Hey y’all, welcome back to some regularly scheduled comic time! We’ve got a bunch of stuff this week, so off we go.
Batman: Damned #1
DC’s “Black Label” series started this week with the first issue of Batman: Damned (although Batman: White Knight has been retconned into being Black Label, it was not originally). The line is intended to showcase high-profile writers and artists in a larger format (magazine size) and without the usual restrictions. In this case, the restrictions being lessened means the book is outside of canon and is mature rated. Anyone who follows comic news knows about this book because it features Batman’s dick. I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on this, but the internet lost its entire fucking mind because Batman’s dick is out. It’s an M rated book. People are weird.
Anyway, the review.
I’ve been excited for this book for a long time. When the Joker is found dead, Batman and Constantine team up to figure out what’s going on. Is he actually dead? Is some sort of magic involved? It’s really intense. The art style is fucking awesome and takes full advantage of the large magazine size pages. The book reunites writer Brian Azarello with artist Lee Bermejo, who famously worked together on the Joker graphic novel that borrows heavily from The Dark Knight movie. They’re a phenomenal fucking team, so everything about this book has been exciting from the get-go. Azarello writes the best Constantine I’ve read in a while, maybe going a little heavy on the accent but I’ll take what I can get. There hasn’t been a high profile writer tackling Hellblazer since the Vertigo days. The book firmly establishes the mystery. Joker is found dead, but the body disappears. Batman was nearby, but can’t remember what happened. Deadman is around for some reason, annoying Constantine. The series is only going to be 3 books, bi-monthly, so this one does all the work of setting things up. It also seems to be exploring Bruce’s childhood in weird ways, so I’m curious what that’s going to end up being. The first issue feels like it lives up to my expectations, hopefully the rest follow suit.
Justice League #8
As the cover says, “The Batman Who Laughs joins the Legion of Doom”. Unsurprising since Snyder (the mind behind most of Metal) is writing that something from Metal would feature. This issue doesn’t have much action, mostly a lot of exposition. Luthor has The Batman Who Laughs captured and is getting information from him. He knows a lot, and half-explains everything because of course he does. Meanwhile the League are trying to figure out what to do with the Totality that they successfully defended from Luthor. It’s pretty slow, but it’s definitely creating more building blocks of this crazy cosmic story. I have no idea what some of the information is going to mean, but I have some idea that it’s gonna be big and rad.
Not only do I get a far-future All-Father Thor story, it’s gonna go for multiple issues! While the universe is dying, Thor and his granddaughters have rekindled life on Earth. Thor leaves them to defend it while he seeks a way to keep the rest of the universe from falling apart. At the edge of everything he runs into Wolverine who is now the Phoenix. So that’s fuckin’ wild. The Phoenix believes it’s time for everything to die and takes offense to what Thor is doing, so the two throw down. It’s suitably epic, two cosmic forces at the end of time punching the shit out of each other. There’s a small interlude as well, something going on with Ego. Ego (who you may know from Guardians of the Galaxy 2) is a sentient planet. In the far future he absorbed a weapon called All-Black the Necrosword and became a necro-planet that straight up ate Galactus. He’s floating around being terrifying and is being menaced by a tiny green worm that I suspect is Loki because that seems like his style. So there’s a lot of weird shit going on as the universe dies, and it’s gonna keep getting weirder apparently as next issue brings Doom. I really like future Thor so I’m down for this as long as they wanna push it.
Bloodborne: The Healing Thirst #5
Converted to an ongoing series, Bloodborne continues! It takes a completely different track, following two citizens of Yharnam who wish to heal and understand the growing affliction. One is a priest of the Healing Church who finds himself questioning his faith. The other is a doctor and scientist who seeks to understand the disease aspect of beasthood. It’s diving into the area of Bloodborne I understand the least, which is what the fuck is all going on. There’s Old Blood, Paleblood, Ashen Blood, beasts, aliens, Insight, so much fucking weird stuff that all comes together into the world I love so much. So looking at the early days of the Hunt is really interesting, but also a bit confusing. There are no characters I know well, the only thing that seems the same is Yharnam itself. Both characters seem to be on the edge of something at the end of the issue, so hopefully next month illuminates a lot more.
By Night #4
Our super cool crew go back into the weird other dimension, this time with proper film equipment! The plan to make a documentary of this sorta cute, sorta horrifying otherworld is off to a great start. Our original three are now joined by Heather’s dad who helped them out last issue, and the little green goblin tour guide. I don’t really have a lot of thoughts on this one, it’s just fun and cute. I really like the art and I’m curious about the weird fantasy realm they’re visiting.
Coda gets a double release this week, with the first volume and the fifth issue both releasing! So now is a perfect time to jump in. Hum and Serka need to get onto the back of a giant, where a city is built, where the evil dude they’re looking for might be. No problem, right? So the issue is told out of order a little, as Hum recounts how they got there in typical bardic fashion. There’s magic and action and jokes aplenty. The book absolutely hasn’t lost any of its charm yet. The world is still really bright and fun, other than being a post apocalyptic hellscape, I guess. I like the way the story kinda jumps around, and the way it keeps messing with my expectations. It manages to both fulfill the fantasy niche I want and avoid being boring and tropey. Plus I wanna see more of this city on a fucking giant.
John Wick #3
Hey remember how there’s a John Wick comic? Me either, I thought it just stopped, but here we are with more! We’re still digging into John’s early days as he tracks down the people that attacked him and destroyed his village as a kid. His impressive murder rampage doesn’t go unnoticed though, and people from the world of assassins begin to try and recruit him. There’s nothing to write home about going on, but I want to see more pieces of the underground world of assassins. Plus it makes the wait for John Wick 3 a little more bearable. But this issue especially is pretty average.
That’s all the things this week! Hopefully I don’t run into any delays for a while. I’ve gotta push off this week’s post credit, I’ll review that Tea Dragon Society card game soon!