Tag Archives: green lantern

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

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #14

Hawkman, Vol. 1: Awakening

(Hawkman (2018) #1)

by Robert Venditti (Goodreads Author), Bryan Hitch (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Carter Hall is Hawkman, the resurrected winged warrior who’s lived a thousand lifetimes. But what happens when one of his past lives comes knocking on his door?

Spinning out of the events of Dark Nights: Metal, Carter Hall returns to the DC Universe! An explorer of the ancient and unknown, Hawkman finds himself embroiled in a long-standing mission to discover the true purpose of his many reincarnations. Carter will race around the globe trying to piece together an ancient prophecy, but will he be able to face down his own past lives lurking around every corner?

Fan favorite writer Robert Venditti (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, The Flash) is joined by industry superstar Bryan Hitch (Justice League, The Ultimates) to redefine DC’s winged wonder for a new era!

Collects Hawkman #1-6

The Verdict

An amazing deep-dive into the vast history of the DC Universe, readers will thoroughly enjoy learning just how much history Hawkman, aka Carter Hall, has lived through. The character becomes so much more complex and expands what everyone thought they knew of the DC Universe as a whole that this comic book shines a light into the vast darkness that has been plaguing the heroes in recent years. It’s a must-read for any long-time Hawkman fans. 

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Young Justice, Vol. 1: Gemworld

(Young Justice (2019) #1)

by Brian Michael BendisPatrick Gleason (Illustrator), John Timms (Illustrator), Emanuela Lupacchino (Illustrator), Kris Anka (Illustrator), Viktor Bogdanovic (Illustrator), Doc Shaner (Illustrator), Ray McCarthy (Illustrator), Jonathan Glapion (Illustrator), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Gabe Eltaeb (Colorist), Alex Sinclair (Colorist), Chris Sotomayor (Colorist), Hi-Fi (Colorist) 

The Synopsis

Superboy! Wonder Girl! Robin! Impulse! Amethyst! All united in Young Justice! The hottest new super-team, written by award winning author Brian Michael Bendis for his new imprint Wonder Comics!

When the nightmare dimension known as Gemworld invades Metropolis, teen heroes will unite to deal with the situation–but they’re quickly shocked to discover the battle may be the key to the return of Conner Kent, a.k.a. Superboy!

This mix of fan favorites and new legacy heroes will be the center point for some of the biggest goings-on at DC! As if that weren’t enough, Brian Michael Bendis (Superman, Action Comics, Pearl) reunites with all-star artist Patrick Gleason (Superman, Action Comics, Green Lantern Corps) to bring the new heroes of DC’s Wonder Comics to life!

Aimed at providing readers with honest and innovative reading experiences, Brian Michael Bendis’ Wonder Comics is a celebration of the moments of in life when discoveries are made – when purpose and meaning are revealed and destinies are defined. Featuring the young heroes of the DC Universe as penned by all-star creative teams in exciting new adventures that will celebrate the wonders of life, love and comics.

Collects issues #1-6

The Verdict

What a bright, fun new chapter for the DC Universe. While so much of the DC Comics world has become filled with darkness as Doom threatens to consume everything, the Young Justice team showcases a connectivity and humor that few comics are capturing at the moment. The return of heroes like Bart Allen and Superboy, aka Connor Kent, was amazing to see unfold, and seeing Tim Drake take on a leadership role was amazing to see as well. Incredibly written, this is a must-read for longtime DC Comics fans. 

The Green Lantern, Vol. 1: Intergalactic Lawman

(The Green Lantern (Collected Editions) #1)

by Grant MorrisonLiam Sharp (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Legendary writer Grant Morrison is taking Green Lantern back to his roots, exploring the popular hero’s role as the universe’s best space cop. It’s Law and Order in space as Hal Jordan encounters a mysterious alien hiding in plain sight, setting off a chain of events that will bring the Green Lantern Corps to its knees!

When Green Lantern Hal Jordan encounters an alien hiding in plain sight, it sets off a chain of events that rocks the Green Lantern Corps to its foundations. There’s an intergalactic conspiracy afoot, and a traitor within the Corps might be pulling the strings… Then, the Earth itself has vanished and been put up for auction to a buyer whose claim may be impossible to break without Hal violating the Lanterns’ most cherished rule!

With vivid new takes on the Controllers, the Darkstars, the Guardians of the Universe and many more Green Lantern enemies and allies drawn from decades of DC Comics, Morrison and Sharp spin an epic tale that ranges from Earth to the farthest reaches of space, starting in The Green Lantern: Intergalactic Lawman, collecting issues #1-6 of the new hit series!

Collects The Green Lantern #1-6.

The Verdict

A visceral, cosmic adventure that puts Hal Jordan into the role of hero and undercover cop all at once, the latest Green Lantern series focuses on one of DC’s most prolific heroes to fill out the role of Green Lantern. Highlighting Hal Jordan’s unique willpower in the face of frightening, horrifying cosmic threats, the new iterations or viewpoints of the Darkstars and the Controllers puts Hal in a truly new position within the DC Universe. 

Doomsday Clock

(Doomsday Clock #1-12)

by Geoff Johns

The Synopsis

The critically acclaimed sequel to the best-selling Watchmen written by master storytellers Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. As the Doomsday Clock ticks toward midnight the final fate of the DC Universe lies in a confrontation between Superman and Dr. Manhattan that will result in the end of everything!

The world of Watchmen collides with the DC Universe in the most shocking story in DC history! Something is amiss in the DC Universe. Following the events of DC Universe: Rebirth and Batman/The Flash: The Button, Geoff Johns (Flashpoint, Justice League, DC Universe: Rebirth) and Gary Frank (Batman: Earth One, Shazam!, DC Universe: Rebirth) reuinite to rewrite the past and future of the DC Universe in a story hailed as a masterpiece!

Seven years after the events of Watchmen, Adrian Veidt has been exposed as the murderer of millions. Now a fugitive, he has come up with a new plan to save his once-adoring world: find Dr. Manhattan. Alongside a new Rorschach and the deadly Mime and Marionette he arrives in the DC Universe and finds it on the brink of collapse. International tensions are running rampant with The Supermen Theory implicating the U.S. government in creating superhumans to maintain global dominance! But what is Dr. Manhattan doing in the DC Universe? And how is he related to the events of DC Universe: Rebirth and The Button? Our heroes will discover these answers all point to one thing. The end.

Collects issues #1-12 of the groundbreaking series

The Verdict

One of the best graphic novels of the Rebirth era, Doomsday Clock brings together the worlds of Watchmen and DC Comics in a truly brutal, gritty yet thought-provoking way. Examining the state of the world as a whole and a hero’s place within it, the story looks into how violence and mistrust can lead to downward spirals within any society, while the larger story of Dr. Manhattan showcases how the DC Universe has evolved and grown over the years and how the simplest change can have dire consequences on the future. The showdown that leads to Superman facing Dr. Manhattan is amazing to see unfold. This is a graphic novel you do not want to miss. 

Superman, Volume 1: The Unity Saga: Phantom Earth

(Superman (2018) #1)

by Brian Michael BendisIvan Reis (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Iconic creator Brian Michael Bendis finally lands writing the first superhero ever, as Clark Kent battles the alien that blew up Krypton–Rogol Zaar–in this great entry-point graphic novel, Superman Vol. 1!

The fallout from the Man of Steel graphic novel has Clark looking at the world through new eyes…with new ideas about what Superman could and should do for the city of Metropolis and the planet Earth. His first job? Getting the planet back out of the Phantom Zone!

A bold new chapter for the greatest superhero of all time and one of the greatest creators of his generation begins here, as Bendis and artist Ivan Reis begin their run on the all-new SUPERMAN! This graphic novel also serves as a sister series to Bendis’ new run beginning in Action Comics Vol. 1! Collects issues #1-6.

The Verdict

A brand new age of Superman comics, the latest chapter of Clark Kent’s life is an interesting one. Not only is he faced with protecting his adoptive home as it begins to be pulled into the terrifying Phantom Zone and facing a powerful foe in Rogol Zaar, the being responsible for Krypton’s destruction, but he must also contend with his personal life as his wife Lois finds herself in the spotlight and people begin speculating about their relationship, and his son finds himself on his own cosmic journey with a shocking ally. The artwork is incredible and the story really highlights how Superman’s world and stories really connect with the larger DC Universe often. 

Catwoman, Vol. 1: Copycats

(Catwoman (2018) #1)

by Joëlle JonesFernando Blanco (Illustrations), Laura Allred (Colorist)

The Synopsis

Coming off of the wedding of the century to Batman, Selina Kyle stars in an all-new solo series written and illustrated by Eisner Award nominee Joëlle Jones!

The wedding night’s barely over, but Catwoman’s back on the streets, this time to expose a copycat who’s pulling heists around Gotham City. As Selina cracks the whip on her former criminal cohorts, she’s attracting unwanted attention from one of Gotham’s most dangerous groups. The mob? Nope. Try the GCPD. And as if the Bat-Bride didn’t have enough problems, don’t miss the debut of an all-new villain determined to make trouble for all nine of Selina’s lives.

Fresh off of her run on Batman with superstar writer Tom King, creator Joëlle Jones writes and illustrates this dynamic new series. Collects issues #1-6.

The Verdict 

An engaging new chapter in the life of Selina Kyle, fans will be enthralled with Catwoman’s solo comic series. Seeing the character put on appearances within a new city in an effort to hide her pain at being forced to leave the man she loves behind in Gotham, Selina is confronted by a powerful criminal leader who challenges Selina’s power and assurance in any situation. Examining her skills as a master thief and a would-be hero, the comic highlights the complexity of the character and looks at her life away from the life of Batman. 

The Punisher, Vol. 1: World War Frank

(The Punisher (2018) #1)

by Matthew RosenbergSzymon Kudranski (Illustrator)

The Synopsis 

You can take the Punisher out of the War Machine… Frank Castle may no longer have the Stark-designed armor, but he has retained his newly acquired taste for “big game” criminal targets – and he’s hungry for more. But the paths to such perilous pursuits are fraught with dangers bigger than any Frank has faced before, and this lone wolf could use powerful help on his way up to the world stage. A delicate situation gets more complicated when Daredevil enters the fray – and he wants to put the Punisher down even more than Frank’s newest foes! Where can the Punisher go from here…but down? Matthew Rosenberg continues pushing the boundaries of the Punisher, now joined by acclaimed artist Riccardo Burchielli for the book that Frank-ophiles will be talking about for years to come!

COLLECTING: THE PUNISHER (2018) 1-5

The Verdict

An exciting, visceral and gritty new chapter in the life of the Punisher, Frank Castle is a man on a mission once more. Seeking redemption of his own making after being tricked into working for HYDRA, Frank finds himself hunting down not mobsters or drug dealers, but Baron Zemo and all those who work for HYDRA. Seeing the Punisher bring his own violent brand of justice to an organization like HYDRA really elevates Frank’s heroics and vigilantism as a whole. Seeing the various heroes of the Marvel universe try to bring Frank in as he causes mayhem and takes out iconic villains will engage fans greatly as the series unfolds. 

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West Coast Avengers, Vol. 1: Best Coast

(West Coast Avengers (2018) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Stefano Caselli (Illustrations), Daniele Di Nicuolo (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

The Avengers go West once again – but these ain’t your daddy’s Whackos! A bold new era begins for the mightiest heroes to ever live on the Pacifi c Coast. That means Hawkeye (your favorite one, Kate Bishop)! Hawkeye (the other one, Clint Barton)! America Chavez! Kid Omega! Gwenpool! And a guy named Fuse! Wait, what? That’s right, these are the new West Coast Avengers. And you better hope they can figure out how to save the world, and fast -because big things are headed for their part of the planet! Including the attack of the 50-foot werewoman – better known as original WCA member Tigra! The West Coast Avengers are back, and you’re going to love what comes next!

COLLECTING: WEST COAST AVENGERS 1-4, YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS #6, THE UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #1 

The Verdict

A fun, hilarious, and action-packed new chapter in the lives of Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) and her allies, fans are going to love this limited series. The humor of characters who fans never would have imagined being on a team together, especially Quentin Quire and Gwenpool, is felt on every page of this series, and the exploration of crime and misadventures from villains on the West Coast is a unique change of pace for the Marvel heroes. The brief revival of the West Coast Avengers is a fun read that is not to be missed. 

Uncanny X-Men: X-Men Disassembled

(Uncanny X-Men (2018) #1)

by Matthew Rosenberg (Text), Ed BrissonKelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Mahmud Asrar (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

The flagship X-Men title that started it all is back — bigger and better than ever! Why is the X-Men’s newest crisis shaping up to be…their final adventure?! It all starts with a mysterious and tragic disappearance, but their investigation draws the X-Men into a much larger — and deadlier — situation! Who or what are the Four Horsemen of Salvation, and what is their connection to Nate Grey, the incredibly powerful mutant known as X-Man? Will Nate’s home dimension, the Age of Apocalypse, make its horrifying return? Or does the dawn of the Age of X-Man mean the end of the Uncanny X-Men?! It’s a statusquo- smashing story that just might leave all of mutantkind in tatters, and it will take three fan-favorite writers to deliver the mutant madness!

COLLECTING: Uncanny X-Men (2018) 1-10

The Verdict

A powerful first chapter in the latest “final stand” for the X-Men, as they face an all-powerful Nate Grey as he gets set to reshape the planet into his own image, bringing about his own brand of “peace”. As the X-Men face not only their end but all of Earth’s end as well, they will have to come together to show the world why mutants deserve equality, not hate. Yet Nate’s attacks make this mission more challenging than ever, and fans are able to see how the frustration and pain being alienated is starting to affect the X-Men. A great way to look at how the X-Men team has evolved and grown over the years. 

Mr. and Mrs. X, Vol. 1: Love and Marriage

(Mr. & Mrs. X #1)

by Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Oscar Bazaldua (Illustrator), Terry Dodson (Illustrator), David López (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

To the surprise of everyone, the Marvel Universe’s hottest couple has tied the knot! But there’s no time to enjoy wedded bliss when ROGUE and GAMBIT find themselves tasked with protecting a mysterious package that just about everyone in the galaxy is trying to steal. What secrets does this package hold that everyone from the Imperial Guard and the Starjammers to Technet and Deathbird (with an entire Shi’ar rebellion in tow!) will risk everything for?! Perhaps more importantly, is there anything worse than DEADPOOL crashing your honeymoon?

COLLECTING: MR. AND MRS. X 1-6 

The Verdict

Hilarious, action-packed, and romantic, this incredible X-Men read focuses on two of the most beloved and complicated heroes within the mutant community, Rogue and Gambit. Their on and off relationship takes new heights as they finally tie the knot, but marriage doesn’t end the complications of their life. From Deadpool making his way onto their honeymoon in space to secret X-Men missions nearly ending the marriage before it starts, this series does a fantastic job of exploring the complex nature of these two hero’s lives as well as how amazing they function as a unit together. 

Fantastic Four by Dan Slott, Vol. 1: Fourever

(Fantastic Four (2018) #1)

by Dan SlottSara Pichelli (Illustrations), Stefano Caselli (Illustrations), Nico Leon (Illustrations), Simone Bianchi (Illustrations), Skottie Young (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

The wait is over! The Thing, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic – the fi rst four heroes of the Marvel Age of Comics -are about to be reunited! Nothing is impossible anymore. Anything can happen. It’s time. Jump in and be part of the grand return of the greatest family in the Marvel Universe! As an event occurs that will forever change the Fantastic Four, the next chapter begins in the life of Victor Von Doom. Meanwhile, Alicia Masters adopts two kittens. And no, they’re not Skrulls. They’re two normal, everyday kittens! FANTASTIC FOUR is a book about the grand, cosmic wonder of the Marvel Universe. It’s also about family and real life. And people get pets. Stop obsessing about Alicia’s kittens.

COLLECTING: FANTASTIC FOUR 1-4

The Verdict

After being apart for years after the events of Secret Wars, the Fantastic Four are back together again. As Johnny and Ben miss their friends and family, Reed and Sue are traversing the new multiverse as their son Franklin Richards helps create these new universes, while Valeria and the Future Foundation record and analyze the inhabitants of these universes. Soon the Fantastic Four are pulled back together by a powerful, multiversal threat, while Ben takes a giant step to take his relationship with Alicia to all new levels. The rebirth of the Fantastic Four’s world and their adventures throughout time and space are a welcome treat as Marvel witnesses the return of the world’s first superhero family. 

Death of the Inhumans

(Inhumans in Chronological Order #38)

by Donny CatesAriel Olivetti (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

The alien Kree are on a killing spree, leaving behind a message: Join or die. Thousands of Inhumans have already made their choice – the evidence floats bleeding in space. Attilan died screaming without its king. Now Black Bolt, monarch of the Inhumans, sets out for vengeance – and leads the last of his people to their deaths. For the Kree have a weapon of their own…one that will teach the Silent King what it truly means to be voiceless. It’s an Inhuman massacre as rising star Donny Cates and sensational artist Ariel Olivetti bring the Inhumans to the lowest point in their long and storied history – and quite possibly their last!

COLLECTING: DEATH OF INHUMANS 1-5

The Verdict

Facing their own extinction, the Inhuman survivors, including members of the Royal Family, must avenge their people as the Kree set out to destroy their long lost creations. Black Bolt is pushed to his limits and has his willpower and power set tested in more ways than one. The brutality and shocking discovery of a new enemy makes this series stand out and gives a whole new context to the mythology of the Inhumans. A must-read. 

Captain America by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 1: Winter in America

(Captain America (2018) #1)

by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Writer), Leinil Francis Yu (Illustrations), Gerry Alanguilan (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

It’s winter in America! For over 70 years, Captain America has stood in stalwart defense of our country and its people. But in the aftermath of Hydra’s takeover of the nation, Cap is a figure of controversy, carrying a tarnished shield…and a new enemy is rising! Who are they? And how do they intend to co-opt and corrupt the symbol that is Captain America? Distrusted by a nation that seems to have lost faith in him, Steve Rogers is a man out of time – and out of options! Where can a now-unsanctioned Captain America turn for aid and assistance in order to stem the rise of the cabal of influence brokers known as the Power Elite? Join acclaimed BLACK PANTHER scribe Ta-Nehisi Coates for the next chapter of Captain America’s life!

COLLECTING: CAPTAIN AMERICA 1-6, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2018 (AVENGERS/CAPTAIN AMERICA) 1 (CAPTAIN AMERICA STORY)

The Verdict

Readers will be enthralled and engaged with this all-new chapter in the story of Captain America. Getting to see Steve Rodgers face a world now that distrusts him and his heroism after a HYDRA copy of himself tarnished his reputation by nearly destroying the world gives this new series an added element of drama that balances out the action. It is definitely a series that plays upon the state of our world as it stands now, and is a great read overall. 

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Doctor Strange by Mark Waid, Vol. 1: Across The Universe

(Doctor Strange (2018) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Mark WaidJesus Saiz (Illustrations), Javier Pina (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

The Eye of Agamotto is closed! Doctor Stephen Strange has lost his connection to the Earth’s arcane power, and he can’t wait to recover while nightmares press against the seams of our reality. Tony Stark offers a 21st-century solution: when astral travel fails, try astronautical travel. Enter Doctor Strange: Space-Explorer Supreme! New spells, allies and enemies–new and old–await Strange beyond the stars, along with corners and secrets of the Marvel Universe, seen here for the first time! Space is endless, but time is short. After years of threats, Stephen’s bill for magic use is coming due–who will come to collect?!

COLLECTING: DOCTOR STRANGE 1-5

The Verdict

Stephen Strange has been a master of mysticism for years, but now the Sorcerer Supreme is put into a whole new position as he must find magic throughout the cosmos. Seeing Stephen’s journey of discovery and the various new magical elements within the universe of Marvel Comics is a creative twist on the Doctor Strange mythos and welcome addition to the Marvel Universe. 

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #11

Justice League, Volume 1: The Totality

(Justice League (2018) #1)

by Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author), Jorge JimenezJim Cheung (Illustrations), Doug Mahnke

The Synopsis

A brand-new era begins here! Comics legends Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung launch the Justice League into a cosmos-shaking mystery that will draw out their most terrible foes…in ways our heroes couldn’t possibly imagine!

The League was forced to make an impossible decision…and now its time to face the consequences! The returning Martian Manhunter struggles to protect the team from an incoming threat that will shatter the world as they know it, while a familiar face strikes out on a dark path…

Spinning out of the cataclysmic events of Dark Nights: Metal and the universe-defining No Justice, the core members of the Justice League–Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and more–are finally reunited for an adventure for the ages!

One of the most critically acclaimed authors of his generation finally scribes DC’s flagship title in Justice League Vol. 1! Collects Justice League #1-7.

The Verdict

A fantastic new era in Justice League comics, fans are going to love the return of Martian Manhunter, and the more chaotic, darker and visceral storytelling thanks to the return of the new Legion of Doom. Pushing the heroes to the limit, fans are in for a treat with breathtaking artwork, a large cast of characters, and new teammates that will bring new chemistry to the team overall. The writers do an excellent job of pushing the ever-growing mythology of the DC Multiverse as the Totality leans into an ever darker history that the heroes never realized existed before. A must-read!

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Cyborg, Volume 1: The Imitation Of Life

(Cyborg (2016) #1)

by John Semper Jr. (Writer)

The Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Half-man, half-machine and longtime member of the Justice League, Cyborg faces his faces a fatal systems crash over his latest indentity crisis: Is he truly more dead than alive?

Vic Stone is about to get a real-life 404 error when his father doesn’t recognize him and cybernetic implants that saved his life seem to be stripping away the last bits of his humanity. Will Cyborg’s human side win out? Or will he find out he’s really just a machine who thinks he’s a man?

From John Semper Jr., one of the minds behind the hit ’90s TV show Spider-Man: The Animated Series, comes Cyborg’s next adventure in his very own solo series!

CollectingCyborg 1-6, Rebirth

The Verdict

A well written narrative that explores a character often reserved for team-up storylines, Cyborg shines brightly as the reluctant hero who must embrace his powers, his changed life and the role he must play in his home of Detroit. With a fantastic plot growing between a long held secret of his father’s and the complex relationship Cyborg and his father have make this a one of a kind read that fans of the Rebirth era will love. 

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Communication Breakdown

(All-New Guardians of the Galaxy (Collected Editions) #1)

by Gerry Duggan (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Aaron Kuder (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

A new era of cosmic adventure begins! The Guardians of the Galaxy have taken off into space once more on their biggest and weirdest misadventures yet! Kicking things off with the boldest heist they’ve ever pulled, Star-Lord, Rocket and company blast their way through the galaxy -with the peacekeepers of the Nova Corps hot on their tail! And soon enough, they find themselves caught in a war between the Collector and the Grandmaster! Will there be any room to explain why Groot can’t grow any bigger, what Gamora is searching for, or why Drax has sworn off violence?! You bet there will – the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy has space for all your Marvel Cosmic needs!

COLLECTING: ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2017) 1-2, 4, 6, 8, 10, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 1

The Verdict

Fun, adventurous and a great example of team building mixing with character development for the team that has become Marvel’s favorite group of A-Holes, (yes I included an MCU reference. You know you were thinking it too). Exploring the ramifications of Secret Wars on the new Marvel universe, the humor and unique artwork of this series brings the original chemistry of the Guardians into the ever-growing landscape of the universe as a whole. A great read for Marvel fans. 

The Man of Steel

(Man of Steel (2018) #1-6)

by Brian Michael BendisAlex Sinclair (Illustrator), Ivan Reis (Illustrator), Joe Prado (Illustrator), Jason Fabok (Illustrator), Evan Doc Shaner (Illustrator), Steve Rude (Illustrator), Ryan Sook (Illustrator) , Wade Von Grawbadger (Illustrator), Kevin Maguire (Illustrator), Adam Hughes (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

After revolutionizing superhero storytelling in such classic titles as Ultimate Spider-ManDaredevil and New Avengers, acclaimed comics author Brian Michael Bendis brings that same magic to the DC Universe with this explosive new Superman saga. Featuring the work of artists including Jos Luis Garca-Lpez, Ivan Reis, Jason Fabok, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Steve Rude, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire and Adam Hughes–The Man of Steel marks the beginning of an amazing new era for Superman!

A remorseless killer called Rogol Zaar has arrived on Earth, bringing wide-scale death and destruction in his wake. Only Superman and his cousin, Supergirl, stand between Zaar and the completion of his mission–the utter annihilation of the Kryptonian race.

But even as Kal-El and Kara struggle to contain this new existential threat, the world’s greatest superhero faces a completely different challenge in his adopted home city of Metropolis, where Clark Kent still lives and works–but without his wife and son.

The stage is set for a reckoning like nothing Superman has ever faced, and everything that matters to the Man of Steel hangs in the balance!

Collects The Man of Steel #1-6 and stories from DC Nation #0 and Action Comics #1000

The Verdict

A great new chapter in the world’s most iconic superhero’s story ever told. Superman’s life as a father and husband changes greatly, and not only do fans get a chance to explore what happened to change that, but they witness the emergence of a deadly new foe for Superman, Rogol Zaar. Exploring a new take on the destruction of Krypton brings about a new level of change personally for the Man of Steel, and his place in the DC Universe takes on a whole new meaning in this amazing story. 

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Star Wars: Darth Maul

(Star Wars: Marvel Miniseries)

by Cullen Bunn (Goodreads Author), Luke Ross (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Raised on hate, fear and anger…steeped in the ways of darkness…and trained to kill! Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows – now at last his tale of revenge is revealed! It’s a story of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the hated Jedi. But when a Jedi Padawan is captured by sinister forces, why is Maul so determined to fi nd her? And what role will a band of bounty hunters, including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing, play? Get to know the galaxy’s deadliest Zabrak like never before!

COLLECTING: DARTH MAUL (2017) #1-5

The Verdict

One of the Star Wars universe’s greatest threats and a truly fan favorite character/villain, Darth Maul’s story and evolution as a character went from a one-film villain to an integral figure in the shaping of the entire modern day Star Wars universe. Getting to explore his growth into the villainous Sith he was in the Phantom Menace film to the deep seated hatred he grew to have for the Jedi overall helps showcase his character’s mindset and arc overall in the films, televisions shows and comics overall. A must read for all Maul fans. 

Weapon X, Vol. 1: Weapons of Mutant Destruction Prelude

(Weapon X (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Greg Pak (Goodreads Author), Greg Land (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Decades ago, the Weapon X Program produced the deadliest mutant killers on the planet. Now, with more research, more funding and more Adamantium at its disposal, the all-new Weapon X Program isn’t just experimenting on mutants anymore…it’s eradicating them – all of them -using killer cyborgs that can hide in plain sight. Now it’s up to the uneasiest of all alliances -between Old Man Logan and his once bitter enemy Sabretooth – to hunt down the revived Weapon X program and stomp it out before it gets any stronger. They’ll need a whole lot of luck and maybe that’s where Domino comes in? But what could make Weapon X and its mysterious new director turn their sights on the Totally Awesome Hulk? The Weapons of Mutant Destruction are coming – and there will be blood! COLLECTING: WEAPON X 1-4, TOTALLY AWESOME HULK 19

The Verdict

A great story bringing together some of the best X-Men characters out of the infamous Weapon X program, fans are treated to a look at one of the toughest, most brutal fighters in the Marvel Universe. Fantastic artwork showcases the harsh reality of the team’s missions, and the dark humor that some of the team infuses into their dialogue that keeps the character interactions flowing smoothly. A great read in the modern Marvel era. 

Cable, Volume 1: Conquest

(Cable (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by James Robinson (Text), Carlos Pacheco (Illustrator), Ed BrissonThony Silas (Illustrator), Zac Thompson (Goodreads Author), Lonnie Nadler (Goodreads Author), Clayton Crain (Illustrator), German Peralta (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Speak softly – and carry a huge gun! Cable, everyone’s favorite time-traveling, cyborg-armed walking mutant arsenal, is embarking on a brand-new mission…with all of time in the balance! When Cable picks up the trail of a threat in the timestream, he sets off on a high speed, history-spanning chase to save reality as we know it. From prehistory to the modern day, whether it’s a six-gun duel at high noon or a sword fight high above the kingdom, Cable is the only man who can keep history from unraveling! The fate of all reality rests on his massive shoulder pads…and that’s exactly the way he likes it!

COLLECTING: CABLE 1-6 

The Verdict

Time travel is one of the oldest traditions in the X-Men portion of the Marvel Universe, and no one does it better than Cable. Getting the first adventure in this comic series to focus on Cable taking on a powerful new foe who is disrupting the time stream is a fun way of getting readers back into the complex world of Cable as a hero. The artwork is amazing and the story does a marvelous job of combing the past and the future into a seamless storyline, making for a fun read. 

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Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Life of X

(Astonishing X-Men (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Charles Soule (Goodreads Author) (Text), Jim Cheung (Illustrator), Mike Deodato (Illustrator), Ed McGuinness (Illustrator), Carlos Pacheco (Illustrator), Ramon Rosanas (Illustrator), Mike del Mundo (Illustrator)

The Synopsis

Charles Soule and a stellar roster of superstar artists unite to put the Astonishing back in the X-Men! An ancient evil is attacking the world’s most powerful minds. It will have them by the time you finish this sentence, and a moment later, it will have us all. A band of X-Men discovers the truth behind the threat, but is there any time left for Psylocke, Old Man Logan, Bishop, Archangel, Fantomex, Rogue and Gambit? In an action-packed X-epic, they must head to the astral plane in pursuit of…the Shadow King! But in this brain-bending mindscape, not everything is as it seems, and reality is a relative concept. Will this impromptu squad of X-Men be able to contain the chaos from spilling out into the world?

COLLECTING: ASTONISHING X-MEN 1-6

The Verdict

One of the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe makes a play for the Marvel Universe in this first outing of the Astonishing X-Men in the modern Marvel era. A unique collection of mutant heroes come together to face the powerful Shadow King, with the British government hot on their heels after a powerful attack in London. The rise of one of the most iconic and powerful X-Men comes full circle in this story, and introduces a new era of the X-Men universe as well. A must read. 

Rogue & Gambit: Ring of Fire

(Rogue & Gambit #1-5)

by Kelly Thompson (Goodreads Author), Pere Pérez (Illustrations)

The Synopsis

Everybody’s favorite X-couple is reunited! And boy, are they not happy about that… Kitty Pryde must send Rogue and Gambit on an undercover mission to find a group of kidnapped mutants. What they discover on this mission will shock them. But will it also bring them closer together…? It’s a high-stakes adventure caper that only the two hottest X-Men can deliver!

COLLECTING: ROGUE & GAMBIT 1-5

The Verdict

A fantastic character study of one of the X-Men’s most popular relationships, this series does an excellent job of delving into the history and power of the romance between Rogue and Gambit. From their first moment together and beyond, the two struggle as Rogue feels the relationship is broken beyond repair, while Gambit remains hopeful their love is stronger than the past. In the midst of this character dive comes a new mystery of disappearing mutants, a creepy retreat in paradise and experimentation gone wrong. A great mix of old school and new school artwork brings this story full circle. A must-read X-Men series!

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Blue Beetle, Vol. 1: The More Things Change

(Blue Beetle (2016) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Keith GiffenScott Kolins (Artist, Co-Plotter), J.M. DeMatteisRomulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist), Josh Reed (Letterer)

The Synopsis 

Bonded to the Blue Beetle Scarab, teenager Jamie Reyes has no idea what he’s doing with one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. But he’s in luck, because his predecessor–Ted Kord–is back in the DC Universe and here to serve as the young hero’s mentor! Alongside fellow teen hero Doctor Fate, this duo will have to learn how to be heroes on the fly!

Written by the legendary Keith Giffen (Legion of Super-Heroes) and illustrated by Scott Kolins (The Flash), Blue Beetle is back for a new generation as a part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

CollectingBlue Beetle 1-6, Rebirth

The Verdict

A great blending of generations of heroes, the story explores the Rebirth era origins of the mysterious Scarab that turns teen Jamie Reyes into a powerful force of nature known as the Blue Beetle, and the mentoring done by longtime hero and Justice League adjacent hero Ted Kord, aka the Blue Beetle. The contentious relationship between mentor and mentee brings the fight with the Scarab to the forefront, and the inclusion of longtime DC powerhouse Dr. Fate makes this comic filled with magic. A great DC Rebirth era series. 

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #7

Batgirl, Volume 1: Beyond Burnside

(Batgirl (2016) #1)

by Hope Larson (Writer), Raphael Albuquerque (Artist), Dave McCaig (Colourist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Barbara Gordon looks to add a new bullet point to her already impressive Batgirl resume: travel agent. Having just (barely!) survived the Battle of Burnside and verging on an Arkham-worthy breakdown, the star pulls a Kerouac and gets on the road to find herself.

Follow Babs on her worldwide quest in Batgirl, Volume 1: Beyond Burnside, with New York Times best-selling author Hope Larson and award-winning artist Raphael Albuquerque leading the way!

CollectingBatgirl 1-6

Verdict

A strong, gripping return of everyone’s favorite tech expert and crime-fighting hero! Barbara Gordon combines the humor and wit of her day to day personality perfectly with the expert crime fighter and brilliant technical mind to create a fully rounded character fans can rally behind. Showcasing Batgirl on a journey of self-discovery leads to a run-in with an old friend and soon leads into a long road of training, romance and self-realization that is somewhat reminiscent of the journey Batman himself took in the years before he returned to become the dark knight of Gotham. It is a fantastic start to Batgirl’s Rebirth era storylines. 

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Dead Man Logan, Vol. 1: Sins of the Father

(Old Man Logan (Collected Editions) #11)

by Ed BrissonMike Henderson (Contributor)

Synopsis

The writing’s been on the wall for months now…Old Man Logan is dying. And he ain’t going to get better this time. Sick from the Adamantium coating his skeleton, Logan’s search for a cure has led to nothing but dead ends. But for once, he’s actually trying to leave this world with some unfinished business. Can Logan take his last breath without slaughtering the X-Men again? Not if Mysterio has anything to say about it! The villain means to set in motion the mutant massacre at the crux of Old Man Logan’s apocalyptic future timeline. But is someone pulling Mysterio’s strings? The master of illusion’s newest benefactors will surprise you…and Logan!

COLLECTING: Dead Man Logan 1-6

Verdict

One of Marvel’s greatest characters developed over the last decade, Old Man Logan’s final chapter in his long life is a great story to be told. The story of a hero facing the final end he’s waited for for so long is beautifully written and executed, showcasing not only his mission to prevent the war he lived through from ever happening again, but the long road of acceptance that comes to those facing the end of their lives. A powerful hero like Logan deserves a final story worthy of the person behind the hero, and this first story arc in that final chapter is incredibly well written and engaging. A must read for any die-hard Marvel and specially X-Men fans out there! 

Iron Fist, Vol. 1: The Trial of the Seven Masters

(Iron Fist (2017) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Ed Brisson (Writer), Mike Perkins (Illustrator), Jeff Dekal (Illustrator)

Synopsis

The mystical city of K’un-Lun lies in ruins. The chi that fuels Danny Rand’s power is wavering. Can there be any future for the Iron Fist? Danny must push himself to the breaking point, finding rivals against whom he can prove his worth. But a bigger battle than he can handle may have just found him: On a mysterious island stand seven deadly kung fu masters. Can Danny run a gauntlet through all of them and regain his place in the world? As the game of death begins, the Iron Fist is in for the fights of his life – against the Serpent, the Wolf and more! As a dark history is revealed, the war for the chi of K’un-Lun is about to get very bloody!

COLLECTING: IRON FIST 1-5

Verdict

Visually stunning and amazingly written, this chapter in Danny Rand’s story is fantastic to see unfold. The artwork reminds readers of a gritty, classic martial arts film playing out on the pages before them, while the story expertly showcases Danny’s introduction to a whole new story in the K’un-Lun mythology, as well as the Iron Fist, as he tries to regain his power and return to the city he failed to protect when they needed him most. A blend of Danny’s humor in battle with his inner power and resolve make this a phenomenal chapter in the Iron Fist saga. 

Mera: Queen of Atlantis

(Mera: Queen of Atlantis #1-6)

by Dan Abnett (Goodreads Author), Lan Medina (Illustrations), Veronica Gandini (Illustrator), Nicola Scott (Illustrator), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Illustrator), Richard Friend (Illustrator), Norm Rapmund (Illustrator)

Synopsis

From the pages of Aquaman comes a brand-new adventure starring Mera, in her own title for the first time ever!

As the brutal Atlantean Civil War rages, Mera must keep the peace between the surface world and Atlantis as its newly anointed queen in exile. But when Aquaman’s brother Orm, a.k.a. Ocean Master, learns of his homeland’s fate, he feels he must return to Atlantis as its king and savior! But Orm is now torn between his duty to Atlantis and his love for his new surface family–and both he and Mera will clash over the futures they choose to fight for!

From the critically acclaimed author Dan Abnett (Aquaman) and Eisner Award-winning artist Lan Medina (Fables), Atlantis gets a new ruler in Mera: Queen of Atlantis! Collects #1-6.

Verdict

One of the best Mera-driven stories in DC Comics, this series does an amazing job of exploring the life, history and power of one of DC Comics most underrated heroes, Mera, Queen of Atlantis. Her blend of strength and resolve for her people and her limitless love for Arthur make her such a well rounded character and hero, and her journey to reclaim her power and her throne are amazing to see unfold. Even more, the complex nature of Ocean Master, aka Orm, and his interactions not only with Mera but the family he began to make on the surface world are great to see unfold, making for some amazing character development. A fantastic new chapter in the Atlantis history of DC Comics. 

Aquaman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

(Aquaman (2016) (Single Issues) -1, 1-12)

by Dan Abnett (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Brad Walker (Artist), Phillipe Briones (Artist), Scot Eaton (Artist)

Synopsis

The first two volumes of Aquaman as a part of DC UniverseRebirth are collected here in hardcover for the first time ever!

Aquaman, the King of Atlantis, has never found a true home in either of the worlds that he was born of. In his undersea realm, Aquaman is both king and outsider. And on the surface world, he’s a hero and an outcast.

In this brand new series by fan-favorite writer Dan Abnett (Titans Hunt) and all-star pencillers Brad Walker (Sinestro), Phillipe Briones and Scot Eaton, the King of Atlantis attempts to broker a peace between Atlantis and the surface. But this noble quest might force Aquaman to finally choose whether to live his life above the waves, or below them. Plus, Black Manta makes his bloody return and seeks to destroy everything and everyone Aquaman loves!

CollectingAquaman 1-12, Rebirth

Verdict

This deluxe, double volume chapter in Aquaman’s Rebirth era is a great addition to the DC Universe in the Rebirth era. Not only does the story do a great job of exploring the rich mythology, culture and political intrigue of both Atlantis and it’s association with the surface world, but the story itself reflects the political upheaval that comes from nations like the United States interacting with a relatively unknown or mysterious nation that has yet to immerse itself into the United Nations. The fear and mistrust that comes from a nation of great power interacting with the larger world is a great concept, especially when that nation is the mythological Atlantis with a Justice Leaguer for a King and untold power at their fingertips. This is a wonderful start to Aquaman’s Rebirth storyline. 

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Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Vol. 1: Berzerker

(Old Man Logan (Collected Editions) #1)

by Jeff Lemire (Writer), Andrea Sorrentino (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Fifty years from now, Logan – the man who no longer calls himself Wolverine – will have endured many atrocities: The Marvel Universe’s villains will have banded together and rid the world of its heroes. Logan’s closest friend, Hawkeye, will have been murdered in cold blood right before his eyes. And driven mad by the same radiation that gave him his superhuman strength, Bruce Banner will have fathered a family of hillbilly Hulks…that eventually went on to slaughter Logan’s wife and two children. But now, in the present, Old Man Logan wakes up to discover himself in a world before these atrocities, before the Wasteland. And he’s going to seize this opportunity and change history to ensure that his future never comes to pass…

CollectingOld Man Logan 1-4, Giant-Size

Verdict

A fantastic new chapter in the life of one of Marvel’s oldest, most complex heroes and mutants to ever live, Wolverine. Now known as Old Man Logan, this man from an alternate world and future where he lost everything and the world was destroyed by the villains of the Marvel Universe, this story does an excellent job of shifting back and forth between Logan’s history and past with the present day 616 Marvel Universe. The struggle for a former hero desperate to change the past and save those he loves takes an interesting turn as Logan slowly discovers not everything is the same as it was in his future, and the heroes of the Marvel Universe discover a man broken by the past and fighting to save the future. It’s a wonderful character study of Logan and his mindset after enduring more pain than any Marvel hero thought possible, making this a must read Marvel comic. 

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Rise of the Batmen

(Detective Comics (2016) #1)

by James Tynion IV (Writer), Eddy Barrows (Artist), Alvaro Martinez (Penciler), Raúl Fernandez (Inker), Brad Anderson (Colourist), Marilyn Patrizio (Letterer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Detective Comics is back! Follow the adventures of Batman, the world’s greatest…teacher?!

The Dark Knight and series co-star Batwoman team up to take new protégés Red Robin, Spoiler and the villainous Clayface under their leathery wings! The only problem is, neither new super-instructor knows exactly what they’re in for as the attempt to train these would-be heroes before a mysterious army takes Gotham for themselves.

From the new creative team of writer James Tynion (Batman/TMNT) and artist Eddy Barrows (Martian Manhunter), Detective Comics brings back the characters you know and love and thrusts them into dangerous, new adventures!

CollectingDetective Comics 934-940

Verdict

A fantastic new chapter in the Batman saga. The biggest draw of this story is the character developments and interactions between the team Batman and Batwoman are creating. Getting to see each character introduced and fleshed out is amazing to see. One of the biggest shocks was seeing the beginning of the redemption arc for Clayface, and how each of these heroes interacts with one another. From Batman and Batwoman’s heart to heart and the beginning of their partnership, to the evolution of Tim Drake’s Red Robin and the shocking conclusion that left fans and the team reeling emotionally, this was a brilliant first chapter in the new Batman Rebirth era. 

Green Lanterns, Vol. 1: Rage Planet

(Green Lanterns #1)

by Sam Humphries (Writer), Ethan Van Sciver (Artist), Jason Wright (Colourist), Travis Lanham (Letterer), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Ed Benes (Artist), Tom Derenick (Penciler), Robson Rocha (Penciler) , Jack Herbert (Artist), Neil Edwards (Penciler), Tom Palmer (Inker), Jay Leisten (Inker), Keith Champagne (Inker), Rob Hunter (Inker), Mark Irwin (Inker), Vincente Cifuentes (Inker), Marc Deering (Inker), Blond (Colourist), Geoff Johns (Writer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

New Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz debut a new era of emerald greatness, tackling the universe’s toughest beat: Earth. These rookie Lanterns promised to protect others in brightest day or blackest night, but as the “Red Planet” begins to rise, the duo finds themselves confronted with an unimaginable threat from Bleez and the Red Lanterns!

Rising star writer Sam Humphries (Planet HulkStarlord) and artist Robson Rocha (Earth 2: Worlds EndBirds of Prey) put on the rings with Green Lanterns, Volume 1: Rage Planet!

CollectingGreen Lanterns 1-6, Rebirth

Verdict

A fantastic new chapter in the Green Lantern saga, especially moving into the Rebirth era. Giving Hal Jordan his own comic series to run gives room for the two newest and perhaps most diverse and engaging Green Lanterns to make a name for themselves. Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz being partnered together to patrol Earth and the sector it resides in is a brilliant move storytelling wise. Each character is relatable in this modern age, between the cruel reality of Baz’s culture making him a target in modern day America to Jessica’s anxiety and internal struggles conflicting with her heroic nature as a Green Lantern make for amazing storytelling and character arcs in this series. Then making the Red Lantern Corps the hero’s first major foe as their partnership is just beginning was amazing to see, as was the shocking powers Simon Baz unleashed in the first chapter, making this a must read for any longtime Green Lantern fans. 

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Avengers: No Road Home

(Avengers (2018) (Collected Editions) #3.5)

by Mark WaidAl EwingJim Zub (Goodreads Author), Paco Medina (Illustrations), Sean Izaakse (Illustrations)

Synopsis

The team that brought you AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER re-unite for an all-new weekly AVENGERS adventure! Night has fallen across the universe. Now seven Avengers – and one new addition – journey forth to bring back the light. But when the threat they face has destroyed even the Gods…will anyone make it home?

COLLECTING: AVENGERS: NO ROAD HOME 1-10

Verdict

A fantastic story! One of the more unusual, fun and engaging heroic teams in Marvel Comics, this group of heroes are bought together to battle a threat unlike anything they’d ever seen. Traveling between worlds, times and events, getting to see heroes like Scarlet Witch, Hercules and Vision shine brightly as they are pushed to their limits of loss and must fight to keep the world and the light of the universe from being snuffed out. A great character study and deep dive into the mythology of the hero Hercules and the gods themselves, this is a fun, exhilarating and engaging read for Marvel fans! 

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #6

Nightwing: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1 (Nightwing (2016) (Single Issues) -1, 1-15)

by Tim Seeley (Goodreads Author),

 Javier Fernández (Illustrations)

Synopsis

Back in blue, the latest hit NIGHTWING series is now collected in hardcover in NIGHTWING: THE REBIRTH DELUXE EDITION BOOK 1!

Dick Grayson is his name. Heroism is his one true calling. To heed that call, he’s worn many faces. He was the first Robin and a replacement Batman, a superspy and a dead man walking. But the greatest of the masks he’s worn into battle against evil is the one he created himself–the one he’s just won a hard-fought battle to take back.

He’s Nightwing. And he’s returned to reclaim the streets of the cities he loves.

From Gotham City to his adopted home of Bludhaven, Nightwing is taking the war on crime personally–and he’s taking it right to the enemy. The all-powerful Court of Owls and their rogue agent Raptor. The old foes out for his blood and the new serial killer framing him for crimes he didn’t commit. Even his mentor, the Dark Knight, and his longtime love interest Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, won’t stand in his way.

Now more than ever, the night belongs to Nightwing!

Discover the start of an all-new saga in the life of one of comics’ greatest heroes in NIGHTWING: THE REBIRTH DELUXE EDITION BOOK ONE, from the creative team of Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Marcus To and Chris Sotomayor–exploding from the pages of the blockbuster DC: UNIVERSE REBIRTH event! Collects NIGHTWING: REBIRTH #1 and NIGHTWING #1-15.

Verdict

One of the few heroes who worked under Batman’s wing and managed to secure his own path to being a hero himself is Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing. The Rebirth era solidifies his push to identify himself as his own hero apart from his mentor and friend, Batman. The incredibly unique distinction in combat styles and approach, mixed with a creative new storytelling arc introducing new villains, iconic heroes and the reintroduction of the iconic city of Bludhaven into the DC Rebirth era make this first deluxe collection of the Nightwing series a must read. It has great character arcs, great artwork and a deep dive into the DC Universe as a whole.

Teen Titans, Volume 2: The Rise of Aqualad

(Teen Titans (2016) (Collected Editions) #2)

by Benjamin Percy (Goodreads Author), Khoi Pham

Synopsis

The Teen Titans are settling into their new lives in Titans Tower in San Francisco…even if answering to Damian Wayne takes a lot of getting used to. But Beast Boy, Raven, Starfire and Kid Flash soon have a lot more than an overbearing Robin to worry about—a prison breakout has led to a string of disappearances, and some of them hit close to home.

Now, to rescue the kidnapped, the Titans will have to go toe-to-fin with King Shark, and the Titans are out of their depth…literally!

But a new teen hero named Jackson Hyde has seen the Titans in action, and he’s headed to Titans Tower to try to join the team. Will Aqualad be enough to turn the tide for the Teen Titans…or will the mystery of his powers unleash an even deadlier threat on the team?

Writer Benjamin Percy and artist Khoi Pham continue the DC Rebirth adventures of the heroes of tomorrow, today in TEEN TITANS Vol. 2! Collects TEEN TITANS #6-7, #9-11.

Verdict

A fantastic next chapter in the Teen Titans Rebirth era. Exploring more of Damian Wayne’s leadership skills and introducing Aqualad into the DC Rebirth era, it was refreshing to see an LGBTQ character like Aqualad not only get his spotlight in the series, but have a fantastic character arc that explored the real life struggles of meeting a wayward parent and dealing with the heartbreaking consequences of not being accepted. Exploring his relationship with his shocking villainous parent will keep readers engaged throughout this exciting new chapter in the team’s history.

Titans, Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West

(Titans (2016) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Dan Abnett (Goodreads Author) (Writer),

 Brett Booth (Penciler), 

Norm Rapmund (Inker),

 Andrew Dalhouse (Colourist),

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

Wally West is back in the DCU and he’s once again teamed up with former teen heroes and fan-favorite characters like Nightwing, Donna Troy, Arsenal and more!

Spinning directly out of the events of DC Universe: Rebirth, this new band of Titans are on a quest to find out the truth behind the earth-shattering, universe-changing revelations that Wally ushered in in his return to the world he thought he’d lost. Wally, Donna, Arsenal, Garth, Lilith and Nightwing are on the hunt for the mysterious force that erased their memories, forcing them to forget what they could accomplish together. Reunited with their memories returned, the Titans must destroy the interdimensional demon that broke them apart and threatens reality itself.

CollectingTitans 1-6, Rebirth 

Verdict

A great way to bring back the original Titans lineup and merge the past with the Rebirth era of storytelling for DC Comics. Seeing these friends interact and have their memories come flooding back as a beloved fan favorite character returns to the DC Universe is fantastic storytelling at its finest. The artwork is incredible, and the group dynamic is what really draws the reader in with the core members reuniting and finding what made the group the powerful team they originally were to begin with. A must read for anyone who is a fan of the Rebirth era.

Justice League: No Justice

(Justice League: No Justice #1-4)

by Scott Snyder (Goodreads Author), Joshua Williamson

Synopsis

The creative team of Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson, James Tynion IV and Francis Manapul unleash new super-teams in Justice League: No Justice.

The events of Dark Nights: Metal have transformed the universe in ways both wonderful and terrifying…and unleashed four ancient entities with the power to destroy it all.

Mystery. Wonder. Wisdom. Entropy. These four forces govern all of existence, and now the godlike beings who embody them have awakened. All life is in jeopardy, and the only chance the superheroes of Earth have to stop the unthinkable lies in new alliances…the likes of which have never been seen before!

Superman, Starfire and Martian Manhunter search for the secrets of the cosmos in Team Mystery!

Batman, Beast Boy and Deathstroke battle chaos itself as Team Entropy!

Wonder Woman, Zatanna and Etrigan the Demon unlock bizarre alien technologies with Team Wonder!

And the Flash, Cyborg and Harley Quinn learn the astonishing truths of Team Wisdom!

Can these amazing new Justice Leagues stick together to stop universal annihilation? Some heroes will not live long enough to find out…

Collects issues #1-4 and stories from DC Nation #0. 

Verdict

A brilliant crossover event that pushes the boundaries of the known DC Universe into directions fans will not see coming. Returning an iconic villain like Brainiac and flipping the script when it is revealed he is not the biggest threat to the universe this time around, the story has a fantastic set of character arcs that see Brainiac separate heroes and villains alike into unusual groupings to battle monstrous and devastating entities unleashed from the Source Wall’s crack in previous storylines. Seeing these heroes and villains interactions make for great mythology and character buildup, and the side story being told back on Earth between Amanda Waller and Oliver Queen leads to a shocking conclusion for the DC Universe. 

Deathstroke, Vol. 1: The Professional

(Deathstroke (2016) (Collected Editions) #1)

by Christopher J. Priest (Writer), Carlo Pagulayan (Penciler), Jason Paz (Inker), Larry Hama (Breakdowns), Joe Bennett (Penciler), James Bennett (Illustrator), Mark Morales (Inker), Belardino Brabo (Inker) , Jeromy Cox (Colourist), Cary Nord (Illustrator), Denys Cowan (Illustrator), Willie Schubert (Letterer), Bill Sienkiewicz (Illustrator), Norm Rapmund (Illustrator), Diogenes Neves (Illustrator)

Synopsis

Deathstroke may be one of the most hardened anti-heroes in the DC Universe, but there’s no cutting corners when it comes to contract killing, especially when your family is on the hit list!

Confronted by his own troubled past and challenged to reinvent himself before he loses everything and everyone in his life, Slade Wilson, a.k.a. Deathstroke, finds himself and those he values most in the crosshairs–stalked by an unseen enemy.

CollectingDeathstroke 1-5, Rebirth

Verdict

Definitely one of the grittiest comics of the Rebirth era, the first story arc of Slade Wilson’s very own comic series showcases why he is one of the most ruthless and dangerous mercenaries in the world. A man with his own “unique” code, the story does a great job of thoroughly exploring the anti-hero/villain’s past and bringing out the complex family dynamic he has created amongst himself, his ex and his children, especially Rose, who finds herself more of an outsider than most in the Wilson family being a daughter from another woman Slade met. It highlights the complex family drama and mind games within the Wilson family and shows how even the most powerful heroes of the DC Universe should be wary of Slade Wilson, as few who have ever managed to go up against Deathstroke have survived for long. 

Justice League: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

(Justice League Rebirth: Deluxe Editions #1)

by Bryan HitchTony Daniel (Illustrator)

Synopsis 

The first two volumes of Justice League as a part of DC Universe: Rebirth are collected here in hardcover for the first time ever!

Spinning directly out of the events of DC Universe: Rebirth, a new day dawns for the Justice League as they welcome a slew of new members into their ranks. The question remains though: can the world’s greatest superheroes trust these new recruits? And will the members of League be able to come together against an ancient evil that threatens to reclaim not just the world, but the entire universe!?

Masterful storytelling, epic action and unbelievable art come together in Justice League from best-selling comic book writer Bryan Hitch (JLA) and superstar artist Tony S. Daniel (BatmanDetective Comics).

CollectingJustice League 1-12, Rebirth

Verdict

The first deluxe collection of the Rebirth era of Justice League was fascinating and enthralling. From new recruits into the League to the interesting relationship of the New 52 heroes merging into the Rebirth era and meeting the Pre-Flashpoint Superman, who has emerged and introduced himself to the world after the previous Superman’s fall. The powerful forces that are introduced showcase the need for this new and powerful roster of heroes to join together, learn to trust one another and fight off threats that could tear the universe apart forever. From grand cosmic tales to intimate stories of loss and grief fueling a threat against the JL, these first twelve issues are a great way to jump into the series. 

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

(Suicide Squad (2016) #2.5)

by Joshua Williamson (Writer), Rob Williams (Writer), Tim Seeley (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Jason Fabok (Artist), Tony S. Daniel (Artist), Riley Rossmo (Artist), Giuseppe Cafaro (Artist), Christian Duce (Artist) , Carlos D’Anda (Artist), Jesús Merino (Penciler), Andy Owens (Inker), Fernando Pasarín (Artist), Robinson Rocha (Artist), Howard Porter (Artist)

Synopsis

The day that Amanda Waller has long dreaded has finally come to pass: the Justice League has discovered the existence of Task Force X! America’s paragons of truth & justice won’t take well to a government-sponsored team of black ops super-villains (with bombs implanted in their heads), but before the Justice League can shut down the Suicide Squad, a bigger problem looms: another deadly strike team is lurking in the shadows, one that could expose dark secrets throughout the DC Universe, with ties to the hidden truths of DC UniverseRebirth. Longtime enemies such as Batman & Deadshot, the Flash & Boomerang, & Wonder Woman & Harley Quinn will have to put aside their differences when an evil threat once thought lost to the DC Universe makes their return.

CollectingJustice League vs. Suicide Squad 1-6, Justice League 12-13, Suicide Squad 8-10

Verdict

This is a gritty tale in the story of the Justice League as the more grueling world of the Suicide Squad envelopes the team and a threat beyond anything either team could imagine emerges to take over the world. As the JL seeks to bring the criminals of the Suicide Squad back to prison and justice, the Squad fights to maintain their fight and right to stay on the team they’ve been forced on, all while under the orders of ruthless leader Amanda Waller. However the deeper threat of a group of villains so dangerous they had to be hidden away from the world and the one man dangerous enough to release them takes center stage quickly, and forces each team to determine whether they should fight one another, or join forces to stop this even greater threat. 

Weekly Comic Book Roundup #5

Supergirl, Volume 1: Reign Of The Cyborg Supermen

(Supergirl (2016) #1)

by Steve Orlando (Writer), Brian Ching (Artist), Emanuela Lupacchino (Penciler), Ray McCarthy (Inker), Michael Atiyeh (Colourist), Steve Wands (Goodreads Author) (Letterer)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth! 

Supergirl moves to National City! As Kara Danvers, average American teenager and high school student, Supergirl must balance her life as a superhero with her new life on Earth. But some demons from her Kryptonian past are coming back to haunt her, and Kara will find herself face-to-face with her father: the sinister Cyborg Superman!

Critically acclaimed writer Steve Orlando (Midnighter) comes a new beginning for Kara Zor-El in Supergirl, Volume 1, Reign Of The Cyborg Super-Men a new series that is sure to appeal to fans of the TV series!

CollectingSupergirl 1-6, Rebirth

Verdict

A well written intro to the new story of Kara Zor-El, the first volume of Supergirl’s Rebirth era kicked off with a major story arc like no other. With her father now running around as the Cyborg Superman, Kara’s inner conflict between the family she loves and misses dearly clashes with her love for Earth and the people she has sworn to protect. The emotional component to a major threat facing the Woman of Steel makes this a compelling story, and the artwork is vibrant and shifts in tone at the moments that will make the most impact to the story, making this a truly engaging story. Incorporating aspects of Supergirl’s television run in the Arrowverse, this is a must read comic for any longtime Supergirl fans. 

The Flash: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

(The Flash (2016) (Collected Editions) #1-2)

by Joshua Williamson (Writer), Carmine Di Gianmenico (Illustrations), Neil Googe (Illustrations)

Synopsis

The creative team of Joshua Williamson and artists Carmine Di Giandomenico and Neil Googe proudly present THE FLASH: THE REBIRTH COLLECTION—DELUXE EDITION BOOK ONE! Exploding from the pages of the blockbuster DC Universe Rebirth event, this hardcover collects the first two paperback volumes of the acclaimed series together in one volume for the first time!

 The Speed Force that fuels the incredible powers he uses as the Flash has been unleashed upon the unsuspecting citizens of Central City, creating an entire army of speedsters. Even if the Flash trains a new team of metahuman crime-fighters—a true “speed force”—will it be enough to combat criminals who have the same godlike powers?

 Plus, when Kid Flash decides to prove his abilities to Barry by investigating reports of a strange creature made of shadows in downtown Central City, he finds himself in a whole world of trouble…literally! Suddenly, Flash, Kid Flash and Iris West all become trapped in the Shadowlands of Flash’s old nemesis turned ally the Shade—only the Shade is no longer in control of his own shadows.

 Includes THE FLASH: REBIRTH #1 and THE FLASH #1-13!

Verdict

Possibly one of the strongest opening chapters for one of the DC Heroes in the Rebirth Era. The Flash not only utilizes the introduction of the Rebirth era’s most promising mystery, (the individual responsible for changing the timeline), and bringing the original Wally West back into the DC Universe, but also the first volume of Barry Allen’s Rebirth story brings new speedsters into the mix. Some rise to become heroes both in Central City and worldwide, while others become some of the DC Universe’s next great speedster threats. A big full of emotion, betrayal, love and secrets, this is a master class in storytelling and one of the best entries of the Rebirth era yet.

Batman: Night of the Monster Men

(Batman (2016) #1.5)

by Steve Orlando (Writer), Tom King (Goodreads Author) (Consultant), Tim Seeley (Goodreads Author) (Consultant), James Tynion IV (Consultant), Riley Rossmo (Artist), Ivan Plascencia (Colourist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)

Synopsis

The first crossover of the “Rebirth” era is here! As a huge storm approaches Gotham City, Batman, Batwoman and Nightwing try and prepare for the worst, but nothing can prepare them for enormous monsters rampaging through the streets! Batman will need all of his allies to unite in order to stop these mad science monsters from tearing their city apart! Will the Dark Knight, Batwoman, Nightwing, Robin, Spoiler, Orphan and Clayface be enough? And who is the mastermind behind it all?

Collects BATMAN #7-8, NIGHTWING #5-6 and DETECTIVE COMICS #941-942. 

Verdict

Probably the strongest way to kickstart the first crossover of the Rebirth era, DC brings the Bat family and new allies to the forefront as a battle is waged on multiple fronts. While one of the deadliest storms in years to hit Gotham forces the citizens to seek higher ground, Hugo Strange makes his villainous return as he unleashes the Monster Men, grotesque monsters made up of the bodies of victims left in the morgue. With the power to infect others and create more monsters, Batman and his allies must fight to not only help Gotham survive, but stop the monster plague working its way through the city. With allies targeted and possibly turned, Batman is pushed to the limits and learns how important teamwork truly is in this strong crossover event. 

Batman/The Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition

(Batman (2016) #3.5)

by Joshua Williamson (Contributor), Tom King (Goodreads Author), Jason Fabok (Illustrator), Howard Porter (Illustrator)

Synopsis

THE NEXT PIVOTAL CHAPTER OF THE DC REBIRTH!

An unseen force has been manipulating our world. The only clue they left behind is a strange bloodstained yellow button. Where did it come from? Who left it here? The button could easily be the most important object in not just our world, but in every world – which is why the Reverse-Flash will kill to possess it!

In BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON, all-star creative team Joshua Williamson, Tom King, Jason Fabok and Howard Porter answer the critical question poised at the start of Rebirth: Who’s been watching the DC Universe? Collecting BATMAN #21-22 and THE FLASH #21-22, the road to DOOMSDAY CLOCK begins here!

Verdict

One of the best crossovers of the Rebirth era has to be The Batman and The Flash in “The Button”. Diving head first into the mystery of the smiley face button found embedded into Batman’s wall in the Batcave, the mystery becomes deadlier as Eobard Thawne is awakened, his memories of the Flashpoint returning and his mission for revenge drawing him to Batman’s headquarters. The attack shockingly ends with Eobard running into the Speed Force to find the power responsible for disrupting the natural order of things, only to come back in a shocking way. The mystery takes the two heroes into the Speed Force, where Batman must confront a shocking figure and The Flash fights to determine who has been messing with the DC Universe as a whole. It is a stellar arc that brings two of DC’s most popular heroes together in a rare treat for fans. 

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, Vol. 1: Sinestro’s Law

(Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1)

by Robert Venditti (Goodreads Author) (Writer), Ethan Van Sciver (Artist), Rafa Sandoval (Penciler), Jordi Tarragona (Inker), Tomeu Morey (Colourist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer), Jason Wright (Colourist)

Synopsis

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth! 

Hal Jordan is about to go from the head of the Green Lantern Corps to an army of one. Jordan’s long, illustrious–and tumultuous–tenure with the Corps takes several hairpin turns. At lightspeed. Toward a black hole. In a blender!

For starters, the Green Lantern Corps has disappeared, and now Sinestro’s own Corps enforces his uniquely brutal brand of law and order in the universe. As a result, Jordan has no ring to sling, or Sector 2814 (a.k.a. Earth) to protect. (So more of the usual for Hal!) 

Green Lantern veteran Robert Venditti teams up with Rafa Sandoval and Ethan Van Sciver to pilot Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps, Vol. 1: Sinestro’s Law!

CollectingHal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps 1-7, Rebirth 

Verdict

A fantastic start to the Rebirth era of the Green Lantern Corps. Not only does it return Hal Jordan to the spotlight as the most powerful and heroic of the Green Lanterns, but it doubles down on his potential as he develops a new power that even shocks the remaining Guardians. With a slew of galaxies in fear as the Sinestro Corps establishes themselves as the supreme law, Hal must face the might of Sinestro in a major battle to show the universe that the power of will and hope is far stronger than fear. Featuring the fate of the rest of the Green Lantern Corps and a new era in the Corps’ history, this is a must read for any GL fan! 

Doctor Strange: Damnation

(Doctor Strange: Damnation #1-4)

by Donny CatesNick SpencerRod Reis (Illustrator), Szymon Kudranski (Illustrator)

Synopsis

The city of sin gets its biggest sinner yet. When Doctor Strange raises Las Vegas up from its destruction during SECRET EMPIRE, he inadvertently opens a big door for the embodiment of evil, MEPHISTO! The devilish villain takes the city for himself and sets his sights on the rest of the world. It’s going to take heroes from all over the Marvel Universe to defeat him, but there’s nothing simple about fighting the lord of Hell. Who escapes alive, who escapes undead and who doesn’t escape at all? DAMNATION is going out in a blaze of glory, and you GOTTA see who gets burned!

COLLECTING: DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION 1-4 

Verdict

The Marvel Universe was left reeling after the shocking and controversial events of Secret Empire. With the heroes left scrambling to return the publics trust in them, Doctor Strange feels compelled to bring life back into the world, and does the unthinkable: brings Las Vegas back to life, along with everyone in it. However things don’t go as planned, (as they rarely do for Stephen Strange), and not only does he become imprisoned by the evil Mephisto, but the Avengers who come to his aid become pawns in the demonic villain’s game with the Sorcerer Supreme as well. That leaves Stephen’s friend Wong to gather the worlds best supernatural fighters and morally flexible heroes to gather in an unprecedented way, showing a new kind of team that is pushed to the limits and takes readers through some surprising twists and turns they won’t see coming. A truly must read event for longtime Dr. Strange and Marvel fans. 

Interview with Travis Smith

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I got into writing about superheroes and philosophy after reading an article by Adam Barkman published in Comment magazine. I could give that a try, I thought. Why not? Barkman looked at superheroes from a “mythological” point of view; I would prefer to look at them from a somewhat more human perspective. When I discovered an article by Jonathan V. Last in The Weekly Standard that I disagreed with I took it as an opportunity to respond. Last argued for the timeliness of the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman films; I argued that Spider-Man was a better hero for our times, in commemoration of what was then the fiftieth anniversary of Spider-Man’s first appearance. Little did I know that this one article would lead to an entire book on the subject.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

University professors are asked to find ways to engage in the public dissemination of knowledge. Most of our research is written for an academic audience. How does someone like myself take what I study and teach in the history of political philosophy and make it relevant for a wider audience? Well, if Plato can discuss the popular heroes of his time, whose adventures are depicted in the epic poems of Homer, then why can’t I look into superheroes, whose stories have become popularized lately in so many feature films? I look at them to find out what they might teach us about ourselves and our ideals—who we imagine ourselves to be at our best, or who we would become if only we could be better than we are?

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I’d point to the value of thinking critically about the things we happen to enjoy, and the possibility of thinking critically about ourselves in the process. This is something we can do even with respect to our amusements—the music we like, the TV shows we binge on, the athletes we admire, the vloggers we subscribe to. Focusing on questions of ethics when doing so leads us to wonder: How does thinking about the character of this or that person, whether real or fictional, help me to better understand the worldview and motivations of people similar to them—whether that’s someone I’ve encountered in my private life, or public figures like politicians, leading professionals, or outspoken celebrities? What answers to life’s problems do they represent, and should we heed them? What does whether I like or dislike some particular person or character tell me about myself?

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

In the classroom, I draw on a lot of examples from popular culture in order to make old ideas and arguments seem relevant and familiar to my students. With respect to superhero stories in particular, I’ve read plenty of comic books over the years and re-watched the movies based on them more than enough. I put that hobby to use in Superhero Ethics.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would like to know why Tony Stark doesn’t share his most advanced technologies with everyone—whether they want him to or not. Why not save people from ever needing saving again through upgrades and alterations to the human condition? Not that I would want him to—but I don’t really understand why he doesn’t. That said, I’d be concerned that by pushing him on it I might inadvertently convince him to give it a try, or else stop playing the hero entirely. Either way, better to keep my mouth shut, really. The most interesting line of dialogue to me in Avengers: Infinity War occurs when Thanos tells Iron Man, “You are not the only one cursed with knowledge.” In Superhero Ethics I argue that Tony Stark willfully refrains from drawing the furthermost consequences of his views regarding human nature and our place in the cosmos—including, ultimately, that he himself is insignificant. He struggles with a nagging suspicion that his pride—which is substantial—is vanity, and all of his efforts and sacrifices are offered in vain.

I’d also like to hear Wolverine explain his fascination with Japan. I think it’s because culturally, feudal Japan is practically the exact opposite of present-day Canada. We can be glad that imperial Japan at its worst was ended non-fictionally and still romanticize traditional Japanese society in fiction as representing honor-based society at its best. Still, I’d like to hear Logan’s perspective on it over a few bottles of beer, hoping he’ll call me “bub” at least once—and that I’ll be able to sneak out the back door of the dive bar before the inevitable brawl gets underway.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Personally, I avoid using social media. I worry that it’s an engine of incivility.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Read. A lot. Read a lot of good books. Even books you imagine you’ll dislike by authors you expect to disagree with. For starters, read about Achilles sulking in his tent in the Iliad if you haven’t already. Also, learn to take criticism well, and be your own harshest critic. Reread everything you write, out loud, and ask yourself if it actually says what you want it to say in the best possible way. Always be revising but recognize that your words will never be perfect. Nothing that you decide today is good enough for now will seem good enough later in retrospect—and that’s okay.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Some people have asked me whether I’ll write about Superheroine Ethics next. Or perhaps Supervillain Ethics. What about something fandom-adjacent, like Pro Wrestling Ethics? Within this genre, I haven’t decided yet. As a professor of political theory, I intend to publish more on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, including pieces informed by my analyses of superhero stories, on subjects such as bravery, magic, and the imagination. I’m convinced that Thomas Hobbes himself thinks he’s like a superhero or something.

Bonus/Fun Questions:

Who was your favorite superhero growing up?

On Saturday morning cartoons, I liked Green Lantern best, mainly because of Sinestro. As a teen, I connected most with Rogue. For over a dozen years now though, Ms./Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) has been my favorite. I await her feature film debut in 2019 with great anticipation.

Do you prefer Marvel or DC? Or do you find them to be on equal footing overall?

When I wrote Superhero Ethics, I didn’t just focus on my favorite characters. I wanted the book to be accessible to casual fans and a general readership. I didn’t want it to be accessible only to those of us who have read a hundred thousand comic books. My book might give the impression that I prefer Marvel, but my analyses weren’t decided by my subjective preferences. I tried to give more generous readings to characters who interest me less and be tougher on characters I like most. Speaking personally, I am a fan of both universe’s characters. I started reading comic books as a pre-teen at the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and DC successfully persuaded me to disregard the pre-Crisis multiverse as no longer relevant and too confusing and supposedly unsophisticated. As I have gotten older, however, I have discovered how fantastic Silver Age Superman, Flash, Legion, and Earth-Two stories are. I have also enjoyed exploring DC’s western and war genre comics, too, such as Jonah Hex and Haunted Tank.

Which non-Marvel or -DC hero do you think would fit into the ethical discussion of superheroes? 

Sailor Moon and The Tick were favorites of mine when I was young. Captain Planet probably deserves some critical analysis, too, but I don’t think I could sit through enough episodes to assess the character fully.

If you were to create your own hero based on the ethical discussions raised in your book, what would that hero’s name be, what powers would they have (if any), and what villain/threat would they face to mirror the challenges of our world?

I already have a hero in my wife. [Awwww!] Putting up with me and my hobbies has got to be challenge enough. And who knows what kind of villainy I’d be up to if she wasn’t always asking me, “What are you doing?!?” I try to keep in mind how Aristotle would have told Ajax to listen to Tecmessa.

Thank you, Anthony, for the opportunity to discuss Superhero Ethics with you. I’m glad that you enjoyed the book!

About the Author:
Smith_Travis
Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics

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Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? By Travis Smith | REVIEW

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

Superheroes are one of the biggest money grabbers of the twenty-first century. Fans around the world love flocking to the world’s of Marvel, DC and other comic book publishers who make the most popular comic books, films, television programs and more. Yet there has been one question that has always been on fans minds since the comic book industry began: who is the best of all the heroes? While this has always been a matter of popularity, but author Travis Smith has done something truly spectacular by focusing not on their popularity, but the ethics of each character and comparing it to our society today and what we truly need in a hero. That’s what makes Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? such an incredible read. Here’s the synopsis:

Whether in comic books or on movie screens, superhero stories are where many people first encounter questions about how they should conduct their lives.

Although these outlandish figures—in their capes, masks, and tights, with their unbelievable origins and preternatural powers—are often dismissed as juvenile amusements, they really are profound metaphors for different approaches to shaping one’s character and facing the challenges of life.

But, given the choice, which superhero should we follow today? Who is most worthy of our admiration? Whose goals are most noble? Whose ethics should we strive to emulate?

To decide, Travis Smith takes ten top superheroes and pits them one against another, chapter by chapter. The hero who better exemplifies how we ought to live advances to the final round. By the end of the book, a single superhero emerges victorious and is crowned most exemplary for our times.

How, then, shall we live?

How can we overcome our beastly nature and preserve our humanity? (The Hulk vs. Wolverine)

How far can we rely on our willpower and imagination to improve the human condition? (Iron Man vs. Green Lantern)

What limits must we observe when protecting our neighborhood from crime and corruption? (Batman vs. Spider-Man)

Will the pursuit of an active life or a contemplative life bring us true fulfillment? (Captain America vs. Mr. Fantastic)

Should we put our faith in proven tradition or in modern progress to achieve a harmonious society? (Thor vs. Superman)

Using superheroes to bring into focus these timeless themes of the human condition, Smith takes us on an adventure as fantastic as any you’ll find on a splash page or the silver screen—an intellectual adventure filled with surprising insights, unexpected twists and turns, and a daring climax you’ll be thinking about long after it’s over. 

This is truly one of the most unique books I’ve read this year. The deep analysis of each of these well known heroes and the complexities of each character’s heroic actions and their motivations is something that’s always fascinated me. Yet never before has someone so articulately brought these issues to the forefront of the comic book industry and given audiences a deeper connection to these heroes as Travis Smith has done.

The book allows audiences to really analyze the motivations these characters have for taking on the mantle of hero, and whether or not their actions are completely selfless or not. It also compares these heroes and their ethics to our current political climate and gives historical context to these hero’s actions as well. It’s a really interesting and wonderfully different perspective that allows a wider audience as well as die hard comic book fans an opportunity to really understand the heroes they love in a whole new way.

Overall I loved this book. It was entertaining yet educational all at once, delving into political, intellectual, philosophical and of course ethical questions no one usually bothers to ask about the superhero community. Yet the author does a superb job of bringing these issues to light and giving us a chance to look deep within ourselves and determine which hero represents our best, brightest and most ethical hero in the twenty-first century. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Superhero Ethics by Travis Smith today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author:

Smith_Travis

Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics