Tag Archives: dc comics

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 #19

Harleen

(Harleen #1-3)

by Stjepan Šejić

The Synopsis

Dr. Harleen Quinzel has a theory: mental illness is a survival mechanism. As she seeks to help the broken souls of Gotham City piece together their sanity she will become the one thing she fears the most: one of them. A bold new retelling of the tragic origin of Harley Quinn told through the eyes of the only person who knows her better than anyone: Harleen.

A young psychiatrist with a potential cure for the madness that haunts Gotham City, Dr. Harleen Quinzel must prove her revolutionary theory to a skeptical establishment by delving into the disturbed minds of Arkham Asylum’s deadliest inmates. But the more time she spends with her criminally insane subjects, the closer she is drawn to one patient in particular–and the further she falls away from reality. The birth of legendary antihero Harley Quinn and the shocking origins of her twisted romance with the Joker are revealed in Harleen, a stunning new tale of love and obsession written and illustrated by renowned comics storyteller Stjepan Sejic (Aquaman: Underworld, Sunstone).

Collects: Harleen #1-3.

The Verdict

A brilliant and visceral look into the woman who became Harley Quinn. Before the madness and before the haze lifted and she ended her toxic relationship with The Joker, there was a brilliant young woman who sought to end the cycle of violence infecting particular mental health cases. The heart and emotional depths of this story are well balanced with the striking imagery and thriller elements of this more mature and heart-pounding narrative. 

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Titans: Burning Rage

by Dan JurgensScott Eaton (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Fan-favorite writer Dan Jurgens continues his popular run starring the world’s most powerful teenagers!

Paranoia rules the streets while crime-fighting couple Hawk and Dove lead ordinary citizens in an uprising against the rich–but former Doom Patrol member Mento is pulling their strings! It’s up to the Titans to try and uncover his sinister purpose and keep peace before someone gets killed!

Collects issues #1-5 of TITANS: BURNING RAGE from DC’s popular Titans Giant.

The Verdict

A fantastic look into the heart of the Teen Titans, the author did a brilliant job of crafting a narrative that redefined what family truly means and the dangers of what the feelings of being an outsider and having a crisis identity can do to a person. With great action and showing the power the team has on their own without the Justice League backing them up, this was a promising read.

Batman: The Adventures Continue, Season One

(Batman: The Adventures Continue #1-8)

by Alan BurnettPaul DiniTy Templeton (Artist), Mark Morales (Illustrator), Sean Parsons (Illustrator), Monica Kubina (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer)

The Synopsis

From Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, the visionary producers of Batman: The Animated Series, comes a collection of all-new stories and adventures that turn Batman’s world upside down!

Starting off with an attack on S.T.A.R. Labs in Gotham City by a giant robot that steals an entire room of the laboratory! Batman is going to have to stop it before it can cause more harm… and with Lex Luthor freshly back in Gotham, he knows where to start his search. Will Batman be able to topple the billionaire before he leaves Gotham?

Collects Batman: The Adventures Continue #1-8.

The Verdict

I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series. The impact that had on me would influence my love of comic books and all things DC Comics for the rest of my life. From the stoic heroism of Kevin Conroy’s Batman to the sinister and chillingly captivating villainy of Mark Hamill’s Joker, this world was rife with comic book goodness. The continuation of this series was perfect and captured the tone and noir atmosphere of the show as well as the campy superhero adventuring. The artwork was stunning and the incorporation of larger DCAU elements was great to see here. A definite must-read for die-hard Batman fans.

Batman: Noël

(Batman)

by Lee BermejoJim Lee (Foreword)

The Synopsis

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BestsellerInspired by Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol, BATMAN: NOEL features different interpretations of The Dark Knight, along with his enemies and allies, in different eras.

Along the way, Batman must come to terms with his past, present and future as he battles villains from the campy 1960s to dark and brooding menaces of today, while exploring what it means to be the hero that he is. Members of Batman’s supporting cast enact roles analogous to those from A Christmas Carol, with Robin, Catwoman, Superman, The Joker and more playing roles that will be familiar to anyone who knows Dickens’ original holiday tale.

The Verdict

As a longtime fan of both Batman comics and the classic Christmas Carol story, I thought this gritty and Dickinson-esque story to be quite entertaining. The perfect read for fans of iconic ghost stories meeting equally iconic comic book characters, the narrative was matched by the equally cold yet emotionally-driven artwork. For years fans of the comics have known the stoic and at first glance stone-cold demeanor of Batman, but watching the story peel back the layers of this man’s determination and cynicism was amazing to behold. A definite must-read during the holidays!

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The Joker, Vol. 1

(The Joker (2021) #1-6)

by James Tynion IVGuillem March (Illustrator), Matthew RosenbergFrancesco Francavilla (Illustrator), Arif Prianto (Colorist), Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Tom Napolitano (Letterer), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

The Synopsis

Batman: The Joker War was only the beginning!

Arkham Asylum has been attacked and all eyes are on the Joker. A mysterious benefactor hires former Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon to go on a global manhunt to catch…and possibly kill…the Clown Prince of Crime!

But nothing with the Joker is ever as easy as it seems. What Gordon finds and what the Joker wants him to see…will change his perspective on the world forever. And he’s not the only one who wants the Joker found…

Who are the wicked Sampson family? And who is Vengeance, daughter of Bane, striking fear into the world’s heart?!

Brought to you by the all-star creative team behind Batman: Their Dark Designs, James Tynion IV and Guillem March, this volume includes a special Year One flashback issue co-written with Matthew Rosenberg (Legends of the Dark Knight) and Francesco Francavilla (Batman: The Black Mirror).

Collects: The Joker #1-5, plus Joker stories from Batman #100 and Batman: The Joker War Zone.

The Verdict

As a longtime fan of stories involving the Joker, whom I consider to be one of literature’s greatest and most complex villains, it was amazing to see the approach the authors took to a series dedicated to the Joker. The man’s legacy for heinous crimes defines the narrative, focusing on those who have been pushed too far by his actions as they seek to end his life, while alluding to a deeper mystery and showing off the never-ending depths of the man’s evil. The most fascinating aspects of this series have been the close examination of whether or not the Joker is truly “insane”, or just pure evil, as well as the personal examination of Jim Gordon as a person and not just the personal link between Batman and the Police. It was an incredible story.

Superman: Year One

(Superman: Year One #1-3)

by Frank MillerJohn Romita Jr.

The Synopsis

From legendary writer Frank Miller comes a groundbreaking, definitive treatment of Superman’s classic origin story, with art by John Romita Jr.

From the collapsing spires of Krypton to the bucolic fields of Kansas, from the submerged splendors of Atlantis to the chaotic energy of the Daily Planet, the story of Clark Kent, last son of the House of El, is the stuff of legend. Now, two of comics’ greatest creators join forces to bring a bold new vision of the Man of Steel’s origin to life.

With Superman: Year One, writer Frank Miller (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, Sin City), and artist, John Romita Jr. (Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, Kick-Ass) bring their renowned storytelling talents to bear as they reimagine the formative trials that young Clark must undergo to claim his place I our world.

As he learns to balance the grave responsibilities of his powers against their limitless possibilities, Clark must also build his humanity just like everybody else-one relationship at a time. Greater than a super-powered adventure, more powerful than a coming-of-age tale, Superman: Year One is a visceral exploration of the fundamental importance of choice in this American icon’s journey into heroism.

The Verdict

The balance of light, hope, and heroism with the mature and gritty world-building that Frank Miller has become known for over the years was felt deeply in this story. The exploration of Superman’s earliest years, from his flight from a dying Krypton to a high school experience standing up to bullies, finding young love, and more, was truly captivating. The unique changes to Superman’s origins, from his decision to join the military and train like a soldier to his experiences with an underwater society and his introduction to Batman, Wonder Woman, and the larger DC Universe, really were balanced out with the warm artwork that draws the reader into the narrative further. 

Thor by Donnny Cates, Vol. 1: The Devourer King

(Thor by Donny Cates #1)

by Donny CatesNic Klein (Artist)

The Synopsis

The prince is now a king. All Asgard lies before Thor, the God of Thunder. And after many months of war, the Ten Realms are finally at peace. But the skies above the Realm Eternal are never clear for long. The Black Winter is coming. And the God of the Storm will be powerless before it. Before him lies the Black Winter; behind, a trail of death wrought by his own hand. The God of Thunder hurtles through the cosmos, searching for the power to save Asgard and all existence. But no power in the heavens can save a god – a king – from his bloody duty. COLLECTING: THOR (2020) 1-5 

The Verdict

A brave new world emerges out of the War of the Realms! Thor is now king of Asgard, and the exploration of his psyche and his responsibilities now in the face of that new role is so fantastic to read and watch unfold. The decision-making of the hero and the awe-inspiring power he wields is matched by the much grander threats he must now face. The artwork makes readers feel drawn into an Old Norse mythological tale, while the events themselves are very cosmic and multiversal in nature (a great little nod to showing how Marvel and DC’s omniverses could be connected). A gripping and awesome must-read tale for fans of Thor!

Loki: The God Who Fell to Earth

(Loki (2019) #1-5)

by Daniel Kibblesmith (Goodreads Author), Oscar Bazaldua (Illustrations), Andy MacDonald (Illustrations), Victor Olazaba (Inker), David Curiel (Colors), Carlos López (Colors), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

Loki is…Earth’s Mightiest Hero?! After dying a grisly death in WAR OF THE REALMS, the reborn Trickster learned a valuable lesson in warmongering: Don’t get caught. But now Loki has a whole new set of responsibilities – and his brother Thor isn’t about to let him walk away from them. Restless with his new duties, Loki seeks out the advice of the closest thing Midgard has to a king – Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man! Close enough, right? But it turns out that Shell-head isn’t too happy to see Loki, on account of all that stuff he did in the past. Now the God of Mischief/Stories/Evil/Chaos has to outsmart the cleverest man on Earth – or die (again) trying. Meanwhile, could Thor be hatching a mischievous plot of his own? COLLECTING: LOKI (2019) 1-5, MATERIAL FROM WAR OF THE REALMS: OMEGA (2019) 1

The Verdict

Loki’s heroic journey is what Marvel fans have been dying to read. The most beloved and engaging villain in Marvel’s long history, the trickster is no more, and the storyteller has arrived. Seeking his own story, readers have treated to a fantastic and fresh take on a new hero’s emergence and the journey it takes to reach that role. Pitting Loki against a powerful cosmic foe and seeing his interactions with Tony Stark were both humorous and captivating, and the rich mythos blended with the colorful artwork so well. 

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Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Monster Squad

(Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1-6)

by Frank J. Barbiere (Goodreads Author), Brent Schoonover (Illustrations), Al Ewing (Text), Stefano Caselli (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Hidden deep beneath Area 13 lies the clandestine headquarters of S.T.A.K.E. – a top secret division of S.H.I.E.L.D. that houses aliens, mythical beasts and all manner of extra-normals. Now, under the command of legendary soldier – and newly resurrected Life Model Decoy – Dum Dum Dugan, these monsters step out of the shadows and defend the world against threats too dangerous for normal men as the All-New, All-Different, all-too-literal Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.! COLLECTING: HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. 1-5, MATERIAL FROM S.H.I.E.L.D. 9

The Verdict

A fantastic look into the supernatural and horror aspects of the Marvel Universe and how it impacts the broader Marvel Universe overall! The more muted and haunted artwork compliments the mythos-heavy storyline and exploring what it means to be a “monster” in the Marvel universe was so fascinating to read. The deep-cut villains that are explored here really make this an unusual yet powerful story to dive into.

Non-Stop Spider-Man, Vol. 1: Big Brain Play

(Non-Stop Spider-Man #1)

by Joe KellyChris Bachalo (Visual Art)

The Synopsis

Buckle up, tiger! Get ready for the most action-packed, pulse-pounding, adrenaline-pumping comic of all time! Once you read page one, panel one, Spider-Man just does not stop! A mystery at Empire State University thrusts the webslinger into a thrilling adventure that starts in uptown Manhattan and takes him around the world — pitting Spidey against Marvel villains old and new and giving you a Spider-Man adventure (and a Spider-Man) the likes of which you’ve never seen! Something terrible is happening to ESU’s students — some of New York’s brightest young minds — and to save the day this time is going to take a side of Peter Parker that neither you nor Peter thought existed. And the clock is ticking! This book is not for the faint of heart, so check with your doctor before reading!

COLLECTING: Non-Stop Spider-Man (2021) 1-5

The Verdict

A much more intimate and unique story for longtime fans of Spider-Man, the look into life for Peter as a college student and getting to see how the pressures of school or university life can impact students while paired with a superhero world and advanced tech made this such a captivating story. The bright and colorful artwork blended well with the fast-paced action, and made for a truly memorable experience, especially with the shocking villains Spidey had to face. 

Sinister War

(Amazing Spider-Man (2018) (Collected Editions) #15.5)

by Nick SpencerMark Bagley (Artist)

The Synopsis

The next amazing chapter in Nick Spencer’s shocking saga of Spider-Man — is guaranteed to get your Spidey senses tingling! We literally can’t say any more without ruining it all!

The Verdict

A truly incredible deep-dive into all things Spider-Man. The depths of Peter Parker’s heroism and strength are pushed to the limits as almost every Spider-Man foe and iteration of the Sinister Six collides in an attempt to take his life. The hunt takes an even more personal note with the final act of the villainous Kindred, as shocking revelations lead to emotional ends and new beginnings. The gripping story matched the brutal yet artful imagery used in the narrative and made for a brilliant story.

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Runaways, Vol. 1: Find Your Way Home

(Runaways (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Rainbow Rowell (Goodreads Author), Kris Anka (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

GET READY TO RUN!

The “IT” book of the early 2000s with the original cast is back–Nico! Karolina! Molly! Chase! Old Lace! And, could it be…GERT?!

The heart of the Runaways died years ago, but you won’t believe how she returns! Superstar author Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Carry On) makes her Marvel debut with fan-favorite artist Kris Anka (ALL-NEW X-MEN, CAPTAIN MARVEL) in the series that will shock you and break your heart! Did Chase and Gert’s love survive their time apart? Have Karolina and Nico’s feelings made their friendship impossible? What emotional landmines lie in wait to DESTROY the Runaways?!

COLLECTING: RUNAWAYS 1-6 

The Verdict

I was uniquely drawn to this series because out of all of Marvel’s properties, the Runaways was one of the teams I was the least familiar with. Aside from Nico, I was not familiar with the team members, and getting to see the team’s dynamic in a follow-up series was so fascinating to read. The shocking return of a long-thought-dead member packs a punch with its suddenness and heart, and the impact of her return on both her and the people she calls family is so engaging. The lighthearted dynamics between them are paired equally with their drama, and the exploration of everything from family and romance to their place in the Marvel Universe made this an incredible story to behold. 

The Nice House on the Lake, Vol. 1 by  James Tynion IV, Álvaro Martínez Bueno (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Goodreads Author) (Colorist) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A sudden invitation to a good friend’s house turns into a nightmare in author James Tynion IV’s “The Nice House on the Lake, Vol.1”,  the latest horror series from DC Comics.

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The Synopsis

With Something Is Killing the Children and The Department of Truth, James Tynion IV has changed the face of horror in modern comics—now get ready for his most ambitious story yet, alongside his Detective Comics partner Álvaro Martínez Bueno!

Everyone who was invited to the house knows Walter—well, they know him a little, anyway. Some met him in childhood; some met him months ago. And Walter’s always been a little…off.

But after the hardest year of their lives, nobody was going to turn down Walter’s invitation to an astonishingly beautiful house in the woods, overlooking an enormous sylvan lake. It’s beautiful, it’s opulent, it’s private—so a week of putting up with Walter’s weird little schemes and nicknames in exchange for the vacation of a lifetime? Why not?

All of them were at that moment in their lives when they could feel themselves pulling away from their other friends; wouldn’t a chance to reconnect be…nice? In The Nice House on the Lake, the overriding anxieties of the 21st century get a terrifying new face—and it might just be the face of the person you once trusted most.

Collects The Nice House on the Lake #1-6. 

The Review

This was such a beautifully balanced and thought-provoking read. The author and artist found the perfect harmony with one another, capturing the tone and settings of both the main event and the narrative futures that each character’s arc opens the chapter with. The striking contrasts between the grim horror of the events happening outside of the Lake House and the mind-bending science fiction happening within the home and its surroundings will captivate and send chills down readers’ spines. 

The mystery and character growth really shine through here. The mystery surrounding Walter and his origins are what draws the cast of characters into the narrative, to begin with, eager to learn why their caring and powerful friend has drawn them together on the eve of such a cataclysmic event. The examination of who these people were on the outside of the Lake House and the growing fears they each face play into the greater theme of isolation and the anxiety many are facing in this new era in our own world.

The Verdict

A breathtaking, artistically striking, and truly entertaining read, author James Tynion IV’s “The Nice House on the Lake, Vol. 1” is a must-read narrative, and leaves us wanting more. The brilliant artwork and captivating story will keep readers on the edge of their seat, and make for a heart-pounding and thoughtful story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Prior to his first professional work, Tynion was a student of Scott Snyder’s at Sarah Lawrence College. A few years later, he worked as for Vertigo as Fables editor Shelly Bond’s intern. In late 2011, with DC deciding to give Batman (written by Snyder) a back up feature, Tynion was brought in by request of Snyder to script the back ups he had plotted. Tynion would later do the same with the Batman Annual #1, which was also co-plotted by Snyder. Beginning in September 2012, with DC’s 0 issue month for the New 52, Tynion will be writing Talon, with art by Guillem March. In early 2013 it was announced that he’d take over writing duties for Red Hood and the Outlaws in April.

Tynion is also currently one of the writers in a rotating team in the weekly Batman Eternal series.

https://jamestynioniv.substack.com/

https://tinyonion.squarespace.com/

Mister Miracle: The Great Escape by Varian Johnson  (Illustrated by Daniel Isles) Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young man eager to escape the hellscape of Apokolips must contend with his loyalty to his friends, a promise to protect someone close to his mentor, and a growing bond with one of his school’s deadliest warriors in author Varian Johnson and illustrator Daniel Isles’s “Mister Miracle: The Great Escape”, the latest graphic novel from DC Comics.

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The Synopsis

Falling in love was never part of the escape plan.

Scott Free is a student at the Goodness Academy, on the planet Apokolips, ruled by Lord Darkseid. Sounds pretty cool, right? Wrong. Scott Free wants nothing more than to leave Apokolips for planet Earth; the only problem is that no one has ever left Apokolips of their own free will…or alive.

Scott Free has a plan, a foolproof plan, a plan that his found family depends on for their own freedom. But that plan never involved falling in love with the head of the Female Furies, Big Barda-the one person tasked with ensuring he never escapes.

From the Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author of The Parker Inheritance, Varian Johnson, and afrofuturist artist Daniel Isles (DirtyRobot) comes the story of an escape plan that will take a miracle to pull off. Lucky for Scott, everyone calls him MISTER MIRACLE! Okay, fine, no one calls him that…yet.

The Review

This was such a powerful and fantastic read for both DC fans and YA fans alike. The exploration of one of DC Comics most hostile and chilling settings and the hierarchy that resides on the planet was such a refreshing change of pace, and focusing on a love story that is rarely shown in the grand scheme of things in the multiverse was amazing to watch unfold, especially in a YA setting. Apokolips proved to be the perfect fictional world to explore class systems and racism as a whole, showing that while those such as Prince Kalibak and Darkseid themselves look down upon everyone, even those that serve them have others to look down upon, and highlights the damage and hatred that kind of mindset can bring about in others.

The characters were the true heart of the narrative. Scott is the perfect YA hero here, giving readers a personal perspective of life in Granny Goodness’s orphanage, an iconic DC location in comics, and showing how he and Barda met and fell in love in a fresh and socially relevant way was amazing to read. The diversity and action balanced well with one another, and the deep-cut DC Comics characters and locations will have DC fans thrilled. 

The Verdict

A memorable, fresh, and entertaining YA and DC Comics graphic novel, author Varian Johnson and Daniel Isles’s “Mister Miracle: The Great Escape” is a must-read graphic novel and the perfect start to DC Comics’ 2022 schedule. The action, the muted tones in the art to highlight the despair that comes from a life on Apokolips, and fantastic character growth made this a brilliant read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Varian Johnson is the author of several novels for children and young adults, including The Parker Inheritance, which won both Coretta Scott King Author Honor and Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awards; The Great Greene Heist, an ALA Notable Children’s book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book; and the graphic novel Twins, illustrated by Shannon Wright, an NPR Best Book.

Varian was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is honored to now be a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.

https://varianjohnson.com/

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!

Batman and Robin and Howard by Jeffrey Brown Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two young boys find themselves becoming fast rivals after one joins a new school, and they compete to be the most athletic and most educated student in the class. Little does Howard know that the boy he’s competing against is Damian Wayne, son of Batman and known as the costumed hero Robin, in author Jeffrey Brown’s “Batman and Robin and Howard”. 

The Synopsis

Sidelined by a crime-fighting field trip gone wrong, Damian Wayne must refocus his attention on his life as an average student and learning how to be a team player–especially when he meets his match in his new rival, Howard.

To Damian Wayne, there is nothing more important than protecting the streets of Gotham City as Robin. But when he makes a critical mistake while out on patrol, Damian finds himself benched. And what’s more, Damian’s dad, Bruce Wayne–a.k.a. Batman–decides that starting over in a new school will be just the distraction Damian needs from his superhero routine.

Certain that Gotham Metro Academy has nothing to teach him, Damian is completely unprepared for the challenge he finds in Howard–the smartest and most athletic kid in school. The boys’ rivalry is instantaneous and fierce…and both are sure only one of them can be the best in their class.

What follows is a funny story of rivalry, friendship, and mystery from bestselling author and illustrator Jeffrey Brown.

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The Review

This was such a fun and humorous dive into the life of Damian Wayne. From the fumbling father/son relationship he has with Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, to the competitive nature and lone-wolf style mindset he has carried into every facet of his life, and even the detective mindset that he inherited from his father as he is forced to step up to help solve the mystery crimes surrounding soccer teams at schools. The inclusion of Batman lore and mythos into the children’s book narrative and style (as well as incredible children’s artwork), made this story feel equally balanced and engaging for both DC Fans and children’s book readers alike. 

The balance with this humor and lore came with the educational and moral lessons that the story brought upon young readers. From showing how we often don’t get along with those who mirror our worst impulses and instincts, to finding common ground with frenemies and becoming friends instead, to finding balance and letting go a bit of the control we have over our lives, these themes and messages found in the relationship developed between Damian and Howard were amazing to watch unfold and would keep readers enthralled with the growing narrative. 

The Verdict

A thoughtful, entertaining, and brilliant children’s read, author Jeffrey Brown’s “Batman and Robin and Howard”, the latest children’s book in association with DC Comics, is a must-read children’s book of 2021! A gripping and educational read, the book is filled with personal and warm imagery and does a great job of developing their characters so that readers are not only entertained but see themselves in the characters as well. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jeffrey Brown was born in 1975 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up reading comic books with dreams of someday drawing them, only to abandon them and focus on becoming a ‘fine artist.’ While earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Brown abandoned painting and began drawing comics with his first autobiographical book ‘Clumsy’ in 2001. Since then he’s drawn a dozen books for publishers including TopShelf, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, McSweeney’s and Chronicle Books. Simon & Schuster published his latest graphic memoir ‘Funny Misshapen Body.’ In addition to directing an animated video for the band Death Cab For Cutie, Brown has had his work featured on NPR’s ‘This American Life’ His art has been shown at galleries in New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Paris. Jeffrey’s work has also appeared in the Best American Comics series and received the Ignatz Award in 2003 for ‘Outstanding Minicomic.’

He currently lives in Chicago with his wife Jennifer and their son Oscar.