Monday, June 15, 2009

DC's September previews revieweid

This September, DC will release Red Tornado, the comic book you demanded! Well, not you personally, but someone, somewhere. And not demanded so much as though, Hm, yeah, I guess I'd probably read a Red Tornado miniseries. What else does DC have in store for fans this September? Let's find out! The full solicitations are here, and my thoughts on some of 'em are here:

Written by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott
Cover by Phil Noto
As the new Batgirl continues her nightly mission, the mystery of her secret identity intensifies. Now she has become the target of both Gotham City’s heroes (who don’t take kindly to a new person wearing the cape and the cowl) and its villains (who want to see the entire Bat-family six feet under)!

Hey, remember when there was a mysterious new Batgirl running around Gotham, and no one seemed to know who she was under the mask, leaving fans to guess and debate her identity for months? Sure you do. It was during the first half of the “No Man’s Land” mega-story, and it ended up being Helena “Huntress” Bertellini, although she eventually relinquished the costume, which Barbara Gordon and Batman then gave to the mute super-ninja teenage girl they had coincidentally just started hanging around with.

Well, I guess it’s time to do that story again.

My guess is Stephanie Brown, but I don’t really care enough to actually read this book.

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Philip Tan & Jonathan Glapion
Cover by Frank Quitely
Variant cover by Philip Tan
Meet the Red Hood and his sidekick Scarlet, Gotham City’s vicious new “protectors,” in the start of a new arc! This dangerous duo is out to destroy the very reputation and legacy of the Batman by replacing it altogether. Writer Grant Morrison (FINAL CRISIS) teams with hot new artist Philip Tan (GREEN LANTERN) to bring you what’s sure to be the new Batman and Robin’s biggest challenge yet!

When I think of artists who would be appropriate to follow Frank Quitely on a book, Philip Tan doesn’t come to mind. I haven’t read as many Tan books as I have Tony Daniel ones, but he seems a lot closer to Daniel in style and technique than he does Quitely, so I guess after just three issues, the Bat-editors are chaining Morrison with another poor artist?

Meanwhile, Batwoman gets this guy. What a world, what a world…

Written by Landry Walker
Art and cover by Eric Jones
Batman teams up with a mysterious figure to stop the Penguin and The Riddler, but is this anti-hero a friend or a foe? Be here for all of the cataclysmic catastrophes in “The Tale of the Catman!”

Did you see the episode of Brave and the Bold with Bat-Mite, the one that opened with Ace the Bat-Hound beating up a tiger and then tree-ing Catman? That was awesome. I really liked the Catman design; he had a real maniacal, kinda disturbing face, and really, a man dressed up like a cat should be pretty disturbing. I wonder if this was created before artist Eric Jones saw the cartoon’s designs for Catman, as the Catman on the cover there looks closer to more recent DCU versions than the one on the show.

Written by James Robinson
Art and cover by Eddy Barrows & Ruy José
Variant cover by Shane Davis & Sandra Hope
It’s a crisis in Smallville as Psycho Pirate attacks! Plus, Superman’s dead bride returns as a Black Lantern! And she joins in on the haunting of Smallville in the second part of this terrifying 3-issue epic from writer James Robinson (SUPERMAN, STARMAN) and artist Eddy Barrows (TEEN TITANS, ACTION COMICS)!

The fact that there’s a black and white colored zombie version of Psycho Pirate makes me somewhat interested in Blackest Night: Superman #2, but I don’t think I could stand to read 22 pages of Eddy Barrows’ art.

So I recognize Mockingbird, KGBeast and maybe a Blockbuster and…that’s it. Who are all these other goofballs? Like the one with a crazy mullet about to go for Batman’s crotch? If this issue involves Batman and the Robins vs. all the dead Bat-villains, then maybe we’ll get to see The Ventriloquist with a ring-generated construct of a Scarface? And maybe an Orca The Whale Woman?

Written by Howard Chaykin
Art and cover by Howard Chaykin
Howard Chaykin’s 1988 miniseries is back in print! Polish pilot Janos Prohaska — better known as Blackhawk — is on American soil and in trouble. Accused of Communist leanings, he stumbles across a plot to overthrow the U.S. government and bomb New York City concocted by former Nazis out for revenge.
Advance-solicited; on sale October 28 • 160 pg, FC, $19.99 US

So have any of you read this? Is it any good?

Written by Judd Winick
Art by Tomm Cooker
Cover by Brian Bolland
The acclaimed five-issue miniseries from writer Judd Winick is collected at last! Adam Heller is dying, but before it’s too late, his best friends offer him a chance at immortality. Now Adam is a vampire — and it's everything he could ever want. But his eternal party crashes to a bloody halt when an ancient monster awakens and comes looking for Adam.

I didn’t like this either, and never did read the last issue. The first issue was really good and showed a lot of promise in the premise, but it quickly settled into more generic vampire story territory. I loved and still love the logo, though, and hey, you can’t go wrong with Brian Bolland covers.

Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Art & cover by Jesus Saiz
The wait is over as J. Michael Straczynski arrives on THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD! First up, the best-selling scribe pairs Batman and...Dial H For Hero? Robby Reed and his grandfather thought their brief visit to Gotham City would go smoothly until one of Gotham’s petty thieves made the score of the century in the form of Robby’s H-Dial! Batman’s on the case, but The Joker’s crime wave has the city in a panic, and the power of the H-Dial has had a very unexpected effect on the hood who stole it. The choices he makes could change his life – and Robby’s – forever! Features the stunning art of Jesus Saiz (OMAC PROJECT)!

It’s been sooooooo long since DC announced J. Michael Straczynski would be taking over this title that I’d pretty much forgotten it was supposed to happen at some point, and the title has been host to constantly rotating creative teams for so long that I had pretty much forgot DC was even still publishing a Brave and the Bold team-up title. It’s been off my pull-list—and off my radar—so long that I’d probably pass on this, were it not for the pairing of Batman with the H-Dial from Dial H For Hero. That’s definitely a creative, “Huh? I’ve gotta check that out!” sort of pairing for JMS to start his run with.

Written by Len Wein
Pencil art by Tom Derenick
Cover by Joe Prado
It’s the epic finale of the 3-part Royal Flush arc as Roulette and Amos Fortune raise the stakes, and the JLA go all in! But with the odds against them, the team had better pray for a last-minute miracle before their chips are cashed in for good.

I’d really rather just ignore JLoA until DC figures out what to do with the title (hint: hire a writer, then let him or her write it without dictating plot points and mandatory tie-ins), but they just had to go and put Plastic Man on the cover, didn’t they? Maybe I will check this Len Wein written fill-in run out after all, at least for the first arc. I do like that Tom Derenick character, so even if the book still seems to be drifting, at least it will look nicer than it has under Ed Benes and Whoever-Is-Filling-In-For-Benes-This-Month.

Written by Chuck Kim, Josh Williamson, Rich Fogel and others
Art by Mahmud Asrar, Adrian Syaf and others
Cover by Jay Anacleto
With a tale this massive, we could only fit it in an 80-page giant! When a battle between Epoch and the Time Commander spills over into our era, the Justice League finds itself scattered throughout time. That leaves Superman and Dr. Light fighting alongside a tornado-powered Samurai, Green Lantern and Red Arrow locked in a showdown with Cinnamon in the Old West, Green Arrow and Firestorm facing the Bride of Frankenstein in WWII, John Stewart and Vixen drawing swords alongside the Shining Knight, and Black Canary and Zatanna evading gangsters with the original Crimson Avenger!
Reintroducing the classic, extra-sized issues for a whole new generation, this special issue features the writing of TV’s Chuck Kim (Heroes) and Rich Fogel (Batman Beyond, Justice League) along with writer Joshua Williamson (Dear Dracula) and artists such as Mahmud Asrar (Dynamo 5) and Adrian Syaf (BLACKEST NIGHT: BATMAN)!
On sale September 30 • 80 pg, FC, $5.99 US

Hmmm…I don’t know/remember the work of any of these creators, but I do like the 80-Page Giant format, particularly if it’s one of those big, epic, “novel-sized” single stories, and it sure will be hard to resist any comic with The Shinking Knight, hat-wearing Crimson Avenger and Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein’s four-armed version of The Bride of Frankenstein on the cover. And at $6, that’s a pretty good value: almost twice as many comics pages as you’d get for the price of two DC 22-pagers.

What’s this business about “reintroducing the classic, extra-sized issues for a whole new generation business” though? The last JLA 80-Page Giant, #3, was only published nine years ago. Has a whole generation passed already? Is that how fast time is moving now?

Written by Keith Giffen
Art and variant cover by Howard Porter & John Dell
Cover by Glenn Fabry
Introducing the latest member of the Justice Society of America to break out into his own monthly series! Tired of chafing at the restraints that being a member of the JSA put upon him, Magog decides to take justice into his own hands and track down who’s behind the dealing of high-tech arms to lowlife scum around the DC Universe! Be here as the hunt starts Magog on the path to discovering his own unavoidable destiny thanks to writer Keith Giffen (JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, DOOM PATROL) and artists Howard Porter and John Dell, the acclaimed team behind JLA!

Er, “the latest member?” He’s actually the first and only member. The only JSA members who have had their own books before—Stargirl, Damage—had them before they joined the team. (UPDATE: As Patrick reminds me in the comments section, Power Girl just had her own book spin out of JSoA a couple of weeks ago, which I completely forgot about, despite having read it and wrote about it and everything. Sorry about that, DC Comics Solicitation Writers! You were right and I was wrong).

Joshua Middleton’s Supergirl covers are always pretty great, aren’t they?

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Jon Sibal
Covers by Gary Frank
Hot on the heels of their acclaimed run on ACTION COMICS, superstars Geoff Johns and Gary Frank reunite to present a 6-issue event that spells out the definitive origin of Superman for the 21st century – and it all starts with a gigantic 48-page issue! Chronicling Clark Kent’s journey from the cornfields of Smallville to the skyscrapers of Metropolis, you'll witness a whole new look at the beginnings of Lex Luthor, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Lois Lane, Metallo, Jimmy Olsen, the Parasite and more! It's a look at the mythic past of the Man of Steel with an eye toward the future!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Gary Frank), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Gary Frank). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.

Wow, I can’t believe how completely uninterested in this series I am. A large part of that is probably because I had just read Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu’s definitive origin story, Superman: Birthright a few years ago, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. Although between the comics and movies and cartoons and suchlike, there are few comic book stories I’ve experienced more often than Superman’s origin.

And my disinterest is coming from someone who thinks this story more or less needed to be told, since DC began futzing with Superman’s origin in 2006 with Infinite Crisis, and have since been retconning elements here and there rather willy-nilly.

Of course, the ideal time to say what his “new” origin is would have been shortly after IC three years ago, since that’s when they made a big deal about DC continuity having been re-written. Or, at the latest, a year later at the end of 52 when we saw how that continuity was rewritten. Of course, I guess in Final Crisis continuity/the multiverse was torn down and rebuilt again, so, at this rate, any time is a good time to clarify what exactly continuity is in the DC Universe.


Written by Jeff Lemire
Art and cover by Jeff Lemire
From out of the deep woods and the mind of acclaimed indie cartoonist Jeff Lemire (THE NOBODY, The Essex County Trilogy) comes a new Vertigo monthly ongoing series like no other! After being raised in total isolation, Gus – a boy born with deer-like antlers – is left to survive in an American landscape devastated a decade earlier by an inexplicable pandemic. Even more remarkable is that Gus is part of a rare new breed of human/animal hybrid children who have emerged in its wake, all apparently immune to the infection. Enter Jepperd, a violent, hulking drifter who soon takes in Gus and promises to lead him to “The Preserve,” a fabled safe-haven for hybrid children. Along the way they’ll have to contend with science militias, deadly scavengers, rival bounty hunters, and hybrid worshipping cultists as they fight to make it to safety and solve the mysteries of this deadly new frontier.
This bizarre and haunting new series is boldly written and illustrated by Eisner-nominated creator Jeff Lemire and elegantly colored by fellow Eisner nominee Jose Villarubia. A little boy with antlers, a big man with guns, a world without hope – SWEET TOOTH #1 ships in September for only $1.00! Plus, don’t miss a free preview of this title in August’s JACK OF FABLES #37!
On sale September 2 • 32 pg, FC, $1.00 US • MATURE READERS

I’m really looking forward to this one.

Written by Felicia D. Henderson; co-feature written by Sean McKeever
Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson; co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar & Júlio Ferreira
Cover by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
Variant cover by Andy Clarke
Come celebrate our gala 75th issue with an all-star cast of Titans past and present! Joining this issue for the extravaganza is new ongoing writer Felicia D. Henderson, a co-executive producer on TV’s hit show Fringe! Don’t miss this start to a fresh new take on DC’s premier teen team!
And in the Ravager co-feature, Rose lies nearly dead in the Arctic when a horrific discovery chills her even more!

Hmm. On the one hand, hey look, a woman! Writing an ongoing superhero comic for one of the Big Two! On the other hand, it’s a TV writer with no comics experience, and for the most part those don’t tend to work out too well. On another hand, she’s been writing for TV since at least 1995, so hasn’t just fallen off the turnip truck, like some of DC’s recent “Well, he works in TV” writers.

Also in the plus column, some of the shows she’s worked for have involved teenage characters, and I wonder if a writer from the world of TV will be able to work with Teen Titans’ editors well, as there’s been some sort of undisclosed friction between the last regular writer and the editors, culminating in an issue being published in which no one was credited as a writer.

I don’t know the writer and don’t like the artist, so I won’t be reading this anyway, but I guess I’ll go ahead and say this is a positive hire. Like, if anyone’s going to be writing a book I don’t read or care about at all, it’s nice to see that it’s going to be woman, and that Gail Simone’s no longer DC only female writer on an ongoing. Also, I guess Henderson is black, as is Angela Robinson, who will be writing The Web, which also launches in September. DC (and Marvel) have historically had somewhere between zero and hardly any female writers and somewhere between zero and hardly and black writers, so it’s cool to see a couple more females and a couple more black writers getting involved with the DC line of super-comics.

On the other hand, I’ll be surprised if The Web makes it to 15 issues, and while Teen Titans is better shape due to its brand name, it’s been selling worse and worse for a long time, and I’m not sure simply finding a regular writer will be able to pull it out of its downward spiral.

At any rate, good luck ladies!

Written by Marv Wolfman
Pencils by Rick Leonardi & John Stanisci
Cover by Walter Simonson
Now Vigilante finds himself on the run and living on the mean streets of Gotham City where he must now avoid the FBI, the mob and the Bat. But Vigilante has a few tricks up his sleeve and a few Gothamites in his sights!

Still not cancelled! Nice Simonson cover, by the way.


And that's DC's solicitations combed through. I'm running a little behind, but come back tonight and we'll do Marvel's. Two posts in one day! Value!


mordicai said...

I am a Cassandra Cain fan-- she brought something to the Bat-table (being on the "Bat" side rather than the "Bruce" side, which Robin already has covered, having guilt over killing rather than revenge for dead parents) that wasn't there before.

Patrick C said...

Hey, Power Girl got an ongoing last month! How quickly we forget.

And I'm all for Secret Origin just for the art. I always liked Gary Frank, but he's really stepped apart from the crowd with his work on Superman (in my opinion anyway).

J. Charles Brister said...

I wouldn't say that Philip Tan is a bad artist. He's got good storytelling ability, and his character designs are pretty good. His work gets bogged down in unnecessary rendering and the inker doesn't have the balls to eliminate it, so it sometimes looks like mess when it's colored.

kevhines said...

also, Hourman broke out of JSA - but that was ages ago.

Good book though.

Patrick C said...

Hourman broke out of JLA! I think he had his own book already before the JSA formed, but I could be wrong about that.

bwmedia said...

I counted about 7 or 8 different "dark secrets finally revealed" type stories in this thing. Really, does Red Tornado need a secret to his origin?

caleb said...


I like Cassandra Cain too. I think she's such damaged goods at this point that I'd be happy to see her go away though (The last story arc of her monthly would have been a better send-off than any of the stuff she's been up to since).

My guess is Cass will retire, and her friend Stephanie Brown will be the new Batgirl, with Barbara Gordon advising, and maybe Cass training her...?


Oh yeah. And that was only, like, last month, right? I guess that's what they meant.

J. Charles Brister,

I can only go by what I've seen published, which is his GL issues (and I think maybe some Marvel stuff, but not that I remember). And that has all been really rough. Maybe it has something to do with the characters and settings? (It's hard NOT to pose someone like they're just straight-up posing when you have to draw them flying through a vaccuum, for example).

I hope he proves me wrong though, but I don't currently have super high hopes for the future of Batman and Robin.

Hourman had his own monthly before JSA launched. He was actually still in the JLA at the time it launched, and I think it even had a "From the Pages of JLA" slug on the cover for a while, like Martian Manunter did.

Hdefined said...

Hawkman's solo series broke out of JSA too.

SallyP said...

Gadzooks, that 80 page Giant cover is gorgeous. I admit to being a sucker for any 80 page Giant books, they make me feel like I'm getting away with something.

Landry Walker said...

"I wonder if this was created before artist Eric Jones saw the cartoon’s designs for Catman"

I can confirm that your guess on this is correct. In fact the entire issue was written and drawn before that episode aired.

Though I should specify that the look of Catman wasn't directly inspired by the current comics incarnation either. It's more just a reflection of the appearance of Batman in the cartoon with some slight modifications.

GF said...

The Blackhawk mini was good; Chaykin bringing his lovely aesthetic into it, before he started taking stuff like Squadron Supreme.

LurkerWithout said...

I've got zero interest in BLackest Night, but that Batman cover looks like he and the Robin's have opened a Ghostbusters franchise in Gotham. I'd buy that...

The Philosophy Teacher said...

Stunned that they would bother to release Blood & Water in a trade. Very well illustrated but one of the worst constructed stories I've read.