Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!

This week, I’m going to talk about Shang-Chi – a Marvel movie that isn’t the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, yet probably has the best comedic relief I’ve seen across that franchise in a long while.

I know it’s a strange thing to be thinking about (especially in a movie that was packed to the brim with some delightfully choreographed action and some genuinely wonderful characters), but what really shocked me was how natural some of the levity was in this film. One of the biggest critiques I’ve levied at Marvel movies is how little they know how to balance comedy with drama – and that’s still partially the case here. That said, it helps when the comedy feels like it comes from the characters themselves, rather than from a script-based necessity where the characters need to hit a certain quota of quips before the scene ends.

Awkwafina is responsible for most (but not all) of the comedic relief in this movie, and I want to praise her performance in particular. Comedic relief is not an easy gig, yet she manages to give it her A-game while still being a genuine and supportive person for our main character. Their friendship carries the movie, and it’s sweet to see two people with a bond like that in such a big blockbuster. Let me know what you guys think – next week I’ll be talking about Eternals!

Now, here’s what we have for this week:

Upcoming Comics

Batman: Reptilian #6

Batman and Killer Croc face off against Croc’s murderous offspring in a finale that has to be seen to be believed. The World’s Greatest Detective closes the world’s strangest case in the final issue of Garth Ennis and Liam Sharp’s twisted tale.

Written by Garth Ennis
Pencils and Inks by Liam Sharp
Colored by Liam Sharp
Cover by Liam Sharp

Thoughts: We’re on the final issue of one of the best Batman minis I have read in a LONG time! Gross, violent, weird, disgusting, and oddly funny – I personally feel this is a must buy.

Batman News Critic: Brian

DC vs. Vampires #2

The war for the very survival of the human race has begun! A mysterious new vampire lord has already put a plan in motion to conquer the Earth, and the first step is-destroy the Justice League! But the World’s Greatest Detective might be Earth’s last hope, and it’s time for the Bat-Family to hunt!

Written by Matthew Rosenberg and James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Otto Schmidt
Colored by Otto Schmidt
Cover by Otto Schmidt

Thoughts: I’m not current on this just yet, but Matthew Rosenberg seems to be putting out hit after hit in his relatively new DC career.

Review will be covered in a trade release.

Detective Comics #1045

Batman and Mayor Nakano have freed themselves from the Vile parasite-infected sewers of Gotham City…only to find the nightmare has risen higher than they had imagined! With the city streets being overtaken by larger, (somehow even more) horrific creatures, these two enemies must put aside their differences and save the city-while there’s still time! This skin-crawling, heart-pounding, terror-inducing installment of “Fear State” will change the nature of the Dark Knight and Mayor Nakano forever, and cast an eerie shadow over the next major Bat-event to come… Then, in “Foundations” part two, Batman runs into an unlikely ally in his investigation at the Arkham Tower construction site, and believe us, Harley Quinn has a lot to say about all this!

Written by Stephanie Phillips and Mariko Tamaki
Pencils and Inks by David Lapham and Dan Mora
Colored by Jordie Bellaire and Trish Mulvihill
Cover by Dan Mora

Thoughts: I quite like what I’ve read of Mariko Tamaki’s writing, but the content of Detective Comics feels far too similar to Batman. It needs a different direction or focus to really grab my attention.

Batman News Critic: Casper

Robin #8

It’s time for a rematch! Robin and Connor Hawke face off for round two in their winner-take-all battle for League of Lazarus supremacy, but with the tournament nearing its end, what surprises does Mother Soul have up her sleeve? I hope it doesn’t involve that massive, hellish pit and the immortal monster lying within it-aw beans, it’s about that, isn’t it?!

Written by Joshua Williamson
Pencils and Inks by Max Dunbar and Gleb Melnikov
Colored by Luis Guerrero
Cover by Simone Di Meo

Thoughts: Hell yeah, best Batman-related ongoing on shelves right now!

Batman News Critic: Matina

Task Force Z #2

After Task Force Z’s first bloodbath-err, sorry, first mission-goes awry, Red Hood must rethink how to lead a team of unstable monsters against some of the most organized ranks of Lazarus resin dealers in the world. To manage this unruly bunch, Jason Todd is going to need a deputy in the field whom he can trust to be his eyes and ears…but on this team, such an ask isn’t limited to the living. A ghost from Suicide Squad past returns in the cameo no one will see coming (that’s a clue)! Plus: Bane’s rampage, the Resurrection Twins get carried away, and more clues to the secret identity of the team’s benefactor!

Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Pencils by Eddy Barrows
Inks by Eber Ferreira
Colored by Adriano Lucas
Cover by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas

Thoughts: The premise is odd, but I won’t pretend I’m not intrigued. My big question is about what’s going on with Mister Bloom here – a villain I have a lot of thoughts on.

Batman News Critic: Casper

Catwoman #37

Catwoman’s attempts to keep Alleytown, and those around her, safe from collateral damage have failed. Simon Saint, the Wight Witch, Father Valley, and the Magistrate have all compromised her newly founded kingdom and brought her entire life to the brink. But despite Selina’s dreams of queenhood crashing down around her, there is still hope in the form of the Alleytown Strays. Could these children, trained by Selina, be her salvation? Or will they, too, pay for their involvement with Catwoman with their lives? And with Queen Ivy and Ivy aware of each other now, will they destroy the city or become one again?

Written by Ram V
Pencils and Inks by Nina Vakueva
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Cover by Nathan Fairbairn and Yanick Paquette

Thoughts: I’m gonna miss Ram V on this, and several other, DC books!

Batman News Critic: Michael

Harley Quinn #9

Harley Quinn here, reporting live from Fear State! And let me just say…I’ve jumped outta airplanes, faced down the baddest criminals in Gotham, thrown punches at Batman, and filed my own taxes without instructions from the IRS, but reuniting with Poison Ivy to try to save all of Gotham…? Let’s just say I’ve got a little anxiety. I’m only one well-dressed and overly verbal former psychologist turned heroic clown, after all. Which is why I’ve teamed with the Gotham City Sirens to take down Scarecrow and…wait…why is Keepsake here? This couldn’t just be an easy, straightforward mission, could it? I blame the writer…

Written by Stephanie Phillips
Pencils and Inks by Riley Rossmo
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
Cover by Riley Rossmo

Review will be covered in a trade release.

Checkmate #6

The shocking finale to the DC spy event of the year. Everything is revealed…and only one will survive the showdown between Checkmate and Leviathan. Also, who is the Daemon Rose, and why does he have a gun pointed at Superman’s face? Plus: Mr. King’s identity revealed, as well as the reason he has sacrificed everything to bring Checkmate back!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils and Inks by Alex Maleev
Colored by Dave Stewart
Cover by Alex Maleev

Thoughts: To be frank, I don’t know how a noir comic illustrated by Alex Maleev and starring The Question could be so unappealing to me. And yet…

Review might be covered in a trade release. Might.

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.

Not all that much to recommend here, though I love the idea of a fourth wall-breaking Doctor Fate in the pages of Flash.

Ratings

Most Excited: Batman: Reptilian #6. This isn’t a book for everyone, but I honestly think it just might be a modern classic.

Least Excited: Checkmate #6. The worst part about Checkmate is that it isn’t even over – I have to deal with it in my Justice League now.

Wild Card: Task Force Z #2. Still not sure how I feel about the premise itself, but why not see where it goes, right?

Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!

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Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch