THIS WEEK: We look at Danger Street #1, a new book that draws inspiration from DC Comics’ obscure 1st Issue Special anthology seriesPlus, a mega team-up with a new Batman/Spawn #1.

Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.

Danger Street #1Danger Street #1

Writer: Tom King
Artist: Jorge Fornés
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

During a recent interview with The Beat’s own Joe GrunenwaldDanger Street #1 writer Tom King said of his new book, “This is a hard one.” King — who has spent the past six years or so at DC working with characters like Batman, Supergirl, and Rorschach — was seemingly referring to the marketability of the property, cheekily going on to tell Joe, “…every editor in comics is dying to do their Dingbats. You know, who hasn’t wanted to do Lady Cop and the Outsiders, but not that Outsiders.”

And, indeed, Danger Street #1 does draw its inspirations from a truly obscure (and, to be forthright, somewhat odd) corner of DC Comics history. This new 12-issue maxiseries — which sees King re-teaming with Rorschach collaborators artist Jorge Fornés, colorist Dave Stewart, and letterer Clayton Cowles — springs from DC Comics’ long-ago anthology series 1st Issue Special. This is a property that even die-hard DC readers might be unfamiliar with, running as it did for 13 issues from 1975 to 1976, and while it focused on and/or introduced some memorable characters (most notably Doctor Fate, although Warlord does have a cult fanbase, myself included), the one-shots that comprised this book have largely been forgotten.

In fact, in October King was on a panel at Baltimore Comic-Con with Mike Grell (the Warlord creator who worked on the original 1st Issue Special series) and Mike Gold (an editor who oversaw it at DC), and the assembled group characterized 1st Issue Special as an effort (if not an excuse) to publish one-shots that had built up in DC’s backlog for various reasons. They also made no qualms about it — the results were mostly bad. So, this is all to say that Danger Street #1 has a genesis that is, to be frank, a bit unconventional. It’s almost as if King and Fornés are challenging themselves to take the least accessible mainstream superhero comics idea they can find, and use it to spin gold.

It’s definitely a bold move, and while this might sound trite, fortune does favor the bold in this instance. Danger Street #1 is, simply put, one hell of a debut comic, brimming with great use of craft, big timely ideas, and a set of creative choices that match their overarching concept’s fearlessness. There’s a lot to love in this comic, and for me, the excellence starts on the very first page. Danger Street #1 opens with a nine-panel grid — a once-forgotten comics tool that King and a growing list of collaborators have revived and elevated — of a patron setting what looks like a bowling ball bag down on a divey bar as they order a coke. From that bag comes Doctor Fate’s iconic helmet, which activates in the last panel and starts to narrate our story (see above).

It’s been a while, but I have previously been critical in this column of King comics that disorient the reader, jumbling time or otherwise inserting mystery where it does not make sense for mystery to be in a story. That problem is long gone. The Fate narration device in this book is a fantastic way to both engage and orient readers from page one, allowing the audience to relax and jump right into the book. And it’s an easy book to jump into, equipped as it is with the Fornés-Stewart artwork, which is clear, interesting, gritty, and as good as anything being published in a monthly superhero book today.

Danger Street #1

The artwork in this series is just gorgeous, conveying with equal skill Lady Cop chasing the Dingbats in the sandy streets of Bakersfield, Calif., as well as Warlord, Metamoprho, and co., engaging in a more traditional superhero fight. The book just looks amazing, with Fornés delivering his best art to date, channeling the usual David Mazzucchelli influence as well as a healthy dose of Jack Kirby when the action on the page calls for it. While the characters may not be as instantly recognizable as something like Batman or Supergirl, Fornés makes them vivid and engaging, recognizable for tried and true comic book-yness, which makes them feel familiar even to people like me who have not seen many of them in the past. I especially enjoyed the first appearance here of The Creeper, done by a fantastic and detailed splash page wherein in Cowles lettering also does major work (see below).

This all adds up to a first issue that — please forgive me, I can’t help myself — actually does feel special. Danger Street #1 introduces a wide and varied cast of characters that readers more than likely have never seen before, and it doesn’t bog down with exposition or disorientation. There are mysterious elements in this book — plot points set up to most certainly be knocked down in the next 11 issues — but they’re all doing work, moving things forward, and reeling the reader in, as if we are watching something unspool from a trusted narrator, rather than trying to parse it together ourselves. For example, when the book starts, the Dingbats are just mischievous kids tumbling around Bakersfield, but when it ends, they’re in control of what seems to be a cable news network, leaving the reader to fill in the gaps of how they got from point A to point B, while giving the reader enough to do it (anyone else notice Metamorpho’s diamond arm on their desk? hmmm….)

Ultimately, Danger Street #1 is an immersive comic that reads fast because it is so well-done, ultimately concluding right where it started, with a nine-panel grid that sort of reviews all of the many happenings of a packed first issue, before the Doctor Fate helmet still set upon the bar promises, TO BE CONTINUED.

And I for one can’t wait.

Verdict: BUY

‘You Know What Today Was?’ – The Round-Up

  • The long-awaited new Batman/Spawn crossover arrives this week with Todd McFarlane writing and inking the book, Greg Capullo penciling it, Dave McCaig coloring it, and Tom Napolitano lettering it. The hype for this book has been unsurprisingly tremendous, reuniting as it does two of the true heavyweights of monthly superhero comics sales, and the issue does not disappoint. It sees the duo tangling with the Court of Owls, a Capullo co-creation that is arguably the most significant contribution to the Batman mythos since Damian Wayne. It’s about the story you’d expect, and where it really shines is with the Capullo-McFarlane-McCaig artwork, which is absolutely tremendous. If you’ve been excited for this one, you will not be disappointed here.
  • I have been raving of late about the Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-ins, which have been restrained in number and very much welcome with the contributions they’ve made to DC’s big 2022 event. That raving is not going to stop this week. No, because this week’s Dark Crisis: Big Bang #1 is no exception. It’s written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund, colored by Federico Blee, and lettered by Troy Peteri. Essentially, this book tackles the Barry Allen of it all, going all in on the character who famously sacrificed himself to save the day in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. It’s also a must-read for fans of the DC multiverse, which returns via this event in all of its own infinite glory.
  • Finally, I continue to enjoy DC Comics’ most recent WildStorm characters revival, which is pushed ahead this week by WildC.A.T.s #2 from writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Stephan Segovia, colorist Elmer Santos, and letterer Ferran Delgado. It’s an action-heavy issue that looks fantastic, and leads right up to a wild last-page reveal. I don’t think this series is going to be making any new WildC.A.T.s fans (though you never know), but that’s also not the point — this is as good a modern book as long-time fans of the property could hope for. 

Miss any of our earlier reviews? Check out our full archive!


  1. One correction: The Dingbats aren’t the kids who own the cable network—those are the Green Team, a group of teenage billionaires who also premiered in First Issue Special.

  2. Ah, Danger Street. Another chance for King to crap all over obscure characters that pretty much no one cares about. This guy obviously has a lane and he’s sticking to it. I fully expect that half the characters will end up gruesomely dead, just as in every other one of his incoherent screeds.

  3. The writer posits a reality where people forgot about the nine-panel grid most famously used in that obscure book Watchmen and then says that this new book ‘elevates it’ beyond said obscure book. Fascinating.

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