2019 Spring/Summer Comic Book Preview

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

  It’s been a while since I’ve written an article on comic books. As I’ve often said, one of my main goals at World’s Best Media has been to be an advocate for comic books.  To champion comics as a beautiful, thought provoking, worthwhile literature. Like all mediums, comics books and graphic novels can run the gamut from complete garbage to transcendent pieces of art. To use television as an example, for every “Big Bang Theory” (ugh) to masterpieces like “The Wire” or “Game of Thrones”. As we head into Spring with Summer around the corner, DC and Marvel are gearing up for some high profile books from their top writers and artists to tell big event stories. Think of it like the comic book world’s version the Summer Blockbuster Season at the movies. This year is no exception and even after years of reading comics for a couple of decades now I still get excited. (Jesus Christ! Wait a second. When did I do ANYTHING “decades ago”?! When did THAT happen?! Time is a cruel mistress, I suppose)

In this article I’m going to give you folks a look at some of the coolest comics DC and Marvel have hitting stands over the next couple of months. There are some pretty damn cool books here and like I said I never fail to get excited about the Summer Comic Book Events. 

However, it can be difficult to get into comics especially if you’re a newcomer. So even if this’ll be your first time picking up a comic book or you’re a lapsed fan comings looking to get back into comics, I have something here that I think will help you out. * if you’re a comic book readers and understand the basics, you can skip right ahead to out Spring/Summer Comic Book Preview. Otherwise… 

Here’s a quick refresher: New to Comic 101.  This will help you appreciate some very sick new comics and graphic novels coming out this spring and summer when they hit stores and Apps. If you’ve seen a Marvel movie, for example, and are trying to decide where to start, it can be intimidating. No is much is I love Marvel, DC Comics is much better at making comic books accessible to newcomers. They tend to make their stories available in simple, easy to grasp formats. They tend to publish their graphic novels as individual stories that you can pick up like a regular novel and understand without having read anything else about the character (more or less). Then you can go out and grab another story featuring the same character and (more or less) be able to follow along. There might be some confusion here and there about small details, but that’s why god invented Google. Let’s say you’ve read one or two Wonder Woman or Superman graphic novels or collected editions, as you begin to read more, you start to understand when stories take place in a a books history, the overall continuity of a character or universe, the best writers and artists. Basically you start to become a comic book reader.

  As I’ve explained in the past, what we call graphic novels are really mostly collected editions which are just collections of individual comics that make up one larger story, in easy to read book/graphic novel form. DC seems to really understand that graphic novels and collected editions are incredibly important because they help draw in new readers. Right now drawing in new readers is by far the most important priority of every comic book publisher.

Now, without further ado…

2019 SPRING/SUMMER COMIC BOOK PREVIEW 

DC’S YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1 (One-Shot)

Release Date: 5/1/19

Writers –  Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, & James Tynion IV

Artist- Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, & Francis Manapul 

Cover- Greg Capullo 

This is the must buy comic book of the season. This special one shot is made up of three separate stories from DC’s top writers and artists. Each of the three stories serve to set up the major story arcs and plot points in DC‘s biggest books, featuring their most prominent characters. With a theme like “Year of the Villain“, these stories  feature some of the most dangerous and deadly threats that have been brewing in books like Justice League, Action Comics, Batman and more all year. Threats like The Batman Who Laughs, the terrifying and powerful secret society/terrorist group Leviathan, and Lex Luthor’s continuing quest to unlock the secret cosmic powers of the Universe with his Legion Of Doom. Considering the wild cards at play here, expect some big surprises and shocking reveals in this book. Plus, you can’t beat the rock bottom price of $0.25. This book is a good jumping on point if you have been a DC Comics reader in the past and want to start reading them again. This is a MUST READ. Below we have some fantastic art, each of whch accompanies the different stories in this book

Lex Luthor
The Batman Who Laughs
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Doomsday Clock #11

Release Date: 5/22/19

Writer- Geoff Johns 

Artist- Gary Frank

Variant Cover For Issue #11

Man, this great fucking series. Don’t listen to the haters. What’s interesting is   Doomsday Clock is kind of a microcosm of all superhero comics. It’s a big gimmicky “Event”, it’s a crossover, it’s messes with classic characters and stories that were previously viewed as untouchable sacred cows, surprise character returns, there are big deaths, surprise resurrections, RETCONING!  You find each of those thing a lot in superhero comics. However, none of that takes away from the fact that Doomsday Clock is a fucking incredible comic book. In fact, It’s one of the best books currently being published. When the story was first announced, it was presented as a story that would’ve been about a sort of battle for the soul of the DC Universe. With Superman‘s hope and optimism versus Dr. Manhattan’s cold, inhuman, rationalism. While that still seems to be an element of the story, it quickly became apparent that this story was really a Watchmen sequel. Some fans will always be against the idea of a sequel to Alan Moore’s superhero masterpiece, but I am of the opinion that if there has to be a sequel to Watchmen, this is the best one we’re going to get. It’s a fantastic story that feels both very true to the world Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created all those years ago as well as the  DC comics universe. The art by Gary Frank is beyond phenomenal. I have no idea where the story is going to end up and that’s one of the things I love about it. At the time of writing this, issue # 10 will have been published, With the penultimate chapter (Issue #11) of this saga hitting spinner racks in May. With the grand finale following issue #11. Will we finally get the epic confrontation between Superman and Dr. Manhattan that the series seems to be inexorably heading towards? I’m sure there’s going to be at least some confrontation, but what kind…. I don’t know, but I can’t fucking wait to find out.Though we’ve seen a lot of delays on this series, it seems to be getting back on track with a pretty regular shipping schedule.

Batman: Last Knight On Earth 

Release Date: 5/29/19

Writer- Scott Snyder 

Artist- Greg Capullo

  For nearly a decade, writer Scott Snyder has become the definitive Batman storyteller of his time. Frank Miller had the 80’s, the 21st-century belongs to Scott Snyder. Snyder has often told the story of, how when he was first starting out on the New 52 Batman and how he asked legendary writer Grant Morrison for his advice on writing  Batman. Morrison himself had his own successful Batman run and wrote the classic Batman graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On A Serious Earth. Morrison told Snyder that the key to writing Batman is to write him as if he created the character himself. Morrison then asked Snyder if he knew HIS version the beginning or “birth” of the character and the ending or “death” of the character. Snyder followed this advice and his story about Batman’s birth is the excellent Zero Year story. Now we’re getting Snyder’s story about Batman’s “death” or the last story of Snyder’s Batman with Batman: Last Knight On Earth #1.  It if Scott Snyder is telling his version of the last Batman story, there can be only one artist to draw the book, and that is of course Greg Capullo.

    His New 52 Batman run with artist Greg Capullo Is probably in the top two or three best Batman runs of all time, if not number one. A massive part of that book’s success was his collaboration with artist Greg Capullo. Not all comic book artists and writers work this way, but the right artist and writer come together who are an absolute perfect match, you get magic. That Batman run would not have been the masterpiece it is had Snyder not worked with Capullo on the book. There are several more, but it’s more rare than you’d think. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s work on Preacher together comes to mind as a similar example of what you get when you put the right creative people together. 

     This three issue prestige format miniseries follows Bruce Wayne waking up in Arkham Asylum; young, fit, and very much sane. Without any memory of how he got there or what has happened before, he finds himself in a post apocalyptic, ruined DC Universe.  With a frozen, severed, but very much alive Joker head as his only companion, Batman begins in his trek across what was once the DC Universe he knew, to you find the answers he needs. Considering the pedigree of the talent involved in this project and what phenomenal Batman stories they’ve already told, I’m going to say this is one of the Top 3 absolute MUST BUYS of the summer.

The Flash: Year One

Begins in issues #70 and #71

Writer- Joshua Williamson

Artist- Howard Porter

Release Dates: 5/8/19 & 5/22/19

I’m actually really looking forward to this one. I don’t read The Flash on a monthly basis, but I check it out every once in awhile and Joshua Williams is a great writer. May kicks off the first two issues of The Flash: Year One. There’s not a whole lot to say with this one. It’s pretty much all in the title. I’m a sucker for a good Year One story and we haven’t receive one of those for Barry Allen before. The art is phenomenal. The creative team is excellent; Williamson had been putting out some good Flash stories since DC REBIRTH and Howard Porter is an all time great Flash artist. If you like The Flash TV series or you dig The Flash in general, I’d say this looks like a pretty sure bet for a great book.

Superman: Leviathan Rising Special #1 (One-Shot)

Release Date: 5/29/19

Writers-  Brian Michael Bendis

Artists- Various

This is a special prelude to the next comic book event, I’ll be talking about below….

Event Leviathan 

Release Date: 6/12/19

Writer – Brian Michael Bendis

Artist- Alex Maleev 

  LEVIATHAN is rising. Seemingly out of nowhere, intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, cults, some of the most powerful organizations in the DC Universe are taken out by a powerful secret terrorist society, Leviathan. A.R.G.US. Headquarters (DC’s version of SHIELD) is destroyed in a powerful and mysterious blast, the terrorist group Kobra Cult, The D.E.O. (The government organization Supergirl works with if you watch her show on The CW), and more, all destroyed. This story has been building up in the Superman books for the past few months and it was only recently revealed that the Leviathan storyline would have a larger affect on the DC Universe. 

Variant cover for Issue #1. Note some familiar silhouettes in the background

    A few years ago, in an attempt to take the Batman concept global, Bruce Wayne started Batman Inc. An organization in which Batman and Wayne Enterprises would give vigilantes who had been inspired by Batman, in cities all over the world, access to Wayne Tech resources and technology. Batman was going global. As part of their very twisted and fucked up love-hate relationship Talia Al-Ghul, daughter of The Demon’s Head, Ra’s Al-Ghul, mother to Damian Wayne, Son of Batman; created a terrorist organization called Leviathan specifically to counter Batman Inc., it’s not clear how much, if any connection this Leviathan has to the previous one, but there appears to be some. The books leading up to this have been a lot of fun and I like how Bendis seems to be opening up the story into the larger DC Universe. You should be reading all of Bendis’ Superman books right now, so definitely check this one out as well. Event Leviathan will be a 6 Issue miniseries that Bendis has described as more of shadowy thriller than a typical huge, bombastic event comic. I’d definitely recommend checking out Action Comics also written by Bendis which looks like it’ll be a key tie-in book. Action Comics is great anyway so you should definitely be reading it, event or no event. In fact Action Comics by Bendis vol.1 hits comic book stores on 4/3 and it get my highest recommendation.

Superman: Year One 

Writer: Frank Miller

Artist: John Romita Jr.

Release Dates: 6/19/19, August, & October 

Like many comic fans, after train wrecks like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder, I found myself thinking “What the FUCK happened to Frank Miller?”. Where was the man who gave us Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns? The answer, as far as I was concerned as a comic reader, was that he was long gone. The Frank Miller we knew was no more. 

      Now all of a sudden he’s giving Superman the Year One treatment after years of being a longtime, vocal Superman hater. What to make of all this? Hmmmm… 

     Well, unlike many of you, I kind of loved The Dark Knight III The Master Race. So, are we seeing a Frank Miller comeback? Well, one good piece of work does not a comeback make. Even if we all agree that The Dark Knight III The Master Race was a very good Batman/DC Universe miniseries, a big caveat comes along with giving Frank Miller any points in the comeback column from this project. There’s a big metaphorical asterisk next to Frank Miller’s name on this book. TDK III was co-written  with Miller by the very talented Brian Azzarello and the book was drawn by the legendary Andy Kubert. I strongly suspect that Frank Miller’s contribution to that book consisted of some variant covers, the brief back up stories at the end of each issue, and giving his input to the very broad outline of the story. While Azzarello was responsible for truly writing the issues. However, I could be wrong, who knows? 

    Now having said all that, will I be reading Superman: Year One? Absolutely. I am a complete sucker for a Year One story and John Romita Jr.’s art looks fantastic. That’s got to be worth the price of admission alone. Even if it’s garbage, it’ll be beautiful garbage.  Also John Romita Jr. handling art duties on this miniseries tips things positively in the book’s favor a little. The first of the three prestige format issues will be released on 6/19/19, with books two and three being released in August and October. 

Frank Miller’s Variant Cover

    I’m a pretty optimistic guy when it comes to my pop-culture. I want it to be good. That’s why I enjoyed The Dark Knight III The Master Race so much, I allowed myself to be open to enjoy it. However, though John Romita Jr.’s art is definitely a huge draw. Hopefully, he’ll be able to help Miller tell a solid Superman story. This miniseries has been described as being Frank Miller’s story, unlike the collaborative nature of TDK III. Basically, he doesn’t have the help he did on his last major project to catch him when he falls. I have great respect for Romita Jr., then again Jim Lee produced some of his best work on All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder and look how that turned out. Finally, even though I’ll definitely be picking up at least the first issue of this series, I have come to the conclusion that this is going to be a shit show. Everything I know about Frank Miller makes me think Superman: Year One is going to be another massive, flaming, Hindenburg-like failure from the once great Frank Miller. I’ll be the first to tell you how happy I am to be wrong on this one.

I hope you enjoyed my spring/summer comic book preview and as always thank you for reading! This article focused on DC Comics exclusively. DC does a better job of Marvel than putting out accessible, more or less self contained, easy to explain event books and mini series. So if you enjoyed this preview and you’d like to see what Marvel Comics has cooking for the spring and summer, please comment below

So there you have it, a lot of exciting comics coming out over the next few months. Word has it there are some even bigger things coming on the horizon and this is all just from DC Comics! I’ll probably write up a similar article highlighting Marvel’s spring and summer comics to check out this year. Comics are an incredible medium. So, whether you’re reading single issue comics, waiting for the collected editions, reading them on your tablet, or going to your local comic book store, as long as you’re supporting the medium, that’s all that matters. 

-Paul

Superman: Afternoon Delight

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Superman is mostly portrayed as such a wholesome, pure character. A lot of people mentally associate him with classic Americana, like apple pie and Norman Rockwell. However, the best writers understand that the key to writing Superman is to highlight his humanity. Take the recent Superman #7 written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Ivan Reis, for example. Something I’ve enjoyed in some of the recent Superman comics, especially Bendis’ Superman comics is, without being gratuitous, it’s clear that Clark and Lois have a healthy sex life. Yet Clark is still a big old Kansas farm boy, raised to be a respectful and decent son. 

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   So I loved a small moment in Issue #7, during a scene involving Clark and Lois’ adolescent son Jonathan. Jon who’s about 12 or 13, has been out traveling the cosmos with his grandfather, in what I guess is the Kryptonian version of backpacking through Europe. An unexpected problem presents itself When Clark quickly realizes that his son who is only been gone for a month or so has aged at least three years. At first he thinks this has something to do with one of those weird colored Kryptonites. You know, the yellow Kryptonite or the pink Kryptonite or … something like that. What was supposed to be a summer vacation has turned, through the weirdness of space travel (think the movie Interstellar) into Clark and Lois missing a pretty large portion of their sons life and development. It comes as no surprise that it’s quite a shock. 

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   After Clark’s emotional, but joyous reunion with his son, they of course go to see his mother, Lois whose been living out of a hotel in Metropolis for awhile now as she puts the finishing touches on her latest book. It’s implied that it is not uncommon for Clark to fly on by for a little afternoon delight semi-frequently, which is where the fun begins. 

 

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Clark flies up to her balcony and Lois is at her computer, writing, in nothing but a fluffy white hotel bathrobe and black underwear. Lois sees Clark before she realizes Jonathan is there, she begins to undo her bathrobe with a sultry little smirk, just as their son peaks around from behind Clark. It’s such a perfect moment seeing the absolute embarrassment on Clark’s face is he quickly shoots his arm up to cover his sons eyes and Lois’ mortified expression as she attempts to cover up and make herself look a bit more modest in front of her son. The small scene is a good example of how you can take a god and tell a story about a man.

What’s more human then those million little moments that make up life? Some good, some bad, and some, like this one, hilariously embarrassing. Writers often complain that Superman is a difficult character to write, I just think many of them don’t understand him. Like I said at the beginning, the key to any great Superman story is his humanity and this small scene illustrates that perfectly.

PODCAST: Jessica Jones Season 2 Review!

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Hey, Everybody

It’s Paul

As you all know, I’m a MASSIVE fan of the Marvel Netflix show. I thought the first 2 seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones Season 1 were some of the best content the Marvel Cinematic Universe had put out, period. And that includes the movies. As much as they don’t intersect for some bizzare reason I consider these shows just as much a part of the MCU as the movies. By the time we’d watched all of Daredevil Season 1, we’d spent more time with Matt Murdock than Tony Stark, which is kind of crazy.

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Anyway despite the huge dip in the quality of the content Marvel Netflix had put out (Iron Fist, The Defenders), they seemed to be mounting a come back (The Punisher). So, I wasn’t quite as excited for Jessica Jones Season 2 as you may expect, but of course I love the character and was ready for the Netflix shows to take me back to their best days.

 

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So, on this episode of “The World’s Best Podcast” I give my slightly overdue review for Jessica Jones Season 2 (As well as some fn detours along the way)! Enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on iTunes! Editor’s Note: We soon be, of we aren’t already available on SPOTIFY!:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/14355668

The show also put out these really cool pieces of art for each episode. Each one is in the style of an old noir movie poster with the title of the episode in the poster. Here they are in order:

 

 

In the episode I mentioned great graphics novels worth checking out. You can buy them here through our Amazon Affiliate link. All of these graphic novels are phenomenal:

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Jessica Jones: Alias Vol.1

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Jessica Jones: Alias Vol.2

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Jessica Jones: Alias Vol.3

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Jessica Jones: Alias Vol.4

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The Pulse: The Complete Collection

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This takes place years after THE PULSE. It was a new series focusing on Jessica returning to P.I. work while still being a mother and wife. The series in ending soon because Jessica Jones’ creator, Brian Michael Bendis, has left Marvel to work exclusively for DC Comics. I cant wait to see what he does there, but right now he’s wrapping up all the Marvel books he’s still working on. So one other graphic novel collection of this Jessica Jones series is out nowJessica Jones Vol.2 The Secrets of Maria Hill, with an untitled Vol. 3 coming out over the next few months.

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Jessica Jones vol. Uncaged

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COMICS: More DC News! Superman & Brian Michael Bendis!

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Art from the upcoming Action Comics #1000. Fuck the red underwear though!

This has been a big week for comic book news. Ever since comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis jumped ship from Marvel to DC, fans have been wondering what projects he’d be working on and what characters he’d be writing. Bendis has been one of the defining creators at Marvel for almost 20 years, with legendary runs on books like Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Avengers. During that time he created classic original characters like Jessica Jone and Miles Morales.

Now, DC has announced that starting in July, Bendis will take over writing the Superman books, Action Comics and Superman. Check out more of the art here:

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According to IGN, Bendis will also be debuting a massive new villain with ties to Krypton’s past. I know some people won’t be on board for Bendis writing Superman, but I’ve always loved his work. My only complaint is that they brought back that fucking red underwear on his uniform. DC! I thought we were past this!!!

-Paul