Here's a list of the planned books for Free Comic Book Day 2022. I'm adding whatever info and/or PR I have available, and will any that arrives prior to May 7.

GOLD SPONSOR TITLES

THE BEST ARCHIE COMIC EVER! #0 (Archie Comics)

Story: Fred Van Lente, Thomas Pitilli, J. Torres, Micol Ostow, Stephanie Cooke, Evan Stanley | Art: Tim Seeley, Thomas Pitilli, Gretel Lusky, Lisa Sterle, Evan Stanley, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli | Cover: Jamal Igle | 32 pages | Teen |

A new dawn of Archie is upon us! Archie Andrews has forever been known as an everyman. He's your average teenager, and that's what makes him so well-liked. But it doesn't take a super-scientist, super-hero, or super-spy to see that Archie is anything BUT average! Welcome to the weird, wonderful world of Archie, where anything and everything can happen to a red-headed, freckle-faced teen in a sleepy little town. This title serves as a special sneak peek at what's to come from Archie Comics' new series of anthology titles as well as some best-of moments from recently released titles. Get in on the ground floor of a new era of Archie with this special issue zero title.

  • This is an excerpt for an upcoming one-shot, The Best Archie Comic Ever #1!, which arrives in June. This book has a Pureheart framing sequence that allows for excerpts from other Archie books, namely Archie: Love & Heartbreak Special, The Archie Comic Ever!, Archie's Holiday Magic Special and Chilling Adventures in Sorcery. The back is filled with full-page house ads for other recent books, like Bite-Sized Archie, Li'l Archie and Friends Special, The Fox: Family Values and Archie Meets Riverdale. It certainly serves its purpose as a sampler, but it's cohesive enough to actually read. Meanwhile, the house ad for The Best Archie Comic Ever! tells us it is an anthology of alternate universe Archie stories. The cover shows Archie as Pureheart, Jughead and Betty as a cavemen, Veronica as a Bond-like spy, and Pop's as a space ship or satellite. I'm looking forward to it.

FCBD 2022 PRIMOS #1 (AWA Studios)

  • This book, co-written by comedian Al Madrigal, focuses on a teenager of Mexican ancestry who is visited by the shade of a Mayan sorcerer who tells him he has inherited sorcerous abilities and a great responsibility for their use. Evidently the Mayans were part of a large collection of alien civilizations who had banded together to fight off a great evil, and we see in flashback how our hero's ancestor flew to the central planet (on a Mayan-looking spacecraft, which was cool), where he learned everything he needed to teach the Mayans how to fight the evil and to recruit every culture on Earth into the fight.  Of course, the Mayans didn't make it that far, and now Earth is in peril, and the weak link in the chain of planets holding back the evil.
  • Which manifests on Earth as big, muscly, Mayan-dressed, wrestler-looking bohunks. Our hero gets his sorcerer powers and fight theses hulks along with two others whose names, origins, etc., we don't know yet. (One's a hot Latina, of course, and the other is a big guy in a skull mask and robe.)
  • So it's a coming-of-age teen superhero story, which we've seen a million times, but with a fascinating, rarely used mythology, plus a larger story with a moral lesson. I could get into it, but the lead character has to grow out of his snarky self-pity phase pretty quickly for me to do so.

25 YEARS OF BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (BOOM! Studios)

  • BOOM!'s current Buffy title is called The Vampire Slayer, and doesn't star Buffy -- she's a helpless, superfluous hanger-on while Willow is the Slayer and all-around Betty Sue. This issue helps explain the new status quo, first by using a faux-yearbook approach, not only to refer to past events, but also to show who and what everybody is in this new reailty. The last 15 pages are a story (possibly lifted from The Vampire Slayer #1, which I haven't read yet). It's a cute tale of Buffy visiting a psychiatrist because she feels so useless in this new reality, although the psychiatrist is really a vampire. It turns out Willow suspected that, and Buffy's only job was to ascertain that the doctor was indeed a vampire, then call for Willow, who is lingering outside. Since Buffy took the opportunity to get some counseling first (and to clue in the readers), she failed at her one job.
  • Do I want to read this version of Buffy until the timeline is, inevitably, straightened out? I don't know, but I will confess to always having had a crush on Alyson Hannigan.

STRANGER THINGS/ RESIDENT ALIEN (Dark Horse Comics)

  • This is a throwaway story that basically makes two points: 1) The Byers family (and Eleven) have left Hawkins, Indiana, for real, and 2) Eleven is still without her powers. The Byers are passing through Denver on the way to California, and Jonathan, Will and Elle take in a horror double-feature at a drive-in. (Winona Ryder is back at the hotel and does not appear.) Will and Jonathan have a brief heart-to-heart, while Elle is freaked out by kids in Mind-Flayer costumes, which she tries to fight with her powers, which don't work.
  • This probably takes place before the current Stranger Things miniseries (Kamchatka), but isn't necessary in any sense. However, it is good to see some of the gang again, and the art is A-list. So no complaints.
  • The Resident Alien story features Harry and Asta visiting an old lady who's bothered by a ghost. They investigate.
  • I won't spoil the ending of this short story. But it's by the usual Resident Alien team, and like that series, is well executed and on the charming, heart-warming side of the ledger.
  • Here's more info.

DAV PILKEY'S DOG MAN & FRIENDS SUPER COMIC TEASER (Graphix/ Scholastic)

  • An excerpt shows two kids hypnotizing their principal into thinking he's Captain Underpants (and I think he probably is), who them escapes. They have to capture him, but that's as far as the excerpt goes. If you've seen Captain Underpants, then you know the art style, which isn't for me. But then, none of this is.
  • George & Harold: Celebrities at Large get the last laugh when an officious person tries to stop them from selling their homemade comics by calling the police. The police arrive and like the comics and buy some, and then tell their friends, so the kids are a success. The art is one step above stick figures.
  • The same art carries over into a Dog Man story, which serves to introduce Li'l Petey, who is the star of the last story, where the kitten organizes a club among small animals.
  • Very young kids -- the kind you have to read to -- might enjoy this.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES FCBD SPECIAL (IDW Publishing)

  • Current and past Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles scribes have teamed up for "The Armageddon Game," an upcoming Turtles event. A text piece between the two stories in this book explains how this came about. Former TMNT writer Tom Waltz (who wrote the first 100 issues of the Turtles ongoing and the text piece) will write the 12-issue TMNT: The Armageddon Game maxi-series, while current TMNT writer Sophie Campbell will continue with the ongoing, presumably crossing over with the Armageddon maxi.
  • The first story in the FCBD book is set in the "Armageddon" continuity, a dystopic, fascist world where authorities hunt the Turtles as part of an anti-mutant purge. As a neat treat for those who read the very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles off the stands (like your humble narrator), this 10-page story mirrors the very first 10-page story, almost word for word and almost panel for panel. In case you missed the point, the second story reprints that first 10-page story, by Eastman and Laird.
  • In the original story,  our heroes battled a street gang, but this time they're taking down some sort of heavily armed, anti-mutant police or military unit.  One assumes"The Armageddon Game and the concurrent TMNT ongoing will explore this new dystopia for the "Yikes" factor, while also featuring attempts to restore the true timeline. Because, you know, comics.
  • I don't know if I'll read/review the "Armageddon Game" crossover, as I always felt like the Turtles were aimed at a specific age group of which I have long since ceased to be a member. But this is well done, and I'll sample the first few issues to see if it speaks to me.

BONE ORCHARD MYTHOS PRELUDE (Image Comics)

  • The cover reads "The Bone Orchard Mythos: Prelude," which prompts the question, "What has Neil Gaiman wrought?" Ever since he used musical terms like "prelude" and "nocturne" in Sandman, everybody wants to get into the act. (With apologies to Jimmy Durante.) While "prologue" is the preferred term in literature, "prelude' CAN mean an event that presages another, more important event. It's just not often used that way.
  • Regardless of terminology, this is a really good read. It's by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, neither of whom need an introduction or any praise from me, and it's creepy as all get-out. It's a standalone short story about a writer who goes to a cabin in the woods to meet a deadline. In the process of numerous phone calls, we discover his marriage is in trouble and he has a mistress. I imagine the latter bit is established so that we're not too sympathetic to him. But meanwhile, his dog is acting oddly and creepy things are happening, which seem to center on an abandoned house in which the writer finds a weird mask and cult-like graffiti on the walls. All I can say about what happens next is: Brrrr.
  • According to essay at the end, this story presages a horror universe by Lemire and Sorrentino, beginning properly in June with something called The Passageway.

BLACKGUARD/DANCING (Kodansha Comics)

  • This flip book introduces us to two new manga series, and my main complaint is that they don't show us enough! Manga has a lot more pages to work with than U.S. comics, and are in no hurry to finish telling the story. These two excerpts, while having both good art and story, don't finish setting up the set-up, so I don't know if I want to go any further.
  • In Blackguard, we come to understand that the world (or at least Japan) is threatened by some sort of disease that turns people into shojo* (white, long-tailed ape creatures) when bitten by a shojo. Through discussion among a unit of police/military tasked with dealing with shojo, we come to learn that when the situation is too much for a given unit, they call in back-up -- which is a single person in a black robe. (Maybe the same person for every unit, I can't tell.) This person is probably the Blackguard of the title, but they don't say. And we don't know any more about him, since when the unit calls him in, he appears and the excerpt is over.
  • * I thought Shojo (or Shoujo) in Japan meant manga aimed at adult women, but I guess a word can have two meanings.
  • On the flip side we get a high school boy whose friends want him to join them in signing up for the dancing class to meet girls, but he is afraid to because of some traumatic event from middle school (we see a few panels in flashback, but not enough to know what the trauma is). He sees a girl dancing by herself in front of a glass wall and is enamored, and shockingly, it turns out she's in his next class. The excerpt stops there.
  • OK, I can make a few educated guesses: 1) Dancing Girl will be in the dancing class, 2) our hero will join the class like his friends want him to in order to meet Dancing Girl, 3) he will have to get over his trauma to win the fair maiden.
  • Those are all just guesses.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: SPIDER-MAN/VENOM #1 (Marvel Comics)

Story: Zeb Wells, Al Ewing, & Ram V | Art: John Romita Jr. & Bryan Hitch | Covers: John Romita Jr., Jonboy Meyers

Spider-Man is gearing up for a brand-new era just in time for the character’s 60th anniversary! Fans who pick up FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: SPIDER-MAN/VENOM #1 will see the very beginning of the major storylines writer Zeb Wells and legendary artist John Romita Jr. have planned for their run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, including Tombstone’s first steps towards becoming Spidey’s most terrifying villain.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: SPIDER-MAN/VENOM #1 will also give fans a chance to check out the thought-provoking work Al Ewing, Ram V, and Bryan Hitch are doing on VENOM! The groundbreaking changes this mastermind trio has in store for the symbiote mythos starts here!

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: SPIDER/VENOM #1 will be available exclusively through Diamond Comics. Check with your local comic shop regarding availability.

Stay tuned for more FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2022 announcements and pick up these extraordinary one-shots when they arrive on May 7! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

  • We've got three previews here. The last are certainly excerpts, but the first story has a beginning, middle and end (plus a tease), so it may be unique to this book. You'd better get one!
  • "Lost in the Mail": Spidey comes across a mailbox that inexplicably comes alive, grows Venom-like teeth and tries to eat a civiian. He beats it, whereupon it turns into an ordinary mailbox, only for a postal employee to arrive and want him arrested for destroying federal property. Ha ha! The mailbox possession could be by a symbiote, given its appearance, or created by the Goblin Queen, who performed similar stunts in "Inferno," including a hungry mailbox. (Coincidentally, "Inferno" has recently been re-released in omnibus form.) But you don't have to guess! The teaser shows Chasm (symbiote-joined Ben Reilly) joining in an alliance with the Goblin Queen. "To be continued in Dark Web!"
  • "Seven Seals" features Eddie Brock's son, the current Venom, recruiting Normie Osborn with a symbiote (white and red, I don't know which that is, and it wasn't named), to help him rescue his father. Eddie, meanwhile, is shown wandering around in a void with one eye gouged out, wanting to get back to Earth to watch over his son. A voice in the void taunts him and shows him visions, one of his son, and another of a whole bunch of differently colored and styled symbiotes in some sort of gathering or confrontation. "To be continued in Venom!"
  • "All-Out Avengers" is three whole pages from All-Out Avengers #1 that drops us directly into the action, where Captain America is racing through an exploding building, while talking to Iron Man, who is fighting something that looks a lot like Man-Bat, while She-Hulk and Thor are fighting Ulik the Troll. There's talk of a "Revenant Stone" and voiceover that is almost certainly Loki. "The action continues in All-Out Avengers #1 ... coming in September!"
  • I don't have much to say, review-wise. The art is all A-list Marvel throughout, so no complaints.
  • the Spider-Man story is funny and the Avengers story features the Big Three plus a Hulk, which I like. The plots sound like I'd enjoy reading them.
  • As to the third story, regular readers know I despise Venom with the heat of a thousand, thousand suns, so I had to force myself to read it just to summarize it here.
  • Two out of three ain't bad!

DOCTOR WHO (Titan Comics)

  • I don't know why this story has a green label; it's Doctor Who, and adults like Doctor Who, and a "kids" designation might turn them off. Fortunately, nobody knows what the color-coding on the ratings system means.
  • This story stars "the Fugitive Doctor," who I guess precedes the others. She works for "Division" and (with the help of some 1962 Earth kids) captures two dangerous fugitives. A year later, what we call the first Doctor appears, and he muses that he has a good feeling about Earth but doesn't know why. (But we do.) That's probably some important Who trivia right there.

KAIJU NO. 8 (VIZ Media)

  • A student in the Japanese Defense Force training school has an older friend who has turned into the kind of kaiju the JDF battles. But unlike other kaiju, the friend can change back and forth and isn't a threat, so the protagonist protects his secret. It's a tough secret to keep, because the friend tends to show his kaiju face when he gets upset. Nevertheless, the friend is going to take the JDF exam anyway, because it's what he trained his whole life to do. Our protagonist thinks this is a bad idea. On the day of the exam, they are harassed about where they parked by an obnoxious exam-taker who happens to be an attractive girl.
  • That's all we get! I'm guessing obnoxious girl is meant to become the love interest for the same-aged student who is our protagonist, and will learn to be a less obnoxious person in the process. There will be some tension with kaiju-in-disguise guy, and some of the story will focus on his search for a cure. After that, i have no idea what this is about.
  • The art is from one of the manga schools I enjoy.

 

SILVER SPONSOR TITLES

TRESE: LAST SEEN AFTER MIDNIGHT (ABLAZE)

  • Trese is a supernatural detective/problem-solver in the Philippines. I've read a story here or there about her before (probably on FCBD), but this is the first time I've ever really seen her in action. It's got some imaginative spooky stuff, which is probably based on Filipino folklore, but I don't really know. It's decent, but not nearly as scary as the two books I've already mentioned.

BUNNY MASK TALES (AfterShock Comics)

  • I thought, "Now I'll know what this weird thing is." I read the book, but I still don't.
  • Which is not to disparage the book. It's well done. Bunny Mask appears to be some sort of supernatural seeker-of-vengeance type -- she looks for "sickness" -- who sorta drives her victims to madness and speaks in a sort of vile poetry that doesn't reveal much of her nature or intentions. But woe betide you if you see her (most people can't).
  • Genuinely creepy. The art is serviceable, but the coloring is more notable, in that Bunny Mask sequences have a distinct color palette, as if taking place in a world slightly out of synch.

THE THREE STOOGES FCBD CELEBRATION (American Mythology)

  • I freely admit I’m no Stooges fan. I don’t dislike them, but I only find them amusing in small doses. And in a comic book? I don’t see how physical slapstick can work in print, without sound effects, mugging, etc. That being said, there are three complete stories here, which is a plus.
  • “Slapstick Special” is an 8-pager with the Stooges in virtual reality, allowing them to appear in parodies of other properties. The “Tron” parody was OK – I liked Larry referring to it as “me and a couple of other fellas were having a nice bike ride” – but the highlight is definitely Shemp showing up as Morpheus, offering Curly the red and blue pills. Art is clear, clean and OK.
  • “Robonic Stooges” is a 10-pager where the boys are robots with extendible limbs a la Coil-Man of the Impossibles, Marvel’s Machine Man or Bender of Futurama. Which had the effect of making them less interesting, as what’s the point of robot slapstick? Art is clear, clean and OK.
  • “The Three Stooges: Thru the Ages” is a six-pager with the idiots trying to impress a movie-studio owner, Mr. Bigwig. Somehow they appear in various movie vignettes, from Westerns to Cleopatra to big musicals to beach movies to etc. A lot is packed in here, and the art extremely cluttered, which I might have appreciated more when my eyes were younger. As it is, this is my least favorite of the three stories.

KULT CABLE FT. JACK BLACK (Behemoth Comics)

  • My LCS did not receive this one.

HOLLOW PREVIEW (BOOM! Studios)

  • This is an excerpt, but it gives us enough to figure out what the GN is about.
  • It’s Isabel “Izzy” Crane’s first day at school in Sleepy Hollow. Everybody is wildly into the town’s Headless Horseman legend, with decorations and costumes and pranks. It’s only Oct. 3, and “Holloween” has already begun. We go through a tedious day with Crane, as high school tends to be.
  • I didn’t pick up on this immediately, but Izzy (Isabel) is a girl, who dresses like a boy, looks like a boy, and is attracted to girls. That’s probably made clear at the beginning of the GN, which is not included here.
  • Anyway, we later meet Victoria Van Tassel, a sort of celebrity at the school due to her last name, which she hates. Crane is immediately attracted to her, but when she introduces herself, Van Tassel is outraged that she’s a Crane and storms off in a huff. “Sorry, but being seen with a ‘Crane’ is the last thing I need!”
  • That’s about as far as we get, but the contours of the story seem obvious. Crane will pursue Van Tassel, who will have nothing to do with her, until a climactic event that will make Van Tassel see Crane in a more favorable light. Whatever the climax is, it will certainly involve the Headless Horseman, or at least a pretender.
  • The art is the sort of generic, vaguely cartoony, vaguely manga-inspired style that most of these green-label books seem to prefer. Maybe it’s generic in all kids/YA graphic novels.

AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER/ LEGEND OF KORRA (Dark Horse Comics)

  • A chibi version of Aang wakes up alone, as Sokka and Toph have left. They leave a humorous number of notes telling him not to leave the house. He does, and runs into two of his friends (also chibis), Toph and Katara, who are alarmed that he is out of the house and are obviously keeping something secret from him. I have no idea who any of these people are, or what their relationships are, but my Comic Book Sense says "surprise party for Aang."
  • OK, that’s all we get, as the story will continue in July’s Avatar the Last Airbender: Aang’s Unfreezing Day GN. I’m not into Avatar, and I’m not into chibis, but the art was clean and even with my utter ignorance of the characters and storyline, sufficient to put a smile on my face.
  • This is followed by a 10-page Legend of Korra story, another IP I’m unfamiliar with. “Beach Wars” features a bunch of characters of varying ages and ethnicities on a beach, although they seem to all be friends, couples, or relatives. The kids are playing pranks, but instead of stopping them, the two “grandmothers” recall their own youth playing pranks, and join in. Since everybody seems to have some sort of super-powers, this promises to be epic. But that’s the end.
  • I loved the art, which is another manga style I don’t see too often. I was able to vaguely follow who was friends with whom, and who was dating whom, and so forth. For something I know nothing about, I was mildly entertained.
  • Here's more info.

RED SONJA MARVEL FEATURE STORIES (Dynamite Entertainment)

  • This book reprints Marvel Feature #4 (1976), from the second iteration of Marvel Feature, which starred Red Sonja in her first solo series. I read the original Marvel stories when they came out, of course, but enjoyed re-reading this one for two reasons. One, obviously, is nostalgia. It was fun to feel the joy and wonder of a 14-year-old again, if only for a second or two. The second reason is educational. This story hearkens from a time when sword & sorcery was still new in comics, and I realized reading it how fresh it seemed, throwing into focus how the genre soon assumed a hide-bound formula that eventually sucked all the fun out. As to art, I noticed far more today the "fan service" of Sonja's depiction than I did at 14. I guess then I took it as a given that women would be drawn that way, whereas today I realize the negative effects it can have on young girls' self-esteem, how it perpetuates sexist attitudes, how it drives women and girls away from comics and how unrealistic a portrayal it really is.        

TEX: IN THE LAND OF SEMINOLES (Epicenter Comics)

  • This is an excerpt from a European graphic novel, where "Tex" is on the run from some other cowboys in south Florida who think he's a traitor for some reason. I assume this is during the Wild West, given the European fixation on that period, and the attempts at Authentic Western Gibberish (tm). Tex & Co. do run into some Seminoles, as the title suggests.
  • The art is of the detailed Spanish school Americans got familiar with from Warren magazines, although it's straight pen-and-ink with no washes. It's really nice.
  • I can't say the same for the story, in which Tex refuses to kill the men chasing him, tends to shoot guns out of hands Kid Colt-style and even risks his life against crocodiles to save the life of one of the men who are trying to kill him. His pursuers then all decide that Tex is just too cool to kill. What a man!  And what a set of ridiculous Western tropes. I'm just too old to accept a lot of that any more.
  • But Tex is helped, oddly, by the sometimes poor translation, which made me laugh here and there. For example, smack out of the gate a character says of a campfire: "The bonfire is still on. He must have fueled it no later than five minutes ago." It's a good thing he didn't turn that "bonfire" off, or stop "fueling" it, or there'd be no story ...

DISNEY MASTERS DONALD DUCK & CO. SPECIAL (Fantagraphics Books)

  • The only Ducks I read are the Carl Barks Library, so I guess I'm spoiled: The art on the two Donald Duck stories in this issue seemed really bad to me, and ruined what were typical Barksian stories. I also didn't care for the short Big Bad Wolf story, because I don't care about the Big Bad Wolf and/or the Three Little Pigs even the least littlest bit.
  • But I did enjoy the long Super Goof story. Not only was the art  in the detailed, retro style of yore, but it reminded me of visiting my Kentucky cousins as a lad, one of whom collected Super Goof.

THE OVERSTREET GUIDE TO COLLECTING COMICS (Gemstone Publishing)

  • My LCS did not receive this one.

REALM OF THE BLUE MIST (THE REMA CHRONICLES) (Graphix/ Scholastic)

  • This is an excerpt from the graphic novel of the same name, so don’t expect a full story.
  • The excerpt begins with a girl, Tabby, falling through a portal into what I assume is the Realm of the Blue Mists, which is not on Earth. (Tabby doesn't learn she isn't on Earth for most of this excerpt.) The actual graphic novel must start somewhat earlier, because there’s mention of Tabby searching for her father, a tree that emits a mist, ghosts and, weirdly, Yggdrasil. Also Tabby apparently follows a handsome dude into said portal.
  • So she and Handsome Dude, whom we later learn is named Phillip, come to in what seems like a wigwam or yurt or something. Phillip is whispering and asks her to do the same. Voices from outside call him “Keeper” and “Keeper Phillip,” and apparently Tabby is in danger. He tells her she has to stay there while he reports to “the council” but he will return and get her home.
  • True to his word, he reappears some hours later and whisks her away from wherever they were. Turns out he can fly, heal people, and other amazing things, although that tires him out. Tabby is, of course, smitten.
  • But that’s as far we get! I have no idea who or what the “Rema” of the title is. But the art is a pleasant, manga-derived, cartoony style that serves the story well. I’m not the target audience, but this seems well done.

FCBD 2022 INCAL UNIVERSE (Humanoids)

  • I thought I'd read The Incal at least once in my many years, but it may be that I've only read parts of it. Because the 8-page summary at the beginning of the book mentions eventsI don't remember. I think maybe I only read "Part 1" or something. So let me put The Incal on my to-read list.
  • Anyway, after the summary are previews of two books that will be the first in a proposed "Incal Universe," both arriving in 2023. One is called The Psychoverse, and the other is Dying Star. I haven't the courage to attempt to summarize either. But if you like The Incal, you'll like this.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG FCBD 2022 SPECIAL (IDW Publishing)

  • What do you know, a full story in 12 pages, teaming Sonic, Knuckles and Tails against Dr. Eggman. There are lots of references to current storylines in the ongoing Sonic title, but I had no trouble following the action. It’s Sonic, not Shakespeare, and good for what it is.
  • And just in case I did have trouble following the action, the next eight pages feature evil Dr. Starline summarizing the recent Sonic storylines for henchrobots Surge and Kit, who promptly forget, because of their programming. Anyway, this is all a prelude, says the villain, for what’s going to happen in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog #50.

CLEMENTINE #1 (Image Comics/ Skybound)

  • This fat book has excerpts from Clementine Book One (coming in June), MachineBoy (September) and Sea Serpent's Heir (October). It is generous with the page count.
  • Clementine is set in the Walking Dead universe, and features a girl with an artificial lower leg in a great hurry to get some place despite the danger from walkers. She comes across a town that has survived, and gets a better artificial leg and some supplies. Then she sets out immediately because, as noted, she's in a hurry. That's all the plot we get, but the (great many) pages afforded to Clementine gives us time to know and like her. The art is sketchy and not really to my taste, but it's serviceable.
  • MachineBoy is about a robot boy in Japan who is chipper and good-hearted, but often rejected by those he tries to make friends with because, you know, he's a robot. He wants to get tickets to his favorite band, but a grandmotherly type woman he calls Grandma makes him practice his fighting skills first. "If you skip (training) once, you can skip it twice." So he does the training, then he tries to get tickets, but stops to help a lot of people along the way (who are not appreciative, because robot), which delays him and the tickets are sold out. Grandma comes to the rescue. It's a cute story, MachineBoy is likeable and the art is of a manga variety I find attractive.
  • Sea Serpent's Heir is the shortest story at 12 pages. We meet a teenage girl in a vaguely D&D-type world who yearns to leave her island and see the world. She does, in fact, go off in a skiff, gets injured, use magic to heal herself, but then ends up back on her island. There we are told about the religious order that basically runs the world, and meet some of the knights of that order who kill the world's monsters. They are not nice people, and evidently they and the church are widely disliked.  Interesting premise, decent art.

EQUILIBRIUM (Lev Gleason Publications/ Comichouse)

  • Comic House is synonymous with the revived Lev Gleason brand, and merges the Captain Canuck characters with the '40s Lev Gleason superhero line. The Comic House books are apparently not distributed by Diamond, so I know little about them.
  • The story begins in a future dystopia where the Claw of O.G. Daredevil fame is the dictator of the world, along with his partner, a much-feared woman named Appolyn, who is a new character to me. As you'd expect, some rebels discover time travel and go back to our present to prevent the Claw from killing all the superheroes and conquering the world. The superheroes are in a team called Equilibrium (ergo the book's name), and include O.G. Daredevil, Red Coat (who dresses like Captain Canuck), Captain Battle, Silver Streak (who is now female and uses the "Streak Force") and several others I don't recognize and aren't referenced by name.
  • I don't know why Claw now has two heads, or why the team is called Equilibrium, or who half the characters are. But it's typical Marvel/DC-style superhero fare, which is a comfortable place to be. The art, however, is genuinely poor.

NOTTINGHAM FCBD SPECIAL (Mad Cave Studios)

  • This is set in the Robin Hood mythos, but it centers on the Sheriff of Nottingham. He has a name -- Everard Blackthorne -- which I think is something I haven't seen before. He's a sort of anti-hero; he acts as the sheriff and does terrible things when he must, but he shows hidden sympathies to the little people. References are made to "Hood" and "Alan Dale" and "Will Scarlet," but while Guy of Gisborne clearly hates them, it isn't spelled out how Blackthorne views them. That's really all I can tell you; I need to read more to understand the premise better, and whether or not I like it.
  • The art is of the scritchy-scratchy style that I don't like when it's inappropriate to the subject matter, but here it works quite well.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: AVENGERS/X-MEN #1 (Marvel Comics)

Story: Kieron Gillen, Gerry Duggan & Danny Lore | Art: Dustin Weaver, Matteo Lolli & Karen Darboe | Covers: Valerio Schiti, Peach Momoko

The next Marvel Comics event will arrive this summer! Written by Kieron Gillen with art by Valerio Schiti, JUDGMENT DAY will see the Avengers try desperately to avert a war between the Eternals and the X-Men. Fans will get their first glimpse at the conflict in FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: AVENGERS/X-MEN with a prelude story by Gillen and artist Dustin Weaver.

Also coming this summer will be the X-Men’s second annual HELLFIRE GALA! Last year, mutantkind terraformed Mars and announced a new team of X-Men… what do they have in store for the Marvel Universe this time around? Find out in a lead-in story by X-MEN scribe Gerry Duggan and artist Matteo Lolli!

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: AVENGERS/X-MEN #1 will also mark the exciting debut of a new hero that Marvel has big plans for this year! Meet BLOODLINE in an introduction story by writer Danny Lore and artist Karen Darboe!

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: AVENGERS/X-MEN #1 will be available through Penguin Random House and Diamond Comics. Check with your local comic shop regarding availability.

Pick up this extraordinary FREE COMIC BOOK DAY one-shot when it arrives on May 7! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

  • Three shorts stories in this issue, setting up the "Judgment Day" crossover, which is also called A.X.E. (Avengers/X-Men/Eternals).
  • The first story isn't really a story so much as a set of allusions to events or elements that will come into play. (It is narrated by "The Machine that is Earth" who states flatly this he is giving us a prologue.) We get a glimpse of Avengers 1,000,000 BC, which looks to finally have a pay-off. The Avengers and Eternals fight a deviant, which gives us a reminder that the Eternals are now programmed to exterminate excess deviation (more like the movie, as opposed to the original Kirby concept). Then we see the Eternals discuss Krakoa, and whether the mutants' ability to overcome death is an excessive deviation. Yeah, we can see where this is going.
  • A second story introduces the daughter of Blade, about as superfluous and boring a character as I can imagine. Which won't stop Marvel from trying to make her a thing.
  • The third story is narrated by [SPOILER] who means to set the Avengers against the X-Men, which we see will involve a lot of death if successful. Then [SPOILER] kidnaps Mary Jane Watson, who has become a spokesman for Krakoa Pharma. Yeah, we can see where this going, too.
  • So no real surprises, but a competent set-up. All art is of typical Marvel quality, which is to say good to great.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2022: MARVEL’S VOICES #1 (Marvel Comics)

Written by Nadia Shammas, Evan Narcisse, Jeffrey Veregge, John Ridley, Alyssa Wong, Luciano Vecchio| Art: Luciano Vecchio, Jahnoy Lindsay, Jeffrey Veregge, Olivier Coipel, Whilce Portacio | Cover: Carlos Gomez & Jesus Aburtov | Variant (1:1000): Peach Momoko

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2022: MARVEL'S VOICES #1 will be a unique introduction to the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed Marvel's Voices series, which spotlights creators and characters across Marvel’s diverse and ever-evolving universe. The book will include seven Marvel’s Voices stories, spotlighting creators and characters from different cultures, communities and identities.

In addition to a brand-new story starring Moon Girl by writer Nadia Shammas and artist Luciano Vecchio, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY: MARVEL’S VOICES #1 will reprint the following stories from past Marvel’s Voices one-shots:

  • Writer Evan Narcisse and artist Jahnoy Lindsay’s tale showcasing the heroic journey of Brother Voodoo from MARVEL’S VOICES (2020) #1
  • Acclaimed artist Jeffrey Veregge’s showcase of Marvel’s greatest indigenous heroes from MARVEL’S INDIGENOUS VOICES (2020) #1
  • Oscar winning writer John Ridley and artist Olivier Coipel’s action packed Miles Morales adventure from MARVEL’S VOICES: LEGACY (2021) #1
  • Writer Alyssa Wong and superstar artist Whilce Portacio’s Wave and Bishop team-up story from MARVEL’S VOICES: IDENTITY (2021) #1
  • Artist Luciano Vecchio’s rousing exploration of the history of LGBTQ+ representation in Marvel Comics from MARVEL’S VOICES: PRIDE (2021) #1
  • Writer/artist Leo Romero’s celebration of Brazilian culture with the X-Men’s Shark-Girl from MARVEL’S VOICES: COMUNIDADES (2021) #1 by Leo Romero

Marvel’s Voices spotlights the work, contributions and lived experiences of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators and fans throughout Marvel Comics, painting the full picture of Marvel’s diverse and ever-evolving universe. Through interviews, stories and other branches, Marvel’s Voices showcases how much Marvel truly reflects the world outside all of our windows. Pick up this exciting new chapter when FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2022: MARVEL’S VOICES #1 arrives on May 7.

  • My LCS did not receive this one.

JONNA AND THE UNPOSSIBLE MONSTERS (Oni Press)

  • I know that Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is a series, which I sadly have not read. This book features a complete story of Jonna’s sister, Rainbow, searching for her after the arrival of the monsters in whatever this pre-industrial society is.
  • We briefly see some time before the monsters arrive, where it’s established that Jonna can leap/bounce from tree trunk to tree trunk in what amounts to a super-power. But that’s all we learn before a (the first?) monster arrives and Rainbow gets knocked out. The story resumes after Rainbow has awakened to find Jonna missing, the world overrun with monsters and society collapsed to hunter-gatherer level. She has been searching for Jonna for apparently some time. So my best guess is that this story precedes the Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters series, and that Rainbow finds her sister there.
  • It's a pretty book. It’s drawn by Chris Samnee, whose Daredevil and Fire Power have drawn so much praise. The one kaiju we see is interesting, in that he has virtually no rendering, whereas everything else does. The story is charming, if a bit sad, with Rainbow’s long search. It ends on a hopeful note, which hopefully picks up in the Jonna series.

FUZZY BASEBALL TRIPLE PLAY (Papercutz)

  • This book provides excerpts from the Fuzzy Baseball line of graphic novels by John Steven Gurney, in funny animals play baseball. As you might expect, there are a a lot of baseball/animal puns (Jackie Rabbitson, Hammy Sosa, Sandy Kofox, etc.). The art is attractive and the stories are upbeat – well the parts I saw were. None of the excerpts are a complete story.

NEVERLANDERS (Penguin Young Readers) 

  • This is a twist on Peter Pan, where one of the Lost Boys (presumably) is now about 15, goes to the real world via Tinkerbell and finds some teenage orphans to take back. These orphans are living on their own in an abandoned trailer and are already street-hardened with their own "society" of sorts, so they are already hardier than the original Lost Boys (although the majority are girls). This is a much grittier take on Peter Pan, where it's mentioned that "the Pan has fallen," no other Lost Boys are seen and Captain Hook now has internal-combustion-engine flying ships that fire a lot more than cannonball.
  • The art is clear and on the cartoon side, which is where I had a little cognitive dissonance. This is drawn in a way that will attract kids, but written in a way to attract Teen/Teen+. As a result, I don't think it will satisfy either camp.
  • But the cover indicates where this is going, which is that our new Lost Boys/Girls will suit up as faux superheroes with various weapons and disguises as a pseudo-superhero team. Maybe that will induce more older readers to overlook the art.

MAX MEOW: CAT ON THE STREET COMIC SPECTACULAR (Random House Children's Books)

  • Random House publishes a line of Max Meow graphic novels, all for young kids. Max Meow and Mindy become the superheroes Cat Crusader and Science Kitty when they say their respective secret words (Meowza and Mindy). The cartoon art is clear and uncluttered. Young children might enjoy these simple stories, puzzles and games.

BEST OF 2000AD ISSUE #0 (Rebellion Publishing)

This BRAND-NEW Issue Zero primer for the highly anticipated quarterly graphic novels series features A-listers Al Ewing (The Immortal Hulk, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead) and V.V. Glass (The Last Witch, Assassin’s Creed) teaming up for a brand-new and exclusive Judge Dredd adventure!

Plus, Nemesis The Warlock by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill (Marshall Law), Superbean by John Wagner (History of Violence) and Mick McMahon (Boba Fett), and a Future Shock at the ends of the earth from Batman Inc. and Die! Die! Die artist Chris Burnham!

And if that wasn’t enough, this issue features a stunning cover by Star Wars concept artist Ian McQue!

  • There's a lot going on here!
  • "Judge Dredd: Hard Talk" is a 6-page Judge Dredd story with really terrific art (it looks painted, but it's probably done on a computer). The story centers on a TV show opinion panelist who rants that Dredd is too soft on crime, which Dredd observes on a Jumbotron while arresting someone for littering. You can write your own ending, but predictable irony is a feature in Dredd stories.
  • "The Terror Tube" is a 7-page Nemesis story by the usual Nemesis crew, writer Pat Mills and artist Kevin O'Neill. Many comics fans love O'Neill's bizarre, angular, hyper-detailed art style, but I have never acquired the taste. If the art didn't literally hurt my eyes (straining to figure out what I'm looking at) I might really enjoy this series, which features a mysterious freedom fighter battling yet another fascist dystopia.
  • "Superbean" is a six-page piece of fluff featuring "Ken Clarkie" as a food-processing plant who is secretly Superbean, a six-foot, anthropomorphic legume. Once again the art (by QIRQX IV) is not to my taste, and this Superman parody is straightforward enough that most of us present could have written it better.
  • "Future Shocks" is a 4-pager with really attractive art about a flat-earth fanatic leading an expedition into the Arctic to prove his belief system. Turns out the Earth ISN'T round, but the reveal of what it is had me chuckling out loud at a myriad of creation-myth references.
  • "Mr. Meat Bingo's Zombie Umbrella" is a one-pager whose payoff didn't seem worth getting to, even though it didn't take long. Maybe there are other Meat Bingo stories out there, and I didn't get the whole point?
  • "D.R. & Quinch's Incredibly Excruciating Agony Page" is a one-pager starring two characters whose humor is so British that I usually end up saying "I don't get it." That applies here.
  • Here's a preview.

CARRIERS/ BEORN/ DRAGON WHISPERER (Red 5 Comics)

  • The Carriers are four pigeons, each with a battle specialty. They fight other birds, apparently, who are bad. They'e got a TPB on the way. The art's got nice detail, but it is just birds, so I wasn't into it.
  • "Dragon Whisperer" is an excerpt from a miniseries beginning in June titled Dragon Whisperer: The Search for Obsidian." Obsidian is a baby dragon, stolen from its parents (who are killed) and sold at auction. There's not enough here to really get a feel for the story, but the art would pass muster at Disney.
  • Lastly is Beorn, a kid viking off to earn a saga. The art is of the Smurf variety and the story vaguely poignant. Beorn doesn't do a whole lot, but then again, he is a kid.
  • Kids might enjoy this. I don't know, as I'm not a kid.

THE ELECTRIC BLACK CHILDREN OF CAIN #0 (Scout Comics)

  • This is actually something of a cliche, but that's not necessarily a complaint.
  • This issue follows Erebus, who clearly isn't human, but disguises himself as one when he walks the streets, and dresses like an evil Pilgrim. He is a member of/citizen of The Electric Black, which seems to be both a place and an organization. The Black is populated by wizards, lychanthropes and other things that go bump in the night. But they are, for all their murderous ways, the good guys. Not only are they fighting a fanatical, facist organization that runs the world, but they're the underdogs.
  • Their enemy is The White Lodge, a dominionist, fanatical religious organization that mercilessly hunts down Electric Black critters and kills them. I should also mention that all the members of the White Lodge we see are, in fact, white, and their dialogue would fit easily in any White Supremacist rant. They don't quite come out and say that, so I'm guessing it's meant to be a metaphor.
  • We've seen set-ups like this -- the good guys are the devils in the dark, the bad guys are the handsome but corrupt types who run the world -- in a jillion stories, going back to at least Batman's debut in 1939. Warren magazines tended to do this sort of story a lot, and I think Vampirella, Angel and Nocturnals still do. Those are the ones that leap to mind, anyway.
  • But just because a story's been done before doesn't make it bad. What counts is the execution, and here it's pretty good. I like the art, especially how shadows, dark colors and grit are emphasized in Electric Black scenes, and glaring, industrial white and yellows are used in the White Lodge scenes.
  • The good guys are easy to like and the bad guys are easy to hate. And these days, we could always use more, not less, stories that show us who the true bad guys really are.

THE WINCHESTER MYSTERY HOUSE: 100 YEAR CURSE (Source Point Press)

  • The description says this is a standalone story in support of the ongoing Winchester House Mystery title at Source Point. It depicts a young couple taking the Winchester House tour, and since the young lady is psychically sensitive, she starts seeing ghosts and eventually contacts the house itself and the ghost of Sarah Winchester. The ghosts enlist her help to battle some nefarious supernatural doings. I don't know how any of this connects with the ongoing, since I've never read it, but this is a complete story, which I like.
  • The art, however ... is not good.

IT WON'T ALWAYS BE LIKE THIS: A GRAPHIC MEMOIR (Ten Speed Press)

  • This is an excerpt of a graphic novel, a memoir by writer/artist Malaka Gharib. It's from the beginning of the GN, where a young Malaka moves from California to Egypt to meet her new stepmother, where they bond over TV, shopping, eating and so forth. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen to explain why this story merits its own graphic novel, but the excerpt never got there (if there's a there to get to). The art looked like something an elementary school kid with no talent would draw, which for some reason isn't a deal-breaker for Random House. It is for me.

10 TON TALES (Ten Ton Press)

  • My LCS did not receive this one.

BLOODBORNE (Titan Comics)

  • This book is based on a video game, and has had four volumes published already. This book opens with several pages giving brief descriptions of those four volumes, then we get a few out-of-context pages from Volume 5. It's only a taste, and not enough information to even summarize. "A boy has a bad day in a Dickensian-England-with-monsters kind of world" is about all I can say with authority.

THE GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA (TOKYOPOP)

  • An excerpt from a graphic novel shows the earthquake and early results that ended in the Fukushima disaster. My favorite part is the brief explanations of Japanese folklore (like Namazu, the giant catfish that causes earthquakes). Otherwise it's pretty grim -- our lead characters watch a town engulfed by a tsunami -- and I'm not really sure why this has a green label when it should probably be blue (Teen/Teen+). The art is a Disney/manga mix.

STREET FIGHTER MASTERS: BLANKA #1 (UDON):

  • I don't know anything about the Street Fighters series of video games, and after "reading" this book, I still don't.
  • I put "reading" in quotes because there's no dialogue. We're told the story takes place in the Amazon rainforest on page 1, and those are the last words we get. Which is fine; I was able to follow the story easily, so the creators know their onions.
  • And that story is about a huge, musclebound, green guy living in the Amazon, with huge red hair (on head, chest, shins and forearms). Flashbacks tell us he was a boy separated from his folks in a plane crash, but we don't see how he becomes what he is. (His parents are presumably dead.) He runs across a lost girl in the Amazon, and using what I assume are his action moves in the video game, reunites her with her father. Then loggers come to cut down the forest, who are guarded a huge, female lumberjack, whom I assume is another playable character in the video game. The green guy and the big girl fight, using what I assume are their attack modes in the game. The fight ends inconclusively (you don't want to upset a player who favors one or the other) and then there's an ironic, open-ended finale.
  • Nice art, and a nice enough diversion, but I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time reading material of this nature.

THE YEAR OF VALIANT 2022 FCBD SPECIAL (Valiant Entertainment)

Arriving on May 7, THE YEAR OF VALIANT 2022 FCBD SPECIAL will present new content featuring exciting original stories, insightful behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming comics, in-depth interviews with Valiant creators, and exclusive teasers for fan-favorite characters. The compelling tales starring flagship characters will reward longtime Valiant fans while also serving as easily accessible jumping-on points for new readers.

THE YEAR OF VALIANT 2022 FCBD SPECIAL includes:

An all-new BLOODSHOT story from Ringo Award-nominated writer Deniz Camp and acclaimed artist Jon Davis-Hunt. It’s a brutal brawl between living weapons as the nanite-infused supersoldier stands alone against a terrifying foe in a small town. Only Bloodshot can stop the twisted creation from unleashing more bloodshed and devastation on the neglected part of the country.

The fan-favorite duo of ARCHER & ARMSTRONG go on a brand-new adventure! Written by the Eisner-nominated Steve Foxe and featuring art by rising star Marcio Fiorito, the young and optimistic Archer drags the care-free, hard-drinking and immortal Armstrong on a quest that leads them right into the base of an eldritch cult.

The award-winning creative team of Jeff Parker and Mike Norton present an action-packed ride starring NINJAK. In this thrilling original tale, a pair of tech-savvy hitmen set their sights on the superspy in an effort to collect the enormous bounty that is on his head.

Plus: Exclusive first looks at the future of Valiant’s iconic characters, including SHADOWMAN and X-O MANOWAR!

  • This book contains a short but complete Bloodshot story, excerpts from Armorclads, Archer & Armstrong and Ninjak, plus an interview with Cullen Bunn about the upcoming Book of Shadows, the latest Shadowman title.
  • I have found many Bloodshot tales to have good-to-great art and poignant stories, and this is no exception. Sometimes Bloodshot is my favorite Valiant character, and sometimes it's Ninjak. Today is a Bloodshot day.
  • The Armorclads story had serviceable art but is just an unpleasant premise. Both the A&A and Ninjak excerpts were typical of their respective books, which I generally enjoy, so they served their purpose to whet the appetite despite their brevity. The Bunn interview is an in-house puff piece, which meant little to me, but might excite Shadowman fans.

BARBARIC #1 (Vault Comics)

  • I suspect this is a reprint of Barbaric #1, as it features the origin of Owen the Barbarian, who is cursed to carry a blood-thirsty axe and do good deeds. Owen is a Conan-type guy who lives in a Hyborian-type world.
  • If you think Owen is a dumb name for a barbarian,  that's part of the joke, as Owen complains that if his named rhymed with "guts" or "blood" or "death," more songs would be written about him. Unfortunately, not much rhymes with Owen that isn't boring.
  • He has been magically bonded by witches to a sentient, talking axe that craves blood, which provides two forms of humor. One is that nobody can hear the axe but Owen, so everyone thinks he's drunk or crazy. And also, blood acts on the axe like alcohol, so the axe is drunk by the end of every fight.
  • This isn't a comedy, though. Barbaric is often funny, but the subtext is serious enough. Owen isn't by nature a good guy, and despises being forced to be a good guy who must give help to everyone who asks for it. And he must kill people who deserve it; the axe makes the call, which gets Owen into a lot of hot water against his will. So the underlying storyline is Owen searching for a way to break the curse, get revenge on the witches and go back to a life of fighting, whoring and drinking. Like nature intended, I suppose. I don't expect that to happen any time soon, because Owen's story is pretty entertaining as is.
  • The art, too, is far better than I expected. It's appropriately gritty and A-level quality, but there's also another influence I can't quite put my finger on. Artist Nathan Gooden worked in movies, so maybe he picked up something there.

POKEMON JOURNEYS/ POKEMON ADVENTURES: XY (VIZ Media)

  • I never had any interest in Pokemon, which just seems dumb to me, and this book didn't change my mind. It also uses the big-eyed/big-mouthed manga style that says "for kids only" to me.

ENEMIES (Yen Press)

  • Another excerpt, where a girl -- middle school, I think -- ends up in a club with a boy she had a mild falling-out with earlier. It took a long time (devoted to characterization of the lead) to get to that point, which is where the excerpt ends. We learned a lot about our protagonist, who is in need of a Life Lesson about judging people and will probably get one. The art is eh.

DC COMICS ON FCBD

  • (Editor's Note: DC isn't included in FCBD since they aren't distributed by Diamond. However, they have leased the FCBD logo from Diamond and use it to participate anyway.)

Already one of the biggest days of the year for any comic book fan, DC is making Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) 2022 one that you can’t miss by kicking off its summer event, DARK CRISIS, with a special Dark Crisis #0 prelude only available on May 7, 2022. DC will also be offering fans a special preview of the upcoming Young Adult graphic novel, Galaxy: The Prettiest Star. Middle Grade readers can enjoy a special preview of DC League of Super-Pets: The Great Mxy-Up, which picks up right where the DC League of Super-Pets animated film leaves off. Both Original Graphic Novels will be available wherever books are sold on May 17 and all three FCBD Special Editions will be available at participating comic book stores on Saturday, May 7, 2022 for free!

DARK CRISIS #0 FCBD SPECIAL EDITION

Story: Joshua Williamson, more | Art: Jim Cheung, Daniel Sampere, more | Cover: Daniel Sampere | 32 pages | FREE

Dark Crisis from Joshua Williamson (The Flash) and Daniel Sampere (Injustice) has been in the making for 30 years and officially kicks off on FCBD with Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition.

The Justice League is comics’ greatest super-team — made up of DC Comics’ legendary Super Heroes, they have saved the world countless times. No crisis was too much for them to handle ... until now! The Justice League has been defeated by the Great Darkness and its army of DC’s most dangerous enemies — now a new generation of Super Heroes must rise to protect not only the Multiverse … but also the legacy of the DCU! Includes a preview and art from Dark Crisis #1 coming in June!

In the original Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, the homeworld of Pariah, along with the infinite Multiverse, was obliterated. Now this mad sole survivor has found a way to bring his homeworld and the entire infinite Multiverse back from the dead: Earth-0 must die. An ancient destructive force called the Great Darkness, first appearing in Swamp Thing by Alan Moore and Stan Woch, is the weapon Pariah will wield as he paves a path to rebirth and vengeance. In DC's next big event, DARK CRISIS, the heroes left behind must come together to combat this great evil and save the lost Justice League, but what happens when not everyone agrees to join the fight?

"Dark Crisis" is a monthly event, written by Joshua Williamson, featuring art by Daniel Sampere, colors by Alejandro Sánchez and lettering by Tom Napolitano, that will kick off with Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition, available on Free Comic Book Day. A special one-shot, Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1, will be available at local comics shops on May 31.

“'Dark Crisis' is an epic DCU event about legacy,” said writer Joshua Williamson. “It will have all the giant, fun cosmic battles and Multiversal set pieces, but it’s not about reboots, retcons or rewriting time and space. At its core it’s about the characters and the relationships that we’ve seen built over DC’s great history. Dark Crisis spins out of Justice League #75's 'DEATH OF THE JUSTICE LEAGUE' and connects all the story threads across the DCU since Infinite Frontier #0 in a major way. Unifying the new legacy of the DCU as we honor the classic. You can't miss it!"

Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition is a prelude to DC’s biggest story of 2022 and will be available to everyone for free on Free Comic Book Day.

“To me, Dark Crisis is a big celebration for all DC fans,” said artist Daniel Sampere. “It’s a huge event full of epic heart, an event that embraces the past while looking to the future. Joshua and I are the biggest DC fans, and this is our love letter to these characters and this universe.”

The one-shot Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1 will be available on May 31 and features some of the biggest artists and writers in comics — including Joshua Williamson, Dan Jurgens, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Clayton Henry, Emanuela Lupacchino, Stephanie Phillips, and more — showcasing what a world without the Justice League looks like to set the stage for the Dark Crisis event.

Dark Crisis is not only an epic battle of good versus evil with epic surprises in store, but is about showing how heroes relate to each other when faced with the impossible.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: ROAD TO DARK CRISIS #1

Story: Joshua Williamson, Jeremy Adams, Brandon Thomas, Chuck Brown, Stephanie Phillips, Phillip Kennedy Johnson | Art: Clayton Henry, Dan Jurgens, Fico Ossio, Emanuela Lupacchino, Leila Del Duca, more | Cover: Daniel Sampere | Variant cover ($6.99): Chris Burnham | 1:25 variant cover ($6.99): RAF Sarmento | $5.99 | 48 pages | One-shot

The Justice League has tragically fallen in battle, and now we see the aftermath. How does the world react to the Justice League being gone? Which heroes rise up … and which villains try to take advantage? And what dark forces are lying in wait to attack? An all-star roster of DC talent showcases a world without a Justice League and sets the stage for next month’s Dark Crisis event!

Fans can pick up Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition on May 7, 2022, for free at their local comic book shop. Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1 will be available on May 31, 2022. Dark Crisis #1 (of 7) will kick off in June 2022 with a new issue each month.

FOR TEENS

  • This book leads with a new story by Joshua Williamson and Jim Cheung, a solid Flash vs. Clayface story affirming what we already know from Justice League #75, that the League is dead (and may have been for a while). It also affirms what we all expect, that a new League will arise from proteges, sidekicks, Teen Titans and legacy characters until the originals somehow return. Which is also suggested. So I give a thumbs up to Williamson for not pretending that the "Death of the Justice League" is anything but temporary. (And Cheung is fine as always).
  • Then we get two excerpts, one from Dark Crisis #1 and one titled "History of the DC Multiverse," which I expect is actually from Road to Dark Crisis #1. Once again my takeaway is that nobody's pretending anything we won't believe, in this case basically acknowledging that every Crisis tends to change the status quo, but nothing is permanent -- the DC multiverse is fluid, and will likely change again.
  • There are some plot elements introduced for the actual Dark Crisis, and lots of foreboding. Art and story throughout are high-quality DC house (Jim Lee) style.

GALAXY: THE PRETTIEST STAR FCBD SPECIAL EDITION

Every day in Taylor Barzelay’s life might seem perfect — but every day is torture. Taylor is actually the Galaxy Crowned, an alien princess from the planet Cyandii, and one of the few survivors of an intergalactic war. For six long, painful years, Taylor has accepted her duty to remain in hiding as a boy on Earth. But that all changes when Taylor meets Metropolis girl Katherine “call me Kat” Silverberg, whose confidence is electrifying. Suddenly, Taylor no longer wants to hide, even if exposing her true identity could attract her greatest enemies.

Written by Jadzia Axelrod (Wonderful Women of the World) with art by Jess Taylor (Of Her Own Design), this Free Comic Book Day special edition features an excerpt from the upcoming original graphic novel Galaxy: The Prettiest Star.

  • An excerpt from an upcoming graphic novel about a teenage alien princess who has been hiding on Earth disguised as a teenage boy. (There are bad people hunting her family.) A new schoolmate, who I assume will be the lesbian love interest, convinces her to "come out" and be her true self, although that's pretty dangerous. It is, of course, a metaphor about being trans, as the dialogue hammers home. That's as far as we get.

FOR MIDDLE GRADE

DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS FCBD SPECIAL EDITION 2022 #1

Fans can get an early preview of the upcoming original graphic novel DC League of Super-Pets: The Great Mxy-Up before it releases on May 17. Picking up immediately where the highly anticipated animated film DC League of Super-Pets leaves off, DC League of Super-Pets: The Great Mxy-Up is written by Heath Corson (Justice League Action) with art by Bobby Timony (Monster Elementary).

There is nothing the Super-Pets love more than spending time with their heroes, but are finding it difficult to be taken seriously as members of the team when their humans just don’t understand them. But when Mr. Mxyzptlk (a magical imp from the fifth dimension) arrives in Metropolis with a plan to wreak a little chaos and destruction, the Justice League are caught in his trap! The Super-Pets will need to come up with a plan to prevent Mxy’s mischief from destroying the city — while somehow trying to rescue their human counterparts. The only problem is, they may need to recruit their greatest enemy in order to defeat him.

This is an excerpt of DC League of Super-Pets: The Great Mxy-Up graphic novel, coming in July. It introduces us to the Super-Pets, their disappointment that their masters don't value them or understand them as much as they'd like, and then comes a monster that everyone, two-legged and more, respond to. That's as far as we get.

  • The art is good cartoon -- sort of what you'd expect in an Incredibles movie. For the record, the pets and their masters are Krypto (Superman, of course); Ace the Bat-Hound (Batman); PB the Wonder Pig (Wonder Woman); Chip (Jessica Cruz Green Lantern); Keith, the Rodent Master of Moisture (looks like gerbil, Aquaman); Mark, the Fuzzy Flambe (also looks like a gerbil, Cyborg); and Mert the tortoise (Flash). They all have various super-powers. Needless to say, Chip is based on Ch'p but has electricity powers instead of a power ring, and is a regular Earth squirrel and not an anthropomorphic alien squirrel.
  • There's also a brief excerpt from the Primer graphic novel, which came out a couple of years ago.

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I'm bumping this up since tomorrow (May 7) is FCBD. More info has been added as well.

I'm back from my run (I don't go every year). I picked up four. The past two times I participated in FCBD I went to my secondary shop because it's closer. (Next Wednesday I'll likely pick through the remains.) The shop is located in an isolated strip mall and the parking lot was packed when I got there shortly after 10:00A. I got the last space and I suspect there was a constant flow in and out the whole time I was there. The checkout line stretched all the way to the back of the store and curved around, but it was moving. Most people (including me) were making other purchases, too. (I know this because they kept asking for people who only picking up free ones to come to the front to move the line along, and no one did.) This shop was also having a sale (25% off the tpb I bought, and I don't know what else). when I left there were two cars waiting for parking spaces. Anyway, I picked up...

Dark Crisis Special Edition (DC)

Judgement Day (Marvel)

Doctor Who (Titan)

Red Sonja (Dynamite)

I'll post about these over on "What Comics Have You Read Today?"

Avengers/X-Men
Dark Crisis
Doctor Who
Spidey and His Amazing Friends

I always try to get all the books, so as to sample what's out there, even if I'm not at first blush all that interested. I got everything EXCEPT:

  • Kult Cable ft. Jack Black
  • The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Comics
  • Marvel Voices #1
  • 10 Ton Tales

I'll probably never see these, because FCBD books are strangely difficult to order online.

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