Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!
I really wish I could talk to you about The Suicide Squad, but with my state being in lockdown until September 2 (and my country not having HBO Max), I can’t really comment on it. Even if I had a friend who was accessing it online legally, streaming services have implemented a new system which prohibits people from sharing their streams on places such as Zoom and Discord. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d argue that’s an incredibly disappointing policy that stops friends from legally watching your movies together in a world where meeting in person is impossible, and would only serve to drive people to the piracy corporations are so afraid of. But that’s just me. Film looks fun, though!
I’ll tell you what I have been able to watch, which is the final Evangelion rebuild, Thrice Upon a Time. I’ve grown up with Evangelion, and I’ve had a complicated relationship with it since I saw it for the very first time. The story is confusing, uncomfortable, gratuitous and not something that’s easy to recommend to someone who doesn’t watch anime, seeing as it’s filled with the kind of fanservice that makes you hesitant to even look at the screen at points. Not to mention, did anyone really understand what the hell things like the Dead Sea Scrolls were meant to mean in the show? Or how they turn humans into Evas, or how they imprisoned Lilith? Or anything that happened between Rebuilds 2.0 and 3.0?
But then again, plot doesn’t really matter when it comes to Evangelion. What matters is the personal journey of our main characters – and in that respect, holy cow did Thrice Upon a Time deliver.
No spoilers (here, at least), but what a cathartic end to a 25-year old series. It felt like so many things came full circle, the story managing to catch me by surprise in so many ways I could never have imagined – all with a hopeful tint that made me feel better about myself and my place in the world by the time I was done with it. Plus, the animation was very pretty.
Anyone else see it? Anyone have anime or manga recommendations for me? While you think on that, here are the comics for this week:
Batman Secret Files: Clownhunter #1
Clownhunter’s brutal mission to hunt down all the clowns from The Joker War continues! The untrained but focused vigilante stalks a boss-level clown, but his luck might be running out as he walks into an ambush set by Punchline! In a horrific parallel to his days at Gotham Academy, Clownhunter finds himself overwhelmed and outgunned…just the type of odds he likes!
Written by Ed Brisson
Pencils and Inks by Rosi Kämpe
Colored by Andrew Dalhouse
Cover by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Mico Suayan
Josh’s Thoughts: Oi… Are there many people asking for this? I liked Clownhunter during the Joker War arc, but my opinion shifted during the Ghost-Maker arc as we learned more about him. Honestly, he’s just not very likable. The addition of Punchline, as well as a less than exciting creative team isn’t really doing anything to help either.
As mysteries deepen, so do resentments. Throughout her life, Catwoman’s actions have caused many close to her to doubt her motivations. Bruce Wayne, Phantasm, and now her daughter have all had their suspicions about her deals with The Joker. And when she killed the old clown, did it trigger this feline’s ninth life? Or maybe it was really over all those years ago, the first time Phantasm drew her blood and Batman had to face a harsh truth. There are big revelations waiting to be found here at the halfway point in Tom King and Clay Mann’s final word on the Bat/Cat romance!
Written by Tom King
Pencils and Inks by Clay Mann
Colored by Tomeu Morey
Cover by Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey
Michael’s Thoughts: With the news of further delays about to hit the series, it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm for the book. However, despite my annoyance with its shipping schedule, the series goes down much better when read back to back. I’m still not convinced the pay off is going to be worth it, but I’m willing to maintain faith for now.
It’s a fight for the soul of the city! Now that Dick Grayson has inherited more money than he could possibly need, he has an idea on how he can help the city with it-and it’s time for him to announce it to the world! But with Blüdhaven’s so beyond saving, what idea does he have that could possible save it? Meanwhile, an unexpected figure comes into play with a plan to buy the city (and all the power that goes with it) from Blockbuster. Things are about to get messy for new public figure Dick Grayson, but maybe he can enlist some help from his “friend” Nightwing!
Written by Tom Taylor
Pencils and Inks by Bruno Redondo Cian Tormey
Colored by Adriano Lucas
Cover by Adriano Lucas and Bruno Redondo
Michael’s Thoughts: With Melinda Zucco’s backstory established, I’m hopeful Tom Taylor is free to focus on the main narrative which has been a tad stagnant for my tastes. Bruno Redondo, with Adriano Lucas’ colors, makes the series a joy to look at, but I’ve found myself surprisingly unengaged with the plot.
My Thoughts: But by god, these covers are consistently astounding.
The Magistrate comes to Gotham, and Alleytown stands as the last place in the city untouched by their totalitarian forces. But being the last bastion of freedom in a police state makes Selina’s kingdom most inviting for Gotham’s rogues! Surrounded on all sides by law enforcement gone bad, and facing a potential invasion by the city’s villains, Catwoman finds herself fearing that her quest to keep Alleytown safe could instead lead to its demise…but all is not lost, as Batman arrives in Alleytown, breaking his and Selina’s vow to give one another a one-year break.
Written by Ram V
Pencils and Inks by Fernando Blanco
Cover by Nathan Fairbairn Yanick Paquette
Michael’s Thoughts: Catwoman has been my favorite DC book for a few months now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Last month’s cliffhanger is a big moment to follow up, but under Ram V and Fernando Blanco’s care I have high expectations.
Legends of the Dark Knight #4
At the turn of the 20th century, Gotham City’s most prominent businessmen were being murdered by a serial killer known only as the West End Wrath. Their cases were never solved. Over a hundred years later, Bruce Wayne comes into possession of a box of clues that will shine a light on who the West End Wrath was and what motivated the killings. But some people in Gotham want the secret of the murders to never come to light, including Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. the Penguin! The Penguin leads an all-out assault on Wayne Manor while Batman steps back into Gotham history to try and solve this cold case in what promises to be a stellar stand-alone issue from the rising-star creative team of Stephanie Phillips (Harley Quinn, Infinite Frontier) and Max Dunbar (Batman: Urban Legends).
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Art by Max Dunbar
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
Matina’s Thoughts: Anyone who read my interview with Stephanie Phillips probably already knows what I have to say about this issue, especially regarding how much I enjoyed it. I’m always a sucker for any story featuring a mystery spanning both Gotham’s past and present, and this one fits that bill perfectly.
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.
Great week for Superman comics! With King’s Supergirl in full swing, and with Superman and the Authority coming in hot, there’s a lot to like – not to mention Superman Red and Blue #6, which has one of my favourite Superman covers ever. Lemme know if you’re checking any of these out!
Most Excited: Catwoman #34. Michael’s reviews have really been convincing me to check out this book – though I shouldn’t be surprised, given how good of a writer Ram V is!
Least Excited: Batman Secret Files: Clownhunter #1. I didn’t hate Clownhunter, but he’s definitely the least interesting of Tynion’s new characters for me – despite being better written than Ghostmaker and Punchline, in my opinion.
Wild Card: Batman/Catwoman #6. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of this book so far, though I’ve often really disagreed with King’s perception of Batman. This could go either way, but I am actually excited to see how it pans out!
As usual, let me know if you have any suggestions for the column. Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch