BATMAN DAMNED 1: bloody good mystery launches DC Black Label in a vivid horror-noir style spawned from writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo.
Who killed the ghastly corpse that is retrieved and found to be the Joker?
Who mortally wounded Batman? And why can’t he remember what happened?
BATMAN DAMNED 1: there is a buzz with this book!
The art by Bermejo is masterful in the bleak view of Gotham and the Dark Knight and the hyper-action sequences that flow and dance off the page, like a great swordfight.
The world, from gambling on dark street corners to bashing medical staff for an escape route, is very much alive.
And just look at Bermejo’s BATMAN DAMNED 1 cover!
I thought Jim Lee and Alex Sinclair’s pentagram-backed caped crusader, and a lot of emphasis on a particularly badass-looking cape, was stunning (and it is).
But then I saw the steam coming off of the battered cowl in Bermejo’s Batman, and I realized the lunatic-like bloody expression beneath that cowl was worn and scraped, and either grimacing or . . . smiling!
Was Batman smiling like the Joker?
The depiction of a militarized Batman by Bermejo is iconic.
The Rambo-like Bat Belt and its dangling straps with rings for hooking weapons and tech to the beaten leather-like material and the many buckles on the worn army boots give a fierce edge to the amnesiac Batman.
And the talented scribe Azzarello crafts an ingenious and twisted tale of mystery, horror, and Bat-lore that shoots from page to page, impact to impact, whether it is physical blows, or mental, or emotional ones.
His Batman has to deal with a supernatural influence, a hole in his memory, and the detective case of a lifetime.
But there are also the wrinkles and the deeply hidden crevices in the world where metaphors for Satanism and Christianity, for the Gothic towering over Gotham and the strange creatures crouching in Bruce Wayne’s past and present shadows.
The DC Black Label launch title BATMAN DAMNED 1 is incredibly enticing for the adult comic book reader with a dark side.
The oversized format is incredible to behold in and of itself.
BATMAN DAMNED 1 is ad free and chock full of gorgeously detailed and gritty oversized pages.
This book should not be approached by the faint of heart or the Puritanical among us.
Get yours from your LCS – Red Shirt Comics got me – before they are gone forever!
“BATMAN DAMNED 1: Bloody Good Mystery Launches DC Black Label” was written by R.J. Huneke
Catwoman #3: chaos, curves & puurrfect cliffhanger makes for an incredible tale from artist and writer Joëlle Jones and her team.
Catwoman #3 Has It All: Mystery, Epic Fights, A+ Style, Twists
Let’s discuss the 30-pound cat in the room (yes, my kitty, Cosmo is a big-boned boy):
The variant covers by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau have been nothing short of amazing for the entire run so far, but Catwoman #3, I mean . . . WOW!
There are few words that can describe the powerful, scintillating, and, just, stunning depiction Selina Kyle in the Joëlle Jones-designed dress that Stanley “Artgerm” Lau paints.
There is no superhero costume in view and none needed.
See for yourself.
The Catwoman #3 variant cover
Now onto the book!
If you have not read Catwoman #1 or #2 or Batman #49 or #50 there is a mild Spoiler in the following paragraph, but otherwise we are operating SPOILER-FREE today.
Coming off a heart-wrenching abandoned wedding, Selina Kyle abandons Gotham for San Francisco where a new villain’s plotted narrative grabs a hold of the opportunity to frame Catwoman for murder and subdue her to her will. And Selina finds herself in a warehouse full of Catwoman costumes and many ready to fight.
The story is growing in intensity as the still grieving Selina attempts to heal in a city gunning for her.
The writing overall, from the character arcs, the new villain, to the dialogue, to the many wrinkles, twists, and turns of the plot, is extraordinary.
Catwoman #3 further proves Joëlle Jones has so much more to add to the Catwoman mythos and we can only sit riveted waiting for more.
And that puppeteer-villain is grotesque in every way imaginable.
Cover #1, from powerhouse creators Bendis and Mack, is ingenuity and incredulity at its best!
Blast off into a whole new territory of comic book creation complete with comic artist humor, scintillating spies /slash/ love interests, and a much more creative CIA recruitment process than this writer previously suspected possible.
Cover #1 is fresh and page-turningly addictive
The art, from character building that is good enough to feel their very bones, to the sharp dialogue, to the insanely surreal artwork that echoes feeling, suspense and often transcends panels, is fresh and page-turningly addictive.
Cover #1 from Jinxworld by writer Brian Bendis, artist David Mack and colorist Zu Orzu truly captures the imagination of James Bond fans, artists, and comic con fans alike.
Both covers are so rad!
Both covers of issue #1, by David Mack and the variant by Zu Orzu, have readers floored.
Each encompasses the main characters Max and Julia in stark silhouettes filled with words.
These point to secrecy in the CIA and a nearly subliminal and powerful new dynamic between the recruiter and artist.
The colors in the book itself (and on the covers) by Zu Orzu bring amazing tones where pieces of color and story significance jump out at the reader.
And the father-son samurai flashbacks are absolutely gorgeous.
The father-son dynamic for Max is something that must be of extra importance to the character and must be further explored in the series.
The premise is fairly simple at the onset: a talented comic book creator, Max, who travels a lot to showcase his craft meets a fan of his, Julia, who purchases some of his original artwork and coyly states that she follows him online.
It is likely not a chance encounter.
We will not spoil anything.
But comic book creators can make for the perfect cover as operatives in an ever-volatile world where intelligence and counter-intelligence operatives tread dangerously.
Artist David Mack has worked with the US Embassy to volunteer his art and mentoring to help youths across the globe after all.
He certainly has insight and perspective and has been collaborating with writer Brian Michael Bendis to birth Cover for years now.
Cover #1 is the launch of another creator-owned gem from Jinxworld
Cover #1 is the launch of another creator-owned gem from Jinxworld and with an award-winning team like Bendis and Mack at the top of their games, not to mention artist Zu Orzu’s accentuating colors, readers are hungry for Cover #2!
The Sandman Universe 1 one-shot is riveting, visually visceral and stimulating, and features impactful storylines that merge for one hell of a tale.
Speaking of hell, Lucifer is in a bad state.
It seems he has a son, though impossible, and while the mysterious son seeks to destroy his father’s new sense of humanity, mortality, and mantra of hope, despite a potential wheel of fate forcing Lucifer to relive his pains over and over, Lucifer is off to find the mother of his child.
Lucifer’s bar is in shambles, as is his state of mind, his world, and his ravens (all but one at least).
And Dream’s raven (not Lucifer’s) has possibly the best line in the book when referring to Lucifer and his current predicament:
“It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy . . .”
The Sandman Universe 1 has many familiar faces, though Lucien is losing his memory and the Cain and Abel murders are helping to hold back the entire universe of Dreaming from cracking at the seems.
Daniel, Dream of the Endless, is gone.
And Lucien charges the all-knowing raven with finding him to help them save their increasingly brittle dreamscape.
The raven crosses dreams and stories in his search.
Another familiar face the raven flies over is Tim Hunter.
This sharp story sticks out immediately.
Tim’s life as a teenage magician living in the real world offers all kinds of complications.
Getting up late, showing up at school late, and finding your book blank when you go to read aloud in class is scary.
Finding out that your new teacher knows your secret and has plans for your magic is even more alarming.
What Tim does not know, but the raven sees, of course, is that Dr. Rose, with her scarlet scarf, has bloodily murdered Tim’s old teacher in his office with a fountainhead pen to the ear.
The Sandman Universe comes from master storyteller Neil Gaiman whose original work on Sandman has been nothing short of groundbreaking.
He is working with the talented writers of four new titles to come from the Sandman Universe.
The Sandman Universe 1 introduces the overall state of Dream, Daniel, and the Dreaming.
Because the raven knows, he hones in on Daniel in a city dressed as a teenager in Converse All Stars (donning white threads, of course), but he misses him before getting to speak to him.
It was like he had him and could not remember the Dream . . .
The Sandman Universe 1 story is by Neil Gaiman, and Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters write the yarn here as they set up their upcoming titles.
The illustrators of The Sandman Universe 1 are Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara.
Daniel does not want to be found. Has he given up his post as Dream?
At the end of the credits in The Sandman Universe 1 we get a post-credits scene if you will:
The Story Continues In . . .
The Dreaming #1 that comes out on 9/5/18, The House Of Whispers #1 coming out on 9/12/18, Lucifer #1 out 10/17/18, and Books Of Magic #1 released on 10/24/18 (just in time to get your magic up and running before Halloween).
Get ready for a journey through anything and everything dreams car offer and all while the infinite realms possibilities of the Dreamscape are unraveling!
Go grab a copy from your LCS, mine is Red Shirt Comics, before all of the coolest cover variants are gone!
“Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Universe 1 Unravels Dreaming” was written by R.J. Huneke.
In this review The Man of Steel #1 brings new humanity to Superman and also to Krypton, with the planet’s dangerous demand for resources to expand its trade system of commerce coming to light from the unlikeliest of sources.
Brian Michael Bendis adds a riveting storyline backed by a sharp edge to the Superman mythos that is very relevant today.
The bad-ass creative team for The Man of Steel #1 is as follows:
THE MAN OF STEEL #1
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jason Fabok, Alex Sinclair, Cory Petit
Edited by Jessica Chen, Michael Cotton, Brian Cunningham
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: May 30, 2018
The intricate, tight, and incredible style of all of the artwork feels like a DC Universe we recognize with a fresh take on the (80 year old) Superman character.
All of the artwork is extraordinary, but the bright effervescent colors by Alex Sinclair balancing some deep shadows and blacks give life, realism, and sheer superhero-ness, for lack of a better term, in a way rarely done before.
From the pages of Action Comics #1000, we caught the Present Day in the Brian Michael Bendis Era where a new relentless villain, Rogul Zaar, emerges onto the DCU to give Supes a beating and a slicing in Metropolis.
And worse, Zaar claims to have destroyed Superman’s home world, killing his parents.
The opening of The Man of Steel #1 reads simply: “Krypton: Many Years Ago.”
And there in the past in front of an un-named council of overseers of the universe is Rogol Zaar!
And he is considered by the council as a hero and one they give great respect.
They hear him out as he states that the “plague” of Krypton is a greedy colonial push for commerce that will instill interplanetary war and consume many worlds as they pursue their increasing lust for decreasing resources.
This makes Krypton seem far more human than ever before!
The planet of the red sun is home to mortal beings that have faults and flaws, and their own imperialism and need for more and more resources to further their technological prowess, despite the deaths and downsides that can emerge from this, is truly a flawed and more realistic look at Kal El’s lineage than we have previously seen.
There have always been flaws with his brethren who ignored Jor El’s warnings of planetary destruction, but only in the movie Man of Steel do we see a more human look at the people who, in their greed, bring about their planet’s own demise.
Bendis takes this apt portrayal into a deep and much more realistic depiction of humanity on Krypton, even though in the first issue we have yet to see a single Kryptonian except for Superman himself.
This is so stark a view of our own world, let alone the emerging technical prowess of Krypton that we know of from the Superman canon that readers are left taken aback.
Things are not black and white in the United States, or the world at large, and neither are they in the Brian Michael Bendis Era.
“Writing Superman in today’s day and age is a such powerful experience,” Bendis told Forbes when The Man of Steel was announced. “We live in a world where we’ve heard, ‘Truth, justice, and the American way’ our whole lives, right? But this is the first time those things are really not to be taken for granted. Truth has been revealed to not be as black and white as we thought it was; justice is sadly not always for everybody; and the American Dream, the American way of everybody coming here to pursue the idea that they can live a safe and healthy life — these are ideas we always took for granted, but now we don’t. No matter where you are politically, we just don’t take these things for granted anymore.
“And now I think it’s time Superman stand up and give us that hope we always want from him. It’s a great thing to be writing a character who exudes hope at a time when people really, really need it.”
Zaar wishes to prevent bloodshed in an outright war and asks the council to instead wipe out Krypton.
He is later respectfully informed, at the end of The Man of Steel #1, that they do not see aggression from Krypton and will let them be.
The bulk of Zaar immediately questions if the council was paid off.
Brian Michael Bendis Brings New Humanity To Superman
What is equally intriguing about this opening saga is that Superman is shown to be far more human, in his costume as Superman, than he is as Clark Kent.
It is true The Man of Steel #1 is a small sample size.
But seeing Superman stop amidst all of his chivalrous deeds, flying like a god, to simply listen to a local musician’s take on a catchy song is simply brilliant.
Bendis, in a single page, makes the Man of Steel so much more human than the bumbling Clark Kent.
The writer who created one of the most human and realistic superheroes of all time in Jessica Jones, the private investigator and flawed female protagonist in Marvel’s comic series Alias, is adept at letting life, politics, and all of the warts and grace of humanity in civilization bring his stories and world building to amazing heights.
Superman now has more ancillary characters of importance, like the female fire chief Superman meets in a burning building, just as the great Jerry Ordway and Dan Jurgens often did in their writing of the character before.
Building on the firefighter, Bendis has given us a rare moral dilemma that is truly endearing with her and Superman.
We all have the thought at some point even if we would never act on it, and Superman now does too: despite his wife Lois (who is currently MIA at the Daily Planet) and their child, he shows lingering interest in the firefighter.
This is not an outright infidelity interest, but if for no other reason then fleshing out the mortal humanity in a superhero above all superheroes, Superman is shown to at least have the thought and sexual urges that all people share.
What is more human than that?
Pick up The Man of Steel #1 now, and follow with The Man of Steel #2 on Wednesday at your Local Comic Shop; my LCS in Port Jefferson is Red Shirt Comics and I will be there!
“Review: The Man of Steel #1 Brings New Humanity To Superman” is written by R.J. Huneke
“I wish you could hear this…” Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis/DC Comics
Too F$&%*N Metal DARK KNIGHTS METAL 6 Shreds All! And that summarizes the gnarliest, twisted, epic DC tale to ever land a piercing note.
DARK KNIGHTS METAL 6 comes to us from one of the all-time greatest teams of ass-kicking artists ever assembled: master storyteller Scott Snyder (writer) on vocals and the Muhammad Ali-Bruce Lee tandem force of Greg Capullo (pencils) on bass and Jonathan Glapion (inks) on guitar.
And let’s not forget the Nolan Ryan of colorists here drummer FCO Plascencia.
Metal is the essence of the entire multiverse and it has permeated the weapons, the Forge of existence, and every being.
The intricate guitar solos rip through the thumping rhythms, as a story so warped with dark twistedness and innovative visions of Batman’s worst nightmares pits earth’s greatest heroes against the worst fate to ever threaten the DC Multiverse: a darkness so complete that only hungry nightmares and the screaming song of Barbatos resonating in the dark night will pervade.
Quoting (my favorite metal band) Metallica’s frontman James Hetfield from a 90’s concert in Mexico City: “You’re too f$&%in’ metal!”
He yelled this at then-bassist Jason Newsted; James continued, “you’re too metal for your own good.”
There can be no greater compliment I can think of.
Because DARK KNIGHTS METAL 6 is ‘too f$&%in’ metal.’
Barbatos, the hellish demon from the darkest corners of Batman’s being, is about to screech a song so sick and powerful that everything in the multiverse will fall to the darkness.
And then the Metal-Hawkgirl – black, silver and sharp as an embodiment of a katana – flies and, with a little help from Wonder Woman, cuts straight through the torso of Barbatos before the death-song can be bellowed.
The badass art and writing are going to go down as a legendary DC tale like no other.
The look and feel of the earth swallowed by the lost nightmare’s worlds running rampant is utterly compelling, bleak, and full of shadows.
The weapons, the expressions and the clothing are all intricate details of spikes and metal edges, and the incredulous warped characters that don the gear . . . damn it is so good!
The DARK KNIGHTS METAL crossover is something wholly new and about as different from standard superhero myth as it can get, and yet it somehow fits perfectly together and works in a legendary way.
Part of this is due to each personality crafted from the minds of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Jonathan Glapion from the seemingly Joker demon Mouth Of Sauron-like figure with his crowing vampiric Robins on chains to the colossal Doomsday nightmare, who seems to make one of the grittiest and frightening villains in DC history even scarier.
And in the wake of nightmares, DARK KNIGHTS METAL 5 revealed that Dream of the Endless, Daniel’s whole world too, the essence of all things, stories, was at risk.
In DARK KNIGHTS METAL 6, victory is achieved in many unlikely fashions. A troop of Batmen from Earth #39, including Frank Miller’s version of the older Batman – looking like he is straight out of the Dark Knight Returns world – lends help in the heat of the final battle.
And Batman goes to the nightmare Batcave to battle the Joker demon who reveals he is not based off a Joker nightmare but is a vision of Batman himself.
The revived Batman appears outmatched.
Batman kneels on the floor of the Batcave with the Joker-like Teeth taunting him, and a gun is gun raised to execute the Bat.
But when Batman says to do it, the real Joker – looking freaking sick in classic purple duds turned modern/metal/uncompromisingly badass looking via hanging green chains and his mohawk-like hair – fires his giant Joker-pistol and the gag-flag spears through the demon.
This book, DARK KNIGHTS METAL 6, has it all.
The ending and epilogue leave the DC Multiverse blown wide open as a wall to another multiverse is breached and new possibilities of good and evil lay in wait for the Justice League.
Even Neil Gaiman’s version of Sandman is missing, despite the world of dreams and the library of tales having survived the fires of Barbatos.