Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

 Something Bold, Something New

Assistant Editor: Liz Erickson 
Edited By: Bobbie Chase and Sara Miller 
Cover Price: $7.99 
On Sale Date: December 12, 2018


It’s that time of year again, I suppose, for DC Comics’ New Talent Showcase to come out! Though I could swear last year’s was in November. Also, this is really the third time they’ve done it. But that makes it a hardcore tradition, as far as I’m concerned! See what you think of the New Class in my review of New Talent Showcase 2018 #1, right here!

Explain It!

“Batman: Leap of Faith” 
Written By: Phillip Kennedy Johnson 
Art By: Amancay Nahuelpan 
Colors By: Trish Mulvihill 
Lettered By: Gabriela Downie 

There was a Batman Black & White story, I think called “The Man Who Falls,” wherein Batman caption-talks about how he enjoys the thrill of free fall. This story is more about Batman’s faith: in gravity, in his mission, in his success. When an anti-Batman political candidate’s private jet is hijacked by Victor Zsasz, Batman must do a daring Air Force One-style rescue of the politician and her son, while restraining Zsasz. In the process, he must remove his mask, and trust that the woman whose life he’s saving will look away. Pretty neat story, this one, doubtlessly buoyed by the very dynamic and straightforward storytelling. In my class, this would get an A-. 

“Constantine: Neon Demons” 
Written By: Sanya Anwar 
Art By: Priscilla Petraites 
Colors By: John Rauch 
Lettered By: Emma Kubert 
A rash of suicides and a throbbing paranormal alarm—or is that a hangover?—brings John Constantine to Hong Kong to figure it all out. Finding that each suicide is preceded by a cellular phone call, Constantine traces the signal to the ghost of a homeless woman, who lay dead in the street for three days while callous cellphone users stepped over her—and now she will have her revenge! Wait, I mean now John Constantine is going to do a ritual that burns her ghostly form and sends it back to Spookyville. Possibly the best moment is at the end, when John saves a girl from the human traffickers that hired him. I normally never comment on this, but one thing I didn’t like was the caption lettering for Constantine. It doesn’t fit the character, I think, and was more complicated to read than necessary. 

“Catwoman: Pedigree” 
Written By: Joey Esposito 
Art By: Dominike “DOMO” Stanton 
Colors By: Marissa Louise 
Lettered By: Christy Sawyer 
This is a sort of silly story, taking place before Batman #50 (where we all wish we could go), involving Catwoman and Damian rescuing cats from the Penguin’s cat-fighting operation. Well, Damian really wants his cat back, but he’s willing to set the others free if it’s convenient. This issue really expands on that Prelude to the Wedding issue—the one with Damian, I think it was the second one—and gives us some more of Catwoman and Damian’s tenuous relationship. In the end, we see that Damian Wayne donated $3 million to an animal rescue shelter, so that’s nice. 

“John Stewart: Where There’s a Will…” 
Written By: Robert Jeffrey II 
Art By: Max Raynor 
Colors By: John Kalisz 
Lettered By: Ryan Christy 
On the planet Talie, where everyone’s yellow and got pointy ears, Sinestro Corps member Karu-Sil has taken hold of the government and society, promoting that old “order through fear” bag that actually did work for a time, according to Green Lantern Rebirth. She’s also setting up Fear Engines around the planet, with plans to expand, and since they operate on the horror of trapped people, that’s a Green Lantern no-go. John Stewart heads down, and Karu-Sil tries to knock him off his game, but then he recalls the strength of his revolutionary mother spurs to people of Talie to fight back. With them and a bunch of construct rebels, he takes her down and a new day dawns in this fairly boilerplate story with nice artwork. 

“Zatanna: Sleight of Hand” 
Written By: Ryan Cady 
Art By: Isaac Goodhart 
Colors By: Cris Peter 
Lettered By: Gabriela Downie 
A small town in Italy requires a regular human sacrifice in order to stay prosperous. Seems the last time this happened, Zatana tricked the necessary demons and haints with some sleight of hand. He’s dead now, so his daughter Zatanna is sent in his stead, to the chagrin of the townsfolk. She’s got some tricks up her sleeve, however…uh, or her fishnet gloves at least, and with a couple of sneaky spells is able to banish the boogums that require the sacrifice in the first place. And one of ‘em looks like Cubone! A fairly thin story with some very dynamic art, particularly when Zatanna puts on her magic show. 

“Wonder Woman: The Secret of Greek Fire” 
Written By: Magdalene Visaggio 
Art By: Aneke 
Colors By: Beth Sotelo 
Lettered By: Jay Castro 
Some Apokoliptan technology blasted into Beartooth Mountain in Montana, causing some messy earthquakes and negating Wonder Woman’s powers. She’s still Wonder Woman, though, and fends off some gun-toting goons with her bracelets. Under their attack was a Calgary Flames fan, who gets a pep talk from Diana that allows her to make it most of the way up Beartooth Mountain, only to be carried the rest of the way by Wondy. She finds the technology from Apokolips and breaks it, restoring her powers and her ability to rescue survivors and punish those who would capitalize on tragedy, as well as visit the Calgary Flames fan in her bed for moral support. A pretty bland, inoffensive story that ended this book on a flat note. 

For the first time since first covering this annual showcase—and I think it’s been three years, with the first one coming in the form of a seasonal special—I am very impressed by what I see. This is the second time, I believe, that it’s primarily new talent on the writing and art sides, and there are no “names” to rope people into buying it. I have to say, for eight bucks, if you’re curious to know who might be in the new crop of comic book creators, this isn’t too bad. You do have to judge it on its own merits, as “graduate projects,” but in that context it’s some pretty good stuff, and bodes well for the future of mainstream comic books.

Bits and Pieces:

A pretty good batch of stories from the New Class of comic book industry prospects. If this is the caliber of work they'll be exhibiting out of the gate, I look forward to seeing more of it.



  1. Wait.... Why's is maggs visaggio on a new talent showcase. Just because you switch teams doesn't mean you're "new" talent.... Boop boop

    1. they have done this before...the claim is it is a workshop to teach the "DC Method". I bet they get them in a room and have them write dark poetry while getting depressed as hell!