Last week, DC’s follow up to their DC Universe: Rebirth #1 special kicked off in Batman #21 with the first installment of the four-parter titled, “The Button.” The titular button came out of the speed force and lodged itself into a Batcave wall. You might recognize this button as belonging to the Comedian from Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen. It’s rather fitting, and in no way coincidental, that it’s the murder of the Comedian that kicked off the Hugo Award-winning series decades ago and another murder is what sets this adventure by DC’s two greatest detective in motion.
Yes, they killed SPOILER. After a flash of blue lightning, SPOILER, made a final claim that could have fallen deaf on the Dark Knight’s unconscious bat-ears or perhaps it will be the “Rosebud” of this entire tale. We’ll see soon enough. Of course, SPOILER wasn’t the only pre-New 52 character that showed up last week, SPOILER also made a brief cameo and you can bet SPOILER will end up being a major player in this plot as it kicks into the next gear.
One chapter and epic lenticular cover is in the books, this week we’re going to be treated to another. Will Batman and Flash be able to figure out the multiple mysteries before them? Is SPOILER dead for keeps? Will we ever get more answers than questions in a damn comic book? Jump right in, the rumoring waters are white hot.
Yeah, I’m avoiding the names, sue me. You want to know what happened? Get the comic!
Yes, that’s right you’re reading this correctly, THE Ben Reilly is web-slinging is his way into an all-new ongoing series, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1. One of the most polarizing characters in the history of comic books is starting a new chapter where his fate will hang in a balancing act between the hero he aspires to become again versus the villain his flaws led him to recently being. Can this unhinged clone of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man find his way back onto the righteous path?
After the events of The Clone Conspiracy, most all of us readers thought that Ben Reilly has met his maker for the umpteenth time. Turns out….psych! Ben’s back but sure as heck doesn’t have it all together. Haunted by warring parts of his psyche, Ben is torn between finding his way back to the days when he wanted to be the best hero out there and falling back into his recently resurrecting ways. Far from home, this new old Scarlet Spider is going to have a lot on his plate right from the get-go.
Peter David‘s no stranger to dealing with characters that have, um, identity issues. See his entire run on X-Factor for more. Nor is he a stranger to the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe (Spider-Man 2099, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Death of Jean Dewolff). Now, though, Peter David has set himself up with the task of crafting the character journey for a man who’s talking to the manifestation of his hoodied hero former self on one shoulder and the masked villain he’s running from being on the other shoulder. With all the voices he hears in his head, not all comfort him or understand, will Peter David be able to lead Ben Reilly back into the hearts of the public and the readers? Well, not if Kaine kills him first!
Adam Gorham is a rising star in comics. Don’t believe me? What else would you call someone who’s being shot straight to the stars by drawing one of Marvel’s highest profile characters with a movie coming out? Plus, the fact it’s a cosmic character with space crime overtones. Adam Gorham’s a model of work ethic and determination, not to mention humility. He gives us a rough outline of his journey thus far, what we can expect from the upcoming Rocket #1 out on May 10th and offers sage advice to artists drawing their own path in the industry.
MK: Adam, thank you so much for having a Creative Conversation with me today. One of the questions I always like to start with is, do you remember the first comic you owned or the first one that made an impression on you?
AG: the pleasure is mine! I’m excited to talk about Rocket with my pal Matt Klein!
MK: Nice rhyme.
AG: Totally unintentional. I amaze myself (laughs). The first comic I owned and really cherished, and has left an impact on me to this day, is Batman: The Cult, the graphic novel. My father got it for me, probably without even looking inside of it. This was when comics were at their height in the 90’s and the local newspaper and cigar shop sold comics. Bernie Wrightson’s work was my first major influence.
MK: I freaking love that book. I mean, Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, it’s a gem. In talking with people in shops that’s an often undiscovered gem. You mentioned Bernie Wrightson as your first major influence, who were some others at different points in your journey to today?
AG: Well, I loved comics as a kid, but rarely read them. I liked them for the art and would draw what I saw. All the mythos and lore I got loosely from 90’s cartoons like [Batman: TAS], Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. so without knowing many names at the time, I was certainly informed by the heavyweights of the 90’s. However, I fell out of comics around ten or so, about the time when kids let go of their “kids stuff”. I didn’t get back into loving comic artwork until eleventh grade, and that was after discovering Alex Ross, particularly Kingdom Come.
MK: So good!
AG: It was a revelation for me. Ross’ work was the first time for me that comic art felt like classic works of art that could be hung somewhere. When I started getting back into it, I was in love with what Bryan Hitch was doing on The Ultimates. In fact, I really liked Ultimate Marvel at the time. Leinil Yu was another favorite.
MK: There was a ton of top talent working on Marvel’s Ultimate Universe at that point. Do you have a favorite Ultimate Universe run or story?
AG: Well I really liked the Ultimate X-Men stuff for a while. The first arc was epic. I enjoyed most of Return to Weapon X. Ultimates 2 probably stands apart though as the height of those titles.it took FOREVER for it to come out, but in the end it was pretty satisfying
MK: Great art can be worth the wait. How did you come to the decision that working in comics was what you wanted to do?
AG: I drew all my life. That’s not saying much. Most kids love to draw. However, I was always applauded for how well I drew for my age, so I grew up with drawing as “my thing.” And for a long time that was enough. I didn’t have a direct application or career in mind for it, but I excelled at drawing superheroes, so comics seemed an obvious choice. The only thing is, I was a terrible student with no ambition. Drawing comics as a career was an easy thing to talk about, but pursuing it was murky and not always tangible. I did go to art school and flamed out because, as I say, terrible student. Ultimately, after a few years of working one dirty job or another, my partner dragged me to my first comic convention and really opened up my eyes to this world I’d previously only known through Wizard magazines and comic shops. I was working in a grocery warehouse. Things with my significant other were getting serious. We wanted to start a new chapter in our lives and it became clear I needed a new goal in life. Or a goal in life. So when I left the warehouse job, I went for broke and looked for a job illustrating. I found one off Craigslist (laughs).
MK: What was the job?
AG: My first ever gig drawing comics was a 128-page graphic novel, written by a Canadian film director who wanted to adapt his indie vampire movie into a comic. Before that I had drawn a few scant pages for my own ideas. And once I started there was no looking back.
MK: That sounds a bit like you jumped into the deep end with a 128 page project right off the bat!
AG: Totally. It was the first opportunity I found and I seized it. I didn’t know how or where else to find work. In the past I had sent submissions to publishers, back when most publishers still took open submissions. I have a polite and informative rejection letter from Marvel, actually.
MK: That’s freaking awesome though! You talked about going to a convention kind of blew open your mind about comics and the industry. As an artist, how do you like conventions now being on the other side of the table? because I remember that’s how we met and i bugged you for a sketch that i recently proudly showed off to io9.
AG: Going as a fan and going as part of your job are two very different experiences. Pros and cons to each side. When I went as fan all I could think about was getting comics signed and saying, “Hi” to people I admired. I put myself through crazy lines and jumped through hoops to meet creators like Alex Ross, Brian Bolland and so on. It was fun but exhausting. You really invested a part of yourself. As soon as I started tabling, that was out the window. It’s not like I made a conscious decision to regard conventions differently. It’s just that creating a book and taking it to market changes your priorities.
MK: it’s part of your business. you’re a brand now with obligations.
MK: Do you have any memorable requests from fans at conventions? Or any favorite sketches you’ve done?
AG: I’ve never had a bizarre request. Everything I’ve been asked to draw has been pretty fun, although I think I’ve only recently started drawing well at conventions. The past couple years I’ve improved, whereas drawing at a table was an uncomfortable experience. I got the hang of it though. So anything beyond a year or two ago I look back on and cringe. Your Man-Bat is a favorite of mine. I did a Frank Miller Dark Knight at NYCC that was very nice.
MK: if you could go back some years, what advice would you give yourself about being a comic book artist?
AG: With hindsight there’s so much I would impart. My problems starting out was, I thought I knew just how much work was involved with making comics. I would go back and tell myself “Nope. Work harder.” One thing I tell others is not to feel beholden to any one thing they’ve drawn. Draftsmanship is so very important. teaching yourself to draw things over and over, refining, and not being precious about something because you spend an hour on it. Your ideas and skill will always improve with every pass if you put in the effort, so it’s crazy to me to draw something once and thinking, “Well, I can see this is off, this other thing is wonky, but I just spent two hours drawing it, so good enough.” I’ve redrawn entire pages because a better idea struck me while I was driving home or at the store or on a walk.
MK: How many hours a day do you draw?
AG: I draw every day. Working constantly. Some days I work eight hours and others twelve or sixteen. Depends on where I’m at. I have two kids that, once they’re home, I can’t do anything else until they’re in bed. So I don’t always draw as much as I want to in a work day. But I try to make up with time later
MK: That’s incredibly intimidating and inspiring at the same time (laughs). Let’s pivot real quick to your ridiculously exciting new series coming up. So, congratulations on being the artist on the upcoming Rocket #1 with Al Ewing. It seems like a pretty awesome moment to be working on this character with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming out so close to the release of the series. When you got the gig, how was the book described to you?
AG: It was a thrilling experience for me because of the sheer amount of suspense involved.
AG: I was worried what I’d move on to. Like, I had some options, and I had some ideas of what step to take next. I was gutted, to be honest, because i wanted The Violent to carry on. Ed [Brisson] had this great idea for the next chapter and I was ready for it. So, I was sweating it a little. Then later one afternoon while I was at the supermarket Ii got an email from Marvel asking if I was interested in working for them. That alone was very exciting, but it could’ve meant anything from a cover to a tie-in or whatever
AG: But naturally I said yes. they told me they’d have some information in a couple days. For two days my mind went WILD with possibilities
MK: Was Rocket Raccoon on that list of possibilities?
AG: Ha! No. I figured since I had just done a street level crime comic, something like Punisher or whatever would be the obvious route. I met with a good friend of mine, Michael Walsh, who was doing Rocket and Groot at the time. We were giddy over what it could be, no matter how small. When Marvel offered me a new #1 ongoing, I was intoxicated. Like, it wasn’t even that it was Rocket. At the time, we were calling it something else. The change of name was also in the cards. But the fact I’d be coming on with such a great opportunity was unreal. Anyway, when we finally got talking about what the book would be, my place as an artist began to make sense.
MK: How so? And this is an interesting pattern here, your first comic is a 128 page book, your first gig at Marvel is an ongoing for one of the most publicly recognized characters! You’re really seizing these opportunities that not everybody gets. It’s inspiring.
AG: I forget who exactly gave me the lowdown, but they said the vision for this book would be Rocket in his element pulling heists in space. In conversation we compared it to Parker graphic novels. Al [Ewing] had this idea to use prose, reinforcing the theme of a hard-boiled thriller. So right away we talked about how pages would be structured to accommodate Al’s prose. and how Rocket’s default outfit in this series would be a suit, open collar, no tie. Parker, even Daniel Ocean make good comparisons, but our Rocket has a broken heart that reminds me more of George Clooney’s Jack Foley from “Out of Sight.”
MK: You just named one of my top 10 favorite films of all time!
AG: IT’S SO GOOD! Fun story about that movie. When I was a kid I was grounded. I forget why, but I know I earned it. My parents left to get groceries one saturday afternoon. While they were out my friends called asking if I’d go to the movies with them. Somehow I thought I could sneak out, see a two hour movie, and bus it home before they ever got home. The only thing playing at the theatre was “Out of Sight” which I had seen ads for but wasn’t the type of movie I was rushing to see at the time. Man, oh man, it was the coolest thing I ever saw at that point.
MK: Uh, yeah! Seriously, anybody reading this who hasn’t seen “Out of Sight” needs to immediately go watch it!
AG: And I felt like such a smooth operator for sneaking out to see this slick flick. I was like, twelve or thirteen at the time. I can’t recall. But I walked out of the theatre like, “Look at me now, world!”
MK: Did you get busted?
AG: Oh, of course! My parents were out of the house for maybe an hour, discovered I took off, and had three hours to sit and plan my punishment. I walked into verbal cannon fire.
MK: That’s epic. Okay, we’re in the home stretch here. If someone’s been living in a bubble for the last few years and has no idea who Rocket is, how would you describe your new series to them?
AG: First off, congratulations on leaving your bubble. Let me introduce you to Rocket: he’s a scruffy outlaw, a lost soul, a space raccoonoid looking for his place in the galaxy when he’s not saving it with the Guardians. That place usually ends up being a dangerous one, where he’s risking it for, surprisingly, a chance at love lost. If that doesn’t work out, then cold revenge.
MK: Who is on your Mount Rushmore of comics?
AG: I forget how many heads are on Rushmore, but let’s say four, and my Rushmore of Comics is comprised of: Frank Quitely, Alex Ross, Bernie Wrightson, and Moebius.
MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore!
AG: Rushmore is really weird, when you think about it.
MK: Last but not least: If you meet someone that’s never read a comic before, what 5 reads would you tell them to pick up?
Now, for fans of the House of Ideas, this week is the start of a hotly debated event. There’s a lot of heat in the discussions for many reasons, but one started a while back in Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, where it was revealed that “Old Reliable” himself is in fact an undercover agent of Hydra. A lot of readers were left shaking their fists while others were scratching their heads.
From there, the nature of Steve’s history having been altered by the Red Skull tweaking with a cosmic cube filled in some back story but the path to Cap and Hydra’s endgame was unclear. Like DC did with their DC Universe: Rebirth #1 one-shot, Marvel used a tentpole release to further build the foundation for this company altering event. As the dust settled on Civil War II, Steve Rogers was appointed the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and thanks to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Act, he now has more authority than any director before him (sorry, Nick Fury!).
Meanwhile, Cap’s been orchestrating a Chitauri invasion of Earth which, based on the preview pages released, looks like will be a focal point in Secret Empire #0. Add in the death of Jack Flag, the trial of Maria Hill, and the dispatching of the Red Skull in his series’ last issue, and Steve Rogers is set to run the table all in the name of Hydra. Who can stop, arguably, the former greatest and most beloved hero in the history of the Marvel Universe? Apparently, it’s going to take everybody!
Rumors run rampant about what Marvel’s status quo will be after the Secret Empire’s saga is done. Will Steve Rogers be returned to the good ole Captain America he once was? So soon after the casualties from Civil War II, could other beloved characters be sacrificed or terminated with extreme prejudice? Will Ulysses’ vision of Hydra’s dark reign over the world come true? Or will this lead to something even more game changing than even Secret Wars did less than two years ago? Is their Rebirth or a “New 52” style reboot?
The journey to all of our answers will begin in this special zero issue from Steve Rogers scribe Nick Spencer and artists Daniel Acuña and Rod Reiss. Marvel fans, are, you rrrrrrrrready?
DC’s two greatest detectives come together in Batman #21 as the mystery of “The Button” begins!
A good slow build is something we comic book readers don’t always appreciate nowadays. We’re becoming a culture of bingers who want the whole story on demand. It has to be on our time and oftentimes that means publishers rush through the journey. With “The Button” storyline that will take place across Batman and Flash over the next four weeks, DC Comics is looking to prove that sometimes the best things are ones we can endure waiting for.
At last, the next major step forward from the revelations of DC Universe: Rebirth #1 about the iconic smiley face button that appears in the Batcave will be explored! Will it bring the DCU that much closer to confronting the world of Alan Moore’s Watchmen? Well, we’ve been marching there all along haven’t we?
Rooted from last FCBD’s DC Rebirth story, then continuing with continuity-threatening revelations from DC Universe: Rebirth #1, this story has been building across several titles in DC for a year. Think about it, Mr. Oz and the events of the recent Superman Reborn storyline, the implications about Eobawd Thawne and Flashpoint-Batman, Thomas Wayne in Flash #19, the importance of Psycho-Pirate’s ability to remember all previous DC continuities throughout Tom King’s current run on Batman, it’s all building to this next major turning point.
Thawne, Thomas Wayne, and Psycho Pirate will be part of the mystery that Batman and Flash will be investigating. Time altering implications have been promised. This is the next major step forward in the two year epic that DC’s said will carry on across their entire publishing line. It’s no secret that after this story, Batman will realize that war is imminent. But war with who or what?
A kudos to DC, it’s not easy anymore to make us wait for all the answers but based on the quality of the breadcrumbs they’ve been leaving us, it definitely feels like the answers we’re about to get could be very satisfying. Of course, everything won’t be revealed over the next four weeks. After all, where’s the fun in that? Hey, maybe I’m wrong though, maybe what a Comedian once said is true, “This is a joke. This is all a joke.” If it is, will we be laughing or cringing when it’s done?
The Crew returns as Black Panther’s world expands to Harlem in this new series!
Ta-Nehisi Coates has been building up an unstoppable force in Black Panther’s ever growing corner of the Marvel Comics Universe. After selling 300,000 copies of Black Panther #1 last year, a second book was launched by Coates, Roxann Gay, and poet Yona Harvey in Black Panther World of Wakanda. Now, Coates and Harvey are going to put a new twist on a little known but much beloved concept from Marvel’s past in Black Panther & The Crew #1 this week.
It’s a book reflecting the issues of today and connecting them also to issues from Marvel’s past. The book begins with an activist dying in police custody. T’Challa assembles his team of Luke Cage, Storm, Misty Knight, and Manifold to investigate what really happened in Harlem. Coates has made it clear that he lived in Harlem for seven years and there’s a lot of love for the neighborhood being put into this book. Now, it’s comics, so nothing will be as it first appears but what is certain are the powerhouses involved in crafting a story that showcases the bonds betweens wounds of the past creating scars in the present. We’ll see a group of heroes that have histories of saving both the streets and the world challenged in new ways they haven’t quite experienced before.
Make no bones about it, this book is a must-read first issue. Well? What are you doing still reading this? Go grab it off the shelf right now!
Marvel wants to give you the blues, but in a good way.
Last week we had something old in X-Men Gold #1, with the veterans of the currently in-continuity corner of the Marvel Universe. I dare say, if you’ve read that single issue yet that they also gave you something borrowed (e.g. the name of the central villain). This week Marvel wants to bring you something new and something blue, in X-Men Blue #1. How successful are they? That’s for you, dear readers, to decide.
The time-displaced X-Men originals are launching a new chapter of their own adventures. If you’ve been looking to see the classic X-Men team of the Lee and Kirby kicking bad guys in the face front and center here’s your opportunity. Marvel Girl leads Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel in this first issue establishing old and new threats to the original Fab Five. However, how will this team of old school X-Men deal with their new mentor, their formerly sword enemy, Magneto! If you’ve been following the Master of Magnetism’s journey over the last few years you get a sense that there’re going to be a lot of clashes right from the get-go. Will this team be broken before it can truly function together?
In the wake of Inhumans Vs. X-Men, this is going to be the team you lean on for a note of nostalgia and, Marvel seems to hope, a way to bring younger readers a taste of something that feels fresh. Since retro’s a thing that I’m told’s mostly “in” these days, this would appear to be Marvel’s way of reaching out to that demographic. Can you put a new shine on a classic line up? Will there be enough new and enough familiar in a perfect recipe of easy to digest comic adventures? We’re going to find out this New Comic Book Day when X-Men Blue #1 hits shelves.
Cullen Bunn is no stranger to Magneto or tackling complex villains and delicate group dynamics. Will he, along with explosive artists Jorge Molina and Matteo Buffagni, bring us the next renaissance of X-Men stories? We have to read to find out.
The most dangerous game involves dinosaurs and soccer stars in this new epic adventure!
Valiant has been on a hot streak lately with new adventures for established characters in titles like X-O Manowar #1 and with new faces in recent collections like Divinity, Britannia, and with this week’s new release, Savage. In a day and age where there’re so many titles fighting for your hard-earned dollars, quality is king. Fortunately, Valiant looks to be making another strong case with this mini-series at a $9.99 price tag.
The story’s a fun premise to begin. A famous soccer star and his wife who used be a supermodel (I’m sure in no way related to Victoria and David Beckham), disappeared nearly fifteen years ago. There’s been no sighting of them since. To the world they were fish food after taking off on a final flight on their private jet. The world doesn’t know the true story but now you will discover their fate and the fate of the child she was carrying.
On an uncharted island filled with dangers unbeknownst by modern man, they will struggle to hang on to their humanity in the face of prehistoric threats. Yeah that’s right, freakin’ dinosaurs! Of course, dinosaurs won’t be the only challenges they encounter. Their journey from stars to savages is charted in this pulse pounding chronicle.
From the scripts of B. Clay Moore (Aloha, Hawaiian Dick) and then mastery of Clayton Henry (Archer & Armstrong) and Lewis LaRosa (Bloodshot Reborn), whose goal in life is to live in Jurassic Park, you’re getting incredible depictions of dinosaur hunting, drug running, plane crashes, and survival on instinct alone. Did you want “Jurassic Park” meets “Lost” with a splash of “Castaway”? Because if you didn’t know you should have wanted that, now you do.
What would a Wednesday be without Image Comics debuting what looks like a genre-twisting new series? This week looks it looks like readers will be getting quite the delight in Black Cloud #1, a series where every person’s dream is linked to a different world and everyone’s dreams are for sale if the price is right. Dark and trippy days are coming in this epic noir fantasy featuring an exiled dream who’s trapped in our realm. With a lovely nod, her name is Zelda.
Stuck in our world, Zelda carries with her broken dreams and needs a way to survive. Enter the rich and powerful, who are willing to pay for the pieces if they’re for sale. Dealing in a new black market of make-believe, where everyone’s story is literally magic, Zelda soon is on the run from more than just her own world before long.
The world we know is about to intersect with the worlds we can only imagine. When they collide, who will be safe, will Zelda be able to create safe passage home, and what new dreams will dare to be crafted? The power lies in the dreamer…until the dreams decide they’ve had enough.
There’s going to be a big question developing an answer over the next few months: Are you Team Gold or Team Blue? This week we get our first taste of the former as the Resurrxion of the X-Men franchise looks to build off of last week’s status quo establishing one-shot, X-Men Prime #1. This week? X-Men Gold #1 hits shelves. Who’s leading? Who’s following? Is this truly a return to the great X-Men stories of lore?
Coming out of the Inhumans Vs. X-Men, Kitty Pryde will take on the role of team leader for a squad of what Marvel’s billing as the most iconic X-Men. Let’s take a look at the roster and see if you agree: Storm (true). Colossus (pretty true?). Nightcrawler (true). Old Man Logan (kind of true). Prestige (Rachel Grey re-branded). Not an uninteresting line-up. Right now things look rough for mutantkind (when hasn’t it?). But Kitty Pryde’s X-Men are set with a mission and a purpose: to be heroes and defend even those who fear them. There’s no easy path to go down, and time will be needed to see if the X-Men can win back all the hearts and minds of those who distrust them, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Can X-Men Gold #1 help build a place again in your heart and on your pull lists for the merry mutants?
The DC Rebirth trade paperbacks continue to come out at a surprisingly consistent pace. While there are some once-monthly titles that we’re awaiting their first collections of, the twice monthlies are beginning to release their second waves. Why not start that second wave with the first of the first? The birth of the Super Sons in the post-New 52 era of DC Comics begins here! Superboy! Robin! Teaming up and leading into one of DC’s best current titles on the shelves.
Truly, one of the great core books since the DC Rebirth publishing initiative began has been Superman. No, that’s not a typo. Superman is good again. Heck, a lot of the time, Superman is great again. It’s the best Supes stories fans have had, arguably, since Geoff Johns’ run a decade ago (but who argues about such things about comics?). As crazy as it sounds what has made Superman relevant hasn’t been epic clashes with Doomsday or Lex Luthor. It hasn’t been depressive episodes about the responsibilities of his powers to the greater world. It hasn’t been about hiding his identity from Lois Lane or worrying about saving her every issue. No, it’s Jon Kent, Superboy, the first son of the Last Son of Krypton.
Superman has grown into Pa Kent and that has allowed the team of Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke, and now additions in Jorge Jiminez, Jaime Mendoza, Trevor Scott, Mark Morales, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, and Norm Rapmund, to explore what feels like fresh character-driven territory for the Man of Tomorrow. Tomorrow isn’t just about what his legacy might be anymore, his and Lois’ legacy will be Jon Kent and everything he does must have him as a consideration. As Damian Wayne has led to discovering incredible depths to his pointy-eared father, so too has Jon tugged on Kal El’s cape in a new way. Think I’m exaggerating? Pick up this read and prove, me, wrong!
“FINALLY, DK III #8has come back, to Forbidden Planet!”
Or at least that’s what I imagine The Rock would say if he came into the shop this New Comic Book Day (Mr. Johnson, if you somehow are reading this and will be in downtown NYC on March 29th, please do stop by we’d love to smark out in front of you).
The main thrust of it is that Frank Millerand Brian Azzarello‘s latest installment in the seemingly never-ending Dark Knight saga is here. At last. Thank Rao. After the crazy cliffhanger of the last issue there’s a lot we readers need answers to. One thing’s for certain, Baal’s Kryptonian army is planning to bring the pain to the Amazons. Themsyscira is squarely in the Kryptonians’ sights and all Hades is busting to break loose at the smackdown of mythic proportions coming our way.
Okay, now that we in-the-know folks have a little bit of privacy let’s discuss that major cliffhanger for a second. Bruce Wayne’s back to the prime of his youth! Remember how Frank Miller originally crafted a story about an aging Batman with a death wish? Yeah, this series isn’t about that anymore. Plus, with Mr. Miller’s statements about wanting to write further Dark Knight series and spin-offs, this appears (and I cannot stress that word enough) to be the new status quo moving forward. But Bruce just took a dunk in a Lazarus Pit. We all know that means a small piece of a person’s left behind as a price to pay for renewed youth. What part of Bruce is gone? How bat-crazy is he right now? What are he and Superman going to do in the face of the battle on Themyscira?
We all thought this was the end but clearly with a crazy massive climax coming, it’s no wonder we’re going to get an extra issue to this mini-series that’s taking it to the max. All together now: Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh, Batman!
Okay, that didn’t quite have the ring of Professor X’s iconic rallying cry. However, that looks to be the new mutant status quo that Marvel is setting up after the eventful events of Inhumans Vs. X-Men. There’s no question that that dark chapter in X-Men history has left the merry band of mutants in a very difficult and not necessarily popular place. However, for longtime fans awaiting the return to prominence for this franchise, it was the springboard into what will be a slew of new X-titles. It all begins here with X-Men Prime #1 (no relation to the one-shot of similar name after the original “Age of Apocalypse”saga).
Kitty Pryde is one of the most beloved X-Men characters of all-time. She’s for the most part been able to stay squeakier and cleaner than many of the other X-Men in the past few years. Since Kitty missed all the hubbub with that pesky war of Emma Frost’s recently, Kitty is visited by Storm and is asked to lead the X-Men back into good graces of the world. It’s a tall order. It’s a nice bit of coming full circle and suddenly the new X-Men status quo is going to resemble a little of what the Ultimate Universe’s version was for a little while there after the awful happenings of Ultimatum. Kitty will be charged with leading the mutant cause in a world that fears them and many enemies (new, old, you name ’em) will be amping up.
How will Kitty Pryde begin the path of progress and Resurrxion for some of Marvel’s most important characters and properties? You can find out in X-Men Prime #1 . Get to the shop early or else do as Rogue would suggest, “Pull it or lose it, Sugar.”
For more on the upcoming X-Men Resurrxion that Marvel has us salivating for, here’s a trailer from the House of Ideas laying out when all of the new X-Men series will be fighting their way to your shelves:
What happens when the world’s greatest heroes are trapped on a farm?
Okay, so that seems like a bit of a crazy setup, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. The first collection of writer Jeff Lemire (Royal City, Descender, Bloodshot Reborn), artist Dean Ormston (The Sandman), and colorist Dave Stewart (Hellboy), brilliant new series, Black Hammer, has at last arrived. Here’s your choice to get to know the mysterious past of the heroes of Spiral City. In these first six issues you’ll learn more about Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien! Get glimpses of what happened ten years ago that forced them into seclusion on a timeless farming town where they lead simple lives including dinner parties the likes of which you’ll never forget. As they attempt to free themselves from this pastoral limbo, a new outsider will force them back into one heroic action, perhaps, for the last time.
The creators will take you on a whirlwind tour-de-force of character-driven storytelling. There’s so much love for superheroes in this series while at the same time Lemire, Ormston, and Stewart are fearless in offering twists on all the familiar tropes. Your expectations about who these heroes are and were will be exploded and rewarded. The plotting is structured in such a way as to keep you guessing but without feeling as though anything is unearned. Everything you love about heroes is in here and everything you’ve come to be weary about the genre is addressed. There’s almost nothing you can’t enjoy about this series.
Evoking classic tales of 1950’s superheroics and still presenting a “family” of compelling characters, this may be the best new superhero universe in years. If you’re looking for a book to rekindle your love of what superhero comics are capable of, then read Black Hammer. ‘Nuff said.
No corner of the DC Universe hasn’t been touched by the events of Rebirth. For most all of DC’s titles it’s been an incredible fresh slate, not a reboot, but a new point to jump on and take the characters towards stories that feel earned, logical, self-contained without being disconnected, and delivering some the strongest stories from the publisher in a long time and on time. DC’s promise of a new direction for its characters in a way that doesn’t discount the last five years while still providing a new jumping on point for new or casual fans continues in the first collection of Batgirl’s newest adventures, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside.
Barbara Gordon’s return to the cape and cowl was met with great trepidation back in the old days (you know, 2011). Gail Simone wrote a three year story of healing, both physically and emotionally, grounding Barbara in overcoming the trauma that put her in a wheelchair for years of her life. It was a tricky line to walk and Simone began with a good jumping off point that grew into one of the best books DC was publishing. Then came the pop-tastic makeover by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and artist Babs Tarr.
Barbara was given a neighborhood of Gotham to call her own, the eponymous Burnside. It was a fresh new take on Babs and her world, where she was a brilliant student and a superhero establishing her own independence from the Bat-family.
Now, New York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) and Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) will take Batgirl on a journey to elevate her skills. The trek will include stops in hotspots like Okinawa, Singapore, Seoul, and even Shanghai. Everywhere she goes, Batgirl’s life will be threatened by lethal warriors who all bear a mysterious mark indicating “The Student.” Which, of course, baits the question that if there are students, Batgirl will need to track down their teacher…
As Batgirl goes on her own international hunt for the leader of this mysterious group of fighters, she’ll improve her own skills and cross paths with legendary heroes. If you’ve been waiting for Barbara Gordon to ascend into the grander scale of the superhero community then the wait is over.