‘Batman: Earth One’ Vol. 3 ‘reframes a number of classic elements in an entertaining way’

Tom Bondurant reviews the latest in DC’s line of Earth One graphic novels, the long-awaited third part of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Batman trilogy.

This week I read a lot of Batman, which sounds stereotypical, but it’s kind of unavoidable. The new issue of Detective came out this week, along with the third issue of Batman: The Detective; and both featured Bruce Wayne battling overmuscled man-mountains with handlebar mustaches and crazy glints in their eyes. There was also issue #3 of The Batman/Scooby-Doo Mysteries, plus a decent amount of the Darknight Detective in issue #2 of Justice League: Last Ride. And I’m still in the middle of a New 52 Batman re-read, getting into the “Zero Year” epic.

All that said, I’m going to talk about Batman: Earth One Volume Three, written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Gary Frank, inked by Jon Sibal and colored by Brad Anderson.

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‘Fables’ returns from DC Black Label for a crossover + a new 12-issue run

Bigby Wolf will meet Batman in a six-issue series this September as ‘Fables’ returns for a 12-issue run next May.

Fables, the long-running Vertigo series by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and many others, will make its return later this year and in 2022 with several new projects.

First, September brings Batman vs. Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham, a six-issue miniseries featuring Fables’ resident detective, Bigby Wolf, teaming up with Batman for a case in Gotham. It will be released under DC’s Black Label imprint. Willingham will work with Brain Level, Jay Leisten, and Lee Loughridge on the project.

“I’ve wanted to do this since the very first year of Fables,” Willingham said. “Why? Because Batman is a detective, and Bigby is a detective, and I love a well-crafted story crossing over characters from two different fictional worlds. It’s automatically a fish-out-of-water story for at least one of the main characters, and that sort of story always works. Plus, I knew from the very beginning of Fables that my fictional universe would allow for many ways to get Bigby Wolf into the DCU and Gotham City. Even though those cosmic story structures wouldn’t be introduced in the Fables books for a year or more, they were baked in from the very beginning.”

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What Are You Reading? | What the heck is ‘Spy Hunter & Paper Boy’?

See what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately.

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Smash Pages crew has been checking off their “to read” list lately. This week we look at the newest iteration of Green Lantern, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman, and one beginning and one ending from Larry Hama.

Let us know what you read this week in the comments or on social media.

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Mail Call | Green Lantern Tai Pham returns in a new graphic novel next year

A round-up of recent announcements from DC, Marvel, IDW, Image, Diamond and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Tai Pham, the Green Lantern that debuted in the pages of the Green Lantern: Legacy graphic novel, will return in 2022 in Green Lantern: Alliance.

Pham’s adventures will once again be told by Minh Lê and artist Andie Tong, as he once again comes face-to-face with his nemesis, Xander Griffin, but this time he’ll have some help from a new Kid Flash.

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International artists interpret the Dark Knight in ‘Batman: The World’ hardcover

The new hardcover collection will arrive in stores just in time for this year’s Batman Day.

DC Comics will release Batman: The World, a hardcover collection of stories featuring the Caped Crusader by creators from around the world, in September.

The release comes just in time for Batman Day on Sept. 18, and will feature stories about Batman set in locations across Europe, Asia and South America. Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo will kick the anthology off with a story set in Gotham where Batman “realizes that the call for justice knows no borders,” setting up the rest of the stories in the book.

“Batman has grown into a true pop culture icon, known the world over,” said DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee. “Batman: The World is DC’s way of showing fans everywhere that Batman is more than a character; Batman is a phenomenon that transcends languages and borders.”

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DC announces Batman, Suicide Squad and more for Free Comic Book Day 2021

A ‘Fear State’ tie-in, a King Shark story and two previews aimed at younger readers highlight DC’s line-up this year.

DC Comics has announced their plans for this year’s Free Comic Book Day, revealing the four titles they plan to have available on Aug. 14.

The event is run by Diamond Comics Distributors, which DC stopped using last year as they migrated to Lunar Distribution. While Diamond won’t provide DC’s comics to retailers, they did say DC was more than welcome to participate.

Here are the four DC titles you can look for in August, which include a preview of the Batman event “Fear State” and a tie-in to the second Suicide Squad film:

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DC announces its next Batman event ‘Fear State’

Future State and Infinite Frontier collide in an event that will feature Scarecrow, Jace Fox, Catwoman and more.

DC Comics has announced its next Batman-themed event, Fear State, which will run through several of the Bat titles starting in August.

In its press release, DC said Fear State will be “the launching point for several new series and plotlines across all Batman-family titles, setting a new status quo for 2022.” And one of the tie-in books for the event will star Jace Fox, a.k.a. the Next Batman from DC’s Future State event, as John Ridley returns to write the character following The Next Batman: Second Son.

Here’s a look at all the tie-ins arriving in August:

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Re-reading ‘World’s Finest’ #258, the comic that got Jason Aaron into world-building

Tom Bondurant dives into a classic issue of DC’s ‘Dollar Comics’ line that helped inspire the architect of Marvel’s ‘Heroes Reborn’ event.

As part of our round-robin Heroes Reborn [2021] coverage, I learned that writer Jason Aaron’s first superhero comic book was August-September 1979’s World’s Finest Comics #258. Back then it was part of DC’s “Dollar Comics” line, boasting 68 pages’ and five features’ worth of colorful characters. In his newsletter, Aaron says

I fell in love with these books, in part because they didn’t just give me one story, but instead gave me a taste of an entire world of characters and adventures and history that was out there waiting for me. The sort of gargantuan super-world that would come to consume a large portion of the rest of my life. […] In other words, I think I’ve been primed from the beginning to want to build my own world of superheroes. And HEROES REBORN is maybe as close as I’ll ever come to doing exactly that.

It will surprise none of you to learn that I also read World’s Finest Comics regularly as a kid, especially during the Dollar Comics phase. (It lasted over five years and almost 40 issues, from April-May 1977’s #244 through August 1982’s #282; and a Green Arrow/Black Canary backup continued for a couple of issues past that.) Although the Dollar Comics line was largely an experiment in marketing and economics of scale, World’s Finest was pretty impressive among the company’s late-1970s output.

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Sunday Comics | Rainbow Batman, Conan without Conan and more

Check out free comics on the web and social media by Ben Templesmith, Kerry Callen, Casey Nowak and more.

Here’s a round up of some of the best comics we’ve seen online recently. If we missed something, let us know in the comments below.

MAD Magazine contributor Kerry Callen shares his latest Super Antics comic strip, where he mines some of DC’s Silver Age stories for fun. As you’ll see at the top of this post, it features the infamous Rainbow Batman costume:

Don’t forget to check out Callen on Twitter and visit his Teepublic shop for some cool T-shirt designs.

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Mail Call | The Avengers brace for ‘World War She-Hulk’

Plus: More news and announcements from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, AfterShock, Top Cow, Skybound and more!

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

Marvel is dusting off a classic event title for an upcoming Avengers storyline — “World War She-Hulk,” which references the popular “World War Hulk” story from 2007.

The new storyline will find She-Hulk declared a global menace, so the Winter Guard decides to bring her in.

“When the Russian Winter Guard invade Avengers Mountain to arrest She-Hulk, it sets off a global espionage adventure that takes us from the notorious assassin training academy of the Red Room to an undersea kingdom on the verge of violent revolution,” said writer Jason Aaron. “Along the way, traitors will fall, regimes will crumble and the dark evolution of Jennifer Walters will reach its bloody red crescendo, all as we build toward the epic events of Avengers #50.”

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DC puts the spotlight on Batman’s associates this summer

The Signal and the Huntress are the first to take center stage in ‘Batman Secret Files.’

In addition to Batman: Urban Legends, Future State: Gotham and various back-up features in the regular Batman books, DC has announced Batman Secret Files, “a new monthly series of one-shots featuring Batman’s partners in crimefighting.” Just in case you weren’t getting enough Batman in your life.

The first one will feature The Signal in a story by Tony Patrick with art by Christian Duce, while the second will focus on the Huntress, by the inspired team of Mariko Tamaki and David Lapham.

Here are the details on each from DC’s press release:

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‘Future State: Gotham’ #1 will include a Katsuhiro Otomo Batman story

Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver and Giannis Milonogiannis send the Red Hood after Gotham’s vigilantes.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we’ve received from comics publishers in our mailboxes recently that we haven’t already covered. Hit the links for more information.

DC Comics has released a preview of the upcoming Future State: Gotham #1, which spins out of the Future State event from earlier this year. The comic will feature the ongoing story of the Red Hood hunting down masked vigilantes for The Magistrate — which brings him into conflict with The Next Batman.

The comic is co-written by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver, with black-and-white art by Giannis Milonogiannis. Along with the preview came the news that DC will reprint “The Third Mask,” a Batman story written and drawn by Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of the manga and anime AKIRA. It originally appeared in a 1996 issue of Batman: Black & White.

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