Monday, September 15, 2008

DC's December previews reviewed

What are some of the comics we'll be complaining about in just three month's time? I don't know just yet, but this is the time of the month when we find out! Tonight we'll take a look at DC's offerings for the last month of '08, and tomorrow we'll look at Marvel's. You can see all of them here, and you can see all the ones I think look horrible, look awesome or look like something I can make a dumb joke about here:



Darwyn Cooke provides the cover for the last issue of Ambush Bug. Wait, I punctuated that wrong. Let me try again.

Darwyn Cooke provides the cover for the last issue of Ambush Bug!!

That’s better.



So in this issue of Batman, a bat sees the Bat-signal, follows it to its source and is like, “Excuse me, I saw your signal; are you looking for a bat? Because Im a bat.” And Commissioner Gordon’s like, “Oh no, we’re actually looking for Batman. Sorry.” And the bat’s like, “Oh, okay” and flies away.

At least, that’s what I assume from the Alex Ross cover. The actual solicit mentions a script by Denny O’Neil, art by someone other than Tony Daniel (Woohoo!) and a plot description that sounds like it could have come from any month of the last 20 years or so, but apparently has something to do with the earth-shaking changes of whatever Grant Morrison is up to these days.



It’s been days and days since I’ve mentioned that Kelley Jones kicks ass, hasn’t it? Well, this just in: Kelley Jones still kicks ass. Note the mouse stirring on that cover. Nice.



Hey, David Caine started dying his hair. And he got a new orange suit. And a pocket-filled utility bicep band. Presumably from Rob Liefeld’s closet.


FINAL CRISIS: SECRET FILES #1
Written by Grant Morrison & Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Frank Quitely & various
Covers by Frank Quitely and Jim Lee & Scott Williams
Finally, the secrets of this year's most talked about event can be revealed! Witness how Darkseid's death shattered the Multiverse, creating continuity ripples throughout the DC Universe! Submit to Darkseid and read the full Anti-Life Equation! This is a book you cannot resist to buy!


Actually, a 40-page book full of nothing but "secret files"—i.e. pin-ups and brief prose pieces—for $3.99 will probably be pretty easy to resist. And it looks like they're really going to go ahead with the "Darkseid's-death-created-continuity-ripples" explanation for why Countdown to Final Crisis doesn't square with Final Crisis? This is the new Superboy punch then? For real?

Sigh...


THE FLASH: EMERGENCY STOP TP Written by Grant Morrison & Mark Millar. Art by Paul Ryan & John Nyberg. Cover by Steve Lightle. At last, DC collects the fast-paced 1990s epic by Grant Morrison (FINAL CRISIS) and Mark Millar (Civil War) from THE FLASH #130-135! Confined to a wheelchair after a run-in with the mystery villain known only as The Suit, how can The Flash protect Keystone City from evil run amok?

Well it’s about goddam time. You wouldn’t think it would take DC this long to republish something written by Grant freaking Morrison and Mark freaking Millar (or that DC would publish the pair's Aztek run before their Flash run).

I really liked this run quite a bit, particularly the day-in-the-life of Jay Garrick issue, the Flash-through-the-prism-creating-a-rainbow-Flashes and even the bit with the Black Flash. Morrison and Millar seemed to strike a nice balance between the crazy, zaniness of the Silver Age Flash stories and the modern DCU version, not unlike Morrison was doing in JLA at the time. The art is pretty nice too.


HAUNTED TANK #1
Written by Frank Marraffino
Art by Henry Flint
Cover A by Joe Kubert
Cover B by Henry Flint
The Haunted Tank is back in action, but this time it's an M1 Abrams in modern-day Iraq! African American tank commander Jamal Stuart has his 21st century war ride in full battle rattle and is ready for anything – anything except the whistling-Dixie combat guru ghost who shows up uninvited! Of course, this isn't the first time the spirit of Confederate Civil War General J.E.B. Stuart has helped guide a tank. In times of war he makes himself available to assist his descendants in battle. Jamal Stuart, meet your forefather! It's the newest chapter in the legacy of a long-time DC icon from writer Frank Marraffino (The Dark Goodbye) and artist Henry Flint (OMEGA MEN).
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers that can be ordered separately. Cover A is by Joe Kubert. Cover B is by Henry Flint. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.


Hey Vertigo, get your damn hands off this DCU character!

I think the original Haunted Tank is one of the craziest comics concepts ever ("icon" sure is pushing it, though), and love reading about the ghost of General Stuart, so I imagine I'll read this at some point--probably in trade if I can resist the singles long enough.

Maybe this will sell a billion comics and convince DC to collect the Garth Ennis/John McCrea Demon story arc that was also about the ghost of Stuart teamed up with a new descendent of his.

Question: If both Jamal Stuart and the tank itself aren't named after General J.E.B. Stuart, what the hell's he doing haunting it?


RANN/THANAGAR: HOLY WAR #8 Written by Jim Starlin. Art by Ron Lim. Cover by Jim Starlin. The exciting conclusion of this epic space story draws to a dramatic conclusion, and everyone in the universe shows up to see who will stand victorious.

Not to be redundant or anything.

I hope the Columbus library orders this, because I’m mildly curious about how Bizarro fits into the latest Jim Starlin exploration of DC’s space characters, even if I’m not curious enough to pay to find out.



Inspired placement for the tip of the spear there, Justiniano.



ROBIN #181 Written by Fabian Nicieza. Art and cover by Freddie E. Williams II. Red Robin is revealed, and Anarky is unleashed in Gotham City! A daring jailhouse rescue rips the GCPD apart, forcing the Spoiler to live up to her name! Plus, Oracle and Jason Bard team up again! And while all this is going on, where is Robin? Maybe he's M.I.A.... or is it R.I.P.?

Nooooooooooooo! Not Anarky! Not here! Not now! Along with Ragman, that’s two of my favorite former Gothamites appearing in this awful story arc. I’ve long liked Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle’s Anarky character, particularly his presentation as the anti-Robin, and I always thought he was a villain Robin’s creative teams never made proper use of (See also: The Obeah Man), but man, DC would have to pay me to keep reading this story arc. And I’d want harzard pay too, seeing as this story also features Jason fucking Todd.

Confidential to Anarky: Dude, what are you wearing?



TEEN TITANS #66
Written by Sean McKeever
Art and cover by Eddy Barrows & Ruy Jose
Teen guest stars galore! With only four members left, it's time for the Teen Titans to hold a recruitment drive! Who will make the cut, and who will be sent packing? Who will refuse to even show up, and who will bring a boatload of trouble with them?


I sighed when I saw this cover, because while normally a Teen Titans line-up full of personal favorites like Traci-13, The Ray, Shining Knight II and Klarion The Witchboy would be something I'd be really excited about, given the state of the title—i.e. Not Very Good At All—I find myself in that weird position where I worry about the welfare of characters who aren't even real. "Oh Shining Knight II, Morrsion wrote such a nice set-up for you at the end of Seven Soldiers, don't let it go to waste in the poorly drawn grim and gritty adventures of a bunch of unlikable jerks..." And like that.

Reading the solicit though, it just sounds like this will be one of those occassional try-out issues DC super-teams have been having since the people who read Legion growing up grew up and started writing comics themselves. So maybe only a couple of those characters will get sullied by the experience. Hopefully Klarion and Spoiler, as they're already so sulllied...


TOKYO DAYS, BANGKOK NIGHTS TP Written by Jonathan Vankin_Art by Seth Fisher and Giuseppe Camuncoli & Shawn Martinbrough. Cover by Seth Fisher and Giuseppe Camuncoli. Two tragicomic tales of cultures in collision. When Americans venture abroad, they find that their assumptions about everyday life don't fit in a backpack. Collecting eight issues of the critically heralded VERTIGO POP!, written by Jonathan Vankin and featuring Eisner-nominated art by Seth Fisher (GREEN LANTERN: WILLWORLD) as well as Giuseppe Camuncoli and Shawn Martinbrough (BANGKOK), TOKYO DAYS, BANGKOK NIGHTS presents a journey to the far side of the world where Americans learn that they may be neither ugly nor innocent, but they still have everything to lose.

I don’t have anything snarky to say here, I just wanted to recommend this to anyone who missed the two mini-series it collects. They were both standalone, unconnected minis about a particular city (there was also a London one, which wasn’t quite as good as either of these). The Tokyo one, featuring eye-popping art by the late, great Seth Fish is especially worth a look.



Dimetrodons are criminally under used in comics.



THE DARK KNIGHT: 1:6 SCALE BANK ROBBER THE JOKER BY HOT TOYS Under special arrangement with Hong Kong toymaker Hot Toys, DC Direct is proud to offer this 1:6 scale figure of The Joker dressed as a bank robber, just as he appears in the smash hit The Dark Knight! Dressed in the shirt, suit, belt and shoes the character wears for the bank robbery scene in the movie, the figure stands approximately 12 inches tall and features more than 32 points of articulation. An interchangeable head, clown mask, handgun, MK760 rifle, and a luggage bag filled with grenades are also included. The figure comes with a display stand and is packaged in a 4-color box. Limited Edition! Advance-solicited; on sale December 17, 2008 * Collector figure * $175 US

Bank Robber The Joker? Where the hell’s Nurse The Joker?

Confidential to anyone who pays $175 for a collector figure: You have too much goddam money.

8 comments:

snell said...

Actually, a 40-page book full of nothing but "secret files"—i.e. pin-ups and brief prose pieces—for $3.99 will probably be pretty easy to resist.

In fairness, the DC "Secret Files" issues usually include 2 or 3 short comics stories. And Morrison, who did a brand new story for the JLA Secret Files back in the day, is listed as an author...

Confidential to Anarky: Dude, what are you wearing?

Obviously, he's been watching V For Vendetta. A lot.

Matt said...

Whoa Whoa Whoa...

What's wrong with Fabian Nicieza's Robin again? Because I think he's done a wonderful job with the character's voice so far. And it's sort of obvious that he had to come on very suddenly (much like Dixon on Batman and the Outsiders ironically enough). If anyone writing comics who doesn't have the word "Grant" in their name is going to do Anarky justice, I imagine it's going to be Fabian.

Sea_of_Green said...

Aw, man! They brought back Anarky like THAT?!

I'm with you. I mean, I'm glad Anarky hasn't been completely erased from the DCU, but the character deserves better treatment!

LurkerWithout said...

I wonder if they've retconned out the Anarky is the son of the Joker bit. Which would be too bad, since I really liked that bit...


Confidential to anyone who pays $175 for a collector figure: You have too much goddam money


This is the truest thing ever spoken in comics blogging...

SallyP said...

Ambush Bug! The Haunted Tank! Woohoo!

On the other hand, get Traci Thirteen, Blue Beetle and Misfit the heck off of that cover and out of the Teen Titans. I like them too much to be forced to watch what horrors are in store for them.

Caleb said...

Obviously, he's been watching V For Vendetta. A lot.

His old duds were certainly V for Vedetta-y, but on that cover it looks like he lost his hat for a hood (too few heroes wear hats these days, I say) and he's got golden shoulder pads...?


What's wrong with Fabian Nicieza's Robin again? Because I think he's done a wonderful job with the character's voice so far. And it's sort of obvious that he had to come on very suddenly (much like Dixon on Batman and the Outsiders ironically enough).

That may be. I only read the first issue of his arc and didn't care for it (particularly how it was billed as a "Batman R.I.P." tie-in without really being a "Batman R.I.P." tie-in) and bailed since it seems like he's just connecting some random story points he was told to connect until after "R.I.P." does whatever it's doing.

And then of course there's Jason Todd. I just can't cotton resurrected Jason Todd.

Matt said...

That may be. I only read the first issue of his arc and didn't care for it (particularly how it was billed as a "Batman R.I.P." tie-in without really being a "Batman R.I.P." tie-in) and bailed since it seems like he's just connecting some random story points he was told to connect until after "R.I.P." does whatever it's doing.

And then of course there's Jason Todd. I just can't cotton resurrected Jason Todd.


I'd say that those are hardly fair complaints to level against the writer's work on the book so far, as at least the first one is editorial or even marketing-driven. Morrison's pretty notorious for keeping some of this stuff close to his chest, making it hard for other writers to tie-in well anyway. Look at the Countdown/Final Crisis fiasco. It's not the book's fault that it was marketed a certain way. It's like when the Lost writers were complaining that ABC's promos were hyping things up that weren't really represented in the episodes in order to try to increase ratings.

Moreover, this storyline is NOT billed a RIP crossover from here on in, though it is all connected, it seems.

As for Jason Todd, I can't help much except for by saying that he'll probably be used well by Nicieza and comment that there really are no bad characters, just poorly used ones. I would point to Cable/Deadpool 7-10, the Burnt Offering storyline, as a storyline where Nicieza took CABLE (yes, CABLE) and did some very, very interesting work with him.

And it's not like you're not digging the dialogue in the back half of Trinity, which is absolutely Nicieza hitting characters' voices perfectly.

I'm just saying that you ought to give his run on Robin another chance, especially if you're a fan (like me) of Lonnie, because I think he'll do the character justice.

Caleb said...

Matt,

I don't dis-like Nicieza's writing at all. I really dug his work on the Super-titles (with Busiek and by his lonesome), his recent Batman Classified arc, and a JSA:C story I read recently.

I just didn't care for that issue of Robin; whether it was all on him or because Morrison hasn't been forthcoming enough with the other writers (which seems to be the case, as none of the RIP tie-ins match up quite right) or because editorial was like "Here Fabian, we need five issues showing Robin reaching a turning point in his life. Make sure you include Jason Todd, Ragman, Anarky, the Spoiler and the ghost of Lagoon Boy's grandfather" or wahtever.

In general I agree tha there's no such thing as a bad character, but I think writers and editors can screw characters up so badly they ruin or at least taint them. If there was a way to make me care about a resurrected-as-a-Punisher-type-"hero" Jason Todd who is also an adult now, having him Superboy-punched alive because sure why not wasn't the way to do it.