Monday, June 18, 2007
DC's September Previews Reviewed
I've been referring to the current direction of this book as "swordfish and sorcery," and it looks like someone at DC decided to make it officially, by including Arthur Curry swordfighting a swordfish. A perfect cover.
And speaking of nice covers...wow.
52 AFTERMATH: THE FOUR HORSEMEN #2
Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Pat Olliffe & John Stanisci
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver
The dead walk as the 6-issue miniseries continues! Azraeuz, the pale rider (Death, to the uninitiated) raises Bialya's dead to serve the Four Horsemen's deadly agenda. And when Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman find themselves facing down an entire nation of the living dead while the world watches, you'll never guess who shows up to lend a helping hand.
Black Adam. Did I guess right?
J. G. Jones was able to pull off 52 good to excellent covers in the span of one year for DC’s last weekly series. For Countdown, they switch cover artists every month, so none of them are responsible for any more than four images. So why have they all been so bad? And could this particular image be the very worst of them all? Yeesh.
Things aren’t exactly looking up yet, and now it looks like Nat is going to keep the name “Starlight,” huh? Mmn. Better than “Forerunner,” I guess. But not by much.
COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #1Written by Steve Gerber and Matt Sturges. Art by Justiniano & Walden Wong and Stephen Segovia. Cover by Justiniano. Get ready for two incredible features in new stories that shine a light on the dark places in the DCU! The Helmet of Fate has landed…on Kent Nelson — a man so far down on his luck, he doesn’t know what luck is! The transformative nature of the helmet grants him powers he can’t begin to comprehend…but will they make his life better, or even worse? Plus, Eclipso becomes the temptress of the DCU, bribing its heroes to the dark side in more ways than one! She succeeds…and the results will shock you!
Wow, that Eclipso story sounds really, really, really awful. Like, “Hey, what if we took this character Eclipso, made him into a woman, changed his powers and raison d’ etre, and make him like Neron?” awful.
COUNTDOWN PRESENTS THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: WILDSTORM #1Written by Ron Marz. Art by Paco Herrera. Cover by Arthur Adams. The Search for Ray Palmer truly kicks into high gear, as Kyle Rayner, Donna Troy and Jason Todd scour the Multiverse for the former Atom, who just might hold the key to saving reality from a crisis of unparalleled proportions. The trio's first stop: the Wildstorm Universe, where they come face-to-face with an entirely different -- and entirely more lethal -- brand of heroes. Wildstorm's finest are all here, including The Authority and Gen13, and they don't prepare a warm welcome for their visitors! The tour of the new DC Multiverse begins here!
Okay, so the name sounds terrible, and nothing says “Do Not Buy!” like a Jason Todd appearance (So, is Kyle Rayner cool with brutal murderers now too, just like Superman, Donna and Jimmy Olsen apparently are?).
On the other hand, that’s going to be one hell of a cover by the looks of it, with Arthur Adams riffing on Frank Quitely’s brilliant covers for JLA: Earth-2.
I haven’t kept up with Kyle Rayner after Ion #1, but it sure looks like he’s back in a Green Lantern uniform in that sketch, doesn’t it?
INFINITY INC. #1 Written by Peter Milligan. Art and cover by Max Fiumara. From the twisted mind of Lex Luthor comes the 52 spin-off that will change everything you know about the members of Infinity Inc. When Lex Luthor and his Everyman project was taken down by John (Steele) Henry Irons, it appeared the story of Infinity Inc was over. But one year-plus later, it seems that life hasn't been kind to Starlight, Fury, and Nuklon. John suspects the problems may lead back to their experience as on the Everyman Project, opening doors that can never be shut! Written by Peter Milligan (X-Statix, HUMAN TARGET) and illustrated by Max Fiumara (Black Gas), INFINITY INC. #1 will take readers on a tortured trip to the dark side of the superhero dream.
As much as I love Steel, this new status quo and new direction doesn’t exactly sound very interesting. I’ll give it an issue for Steel and Peter Milligan at the least but, man, this is another book that just seems entirely randomly put together.
THE GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY WEDDING SPECIAL #1
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Cover by Conner
Everyone will have seen Black Canary's response to Green Arrow's proposal from GREEN ARROW #75 and the BLACK CANARY miniseries…now see why that response may have been the biggest mistake for both of them in this landmark special issue!
Well, J. Torres says it’s good.
I’m going to reverse my policy of not buying DC Comics written by Judd Winick for at least this issue, as this looks like an event too good to pass up just because almost every other DCU story the writer has previously produced is pretty awful.
Particularly with Conner handling the art inside and out. I love Canary’s wedding version of her costume there on the cover too.
Based on Newsarama's weekend con coverage, it looks like Winick will be handling the Black Canary/Green Arrow ongoing too, with the fantastic Cliff Chiang handling artwork. I suppose it was too much to hope that Gail Simone would be writing that, but, well, that's what I was hoping.
JLA CLASSIFIED #42-43 Written by Justin Gray. Art by Rick Leonardi & Sean Phillips. Covers by Walter Simonson. JLA CLASSIFIED ships twice in September, kicking off “The Ghosts of Mars!” The Martian Manhunter struggles with the memories of his long dead family…but when the memories fight back, the Manhunter’s position among the Justice League of America is shaken!
Any title that makes me think of this is immediately suspect. Still, nice to see good, old no-pants-wearing J’onn again, and is that Malefic in the back ground? Awesome! (I'm not being sarcastic. I really liked the Ostrander/Mandrake run, and as out-of-left-feild as a never-before-mentioned evil twin was, that was still a heck of a story arc).
I do wonder when the hell this is supposed to be set though. I wish they’d start making better use of the title’s ability to check in with the League at any point in it’s history, particularly now that it’s history has changed again.
JLA/HITMAN #1 Written by Garth Ennis. Art and Cover by John McCrea.Tommy Monaghan, the long-lost hero of HITMAN, returns in part one of this two-issue miniseries! There's a problem on the JLA moonbase, and not even the World's Greatest Heroes can cope by themselves. Can Tommy help them out? Will he? Unpleasant secrets from the past return...on the Darkside.
My two favorite DC titles of all time? Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman and Grant Morrison and company’s JLA. So yes, needless to say, I’m quite excited about this one.
It should probably be part of JLA:C instead of a stand alone mini though, if only to improve that dying title’s prestige a bit (Ennis has a name closer to that of Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis’, who handled two of the first three arcs in JLA:C, then pretty much anyone else who’s been on the book since.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #13 …
Retailers please note: this issue features two covers that may be ordered separately. Cover A features the left half of the art above; Cover B features the right half of the art above. Please see the Previews order form for more details.
As bad as variant covers are, there is one cover-related sales incentive scheme that is even more annoying, and that’s this. Rather than giving consumers the option of two different cover images, giving them their option of which half of a single image they want.
What’s worse? This is the third time this particular title has had this particular scheme.
OUTSIDERS #50 Written by Tony Bedard. Art by Matthew Clark. Cover by Manuel Garcia. A new era dawns for the Outsiders! Batman makes a stunning last-minute change to the Outsiders’ new roster — but there’s a bigger surprise in store as the team uncovers a worldwide upheaval within the supervillain community! On sale September 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • FINAL ISSUE
It’s the last two word up there that intrigue me. “Final issue.” I knew sales have long been sliding, but they’re still a lot higher than a great deal of other DC books (Aquaman, Catwoman, Blue Beetle, All-New Atom, etc), so it doesn’t seem like it’s a sales motivated cancellation (Plus, isn’t August Outsiders month, with all those weird team-up issues?)
That leaves only other possibility—they’re going to relaunch the title, possible with a new name. Like (groan) Batman and the Outsiders.
SUICIDE SQUAD: RAISE THE FLAG #1 Written by John Ostrander. Art by Javier Pina & Robin Riggs. Cover by John K. Snyder. When original Suicide Squad member Rick Flag Jr. returned from the dead in the pages of CHECKMATE, it blew open a brand-new espionage mystery for the DC Universe! In this eagerly awaited miniseries by legendary Squad writer John Ostrander (WORLD WAR III), it’s revealed how Flag survived a nuclear blast while battling terrorism in Qurac — as his hard path home takes him from Skartaris to Dubai and into the hands of dueling commanders Amanda Waller and General Wade Eiling. Their power struggle reveals surprising secrets from their pasts — even as a new Suicide Squad is created to play a key role in the DCU’s ever-evolving future!
Aw, poor John Ostrander. All the excellent work the guy’s done in comics over the decades, and now when his name appears in solicitation comics, it’s followed by the worst work of his career, World War III, as if that association is supposed to recommend the book or not.
No matter. That part where it says “eagerly awaited?” They’re talking about me.
TALES OF THE SINESTRO CORPS PRESENTS PARALLAX #1 Written by Ron Marz. Art by Adriana Melo & Marlo Alquiza. Cover by Mike McKone & Andy Lanning. Get ready for a new series of specials focusing on members of the Sinestro Corps and tying into the “Sinestro Corps War” crossover! In this initial installment, the writer who introduced Kyle, Ron Marz, dissects what led Kyle to his downfall and explains the Parallax entity.
Wait, what? Kyle’s downfall? What the hell are they talking about, and why is the Parallax-possessed figure on the cover blanked out? Is Kyle Parallax now?
Dave Johnson is a great cover artist. Maybe DC shoulda hired him to handle all the Countdown covers…
WONDER WOMAN: LOVE AND MURDER HC Written by Jodi Picoult. Art by Terry Dodson, Drew Johnson and others. Cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson. Best-selling author Jodi Picoult (Nineteen Minutes, The Tenth Circle, My Sister's Keeper), takes Wonder Woman on a collision course with the Amazons in this hardcover volume collecting WONDER WOMAN #6-10! The action begins when Wonder Woman, in her disguise as Special Agent Diana Prince of the Department of Metahuman affairs, is assigned to capture Wonder Woman. How can she accomplish this impossible job without revealing her secret identity? This is just the start of the Amazon Warrior’s problems as Diana must relearn how to exist as a human being while a deadly foe begins to close a net on her, leading to a catastrophic outcome!
I think this right here might be DC’s biggest dropped ball in recent memory. They score Jodi freakin’ Picoult for a five-issue run, enough to fill up a graphic novel they can have shelved in book stores right along with the Picoult books, and instead of letting her do something continuity-free (like an Elseworlds or All-Star book) or even just standalone, they force her to clean up after Allen Heinberg and connect some dots to match the title up to the editor-driven Amazons Attack mini. I can’t imagine anyone who picks this thing up simply because of Picoult’s name getting through it without regretting the purchase. Heck, I’m a Wonder Woman fan and I couldn’t stand it. It seems to me that Picoult should have been able to relaunch the book instead of Heinberg, but whatever. The moment has passed, and the ball has dropped. Now all that’s left is to watch it sitting there on the shelves and wonder why no one outside the Direct Market seems to be buying it.