Art by: Khary Randolph, David Messina, Sonny Liew, Juan Ferreyra, Barnaby Bagenda...
Cover Price: $7.99
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Annuals Week is a weird one around the Weird Science Clubhouse. On one hand it gives us a bit of a rest, but on the other hand, the books are sometimes not the greatest. Well, DC has stepped up their game and given us something completely different...the New Talent Showcase! Sure, it may feel like you're dropping eight bills to read a bunch of final exams, but I love the idea. Like Kool & the Gang sang, it's fresh and exciting and that's a-ok to me. So, let's dive into it and find out the good, the bad and the ugly of it all...
Constantine in "The Road To Hell and All That"
Written By: Adam Smith
Art By: Siya Oum
For our jaunt into the world of John Constantine we have a little story about the lengths that John will go to try and not be such a piece of shit, but ultimately........ like every other time John tries to do something right, it's just not up to snuff and our pseudo hero comes off looking like an ass. You see, John has a fight with Zatanna about going to her father's funeral and to make things right, John goes and finds himself a way into hell so that he can bring her old man home. Too bad that John spends days upon days having a bender at a demon bar only to find out that Zatarra doesn't want to go back because he damned himself and damned his daughter as well. So yeah, in the end, John comes up empty and has to make sure that Zatanna doesn't end up the way her father did, all without having the benefit of telling her all he would do to try and make things right. This is a pretty standard kind of Constantine story, where we see John drink and come up with bad ideas, but it still has a bit of heart to it.......... as much as it can really for such a short story and thankfully the art was great.
Wonder Woman in "Blood and Glory"
Written By: Vita Ayala
Art By: Khary Randolph, John Rauch
Right off the bat this short really pushes my continuity buttons because while we're dealing with "The Lies" in Wonder Woman right now, this story seems to be all about Wonder Woman's time as the God of War as she takes down mythological beings, with the Flash showing up for some comedy relief. Now, if it wasn't bad enough having Wonder Woman being the God of War here........ which I could go with if I just told myself over and over again that it was just something from before Rebirth, it goes a step further to drive me crazy by having Wonder Woman call The Flash, Wally. Yeah, it's allover the place and I guess continuity doesn't matter, but what this issue really does is make me intrigued by Khary Randolph's style for these characters and also seeing how well Vita Ayala set up a story that I wouldn't mind continuing reading.
After a very intriguing opening showing that Clark wasn't the only visitor to Earth back in the day, we get what starts as a fun, little Lois has been Jokerized story that starts to feel bigger than I first expected. It's Pre-Flashpoint Superman complete with wife and son and he has a new power and the story seems to play around with the whole "three Jokers" thing a bit. Nothing is resolved, but it all ends with the Joker in Smallville and that's a pretty cool setup, if you ask me. I loved Juan Ferreyra's art as usual and while the story is just a beginning, we get enough for me to be very, very interested in seeing more.
While it's nice to see new faces and mix up the Annuals Week format a bit, this New Talent Showcase falls a little short of the mark. In general, the art is great, but the compressed nature of the stories doesn't let the writers (or readers) get comfortable with what's going on before they are spirited away to the next one. It's not a missed opportunity, but it certainly could have been a whole lot better.