Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!
Over the next few entries, I’m going to start talking about movies I have finally been able to see out of lockdown, starting with The Suicide Squad. What an experience that movie was! Birds of Prey is not universally loved here at Batman News, but it’s actually my favourite DCEU movie – and while this movie doesn’t top it, it does so many things right that it comes pretty damn close. I definitely rank this higher than either Guardians movie, because it feels so much more unrestricted; James Gunn absolutely shines as a director, and he allows his actors to shine just as brightly. My personal favourite part of the movie is how Gunn implements title cards into the plot.
What did you guys think? I’ll bring up Shang-Chi next time – for now, here’s what we have this week.
The five heroes to have donned the Robin cape and mask find themselves at a crossroads in their lives. Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne come together to discuss the big thing that binds them together: Was being Robin, and Batman’s sidekick, the best choice they could’ve made? But before they can get to the heart of the matter, they’re ambushed by an unknown assailant with a bone to pick with them. She claims to have been the first Robin, and she’s out to prove Batman should’ve never trained any of them. Winner of DC’s Round Robin tournament, as chosen by you, the readers!
Written by Tim Seeley
Pencils and Inks by Baldemar Rivas
Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Cover by Baldemar Rivas
Thoughts: I have strong – strong – objections to how this book was made, but I suppose I’m glad it’s here.
Batman News Critic: Cam
As the full scope of the Scarecrow’s plans is revealed, a bloodied Dark Knight fights for his life, and all the lives in Gotham City, against an unrelenting, unstoppable opponent. The shocking conclusion to “Fear State” is here…Will Batman ever be the same? Backup: After what happened in the Magistrate’s Skybase-01, nowhere is safe, and the Batgirls hide out in a hotel room until Babs arrives offering a plan for their future. Seer, the “Anti-Oracle,” is revealed here! And who they are will make you question everything you see moving forward in Gotham…
Written by Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad and James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Jorge Corona and Jorge Jimenez
Colored by Sarah Stern
Cover by Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey
Thoughts: We’re almost at the end of Fear State and Tynion’s run, and… okay, that’s it?
Batman News Critic: Josh
Batman Secret Files: The Gardener #1
She is shrouded in mystery, her motives a secret, and one cannot help but ask: Who is Bella Garten, a.k.a. the Gardener, really? Green-thumbed storytellers James Tynion IV and Christian Ward dig deep into her past and unearth the secret origin of the latest addition to Batman’s rogues gallery. Learn not only how Bella Garten came to know Pamela Isley, but how she was integral to the origin of the woman who would one day be known to all as Poison Ivy.
Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Christian Ward
Colored by Christian Ward
Cover by Christian Ward
Thoughts: The Miracle Molly one-shot was fantastic, so this has the potential to be really good. Christian Ward is a fantastic illustrator too, so there are a lot of good elements to this book already… though I really have not been very charmed by the Gardener so far, who hasn’t done anything that particularly impresses me.
Batman News Critic: Casper
Batman vs. Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham #3
Batman and Bigby’s brawl comes to a grinding halt after a wave of explosions rocks Gotham. When a giant wolf emerges from the wreckage, Batman and his team of Robins stop at nothing to bring down the beast-and all goes according to the true villain’s master plan!
Written by Bill Willingham
Pencils by Brian Level
Inks by Jay Leisten
Colored by Lee Loughridge
Cover by Nathan Fairbairn and Yanick Paquette
Thoughts: While I’m sure there’s a reason behind it, I find it strange that the return of Fables is first covered in a Batman crossover of all things… and not the most accessible one, at that.
Review will be covered in a trade release.
Nightwing and Babs have fought through the fear-stricken Gotham streets, but now their fight takes them to the skies above Gotham, with the Batgirls and Tim Drake (Robin) in tow! Now aboard the Magistrate’s Skybase-01, they have made it their mission to bring the airborne leviathan down, prevent Seer’s disinformation from being broadcast, and save the innocents aboard. But in this paranoia-stricken city, not everyone is who they seem…
Written by Tom Taylor
Pencils and Inks by Robbi Rodriguez
Colored by Adriano Lucas
Cover by Bruno Redondo
Thoughts: Really, it’s a shame when stories like these – popular stories just starting out – have to immediately jump into someone else’s crossover event.
Batman News Critic: Michael
Justice League #69
The superspies of Checkmate poke their sneaky noses where they do not belong, and the Justice League are NOT happy about it. In fact, most of the League isn’t even happy Checkmate exists, setting up Checkmate versus the Justice League! The superspies versus the super…guys. In Justice League Dark, Zatanna is locked in a battle with the greatest sorcerer of all time-Merlin!
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Ram V
Pencils by Scott Godlewski, Phil Hester and Sumit Kumar
Inks by Eric Gapstur, Scott Godlewski, Sumit Kumar and Jose Marzan Jr.
Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Cover by David Marquez and Ivan Plascencia
Don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it …Nice. Damn it.
Batman News Critic: Ugh… me.
Legends of the Dark Knight #7
In “Catechism,” Batman heads to Rome to stop Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins from getting their hands on an ancient artifact that they want to use to increase the power of the Lazarus Pits. What Batman doesn’t know is that the artifact is already under the protection of the Order of St. Dumas, specifically Azrael! From the creative team of critically acclaimed writer Brandon Easton and rising-star artist Karl Mostert!
Written by Brandon Easton
Art by Karl Mostert
Cover by Karl Mostert
Thoughts: I’d be much more interested in this if we didn’t have fifty other Batman books fitting a similar “anthology” role in DC’s lineup.
Batman News Critic: Matina
Suicide Squad #9
Amanda Waller needs one last item before she can begin her invasion of Earth-3. The problem? It’s locked in a vault on Oa. The solution? SQUAD IN SPACE! Meanwhile, Rick Flag is assembling his OWN Squad to take down Waller!
Written by Robbie Thompson
Pencils by Eduardo Pansica and Dexter Soy
Inks by Julio Ferreira and Dexter Soy
Colored by Marcelo Maiolo and Alex Sinclair
Cover by Julio Ferreira, Marcelo Maiolo and Eduardo Pansica
Batman News Critic: Cam
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.
Big week for comics that aren’t Batman! I’m very curious about Wonder Woman: Evolution, so let me know if you guys end up reading that one. Love the little pride banner on the corner of Superman.
Most Excited: I want to say Robins, but… ehh. Let’s go with The Gardener, just because.
Least Excited: Honestly, pick one at random. I suppose Justice League, because I have to review it.
Wild Card: Legends of the Dark Knight #7. One benefit of being an anthology series is that there’s always the potential for a new and interesting story each time! I’m not excited, but who knows?
Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch