Tag Archives: dc comics

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.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven (Teen Titans #3) by Kami Garcia (Illustrated by Gabriel Picolo) Review

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

Two teens coming to terms with their emerging powers must work together when powerful forces try to harness their gifts, and in the process they discover a growing bond between them in author Kami Garcia’s “Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven”, the third book in the Teen Titans graphic novel series.

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The Synopsis

From #1 New York Times bestselling author KAMI GARCIA (Beautiful Creatures) and artist GABRIEL PICOLO, the creative duo behind the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Teen Titans: Raven, comes the romantic meet-up we have all been waiting for! 

It seems like years, but it’s only been a few days since Raven Roth recovered her memories, trapped her demon father, Trigon, into her amulet, and had her heart broken for the first time. But she doesn’t have time to think about the past…she has to focus on finding a way to get rid of Trigon for good.

Garfield Logan still can’t believe he has powers that allow him to change into different animals, but the price of knowing that his parents kept this secret hidden from him just feels too high. And what’s more, his difficulty controlling these abilities could have unexpected consequences.

Both are seeking answers from the one person who seems to have them all figured out: Slade Wilson.

When their paths converge in Nashville, Raven and Gar can’t help but feel a connection, despite the secrets they both try to hide. It will take a great amount of trust and courage to overcome the wounds of their pasts. But can they find acceptance for the darkest part of themselves? Or maybe even love?

The Review

A truly remarkable new take on a classic friendship turned to romance. The story of these two young people who not only have incredible powers, but who feel like outcasts, as a result, is not only a brilliant modern twist on the iconic character’s origins, but can also be relatable in so many ways. The theme of finding somewhere that you feel you belong, and finding a true connection with someone who not only accepts you but loves every aspect of you, is brilliantly highlighted through emotional storytelling and an even more emotional atmosphere that the author develops through this story.

The artwork was so unique to the world that the author has crafted, and the artist did a brilliant job of creating warm colors within the character’s depictions with more muted and cooled-down colors in the panels’ setting. The character development was great, as it not only delved into several characters and their development, but worked some surprise DC Comics characters into the narrative naturally, and balanced the storytelling with action and suspense that elevated the character’s personal growth.

The Verdict

A beautiful, action-packed, and wholly original narrative set in an iconic universe, author Kami Garcia and artist Gabriel Picolo’s “Teen Titans: Beast Boy Loves Raven” is a must-read graphic novel of 2021! The subtle yet awe-inspiring artwork and the rich storytelling that leaves room for more adventures in this series make this graphic novel shine brightly, and the book makes for the perfect fall read for longtime and new DC Comics fans alike. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Kami Garcia is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author. She is the coauthor of the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series, which has been published in 51 countries and 37 languages, with over 10 million copies in print. In 2013, Beautiful Creatures released as a feature film from Warner Brothers. Kami is a cofounder of the YALLFEST kid lit book festival and the author of five solo novels, including her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novels Unbreakable and Unmarked (THE LEGION series) and The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos. Kami’s first graphic novel Teen Titans: Raven, with artist Gabriel Picolo, is the first book in her TEEN TITANS series for DC Comics and the adult series JOKER/HARLEY: CRIMINAL SANITY, from DC Black Label.

Find Kami online at kamigarcia.com, on Facebook @KamiGarciaYA, and on Twitter and Instagram @KamiGarcia.

https://kamigarcia.com/

https://twitter.com/kamigarcia

About the Artist

Gabriel Picolo is a Brazilian comic artist and illustrator based in Sao Paulo. His work has become known for its strong storytelling and atmospheric colors. Picolo has developed projects for clients such as Blizzard, BOOM! Studios, Harper Collins, and DeviantART.

https://twitter.com/_gabrielpicolo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti-dCU6HyfA

https://twitter.com/DCComics

https://www.amazon.com/Teen-Titans-Beast-Loves-Raven/dp/1779503865/ref=sr_1_1?adid=082VK13VJJCZTQYGWWCZ&campaign=211041&creative=374001&dchild=1&keywords=Teen+Titans&qid=1632699786&s=books&sr=1-1

Here is an Exclusive Preview of the First Few Pages of “TEEN TITANS: BEAST BOY LOVES RAVEN”

Batman: The Audio Adventures Review

In honor of Batman Day, I thought I’d share this incredible new podcast series that DC Comics fans will not want to miss. HBO Max has decided to bring their own creative spin on iconic and classic radio show style programming and fusing the lore and history of DC Comics into the narrative in their latest project, Batman: The Audio Adventures!

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The Synopsis

A tale of life and death in Gotham City. After years of vigilante crime fighting, Batman prepares  to become an official Gotham member of the Gotham City Police Department, deepening the rift between himself and Catwoman, who’s been using Gotham criminals as her personal ATM. Meanwhile, Two-Face is deteriorating, his two halves at war and his obsession with duality out of control — which his rival the Penguin is more than happy to take advantage of. The Riddler, after years in the shadow of Batman’s A-list foes, is desperate to have his work taken seriously. And the Joker has big, big plans for Valentine’s day… #Batman

The Review

I was enthralled with this engaging series from the very start. Having listened to the first couple of episodes, I can say the writers and actors have produced a truly haunting and entertaining series. The actors manage to create a very cinematic quality to this audio series, bringing such a strong energy to the narrative that it crafts an image in the author’s mind as each story within the episodes play out. 

The format of this audio series itself is what really drew me into the story. The creators managed to capture the engaging and entertaining quality of classic radio shows from the 1920’s, crafting imagery of the family surrounding the radios in their home as prolific narrators paint an image of the story in the listeners minds. It also managed to craft a well-rounded insight into Gotham City itself, including commercials and ads that brought the Batman mythos into the story. Gotham’s vibrancy and clash with chilling and gritty imagery comes through perfectly in the delivery of this series, making this series highly creative.

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The Verdict

A memorable, iconic, and mythological new dive deep into the bowels of Gotham City, HBO Max and DC Comics new series, “Batman: The Audio Adventures”, is a brilliant work of art in a new medium that fans of the characters and comics will be able to get behind. Capturing the very noir atmosphere that classic radio shows always had, this series promises to give readers the much-needed dose of Batman they need in this time of isolation in our needed quarantine, and will entertain listeners for sure. If you haven’t yet, listen to the audio series today!

Rating: 10/10

Stream Batman: The Audio Adventures on September 18 on HBO Max: http://itsh.bo/hbo-max

The series stars Jeffrey Wright as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Catwoman, and John Leguizamo as The Riddler, and includes a number of SNL alums and A-List actors. 

Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story by Lilliam Rivera (Illustrated by Steph C.) Review

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

One of DC Comics best and most beloved characters of the past decade takes center stage in an original story that puts her in the midst of the immigration debate as she struggles with whether or not to stay in the United States and strange visions of Aztec gods in author Lilliam Rivera’s “Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story”.

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The Synopsis

Acclaimed author Lilliam Rivera and artist Steph C. reimagine one of DC’s greatest Green Lanterns, Jessica Cruz, to tell a story about immigration, family, and overcoming fear to inspire hope.

Jessica Cruz has done everything right. She’s a dedicated student, popular among her classmates, and has a loving family that has done everything they can to give her a better life in the United States. While Jessica is a part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, allowing her to go to school and live in the U.S., her parents are undocumented. Jessica usually worries for her parents, but her fears and anxiety escalate as a mayoral candidate with a strong anti-immigration stance runs for office.

As the xenophobia in Coast City increases, Jessica begins to debate whether it’s worth renewing her status to stay in the U.S., or if her family would be safer and better off moving back to Mexico. And despite her attempts to lean on her friends and family, she finds herself constantly visited by visions of Aztec gods, one pulling her towards hope and the other towards anger.

But when her father is detained by I.C.E., Jessica finds herself being pulled into an abyss of fear. With her father gone and feeling helpless, Jessica must find her way out of her fears and ultimately become a voice for her community. 

The Review

What a powerful and engaging new take on the iconic Green Lantern character. This was a fantastic story that really captured the struggle and strength of the Latino community, especially when the debate over immigration has never been higher in recent years. Jessica Cruz is the perfect character to bring this fight for justice and equality to light, as her DC Comics history played into the battle between fear and hope that her character has embodied since her introduction. As a half-Latino man whose late grandfather came to this country as a young child and built a family of his own through dedication and hard work, the cultural element and the familial bonds that Jessica had not only with her parents but her community as a whole really spoke to me, as these core values are something I was taught at an early age.

The fantastic blend of DC Comics character mythology, history, and Aztec mythology was amazing to see come to life here. The visions that Jessica had really did a great job of highlighting the inner-struggle of her character between fear and hope, and seeing things like side character John Stewart come into play and her father’s lessons really made this story shine brightly. The artwork itself was so engaging, striking amazing contrasts between the light and darkness that Jessica struggled with and which settled over Coast City as immigration and politics took more and more of a prominent role in the community. The warmth that the artwork seemed to invoke really spoke to me and helped convey the message clearly.

The Verdict

A brilliant, heartfelt, and refreshing new take on a personal favorite and iconic DC Comics hero, author Lilliam Rivera and artist Steph C.’s “Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story”, is a must-read graphic novel and a contender or graphic novel of the year. DC Comics showcases a brilliant eye for talent as both the artist and the author did an incredible job of relaying a new take on some fan favorite characters and their history while also bringing an important topic and theme to life in a way that can highlight the issues without sacrificing entertainment and relatability. If you haven’t yet, grab your own copy of this amazing story today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning author of children’s books including her latest Never Look Back, a retelling of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice set in New York by Bloomsbury Publishing. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Elle, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.

https://www.lilliamrivera.com/

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About the Illustrator

Steph C. is a Mexican artist and illustrator mainly know for  her stylish characters that evoque a vibrant sensation within story and design whit a sense of geometry and sharp compositions. My goal is to inspire others through the power of creation!

https://thestephc.weebly.com/

https://www.inprnt.com/gallery/steph_c/

https://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/unearthed-a-jessica-cruz-story