Saturday, June 22, 2019

Marvel's September previews reviewed

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE: AVENGERS #1
LEAH WILLIAMS (W) • Salvador Larroca (A) • Cover by Clayton Crain
...
CAPTAIN AMERICA! HAWKEYE! THE THING! WOLVERINE!
Years ago, Cletus Kasady used the Carnage symbiote to take over a small town called Doverton, Colorado, as well as the team of Avengers who arrived to stop him! Barely able to free themselves from his control during their first meeting, this small band of heroes will have no choice but to assemble once more after they discover that Doverton’s entire population has recently fallen victim to Carnage’s more lethal designs…
40 PGS./One-Shot/Rated T+ …$4.99


The Absolute Carnage miniseries and crossover event continues into September, and picks-up still more tie-ins. In addition to this Avengers one-shot, there's two even weirder-looking ones, Absolute Carnage: Symbiote of Vengeance, featuring Danny Ketch and a Ghost Rider I've never heard of, and Absolute Carnage: Symbiote of Vengeance. Oh, and an issue of Amazing Spider-Man ties in to the story, as well.


CAPTAIN AMERICA #14
TA-NEHISI COATES (W) • JASON MASTERS (A) • Cover by ALEX ROSS
IMMORTAL WRAPAROUND VARIANT COVER BY TBA
“THE LEGEND OF STEVE” CONTINUES!
As Steve Rogers continues to try to prove his innocence and remain one step ahead of the pursuing Nick Fury, he and Mockingbird journey to Iowa, where a town is held in the thrall of the mysterious group known only as –THEM!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Huh. If an Avenger was going to square off against Them, I would have assumed it would have been Ant-Man.


This is a pretty striking cover by Julian Totino Tedesco. How striking? Well, the night I first saw it, I dreamt about it. In my dream, there was an old, beat-up comic from the '80s or '90s that had the same basic concept, only it was Wolverine's head under some kind of metal character's head, like Death's Head or someone, and, in my dream, I thought, "Oh, that's where Tedesco got the idea for his cover." But that was all a dream!

Anyway, my point is that this image was striking enough that it embedded itself in my subconscious.


This is Terry Dodson's cover for the second issue of Gwenpool Strikes Back, and it's a pretty nice offering from the artist, whose many characters-just-posing covers can kind of blend together sometimes. I like the little details on Mister Fantastic in which he is stretched out of proportion, but just slightly so, as you can see in his neck and how weird his fingers look.


Wow, look at Charles Xavier's bald head shine on that cover! I don't think he just shaves his head. I think he polishes it, too.


IMMORTAL HULK #23
AL EWING (W) • JOE BENNETT (A) • Cover by ALEX ROSS
IMMORTAL WRAPAROUND Variant Cover by TBA
• The war has come home – and Shadow Base is the battleground.
• The stage is set for the final confrontation between the new ABOMINATION...
• ...and the IMMORTAL HULK.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Yikes, check out the face of the new Abomination. That design is certainly abominable. I know I've talked about how powerful the horror imagery in this book has been, both on Alex Ross' covers and even more so in artist Joe Bennett's interiors, but I think this is perhaps the best of Marvel's serious comics...that is, the one's that aren't also comedies, which tend to be the ones I generally gravitate towards.


SAVAGE AVENGERS #5
GERRY DUGGAN (W) • MIKE DEODATO JR. (A) • Cover by DAVID FINCH
IMMORTAL WRAPAROUND VARIANT COVER BY TBA
• The Marrow God has eaten the sentient population of entire planets, but he never had to dance with the Savage Avengers. Kulan Gath is on the verge of defeat...or is that what he wanted the entire time?
• A Pyrrhic victory lights a fuse that will only burn more of the Marvel Universe.
• Plus, the Punisher is curious about Crom...
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


I'm not sure a white suit is a good idea hanging around this particular group of characters.

The last bullet point in this solicit is the one that excites me the most. That it's only one of three bullet points tells me that this is not, in fact, the case, but I would like nothing more than 20-pages of Conan trying to convert the presumably atheist Punisher* to Crom worship.


Nice cover for Magnificent Ms. Marvel by Eduard Petrovich.


MAN-WOLF: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION TPB
Written by GERRY CONWAY, MARV WOLFMAN, DOUG MOENCH, TONY ISABELLA & DAVID ANTHONY KRAFT
Penciled by GIL KANE, ROSS ANDRU, JOHN BYRNE, GEORGE TUSKA, GEORGE PEREZ, SAL BUSCEMA, MIKE VOSBURG, JIM SHERMAN & ALAN WEISS
Cover by JOHN ROMITA SR.
When J. Jonah Jameson’s astronaut son, John Jameson, brings a strange red gemstone back from the moon, he finds himself transformed into the macabre Man-Wolf! Becoming a lycanthropic creature on the loose, the Man-Wolf battles Spider-Man, Morbius, Kraven the Hunter and more — while investigator Simon Stroud comes ever closer to the Man-Wolf’s true identity! Jameson soon discovers the truth behind the gem — but does his destiny lie in Other Realm wielding the sword of the Stargod? Or will the parasitic stone mean his destruction? Man-Wolf takes on Frankenstein’s monster, She-Hulk and more — but can Spider-Man save him from a fate worse than death? Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #124-125 and #189-190; GIANT-SIZE SUPER-HEROES #1; CREATURES ON THE LOOSE #30-37; MARVEL PREMIERE #45-46; MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #36-37; SAVAGE SHE-HULK #13-14 and material from PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #3.
408 PGS./Rated T …$39.99
ISBN: 978-1-302-92000-5


I reeeaaallllly want to read this comic, based on how bonkers the Man-Wolf character has always looked and sounded to me (I've never really ran into him at any great length before though...just a few issues of some She-Hulk comics here and there (Remember when the Raimi Spider-Mans mentioned John Jameson? Just think, if Sony managed that franchise as tightly and ambitiously as Marvel Studios managed theirs, we would have not only gotten that Spider-Man 6 movie in which Tobey Maguire fights Alfred Molina's Sinister Six by now, maybe there would even be a Man-Wolf spin-off franchise by now. Sigh...)

That said, $40 seems like a pretty big investment in a comic book about a super space werewolf whose dad is the coolest character in the Marvel Universe, you know...? Even if it is a 400-page monster of a book. Maybe Amazon will have it at a deep discount...


MARVEL-VERSE: IRON MAN GN-TPB
Written by FRED VAN LENTE, DAVID MICHELINIE, BOB LAYTON & KURT BUSIEK
Penciled by JAMES CORDEIRO, GRAHAM NOLAN, JACKSON GUICE & SEAN CHEN
Cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
ON SALE NOVEMBER 2019
Iron Man is one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel-Verse – and these are some of his most action-packed adventures! When the genius Tony Stark is held captive and forced to make weapons, his best chance of escape lies in building the greatest weapon of all – the very fi rst version of the Iron Man armor! Then, Shellhead meets Webhead as Iron Man and Spider-Man team up to take down the deadly Radioactive Man! And when Tony Stark makes a dramatic public return to start the next chapter of his business life, a newly-souped up Iron Man finds himself targeted for death! Finally, does Iron Man stand a ghost of a chance battling the Marvel-Verse’s most fearsome armored foe — the dastardly Doctor Doom?! Collecting MARVEL ADVENTURES IRON MAN (2007) 1, 7; IRON MAN (1968) 234; IRON MAN (1998) 1.
120 PGS./AGES 10 & UP …$9.99
ISBN: 978-1-302-92117-0


Okay, I give up--what the fuck is "the Marvel-Verse"...? This looks like a mix of those continuity-lite, all-ages comics Marvel was publishing off and on in the '00s, paired with a couple of old, canonical comics of relatively great age. There's another Marvel-Verse collection solicited featuring Thanos, but all of its contents seem to come from the MCU proper.



MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #10
SALADIN AHMED (W) • JAVIER GARRON (A) • Cover by MAHMUD ASRAR
VARIANT COVER BY JAVIER GARRON
VARIANT COVER BY ED MCGUINNESS
IMMORTAL WRAPAROUND VARIANT COVER BY TBA
SPIDER-SEMIQUINCENTENNIAL OR BIG 250th ANNIVERSARY ISSUE?
That’s right, it’s our 250th issue and it’s Miles Morales’ birthday! But YOU’RE getting all the gifts! A mystery dating back to Miles’ first appearance? Answered! A terrifying villain destined to become one of Miles’ greatest adversaries? Revealed! Special guests, like maybe Peter Parker: Spider-Man? YOU KNOW IT! All busting out of 25 pages by main series storytellers Saladin Ahmed and Javier Garrón, PLUS a bonus back-up by Ahmed and a special guest artist delving into the history of your new favorite character, STARLING! Your FOMO is well-founded! DON’T MISS IT!
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99


Your tenth issue can't be your 250th issue! That's not how counting works!



Dang, Tradd Moore is so good...


SON OF SATAN: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #12
FACSIMILE EDITION
Written by GARY FRIEDRICH
Penciled by HERB TRIMPE
Cover by HERB TRIMPE
From Hell he came! By day he is Daimon Hellstrom, but by night he is known as the Son of Satan! Trident in hand, striking birthmark on his chest, and with the strength of a hundred men, Daimon is on the trail of his accursed father — and woe betide anyone who stands in his way! Watch in terror as the Son of Satan fights his way through an army of demons as he pursues the ultimate family feud — with the soul of Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider, at stake! It’s one of the all-time great Marvel comic books, boldly re-presented in its original form, ads and all! Reprinting MARVEL SPOTLIGHT (1971) #12.
32 PGS./one-shot/All Ages …$3.99


Having read the above issue and the first chunk of Son of Satan comics in Essential Marvel Horror Vol. 1, I've been disappointed with almost every later appearance featuring the character. Like, when you first appear wearing a shirt but no cape, holding a trident made of psycho-sensitive devil metal "netharanium" and riding on a flaming chariot pulled by flying demon horses, it's kind of hard to maintain that level of intensity for, like 40 issues, let alone 40 years. But when he just shows up in a red suit and casting the occasional urban magic spell these days, well, it's almost always something of a let down.


SPIDER-MAN #1 (OF 5)
J.J. ABRAMS & HENRY ABRAMS (W) • SARA PICHELLI (A)
Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL
...
WHO IS CADAVEROUS?!
The most shocking and incredible comic of 2019 is here as J.J. ABRAMS (STAR WARS, STAR TREK, SUPER 8) and his son HENRY ABRAMS are joined by superstar artist SARA PICHELLI (MILES MORALES, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) team up for SPIDER-MAN! What do they have planned for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson?! Who is Cadaverous?! The Modern Master of Mystery Makes His Marvel this September!
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99


Hm. This is an unexpected writing team. I suppose Abrams earns a gig writing a Marvel comic via the good at/popular in another medium route that many non-comics writers before him have scored such gigs in the past, but what about his son Henry Abrams? Is he there just because his dad is J.J. Abrams? (I don't see any writing credits for him at comics.org or IMDb.com). That, of course, doesn't necessarily mean he will be bad at writing comics or anything, but the nepotism is particularly in your face here and, in general, it's not like nepotism is a generally positive force in this world. Who am I to judge them personally, though? Like, I'm pretty sure if my dad was a pretty famous movie director, I'd ask him to help me get a gig writing comics, too. And I guess you can't blame Marvel too much either, as getting a popular filmmaker to write a comic for them was probably pretty appealing no matter which relatives he wants as his co-writer (Although I imagine the editors are hoping this goes better than that Iron Man comic Jon Favreau started, or Kevin Smith's Daredevil: Bullseye. Hopefully they've learned to not solicit miniseries from filmmakers until all of the scripts are in.)

That's a particularly strange choice of title for the comic, given that it's just a miniseries. I can't imagine why it isn't called Spider-Man: Cadaverous or something like that; it will certainly be sold in trade format with a sub-title.



STRIKEFORCE #1

TINI HOWARD (W) • Germán Peralta (A) • Cover by ANDREA SORRENTINO
...
NO COMPROMISE. NO MERCY.
ALL NEW, ONGOING SERIES!
From the dark minds of rising stars Tini Howard and Germán Peralta comes a tale of the underside of the Marvel Universe! A new threat is secretly taking over the planet -- and the more people who know about it, the more powerful the threat becomes. Blade dealt with this threat once before, and hoped to never have to again. He can’t bring the Avengers in on this -- not just for their own safety, but for the safety of everyone on Earth. So he must recruit a team of heroes accustomed to darkness -- a strikeforce. Blade, Angela, Spider-Woman, Wiccan, the Winter Soldier, Monica Rambeau and Daimon Hellstrom join forces to fight the fights that no other Marvel team can take on!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Based on the cover, the organizing principle of this team book is...characters chosen from a hat containing the names of all the Marvel characters...? There are a couple more mentioned in the solicitation copy, but they are just as random as all of those pictured on the cover/s. I'm unfamiliar with the work of the creators, and the team features such an odd make-up--like, original Champions odd--that I'm not sure what to make of the book. I do like Son of Satan (although I prefer him as he was in the comic pictured above, where he was more akin to a Satanic Namor than a ginger John Constanine) and Blade, so...we'll see.

It's a shame that Spider-Woman is back in her dumb bodypaint costume so soon after her redesign (and that she appears to be completely Porcupine-less).



*This is something I think about a lot, but I often wonder if the heroes who live in superhero universes are made more or less likely to have particular religious beliefs or practices, based on what they saw. Like, if you've been to hell or heaven and died and come back repeatedly or used ectoplasmic guns to hunt evil people for angels or whatever, does that make you 100% certain in the existence of God and the immortality of the soul and afterlives as sketched out by various religions, or do you instead just assume that those entities are just aliens and their realms of existence just alternate dimensions, like, I don't know, the god-like Watchers and Celestials and Asgardians and The Negative Zone and Asgard and so on. I think these questions are magnified in intensity in the DC Universe, where more characters have died and been resurrected more often, and The Spectre has been walking around and talking to the heroes for decades.

Anyway, the fact that The Punisher kills criminals like he's swatting insects makes me assume he hasn't given too much stock in heaven and hell, but I could very well be wrong, given I've missed something like 10,000 Punisher comics. A conversation between Conan the Barbarian and Frank the Punisherian makes me excited to read this series, though.

Friday, June 21, 2019

DC's September previews reviewed

Something about those piles of rubble in the foreground of this cover image to Batman #78 by Tony S. Daniel looks weird to me. I guess it's mostly that when we get a Batman "pose" cover like that, he's usually posing atop a gargoyle, rooftop or maybe even a sign or fire escape, rather than a pile of rubble. That is, presumably, reflective of the contents of the issue, and Daniel wanted to show that Gotham City was in more dire straits than is usually the case when Batman and/or Catwoman pose for covers.

On the other hand, the rubble piles are stacked in such a way, and lined up just so, that they also happen to obscure both characters' feet, which makes me wonder if the image wasn't composed specifically so that Daniel wouldn't have to draw feet. If so, mission accomplished! There are two people in the image, which equals four feet, but he ended up only having to draw, like, half a foot.

Man, the more I look at it, the more crowded and unsightly the image looks. Daniels has gotten to be pretty accomplished and Jim Lee-like figure work, but overall, that's a not-very-good cover image. I wonder what it will look like with the logo and other stuff added, making it still more of a jumble and, I imagine, obscuring important-ish information like Batman's head and the bat-signal.


Catwoman's ears look weird and horse-like here and I don't like them. Um, that is all. I didn't mean to dump on Daniel so much this post. I'm sorry, Mr. Daniel.

Oh hey, the lady Catwoman is attacking, is that Magpie...? It looks like her costume from Beware The Batman, but with her original, John Byrne-designed glasses. I really rather liked what they did with the character in that show; in fact, I think that particular cartoon is really underappreciated. The computer animation was not to my taste, and they certainly made some unusual choices, but I really dug the fact that the creators seemed to have sat down, reviewed all of the Batman villains ever, and then restricted themselves only to ones that hadn't appeared in all the previous Batman cartoons, so that instead of The Joker, Catwoman and Bane we got Anarky, Magpie and The Silver Monkey. It was a really weird show, but it was a good, refreshing kind of weird.

What was I talking about...?

Oh yeah, Batman #79's cover. I kind of love that Bane stamped his "logo" on those boxes. The solicitation mentions that Batman and Catwoman are teaming up to attack Bane's supply line or some such, and it doesn't look like it would take the World's Greatest Detective to find Bane's supplies...

Oh hey, Daniel didn't draw any feet on this cover, either! But see how much more natural the image looks? Like, the lack of feet was the tenth thing I noticed, not the first, and it doesn't seem to be an intentional design choice in the way that the awkwardly-placed rubble piles in the previous image did.


BATMAN AND THE JUSTICE LEAGUE MANGA VOL. 3 TP
written by SHIORI TESHIROGI
art and cover by SHIORI TESHIROGI
In the next chapter of the manga adventures of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes, Ocean Master has summoned a massive tidal wave to flood Gotham City! While Aquaman tries to reason with his brother, Batman is determined to stop him by any means necessary. Superman soon joins the fray, but the challenge becomes even greater when the mysterious oni known as Akurou summons a giant snake to engage the heroes. Plus, new villains arrive on the scene—Sinestro, Reverse-Flash and Cyborg Superman...and the nexus point of the greatest congestion of ley lines on Earth is revealed to be directly under the Batcave!
ON SALE 10.02.19
$12.99 US | 208 PAGES


Reminder: This series is great and I love it. I'm looking forward to meeting the new characters--well, new to this narrative, of course--and seeing how Teshirogi has redesigned them. That Reverse-Flash chest emblem, for example, looks neat.


Oh hey look! It's a Kevin Nowlan cover randomly atop an issue of Batman and The Outsiders! That's cool. Comics generally look better when they have Kevin Nowlan covers atop them. And look, he even incorporated black-colored lightning bolts into it, of the sort I've argued that maybe Black Lightning should be throwing around these days.

Sadly, Nowlan's just drawing the cover, and not the interior pages. Sadder still? He did not get to redesign poor Cassandra Cain's dumb "Orphan" costume...


BATMAN/SUPERMAN #2
written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
art and cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
variant cover by JEROME OPENA
The Batman Who Laughs’ plot is bigger than either the Caped Crusader or the Man of Steel realized. Following a showdown with the devious killer’s first sentinel, a jacked-up, Dark Multiverse-infected Shazam!, the pair has to figure out who else has been targeted for similar transformations. Their first two guesses: someone very close to Batman and the one hero that would make failure nearly impossible—Superman himself!
ON SALE 09.25.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T


Oh come on now. Is there a single Captain Marvel/Shazam fan on the planet who wants to read about a "jacked-up, Dark Multiverse-infected" version of the character...? No, the answer is no, there is not. And if a wisenheimer out there says that they are a fan of the character, they just wish he was a little more jacked-up and Dark Multiverse-infected, they are liars. Liars, I say!

Also, the jacked-up, Dark Multiverse-infected Shazam looks dumb...though not really any dumber than the New 52 redesign of the character, I guess. I wish they would have at least gone comically evil in the design, and given him, like a curly mustache or purple and green costume or something...

...

Oh no. I can't stop saying "jacked-up, Dark Multiverse-infected"...!


DCEASED: A GOOD DAY TO DIE #1
written by TOM TAYLOR
art by LAURA BRAGA, DARICK ROBERTSON and others
cover by RYAN SOOK
variant cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA
horror movie variant cover by YASMINE PUTRI
While the mainstays of the Justice League—Superman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman—battle the worldwide infection in the pages of DCEASED, a group of other heroes work to stop the impending apocalypse—no matter who they have to kill!
Mr. Terrific assembles a motley group of surviving heroes including Mister Miracle, Big Barda, John Constantine, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold as they attempt to fight back against the tide of death. Can this ragtag group save the world where the Justice League has thus far failed?
ONE-SHOT | ON SALE 09.04.19
$4.99 US | 48 PAGES
FC | RATED T+


I've only read the first issue of DCeased so far, but I really, really didn't like it.

It just read like DC's Marvel Zombies, but somehow even less inspired than the original Marvel Zombies which, remember, was a spin-off of a Mark Millar comic (Granted, that was before Millar had completely given up on trying, and had yet to transition into having popular artists draw up the notes from his old Marvel/DC pitch files as pitches for Hollywood movies starring Marvel and DC analogues but still).

I think it was all the more disappointing than it might have otherwise been because I've seen really rather great work from Tom Taylor, and a lame comic from a great comics writer will always read worse than a lame comic from a mediocre comics writer.

Anyway, it's apparently selling like hotcakes, so it's getting a spin-off featuring John Constantine and some of the publisher's fun third-stringer characters.

I'll try it again when they release it in trade, which I imagine will include this as well.


DOLLAR COMICS: DETECTIVE COMICS #854
written by GREG RUCKA
art by J.H. WILLIAMS III | cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III
Reprinting the first chapter of Batwoman’s epic clash with the Religion of Crime.
ON SALE 09.04.19
$1.00 US | 32 PAGES | FC


This appears to be DC's answer to Marvel's True Believers series of $1 reprint comics. I've never quite understood the exact economics of those, but my guess is that Marvel considers them as a sort of advertising for trade collections and/or runs of trades (certainly most of the ones I've bought and read end with a "Continued in..." slug referring the reader to a collected edition of some form).

The particular titles that DC is starting with here are the first appearance of Batwoman outside of 52 (the first chapter in her first starring solo arc), the first chapter of the "Hush" story arc in Batman (which is not a very good storyline, although it doesn't fully fall apart until the last chapter or so, and up until then is mostly an okay "Greatest Hits" type of story in which Jeph Loeb has a popular artist draw all the Batman characters), the first issue of the first New 52 Harley Quinn ongoing (which I sort of hated, as it was the introduction of the Jimmy Palmiotti/Amanda Conner "Deadpool, but sexy" take on the character, but I was and am obviously in the minority there) and the first issue of Crisis On Infinite Earths (which every DC fan should read, if only to see George Perez draw the entire DC character catalog circa the mid-1980s).

In addition to being single issues that point toward particular collections, three of the four have multi-media tie-ins, in the form of an upcoming Batwoman TV show, a direct-to-DVD animated adaptation of "Hush" and a Harley Quinn animated series (plus that Birds of Prey movie). Actually, I think the "Arrowverse" stuff have been doing things with the infinite Earths and Monitor, so hell, maybe that counts too, I don't know.

I'm certainly on board with DC publishing $1 reprints, as I like cheap comics and have always preferred DC's characters to Marvel's, but I won't be purchasing any of these, on account of the fact that I've already bought and read all of these.



DOOM PATROL BY JOHN BYRNE OMNIBUS HC
written by JOHN BYRNE with CHRIS CLAREMONT
art by JOHN BYRNE, DOUG HAZLEWOOD, JERRY ORDWAY and others
cover by JOHN BYRNE
The original World’s Strangest Heroes are back, in the way that only the legendary John Byrne can deliver! Picking up in the wake of the events of “The Tenth Circle” saga in JLA, this series reunites Robotman, Elasti-Girl, Negative Man and Niles Caulder with a host of edgy new superheroes! They’ve defeated the vampire Crucifer...or have they? This title collects JLA #94-99, DOOM PATROL #1-18, SUPERMAN #20, a story from SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #1 and behind-the-scenes material.
ON SALE 02.19.20
$75.00 US | 7.0625” x 10.875”
672 PAGES | FC
ISBN: 978-1-779500847


I'm sort of surprised to see this here, although I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, as there is a Doom Patrol TV show now, and that show looks pretty good from what I've seen of it (that is, trailers on YouTube). In addition to John Byrne's relatively short-lived Doom Patrol series, this collects the JLA arc by Byrne and Chris Claremont that rebooted the Doom Patrol independently of the rest of the DC Universe (in my reading experience, those types of reboots never work, and will just be cleaned up in the next line-wide reboot anyway), and, if memory serves, this signaled the ruining of the Doom Patrol characters for a bit and, more relevantly to me at the time, the beginning of JLA's slide into irrelevance prior to its relaunch after Infinite Crisis.

Prior to this JLA arc, the book was written by Grant Morrison (with fill-in issues and arcs by Mark Waid, Mark Millar and Waid and Devin K. Grayson), then by Mark Waid (with one fill-in issue by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty), then Joe Kelly (with a fill-in by Rick Veitch), and then there was a three-issue arc written by Denny O'Neill where the book got...weird, essentially becoming an anthology series, with an arc apiece from Byrne and Claremont (bad!), Chuck Austen (bad!), Kurt Busiek (great!), Geoff Johns (better than Identity Crisis, at least!) and Bob Harras (okay!). The Byrne and Claremont  arc was the second of those arcs from the "Fuck it, it's an anthology now" period of the book. So while it's not necessarily Byrne's fault, when I think of the Byrne Doom Patrol, I think about my once-favorite comic book title falling apart.

That said, I never read any of these comics. I think I read JLA #94 and maybe #99. I do not feel any great compulsion to read it now, either.

I like the reference to "edgy new heroes" in the solicitations, though. The only "new" Doom Patroler I remember was a gorilla who had not two but four arms. That's twice as many arms as gorillas usually have! Edgy!


GOTHAM CITY MONSTERS #1
written by STEVE ORLANDO
art by AMANCAY NAHUELPAN
cover by PHILIP TAN
...
Leviathan has dismantled S.H.A.D.E.—and that means Frankenstein is once again a free agent! Now he can set his sights on his former mentor, Melmoth, the one evil that got away. With bad things happening all across the Multiverse, this may be Frankenstein’s last shot at setting things right. Of course, Melmoth has his own agenda, and it’s going to take more than a lone monster to take him down. So Frankenstein heads to Gotham City in search of allies and recruits Killer Croc, Lady Clayface, Orca and vampire Andrew Bennett. But will even these dread creatures be enough to save humanity before the entire cosmos collapses in on itself?
ON SALE 09.11.19
$3.99 US | 1 OF 6 | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+


Steve Orlando, an apparent Grant Morrison fan turned professional comics writer who writes Morrison creations, gets his hands on another Morrison co-creation...or, re-co-creation, I guess.

I've read enough of Orlando's work to know this is very much not for me (and I'm still pissed off about that Promethea appearance), but I think it's worth pointing out the appearance of Orca, The Whale Woman on the team line-up. Everyone thought it was so funny when Larry Hama and Scott McDaniel introduced her in a 2000 Batman arc and now, not even 20 years later, she's been in a movie and is a Lego and has become a recurring villain in the pages of Nightwing and now a new miniseries called Gotham Monsters featuring, like, one to three monsters from Gotham.

Orca is a good example, I think, of creating new characters for your Big Two super-comics, even if it means you lose ownership of them (Especially if they're just so-so characters; like, Hama and McDaniel were unlikely to ever do an Orca, The Whale Woman ongoing series at Image and then see it optioned by a studio and turned into a blockbuster movie). Maybe Orlando will create some new characters some day. In the meantime, I guess he'll stick to those Morrison has created and worked on...?

"Lady Clayface" is a particularly weird inclusion on the team. I only remember her appearing in a couple of Batman stories proper (as opposed to Batman and The Outsiders), most memorably "The Mud Pack" four-parter by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle, and she was thus never much of an ongoing presence in Gotham City. I think the last I saw here was when Jean-Paul Valley was Batman, but Wikipedia says she is in Johns' Watchmen II: The Story Continues, sooooooooo maybe this is a post-whatever-Johns-is-doing-to-continuity storyline...? That, or she's being reintroduced here for the first time; Clayface continuity is probably the part of Batman continuity most screwed up by The New 52boot.

 Like, yeah, obviously the Robins and Batgirls are all fucked up now in terms of who came when and which stories happened and how, but the Clayfaces aren't really touched on...they seem to have just given Clayface I the powers of Clayface II and left it at that; I don't know if Clayfaces II-IV even existed anymore...


Hey, that's the least terrible Carol Ferris has looked in a long time...! Another high five for the The Green Lantern artist Liam Sharp!


HARLEY QUINN AND POISON IVY #1
written by JODY HOUSER
art by ADRIANA MELO
cover by ELENA CASAGRANDE
...
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are taking their show on the road in this new miniseries! They’ll have to evade villains and heroes alike while they explore their relationship and unpack their time and experiences at Sanctuary. Set after the events of HEROES IN CRISIS and smack in the middle of “Year of the Villain,” it’s a journey across the DC Universe that will change their friendship forever...if they live that long!
ON SALE 09.04.19
$3.99 US | 1 OF 6 | 32 PAGES
CARD STOCK VARIANT COVERS $4.99
FC | RATED T+


What's the comic book equivalent of the term "box office poison"...? Is it just "comic shop poison"...? Because I've gotten the sense that no one really liked Heroes In Crisis much at all, and I wonder how series spinning out of and deliberately name-checking DC's logic-defying story of superhero PTSD/super-mass shooting-esque events/hero-turned-murderer will be received. Usually these two characters are played for laughs when they are together, but then there's that whole Heroes In Crisis angle, as well as a reference to the "Year of the Villain" effort, which seems to involved Underworld Unleashed-like villain upgrades.

By the way, what the fuck is going on with Ivy's design on that cover...? She looks oddly Swamp Thing-y...



INFERIOR FIVE #1
written by KEITH GIFFEN and JEFF LEMIRE
art and cover by KEITH GIFFEN and MICHELLE DELECKI
backup story written by JEFF LEMIRE
backup story art by JEFF LEMIRE
variant cover by JEFF LEMIRE
The citizens of Dangerfield, Arizona, are beset by strange goings-on after the “Invasion” that rocked the DC Universe, but only five misfit kids seem to notice them. Can they uncover what’s happening before some sinister force collects them all? Find out in this new miniseries!
And in the backup feature with story and art by Jeff Lemire, the Peacemaker is on a top-secret mission from Checkmate and Amanda Waller to find a mysterious weapon before the Russians can.
ON SALE 09.18.18 | $3.99 US
1 OF 12 | 32 PAGES | FC | RATED T


Weird. Given that the solicitation copy seems to suggest a "new" Inferior Five rather than the originals--last seen in the pages of Scooby-Doo Team-Up!--and that their story is the work of Keith Giffen, I am going to hazard to guess that the existence of this book has something to do with trademark renewal, but that doesn't mean it won't also be worthwhile. I imagine some folks will be more excited by the prospect of Giffen doing his own art (or at least part of it) than by the fact that there's an Inferior Five reboot coming down the pipeline.

The fact that the book is being paired with a Peacemaker back-up is also kind of weird, and that's another character so out-of-left field that I have a feeling that characters was on the same list as the Inferior Five, in terms of IP DC has to do something with every so often for some legal reason. Or maybe in hopes of getting a sixth CW show going, I don't know. A Checkmate-related story seems oddly timed too, given that Bendis' big event comic was premised on Leviathan dismantling all such organizations.

Anyway, that too will have Lemire drawing his own comic, for the first time in...way too long, really. I was just thinking the other day how weird it is that I've enjoyed all of Lemire's personal work for Top Shelf and elsewhere, but his superhero writing has always left me cold, and I wondered if part of it wasn't just the corporate, doing-it-for-the-paycheck aspect as much as cartoonists tend to do their best writing when they are also drawing that same work.

Anyway, this is the all-around most surprising solicit of the month, I think.



JUSTICE LEAGUE #31
written by SCOTT SNYDER and JAMES TYNION IV
art by JORGE JIMENEZ
cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
variant cover by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
“The Justice Doom War” part two! The culmination of Lex Luthor’s plan hinges on his beating the Justice League to the prize, ratcheting up the peril as the Year of the Villain continues! The Totality has shattered and its pieces have been tossed across space and time. Thus, the Justice League must also split apart, forming three search teams to comb the past, present, and future to re-combine the Totality before the Legion of Doom can get its villainous hands on the cosmic weapon. What allies will our heroes find in these other timelines? In the future, it’s the Last Boy on Earth, Kamandi! But in the past, there are the familiar faces of the Justice Society of America!
ON SALE 09.04.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+


Oh wow, I really like that first cover, which is Julian Totino Tedesco's variant cover for the issue. I like that all of the pictured characters seem to be striking poses that are fairly natural-ish for them, and to be all doing so on the same cover. The Batman pose is pretty nice, too; on a Batman comic (or in a Batman comic) we would see him coming at us from the front, but here, on a JLA cover, we see him from a different point of view. I also lie that everyone seems to be wearing spandex or tights of some kind, rather than weird, sectional armor (aside from Wonder Woman, of course). Hell, I don't even see The Flash's stupid lightning bolt-shaped eyebrow patterns on his cowl, but maybe that's just because it's far away.

As nice as that cover image is, though, that's probably not the one that will be talked about most, given the fact that the JSA is on the cover of the other one, and while this may involve some dumb multiverse stuff, where the JSA ends up inhabiting some kind of Earth-2.9 or whatever, I'm hopeful that the DCU is being restored to it's post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint continuity, at least regarding the Golden Age heroes having existed in the DCU, as foreshadowed in DC Universe: Rebirth. Maybe Geoff Johns' Watchmen Vs. Justice League story is finally wrapping up and they can make good on shooting off all the Chekov guns in that one-shot from a million months ago...

Anyway, the JSA is back! Hooray!


That's quite an unfortunate haircut on poor Klarion, The Witch Boy, a kid not really known for having decent-looking haircuts. The Floronic Man and Solomon Grundy have both seen better days too, come to think of it...


LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: MILLENNIUM #1
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by JIM LEE, DUSTIN NGUYEN, ANDREA SORRENTINO, ANDRE ARAUJO and others
cover by RYAN SOOK
...
Brought to you by some of comics’ greatest talents, this epic story spans the course of 1,000 years and, for the very first time, connects all of DC’s future timelines! Starring the unlikeliest of DC heroes as she learns to cope with newfound immortality and roams through the disparate societies of Batman Beyond, Kamandi and Tommy Tomorrow, wrestling with her own inner demons and desperately trying to find her purpose in an ever-changing world. Do not miss this truly unique take on tomorrow’s DC Universe, all leading up to a special launch on the millennium!
ON SALE 09.04.19
$4.99 US | 1 OF 2 | 40 PAGES
FC | RATED T


Hmm. I have no particular interest in the Legion of Super-Heroes characters or comics--although I do find a couple of aspects of the basic concept extremely compelling--so I am not one of the many, many DC fans who will likely be very excited that DC seems committed to bringing them back in some capacity (a return that, like that of the JSA, was teased forever ago now, in the pages of DC Universe: Rebirth). I think the fact that Bendis appears to be attached to their return in some capacity also means DC is committed to making it work this time too, in the way the team's way too many past reboots indicate that DC wasn't too terribly invested into whatever was going on 1,000 years in their future.

Personally, I thought writer Geoff Johns had done a pretty solid job of "fixing" the franchise forever ago, when he was writing Action Comics and did that Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds series, but just like everything else Johns seemed to have fixed for the publisher, that too was jettisoned in The New 52 reboot.

I hope I'll be able to read this one day. Andrea Sorrentino's inclusion makes me think I might not be able too. Like, I know this is more a matter of personal taste than the quality of the art or the talent involved in producing it (although Sorrentino's storytelling does leave a lot to be desired), but I just have a really, really hard time reading his art.

Given the subtitle, and its history at DC Comics, I can't help but wonder if this will have any kind of connection to the 1988 crossover event, particularly since Millennium seemed to have such an influence on Bendis' Secret Invasion series.


LOIS LANE #3
written by GREG RUCKA
art and cover by MIKE PERKINS
variant cover by NICOLA SCOTT
Jon Kent surprises his mother with a visit to her hideout in Chicago with big news that ties directly into the events of SUPERMAN #15, also on sale this month. While Lois must deal with her now-17-year-old son making life-changing decisions, the two Questions—Renee Montoya and Vic Sage—try to understand their own confusing continuity.
ON SALE 09.04.19
$3.99 US | 3 OF 12 | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T


Wait, Jon is 17 now? Jeez, the last time I saw his age mentioned in a comic book he was still too young to technically qualify to be a Teen Titan. They really do grow up fast.


NAOMI SEASON ONE HC
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS and DAVID F. WALKER
art and cover by JAMAL CAMPBELL
DC’s biggest, newest mystery starts here! When a fight between Superman and Mongul crashes into a small Northwestern town, Naomi begins to uncover the last time a super-powered person visited her home—and how that might tie into her own origins and adoption. Follow Naomi’s journey on a quest that will take her to the heart of the DC Universe and unfold a universe of ideas and stories that have never been seen before. Join writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker and breakout artist Jamal Campbell in Wonder Comics’ massively ambitious new series and star...Naomi. Collects NAOMI issues #1-6.
ON SALE 10.23.19
$19.99 US | 160 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-9495-3


I can't believe how wrong they spelled the word "volume." It's V-O-L-U-M-E, not S-E-A-S-O-N.


SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #50
written by SHOLLY FISCH
art and cover by SCOTT JERALDS
Magical fanboy imps Bat-Mite and Scooby-Mite are back—and they’ve brought along a host of Batmen and Scooby-Doos! But when the mites conjure up the ultimate trans-dimensional menace for our heroes to battle, will even a League of Batmen and Society of Scoobies be enough to save their infinite Earths? Plus, can they unravel the mystery behind the shadowy figure known only as…Scrappy-Doo?
ON SALE 09.25.19
$2.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED E
FINAL ISSUE


What?! "Final issue"...?! That's...that's about the worst comics news I can imagine! Scooby-Doo Team-Up is one of only two regular, ongoing series that I order in single issues anymore (the other is Justice League), so this, like, the second-to-last nail in the coffin of my comic book buying, as opposed to graphic novel buying, I guess.

The good news is that this sounds like it might be a particularly awesome issue. I've often wondered about some sort of "Crisis of Infinite Scooby-Doos" type of comic or cartoon story, in which the various Scooby Gangs of all their many iterations intersect in some way. I doubt that's what this will be--like, I don't see Freddie Prinze Jr or Robbie Amell's live action Fred Jones appearing alongside the trap-obsessed lunkhead from Mystery Incorporated and the pint-sized, buzzcut conspiracy theorist of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, as awesome as that might be--but rather Scooby-Doos from alternate dimensions. I hope those Scoobies will correspond to extant worlds in the DC Multiverse that correspond to the Batman's that appear. Like, I would love to see Earth-3's evil Scooby Gang, Earth-2's World War II-era Scooby Gang, Earth-X's Nazi Scooby Gang...maybe a Scoobies from the world of Kamandi where he's a hyper-evolved dog man and the kids are barbarians, or from the world of the Atomic Knights, where the gang rides around on Scooby's back or...Oh man, is there a Scooby-Doo from the Elseworlds Red Rain-verse? A Scooby-Doo '66? (If so, would Scooby and company even be distinguishable from the characters in the first season of the original Scooby-Doo cartoon?) Does the Dark Knight Returns-iverse have a Scooby-Doo? Is there a Scooby-Doo One Million?!

Oh man, the more I think about Scooby-Doos from all the worlds that have Batmen, I am getting more jazzed--I hope this is 80-pages long and drawn by an all-star roster of artists...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I have to go write some Scooby-Doo Meets Vampire Batman fan-fic, and imagine everyone looks like Kelley Jones drew them...

Friday, May 31, 2019

Marvel's August previews reviewed

Well, now that the "War of the Realms" line-wide crossover event story is all done, Marvel is turning its attention away from over-sized event storytelling and returning their focus to high-quality, individual, done-in-one stories perfect for brand-new readers who--

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1 (OF 4)
DONNY CATES (W) • RYAN STEGMAN (A/C)
Variant Cover by ARTGERM (Virgin Version Also Available)
Action Figure Variant Cover by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
Variant Cover by RON LIM
Variant Cover by NICK BRADSHAW
Codex Variant Cover by ADI GRANOV
Connecting Variant Cover by TBA
Cult of Carnage Variant Cover by GABRIELLE DELL’OTTO
Hidden Gem Variant Cover by MARK BAGLEY
Party Variant Cover by MIKE DEODATO (B&W Version Also Available)
Premiere Variant Cover by RYAN STEGMAN
Young Guns Variant Cover by AARON KUDER
Blank Variant Cover Also Available
After turning Venom’s world upside down a year ago, DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN are about to put the Sinister Symbiote through hell again, only this time CARNAGE has come calling, and everyone who’s ever worn a symbiote is dead in his sights! He’s skirted the periphery of the Marvel Universe for months, but Cletus Kasady at last stands poised to make his grand return to New York in a blistering 60-PAGE story… and he wants to paint the town red!
72 PGS./Rated T+ …$7.99


JK! This August the publisher kicks off their Absolute Carnage story line with an $8, 70+-page issue that comes with no fewer than 13 covers. The main series is just four issues, two of which ship in August, but there will also be five separate three-issue miniseries launching in August, as well as a tie-in issues of Venom.

If you can't get enough symbiotes and have $57.88 to spend on comics this August, has Marvel got some comics for you!

Oddly, Amazing Spider-Man was able to escape, and it doesn't look like Spider-Man Prime has a role to play in Absolute Carnage, not even in a miniseries, but maybe Peter Parker was mentioned in one of the miniseries solicitations and I just missed it, because my eyes can sometimes glaze over when reading about symbiotes the same way they can when I read the word "mutant" too many times in one sitting...


AGENTS OF ATLAS #1 (OF 5)
GREG PAK & JEFF PARKER (W) • GANG HYUK LIM & CARLO PAGULAYAN (A)
Cover by JUNG-GEUN YOON
...
PROTECTING EVERY CORNER OF THE MARVEL U.!
By popular demand, ATLAS debut in their own series as AMADEUS CHO, SILK, SHANG-CHI, WAVE, JIMMY WOO and all your favorites defend the cross-Asian portal city of Pan against the science-magic threat of one of Marvel’s classic villains! Classic science-magic super hero fun combined with young and old heroes from multiple lands clashing with one another, fighting monsters and maybe saving the world along the way! And who is ISAAC IKEDA, the Protector of Pan? PLUS: Where are the original AGENTS OF ATLAS? Namora, M-11, Gorilla Man and Marvel Boy in an all-new top-secret mission!
40 PGS./Rated T+ …$4.99


Hmmm...I'm glad to see the original Agents showing up alongside the new team, which seems to have simply appropriated the team name, as Jimmy Woo is the only holdover. Of course, maybe the "classic villain" they are fighting is The Golden Claw, in which case the name might be a bit more appropriate...?

It's difficult to tell from the wording of this solicitation copy, but I get the sense that this miniseries will have a lead feature by Grg Pak and Gang Hyuk Lim starring the new Agents, and a backup by Jeff Parker and Carol Pagulayan featuring the original team.

Personally, I think I would find a new team consisting of a super line-up of both iterations combined more engaging, in much the same way I kind of wish that Marvel launched a Defenders book combining a classic line-up (Doctor Strange, Namor, The Hulk, The Silver Surfer, maybe Hellcat and Nighthawk and/or a Valkyrie) wit the Netflix-inspired team that starred in the last book to bear that title (Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones).


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #27
NICK SPENCER (W) • KEV WALKER (A) • Cover by RYAN OTTLEY
...
• There is a new Sinister Syndicate!
• Beetle, Electro, Lady Octopus, Scorpia and White Rabbit have come together for one reason: TO HUNT BOOMERANG!
• Spidey knew having Boomerang as a roommate would come back to bite him, but not like this.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

Wait, Lady Octopus...? Like Olivia "Doctor Octopus" Octavius from Into the Spider-Verse...? Is she a real, preexisting character, or did the movie's success lead to her canonical existence in the Marvel Comics Universe...?


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: VENOM 3D #1 (POLYBAGGED)
Written by DAVID MICHELINIE • Penciled by TODD MCFARLANE
Cover by TODD MCFARLANE
Spider-Man’s first encounter with his deadliest foe leaps off the page like never before! The lethal Venom looks a lot like Spidey’s black costume — only bigger, stronger and with a killer smile! Worse still, thanks to the symbiotic suit, Eddie Brock knows all of Peter Parker’s secrets! Venom has already terrorized Mary Jane — so it’s just a matter of time before he comes face-to-face with Spidey. And Eddie knows just the right place to battle the wall-crawler! Can Peter figure out a way to survive? And if he does, maybe it’s time to go back to a more friendly neighborhood outfit! It’s one of the greatest issues of David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane’s fan-favorite run, with the superstar artist’s stunning pages presented for the first time in eye-popping 3D! Reprinting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #300.
48 PGS./Rated T …$7.99


Shiver!

Sorry; the word "polybagged" just makes me shudder involuntarily.

So shortly after I first moved to Columbus in 2000 or so, and suddenly had access to the many, many trade collections that the Columbus Metropolitan Library had and the Ashtabula County Public Library did not, I started seeking out many of the comic books that I knew from being around comics for so long were extremely popular, but I had just never actually read myself. Like, for example, Todd McFarlane's Amazing Spider-Man comics. Granted, this is now almost 20 years ago now, but I remember being shocked at how poor the comic was. I think I made it maybe one issue into the collection before giving up, but maybe I didn't even make it that far.

I don't know; I read a good eight issues or so of Spawn, so I know there is (or was) something appealing about McFarlane's art, but his Spider-Man just seemed completely unreadable to me. Maybe you had to be there at the time...? (I similarly never really "got" Rob Liefeld or Jim Lee's art from that era, although I do think the latter's work has improved tremendously over the decades since his X-Men was all the rage...)


Nice, evergreen Doctor Strange cover by Alan Davis.




FANTASTIC FOUR: 4 YANCY STREET #1
GERRY DUGGAN (W) • GREG SMALLWOOD (A/C)
...
• The first of a series of regular essential releases expanding on the ongoing legend of the Fantastic Four and their world!
• The FF are now living on Yancy Street, but not all of their neighbors are happy about that.
• The Thing investigates a nasty piece of vandalism that conjures up painful old memories as he takes a trip down memory lane through the Lower East Side and it’s made all the more dangerous by…THE TERRIBLE TRIO!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ …$4.99


FUTURE FOUNDATION #1
JEREMY WHITLEY (W) • WILL ROBSON (A) • Cover by CARLOS PACHECO
...
A BRAND-NEW SERIES STRAIGHT FROM THE PAGES OF FANTASTIC FOUR!
When the Richards family is called back to Earth to be the Fantastic Four again, they left behind the Future Foundation — a think tank of the most brilliant young minds in the universe — with one mission: to find the pieces of and rebuild their friend Molecule Man. But that’s proved harder than imagined as this crew of young geniuses, Atlanteans, Mutants, Moloids and androids have run into every problem in the Multiverse. Now, with the leadership of Alex and Julie Power and a little extra firepower from guest professor Yondu Udonta, the team will undergo their most dangerous mission yet — a PRISON BREAK! Jeremy Whitley (UNSTOPPABLE WASP) and Will Robson (GREAT LAKES AVENGERS; Spawn) take the Future Foundation on a heart-pounding journey across time and space!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99


These both seem broadly appealing, and I like and/or respect the work of most the creators attached to these books. That said, it seems like maybe not the best idea in the world-to start pumping out more series featuring a particular franchise almost as soon as its been deemed a mild success (although, that is basically Marvel's publishing strategy in a nutshell).

I mean, we went years without any Fantastic Four series, and now that the title has been back for a trade paperback or two's worth of single issues, Marvel is launching a new ongoing spin-off in Future Foundation and a one-shot that is "the first of a series of regular essential releases"...plus an Invisible Woman miniseries (below).


This is Amanda Conner's variant cover for Mark Waid and Mattia De Iulis' Invisible Woman #2. I've been thinking about it, and I think I've decided that the cover would look slightly cooler if Conner had not drawn the invisible force field, but instead just drawn all the projectiles bouncing off of it. There are enough of them that you should be able to "see" it without it being visible.


Nice cover for Ironheart #9 by Stefano Caselli.


MARVEL COMICS #1000
...
THIS IS THE BIG ONE! In celebration of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary, we have gathered together the greatest array of talent ever to be assembled between the covers of a single comic book! Names from the past, from the present, and even the future! Every page is filled with all-new work from this cavalcade of comic book luminaries!
There is a mystery that threads throughout the Marvel Universe — one that has its origins in MARVEL COMICS #1 and which unites a disparate array of heroes and villains throughout the decades! What is the Eternity Mask, and who is responsible for the conspiracy to keep it hidden? And what new player will make their startling debut as these secrets are peeled away?
Featuring the entirety of the Marvel Universe of characters!
96 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T …$9.99
PERFECTBOUND FORMAT!


This irritates me in several different ways, starting with the randomly chosen very high number, which seems at least in part to try to get in on that Action Comics and Detective Comics action.

I'm still going to buy and read it though...mostly out of curiosity.


MARVEL MONSTERS #1
CULLEN BUNN (W) • SCOTT HEPBURN, SUPERLOG, Becky Cloonan, Gerardo Zaffino & MORE! (A)
Cover by NICK BRADSHAW
...
THE MONSTERS ARE COMING!!!
Someone is doing terrible things to the Marvel Monsters, and only Kid Kaiju can stop it! But that’s not all! A murderers’ row of artists like Becky Cloonan, Gerardo Zaffino and others are on hand to provide awesome monster splash pages, accompanied by cross sections from superstar artist Superlog! It’s the big, bold, beautiful celebration of all things Monstrously Marvel that you won’t want to miss!
40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Parental Advisory …$4.99


Oh wow, it's like half my favorite Marvel characters, all on a single cover!

Artist Nick Bradshaw's art reminds me a lot of Arthur Adams' art, and this cover is a good example of that; Bradshaw is every bit as good at drawing monsters as Arthur Adams is! (Note Fin Fang Foom's shorts in the image, too; they are rendered really well).

The details on the contents of this are pretty sketchy, and given the fact that splash pages are specifically mentioned, I'm curious how many panels will actually be in this. Also, "& MORE" isn't generally an encouraging sign when discussing a creative team. Even still, Man-Thing and a bunch of Kirby and Lee's monsters? Yes, I will pay $5 to hang out with them.


MARVEL TEAM-UP #5
CLINT MCELROY (W)
IG GUARA (A)
Cover by ANNA RUD
• Before Carol, there was Mar-Vell. And now he’s back…or is he?
• Captain Marvel and Kamala are up to their knees in Kree nonsense. Who is the mysterious Wastrel, and why is he stockpiling enough Kree tech to build a doomsday device?
• And more importantly…how do the Kree feel about what he’s planning?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Ms. Marvel's new costume is not growing on me. In fact, it's doing the opposite.


PUNISHER KILL KREW #2 (OF 5)
GERRY DUGGAN (W)
JUAN FERREYRA (A)
Cover by TONY MOORE
HAVE GOAT, WILL TRAVEL!
• The Punisher stole Thor’s goat and is traversing the Ten Realms on a mission of vengeance.
• But the first stop is…Counter-Earth???
• Frank’s picked up some unlikely allies. Now if only he can keep them alive…
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


I can't believe that whoever wrote this solicitation wrote "The Punisher stole Thor's goat" and not "The Punisher got Thor's goat"...or "The Punisher has gotten Thor's goat."

That is a really nice drawing of a goat though; nice goat art, Tony Moore!

Say, didn't he have two goats...? Where's the goat that is not this goat?


SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN: SELF-IMPROVEMENT #1
PETER DAVID WITH RANDY SCHUELLER & TOM DEFALCO (W)
RICK LEONARDI & RON FRENZ (A)
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
• In honor of Marvel’s 80th Anniversary, we’ve uncovered a hidden gem!
• Fan Randy Scheuller submitted an idea of Spider-Man donning a black suit before SECRET WARS, but his story was never printed.
• So we tasked SPIDER-MAN legends PETER DAVID and RICK LEONARDI with bringing it into the light!
• Then read a story by two of the creators who told the first printed stories of the black costume, TOM DEFALCO and RON FRENZ!
48 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T …$4.99


This sounds like a fun idea.


SHE-HULK ANNUAL #1
ALEXANDRA PETRI (W) • ANDY MACDONALD (A) • Cover by MIRKA ANDOLFO
...
ACTS OF EVIL!
• Bullseye being hired for an assassination? Just another Tuesday. But when he decides to pin it on She-Hulk? Bad idea.
• Strap in as everyone’s favorite lawyer-slash-Hulk, Jennifer Walters, takes on the mad marksman in a classic case of character defamation…with a heaping helping of SMASH.
• Plus: Robots! Why? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see…
40 PGS./Rated T …$4.99


Huh. I'm always running about six issues behind with Marvel comics now, but unless something has happened in the pages of Avengers or Immortal Hulk in the last few months, I assume that this is set in the past, as that version of the Jennifer Walters Hulk look a lot different than the ones we've seen stomping around since Civil War II. Or perhaps cover artist Mirka Andolfo just chose to draw her in her more familiar, "Sensational" iteration than the more current one, which will be the version appearing inside...?


SPIDER-MAN: THE MANY HOSTS OF CARNAGE TPB
Written by DAVID MICHELINIE, TOM DEFALCO, HOWARD MACKIE, TODD DEZAGO, ZEB WELLS, KEVIN SHINICK, CULLEN BUNN & DAN SLOTT
Penciled by MARK BAGLEY, JOE BENNETT, JOHN ROMITA JR., SAL BUSCEMA, CLAYTON CRAIN, STEPHEN SEGOVIA, KIM JACINTO, STUART IMMONEN, HUMBERTO RAMOS & MORE
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
ON SALE SEPTEMBER 2019
A whole host of hosts! Serial killer Cletus Kasady isn’t the only one who’s bonded with Venom’s sadistic offspring, Carnage — and they’re all here! First, Jonah’s son John Jameson succumbs to the symbiote until Ben Reilly offers a more tempting meal — becoming Spider-Carnage! But the Silver Surfer may prove the most appetizing host yet! Dr. Tanis Nieves takes a turn then joins the fight against Kasady when he transforms a whole town into Carnage, U.S.A.! Even the Avengers fall prey to symbiosis — but who will be the Superior Carnage? Karl Malus? The Wizard? Or Norman Osborn, whose perverse partnership transforms him into the Red Goblin! Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #361, #410 and #431, SPIDER-MAN (1990) #67, SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #233, CARNAGE (2010) #3, CARNAGE USA #1-5, SUPERIOR CARNAGE #3-5 and ANNUAL #1 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2015) #798-800.
480 PGS./Rated T+ …$39.99
ISBN: 978-1-302-91964-1

I didn't even know Carnage had ever had more than one host. These symbiotes really get around.


THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #47
RYAN NORTH (W) • DEREK CHARM (a)
Cover by ERICA HENDERSON
BRAIN DRAIN IS MISSING!
• Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
• Let’s do the good news: It’s the start of a new Squirrel Girl arc! BRAIN DRAIN is missing! A sinister face from the past returns! And the hitherto UNBEATABLE Squirrel Girl will have to face CERTAIN DEFEAT to save him!
• Now the bad news: While this is the start of a new Squirrel Girl arc, it’s the start of our LAST Squirrel Girl arc! We’re going out on a high note. You have been amazing, and making this book has been amazing, but sadly in four months, THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL will end with issue #50. I KNOW.
• Now the good news again: Because it’s our last story ever we’re making it COMPLETELY HUGE AND AMAZING and it is going to BLOW YOUR MIND!
• It’s the start of the most nuts Squirrel Girl story ever as lives hang in the balance, narrative threads are resolved, and shocking reveals are made!


This has consistently been Marvel's best comic book for...well, well over 47 months now, and the fact that it is ending--as all good things eventually must--is genuinely bumming me out. I'll try to console myself with the thought that perhaps Ryan North, Erica Henderson and/or Derek Charm will return to do more Squirrel Girl original graphic novels, one-shots or miniseries in the future (I realllly want to read a Squirrel Girl vs. Namor story some day, for example, and I have a feeling Koi Boi would like such a thing to exist as well; oh, and I really want an Unstoppable Wasp vs. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl comic, so we can find out what happens when an Unstoppable force meets and Unbeatable object).

That, and the fact that if Tom King is leaving Batman to write a new Batman/Catwoman limited series, that means there's a non-zero chance that DC Comics is going to announce that Ryan North and Derek Charm are the new Batman team any day now.

This title was more than successful enough to put Doreen Green front and center--or at least near the front, and not too far from the center--of the Marvel Universe over the last few years, so it's certainly quite possible that Marvel will launch a new Squirrel Girl comic of some sort in the near-ish future.

When she has appeared in other books though, like the Avengers series I have already forgotten the name of, her characterization and depiction has varied, and her appearances in other comics are sometimes good and sometimes bad, but almost never like they were in her own book. I suspect that is because North has such a particular writing style and sense of humor, and he has written the book long enough to have made the character his to such a degree that non-North Squirrel Girls could sometimes scan as Not Squirrel Girls.

That said, there are other writers it easy to imagine taking on a new Squirrel Girl book, and capturing a similar spirit to that of North's run--Unstoppable Wasp's Jeremy Whitley, Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat's Kate Leth, the Squirrel Girl prose novelist team of Shannon and Dean Hale, mmmaaaybe that Zdarsky guy--but I think I would prefer the character and the book get some time off before someone tries to relaunch it too soon, when it would simply be in the shadow of the North run.*




X-FACTOR #87 FACSIMILE EDITION
Written by PETER DAVID
Penciled by JOE QUESADA
Cover by JOE QUESADA
Get inside the heads of one of the most uncanny mutant teams of all in an acclaimed classic from the stellar creative team of Peter David and Joe Quesada! Havok, Polaris, Quicksilver, Wolfsbane, Multiple Man and Strong Guy — plus X-Factor’s government liaison, Val Cooper — are all under “X-amination” by super hero psychiatrist Doc Samson! And the revelations are hilarious, heartbreaking and character-defining! Learn how frustrating it is for the super-fast Pietro Maximoff to live in a normal-paced world! Discover Guido Carosella’s hidden pain! Explore Alex Summers’ insecurities! And join Rahne Sinclair in confronting her deepest feelings! Plus: More secrets from the psychiatric couch! It’s one of the all-time great Marvel comic books, boldly re-presented in its original form, ads and all! Reprinting X-FACTOR (1986) #87.
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99


Speaking of popular comics artists from the 1990s, as I was a few inches up after looking at that polybagged McFarlane comic, I actually prefer Quesada's old, '90s style to his current style.

As I've said before, I really genuinely disliked Jim Lee's artwork from that period, but I think he's grown better and better over the years, and now I'm actually kind of fond of Lee's artwork from the last 20 years or so, but with Quesda, it's the opposite. Granted, I haven't read a whole lot of interior work from Quesada either  back in the day--Batman: Sword of Azarael may be it, actually--or more currently, so I am basing this mostly on cover images and pin-ups, I guess.

The above cover has a lot of energy to it, and the style of figure work is super-weird but still sort of engaging, even if the costumes are so repulsive it hurts my eyes just to look at them too long. Like, who the fuck is that guy with the big dopey X on his forehead? God, that costume is really poor looking, even  by '90s X-Men costume standards...



*Although, maybe if North contributed the footnote-like gags to the pages of the next writer's comics, that would help.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

DC's August previews reviewed

It's been interesting watching various DC efforts to make Aquaman look more like the actor playing him in the movies, beyond having the comic book character grow out his '90s hair and beard again.

For example, the cover on the recent release of Aquaman: War for the Throne, which repackaged various Aquaman comics by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and others from Johns' runs on Aquaman and Justice League, go so far as just straight-up redesign the character into Jason Momoa on the cover (despite the fact that inside the book, Aquaman was clean-shaven, short-haired and as blonde as he's ever been).
Or, as I noted in the previous post's review of Mera: Tidebreaker, that book's Arthur Curry was dark-haired (and, according to preliminary sketches in the back, at one point he was going to be designed to look just like a teenage version of Momoa).

Here on this variant cover for August's issue of Aquaman by Joshua Middleton, we see that Aquaman now has tattoos like Momoa, which, unless the character has spent substantial time in a tattoo parlor since I've seen him last during "Drowned Earth", is more of a "Hey, this is the comic book the movie starring Jason Momoa wass based on!" move than it is content-accurate. Which reminds me of a minor nitpick of the film! If bullets can't pierce Aquaman's impenetrable skin, how on Earth did the tattoo needle get through it over and over and over...?


Tony S. Daniel's cover for Batman #77 features Gotham Girl in a new, Robin-esque costume. I'm not a big fan of Daniels, but I like the design of that costume, which essentially just applies her original costume to a Robin template, and brightens the color scheme with purple.

Of course, then I remembered why I liked the costume so much: It reminded me of Dean Trippe's old redesign for Spoiler's costume, blending her original costume with the one she wore during her brief stint as Robin:
Given that the artists were both doing the same basic thing--taking one Gotham superheroine and making her costume into a Robin costume of sorts--I'm sure this is completely innocent and that Daniels wasn't trying to swipe Trippe's design or anything. Still, I find it kind of remarkable that considering how far apart Gothame Girl and Spoiler's original costumes were,the simple act of Robin-izing them gets you almost identical looks.


BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #4
written by BRYAN HILL
art by DEXTER SOY
cover by TYLER KIRKHAM
...
At last—the Outsiders take off on their mission to rescue Sofia from none other than Ra’s al Ghul! But Ra’s has other ideas for the quartet, and with the aid of Lex Luthor’s mysterious gift, they are playing right into his hand.
ON SALE 08.14.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+


Ugh, Ra's al Ghul again...? I am so sick of seeing that dude. I'm not sure why that is; like, I don't know if he necessarily appears more often than The Joker or The Penguin or Bane or if it just feels like he does to me personally. Maybe it's because of some formula; like, he is the least interesting Batman villain who shows up the most, or something like that.

In addition to appearing in Batman and The Outsiders, Ra's is also featuring prominently in a new Neal Adams miniseries starting this month, which I didn't pull out to highlight, because nothing about a new Neal Adams miniseries featuring Ra's al ghul excites me at all.


BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER VOL. 3 TP
written by MARV WOLFMAN, PETER MILLIGAN and others
art by JIM APARO, KIERON DWYER and others
cover by NORM BREYFOGLE
This new collection of 1990s Batman stories takes the Dark Knight behind the Iron Curtain to battle the mysterious Demon. Then, the Penguin exploits a disfigured genius for his latest evil scheme, but Batman helps turn his tech skills to the side of good. And The Joker goes on a new killing spree—but is it really the Clown Prince of Crime, or is this a case of a copycat killer? Plus, the Riddler returns in the three-part story “Dark Knight, Dark City.” Collects Batman #445-454, Detective Comics #615 and Batman Annual #14.
ON SALE 09.18.19
$29.99 US | 328 PAGES


This, on the other hand, excites me very much. Looking at what is listed above, this includes some Wolfman/Aparo comics, the three-part Penguin story in which the archfiend pulls a Hitchcock and weaponizes the birds by a variety of creators, the excellent Peter Milligan-written, Kieron Dwyer-pencilled "Dark Knight, Dark City" (featuring Mike Mignola on covers!) that was the first real "dark" take on The Riddler since his semi-retirement in 1989's Secret Origins Special #1; and that annual is a decent-ish Two-Face story written by Andrew Helfer and penciled by Chris Sprouse.

I've read maybe about half of the comics in there, mostly our of order and out-of-context--"Dark Knight, Dark City" being the only one I've read start to finish--and so I'm looking forward to this. These collections are great for filling in the gaps in ones collection, and helping to downsize my comics midden. Like, once this is sitting on my bookshelf, I'll feel secure it losing six to ten comics from a longbox.

For a newer reader, I think this is probably a pretty appealing collection, too. While certainly not the very best Batman comics of the early '90s, from what I've seen of it, this collection ranges from pretty good to great, and features The Joker (sorta), The Penguin, Two-Face and The Riddler.


BLACK CANARY: IGNITE TP
written by MEG CABOT
art and cover by CARA McGEE
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries comes Black Canary: Ignite, Meg Cabot’s first graphic novel! With expressive and energetic art by Cara McGee to match the trademark attitude and spunk of Meg Cabot’s characters and dialogue, this mother-daughter story embraces the highs and lows of growing up without growing out of what makes us unique.
Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance knows exactly what she wants, who she is, and where she’s going. First, she’ll win the battle of the bands with her two best friends, then she’ll join the Gotham City Junior Police Academy so she can solve crimes just like her dad. Who knows, her rock star group of friends may even save the world, but first they’ll need to agree on a band name.
When a mysterious figure keeps getting in the way of Dinah’s goals and threatens her friends and family, she’ll learn more about herself, her mother’s secret past, and navigating the various power chords of life.
Black Canary: Ignite is an inspirational song that encourages readers to find their own special voices to sing along with Black Canary!
ON SALE 10.30.19
$9.99 US | 5.5” x 8” | 160 PAGES


Same complaint here as with the previous DC Ink original graphic novels: Writer Meg Cabot's name is gigantic on the cover, while artist Cara McGee's is tiny and afterthought-y, and, according to the cover, this book is "illustrated by" McGee, and maybe I'm just splitting hairs differently than the ways that others might split those particular hairs, but there's a world of difference between illustration and drawing a comic.

Again, I understand why DC is highlighting the popular YA prose author who wrote the script for the original graphic novel they commissioned specifically to appeal to YA prose readers who aren't necessarily already comics readers, but it's still uncool, and I'm still going to say so every time they do it.

I'm not familiar with Cabot's writing, other than knowing her name from seeing it in libraries and bookstores all the time, but I suspect this particular Ink ogn could have some real potential to surprise, given how relatively little comic book Black Canary's history is known at all, let alone set in stone. She's been one of those characters more effected by the various crises and reboots and rejiggering than others, and sometimes reconciling the various versions can be hilariously complicated, with Black Canary basically kinda sorta becoming her own mom post-Crisis...or, at least, the two Black Canaries being split into two different characters, one of whom was the mother of the other.

Anyway, this is one I'm curious about mainly to see what the heck a teenage Dinah Lance and her life might be like, as it's not something we've seen repeatedly, as with, say Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc.


BLACK MASK: YEAR OF THE VILLAIN #1
written by TOM TAYLOR
art by CULLY HAMNER
cover by MITCH GERADS
Black Mask was one of Gotham City’s most ruthless crime lords. He had money, power and respect. But after months in the Teen Titans’ secret prison, Roman Sionis is finally free. Given a new purpose and new abilities thanks to Lex Luthor’s offer, he’s found a new racket. Corporate crime not only pays better, but it’s far less dangerous. At least until Batwoman discovers what he’s up to and plans to put an end to Black Mask’s latest power grab. Is Black Mask the same crime boss he’s always been, or has time and a new approach made him something far more unstoppable than he’s ever been?
ON SALE 08.14.19
$4.99 US | 40 PAGES
FC | RATED T+


Normally I would think it odd that a relatively C-List Batman villain like Black Mask would get a one-shot special with his name in the title, but then, I guess he is going to be the villain of the upcoming Birds of Prey movie, which seems to feature a rather unusual hodgepodge of various Gotham City-related characters.

I'm not sure what his "new abilities" might be, nor can I imagine what a super-powered Black Mask might be like and what he might do. Shoot eye beams out of his mask? Change his face to impersonate others? Melt people's faces off with a corrosive touch, leaving only their charred, black skulls...?

While there don't seem to be quite as many "Year of The Villain" references in this month's solicitations, most of those I've seen really seem to be something of an Underworld Unleashed retread, only with a reborn, Perputa-empowered Luthor in the role of Neron. This is one of two character-specific specials sub-titled Year of The Villain; the other features Sinestro.


BOOSTER GOLD: THE BIG FALL HC
written by DAN JURGENS
art by DAN JURGENS and MIKE DeCARLO
cover by DAN JURGENS
These are the 1980s tales that introduced Booster Gold, the glory-hungry hero who traveled back in time from the 25th century to become a superhero called Goldstar—but manages to mangle both his mission and his name, winding up with the oddball name by which he is known. In these stories, while battling rad 1980s super-villains, Booster attempts to line up endorsement deals with limited success. Collects BOOSTER GOLD #1-12 in color for the first time, plus design material, unpublished story pages and more.
ON SALE 09.25.19
$39.99 US | 320 PAGES


Forty bucks? Dammit; I should have picked up that Showcase Presents volume when I had the chance. How was I to know that DC would ever abandon that format for collecting old comics, the greatest format for collecting old comics ever conceived by man...?


CATWOMAN #14
written by RAM V
art by MIRKA ANDOLFO
cover by JOELLE JONES
...
A secret file out-lining the ins and outs of the criminal underworld of Villa Hermosa is on the streets, and every crook is after it. Whoever possesses this info can control everything, and some of the town’s hoods are even bringing in outside agents like Lock-Up and Gentleman Ghost to act as their champions—which, let’s face it, you’re going to need if you’re going to try to outsmart Catwoman. Making things even more dangerous for Selina Kyle, there is also a price on her head. If you can capture the database and kill the Catwoman, the payoff is double!
ON SALE 08.14.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
...
FC | RATED T+


Rather disappointing that Joelle Jones left Batman to write and draw Catwoman. And then just write Catwoman while others drew it. And now just provide the cover art while someone else writes it and another someone else draws it. Maybe she's headed back to Batman, now that it's been announced that Tom King is taking the last year or so worth of his planned 100-issue storyline and publishing it under the new, limited title Batman/Catwoman...? (Huh; I can't imagine sales on Catwoman aren't going to take a substantial hit when there are suddenly two Catwoman titles on the rack each month, one of which co-stars Batman...)

Anyway, this issue has Lock-Up and Gentleman Ghost in it! Can you think of a more mismatched duo of villains? I really like the latter (although hopefully he'll have his pre-Flashpoint design, which is the greatest, and not his post-Flashpoint design, which is the worst), and really loathe the former, whom I think is maybe the single lamest Batman villain, who is lame in an uninteresting rather than lame in a compelling way (Although I would still be more excited to see him than fucking Ra's al Ghul again!).


THE GREEN LANTERN #10
written by GRANT MORRISON
art and cover by LIAM SHARP
...
Twelve parallel worlds! Twelve Green Lanterns! And one unstoppable menace! Hal Jordan joins the Green Lanterns of the Multiverse—including Bat-Lantern, Tangent Green Lantern and more—to save a dying Multiverse, defeat the relentless Anti-Man and embark upon their “Quest for the Cosmic Grail”! It’s another Morrison/Sharp science fantasy epic!
ON SALE 08.07.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
...
FC | RATED T+


This title is really good, right? Because it looks really good every month. I'm still waiting on the trade...


GREEN LANTERN BY GEOFF JOHNS BOOK TWO TP
written by GEOFF JOHNS
art by IVAN REIS, OCLAIR ALBERT, ETHAN VAN SCIVER and others
cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
Hal Jordan has much to atone for. Possessed by an alien entity, Jordan once dismantled the entire Green Lantern Corps, killing many friends in the process. Now he has regained the trust of his friends and allies and is rebuilding his life as a member of the Corps, a defender of Earth and a human being. But fate won’t let Jordan move beyond his past. The Green Lanterns Jordan thought he had killed may still be alive...and crying for his blood! Collects GREEN LANTERN #4-20.
ON SALE 09.18.19
$39.99 US | 400 PAGES


If you buy this book, you help support Ethan Van Sciver financially, and who wants to do that these days...? It's rather too bad too, as Johns' Green Lantern work was at its strongest near the beginning of the run, I think. In fact, it seems like by the time he conceived of the emotional spectrum, Johns lost all interest in the premise for the book he established in the first few issues, and, for most of the rest of Johns' run, Hal Jordan would be doing space stuff in space, and only rarely checking in on Earth...


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: THE WEDDING OF THE ATOM AND JEAN LORING HC
written by STEVE ENGLEHART and GERRY CONWAY
art by DICK DILLIN, GEORGE TUSKA, ARVELL JONES and others
cover by DICK DILLIN
In these 1970s tales, Dr. Light makes his dramatic return—and so does Snapper Carr, who’s now turned traitor to the League! Ultraa, hero of Earth-Prime, joins the League in their battle with the Injustice Gang, while the Phantom Stranger assists the team against a family of ancient gods! Plus, the Atom and Jean Loring get married—but will the power of her mind destroy the Earth? Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #149-158 and SUPER-TEAM FAMILY #13-14.
ON SALE 02.05.19
$69.99 US | 416 PAGES


Wow, what a bizarre way to reveal the superhero identities of the civilians in the wedding party there; it looks like their souls are escaping their bodies.


SHAZAM! #9
written by GEOFF JOHNS
art by DALE EAGLESHAM
cover by MARK BUCKINGHAM
variant cover by KAARE ANDREWS
After their terrifying adventure through the Darklands, Billy and the rest of the Shazam family find themselves going over the rainbow and through the looking glass into the upside-down, topsy-turvy world of the Wozenderlands! It’s a magical, multicolored metropolis where it’s always time for a cup of tea, a game of croquet or even a stroll down the Blue Brick Road—but it’s also ruled by the mysterious Wizard of Wozenderland, desperate for the power of the six champions!
ON SALE 08.21.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T


Such a nice-looking cover by Mark Buckingham...although it really does demonstrate how poor the Shazam costume redesign is. Like, imagine how much better that image would look without the field of electric Kirby dots in Captain Marvel's sigil, or those weird boots...

I sort of appreciate Johns collapse of Oz, Wonderland and maybe even Neverland into "Wozenderland," but I'm not sure why there's a blue brick one there instead of a yellow. L. Frank Baum's Oz books are all public domain now, yes?


STARGIRL BY GEOFF JOHNS TP
written by GEOFF JOHNS and others
art by LEE MODER, DAN DAVIS, SCOTT KOLINS, FREDDIE E. WILLIAMS II and others
photo cover
When teenage Courtney Whitmore learns that her stepfather was the sidekick of the original Star Spangled Kid, she finds his old gear, dons the costume and becomes the all-new Star-Spangled Kid! Seeing no other alternative, Pat constructs an eight-foot-tall armored mechanical suit and takes on the codename S.T.R.I.P.E. to show her the ropes in the super-hero game! Collects STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. #0-14 and JSA ALL STARS #4.
ON SALE 09.18.19
$34.99 US | 416 PAGES


I imagine he might disagree, but I really do think this was some of the best--if not the best--of Geoff Johns' comics writing. Stars and STRIPE was a very fun comic book series that allowed the writer to indulge in the sort of continuity clean-up and extrapolation that he excelled at, while it was far enough removed from most of the bigger, more popular and thus more thoroughly-explored DC superheroes that Johns was rarely if ever in danger in over-writing any other of his peers' earlier, often better work. Additionally, its family sitcom-esque set-up kept him from the sort of off-putting violent or gory content that made so much of his later DCU work seem so head-spinningly strange. I recall really liking Lee Moder's art on the series, too.

I read all of these comics in single issue format, serially as they were published, but I wouldn't mind re-reading them in a single sitting in the way that this new collection would make more easily done.


I know you're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but from what Steve Lieber's cover for Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #2 demonstrates, the upcoming Lieber/Fraction comic is exactly what I want from a Jimmy Olsen comic.


TITANS: BURNING RAGE #1
written by DAN JURGENS
art by SCOT EATON and WAYNE FAUCHER
cover by DAN JURGENS and NORM RAPMUND
Available to comics shops for the first time! Hawk and Dove lead ordinary citizens in an uprising against the rich—but former Doom Patrol member Mento is pulling their strings! It’s up to the Titans to uncover his sinister purpose before someone gets killed! These stories were originally published in TITANS GIANT #1 and 2.
ON SALE 08.28.19
$4.99 US | 1 OF 7 | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T


I guess this is a reprinting of the original material that originally appeared in the Walmart-exclusive collection, and while I'm pretty sure I've flipped through one or two of the Titans ones in a Walmart before, I don't think I realized the particular make-up of this Titans team before. Because it looks like Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven and Robin Dick Grayson on that cover, and I didn't think that was a line-up that was supposed to have existed, post-Flashpoint...? Like, I was 90% sure Dick and Starfire were never actually on a Titans line-up. But that looks like Dick's post-Flashpoint, retconned, more Tim Drake-y costume? And DC Universe: Rebirth did seem to alter the Titans' timeline rather specifically....?

I don't know. I lost any and all interest in the Titans franchise during the New 52-boot.

I didn't notice the price point on these serializations of the Walmart material previously, as I planned on just trade-waiting the one I was most interested in (Bendis and Nick Derington's Batman Universe), but they seem way too pricey. Assuming the 10-12 pages worth of ads that is usually in a DC comic book, they're charging an extra dollar over the already pricey $3.99/20-page price point of, say, Wilcats (see below).

Incidentally, you could get the whole Walmart Giant for the price of just one issue of this reprinting of the material. Sure, the giants featured like 80 pages of reprint material after the original content, but that's quite a value compared to this nonsense.


WILDCATS #1
written by WARREN ELLIS
art by RAMON VILLALOBOS
cover by JIM CHEUNG
...
They have one job: to save the human race from the human race. And it’s going to kill them.
From the pages of THE WILD STORM, the piratical covert team made up of rogue specialists, extraterrestrial soldiers and a mad astronaut, run by a tech mogul and disguised alien king, all here to stop us from destroying ourselves. Case in point: the secret space program Skywatch has been performing medical experiments on abducted innocents for decades. One of those experiments is about to explode—revealing whole new worlds in the battle for sanity that the wild CAT has been fighting. WILDCATS thought their world was strange, but they’re about to find out how strange...and how high the stakes really are.
ON SALE 08.28.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+


I'll be honest: At first glance I thought that the guy in the suit behind Grifter was Barack Obama on Jim Cheung's cover.

Ramon Villalobos is an incredible talent, and with the talented and popular writer Warren Ellis attached, this seems like a pretty damn impressive team for such a relatively low-priority book for the publisher. If you were the boss of DC Comics, I imagine you'd want this team on a higher-profile book, where they could boost sales, rather than here, where they will just be keeping the book alive (Like, I'm fairly certain more people will buy this comic because they are Warren Ellis fans than because they are Wildcats or Grifter fans). Although, at this point, I think it's safe to assume that Ellis is writing these characters from Jim Lee's old Wildstorm line because he genuinely likes them, or at least wants to be writing them.


YOUNG JUSTICE VOL. 1: GEMWORLD HC
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by PATRICK GLEASON, EMANUELA LUPACCHINO, VIKTOR BOGDANOVIC, JOHN TIMMS and others
cover by PATRICK GLEASON
Superboy! Wonder Girl! Robin! Impulse! Amethyst! They and other young heroes are united as Young Justice in this first collection of comics from the new Wonder Comics line!
When the nightmare dimension known as Gemworld invades Metropolis, these teen heroes will unite to deal with the situation—but they’re shocked to discover the battle may be the key to the return of Conner Kent, a.k.a. Superboy!
This debut title collects issues #1-6 of the hit series!
ON SALE 09.18.19
$24.99 US | 160 PAGES


Oh man, I was really looking forward to the first trade collection of Brian Michael Bendis and company's Young Justice revival, and this...is not it. This is the hardcover release, which is apparently coming out before the trade paperback release, as Marvel often did with collections of Bendis' work (at $3.99 a pop, six issues of Young justice would have run a reader $23.94, so there's no economic incentive to wait for the hardcover collection as there would be to wait for the trade).

The problem of going to hardcover before going to trade is, for me personally at least, that there's a damn good chance this hardcover is going to show up in my library, I am going to check it out and read it, and then I have no reason to actually buy the trade paperback any longer.

That's what happened with the first collections of Bendis' Action Comics and Superman runs. Now, I don't know how typical I am of a potential consumer of Bendis-written DC comics--I assume relatively few of us spend 40 hours a week in a public library, for example--but that's one sale on a Young Justice Vol. 1: Gemworld trade paperback that DC likely lost by releasing it in hardcover first.

As long as we're on the subject of Bendis' young Justice, how is it? I just read the first two issues, and liked those well enough, but they were largely fan service-y in the, "Hey, it's all your faves, back together again!" kinda way, and I haven't yet read the parts that explained how that was even possible yet, and/or what Bendis would be doing with all our faves. I'm a little troubled to see four artists and "and others" credited on the first issues, too...