, is a tragic story of a hero and a villain: Batman and The Joker. But which is the hero—and which the villain?

COLLECTING: Batman: White Knight 1-8

The Verdict

A truly unique Elseworld style story that sees the struggle between criminal reform and mental health come to life, Batman fans get to see a world where Jack Napier takes control of his life again, banishing the Joker persona and showing off Batman’s brutal tactics as a hero that have evolved during their war against one another. However is the Joker ever truly gone? Or is he lingering in Jack’s mind, waiting to take control once more. Getting to see the struggle of these two men and those caught in the middle is a great character study, and really gives an even more complex edge to the character of the Joker. 

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Super Sons, Volume 1: When I Grow Up

(Super Sons (Collected Editions) #1)

by Peter J. Tomasi (Contributor), Jorge Jimenez

The Synopsis

A part of DC Universe Rebirth!

Superboy (aka Jonathan Kent) and Robin (aka Damian Wayne) make their super hero duo debut in this all-new series SUPER SONS, part of DC Rebirth.

This debut series looks at the lives of Robin and Superboy and their destiny to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, while we meet a new villain whose ascension parallels the boys’ own understanding of their powers-except that he believes it’s his right to rule over every being on the planet!

Collects SUPER SONS #1-5

The Verdict

A brilliant new era of superheroes rises in this new series. Not only is it a treat to see the sons and family of Batman and Superman living on and enduring the trials that come with being in a superhero family, but it is great to see the sons mimicking the trials and tribulations that came with Batman and Superman’s first forays into uneasy friendship. Fun, action packed and great storytelling abound in this great collection of stories!

Legion: Trauma

(Legion #1-5)

by Peter Milligan (Text), Wilfredo Torres (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

A mind-bending X-Men tale from the brains of Peter Milligan (X-STATIX, Shade the Changing Man) and Wilfredo Torres (MOON KNIGHT, BLACK PANTHER)! David Haller, the son of Professor Charles Xavier, has always had trouble containing the multiple personalities in his mind. And with each personality, comes a wild and dangerous mutant power. But now, a terrifying new personality is threatening to absorb these powers and take over David’s mind and body. In a desperate attempt to save himself, David seeks out the help of renowned young psychotherapist Hannah Jones to delve into his fractured mind and fight back this dark personality. But unknown to Legion…Dr. Jones brings her own demons with her…

COLLECTING: LEGION 1-5 

The Verdict

A truly fascinating look into the world of mental health struggles and how not only the outside world deals with those suffering from it but how those suffering from it deal with the world around them and within them. Adding this into the world of the X-Men, a group of people already facing judgment, hatred, and violence on an everyday occurrence, makes this read even more powerful as Legion seeks out help in stopping one of his alters from taking over completely. A masterful story in the larger world of the X-Men.

Hunt for Wolverine

(Hunt for Wolverine (Collected Editions) #1-4)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author) (Text)

The Synopsis

Wolverine is back – but where is he? Just as the X-Men have finally come to terms with Logan’s death, a terrible secret means old wounds are reopened, truths are questioned, and an epic quest begins across the Marvel Universe. But who will solve the puzzle first? Will it be Daredevil and his crack squad of investigators, including Misty Knight? Or Logan’s former fellow New Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage? Or perhaps Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Daken will be the ones to track him down! With mystery in Madripoor and around the globe, the return of Wolverine will keep you guessing! COLLECTING: HUNT FOR WOLVERINE 1, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: WEAPON LOST 1-4, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: ADAMANTIUM AGENDA 1-4, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER 1-4, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: MYSTERY IN MADRIPOOR 1-4, WHERE’S WOLVERINE PAGES

The Verdict

A great way to really cement Wolverine’s importance to the entire Marvel universe. Not only did he affect the X-Men, but his many enemies, the Avengers and the world as a whole. Getting to see the various perspectives of each team of investigators as they approached the search for Wolverine from so many different angles made this a truly one of a kind read. It’s a must-read for all Wolverine fans out there leading into the Modern Marvel age. 

Return of Wolverine

(Return of Wolverine #1-5)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author), Steve McNiven (Illustrator), Declan Shalvey (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Wolverine’s body has been missing. The entire Marvel Universe has been looking for him, because he’s a very important part of the Super Hero puzzle. And at long last, he will be found.

COLLECTING: RETURN OF WOLVERINE 1-5

The Verdict

One of Logan’s worst nightmares realized, the man known as Wolverine awakens with his memories hazy, and discovers he has been used as a weapon. As the mysterious new enemy slowly reveals themselves, Wolverine struggles as he is pitted against former allies, and before he can realize his full memories he is imprisoned and fighting to save the world from a deadly new threat once more. That’s why he’s the best at what he does. 

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Wolverine: Infinity Watch

(Wolverine: Infinity Watch #1-5)

by Gerry Duggan (Goodreads Author), Andy MacDonald (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Logan goes cosmic! Wolverine has returned, alive and well. But hang on — didn’t he have an Infinity Stone? How did that happen?! And wasn’t he popping up all over the place for a little while? The answers are finally revealed as Logan joined forces with everyone’s favorite god of mischief, Loki Laufeyson! Wolverine is the best there is at what he does. But how good is he at protecting the universe from cosmic disaster? Will he be better or worse than Loki, the admitted lord of lies? We’re about to learn! But one thing’s for sure: Logan’s claws will come in handy against the notorious, unstoppable killing machines known as the Fraternity of Raptors!

Collects Wolverine: Infinity Watch 1-5

The Verdict

After returning back to the land of the living, Wolverine finds his return home is nothing he was expecting. Confronted by the events spiraling out of Infinity Wars, Logan finds himself presented with a mission by his future self from the end of time, and must protect one of the Infinity gems that has become a living human being imbued with its cosmic power. Faced with the merciless power of the cosmic enemies the Raptors, a destroyed X-Mansion and missing friends, Logan truly shines both as his own character and a force of nature in the Marvel universe once more.

Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1

(Wolverine: One-Shots)

by Chris ClaremontLarry HamaSam KiethRyan Stegman (Cover Art), Salvador Larroca (Artist), Scot Eaton (Artist)

The Synopsis

WOLVERINE LEGENDS, CHRIS CLAREMONT, LARRY HAMA & SAM KEITH REUNITE! He goes by many names… Patch…Weapon X…Logan…but most just call him THE WOLVERINE. Join Marvel’s greatest storytellers for three brand-new untold tales of the X-Men’s deadliest member. Blood, broads, and blades… you asked for it, bub!

The Verdict

A great look into Logan as a character more than just the weapon he was made to be. These unique stories never before seen showcase the hero’s complex, painful and emotional story from being forced to become Weapon X to his hidden past and so much more. A truly great read for Wolverine fans who can’t get enough of the character. 

Wolverine Vs. Blade Special (2019) #1

(Wolverine: One-Shots)

by Marc GuggenheimDave Wilkins (Cover Art)

The Synopsis

Two of the deadliest hunters ever to have stalked the night face off! Wolverine vs. Blade — ’nuff said!

The Verdict

Getting to see these two powerful forces of nature within the Marvel Universe not only interact, but battling one another is a Marvel fan’s dream! The action is intense, the new vampiric prophecy that brings them together is interesting and the new foe that comes into the mix heightens the intense bloodshed and intensity of these two characters. A truly wonderful and gritty read!

X-Men Red, Vol. 1: The Hate Machine

(X-Men Red #1)

by Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Mahmud Asrar (Illustrator), Pascal Alixe (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Jean Grey is back – with her own team of X-Men! Reborn into a world she doesn’t recognize, Jean gathers allies old and new – including Nightcrawler, Namor and the All-New Wolverine – to face an evil that threatens to tear down Xavier’s dream by any means necessary! The red squad must infiltrate a top-secret compound in order to save a mutant they’ve never met. They’ll have to avoid guards armed with high-tech guns, protestors armed with burning hate, and Sentinels armed with…even bigger and more dangerous guns than the guards. All in a day’s work for the X-Men! But as battle rages in India, the newest recruit may be the key to the whole team’s survival! Gambit finds himself caught up the intensifying global frenzy of mutant hate – but could one of Jean’s oldest friends turn foe?

COLLECTING: X-MEN RED 1-5, X-MEN RED ANNUAL 1

The Verdict

A one of a kind story that showcases the powerful character that is Jean Grey. For so long her complex nature has shown her as a powerful mutant, a founding member of the X-Men, a complex character overtaken by a powerful cosmic force, and a time-displaced hero trying to find redemption for her future self. Now the true Jean Grey is returned, and getting to see her become not only a new X-Men leader but the visionary behind a brighter mutant future is great to see. Having a new and powerful villain to match Jean’s own skill makes this an even greater read, and speaks volumes to the current climate in our world that sees too much violence and hatred towards specific groups of people. A must-read for X-Men fans!

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Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith, Vol. 1: Imperial Machine

(Star Wars: Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith #1)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Picking up where Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith ends, follow Darth Vader as he receives his legendary red lightsaber and begins his ruthless rise! Anakin Skywalker is now more machine than man. Having lost everything once dear to him, he must forge a new future–as a Dark Lord of the Sith! Join Darth Vader as he learns the way of Darth Sidious and his newly formed Empire–the way of the dark side. And on his first mission, Vader sets his sights on a Jedi who avoided Order 66, a Master who’s long lived in seclusion–one more powerful than any he has faced before! Nobody said the path to power was going to be easy.

COLLECTING: STAR WARS: DARTH VADER 1-6

The Verdict

A great exploration of the very early days of Anakin Skywalker’s rise into the role of Darth Vader. Taking place shortly after the events that saw the Jedi Order destroyed and Anakin nearly killed at the hands of Obi Wan Kenobi, Vader becomes the frightening villain so many Star Wars fans grew up knowing him to be. The complex nature of this character’s struggles mixed with his descent into villainy shine through here, as do the early days of the Inquisitors and their training at Vader’s brutal hands. A true must-read narrative for Star Wars fans!