Gerard Way's "Young Animal" Returns This July

DC's "Young Animal" imprint returns this July with a new chapter of their flagship comic title "Doom Patrol" and two entirely new and unique stories that will captivate all "Young Animal" fans out there, that have been waiting for this announcement to come from DC for a year since it was last sighted.

DC's "Young Animal" made its debut in 2016 as a pop-up imprint of curated stories by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and after four regular series and three miniseries, it falls in hibernation up until now.

July 3rd marks the day of DOOM PATROL: WEIGHT OF THE WORLDS followed by COLLAPSER in July 17 and FAR SECTOR later this year.

As with all new comic series, new creative teams make their appearance with Mikey Way (MCR), Shaun Simon (Neverboy, Killjoys) and artist Ilias Kyriazis (G.I. Joe: First Strike) bring us COLLAPSER, and author N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth, Inheritance trilogies) making her comic book writing debut with FAR SECTOR.

As usual "Doom Patrol" creative team will consist of Nick Derington for Covers and a series of talented artists for interior illustrations such as James Harvey, Doc Shaner, Nick Pitarra, Becky Cloonan and more.

“We are thrilled to revitalize DOOM PATROL, and to present both COLLAPSER and FAR SECTOR, two books that push the medium of comics and their respective genres through uncharted territory. Readers can expect everything from high doses of cosmic weirdness and positivity, to deep examinations of anxiety and emotions while wielding immense power, to sci-fi explorations of authority and control and what it means to be a guardian while a world hangs in delicate balance. More fantastic comics outside the norm, as only DC’s Young Animal can do.”

Gerard Way
Doom Patrol Weight of the Worlds

Talent

Writer: Gerard Way & Jeremy Lambert
Artist: James Harvey, Doc Shaner, Nick Pitarra, Becky Cloonan
Publisher: DC's Young Animal
Release Date: July 3, 2019
Cover Price: TBA

Gerard Way and the World’s Strangest Super Heroes return in an all-new series that takes them beyond the borders of time and space! The Doom Patrol will go on an epic road trip around the solar system, facing off against the unusual and bizarre including the fanatical fitness fiends of planet Orbius and the Marathon Eternal. Big changes are coming for these unusual heroes, including Robotman coming to terms with his new life as a human.

Collapser DC's Young Animal

Talent

Writer: Mikey Way & Shaun Simon
Artist: Ilias Kyriazis
Publisher: DC's Young Animal
Release Date: July 17, 2019
Cover Price: TBA

Liam James is a wannabe DJ whose life goals are almost completely dashed by his crippling anxiety—until a package arrives in the mail containing a black hole that gives him amazing powers and draws him into a cosmic conflict far beyond anything he’d ever imagined. But Liam will discover that when it comes to life, love, mental health and superhero responsibilities, there’s no such thing as a quick fix, and that power comes with a cost.

Far Sector - DC Young Animals

Talent

Writer: N.K. Jemisin
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Publisher: DC's Young Animal
Release Date: Late 2019
Cover Price: TBA

Newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner “Jo” Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people, for the past six months. The City has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent.
But that’s all about to change.
This new series introduces a dizzying game of politics and philosophies as Jo discovers a brewing revolution in the City, aided and abetted by some of its most powerful citizens.

Mera: Tidebreaker #1 Comic Review

The princess of Xebel finally gets the long-awaited attention that she deserved from the hands of bestseller author of Dorothy Must Die, Danielle Paige, and artist Stephen Byrne.

Even though advertised as a teenager adventure, Mera: Tidebreaker is easy to read book for all ages. Admittedly many of the scenes will remind you a romance teenagers tv series and there could be (or should be) more actions, especially in parts, were it was required, the creative team chose to go with something more subtle. But it brings out a point of view in the youth years of Mera and Arthur that is much appreciated.

It's not the greatest story we have seen lately but it's as interesting as any. There is a new view for the teenage years of Mera and Arthur that certainly took us back decades when Arthur was living at the lighthouse by the sea.

Stephen Byrne technique of not using a huge palete of colors brings out the one color we should focus as readers. Not wanting to spoiler the amazing use of red but it's something we will be keeping on our shelves at a prominent position.

The Green Lantern (2018) #1 Review

Pure excitement. This is what it feels to get your hands on "The Green Lantern #1" by Grant Morrison and if you are a fan you probably already know this but if you are new or into the Grant Morrison effect or even in the Green Lantern "universe" then you are in for a treat. Green Lantern made it clear that belongs to the best DC Comic Series of 2019!

The Green Lantern #1 is as Grant Morrison as it can get with a ton of information, masterfully compressed into one issue and even though some might find this intimidating it is a form of art Morrison so gracefully uses that wont take a toll on your mind. Having said that, it is going without saying that when reading a Grant Morrison, you get a lot of information on the second or third go.

The art from Liam Sharp is also spot on making this one a modern-classic.

I get it, you might say that "Everything is said to be a modern classic this days" and I agree. There is a tendency to portray a good modern comic as a classic because we so much love the bronze or silver age of comics yet this is the real deal. Just as Grant Morrison is bringing Green Lantern into the light once more, Liam Sharp is bringing us the vibe of the Bronze Age art that we loved.

As I previously mentioned Grant Morrison can fit a lot into a few pages and I am going to talk about a few of them below so if you want a review spoiler free this will probably be the end of it.

Spoilers Below!

Ye that passes through the valley of the review shall find spoilers hidden beneath and thou shall be rewarded with knowledge.

The story begins with the introduction of some Green Lanterns that are trying to take down some Space Pirates and as per usual even though the odds are heavily against them they are victorious. At least for a short while.

What makes the story interesting and what we love about Morrison and GL is that there is always something unique and no matter how old it gets it always feels fresh.

I mean Floozle Flem? this might be our new favorite character.

Hal Jordan comes in, down on his luck wasting his days on earth after being "fired" from the Green Lantern Corp, just lost his job at a gas station and spends some quality time with his lady.

Next day he is on his way when a stranger approaches. Not to prolong this, Hal figures out that the stranger is not from Earth, and being good at what he does he beats the shit out of the alien even without the powers of his ring since the Guardians have taken his power battery.

Hal finds Chriselon, another GL, hurt real bad. Chriselon explains that he was carrying the space pirates and they are on their way to lay waste to everything they find. He hands Hal his battery and here comes our favorite Green Lantern again.

There is so much more happening in this one issue than if you'd really have to go through the pages yourself!

Best DC Comics of 2019 (so far)

DC Comics has been making a great start in 2019 with some amazing comics making it to the shelves. DC popularity has never been greater with superhero movies making it to the big screen and a huge collection making it to the small screens and with DC Wonder Comics launching amazing unique series such as Naomi and Young Justice, there was never a more perfect time to jump on board.

In an effort to highlight the best comic series of 2019, 101Comics has set up a list to help you find the best dc comics of 2019 so you will never miss out.

Naomi #1 Review

Talent

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Publisher: DC Comics

I've waited a while for Naomi to get published and I have to say, it was worth it.

Bendis and Walker have created an entirely new and intriguing character that we can't wait to learn more about. It also seems that she has a lot to learn about herself as well which makes it even more interesting.

The first issue of Naomi tells the story of a small Northwestern town that gets affected by Superman's fight with Mogul for a whole of 17 seconds. Enough it seems for Naomi (a Superman fan as we can gather) to start a quest to uncover the secrets of this small town which might be connected with her own origins.

Apart from an excellent and intriguing start, story-wise, this comic boasts of unique art panels created by Jamal Campbell. If I have to admit this must have been one of the best art-wise comics I've read in a while and I hope to see more of Jamal in the upcoming issues.

Martian Manhunter - J'onn J'onzz Origin and Adventures

Martian Manhunter or else J'onn J'onzz was created by writer Joseph Samachson and designed by artist Joe Certa. His first appearance was in Detective Comics #225 back in 1955 in the story "The Manhunter from Mars" and is considered one of the strongest characters in the DC Universe and also accredited as one of the seven Justice League original members and founder.

J'onn J'onzz is (as you can probably deduce from his alias, Martian Manhunter) a extraterrestrial humanoid from Mars that was initially pulled to earth from a "failed" experiment done from a human scientist Dr. Erdel who was working on a communication device that he believed could reach other planets, times or even dimensions but instead worked as a teleportation device.

Silver Age ('50s - '60s) J'onn J'onzz Origin

Silver Age Martian Manhunter - J'onn J'onzz
Silver Age Martian Manhunter

At our first introduction to Martian Manhunter we see a very different origin story than the one that currently exist.

J'onn J'onzz was a scientist from Mars that was teleported from a human scientist named Dr. Erdel. Unfortunately after seeing and speaking with J'onn J'onzz and after seeing him transform into a human in front of his eyes his heart gives out and he dies leaving Martian Manhunter trapped on earth as he is the only one that knows how to use the device he built.

In realization of that, J'onn J'onzz decides to do the only thing he can do and wait for his fellow Martians envolve in a technological state that allows them to travel to different worlds in order to come and pick him up. Something that we know that will take even centuries since they just started experimenting with rocket ships.

As a Martian though, or because stories back in the '50s were mostly like that, we don't get to see J'onn's feelings on the matter. Without losing much time he assumes a new identity by the name of John Jones and he travels the world before he decides to become a detective in order to fight crime since he says that it's something that is already solved in his homeworld and would like to help humanity solve as well.

Like other character in the early years of comics we don't really get to see a lot of his abilities all at once but mostly the character "expands" depending the needs of the situation. Starting with his precognitive abilities at Detective Comics #226 followed by telepathy at #227, flight at #228, super hearing and atomic vision later on.

Justice League of America & the Death of John Jones

Justice League of America Founding Members
Justice League of America Founding Members

Five years after his first appearance, in March 1960, and at The Brave and the Bold #28, Martian Manhunter becomes one of the seven founding members of the Justice League of America (JLA) where he is mostly used initially as a substitute for Superman.

During this whole time J'onn's second identity that was up until now kept secret from everyone, seemingly dies on the line of duty by the Idol Head of Diabolu. That in a way served the needs of J'onn who did not try to save his second identity but even attended the funeral as Martian Manhunter.

The stories of Martian Manhunter moved at this point to the House of Mystery where he spends the next couple of years fighting against the Idol Head of Diabolu from House of Mystery #143 to House of Mystery #158.

The Fall of Martian Manhunter

Shorty after the defeat of the Idol Head of Diabolu, in House of Mystery #160 Martian Manhunter infiltrates an international cartel named VULTURE, after acquiring another persona called Macro Xavier. Their defeat in House of Mystery #173, marked J'onn J'onzz last installment of his original series. And as Superman became a full-time member of the Justice League, Martian's appearance started to fall apart resulting with his last mission participation in the Justice League being in the issue Justice League #61 and finally a farewell issue at Justice League #71 where his people finally reach Earth to find him. He leaves with them to become the leader of New Mars.

Bronze Age ('70s - mid '80s) Martian Manhunter

During the Bronze Age of comics, we see Martian Manhunter sporadically during the best part of the decade and mostly as a secondary or supporting character.

He permanently returned in Justice League of America #228 in 1984 since huge changes in the JLA allowed for plenty of openings in the team to be available for grabs.

While on Earth he also decided to revive John Jones who will now be serving as a private detective, even though he had to explain a 20 year gap.

Post-Crisis (mid-'80s - mid-'90s) - Martian Manhunter Origin Redefined

In 1988 a new creative team led by J.M. DeMatteis and Mark Badger redefined the origins of Martian Manhunter and create the background we know till today.

In J.M. DeMatteis four-issue miniseries "Martian Manhunter" we learn that during the initial encounter with J'onn J'onzz, Dr. Erdel did not die and that J'onn (not the only one that came through that machine) was not just teleported there through space but through time as well.

During the miniseries, we learn that on J'onn's homeland, Mars, there was a plague that killed everyone and that those that died were burned to "prevent" the plague from spreading which was the cause for J'onn's fear of fire and his "weakness" to it which turns out it wasn't a weakness but his mind linking fire to death.

We also learn from Dr. Erdel that J'onn J'onzz is not his real name which as he mentions is "beautiful but unpronounceable".

We get a glimpse of his family. His wife and daughter that perished because of the plague and that the person that came through the machine with him was the body of his dead daughter that he carried through the desert in order to save her from the fire.

His form is also not the real one. His took this form after Dr. Erdel suggesting it to him. After his appearance on earth and his mental state his mind was so open that he and Dr. Erdel connected and formed a mind link.

Dr. Erdel fabricated an entire life so that J'onn can live until he finds the strength to cope with what happened at his past life. Along with the reality that Dr. Erdel created he also manufactured a new form of what he believed a Martian would look like as well as one that will be friendly enough for the humans to not fear and we get to see his real form in those issues.

Post Zero Hour (mid-'90s - mid-2000s)

Martian Manhunter #36 (1998 series)

Starting 1998 writer John Ostrander and illustrator Tom Mandrake worked on a Martian Manhunter series which lasted for 36 issues before it was unfortunately got cancelled by DC for low sales.

During the series we got to learn that J'onzz is extremely recognized in the Southern Hemisphere and that he used a number of secret identities (many of which outside the United States) the same way he had used John Jones in the past.

We are also introduced to J'onn's evil twin brother Ma'alefa'ak, who is responsible for the death of their fellow Martians and the creator of the deadly plague that killed everyone.

In this series Ma'alefa'ak seeking to destroy J'onn's reputation he battles several members of the Justice League and tortures Jemm, Son of Saturn while impersonating J'onn but he ends up defeated by his brother after all.

Crisis Era  (mid-2000s–early-'10s)

Crisis Era was a complicated, big chapter for DC Comics and same goes for all characters that were involved, Martian Manhunter included.

During the lead-up events for the Infinite Crisis comic line, and more specifically on JLA #118, J'onn J'onzz is presumed dead at an attack that happened at the Justice League HQ. Of course killing J'onn is not such an easy feat after all and we later see him as a captor of Alexander Luthor Jr. within Infinite Crisis #3.

One Year Later

"One Year Later" was a 2006 comic book published by DC right after the events of Infinite Crisis. The book is described as multiple, thematically linked individual issues from multiple ongoing series and as the title suggests the events take place one year in the future.

During the same time DC published a limited comic series called "52" that filled in the blank spots of what happened during the missing period during which we see J'onn J'onzz working undercover in an attempt to kill Checkmate for its role in the death of Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle.

In the event of World War III, J'onn's battles and loses versus Black Adam, gets a design overhaul making the character look closers to his Martian form instead of his human form and gets a mini-series dedicated to him which focuses on his mistrust against humanity due to their actions against each other and his search for his past and other Martians.

Adding to the complexity of his character background, in the events of Final Crisis #1 (2008), J'onzz dies and we see him one year later as a Black Lantern at the Blackest Night (2009) storyline at the end of which he is also resurrected at Blackest Night #8 (2010). Afterward, we see the character again at the Brightest Day storyline where J'onn encounters another Green Martian named D'kay D'razz (Brightest Day #12 - 2010) a psychopath who wants J'onzz to be her mate and goes to extreme measures to do so. She attacks M'gann M'orzz she forcefully enters J'onn's mind but ends up dead from the hands of J'onzz.

The New 52 (2011–2016)

2011 was a big year for DC and with Flashpoint they cancelled and relaunched pretty much everything up until that point (bold move for such company).

In the new continuity J'onzz is a member of the Stormwatch organization which was previously only published under DC's imprint Wildstorm Comics. Unfortunately for the team, Martian Manhunter erases himself from his teammates minds in Stormwatch #12 and later moves on to being a member of Justice League of America under direct orders from the US Government.

Justice League of America team characters were picked as counterparts of members from the independent Justice League if it was ever to go rogue. As you can imagine Martian Manhunter was picked in order to defeat Superman if the time requires it.

DC Rebirth (2016–present)

Currently Martian Manhunter is the chairman of Justice League. Under his capable leadership the team functions as one since J'onn's mental abilities creates a mind link for the entire team.

Conclusion

Martian Manhunter is one of our favorite superheroes of all time. In many comic issues other superheroes claim that he can even beat Superman single handedly.

He has a solid background and his character development goes all the way back to the silver age of comics.

We hope to read more of him in the future.

Aquaman Origins Through the Years

Aquaman is a superhero published by DC Comics and created by Paul Norris and Mortimer “Mort” Weisinger. Aquaman made his debut in November 1941 as one of the stories within “More Fun Comics #73” and since then he appeared in hundreds of titles within the comic book ages initially as a backup character and later on within his own solo adventures as well as one of the main characters within great DC superhero teams.

Golden Age Origin

More Fun Comics #73
More Fun Comics #73

Aquaman's first origin story comes straight from his first appearance in “More Fun Comics #73” and is narrated from the character himself as a flashback.

“The story must start with my father, a famous undersea explorer—if I spoke his name, you would recognize it. My mother died when I was a baby, and he turned to his work of solving the ocean's secrets. His greatest discovery was an ancient city, in the depths where no other diver had ever penetrated. My father believed it was the lost kingdom of Atlantis. He made himself a water-tight home in one of the palaces and lived there, studying the records and devices of the race's marvelous wisdom. From the books and records, he learned ways of teaching me to live under the ocean, drawing oxygen from the water and using all the power of the sea to make me wonderfully strong and swift. By training and a hundred scientific secrets, I became what you see—a human being who lives and thrives under the water.”

Same with most of the golden age comics, most of Aquaman’s early story villains were Nazis and Axis villains.

Simple yet appealing to the masses Aquaman stayed popular for a long time due to his unique character and abilities making it to the Adventure Comics alongside Superboy and Green Arrow on February 28, 1946 with the first issue being Adventure Comics #103.

Silver Age Origin

After a decade, Aquaman became one of the few superheroes that made it through continues publications without the loss of the love or interest of his fans.

Even though Aquaman was loved and amazed people with his abilities which remained unique throughout the 50 ’s people felt that there is a gap in his initial origin and DC started filling the gaps by working on an entirely new story for Aquaman.

Adventure Comics #260
Adventure Comics #260

Adventure Comics #260 in May 1959 marked the second Origin for Aquaman. Writer Robert Bernstein and artist Ramona Fradon worked together on what made out to be one of the best origin stories ever told for Aquaman.

Similar to the first origin story, Aquaman narrates this one as well. In this story, we learn that the name of Aquaman is actually Arthur Curry, the son of Tom Curry, a lighthouse keeper that saved a woman named Atlanna that was caught in a raging hurricane while on a raft. Later we learn that Atlanna is water-breathing outcast from the lost city of Atlantis thus making Arthur Curry a human hybrid with extraordinary abilities such as water breathing, super strength, super speed, communicating with sea life and this time telepathically and long distance instead of just verbally and from upclose.

Also as all great superheroes, Aquaman had his own little weakness during the silver age. Similar to Superman’s Kryptonite weakness and Green Lantern, yellow color sensitivity, Aquaman needed to have contact with water at least once every hour in order to survive.

Silver age Aquaman comic brought in light several additions to his backstory and introduced us into several new characters one of which was his half-brother Orm. Orm Curry was the product of Tom Curry (Aquaman’s father) marriage with a normal human after Atlanna’s death.

Orm grew up to be a troubled young boy trying to live within the big shadow his superhuman brother was casting and he felt that he will never have the same love from his father that his brother was receiving. Orm disappeared for years after becoming amnesiac and he resurfaced later as one of Aquaman’s greatest foes, Ocean Master.

Along with Ocean Master, we also get to meet several other of Aquaman’s archnemesis such as the Black Manta, the Fisherman, the Scavenger and a terrorist organization called O.G.R.E.

The end of silver age saw Aquaman leading once more the Justice League of America against the invasion of Martians and with a much smaller force since most of the core members were indisposed.

Modern Age Origin

The Legend of Aquaman - Aquaman Special #1 1989
Aquaman Special #1

In 1989 with the Aquaman Special #1 writer Robert Loren Fleming and artist Keith Giffen, retold the origin of Aquaman once more but keeping a lot of the Silver Age origin intact. This time we learn that Aquaman was originally born in Atlantis.

Son of Atlanna and the wizard Atlan, Aquaman has abandoned as a child to Mercy Reef (a place which is above sea level during low tide exposing the child to air which is fatal for Atlanteans) due to his blond hair which was believed to be a curse.

Fortunately, Aquaman survived and grew up feral among the sea creatures, hunting for his food until the day he met Arthur Curry who took him in as his own child. Aquaman still wondered in the sea for most of the day but Arthur Curry taught him how to speak and function as a human. With time they grew closer together and a bond was created between them that resembles that of a father and son.

One day Aquaman returns to find his “father” missing and presumed dead from creatures that were looking for him. Orin decides to travel far north where he meets and falls in love with Kako, a Inupiat girl. Orin also gets to know the hatred of Orm the Ocean Master, later revealed to be his half-brother by Atlan and an Inupiat woman and unfortunately, he gets driven away before he gets to know that Kako is pregnant with his child.

In this origin story, Aquaman finds Atlantis by chance and gets caught and imprisoned for three years from the dictatorship regime that rules over Poseidonis. We also learn that his famous outfit is what prisoners are forced to wear in Atlantis and that he kept it because he liked the irony.

He escapes after he learns about his mother’s death three years later and travels the world (seas and continents included) joins the Justice League of America and has numerous adventures until he returns to become King of Atlantis.

Soon after Arthur marries a woman named Mera, a queen from another dimension water kingdom, and together they start a family and have a son. Unfortunately, their son dies at his 2nd birthday and is buried at the Mercy Reef where Aquaman was abandoned as a child.

The New 52 Origin

Aquaman Vol.1 The Trench
Aquaman Vol. 1: The Trench

Once again during The New 52, we get to see a variation of Aquaman’s origin story. With Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado as the creative team behind it, the new 52 origin establishes Aquaman’s origins to be of that of a half-human son of Tom Curry and Atlanna.

In this story, Arthur Curry gives up the throne of Atlantis in order to fight full time with superheroes but finds it difficulties since the public sees him as a lesser superhero in front of the rest, with weaker powers.

It is also revealed to us that during the early years of Aquaman he also teamed up with a group called simple, “The Others” which consisted of seemingly unknown characters such as a jungle girl Ya'Wara a Russian known as Vostok-X, an ex-army veteran called Prisoner-of-War, The Operative, and an Iranian called Kahina the Seer.

DC Aquaman Rebirth Story

Aquaman Vol.1 The Drowning
Aquaman Vol. 1: The Drowning

During the company-wide rebranding known as DC Rebirth, Aquaman’s story focuses on his role as a King of Atlantis as well as a Diplomat with various external forces. In the stories, Aquaman also tries to establish good relationships with the surface and so he creates an embassy with Mera as the Atlantis Ambassador.

Final Thoughts

Aquaman is a character with a vast and very complex history. From the Golden age all the way to the DC Rebirth he seeks to protect his homeland as well as the surface and he is deeply conflicted and connected with both sides. He is both human and an Atlantean but this is not a disadvantage as it’s seen by both sides, it’s a gift as is the fact that he was abandon as a child and didn’t have to endure a life as an outcast or as a prisoner. He learned how to fight for what he want and he found the love of a family he never could have had in the prisons of Atlantis.

Aquaman is easily within our top favorite superheroes of all time and he was also voted as such from IGN and Wizard Magazine.

Aquaman Reading Guide & Collected Editions

TitleIssues Contained
Aquaman Archives #1Adventure Comics #260–280, 282; Showcase #30–31;
Showcase Presents: Aquaman, Vol. 1Aquaman #1–6; Adventure Comics #260–280, 282, 284; A Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #12; Showcase #30–33; Detective Comics #293–300; Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #55; World's Finest Comics #125–129
Showcase Presents: Aquaman, Vol. 2 Aquaman #7–23; World's Finest #130–133, 135, 137, 139; The Brave and the Bold #51
Showcase Presents: Aquaman, Vol. 3 Aquaman #24–39; The Brave and the Bold #73; Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #115

Aquaman: The Search for Mera
Aquaman #40–48
Aquaman: Death of a Prince Aquaman #57–63; Adventure Comics #435–437, 441–455
Aquaman: The Legend of AquamanAquaman Vol. 3, #1–5; Aquaman Special #1
Aquaman by Peter David Book One Aquaman Vol. 4, #0–8; Aquaman: Time and Tide #1–4
Aquaman by Peter David Book TwoAquaman Vol. 4, #9–20; Aquaman Annual #1
Aquaman: The Waterbearer Aquaman Vol. 6, #1–4; Aquaman Secret Files
Aquaman: Sub Diego Aquaman Vol. 6 #15–22
Aquaman: To Serve and Protect Aquaman Vol. 6 #23–31
Aquaman: Kingdom Lost Aquaman Vol. 6 #32–39
Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40–45
Aquaman: Time and Tide Aquaman: Time and Tide #1–4
Aquaman: The Atlantis Chronicles Deluxe Edition The Atlantis Chronicles #1–7
Aquaman: TempestTempest #1–4; Teen Titans Spotlight #10, #18

The New 52 Aquaman Collected Editions

TitleIssues Contained
The TrenchAquaman Vol. 7 #1–6
The OthersAquaman Vol. 7 #7–13
Throne of AtlantisAquaman Vol. 7 #0, 14–16; Justice League Vol. 2 #15–17
Death of a KingAquaman Vol. 7 #17–19, 21–25
Sea of StormsAquaman Vol. 7 #26–31, Aquaman Annual #2, Swamp Thing Vol. 5 #32
Maelstrom Aquaman Vol. 7 #32–40, stories from Secret Origins Vol. 3 #2, 5
ExiledAquaman Vol. 7 #41–47
Out of Darkness
Aquaman Vol. 7 #48–52, Aquaman: Rebirth #1

DC Rebirth Aquaman Collected Editions

TitleIssues Contained
The DrowningAquaman: Rebirth #1, vol. 8 #1–6
Black Manta RisingAquaman vol. 8 #7–15
Crown of AtlantisAquaman vol. 8 #16–24
UnderworldAquaman vol. 8 #25–30
The Crown Comes DownAquaman vol. 8 #31–33, Annual #1
KingslayerAquaman vol. 8 #34–40, Annual #2

Fables Comic Book Series Review

Whether or not you are a fan of Telltale games, it goes without a doubt that “The Wolf Among Us” has been one of Telltale’s greatest and most famous games. With the company officially shutting down and the release of a new season for the game seeming less and less possible, it’s probably a good time to start reading the comic that the game was inspired from, “Fables”.

Written by William "Bill" Willingham (most commonly known as Bill Willingham) creator of the “Elementals” comics, and illustrated by Mark Buckingham, “Fables” was published by DC Vertigo (a DC Comics imprint) in 2002 and concluded in 2015. The series is suggested for mature readers.

“Fables” first issue “Legends in Exile” was initially published in December of 2002, and has a total number of 150 issues. There is a good number of spin-off prequels and sequels to keep one entertained after finishing the main story.
A notable example of those spin-offs is ”Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall”, consisting of short stories as told by Snow White, which won the Best Anthology in 2007. One of those short stories called “A Frog’s Eye View” talks about the tragic story of Prince Ambrose and won the award for Best Short Story in 2007.

In general, its a multi-award-winning comic series with fourteen Eisner Awards among which, the “Best New Series” in 2003 and “Best Serialized Story” in the same year. Various awards have also been given to the artists behind the inking, painting, and lettering.

“Fables” also gave Bill Willingham the title for “Best Writer” in 2009. So in the unlikely event, you are still wondering why you should start reading it as soon as possible, let’s dive into the details of “Fables”. Here are five spoiler-free reasons to get you started.

1. A Whole New World

Fabletown

Growing up we have all been familiar with folklore stories and fairy tales, and it is not uncommon seeing characters of such tales introduced in more modern versions of themselves. In “Fables”, we find many of our favorite characters (and others less familiar) as citizens of a hidden community in the heart of New York called Fabletown.

As we are informed by the sheriff, (who is Bigby aka the Big Bad Wolf), it's been over 200 years since Fables had to leave the Homelands (the original lands from the fairytales ), become refugees and pass as humans. Everyone is now used to the new life, having jobs and living in NY apartments.

Located in upstate NY, is Fabletown's annex The Farm. This is the place where all those fables who can’t afford or can’t pass as humans are forced to stay. The Farm is protected by powerful spells to keep the Mundy (normal humans) from finding out about them. Fables can leave The Farm if they can afford to buy a magic spell, called Glamour, that allows them to change their appearance. The black market IS a thing in Fabletown, but the spells are often unreliable or straight up failures.

2. Plot

As mentioned the fables are refugees. Once upon a time they lived at Homelands, a thousand of separated kingdoms spread over a hundred magical worlds (Remembrance Day Issue #4), until a mysterious force, The Adversary, forced them out of their land. After a period of the Fables being outlaws, they made the decision to come to our world, for which they had no interest.

Now a secret society, the Fables, learn to live together under the noses of the Mundy. Life in Fabletown is quite and according to Bigby the crimes that occur between the Fables are almost to no importance. But when he learns about the murder of one it’s up to him and Snow White to find out the truth behind it.

After this detective sort of story, the plot continues to a rebellion to take back the Homelands, followed by public executions, management changes, a huge surprise (still spoiler free version) and the march of an entire army. Later on, we follow the story of a single-handed invasion to the Homelands, where we learn a great deal about the Adversary and get to see the use of some of the magical items our Fables own.

Fables Vol.7 Arabian Nights (and Days)

A war is not a war without diplomacy and what better way for our story to introduce us to its chapter of Arabian Fables (appearing on “Fables Vol. 7: Arabian Nights (and Days)”) that bring with them a powerful magic being, betrayals and their own “Fabletown”.

At the same storyline, Fabletown tries to find allies through a beanstalk while the Homelands conduct meetings, giving us more insight into their war plans and our heroes’ opponents. Following the stories of witch hunting and a Santa Claus special, we witness the rise of a noble king, the formation of his kingdom and the beginning of the long-awaited war. The odds seem to be working in favor of Fabletown but same as in every war in history there are no true winners. We witness an enchanted city, great disasters, noble sacrifices and the results of a son’s loyalty.

Not long after the war, there is a new threat for our dear Fables to face. This time an even greater force makes its appearance, threatening the community and forcing them once more into exile. Fabletown becomes now the center of extremely powerful and dark magic. Zombies march NY and an epic fight occur between teeth and sugar.

3. Characters

Characters Fable Comics

Throughout the series, we come to meet plenty of characters and follow many short stories about them. The plot thickens after Bigby’s and Snow White’s efforts to solve a murder case, unveiling individual’s stories post and after the war.

Along the way, we come to like, love or hate some of them as well as understand their motives, beliefs, and actions. Whether they are “bad” or “good”, there is always a reason for their actions, and this indicates good storytelling and character design.
Those actions usually have some consequence to the main story, even if at times they appear to only fill in space, so be alert while reading the issues if you are interested in partly unveiling the story on your own.

On the fun part, you come to realize that your childhood view of most of those characters is nothing like their “actual” personality. For example, Prince Charming has lost his title, and we learn that he has always been a pathological womanizer. Big Bad Wolf was the runt of the litter. Red Riding Hood likes to take vengeance on her sister, Beauty and the Beast tend to fight (A LOT) and many many MANY other fun facts about pretty much every character we meet along the way.

One of the best things about this series is the way those character’s relationships evolve. Yes, they are a community at first, but later on, they become allies (at least most of them) who genuinely care and protect each other in order to win the war. There is a lot of character development, and each change is based on the experiences our heroes undergo throughout the entire series. It’s important to take things with a pinch of salt as some Fables that you might dislike at first, will definitely change your opinion later on and vice versa.

Sympathizing with the characters comes very easily, and it doesn’t take long till you start rooting for their victory, grief with them or for them, and hope for their happily ever after.

4. Arcs

The story consists of 57 story arcs featuring different protagonists each time. They usually have 3-4 issues (at times they are single issues), and they are vital to the story as they follow individuals, giving us a universal oversight of the characters, the worlds and the place of everyone in this war.

Although we’d love to elaborate on each arc separately, we will only mention a few that we believe are the most notable, with as few spoilers as possible.

Legends in Exile

Fables #1 Legends in Exile

The first arc couldn’t be missing from our favorites since it’s the one that introduces us to this magical world. Following Bigby and Snow White, we become the detectives solving a horrible crime.

Read Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

March of the Wooden Soldiers – part 2

Fables Vol. 4 March of the Wooden Soldiers

Fabletown is under attack, and all of the Fables join this epic fight. Animals vs. wooden soldiers, two witches fighting one another, and an unexpected death.

Read Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers

Homelands

Fables Vol. 6 Homelands

One of THE best arcs and our first full introduction to the Homelands, this arc is full of epic sword fights and a single-handed invasion. We also get to learn more about the Adversary's true identity, it's powers and its plans.

Read Fables Vol.6: Homelands

The Ballad of Rodney and June - Fables Issue #46 - 47

The Ballad of Rodney and June Fables #46

This is the story of a wooden soldier who falls in love with a wooden doll treating his injuries. Together they make their wish come true, and pay their debt to the Adversary by spying Fabletown.

Read Fables #46 

Jiminy Christmas - Fables #56Jiminy Christmas Fables #56

This issue reveals two big secrets. Ambrose’s part in the war, and FINALLY how Santa goes to every house in one night!

Read Fables #56

The Good Prince

Fables Vol.10 The Good Prince

The time is coming. A decision has been made for a prince to become a king, for friends to say their farewells, for ghosts to become flesh and blood, and for those who didn’t know... to finally understand. This is one of the most epic arcs of the series.

Read Fables Vol.10: The Good Prince

War and Pieces

Fables Vol.11 War and Pieces

A three-front war from Fabletown and its allies with skyships, a fort and a special mission called site zero. It is now the Empire that is under attack.

Read Fables Vol.11: War and Pieces

Witches

Fables Vol.14 Witches

As the title hints, this is a chapter dedicated to witches. Good and bad. A meeting is held to vote for a new leader, a witch acts on her own trying to find information about the new enemy, an old man tries to become a leader once more, and an unexpected hero outsmarts a powerful witch.

Read Fables Vol.14: Witches

Rose Red

Fables Vol.15 Rose Red

This is not the last arc, but it is the last one we will mention for now. This is the tale of two beloved sisters who forcibly grew apart, and one came to hate the other. This is Rose Red’s story after losing her sister and we find out about Snow White’s past.

Read Fables Vol.15: Rose Red

5. Art

Great storytelling is accompanied by great visuals. Throughout the series, there are plenty of featured artists, with Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha working on most issues. The comic gains its unique style from them as well as the other artists who worked mostly on the spin-off stories in each arc. According to Mark Buckingham, the work was collaborative, and the artists working on different issues tried to keep the consistency in the details. In an interview, Buckingham mentions that he liked to explore and try new things, and so in his drawings he always tried to capture the world, the way the character we focus on each time would perceive it.

The artists' attention to detail is visible throughout the pages. The style is neat, appealing and fits the story as it changes from Fabletown and The Farm to the Homelands, or drifts into telling stories from the past, or reading them through a book. For example, we follow Boy Blue’s adventure through borderless pages and drawings that at times overlap, and later we are introduced to them as if they are drawings in some fairytale book with colorful, patterned borders that unveil parts of the current events.

There are a number of things in each page that will make you look twice. First of all, there are some small drawings on the top. If you look at them first, you might understand a few things about what is going to happen. As long of course as you had been reading carefully. Below is an example of that case.

Above Panel Art Fables

Each of these drawings is on a different page, and it compliments it very well.

Another way the pages differ from one another is the borders next to the panels which help to give depth to the main story panels. The example below is from Fables #81

Last but not least, the cover of each issue is a gem to this series. The style is epic, vibrant, intriguing and with plenty of subtle hints for the story that will follow.

All in all the story is a masterpiece of mystery, riddles, action, characters written with depth, funny lines, tragic stories, and fantastic artwork. It didn’t win its awards by luck, and it’s only natural it inspired a video game (a very successful one) and perhaps even a TV series (“Once Upon a Time”). So jump right up in this world of fairytales and watch the story unfold.

Start Reading Fables Today!

Best DC Comics 2018

There’s a lot of DC Comics entertainment coming at you nowadays. The DCEU (DC Extended Universe) keeps popping movies like Aquaman onto the big screen while the small screen comes to life with a variety of awesome shows on CW. Meanwhile, the DC Universe app is making classic comics and shows available to stream while also premiering original content like Titans.

Long story short? There’s never been a better time to dive into DC comics to get more of the heroes you love. But with so many comics out there, it’s tough to know which are worth collecting.

Don’t worry, though: we’ve hacked the Batcave and brought you the best DC Comics 2018!

Most Overlooked Batman Stories

Batman may just be the most popular comic character of all time. Fans never hesitate to rattle off their favorite Batman stores. This typically includes classics such as Dark Knight Returns, Year One, The Killing Joke, and so on.

And Batman isn’t hurting for quality modern stories, either. Scott Snyder’s authorship has taken the character to heights in recent years that yesterday’s fans could never have imagined.

However, there are many Batman stories that have fallen into the shadows and gotten overlooked. Wondering what they are? Don’t worry: we’re about to shine a Bat-signal on the best of these forgotten tales!

Batman: Death and the Maidens

Batman Death and the MaidensOftentimes, overlooked Batman tales come from overlooked writers. However, “Death and the Maidens” was penned by comics veteran and ace Batman writer Greg Rucka!

The premise is ghoulishly perfect: when Ra’s al-Ghul sees how close Batman is to destroy all of the remaining Lazarus pits, he strikes a deal. If Batman will leave one pit for his nemesis to use, then Ra’s will allow Batman to speak to his dead parents from beyond the grave.

It’s a cool and compelling start to the narrative. Along the way, we’ll find out more about Ra’s and be introduced to some new family members, including daughter Nyss. If you’ve ever wanted more info about one of Batman’s greatest nemeses, this story is a perfect place to start!
Buy Batman: Death and the Maidens

Batman: Venom

Batman Venom

Sometimes, it takes a great writer to make a silly premise really shine. And this is the case with Batman: Venom, a story which asks us, “what if Batman got hooked on drugs?”

This may sound like a bad public service announcement, but it actually turns into a really keen exploration of our favorite hero. What does one of the strongest characters do when he’s not strong enough? And how far is too far when it comes to saving lives?

These are the questions this great comic explores. And, of course, this is the introduction to the drug “venom,” which would soon be fueling Batman’s nemesis, Bane!
Buy Batman: Venom

Batman: Dead Reckoning

Batman Dead Reckoning

Part of our attraction to Batman and his world comes from the fact that everyone is so over-the-top. However, every now and then, it’s fun to see what happens when the “normal” world meets Batman’s world.

If that’s your cup of tea, then you’ll love Dead Reckoning. Written by comics legend Ed Brubaker, this comic seems at first like Hush or The Long Halloween: a complex mystery filled with familiar rogues.

However, Brubaker subverts expectations by focusing on how the lives of normal people are often destroyed by Batman and his villains. Not only is the story itself fantastic, but you’ll never look at another Batman comic the same way again!
Buy Batman: Dead Reckoning

Batman: The Cult

Batman The Cult

We often see Batman as someone who is fully in control of himself and the situation. But what if all that changed? This is exactly what Jim Starlin wanted to discover in Batman: The Cult.
The premise is both dark and simple: Batman is captured by a charismatic cult leader. He is tortured and brainwashed and eventually gives in to the brainwashing!

We get to see Batman pushed to his limits in terms of both strength and morality. And at its best, this comic forces us to question just how much Batman is also party to brainwashing in the name of justice when it comes to his young sidekicks.
Buy Batman: The Cult

Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham

Batman The Doom That Came to Gotham

Comics are great because we get to see our favorite characters brought to life by various writers. For instance, have you ever imagined what Batman would be like if he was written more like Hellboy?

In The Doom That Came to Gotham, we get a Batman tale that is written (though sadly not drawn) by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. It’s a bit of an Elseworlds story, as it is set in the 1920s and features a weird mixture of Gotham and the occult.

The final result is an utterly unforgettable work. However much you love Batman, you’ve never seen Gotham City like this!
Buy Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham

Batman: The Last Arkham

Batman The Last ArkhamEver think that Batman stories would be cooler if you dropped in a couple of teaspoons of Silence of the Lambs? That’s exactly what happens in Alan Grant’s The Last Arkham.

We get to see Batman getting close (perhaps too close) to killer Victor Zsasz in his attempt to figure out how the villain seemingly committed murder while being locked in Arkham. However, the way Batman chooses to do this is by getting himself committed to Arkham Asylum as an insane person!

This ratchets up the tension nicely, as Batman must not only unravel the mystery at hand but survive being thrown into the lions’ den of his worst nemeses. In a legacy filled with cool Arkham stories, this remains one of the absolute best!
Buy Batman: The Last Arkham

Batman: Heart of Hush

Batman Heart of Hush
Hush is arguably one of the best Batman tales of all-time, and certainly one of the prettiest. But have you scoped out its sequel?

Yes, Virginia, we said “sequel.” This is written by Batman legend Paul Dini and helps to further explore the character of Thomas Elliott. In this way, the sequel actually adds to our enjoyment of the original work.

We also get fun scenes with Catwoman and Zatanna, and there are even some great cameos by the Justice Society of America. Basically, this is a great, character-driven follow-up to an amazing comic that offers great insight into older events while providing a gripping new story. Go check it out today!
Buy Batman: Heart of Hush

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing wrong with returning to old favorites. But in our opinion, it’s worth diving into the deep end of the long box to explore everything about your favorite characters.

If you’d like to help your friends discover these awesome comics, be sure to share!