For the news this month, it’s something a little different. I was privileged enough to attend this month’s Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington, and spent a weekend attending the various DC Comics related panels and live interviews with SyFy. I’m going to give you a brief rundown of those four panels and interviews. And then—on to the book reviews!
ECCC Panels Report
The first was a SyFy interview with Kelly Sue DeConnick about her Aquaman run. She talked about how she’s trying to steer the book into a healthy portrayal of masculinity. Arthur is a very hyper masculine character, and she wants to embrace that, but at the same time it’s not a toxic masculinity. His most unique power isn’t his strength or his speed, though he has both of those things. His main superpower is that he has the ability to ask for help. She also explained that she doesn’t have a visual imagination so much as an auditory one. She associates characters and stories with music, and for her, Aquaman is Led Zeppelin: Big, bombastic, and epic.
The next was the DC Superheroes Panel with DeConnick, Stephen Byrne (Wonder Twins), Mark Russell (Wonder Twins) and John Timms (Harley Quinn and Catwoman) and David F. Walker (Naomi). DeConnick talked a little more in-depth about Aquaman, saying that to her, the King of Atlantis felt too small, and she wanted to make him bigger and grander. She also said that Robson Rocha’s art could easily decorate the side of a van. John Timms announced he’s doing an issue of Young Justice in June. David F. Walker talked about the genesis of Naomi, and how Brian Michael Bendis was able to get the series greenlit with just the pitch of a normal teen girl in the middle of nowhere in the DC Universe. He also talked about how they are able to give artist Jamal Campbell a lot of freedom because he’s so talented. Issue 4 has a 2-page, 40-panel spread. Mark and Stephen talked about the Wonder Twins, and how even though the characters are jokes to most of the audience due to the Super Friends, nobody is a joke to themselves. The focus of Wonder Comics is to try to attract the younger reader, not to appease an aging fanbase. Both Walker and DeConnick talked about how when Bendis was sick, a lot of people agreed to do a lot of books at his hospital bed. It’s how DeConnick took over Aquaman and how Walker agreed to Naomi, and if it exists, it is how a Fraction Jimmy Olsen book came to be. IF.
Next was a SyFy interview with Rob Sheridan about his Vertigo book, High Level. He describes the book as Post-Post Apocalyptic and that what caused his world to be the way it is, is both income inequality and climate change.
Then there was another SyFy interview with Becky Cloonan about her work on Detective Comics #1000. Her story is with writer Warren Ellis, and features Batman as a mastermind, ala the Arkham games. Ellis’ script was very loose, allowing her a lot of freedom with her art. When asked how she became a fan of the character, she replied that it was Batman: The Animated Series that brought her over from Marvel.
Next up was the Vertigo panel with guests Rob Sheridan, Zoë Quinn (Goddess Mode) and Marissa Louise (Hex Wives). Marissa Louise talked a lot about color theory and coloring practice, and to be honest, I could listen to her talk about her craft all day. She talked about how her book requires two types of control, and that required easily opposing palettes. Red has too narrow a range for this purpose, so she used green as the symbol of male control in the book with pinks and purples representing the opposition. Quinn talked about how Goddess Mode is really showing us how late stage capitalism has evolved into surveillance state capitalism with things like Facebook monitoring your every move. She talked about how the magic system in the book is based on hermetical alchemy, and how the story is bleak, but ultimately about hope. Sheridan talked about how Goddess Mode is a soft apocalypse and how High Level is set after a hard apocalypse. Also discussed was how you can’t make something apolitical, because just the act of trying to do so is a political act.
The last panel of the weekend for DC (that wasn’t Art Academy) was a celebration of eighty years of the Dark Knight. I was a little bummed that we got this this year, but nothing similar last year for Superman. On this panel were Tim Sale (Long Halloween, Dark Victory and Haunted Knight), Alex Sinclair (too much to list, but mostly everything Jim Lee has ever drawn), Cully Hamner (Batman and the Signal), and Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy). Cloonan talked about being the first female artist on Batman, and how she thinks of Gotham Academy as a sort of Young Adult Gotham Central, in that Batman’s presence is a character more than he is himself.
When asked what their favorite Batman moments were:
Cloonan: Batman coming out of the smoke in Year One.
Sale: Joker’s 5 Way Revenge
Hamner: There Is No Hope In Crime Alley
Sinclair: City of Owls
And their first Batman:
Cloonan: Dark Knight Returns
Hamner: There Is No Hope In Crime Alley
Sinclair: Detective #500
Cloonan: David Mazzachelli, Paul Pope and Cliff Chiang
Sale: Neal Adams and Mazzachelli
Hamner: Alan Davis
Sinclair: Don Newton and Jim Lee
That wrapped up my very DC-oriented weekend at Emerald City Comic Con this year and hopefully the other cons in the next month will bring me more news to share with you all in April. Now on to this month’s reviews, with some spoilers.
Young Justice #3
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Viktor Bogdanovic (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (inks), Patrick Gleason (art), Hi-Fi (colors), Carlos M. Mangual (letters), Josh Reed (letters), Alejandro Sanchez (colors), Chris Sotomayer (colors)
This issue was extremely Superboy-oriented, which is something we have been waiting for since the first issue. However, we are left with more questions than we had at the start of the issue because…Kon has…a wife?! a KID?!? What is going on here?! I’m here for this ride, but uh, okay. There were some extremely wonderful and heart-touching moments between Bart and Kon, and I’m just so happy these kids are all back together you guys, you don’t even know. There was also a nice parallel from Bart embracing Kon to Bendis’s Superman when Clark embraced Jon for the first time in what was years for Jon and months for Clark.
Action Comics #1009
Brad Anderson (colors), Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Steve Epting (art and cover), Rob Leigh (letters)
The solicits for everything coming out of Leviathan Rising have me pumped for what’s to come, and the actual story leading up to it has me just as pumped. Bendis’ first DC event is shaping up to be a fun one, and with the way Heroes In Crisis and Doomsday Clock are both letting me down, I could use an event that I actually enjoy. I love the way Bendis has been writing Lois and Clark in this book, but man, Jimmy’s a little dense. How did he not catch Lois calling Superman “honey?” Epting’s art, as usual, is beautiful and soft.
Andworld Design (letters), Elena Casagrande (art), Scott Godlewski (art), John Kalisz (colors), Emanuela Lupacchino, Mick Gray and Dave McCaig (cover), LupaMairghread Scott (writer)
I hadn’t been a big fan of Scott’s run on Batgirl so far, but this issue was different. There were a lot of choices made with this issue that worked immensely well for the story it was telling, starting with how the credits were presented very simplistically on the first page. Seeing a more visceral side of Babs was great, especially with how evident her anger and fear were. But my favorite thing throughout the issue had to be the little splatters of ink that gave us a feeling of Babs’ rage and aggression as it relates to her brother.
Detective Comics #1000
Neal Adams (art), Brad Anderson (colors), Andworld Design (letters), David Baron (colors), Jordie Bellaire (colors), Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Simon Bowland (letters), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colors), Greg Capullo (pencils), Sal Cipriano (letters), Becky Cloonan (art), Amanda Conner (pencils), Clayton Cowles (letters), Tony S. Daniel (art), Paul Dini (writer), Warren Ellis (writer), Steve Epting (art), Jason Fabok (art), FCO Plascencia (colors), Raul Fernandez (inks), Derek Fridolfs (inks), Jonathan Glapion (inks), Mikel Janin (art), Geoff Johns (writer), Joëlle Jones (art), Kelley Jones (art), John Kalisz (colors), Tom King (writer), Todd Klein (letters), Jim Lee (pencils and cover), Rob Leigh (letters), Michelle Madsen (colors), Doug Mahnke (art) Alex Maleev (art), Alvaro Martínez-Bueno (pencils), Jaime Mendoza (inks), Tomeu Morey (colors), Paul Mounts (inks), Tom Napolitano (letters), Dustin Nguyen (pencils), Denny O’Neil (writer), Christopher Priest (writer), Josh Reed (letters), Willie Schubert (letters), Alex Sinclair (colors and cover), Kevin Smith (writer), Scott Snyder (writer), Dave Stewart (colors), Peter Tomasi (writer), James Tynion IV (writer), Steve Wands (letters), Scott Williams (inks and cover)
Much like Action Comics #1000 last year, there’s a lot of content in Detective’s thousandth issue. Some of it’s not great (the Geoff Johns and Kelley Jones story is just weird and the Peter Tomasi and Dough Mahnke one is just kind of boring). I’m not as big of a Batman fan as I am a Superman fan, so I’ve passed off the full review of this book to someone who loves the character more than me. My two favorite stories in this issue were the Tynion Robin origin and the Tom King Bat-Family reunion; mostly because my favorite Batman stories are the ones that involve his family.
The Dreaming #7
Simon Bowland (letters), Abigail Larson (illustration), Jae Lee & June Chung (cover), Simon Spurrier (writer), Quinton Winter (colors)
In this issue we start a new story, telling a different part of what’s going on in the Dreaming. We know from the last arc that Daniel has abandoned his realm, and now we are getting glimpses into why. We do finally get to see another of the Endless, and it is Desire, not Death or Delirium like I had hoped. The art by Abigail Larson is very fitting for this story, with a sort of ethereal romance to it that drives the love and heartbreak of this tale.
Female Furies #2
Cecil Castellucci (writer), Hi-Fi (colors), Carlos M. Mangual (letters), Adreana Melo (illustrator), Dan Panosian (cover)
Despite the hoopla that happened regarding the cover, this book is still a fantastic look at victim blaming and “Not like other girls” behavior. The book exudes feminism and power that other books only dream of. This continues to be a perfect book for the “Me Too” era. It’s also a powerful examination of what prolonged trauma can do to a person’s mental health, especially combined with gaslighting and victim blaming. We witness firsthand just how broken Aurelie is from her repeated abuse, and it’s genuinely heartbreaking. Probably the most powerful scene in the book is the other Furies pointing at a crying Aurelie hurling insults and accusations at her.
Goddess Mode #4
Simon Bowland (letters), Zoë Quinn (writer), Rico Renzi (colors and cover), Robbi Rodriguez (art and cover)
Goddess Mode continues to be my favorite of the new Vertigo books, and part of that is due to a conversation I had recently. Cyberpunk is seeing a resurgence of late, but a lot of that material isn’t finding the audience it’s looking for. Mostly because most cyberpunk is still trying to cater to cishet white men, while bigger audiences exist for people who would love to see themselves centered in this type of story. Quinn is appealing to that wider audience, and telling a very intriguing story of end stage capitalism (or surveillance state as Quinn calls it). Mixed with the neon imagery of Renzi and Rodriguez, this book is 100% my jam.
High Level #2
Barnaby Bagenda (pencil art), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (color art), Nate Piekos (letters), Rob Sheridan (story)
This book remains one of the most gorgeous books I’ve ever laid eyes on. More than that, it has a deep feeling of lore that I’m eagerly anticipating getting fleshed out as the series unfolds. Sheridan and Bagenda have crafted a uniquely immersive world and we’re just starting to touch the surface of it. Including a map at the back of the book was a nice touch, and I’m excited to see more of this cyberpunk fantasy. The last splash page of Minnow, Thirteen and Ezra walking into the sunset sets the tone for what’s to come.
Justice League Dark #9
Brad Anderson (colors and cover), Raul Fernandez (inks and cover), Rob Leigh (letters), Alvaro Martínez Bueno (pencils and cover), Miguel Mendonça (pencils and inks)
It’s amazing how much is going on in this little side book. While Snyder’s Justice League is epic on a universal scale, Tynion’s Justice League Dark has been epic, but on a more localized front. The threat is just as ominous, but the scope seems a bit more personal. The fact that the heroes are having to go to a villain who has been a thorn in the sides of both the Justice Society and the Legion makes me wonder if we may see some of their members show up sooner rather than later. Hurry up and get done, Doomsday Clock, so that other books can have access to those characters.
The Wild Storm #21
Simon Bowland (letters), Steve Buccellato (colors), John Davis-Hunt (art and cover), Warren Ellis (writer)
As this two year reimagining of the Wildstorm Universe draws closer to its climax, the story is just getting better and better. Ellis has made the universe and its characters accessible, even to people with little knowledge of the originals. He has also made the characters modern and diverse, and that’s a choice I greatly appreciate. Davis-Hunt’s art is crisp and clean and the details are sharp and intimate. Little things like the way Apollo and Midnighter hold hands make this comic a great example of retelling the superhero myths.
Adventures of the Super Sons #8
American Carnage #5
Batman Beyond #30
The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1
Dial H For Hero #1
Electric Warriors #5
The Flash #66-67
Freedom Fighters #4
Green Arrow #50
The Green Lantern #5
Hex Wives #6
House of Whispers #7
Justice League #19-20
Martian Manhunter #4
Teen Titans #28
The Terrifics #14
Wonder Twins #2
Wonder Woman #66-67
Books of Magic #6
The Curse of Brimstone #12
Doomsday Clock #9
Harley Quinn #59
Justice League Odyssey #7
The Silencer #15
Suicide Squad Black Files #5
Hi-Fi (colors and cover), Aaron Lopresti (pencils and cover), Tom Napolitano (letters), Matt Ryan (inks), Robert Venditti (writer)
At the very least this is slightly more interesting than the start of this series was. With Damage stranded on Monster Island this could at least be a decent kaiju book, but truly it’s not even doing that well. The best part of this issue was the promise that next issue is the conclusion to this series, and with it, most of the the failed New Age of Heroes experiment. Silencer and The Terrifics are all that remain, and I’d say Silencer is probably the next to go. It is nice seeing Congo Bill in the hands of someone not named James Robinson though.
Andworld Design (letters), Tamra Bonvillain (colors), Zack Kaplan (script), Scott Lobdell (plot), Chris Mooneyham & Nick Filardi (cover), Travis Moore (art)
The good news: This was Scott Lobdell’s last issue on Nightwing. The bad news: he’s leaving behind him a mess that will take months or longer to put back together. Dan Jurgens takes the book over next month, but there are a lot of loose threads from where Lobdell has left us. Dick Grayson is still “Ric” (ugh) and only Nightwing in so much as he smears grease on his face and fights by other people in his costumes. Most of the other “Nightwings” are one note characters whom I’m hoping Jurgens can give a little more personality to. I will say the art in this issue was fantastic, it’s a shame Moore and Bonvillain were wasted on a story that denigrated a great character.
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Michael Gaydos (art), Curtis King Jr. (design), Dave Sharpe (letters)
You ever have an error in a realistic comic that’s so bad it just completely pulls you out of the story? There was one of those in this issue of Pearl for me. Now the story was good, and I’m enjoying it, but this error just really made me irrationally angry at the whole issue. See, I live in San Francisco, and I know the city fairly well. And in the issue Pearl and Kimmy are fleeing San Francisco by car. The route they take goes from Lombard Street, to Chinatown, to overlooking Alcatraz, to Haight-Ashbury and finally to the Golden Gate Bridge. Most of this route is fine, but the Haight-Ashbury portion adds a full 20 minutes to their commute and takes them in the completely wrong direction. It’s a minor thing, but it completely took me out of the experience. I’m also not sure how I felt about some of the art in this issue that seemed like Gaydos was overlaying his drawings on top of filtered postcards.
Red Hood: Outlaw #32
Cully Hamner (cover), Scott Lobdell (words), Rex Lokus (colors), ALW’s Troy Peteri (letters), Stephen Segovia (pictures)
The thing I think that stood out the most in this issue was Lobdell forcing in references to his own work, even as that work is actively being retconned away. We saw snippets of his first Outlaws team, even though his version of Starfire hasn’t existed in five years, though it took almost that long for her to get over the damage he did to her. Even more flagrant were the flashbacks to his Teen Titans era just as Young Justice is getting rolling, as if to try to remind us that his versions of Kon, Cassie, Tim and Bart exist just as Bendis is trying to fix what he broke. Stay to this tiny corner of Gotham, Scott, it’s the only place where you don’t make me actively angry every month.
Heroes In Crisis #7
Clayton Cowles (letters), Jorge Fornes (art), Mitch Gerads (cover), Tom King (writer), Clay Mann (art), Travis Moore (art), Tomeu Morey (colors)
King continues to write characters completely out of character to support his story needs in this book. Babs in this book is completely different from the Babs I know and love, as evident when she punches Ted Kord to allow Harley Quinn to possibly kill Booster. Yeah, sure, she tells Harley not to kill him, but literally everything points to that being Harley’s intention when Babs takes down Beetle. And I guess Wally West brings Ivy back to life in this issue so she can watch a time-displaced version of himself kill himself? I don’t know. But hey, the good news is this was the issue that was supposed to have that Poison Ivy cover, and it doesn’t, so small victories I guess?
The Solicitation Situation – June 2019
EVENT LEVIATHAN #1
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art and cover by ALEX MALEEV
variant cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
The groundbreaking and always-inventive team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev (Jinxworld’s SCARLET, Marvel’s Daredevil) reunite on a mystery thriller that stretches across the DC Universe and touches every character from Batman to Superman to the Question to Talia al Ghul. With startling ease, a newly dangerous and aggressive Leviathan wipes out all its competition and now turns its sights to molding the world into its vision of order. Can the new threat’s growth be stopped…and who’s guiding its new agents of chaos?
ON SALE 06.12.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 6 | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+
As I said above, I’m really looking forward to this event, and especially the two books spinning out of it.
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS and DAVID F. WALKER
art and cover by JAMAL CAMPBELL
This is it, the end of the first season of NAOMI by the breakout collaboration of writers Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker and artist Jamal Campbell! With her origins finally revealed, Naomi embraces the journey ahead and charts a course for the future and her role.
ON SALE 06.19.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+
Interesting that they are going the season route with this book, I think marketing it as such is a smart move and something that should be considered for a lot of big two books.
THE SILENCER #18
written by DAN ABNETT
art by V KEN MARION and SANDU FLOREA
cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and SANDRA HOPE
Honor Guest was the greatest assassin you’ve never heard of—but now the secret is out. In the month since Smoke’s devastating attack, the Silencer is on the lam from Leviathan and trying to piece her family life back together, and this is a challenge unlike any Honor has faced before. Will Honor’s past continue to plague her, or has she at last earned a peaceful respite from her life of murder and mayhem?
ON SALE 06.26.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+
HA! Called it. This leaves The Terrifics as the last book standing from the New Age of Heroes line, deservedly so.
THE WILD STORM #24
written by WARREN ELLIS
art and cover by JON DAVIS-HUNT
The final issue. The final act. IO has betrayed the world, and Skywatch wants to burn it. The only people in the middle are Jenny Mei Sparks’ ragtag team of wounded orphans of the secret world. The storm has hit. This is how it ends.
ON SALE 06.19.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+
I’m hoping something comes out of this, because the world building Ellis did with this series has been fantastic.
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS BOX SET
written by MARV WOLFMAN, GARDNER FOX, ROY THOMAS, GERRY CONWAY and others
art by GEORGE PEREZ, MIKE SEKOWSKY, DICK DILLIN, TODD McFARLANE and others
box art by NICOLA SCOTT and JERRY ORDWAY
Since the Justice League of America first met their Earth-2 counterparts, the Justice Society of America, the concept of a world-shaking “Crisis” has been a defining part of DC history. Now, for the first time, DC packs one incredible box set with every Crisis tale leading up to and including the industry defining CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! This box set combines six previously existing CRISIS collected editions, printed for the first time in hardcover, with eight new CRISIS hardcover collections that spotlight the most important heroes of the 1980s CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS!
Join the Justice League, the Justice Society, the All-Star Squadron, Infinity Inc., Superman, Green Lantern and countless other heroes as they give their all to save the DC Universe!
This box set includes these hardcovers:
• CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS VOL. 1 HC
Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21-22, 29-30, 37-38 and 46-47
• CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS VOL. 2 HC
Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #55-56, 64-65, 73-74 and 82-83
• CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS VOL. 3 HC
Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #91-92, 100-102, 107-108 and 113
• CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS VOL. 4 HC
Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #123-124, 135-137 and 147-148
• CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS VOL. 5 HC
Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #159-160, 171-172 and 183-185
• CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS VOL. 6 HC
Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #195-197, 207-209 and ALL-STAR SQUADRON #14-15
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS HC
Collects CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #1-12
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: ALL-STAR SQUADRON HC
This new title collects ALL-STAR SQUADRON #50-60
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: GREEN LANTERN HC
This new title collects GREEN LANTERN #194-198, THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #16 and 18 and THE OMEGA MEN #31 and 33
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: JUSTICE LEAGUE HC
This new title collects THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #41-42, DETECTIVE COMICS #558, WONDER WOMAN #327-329 and THE NEW TEEN TITANS #13-14
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: LEGENDS HC
This new title collects THE LOSERS SPECIAL #1, SWAMP THING #44 and 46, LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE: CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #1, BLUE DEVIL #17-18 and AMETHYST #13
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: INFINITY, INC. HC
This new title collects INFINITY, INC. #18-25, INFINITY, INC. ANNUAL #1 and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #244-245
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: SUPERMAN HC
This new title collects DC COMICS PRESENTS #78, 86-88 and 94-95, SUPERMAN #413-415 and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL #3
• CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS: BEHIND THE CRISIS
This new title collects THE HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE #1-2, pre-Crisis appearances of the Monitor, behind-the-scenes material and more
ON SALE 11.06.19
$500.00 US | FC
DIMENSIONS: APPROX. 12.5” high x 13.5” wide x 8” deep
WEIGHT: APPROX. 28 lbs.
* Dimensions and weight subject to change
ART NOT FINAL
Okay… I know what you’re thinking…Cori, do you really need this? The answer is yes. Yes, Cori really needs this. Don’t you judge me.
NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOL. 4 HC
written by MARV WOLFMAN
art by EDUARDO BARRETO, JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ and others
cover by GEORGE PEREZ
In this fourth massive collection of the hit 1980s series, team member Lilith ascends to godhood and takes up residence on Olympus, home of the Greek gods of myth. And as the Crisis on Infinite Earths begins, Starfire is called home to the planet Tamaran to be wed to a member of the military. Collects NEW TEEN TITANS Series Two #10-31, NEW TEEN TITANS Series Two ANNUAL #1-2 and a story from OMEGA MEN #34.
RESOLICIT | ON SALE 11.20.19
$99.99 US | 800 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8930-0
I SAID DON’T JUDGE ME, GOSH.
Now if you’re done judging me, I’ll see you all next month.