Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!

This week was a sad one for comic book fans – especially those who have been keeping an eye on rising talent in the industry. So, before we get to the comics, I want to show you some quotes from a few of my past reviews.

Robson Rocha. This guy is an absolute all-star, and his work is part of why I get excited to read these issues. There’s an element of stating the obvious when I talk about him – I mean, you’re looking at the same art as I am, you can tell it’s good.

At this point, I’ve said quite a bit about Robson Rocha’s work – if you’re under the impression that I’m not a fan, I have to assume you’ve been reading different reviews.

The story wouldn’t keep you as invested if it didn’t have great art, though, which is why I was very happy to see Robson Rocha taking the reins for this issue … My favourite touch that Rocha added was the wonderful addition of the tiny Starros littering the negative space between panels, as the characters slowly begin to realize what is causing their hallucinations. It’s moments like this that make you stop for a moment and think, “hey, I’m having fun with this!”.

Robson Rocha has done a spectacular job on this book, and if an artist of his calibre wasn’t handling the story with the gravitas that it deserves, then I’d be hesitant to rate it so highly.

I really wish we saw more of Rocha’s work on a more significant Justice League arc, so I hope the comics he does in the future are of an even better calibre.

Robson Rocha was not the only creator who’s passed in recent years, but he was certainly the closest one to my heart. Rocha’s work was legendary: a feast for the eyes and a genuine delight to see come to life on the page. Seeing a book with Rocha’s name attached to it made it all the easier for me to enjoy it, and I truly loved singing his praises whenever I had the privilege of reviewing his comics. He will be dearly missed.

COVID-19 has been a disaster the world over, it’s true. I’ve been lucky enough to live in Australia, where we managed to avoid complete disaster… even if the vaccine rollout is being completely botched this year. But my privilege does not extend to the rest of the world, and it’s a tragedy that Rocha has been one of the many who are falling to this virus. Please take this as a sincere reminder to always wear a mask when necessary, and to get vaccinated as soon as you can.

Thank you for reading my little tribute. It’s not much, but I hope it serves to remind everyone about the importance of art and its artists, and to appreciate the things we have. With that in mind, here are the comics for this week.

Upcoming Comics

Catwoman #33

Selina has worked hard to establish herself as the queen of Alleytown. But in response to Catwoman saving Poison Ivy from extermination at the hands of Saint Industries, Simon Saint has sent in the early stages of a totalitarian force that has left her kingdom shuttered. Catwoman has seen a man take his own life to avoid the consequences of crossing Saint Industries, so she knows there is no telling what they have in store for her and her gang of strays. And to make matters worse, Alleytown’s eerily quiet and empty streets now set the stage for the long-awaited confrontation between Catwoman and Father Valley!

Written by Ram V
Pencils and Inks by Fernando Blanco
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Cover by Nathan Fairbairn, Daniel Henriques, Yanick Paquette, Robson Rocha and Alejandro Sanchez

Michael’s Thoughts: After a couple issues of backstory, I hope Catwoman #33 brings focus back to the main narrative. While I worry the increasing amount of Future State set up is starting to detract from the book, Fernando Blanco returning to main art duties stands to get the series back to feeling like itself again.

Justice League #65

The Justice League heads to deep space, on the trail of the most dangerous new criminal in all the galaxy. The biggest threat to the United Planets is on the loose, and no one in the cosmos is safe. Meanwhile, on Earth, Checkmate breaks into the Hall of Justice looking for clues to Black Canary’s secret affiliation. What secret affiliation, you ask? It’s a secret, duh! All this, and Black Adam declares himself leader of the League.
Plus, as the Justice League Dark plans their next move, Batman makes his in Gotham. An ally from Etrigan’s past holds the key to saving the present, but to retrieve it, the League and the Eternal Knights must venture deep into his twisted dreams. Little do they know, Randu Singh’s mind is a maze that they could end up trapped in for good!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Ram V
Pencils and Inks by Sumit Kumar and Steve Pugh
Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Nick Filardi
Cover by David Marquez by Alejandro Sanchez

My Thoughts: Oh for god’s sake, do I have to read Checkmate now?

Nightwing #82

Melinda Zucco’s connection to the man who killed Dick Grayson’s parents wasn’t a surprise to the Blüdhaven hero, but what the former Robin discovers about Melinda’s ties to the Flying Graysons leaves the usually upbeat detective speechless.

Written by Tom Taylor
Pencils by Bruno Redondo
Inks by Andy Lanning
Colored by Adriano Lucas
Cover by Bruno Redondo

Michael’s Thoughts: The major revelation from last month’s issue will likely be the main focus of Nightwing #82, which I’m still undecided on. I’m not adverse to retconning and surprise additions to a main character’s family, but I’m unsure of what Melinda Zucco really brings to Dick as a character. The series still suffers from a truly gripping storyline, but I’m willing to give Tom Taylor more time to truly establish his angle on Nightwing.

Legends of the Dark Knight #3

“Bad Night, Good Knight” draws to its epic conclusion! Time runs out, and Riddler’s new partner, Quiz, captures Batman. The Dark Knight must make a deal with this deadly duo to escape and stop the mysterious gas-masked salesman disrupting the Gotham underground from selling to one of the city’s most dangerous villains…the Scarecrow!

Written and Illustrated by Darick Robertson
Inks Richard P. Clark
Colored by Diego Rodriguez

Matina’s Thoughts: After a rocky start, part two of Robertson’s Bad Night, Good Knight story line pulled me back in. I’m really hoping this last part will pull the whole story together for me.

Beyond the Bat

Welcome to Beyond the Bat! Here you can see everything else that DC is releasing this week, beyond the scope of the books we cover on the website.

This is the obvious choice, of course, but you guys are going to have to read Superman and the Authority. While Morrison wrote The Green Lantern: Season Two and Wonder Woman: Earth One Volume 3 as their last books for DC, this will be the last of their work that’s actually published – for now, at least. It’ll be nice to see Morrison conclude their stellar career at DC with the hero that started it all, and I’m half considering covering the book here if I can find a way to make it work. Be sure to comment what you think about it when it’s out!

Ratings

Most Excited: Nightwing #82. It’ll be cool to see a little more history and explanation behind what’s going on underneath the surface of Taylor and Redondo’s run. Be sure to also check out Michael’s review!

Least Excited: Justice League #65. I think Bendis had a great start with his Leviathan content, but I haven’t felt it has ever really met the heights of the Leviathan Rising one-shot some years back. I’m not excited to deal with this Checkmate tie-in as a result.

Wild Card: Legends of the Dark Knight #3. It’s still quite early for the book, and it’s cool to see a story written and pencilled by the same creator!

Poll

Last week was much closer than I’d anticipated, which was really nice to see. Nightwing ended up being the winner, which honestly floored me a little – it managed to edge out everything else, including the two biggest books of the event, The Next Batman and Dark Detective! It’s nice to be surprised by these polls, honestly.

This week, seeing as Morrison is releasing their final DC comic (until they’re inevitably pulled back), I figured it was appropriate to vote on their best works in the Batman universe.

Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!