Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!
It wasn’t that long ago that I was here, mourning the loss of Neal Adams and George Pérez – so it’s especially heartbreaking that I now must do the same with Tim Sale.
I have the utmost respect for the first two artists, but it was Sale’s work that I truly grew up with. I remember taking the plunge into The Long Halloween for the first time, and being blown away by the artistry on display. What I loved about Sale was his enthusiasm at moving beyond a generic brand image for his DC characters: his designs seemed messy and chaotic, yet were made that way by careful and immaculate design. I remember this page in particular striking me: the ominous shape of the clouds, the distant locations in the background, and what must be my favourite design for the Scarecrow.
What really gets me, though, is the negative space. The darkness of the grassy knoll at the bottom of the page, the stretch of nothingness between Jonathan Crane and the Asylum gates, ending with a horse outstretched to the edge of the panel: it’s as if Crane’s freedom means the audience’s oppression, his distance from Arkham also indicating he’s already too close for comfort. You could speak to so many of his pages like this, yet there’s no world in which describing it compares to the work itself.
Tim Sale was a genuine legend: his style is entirely singular, and he deserves to be remembered and recognized as the comic book icon he was. Rest in peace.
Now, here’s what we have for this week:
Batman: The Knight #6
Bruce Wayne’s difficult journey to become Batman continues as he travels to Northern Canada seeking a mastery of weapons and marksmanship from a legendary hunter. Bruce’s companion, however, will reveal a lethal secret that could jeopardize the entire mission…
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Pencils and Inks by Carmine Di Giandomenico
Colours by Ivan Plascencia
Thoughts: One of my favourite elements in stories such as this is when you see a subtle visual hint of a future inevitabilty for a character. The bat behind Bruce on the cover isn’t exactly “subtle”, but it portrays what I mean rather effectively.
Batman News Critic: Jackson
Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #4
As Robin and Supergirl race to retrieve the secrets of the Devil Nezha from ancient China, Batman and Superman get more than they bargained for in the present! To save humanity from the fires of the demon, the World’s Finest must go toe-to-toe with the protector of Sector 2814…Hal Jordan.
Written by Mark Waid
Pencils and Inks by Dan Mora
Colours by Tamra Bonvillain
Thoughts: I honestly think the “friendship” between Bruce and Hal is one of my favourite relationships and rivalries in all of DC!
Batman News Critic: Casper
Battle for Blüdhaven’s heart! After uncovering that Blockbuster isn’t who he says he is-in fact, he’s much worse-Nightwing, Babs, and Blüdhaven mayor Melinda Zucco battle to expose Blockbuster’s…malpractices. With Blockbuster controlling more of the criminal underground than Nightwing ever thought possible, can Dick Grayson help stop him before things go too far?
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Bruno Redondo
Thoughts: Nice to see Redondo taking over art again! I love how this cover evokes the idea of a flag, built from the cape of one of the best superheroes around.
Batman News Critic: Michael
Harley Quinn and Catwoman get their gals’ out-of-town trip at the roller derby crashed when some mysterious creep runs them off the road…and then follows them around at the derby! But this is Catwoman and Harley Quinn-you stalk them, and you’ll pay for it…maybe with a limb or two. Meanwhile, there seems to be more than one lurker in the shadows, because Red Claw is on scene looking for the girls too…but you’ll have to pick up the issue to find out why!
Written by Tini Howard
Pencils and Inks by Bengal
Colours by Jordie Bellaire
Cover Art by Jeff Dekal
Batman News Critic: Michael
Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1
Crises have always had devastating impacts on the generation of heroes that make up Young Justice, and Dark Crisis will hit them even harder. Tim Drake, Impulse, and Superboy go missing during the Justice League’s funeral. The only person concerned enough to find them? Cassie Sandsmark, a.k.a Wonder Girl. But…the three boys of Young Justice aren’t on this Earth anymore…they’re on the world of their dreams, one they may never want to leave!
Written by Meghan Fitzmartin
Pencils and Inks by Laura Braga
Colours by Luis Guerrero
Cover Art by Max Dunbar and Luis Guerrero
Thoughts: I’ve seen a preview of this, and I continue not to like stories where the narrative talks about how editorial has screwed the characters over. I don’t want to hear that, I just want them to have a good story!
Batman News Critic: William
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 week, I think I need to recommend Black Adam. Obviously, the movie coming out makes this especially relevant – but the creative team is REALLY exciting, and I’m looking forward to see what they do! Oh, and for the record? If you don’t get the Perry White issue, you’re probably evil.
Most Excited: Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #4. Loving the episodic nature of this book so far, and the art continues to be beyond stellar!
Least Excited: Catwoman #44. Eh, just no interest.
Wild Card: Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1. This’ll be the first chance Dark Crisis has to prove itself outside of its main event, and I’m curious if nothing else.
Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch