If you’re of a certain generation, you remember the big summertime issues that your parents picked up for you on the way to whatever you were doing that required a long car ride to get there– comics that gave you new stories combined with older fare that brought you into a richer shared universe.
This summer, Walmart shoppers will get a chance to do that again as DC Entertainment announced today that a series of “giant” monthly comics will be sold exclusively in more than 3,000 participating Walmart stores around the country.
Available for $4.99, each 100-page anthology features all-new stories written exclusively for these books by some of DC’s top creative talents, including Tom King (BATMAN, MISTER MIRACLE, HEROES IN CRISIS), Dan Jurgens (ACTION COMICS, BATMAN BEYOND), Brian Michael Bendis (SUPERMAN, ACTION COMICS, THE MAN OF STEEL), Andy Kubert (NEW CHALLENGERS) and others. Each title will also include additional story arcs drawn from fan-favorite DC eras such as the New 52, Rebirth and the New Age of DC Heroes.
Each of the four titles – SUPERMAN GIANT, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA GIANT, BATMAN GIANT and TEEN TITANS GIANT – will arrive in stores by July 1. Beginning in August, the Superman and Justice League of America titles will arrive in week one of each month, with the second pair, Batman and Teen Titans, arriving approximately two weeks later.
“We are extraordinarily excited about working with Walmart to expand the reach of our books,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “These new monthly books combine new and accessible stories with reprints of classic comic series. It’s a great way for new readers to get into comics and follow the characters they’ve grown to love in TV and film.”
The debut title lineup includes:
SUPERMAN GIANT #1
SUPERMAN GIANT #1 features chapter one of the two-part “Endurance,” an original story written by Jimmy Palmiotti (HARLEY QUINN, ACTION COMICS) with art by Tom Derenick (HARLEY QUINN, CYBORG, BATMAN/SUPERMAN). TheDaily Planet sends Clark Kent to Tornado Alley to do a story on the area, but when the storm hits, it turns out that this mild-mannered reporter is more helpful as Superman.
The issue also includes:
THE TERRIFICS #1 (2018) – From this year’s New Age of Heroes and born of the events of DC’s hit series DARK NIGHTS: METAL. Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man and Phantom Girl are a team of heroes bound together by fate and united by the spirit of exploration and discovery. Together these heroes plumb the depths of the fantastic to learn what it means to become family.
GREEN LANTERN #1 (2005) – Written by best-selling writer Geoff Johns with art by Ethan Van Sciver and Carlos Pacheco, this first chapter launches the fan-favorite three-part story “No Fear,” in which Hal Jordan makes his return to the DC Universe as the Green Lantern, casting the light of justice on the darkest corners of Space Sector 2814.
SUPERMAN/BATMAN #1 (2003) – The iconic fan-favorite story arc, “Public Enemies,” returns, courtesy of writer Jeph Loeb, with artists Ed McGuinness and Tim Sale. Batman and Superman unite when President Lex Luthor accuses the Man of Steel of a crime against humanity and assembles a top-secret team of powerhouse heroes to bring Superman in by any means necessary.
September’s SUPERMAN GIANT #3 features Eisner Award-winning writer Tom King’s first return to the Man of Steel since his poignant and heartfelt tribute story, “For Tomorrow,” in the pages of ACTION COMICS #1000. Together with DC Master Class artist Andy Kubert, this powerhouse team will take readers on a new 12-part adventure titled “Up in the Sky!” When a little girl is kidnapped and taken from Earth, Superman embarks on a galaxy-spanning mission to find the perpetrators…but has to decide what lengths he will go to in order to save one life!
TEEN TITANS GIANT #1
In this original six-part Teen Titans story by Dan Jurgens with art by Scot Eaton, Wayne Faucher and Jim Charalampidis, the Teen Titans’ pizza dinner is interrupted by the introduction of a new villain, the Disruptor. Teaming up with the Fearsome Five and working as an agent of H.I.V.E., he had one mission: kill the Teen Titans! The battle spills onto the streets of San Francisco, putting its citizens at risk, while H.I.V.E. uses this distraction to begin their plan for world conquest!
Additional issue #1 stories include:
SUPER SONS #1 (2017) – From DC’s smash-hit Rebirth event, writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Jorge Jimenez reintroduce the sons of Superman and Batman, Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne, in part one of “When I Grow Up.” As Robin, Damian’s more than ready to take his place at the heroes’ table and has zero plans to wait his turn. And he’s dragging Superman’s son along for the trip, whether Jon likes it or not!
SIDEWAYS #1 (2018) – Also from the New Age of Heroes, this story written by Dan DiDio with art by Kenneth Rocafort introduces fans to high schooler Derek James who, during the events of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, has acquired powers from the Dark Multiverse and stepped into the role of superhero! But when cracks begin to appear in the space-time continuum, he soon learns that with that much power comes even greater liability!
TEEN TITANS #1 (2003) – Written by best-selling author Geoff Johns with art by Mike McKone. Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy welcome in a new roster of young heroes to train to defend humanity—Wonder Girl, Impulse and a Superboy who’s been cloned from Superman’s DNA!
BATMAN GIANT #1
Batman is on the case of a missing girl in “One More Chance,” an all-new story by writer Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Patrick “Patch” Zircher. Batman is the world’s greatest detective, but what happens when the trail in his newest case leads him back to a place from his past that he never expected to revisit?
BATMAN GIANT #1 also includes:
BATMAN #608 (2002) – Written by Jeph Loeb with art by comics icon Jim Lee, issue #608 kicks off “Batman: Hush,” one of the most popular storylines in the Dark Knight’s fabled history. When Batman sets out to unmask the mystery character wreaking havoc in his life, he teams up with an unexpected ally (Catwoman) and finds himself facing off against not only his deadliest foes, but some of the toughest characters in the DC Universe, including Poison Ivy, Killer Croc and even Superman!
NIGHTWING #1 (2011) – From DC’s New 52, this story by writer Kyle Higgins and artist Eddy Barrows debuted a new look for Dick Grayson as he dives into a tale of murder, mystery and superhuman evil against the backdrop of Haley’s Circus, the place that started him on his path from acrobat to orphan to sidekick and ultimately superhero!
HARLEY QUINN #1 (2011) – Also from the New 52, writer Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Amanda Conner break Harley Quinn out of The Joker’s shadow with all the force of a giant mallet!
Beginning with BATMAN GIANT #3 in September, superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis makes his DC debut on the Dark Knight with a 12-part story, “Universe.” Batman’s run-in with the Riddler leads the Caped Crusader into a mystery that spans the globe!
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA GIANT #1
Justice League member Wonder Woman is spotlighted in “The Conversion,” an all-new story from NIGHTWING writer Tim Seeley and artists Rick Leonardi and Steve Buccellato. In this single-issue story, Wonder Woman comes face to face with Ares, god of war—who sees her as a promising new recruit!
JUSTICE LEAGUE GIANT #1 also includes:
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 (2011) – From the incomparable team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee comes this version of the League from the New 52. In this alternative spin on the union of Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, superheroes are a strange and new phenomenon. The mysterious Batman discovers a dark evil that requires him to unite these reluctant heroes to protect Earth from a cosmic-level threat!
THE FLASH #1 (2011) – In this New 52 version of the Fastest Man Alive, writer Brian Buccellato and artist Francis Manapul introduce Barry Allen to a villain who not only can be everywhere at once, but is also a close friend of the Scarlet Speedster!
AQUAMAN #1 (2011) – Award-winning writer Geoff Johns and dynamic artist Ivan Reis team up on this story from the New 52! Aquaman has given up the throne of Atlantis, but the sea still has plans for Arthur Curry as a broken race of undersea creatures, the Trench, emerges from the ocean depths, bent on destroying the surface world!
In issue #2, Seeley teams up with artists Felipe Watanabe and Chris Sotomayor on “Mother’s Day,” a stand-alone story where Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island for the first time since her exile, only to find that the Amazons – and Queen Hippolyta – have been abducted by Echidna, the mythological Mother of Monsters, with a brood of unstoppable beasts as children!
Issue #3 begins another original 12-part Wonder Woman story by HARLEY QUINN co-writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti called “Come Back to Me.” When Steve Trevor’s plane crashes on an island outside of time itself, it’s up to Wonder Woman to rescue him from this mysterious land, full of monsters, dinosaurs and some very surprising citizens.
In August of ’16, we thought up a plan
If we could get all of the language to scan
We’d mash up the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”
Combine it with themes from that old Star Trek show
And demonstrate how they (with new illustrations)
Both seek out new life forms and new civilizations
As through endless journeys protagonists barreled
And so it was written up by David Gerrold
With lovely artwork drawn by Ty Templeton
They both made a book that could not be outdone!
We were very respectful, not lewd, rude, or crude.
We thought it was wonderful…!
Oh, the uses Seuss sued! There were fights to be picked!
There was art to suppress! Punishments to inflict!
Before the last drawing had seen final touches
Word made its way to the ears (and the clutches)
Of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which owns
Seuss trademarks and copyrights, and which bemoans
Any artwork that starts to remotely remind
Of a Seussian style. Are they in their right mind?
How far will they go? Why, they even want
To claim ownership of a handwritten font.
(They might even claim they own this style of verse
Except for the fact C.C. Moore got here first.)
It seems that the lawyers that Seuss have set loose
Thinks no one can choose to make fair use of Seuss.
Luckily, we’ve got a very good lawyer
Who’s helping us counter this fair use destroyer.
And so we’ve proceeded, convinced we are right,
But battling a lawsuit takes thousands to fight.
“So what?” you may cry. “Just why should I care
About someone suing you over what’s fair?”
Permit me a moment while I count the ways. The judge said (and here, I must paraphrase):
“Regarding mashups, there is no prior ruling
Addressing the points over which you are dueling!
Your book’s highly transformative! It’s simply not
Merely a copy, like the Seuss lawyers thought
But are you in the right? Mashups might be protected
Or maybe they’re not! You want this case ejected
But sans evidence, the court cannot decide
If it’s fair, so your motion to dismiss denied!
Maybe summary judgment will settle your fate,
But if not, then we’re going to choose a court date.”
Now, it’s taken long months, and it’s cost lots of swag
But we’ve gotten rulings about which we can brag
We got judgement on the pleadings, a partial decision
Leaving only what’s left after the court’s excision.
Unfortunately, now the case REALLY gets pricey,
And if we can’t pay, then the outcome gets dicey.
We’re fighting a company with millions of bucks
And we’ve spent most of ours, which truly just… stinks.
If we lose, then ALL mashups may go through the thresher
And may be deemed infringement. (But hey, no pressure.)
The fight’s now upon us, can’t close the barn door
Lest our loss set a precedent tough to ignore.
And fair use gets wrecked in a Weehawken minute
This case is important, so we have to win it.
And that means there’s something that we have to do: We need financial help, and we’re turning to YOU.
Be a copyright fighter! And fight for the right
To research, report, comment, criticize, cite!
Be the fifth factor in our fair use case!
Every dollar contributed buys breathing space!
(Heck, if only this doggerel just made you laugh
Consider donating a buck and a half.)
If you can’t spare some cash, then please spread the word
Get on social media and help us get heard.
Lawsuits are scary and hard to endure,
But if you help us out, then you’re part of the cure.
And for your help countering copyright cranks,
We offer our humble and most grateful thanks.
When religious people talk about the dangers of pure scientism, they’re talking about Jimmy Yee. Maybe a bit about his creator, Jason Shiga, too.
But Yee is the poster boy for why believing in only what you can prove is really, really bad: he murders an appreciable fraction of the entire human race during this story, mostly because he sees no reason not to. And the only possible ethical justification is that, most of the time, he’s only killing himself.
Without getting into the traditional arguments against suicide, I think we can all agree that killing yourself is at the very least generally less bad than killing someone else. But what if every time you kill yourself, you also kill someone else by taking over their body?
Demon is a very Jason Shiga comic, which is to say it takes a particular premise and then inexorably rolls out all of the entirely logical consequences of that that premise, leaving human feeling (except for a certain glee in destruction and mayhem) entirely out of the equation. The worldview here is a kind of happy nihilism: nothing matters, everything is disposable, and that’s wonderful for our viewpoint character.
Or, to put it another way: Demon is Miracleman #15 from the viewpoint of Kid Miracleman, going on for several hundred years.
Actually, that’s another thing that’s annoyingly cartoony about Demon: it goes on for well over two hundred years, but society and technology don’t change in the slightest. Oops, that might be a spoiler.
I should probably explain all of those disjointed thoughts.
OK. This long, multi-volume graphic novel  opens with Jimmy Yee, in a cheap motel room. He hangs himself. He wakes up in bed in the same cheap motel room, and slits his wrists in the bathtub.
And wakes up in the same cheap motel room. And kills himself with the gun he finds in a drawer.
And wakes up in the same cheap motel room. And takes an overdose of pills.
And wakes up in the same cheap motel room. And runs out into traffic to be hit by a semi.
And wakes up in Intensive Care, with the truck driver’s daughter crying over him. And manages to go for several hours without killing himself.
Eventually, Yee figures it out: he’s a demon. (Why a “demon?” Metafictionally, for shock value on Shiga’s part. In-universe, it just seems to be the word Yee randomly fell upon to describe himself.) When he dies, he instantaneously takes over the body of whoever is closest to him. He wasn’t waking up in the same motel room — he was serially possessing, and then killing, every single person staying at that motel.
There are a few other rules to his demonic self — and it turns out to be a SFnal rather than fantasy explanation, as one would expect from Shiga — which come out in time. But that’s basically it: live forever, take over other bodies when you die, do whatever you want without consequences as long as you can find a way to kill yourself.
The Javert to Yee’s Valjean is “Agent Hunter, OSS,” part of a super-secret US government operation designed to control and utilize demons…of which Yee is the only one when the OSS finds him. (OK, it’s not quite that dumb, but it’s close — Shiga is rolling out complications at speed and not worrying a lot about how plausible any of them are.) As usual, Shiga is good on complications and logical extrapolation and sometimes shaky on worldbuilding — “but what if” is generally good enough for him.
Hunter wants to use Yee, and any other demons there may be — and Shiga isn’t going to let the opportunity to add more baroque complications pass him by — for a grandiose and supposedly humanitarian purpose. But, of course, to do that, he needs to set up fiendishly complicated control structures to keep Yee confined.
And it’s that fiendish complication, both of control and of breakthrough, that Shiga really cares about. Demon is not about what it’s like to live forever, to be be able to be anyone, it’s about how to do the seemingly impossible using just the demon ability. Even when having the demon ability would let one find more elegant and interesting ways to solve problems, Demon always comes down to “kill lots and lots of people, often but not always yourself repeatedly.” Yes, Yee does have his Sad Jaded Immortal moments, since those are required of any story like this, but at least Shiga gets them over with quickly.
What Shiga does take joy in is those complications, and the megadeath is really just a way of keeping score — for all the gore and horrible things here, Shiga’s cartoony art and relentless eye for a weirder, more complicated way to keep demons out or fight their way in is what makes it exciting and fun.
It’s a borderline sociopathic kind of fun, admittedly. But it is fun nonetheless.
I don’t think the ending entirely makes sense — Shiga makes one more twist on his demon concept, and I don’t see how that actually works — but he needed to do something like that, just to make an ending for this thing. It’s certainly as plausible as anything else in this crazy story.
Fort many, many readers, Demon will be too much. That may include a few of you who think it’ll be just fine — it’s the kind of story that just keeps going, and hits places you might not want to go with it. But it’s an interesting book by a great comics creator, and it’s in many ways the purest Shiga book yet. It is horrifying and laugh-out-loud funny and nutty and goofy and appalling in its inventiveness. It’s all Shiga, bless his heart.
 It was originally serialized as a webcomic, and then collected. In fact, it seems to still be available online
, though I think it’s not supposed to be.
I recognize that I was in the minority, finding Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim loud and boring. Still, it made a ton of money encouraging Universal to release a sequel. What we got was the equally loud and just as uninvolving Pacific Rim Uprising, out tomorrow on disc from Universal Home Entertainment. The film cost something like $150 million to make and with a worldwide gross of $290 million, clearly didn’t connect with its audience, hopefully ending the franchise.
With Del Toro merely supervising, the film was handled by first-time director Steven S. DeKnight, better known for his screenplays. We have the perfunctory robots hitting kaiju with destruction raining on the poor populace but we are disengaged from the characters and without emotional connections, the film falls flat.
The film picks up a decade later and while the world has been rebuilding, the Kaiju threat we saw at the end of the first film, is ready to erupt. Keeping us safe fails to Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Stacker Pentecost, who collaborates with scrappy Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) who pulls a Riri Williams and has built her own Jaeger suit out of spare parts she has scavenged. Both are pressed into service when the monsters come back. They are supposed to take orders from Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), but we know better.
All the story beats are familiar as are the archetypal characters, leaving us with little to be thrilled or surprised by. There is absolutely nothing exciting about the character arcs or the fights, which are, oddly, slowly paced.
Thankfully, the 1080p high-def transfer is strong and you can enjoy metal versus muscle fights in the comfort of your home. The Dolby Atmos audio track is also fine, more than up to the needs of the special effects.
The combo pack of Blu-ray, DVD< and Digital HD comes with a handful of Special Features that are just as adequate and uninteresting as the film itself, We start with alternate and deleted scenes (6:56), with optional commentary from DeKnight; Hall of Heroes (3:25) with Boyega narrating a piece about the Jaegers; Bridge to Uprising (4:39), with cast and crew talking about building a sequel; The Underworld of Uprising (3:47); Becoming Cadets (5:58); Unexpected Villain (5:48); Next Level Jaegers (5:08); I Am Scrapper (2:42); Going Mega (3:21); Secrets of Shao (3:14); Mako Returns (2:08); and, Audio Commentary: Director Steven S. DeKnight, which shows how much thought and effort went into the planning for the film, but doesn’t explain why it fails to excite.
Pacific Rim Uprising was the immensely entertaining sequel of a world where Jaegers battles Kaiju with the fate of the world at stake. Universal Home Entertainment has provided us with a copy of the Combo Pack, on sale June 18, for a giveaway.
All you have to do is tell us what your qualifications are to become a Jager and why you want to fight Kaiju. Post your answers no later than 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 18. The decision of ComicMix‘s judges will be final. The contest is open only to North American readers.
Universal City, California, April 19, 2018 – Ten years after the events of the first film, the Kaiju return in Pacific Rim Uprising with a new deadly threat that reignites the conflict between these otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and Jaegers, the human-piloted super-machines that were built to vanquish them. Pacific Rim Uprising arrives on Digital and the all-new digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on June 5, 2018, as well as on 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-rayTM, Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand on June 19, 2018 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Building on the striking visual world created in the first film, Pacific Rim Uprising features a next-generation battleground complete with upgraded Jaegers and new Kaiju that offers a captivating a state-of-the-art spectacle perfect for your next night in. Experience one-of-a-kind special effects and more than forty minutes of bonus content when you own the next installment on 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-rayTM, Blu-rayTM and DVD.
In Pacific Rim Uprising directed by Steven S. DeKnight, John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) stars as the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy. Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (The Fate of the Furious’ Scott Eastwood), 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (newcomer Cailee Spaeny), returning veterans Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim), Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises) and a talented crew of fiercely young cadets. The international cast also includes Tian Jing (Kong: Skull Island) and Adria Arjona (“Emerald City”). Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.
Let me stipulate upfront that I have never played a Lara Croft game or saw the first film adaptation of the Tomb Raider franchise. I have a passing familiarity with her thanks to the virtue of Lara being the first major adventure video game female star (where are the others?). As a result, I approached the Blu-ray release of the March Tomb Raider film, out tomorrow from Warner Home Entertainment, with an open mind.
While Angelina Jolie seemed picture perfect in her turn, the slightly smaller, more athletic Alicia Vikander has made the part her own. It helps that the film is effectively her origin story and for 118 fun minutes, we watch her go from clueless Millennial to adventurer after being told she has to claim dad’s inheritance or lose it all…now. She is 21, aimless, and seeking a purpose when life hands it to her and she decides to grab it. Then hang on to it, when she heads for the isle of Yamatai. Dad (Dominic West) leaves a message warning her off, but by then she’s invested and goes for it. I gather this script from Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons is based on the 2013 reboot of the video game franchise.
Lara Croft feels right and solid as a character, thanks in a large part to Vikander’s strong acting in any role. Unfortunately, Lord Richard Croft, rival Mathais Vogel (Walton Goggins), and other supporting roles are less well-defined, a disservice to actors involved, notably Kristin Scott Thomas and Derek Jacobi.
The movie zips along just fine and the stunts and escapades feel good, more than just an 8-bit video game come to life, but there’s also an unevenness throughout spoiling the fun.
The film comes in a variety of packages and the Blu-ray, DVD; Digital HD combo pack was reviewed. Word is the 4K UltraHD looks spectacular and since it was shot digitally, it looks pretty darn sharp in 1080p. The lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio tracks are equally attractive.
The film underperformed at the box office, which is a real shame, but it may explain why we get a mere four bonus features. First up, is Tomb Raider: Uncovered (7:04) as cast and crew talk production; Croft Training (6:03), Vikander prepares and gets buff; Breaking Down the Rapids (5:33), Director Roar Uthaug leads us through the set piece; and, Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon (9:51), a nice history of the video game that became a phenomenon with fans/experts Megan Marie and Erika Ishii giving us gushing context.
With still a year-plus to go before the final season of HBO’s brilliant Game of Thrones, and who knows how long before the next novel in the Song of Fire and Ice series, there is anticipation that needs tending. HBO is addressing that with the roll out of their 4K UltraHD editions of the first six seasons.
Out Tuesday is Games of Thrones the Complete First Season in a four-disc slick package. If you own the DVD, should you upgrade? Absolutely. If you own the Blu-ray, should you upgrade? Well, that depends. If you have the first Blu-ray release, you might want to upgrade to get not only the sharper image but the Dolby Atmos audio track. If you have the edition with Dolby Atmos, then you have to decide how much you crave the slightly better picture.
The 2K to 4K upgrade is certainly lovely to look at and they do an amazing job with the shadows, rather important for a series such as this. However, it’s incremental so you have to decide for yourself. This is a nicely enhanced upgrade of the original footage, shot digitally at 10 bit, 1920×1080 resolution. With Blu-ray often providing us with 8-bit recordings, the extra 2 bits makes quite the difference. Apparently, the technicians coaxed every bit out of the original digital recordings and provides with additional visual detail as well as a more natural range of colors in the texture of people, places, and things. While not revelatory, you certain gain a new visual appreciation for the production values that were present from the outset.
Keep in mind that all the Blu-ray special features are carried over to this set and the Digital HD code provides you with the same sharp streaming option. You should be aware that the In-Episode Guide feature isn’t here. It would have been nice, for completeness’ sake, to have HBO include the retail exclusive featurettes that appeared on Target, HBO Shop, and Walmart editions.
Looking back at the show, you think about how much younger and more innocent we, and many of the characters, were back then. The, ahem, starkness of good versus evil was very clear and only towards the end of the first ten episodes were the moral gray areas beginning to cast its own shadows over the characters and their connections.
There are far worse things you could with your lazy summer days than revisiting Westeros and enjoying how it all began.
The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York By Peter J. Tomasi and Sara DuVall 208 pages, $24.99, Abrams ComicArts
Once upon a time, Brooklyn was a city separate from New York, separated by a river and giving rise to vastly different cultures. Yet, people commuted from the Brooklyn shore to Manhattan Island and in the 19th Century, a visionary engineer thought a bridge was needed to connect the two.
The feat of engineering is something worth celebrating and David McCullough did that with his 1972 The Great Bridge, which served as the source for Ken Burns America Collection: Brooklyn Bridge. But, there are other ways to tell that story and Peter Tomasi, a comics writer and editor, has been longing to tell this story for years.
Thankfully, his dream, like John Roebling’s, has become a reality. Unlike the elder Roebling, at least Tomasi is still around to see it. Tomasi is known for how his humanizes his heroes, making them relatable in ways that do not diminish their amazing accomplishments. Partnered with Sara DuVall, we get to see the people who toiled for decades to make the Bridge a reality.
As with so much of the 19th century, the story begins with the Civil War as John’s son, Washington, experiences much. A Union soldier, he had been trained at his father’s side and more than once used his knowledge to help construct bridges for the soldiers to use. He saw much, endured much, and brought home those memories and more than few injuries.
Washington also fell in love, meeting Emily Warren at an officers’ dance. They were infatuated with one another and they formed a partnership that was stronger than the steel wire the Roeblings’ factory produced.
No sooner did Washington return from the war in 1865 than he and his father embarked on drafting plans to convince the governments of two cities that a bridge was not only necessary but also possible to build. By this point, the cold, taciturn John has ingrained a worldview and work ethic in Washington that ensured the two would work compatibly which proved fortuitous when the suborn older man died from an untreated infection.
The difference in Washington, much as it separates Tomasi from many of his comic book peers, is the touch of humanity. Over the years between construction (1869) and opening (1883), Roebling goes out of his way to ensure the men’s safety, shortening work hours, having an on-site doctor, etc. His loyalty to the men is inspiring as is his relationship with Emily. She comes into her own as his cheerleader, champion, and ultimately surrogate when he is too ill to leave their home.
With 208 pages to work with, DuVall paces things nicely and her art, simple and clear, helped by Rob Leigh’s strong lettering and nice palette from colorists Gabriel Eltaeb and John Kalisz. They help us see the depths men had to dig before hitting bedrock, the physical and emotional toll the work took, as well as the political shenanigans that almost derailed the project in its final phase.
Overall, this is a masterful use of the graphic novel format to tell an important story in a compelling way. Highly recommended for readers of all ages.