SUICIDE SQUAD #9 Review

Suicide Squad #9 is a comic book published by DC Comics. Written by Tom Taylor, art by Bruno Redondo, colors by Adriano Lucas and letters by Wes Abbott

Suicide Squad #9 Cover by Bruno Redondo

This issue, it’s the shocking death of one of the members of the Suicide Squad. They’ve seen teammates blow up and countries fall. They’ve faced down heroes and villains alike. Now the Suicide Squad has one final mission: bring down the man who enslaved them, then put a bounty on their heads when they escaped: But to finish the job, one of their members will have to DIE! 

This issue drops us into the middle of the Squad’s mission to gather some information about their target, the man who previously betrayed them. Also, we catch up with the remainder of the team as they prepare to set off. The book focuses on the intense moments as much as it does the more quiet times in which the squad can actually lay back and hang out. As the issue progresses the team has not only prepared for what could be their final mission, but also unknowingly the loss of one of their teammates. 

Taylor’s storytelling is propelled forward with a mix of genuinely dialogue, heartfelt moments, action bits and comedy. The team is quite large but it does not feel fractured as they work very well in smaller teams as well as a larger ensemble. The dialogue is very clever and captures the different personalities in the team. Although it is clear that death is impending, the issue is very upbeat, and not all about doom. The impact of the events is felt as the issue speeds towards the last few pages. 

Redondo’s art throughout the issue is light, stylized and very fitting to the action. Whether the setting be a government building or a small jungle, Redondo provides seamless transitions in the art. Lucas’ colors are vibrant as you would see in a SuperHero book, which is telling as to how the protagonists are seen in this point of view. The panels and in some pages lack of border set up the pace in each of those key moments in the story. 

Abbott’s letters are very well placed and come to light when needed in the story. The text never hinders the art. 

Suicide Squad #9 comes up with an action filled story, fun character moments and a last page reveal that makes this book an entertaining story. Long time fans as well as New readers will enjoy this issue. 

Suicide Squad #9 is available September 22nd wherever comics are sold.

RATING 4 / 5

Written by Daniel co-host of the Next Issue Podcast
@eckospider on Twitter. 
Find the bi- Weekly podcast @NextIssuePod anywhere podcasts are available.
Podcast available at Next Issue Podcast page

The Autumnal #1 Review

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The Autumnal #1 is a comic book published by Vault Comics. Written by NYT bestselling author Daniel Kraus (The Shape of Water, Trollhunters), art by Chris Shehan, colors by Jason Wordie and letters by Jim Campbell

In THE AUTUMNAL, is part of the NIGHTFALL Line, Vault‘s annual fall horror imprint. Every year as the weather turns brisk and autumn sets in, NIGHTFALL comes. As Vault continues its usual line, select new series introduced from September to December will bear the NIGHTFALL icon, promising genuine horror. Following the death of her estranged mother, Kat Somerville and her daughter, Sybil, flee a difficult life in Chicago for the quaint–and possibly pernicious–town of Comfort Notch, New Hampshire.

In this series premiere from Vault Comics NIGHTFALL line we catch up with Kat as her life is in a state of imbalance and disarray. At this very moment the death of Kat’s mother starts a series of events that take Kat and her daughter Sybil back home. The small town setting, along with the familiar story of having to go back to your roots set up the mystery in this issue. We find Kat and Sybil’s lives to be complicated and full of challenges. Each other is all they really have, and they have to take the chance to make this trip. 

Chris Sheran brings this world to life as their art sets up the eerie slow burn of this story. The detailed facial expressions in the story fill the panels with the feelings of the protagonist. The backgrounds are filled with details about Kat and Sybil that inform the reader about their personalities. Wordie’s color palette is cool and muted initially and as the setting changes to the town of comfort Notch where the colors explode with lush vibrant autumn tones. Furthermore the panel work is very distinct, although mainly shaped like normal rectangular panels, the borders bleed into the story as conflict escalates and they provide a sense of uneasy and raise the tension. 

Something is amiss in this small town and this first issue sets up the mystery of Autumn in the town of Comfort Notch. The future of Kat and Sybil remains a mystery. The book addresses personal trauma in the context of a horror story. The characters are likeable, approachable and sympathetic. All of these elements make this a very entertaining and engaging read.     

The Autumnal #1 Variant cover

THE AUTUMNAL #1 hits store shelves on September 23, 2020, and will launch with two variant covers, both by Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel. Sold wherever comic books are found

Rating 4.5/5

Written by Daniel co-host of the Next Issue Podcast
@eckospider on Twitter. 
Find the bi- Weekly podcast @NextIssuePod anywhere podcasts are available.
Podcast available at Next Issue Podcast page

Batman Three Jokers #1 Review

Batman: Three Jokers #1 published by DC Comics/Black Label
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jason Fabok
Colors by Brad Anderson
Letters by Rob Leigh

Batman Three Jokers cover by Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson

30 years after Batman: The Killing Joke changed comics forever, Three Jokers reexamines the myth. Who, or what, the Joker is and what is at the heart of his eternal battle with Batman?

One night, 3 crimes occur and all of the evidence points to the Joker. Batman and the GCPD investigate how the Joker could commit them all at the same time. Meanwhile, Batman is not the only one hunting down the clown prince of crime, as the Joker has hurt many people along the way. 

Three Jokers offers a second look at a mystery set up during the events of Rebirth, in 2016. As the story begins, we’re reminded of the Cape Crusader’s trauma, physical and emotional. Batman is not the only one who has been hurt by the Joker which is the driving force of this story. Who will find the Joker first?

Beginning the issue with a slow recap of who Batman is, this book can stand alone for new readers, while rewarding long time readers with familiar moments, long time not seen characters and memories of some of the more celebrated Batman moments. None of this takes away anything from the current goal of finding out who or why the Joker appears to be in different places. The book then kicks into high gear about a third of the way in.  Johns not only partially answers the main question but shifts focus to the deeper mystery of why there are three Jokers, what are they planning and can they be stopped before it is too late. The story also addresses how different characters deal with the trauma the Joker has inflicted upon them and what happens when confronted with Joker once again. 

Fabok and Anderson, long time collaborators on art and colors respectively. Fabok’s art is very specific, deliberate and controls the pacing of the story as much as the writing. Slower beats full of details that need to be carefully reviewed, and in contrast bigger panels full of action. The use of smaller panels helps the story to be more dynamic. Anderson’s coloring transports the reader through some of the flashbacks with more muted and almost monochromatic panels. In contrast the current events are filled with a more vibrant palette still representative of more serious Batman stories. 

This first issue allows the reader to dive deep into the mythology. It is grittier and more violent in some places, which makes it very well suited for its place in the Black Label. This issue is successful in setting up what appears to be a book more focused on Batman being a detective and testing the Dark Knight mentally. There are big consequences as the issue comes to a close. Long time Batman readers rewarded with all sorts of references without alienating new readers. 

The Three Jokers #1 invites readers to try to solve this mystery along with the team. Fabok’s art makes this book worth the wait. This book is now available wherever DC Comics are sold. 

Rating 4/5

Written by Daniel co-host of the Next Issue Podcast
@eckospider on Twitter. 
Find the bi- Weekly podcast @NextIssuePod anywhere podcasts are available.
Podcast available at Next Issue Podcast page

Maestro #1 Review

Maestro #1 published by MARVEL comics
Written by Peter David
Art by Germán Peralta & Dale Keown
Colors by Jesus Aburoiv and Jason Keith
Letters by VC’s Ariana Maher

Maestro # 1 Cover by Dale Keown & Jason Keith

In the Future Imperfect story, we were introduced to the far-future version of the Hulk known as Maestro — the master of what remains of the world. Maestro, out this week, will answer questions that have haunted Hulk fans for years — and inspire some new ones. How did the world fall and the Maestro rise? What happened to the world’s heroes in between? And where is the Hulk we know and love?

In this over-sized series premiere, we find the Hulk in the middle of a fight alongside the Avengers. The Hulk has managed to find balance in his life, raise his children and spend time with his family and friends.

All is not as it appears. Can the Hulk figure out what is real and what isn’t? 

Interior Art by Dale Keown & Jason Keith

Long time Hulk writer, Peter David returns to finally reveal the secret origins of the Maestro Hulk. David captures the voice of Banner and Hulk working in symphony but also how it devolves into its own new version of the Hulk. At the same time, the world around this “imperfect future” is expanded upon to illustrate why events unfolded so differently in this dark timeline.

The art duties are split. Keown, who works on the more classically aesthetic pages of the story that provide a sensation reminiscent of the original comic. Keith’s colors pop from the page to provide a surreal look to Keown’s pages. The book then transitions to Peralta’s art where we arrive at a more realistic and updated style. This contrasts from the opening sequence, also providing a more updated look that has a feel of an homage. The character designs are unique to its setting and are fully updated to fit their environment. 

Art by Germán Peralta & Jesus Aburoiv

Overall, this issue is a very strong introduction to the world. Although Hulk is full of rage and doubt, there is a calmness to the story that displays the balance the protagonist seeks out. The issue slightly falters at setting up a real long form mystery that could be told in a mini series. 

Maestro #1 promises to answer all the questions about this imperfect world. This issue is available now in comic shops everywhere.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Written by Daniel co-host of the Next Issue Podcast
@eckospider on Twitter. 
Find the bi- Weekly podcast @NextIssuePod anywhere podcasts are available.
Podcast available at Next Issue Podcast page

Daniel’s 5 favorite Things (and 1 unfavorite) about DC Fandome

DC Fandome went live on August 22nd, 2020 as DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Warner Bros Games launched the first and biggest DC Comics themed virtual convention experience. The show was composed of many panels and lasted about 8 hours. It celebrated the upcoming movies, TV shows, video games and some of the comics.

I will be listing my 5 favorite things about the DC Fandome Event, but first, one thing that was very disappointing but maybe it will be addressed as part of the events that will be taking place in September.

The big downer was the lack of comic book content in the event. The exception was a few of panels that will be addressed in the list below and with Jim Lee all over the place there was no mention of the comic books. No writers in ongoing books, no artist spotlights or any other mention of anyone currently working on the comics side of the business. We know SDCC just happened last month and there was a lot of focus on the comics, but also a big restructuring happened in DC Comics after the WB Media layoffs.

The top 5 things that happened at DC Fandome

5 – The Mini-Panels in between the Movie/Events.
An avid convention attendee knows how tough it can be to get into the big panels with the movie stars. A nice alternative is to visit the smaller, more intimate panels. At DC Fandome there were some very interesting and even unexpected panels. From Jim Lee, doing an artist portfolio review, to a visit with Batman voice actors from all over the world. The biggest surprise of them all, the Milestone Media panel hosted by Marc Bernadin. These were intimate conversations about topics that are very relevant to the work but not always in the spotlight.

Milestone Comics Panel

4 – The Suicide Squad directed by James Gunn. This panel garnered a lot of buzz because there was little to no information about this movie. James Gunn addressed some fan questions, then revealed the cast and the characters they’re playing. Even as an avid comic fan, I had to keep the Google search handy. Lastly, we got a very interesting Behind the Scenes teaser for the movie.

3 – Wonder Woman 1984 directed by Patty Jenkins. like in the Suicide Squad panel, the cast along with the director, addressed fan questions. Unlike the Suicide Squad panel, a lot of the cast was participating. We also got a look at the final trailer that revealed what Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) will look like in different stages of the film. WW84 is set to release next month and the excitement is palpable.

2 – Zack Snyder’s Justice League. This panel focused on explaining how the upcoming project will be released on the HBOMax platform as well as globally.
The cast joined in (pre recorded segments) where they asked questions from the fans. Snyder also has a chat with fans involved in creating the petition and movement to get the movie released as Snyder’s version. Lastly, we were treated to a trailer that was recut, with new or unseen footage. 2021 cannot get here soon enough.

1 – The Batman directed by Matt Reeves. I’ll keep this brief since it echoes a lot of the above. Robert Pattinson introduced the panel but was unable to give much information other than mentioning a “big surprise” at the end. Then Matt Reeves and host Aisha Tyler (shout out Tyler for a long day of had work) addressed questions and Reeves expanded on the feel and influences of the movie building up to the release of a teaser trailer. As a Batman fan, this is where I passed out.

Overall DC Fandome has set the standard for virtual conventions and was an outstanding success

Written by Daniel co-host of the Next Issue Podcast
@eckospider on Twitter. 
Find the podcast @NextIssuePod anywhere podcasts are available.
Podcast available at Next Issue Podcast page

Seven Secrets #1 – Review

Seven Secrets #1 is a comic book published by BOOM! Studios,
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colors by Walter Biamonte & Katia Ranalli
Letters by Ed Dukeshire

For centuries, the Order has trusted in Keepers and Holders to guard the Secrets in seven briefcases against all harm, but when their stronghold is attacked and the secrets put in peril, the entire Order must face their greatest fear — an enemy who knows too much and is willing to kill to get what he wants.

In the series premiere issue, we are dropped in the middle of the action as the Order is being attacked and we meet a Keeper and a Holder of one of the Seven Secrets, but there is more to their than just the action as we dive into their backstory to understand why this attack on the Order will change their lives and the secrets they are sworn to protect. The series is setting out to not only explore the Order but the members that have sworn to protect it.

Tom Taylor sets up a new world for the readers that is full of mysteries and possibilities for adventure. At the same time Taylor fleshes out the back story of the Keeper and Holder and how a mistake from the past will have lasting consequences. Also the introduction of the antagonist is subtle but deliberate. Taylor in a few pages fully fleshes out the main players in this story. The dialogue is humorous but it never takes away from the severity of the situation. Taylor’s writing manages to create distinct characters with very specific voices and this makes for some likable characters.

The story manages to engage and slowly relates the information as needed. There are two distinct timelines in this issue. The present in which the order is dealing with the ongoing attack. This part of the story is full action, quickly paced panels, big and bombastic scenes of explosions, fighting, shooting and conflict. In contrast the flashbacks are full of character moments. Quiet scenes that expand on the lives of the characters.

The art in the book is both stylized and dynamic. The characters are very well defined and stand out as individuals. The look of the book is very modern, this is portrayed by the bright color palette. The dynamism in the art maintains the fast pace form the above mentioned current timeline. The flashback sequences are more focused on establishing clear facial expressions and body language. There are many panels that use angles to emphasize the impending dread and severity of the situation.

Seven Secrets #1 excels in balancing world building and storytelling. This issue is available now in comic shops everywhere.

Rating: 5 / 5

Written by Daniel co-host of the Next Issue Podcast
@eckospider on Twitter. 
Find the bi- Weekly podcast @NextIssuePod anywhere podcasts are available.
Podcast available at Next Issue Podcast page