Review – DC New Talent Showcase 2018 #1: All-Star Anthology

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New Talent Anthology 2018 cover, via DC Comics.

DC New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Sanya Anwar, Joey Esposito, Robert Jeffrey II, Ryan Cady, Magdalene Visaggio, Writers; Amancay Nahuelpan, Priscilla Petraites, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Raynor, Isaac Goodheart, Aneke; Trish Mulvihill, John Rauch, Marissa Louise, John Kalisz, Cris Peter, Beth Sotelo, Colorists


Ray – 8.5/10

Corrina: Another Excellent Anthology

Ray: The DC New Talent Showcase has been an annual event for the last few years, showcasing the talents of the graduates of the DC Writer and Artist Workshops. That project may have reached its end due to Scott Snyder no longer having time to run it, and coming years are up in the air. This final installment, for now, features six longer stories, but it’s a bit odd because many of these creators have already done stories for DC, including full-length projects at times.

First up is a Batman story by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Amancay Nahuelpan, involving Batman dealing with a militant anti-Batman politician, the widow of a DA murdered by Victor Zsasz. When her plane is hijacked by the same killer, Batman becomes the only thing protecting her and her son from death. There are no easy answers here, but it’s a great, gripping look at how far Batman will go to protect people.

Corrina: Damn, I hate to read stories where Batman can’t save everyone but that doesn’t make this tale any less effective. Whether Gotham is more harmed than helped by Batman, is unresolved, but it provides an effective chapter in that long-running debate.

Batman in freefall. Via DC Comics.

Ray: The Constantine story by Sanya Anwar and Priscilla Petraites sends John Constantine to Hong Kong to investigate the mystery of a high-end hotel where people keep flinging themselves off the roof. Although there are rumors of ghosts, it’s clear that the true evil here is much more human. It’s a good, classic, creepy Constantine tale that takes him back to his roots.

Corrina: When reading a Constantine story, I always wonder who he’s going to hurt. But this is the best kind of Constantine story, where the solution to the mystery reveals someone who’s far worse than Constantine himself.

Ray: The Catwoman story by Joey Esposito and Dominike “Domo” Stanton seems to take place at an earlier stage in Batman and Catwoman’s courtship – she knows his secret identity, and is moonlighting as a vigilante when he’s out of town. She winds up interrupting a plot of Penguin’s designed specifically to make her angry – pedigree catfights. Then Damian shows up, another animal lover outraged by the plot, and it turns out that Alfred the cat has been kidnapped. Honestly, this story is a delight and makes me want a hundred more issues of Selina as the Bat-kids’ stepmom. Why can’t the family be happy?

Corrina: In one short story, there is more characterization of Selina Kyle than in the entire Tom King regular Batman run. And it’s excellent characterization too, as Selina naturally sees under Damian’s surface to his marshmallow heart underneath. This is no surprise, as she could see past Damian’s father’s exterior to the heart of the person as well.

Catwoman on the prowl. Via DC Comics.

Ray: Robert Jeffrey II and Max Raynor take on John Stewart, in a story set in space but filled with implications for our world. Set on an alien world that’s been taken over by a cult backed by the yellow lantern Karu-Sil, John teams up with a rebellion leader to help the public turn the tide against the forces of bigotry. It’s a perfectly fine, if not entirely memorable Green Lantern story.

Corrina: I’m for any story that provides a focus on John Stewart. This one is timely, as there are evident similarities to our current political situation. What I loved most, however, was the flashback to John’s childhood, and seeing his mother as his hero.

Ray: Ryan Cady and Isaac Goodhart’s Zatanna story takes place in Italy, where she’s been summoned by a small village that needs her father’s help. Years ago, Zatara performed a necessary sacrifice to dark Gods – but without killing anyone, using sleight of hand to trick the beings. Zatanna enters the arena to perform for these monstrosities and turns the tables. The story is a great Zatanna tale, but the font is very hard to read at times.

Corrina: This one had me worried and wondering how Zatanna would be able to save the village. But, hey, even if her sleight-of-hand is different from her father’s, it’s still effective. (The font is less of a problem in the print version. I had to zoom in on the digital version.)

Wonder Woman against the mountain. Via DC Comics.

Ray: Then it’s time for Mags Visaggio and Aneke to close out the volume with a Wonder Woman story. Set on Beartooth Mountain where a mysterious storm has stripped Diana of her powers in advance of an eruption, Diana teams up with a local teenager wounded by some local punks as they climb a mountain and battle to survive. To keep her new friend conscious, Diana tells her a story of one of her earliest villains. It’s a highly effective, inspiring story of Diana’s very human strength – as one would expect from an experienced writer who has already done major DC work.

Corrina: Visaggio proves how much she gets Wonder Woman in this take. The fight against the villain is in the background. Instead, the focus is on how inspiring WW herself can be. But it also shows how Diana takes inspiration from the people that she helps.

Ray: & Corrina: All in all, an effective collection with no bad stories and two genuine gems.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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