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Amazing Spider-Man Daily Bugle #1 Review

Writer: Mat Johnson
Artists: Mack Chater, Francesco Mobili, and Scott Hanna
Colors: Dono Sanchez-Almara and Protobunker
Letters: VC’s Joe Carmagna
Cover: Mark Bagley and Morry Hollowell

Amazing Spider-Man: Daily Bugle #1 asks the question so many newspaper publishers are struggling with today: how does print news stay relevant in a digital age? As editor-in-chief of the Bugle, Robbie Robertson’s answer is to obtain exclusive stories through some good old-fashioned investigative journalism. He forms a team of familiar faces from the Bugle and puts them to work.

Mat Johnson’s Marvel writing debut primarily follows Peter Parker, Ben Urich, and newcomer Chloe Robertson, niece of Robbie, as they investigate various leads for the paper. Each one uncovers a mystery that could prove deadly to the people, pets, and “platyrhynchos” of New York City. The art team supports the story with panels colorful enough for a Spider-Man book, yet gritty enough for the detective feeling.

The book takes a step away from most of the super-elements of the Marvel Universe to tell a more grounded story. While seasoned readers can appreciate some of the more obscure character appearances, this introduction to a 5-part miniseries will also make newcomers feel welcome. Daily Bugle #1 is for anyone ready to ditch their cape in favor of a magnifying glass.

Review by Andrew Fellner

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Darkhawk #51

Writers: Chris Sims, Chad Bowers
Artist: Kev Walker
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel

As part of Marvel’s Legacy reboot, the company has put together a series of one-shots for its
more obscure, B-list characters. Silver Sable, Master of Kung Fu and now Darkhawk are all part
of this initiative. The idea is that if these books sell a fair amount and garner enough interest
among readers, Marvel will consider giving these characters ongoing titles. My hope is that
sales for Darkhawk #51 will skyrocket, as this title would make for a great cosmic superhero

Chris Powell became Darkhawk years ago when he discovered an amulet in an old amusement
park. This event turned him into a being of immense power who used his gifts to fight crime.
Now however, it’s been a long time since Powell merged with his superhero alter-ego, and he
currently leads a more simple life as a cop. Yet when a tip leads him to the same amusement
park where he first discovered the gem, what he discovers there may just change his plans for
his future.

Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers do a great job introducing Darkhawk to readers who are
unfamiliar with the character, and also providing plenty of reasons for why this comic should be
an ongoing. As a one-shot it makes you want to dig deeper into the character’s mythos and hunt
down classic issues, but it also leaves plenty doors open for the story to continue.
Likewise, Kev Walker’s art is a delight, delivering the tone and aesthetic of a classic Saturday
morning superhero cartoon. I’ve only read a handful of Nova stories, but it has a similar feel to
that book stylistically. The colors are bright and engaging, providing the feel of a sweeping
space opera.

I’m really hoping enough people will like this book to want to see it continue, and regardless of
whether or not it does get greenlit as an ongoing it’s still a great collector’s item to have. Sims
and Bowers are regular guests at both NC Comicon shows, so get your copy of Darkhawk #51
now so you can get it signed at Oak City in March!

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Doomsday Clock #1

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s finally here. Ever since the mouth-dropping twist at the end of the Rebirth one-shot, DC fans
have been waiting to see how exactly Watchmen would merge with the main DC universe. The
answer will be explored throughout Doomsday Clock, which is a 12-issue series written by Geoff
Johns and drawn by Gary Frank.

The last major revelation was that Dr. Manhattan had tampered with the space-time continuum
and created the New 52 timeline. Doomsday Clock starts off in the Watchmen universe, taking
place about eight years after the events of the iconic Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons story. I’ll go
ahead and say that if you haven’t read Watchmen in a while, you may want to refresh yourself
before going into this book.

That said, this first issue offers a lot of potential for the series as a whole. Beyond being a love-
letter to the source material, it provides an interesting look at this world as it inches closer and
closer to annihilation. We see a character from the original story posing as Rorschach,
Ozymandias apparently seeking to redeem himself and Dr. Manhattan is still missing.
Meanwhile, all hell has broken loose across the globe.

The only tie to the main DC universe comes at the end of the issue, but we still have 11 more
issues to get the answers we’ve yearned for for the last year and a half. After the fairly
underwhelming crossover The Button earlier this year, this book is a worthy follow up to both
Rebirth and Watchmen. Geoff Johns returns to comics writing with a bang, and with art by the
amazing Gary Frank this is one of the biggest collector’s items of the year.

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Deadman #1

Title: Deadman
Written, Drawn and Colored by Neal Adams
Letterer: Clem Robins
Publisher: DC

 It’s a pretty big deal to have a comic in 2017 written and illustrated by the legendary Neal Adams. The man who helped revitalize characters like Batman and Green Arrow in the 1970s alongside writer Denny O’Neil is back with a bang. His newest work brings back one of the weirdest and most interesting characters in the DC universe.

Not unlike the equally psychedelic Mister Miracle book by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, Deadman #1 is about our hero coming back from the dead and the mystery surrounding his assassination. In order to discover the full truth of what happened to him and the connection to the League of Assassins, Boston Brand will need the help of Batman, Zatanna and Doctor Fate.

Back when Deadman was first created in the 1960s by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino, Adams played an instrumental role in popularizing the character. The first arc he contributed to as a penciler also dealt with Brand coming back from the dead, so it’s only fitting that he’s helming the new reboot.

It goes without saying that this is a gorgeous book from start to finish. Adams’ bombastic and wildly surreal style coincides perfectly with the story’s supernatural elements. Not only that, but it’s a compelling narrative as well. Even if you haven’t read the last Deadman miniseries, Adams does a nice job making this one an easy jumping-on-point, with little ties to anything else going on in the DC universe right now. Now if Warner Bros. and DC could just get Guillermo del Toro to make a Deadman movie I’ll be really happy.

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Marvel Legacy #1

Title: Marvel Legacy #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Esad Ribic, Steve McNiven and various others
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel

 Rebooting a long-established universe is a tricky business. On the one hand you want to imbue the story with plenty of mythology and cater toward longtime readers, but you also have to entice newer fans to give it a shot and make it an easy jumping-on point. Marvel Legacy #1 is admittedly less successful in the latter, but it remains a rich celebration of the Marvel universe that sets the stage for the post-Secret Empire era.

Now, there’s no denying that many of this issue’s story beats are based on DC’s widely acclaimed Rebirth one-shot from last year. Old characters who have either been dead or absent for a while return, generations of heroes collide and new cosmic elements are added to the universe which have the potential to alter everything from here on. Yet whereas the Rebirth one-shot revealed Wally West as the point-of-view protagonist a few pages into the story and told a more personal character piece, in this book Jason Aaron waits until the last page to reveal the narrator. The reveal itself is quite satisfying, as it serves as a kind of meta-narrative for how the Marvel universe has evolved in the decades since Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created these characters.

In terms of the story itself, Aaron opens in the Stone Age, where it’s revealed that some of the world’s greatest heroes have their ancestral roots here. Mjolnir and the Asgardian mythos play a big role here, which is befitting given how beloved Aaron’s Thor run is. The original Cap however only makes a brief appearance, as Steve finds himself wandering the countryside following the events of Secret Empire. Likewise, Tony Stark only gets a brief mention, stating that he’s been off the grid for a while. We also get glimpses of Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm wondering if the world still needs or remembers them, Deadpool apparently seeking redemption, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist conversing about dreams and the return of an iconic hero. If all this sounds overtly expository, it’s because this issue is the exposition of the new Marvel era. The only major character absent is Spider-Man, but the Spider-Man Generations book also came out today.

There’s little I need to do to convince you to buy this comic, especially if you’re a hardcore Marvel fan or are just interested in reading any of the new titles this fall. It may come across as a bit convoluted if you haven’t been following Marvel for a while, but nonetheless Aaron handles the material with the skills of a master storyteller. Couple that with the book’s team of superstar artists ranging from Steve McNiven to Ed McGuinness, and you’ve got yourself a nice collector’s item here. Pick it up this week at any Ultimate Comics location and you’ll get it for half off, as well as a free copy of the Marvel Previews magazine. Excelsior!

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Realm #1

Title: Realm
Writer: Seth M. Peck
Penciler: Jeremy Haun
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Image

The Realm is possibly the best genre mashup book of the year. It contains orcs, dragons and
goblins reigning in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. If that doesn’t make you excited I don’t know
what will.

Set years after these aforementioned creatures have laid waste to Earth and taken over, the last
of the humans must fight to survive. Among these is Will Nolan, an ex-military personnel who
now carries a gun in one hand and a sword in the other. As new threats emerge and a dark
sorcerer lurks in the background, what happens from here on in this story is anyone’s guess.

Creators Seth M. Peck and Jeremy Haun provide readers with a whirlwind of an adventure that
seamlessly combines sci-fi, fantasy, horror and western elements. It’s just as big and bombastic
as The Dark Tower novels (and significantly better than the movie), and also features the kind of
protagonist who you’d want to hang out with. Based on the first issue I think Nolan has the
potential to be the next Malcolm Reynolds.

Artist and co-creator Haun is no stranger to high-concept sci-fi. His and Jason Hurley’s book
The Beauty weaves together a futuristic sociocultural premise with high-octane action. Here, he
further demonstrates his skills as a multifaceted storyteller. Each panel builds perfectly upon the
next, and with the always stellar colors by Nick Filardi readers are in for a real treat. Go ahead
and add this one to your pull-list, as it has all the tenants of the next great creator-owned title.

Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics

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Star Wars: Mace Windu #1

Writer: Matt Owens
Penciler: Denys Cowan
Colorist: Guru-eFx
Inker: Roberto Poggi
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel

As we edge closer and closer to The Last Jedi this December, Disney and Marvel continue to
put out a ton of Star Wars comics and other extended universe material. The latest spinoff book
to hit comic shops is Mace Windu, which is set between Episodes II and III at the start of the
Clone Wars.

The Jedi Council is caught in the midst of a crisis following the Battle of Geonosis. Wrestling
with their desire for peace while also knowing that they must protect the Republic, the Jedi
Knights must answer the call to become warriors. Chief among them is Master Mace Windu,
whose superior force abilities and experience make him the ideal person to help lead the newly
formed Republic army.

As Mace and three other Jedi set out on a covert mission to investigate separatist activity on the
jungle planet Hissrich, their plan is to go in and out quickly. Yet as tensions rise and the droid
army there discovers them, a fierce battle ensues.

Now, there is a very specific formula to the Star Wars solo character comics. With the exception
of Poe Dameron, which is an ongoing, each solo character book is a five-issue miniseries which
involves some sort of mission on a planet not featured in the movies. We’ve seen it with Darth
Maul, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan and Anakin and several other titles. Granted, it's a formula that
works and opens doors for creators to do fun spinoffs, but just don’t go into this comic expecting
it to shake the foundation of the Star Wars universe.

That said, writer Matt Owens does a nice job keeping the focus on Mace while also delivering a
fun action story. The exposition takes place on Coruscant as Mace talks with fellow council
members like Ki-Adi Mundi and Yoda. From there, Owens transitions to the Outer Rim as our
heroes set out on this mission. One of the Jedi accompanying Mace is Kit Fisto from the
movies, who’s basically the Aquaman of the Star Wars universe; and the two younger Jedi with
them are nice additions to this ensemble. One of them is a youthful, Ashoka-like padawan who
idolizes Mace, while the other is a quiet and meditative character who is quite intriguing as well.
Penciler Denys Cowan also brings his A-game here, capturing the mythic status of Mace as
both a great warrior and a wise leader. Between opening with a splash page flashback from the
Geonosis battle to an action-packed sequence at the end of the issue, the style here is appropriately cinematic.
Mace Windu is no doubt a solid title to add to your Star Wars collection, if for no other reason than Mace is the
coolest Jedi in the universe.

Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics

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Immortal #1

Title: Immortal
Writer: Rob Potchak
Artist: Owen Gieni
Colorist: Studio Makma
Publisher: Keenspot Entertainment

After being alive for more than 700 years, Immortal Elisa thinks she’s seen everything there is to see. She’s fought battles, trained other immortals and met an array of both mythological and historical characters. Now juggling a life in 1997 as both an unsuspecting librarian and a master of sword and sorcery, Elisa and her friends will discover adventures that are even new to someone as old as her.

That is the premise of the new comic “Immortal” from Keenspot Entertainment. Raleigh-based writer Rob Potchak delivers a world of wizards, swords and B-movie monsters in this book, which is beautifully brought to life by penciler Owen Gieni and colorist Studio Makma. Combining elements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Highlander and a touch of Lovecraftian horror for good measure, this comic is a great love letter to pop-culture. As Potchak infuses his script with numerous sci-fi and fantasy references from the 90s, it’s clear he had as much fun developing this story as I did reading it. Here he’s merged a fun and outrageous concept with an interesting and strong protagonist.

Elisa is really what makes this debut issue what it is. While the pop-culture references and influences are an instrumental component, it’s her story that has me stoked for where this series will go. As a sassy and adventure-loving hero who also partied with Nostradamus years earlier, what’s not to like about her?

If you’re looking for a comic that’s an absolute blast to read, look no further than “Immortal.” This book has action, supernatural elements, great characters and a cliffhanger ending. Potchak has been doing signings all day at each Ultimate Comics location, and will be back in September at Greensboro Comicon. Be sure to bring your copy then and support a great local creator. Now if you’ll excuse me, this issue has made me want to go back and marathon a bunch of 90s sci-fi/fantasy movies!

-Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics