Monday, December 21, 2009

DC's March previews reviewed

ATOMIC KNIGHTS HC
Advance-solicited • On sale MAY 19 • 192 pg, FC $39.99 US
Written by JOHN BROOME
Art and cover by MURPHY ANDERSON
In a post-apocalyptic future, the Atomic Knights protect the surviving citizens against threats of all sorts in tales from STRANGE ADVENTURES #117, 120, 123, 126, 129, 132, 135, 136, 138, 141, 144, 147, 150, 153 156 and 160. Collected here for the first time!


I found this to be the most surprising thing listed in DC’s solicitations this time around. It looks like they’ll be giving Broome and Anderson’s Atomic Knights stories the same treatment that they’ve previously only given Jack Kirby works (and, I think, at least one Ditko book). I didn’t realize that Broome or Anderson or this particular property was beloved or popular or influential enough to earn a $40 collection, but I’m not doubting that it is—I’m just expressing my surprise.


BATMAN #697
On sale MARCH 17 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by TONY DANIEL
Art by TONY DANIEL & SANDU FLOREA
Cover by TONY DANIEL
Who wears the Black Mask? The true identity of Gotham City’s new crimelord is finally revealed and that identity will surprise everybody – especially Batman! And after the final showdown between Black Mask and The Dark Knight, will things ever be the same for Kittyhawk and the Reaper?


My guess is Orpheus, although I have no reason for guessing that.


BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM # 14
On sale MARCH 31 • 32 pg, FC, $2.50 US
Written by Art Baltazar & Franco • Art and cover by Mike Norton
Black Adam’s made a shocking new friend – and Freddy Freeman may be just what it takes to tip the scales and bring an end to Captain Marvel! It’s a history-making brawl in the Natural History Museum, with art by fantastic new series regular Mike Norton (BLUE BEETLE, GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY)!


I lost interest in this title shortly after they started having people who were neither Mike Kunkel nor Stephen DeStefano draw it, but this issue looks like it should be well worth checking out if only to see what “new series regular” artist Mike Norton does with the characters. Norton’s been working on DCU properties for a few years now, most recently the Blue Beetle back-ups in Booster Gold, and his style is thus quite a few degrees different than any of the artists who have been handling the all-ages Shazam stuff, from Jeff Smith to Kunkel to Byron Vaughns. The cover image doesn’t look like what I’d expect a Mike Norton-drawn Captain Marvel and company to look like, so I’m eager to see more (Actually, if you told me Ted Naifeh penciled or finished that image, I would believe you).

Oh hey, I just checked his website to see if he had some art up there yet, and it looks like he’s actually drawing February’s issue of Billy Batson as well. See, I told you I lost track of the series…


George Perez, ladies and gentleman. This looks like a new cover for the latest volume of Crisis on Multiple Earths JLA/JSA team-ups. I do hope the existence of these volumes doesn't preclude some of these later stories eventually getting collected in Showcase Presents. I would like nothing more than to see DC collect JLoA all the way up to at least Crisis on Infinite Earths (if not all the way up to the Morrison/Porter/Dell relaunch).


DONG XAOI, VIETNAM 1965 HC
Advance-solicited • On sale MAY 5 • 200 pg, FC, 24.99 US
Written by JOE KUBERT
Art and cover by JOE KUBERT
Joe Kubert, one of the most influential storytellers in comics history, tells the harrowing, true story of a detachment of Special Forces soldiers on a simple recon mission into the village of Dong Xoai, Vietnam, that turned suddenly deadly. DONG XOAI, VIETNAM 1965 has a unique perspective, since Kubert based the story on extensive information gathered from the surviving members of the unit. It covers not only the action of the event but the details of deployment and build-up that led to the deadly encounter for these young American G.I.s. For decades, Joe Kubert has shown readers the true face of war – all the suffering, horror, loss and heroism of our fighting forces. With DONG XAOI, he goes a step beyond to tell a gut-wrenching tale of sacrifice that will linger long after you are done reading.


I can not wait to see this book.


HUMAN TARGET #2
On sale MARCH 10 • 2 of 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by LEN WEIN & PETER JOHNSON
Art by BRUNO REDONDO, SERGIO SANDOVAL & SIMON COLEBY
Cover by JP Leon
Based on the anticipated series from Warner Bros. TV premiering on Fox this January! Christopher Chance, the Human Target, has undertaken a deadly mission to protect an informant against organized crime families while he collects evidence throughout Europe. Unfortunately, the mob’s next stop is at the Vatican. Can even Chance’s considerable skills get them inside the holiest and most heavily guarded of locales?


Okay, so this is a comic book series that’s going to be based on the upcoming TV show, which is itself based on a comic book series…?

I guess we’ll see how that works out. I wonder if this is going to be a “DC” branded book or a “WildStorm” one though, since it is based on a TV show, and “WildStorm” has been gradually becoming the umbrella under which DC publishes its media adaptation stuff (I think there are seriously like 545 different based-on-video game books in March’s WildStorm solicitations).


JONAH HEX: NO WAY BACK HC
Advance-solicited • On sale MAY 5 • 136 pg, FC, $19.99 US
Written by JUSTIN GRAY & JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art and cover by TONY DEZUNIGA
Discover how Jonah Hex’s rough family life transformed him into the justice-thirsty vigilante he became. Legendary Hex artist Tony DeZuniga returns to illustrate a new, archetypal epic written by the acclaimed HEX team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. This heartbreaking, brutal original graphic novel is set against the unforgiving landscape of the Wild West and delves into Hex’s painful past, revealing for the first time how his difficult upbringing made him that era’s most feared bounty hunter. Along the way, Hex must come to terms with the death of a loved one, long thought lost, battle El Papagayo and his gang of bandits, and attempt to make peace with his own past.


After the DC’s announcement of their “Earth One” initiative of ongoing original graphic novels, there was a lot of talk about the publisher’s strategy regarding the serialized comic format versus original graphic novel format.

I suppose it’s worth pointing to this then. It’s the equivalent of a six-issue comic book series, and it’s being written by the exact same writing team that pumps out a (rather dismally selling) monthly Jonah Hex title already. Yet instead of serializing this particular story over six issues and then publishing a trade, they’re going straight to trade with this.

I know there’s been some talk recently about whether such a strategy makes any sense or not, but clearly DC thinks it does.


JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE OF ARSENAL #1
On sale MARCH 24 • 1 of 4 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by J.T. KRUL
Art by GERALDO BORGES & MARLO ALQUIZA
Cover by GREG HORN
1:25 variant cover by MIKE MAYHEW
In JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE, Roy Harper lost everything at the hands of Prometheus, barely surviving the brutal severing of his arm. But when he finally awakens from his coma, Roy will find that his dangerous journey into despair is just beginning.


Just three years after abandoning the perfectly fine codename “Arsenal” and taking the (lame) name “Red Arrow,” Roy Harper is going to switch back to his previous? Huh. Way to long-term plan, guys!

Like the March 2010 issue of Green Arrow, I find myself kind of torn on this. I really, really, really like the character of Roy Harper for no real rational reason, but think that (probably temporarily) ripping off his arm for no real reason isn't really a story I feel like subjecting myself too (it's going to have to be more angsty than fun, right? I mean, it promises a “journey into despair” that is “just beginning” in the solicitation), and I don't know anything about any of the creators involved...other than the fact that Krul has been one of the poor folks playing musical chairs with the Titans franchise.

Also, I haven't been reading Cry or any Titans business, but what's this "lost everything?" Did they actually kill Lian off? They didn't kill off Lian did they?

Also also, for a lame joke about Roy Harper's arm loss, please see Blog@Newsarama.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #43
On sale MARCH 31 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art by MARK BAGLEY & ROB HUNTER
1:25 Variant cover by MIKE MAYHEW
Following the decision that occurred in JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE and the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE AND FALL SPECIAL #1, the World’s Greatest Heroes must come to terms with who they are and what they represent. Meanwhile, an all-new danger threatens the existence of everything past and present in the exciting finale of “Team History.”


Just wanted to note that it appears JLoA is going to be sticking with the over-sized, $4 format. I would have bee super-excited about that if it happened during Grant Morrison's or Joe Kelly's or Mark Waid's run on JLA, now it just sort of fills me with dread. Current writer James Robinson simply used the extra space in the last few issues to pack in more unpleasant dialogue.

I sure hope he finds his A-game again soon, wherever he left it...


MAGOG #7
On sale MARCH 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by KEITH GIFFEN
Art and cover by HOWARD PORTER & JOHN DELL
Magog’s goddess mate goes undercover – in his friend Lauren’s body! Top that with a new threat rearing its head toward Earth. It’s too bad Magog’s not a member of the JSA anymore – he could sure use the help! Guest-starring Zatanna
.

Still not canceled! I haven’t mentioned it for a while, so I guess I’ll take the opportunity to do so again now—I really like Howard Porter’s superhero art. There’s a weird, awkward, lurching energy about his poses that I find tremendously exciting, and I don’t think it’s purely residual excitement left over from the JLA days.


MILESTONE FOREVER #2
Prestige format • On sale MARCH 3 • 2 of 2 • 48 pg, FC, $5.99 US
Written by DWAYNE MCDUFFIE
Art by JOHN PAUL LEON, DENYS COWAN, PRENTIS ROLLINS, CHRISCROSS, & ROB STULL
Cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU
You’ve read Dwayne McDuffie’s JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA arc, “When Worlds Collide”! Now find out what pushed Dharma into madness and how Dakota came to the DCU. Witness the triumphant return of some of Milestone’s original creative teams as they give you a story that no one else could!


I just read that JLoA story arc, “When Worlds Collide,” this past week, and it was revealed that the Milestone Universe was fused with the DC Universe (retroactively altering the history of both so that it was like they were always connected, similar to the way in which the DCU absorbed, say the characters of Quality, Charlton or Fawcett).

But if DC’s not putting and Milestoners on the Justice League, if Static’s inclusion on the Teen Titans is up in the air, and there are no new books featuring any Milestone characters (Wouldn’t an Icon book with a Static “co-feature” make at least as much sense as a Web/Hangman ongoing?), what was the point of the whole endeavor?

Is the Milestone Universe going to remain fused to the DCU, or is this Milestone Forever event really about undoing that? Because it seems odd that Icon and Hardware and company are MIA from the big, post “When Worlds Collide” events, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t they have had something to do with Final Crisis? Why haven’t any of ‘em showed up in Coast City to help the rest of the heroes of the DCU fight off the invasion of Black Lanterns yet?


I'm almost disappointed in myself for how much I like the new trade dress for The Sandman. I mean, I already have all these in trade—the second half of the series in singles and trade. I definitely do not need to re-buy them all just because the new covers look kinda cool. And yet, there's a little voice in the back of my head saying "You need that." I suppose I'm lucky I'm too poor to listen to that voice, as if I were rich I'd just make myself poor again by re-buying and re-re-buying comics I already own.

Anyway, neat cover Vertigo.


SECRET SIX #19
On sale MARCH 10 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by JIM CALAFIORE
Cover by DANIEL LUVISI
Catman’s past crawls back to haunt him as Cheshire returns! Could the secret she’s carrying spell the end of the Secret Six?


Another issue with art by Jim Calafiore? DC, I hope you realize Calafiore art is enough to get me to drop this book, and right now it’s one of the…let me check…four remaining DC monthlies on my pull-list. Wherever did Nicola Scott go?


THE SHIELD #7
On sale MARCH 17 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by ERIC TRAUTMANN
Co-feature written by BRANDON JERWA
Art by MARCO RUDY & MICK GRAY
Co-feature art by MICHAEL AVON OEMING
cover by SAMI BASRI
Fan-favorite artist Michael Avon Oeming (Powers) joins Brandon Jerwa in debuting the latest Red Circle hero – The Fox! Filmmaker Paul Patten Jr. heads from Seattle to the underbelly of Tokyo gangster life, caught up in a mission to discover the truth behind his late father’s adventures, but becomes the modern embodiment of the Kitsune totem known as the Fox!
Meanwhile, a new mission kicks off for the Shield – Operation Gunslinger! Hot on the trail of the mysterious H.I.V.E. splinter group Black Seven the Shield must lead a group of special operatives, one of whom strongly has his faith strongly shaken in his commanding officer. Will the Shield uphold his loyalty oath? Or is he about to go AWOL?


Wow, not only has DC yet to cancel the “Red Circle” books, but they’re even adding new characters and new creators into the mix! I’m sort of interested in seeing the Michael Avon Oeming co-feature, but not enough to actually buy the whole comic just to see it…


SHOWCASE PRESENTS: DIAL H FOR HERO TP
Advance-solicited • On sale APRIL 21 • 288 pg, B&W, $9.99 US
Written by DAVE WOOD
Art by JIM MOONEY & others
Cover by JIM MOONEY
The quirky series from HOUSE OF MYSTERY #156-173 is collected for the first time in this title introducing teenaged Robby Reed, whose discovery of the H-E-R-O dial leads to costumed adventure!


This is the single most exciting superhero offering from DC I see in this month’s solicitations. What does that fact mean?

a) I am an old man

b) DC’s not offering very many exciting-looking superhero comics in March of 2010

c) The old Dial H For Hero comics are totally awesome

d) All of the above


SUPERMAN/BATMAN #70
On sale MARCH 24 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by JOE CASEY
Art and cover by ARDIAN SYAF & VICENTE CIFUENTES
As Batman springs his trap for the shape-shifting Durlan terrorist stranded on Earth, Superman and NRG-X battle out Round Two in the Fortress of Solitude!


NRG-X...?


TITANS #23
On sale MARCH 17 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by EDDIE BERGANZA
Art and cover by ANGEL UNZUETA
Spotlight on Red Arrow! As Roy Harper lies in critical condition after the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE #5, his fever dreams show him the perfect future life he wants for the Titans. Unfortunately for him, it’s a life the Titans will never see.


From the writer of the nigh-unreadable Teen Titans strip in Wednesday Comics!


WONDER WOMAN #42
On sale MARCH 31 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT & DOUG HAZLEWOOD
Gail Simone and fan-favorite artist Nicola Scott reunite for this explosive tale featuring the stunning return of a star-spanning threat from Diana’s past! Can even Wonder Woman stop Earth from this world-destroying madwoman? Guest-starring the Green Lantern Corps! Don’t miss “The Wrath of The Silver Serpent”!


Oh hey, here’s where Nicola Scott has gone to, and she’s taken her Secret Six collaborator Doug Hazlewood with her.

Well, that sucks for me, as I enjoy spending time with Simone’s Catman and Ragdoll, but find her Wonder Woman unbearable to be around.

It’s great for Scott though. I don’t think Wonder Woman sells all that much better than Secret Six (Only about 3,000 units better, according to the latest analysis), but it will certainly make it easier for Scott to explain what comic she draws when someone at a party hears she’s a comics artist and starts asking about her work.

8 comments:

John Foley said...

Jim Calafiore must draw really fast or something. I can't think of any other reason why he keeps getting hired. I mean, he doesn't suck as bad as Igor Kordey (another fast drawer), but he's still not very good.

Hdefined said...

Nicola Scott's also been drawing the Blackest Night: Wonder Woman mini-series, which was apparently just a prelude to her run on the main title.

And I agree, Howard Porter's a very solid artist - not "solid" in terms of "adequately follows a house style," but rather something clean about his work while still remaining fairly unique. His work on the end of Johns' Flash run was rather good.

Dylanio21 said...

May 5th is too far to wait for that Kubert book!

LurkerWithout said...

Man if Ted Naifeh were doing BB&tMoS, I'd totally be back on buying that book...

So exactly what time period is it that DC has problems securing reprints rights? Early 80s?

Greg said...

John: You've obviously never seen Kordey's art when Marvel wasn't making him draw an issue in a day. His work on Smoke and The Secret History is gorgeous. Of course, maybe you have seen those and still think he sucks. Oh well!

Stephen said...

>>This is the single most exciting superhero offering from DC I see in this month’s solicitations.

Yeah, I kind of agreed and then I realized that it was black and white.

I never cared for color comics that are reprinted in black and white (nor would I enjoy black and white comics that are reprinted in color if such a thing ever happens). I know it's to keep the price down, but it's just not the same...

Randal said...

I imagine the Jonah Hex OGN strategy has as much to do with the movie than magazine vs trade vs OGN strategy...so I don't think this particular outlier can tell us anything. The companies always put out collections, new miniseries, new one shots, whatever for movies...but a high end hardcover OGN is something new, isn't?

Tony said...

Why is Gail Simone's Secret Six so much better than her Wonder Woman? I've asked it before, but I still want to know.

What the heck happened to James Robinson? Starman was a good-natured exploration into nostalgia, duty and fatherhood, with occasional spurts of plot. And now he's ripping people's arms off?