Monday, September 20, 2010

DC's December previews reviewed

As always, DC's full solicitations for the comics they intend to publish in December of 2010 can be found here, while my comments on what looks good/bad/noteworthy can be found below.


AZRAEL #15
Written by DAVID HINE
Art by CLIFF RICHARDS
Cover by GUILLEM MARCH

The prophecy is fulfilled! Azrael has been found crucified, and a mystery swirls around his fate. It’s time for the world’s greatest detective to step in and figure out how this destiny came to pass. And how will this continue to play into the founding of Batman, Inc? Guest-starring The Dark Knight!

On sale DECEMBER 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


Hey, still not canceled! Way to go, Azrael! And with Batman, Inc. launching and getting name-checked in the solicitation for this issue, the new volume of Azarel may be around for months and months yet.


BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #2
Written by DAVID FINCH
Art by DAVID FINCH & SCOTT WILLIAMS
Cover by DAVID FINCH

Batman faces the Penguin in the search for his childhood friend Dawn Golden…but what The Dark Knight finds sends him on a far darker and more desperate path. Now he’s forced to reach out to Etrigan, the Demon for help – a favor that may come at too high a price!

On sale DECEMBER 29 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US


The plot sounds intriguing—I like The Demon, I like the Penguin, Dawn Golden has a funny name—and I might be interested in picking this up if I didn’t loathe the work of the artists. So no sale.

Also, please note this is $4. So not only is DC taking their Batman franchise to previously undreamed of numbers of books—six ongoing books starring Batman, six issues of one-shots, annuals or miniseries, and six books starring Batman’s sidekicks and supporting characters—two of those books are going to be $4 for just 22-pages of story.

I'm no economics expert or anything but, come on, how is that not completely insane?


BATMAN, INC. #2
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE& MICHAEL LACOMBE
The dynamic new era of Batman continues! The Dark Knight and Mr. Unknown – the Batman of Japan – go up against Lord Death Man. It’s going to be a fight to the end that could see the failure of Batman, Inc. before it’s even begun!
for more information.

On sale DECEMBER 8 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US


I’ve previously wondered over this cover, and then expressed my surprised delight at the solicitation copy.

So, what else is left to say? Oh yeah, the price. I can't wait to read this, so I'm really bummed out it's at the Evil Price Point, and that I'll have to wait another six months or so to read this in trade.

You're breaking my heart here, DC Comics!


This is a pretty decent cover for the Return of Bruce Wayne series, each issue of which featured an alternate Batman wearing a costume tailored to a particular time period, none of which would have seemed quite right to double as a cover for a collected edition.


BIRDS OF PREY #7
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by ARDIAN SYAF & VICENTE CIFUENTES
Cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU

One of Oracle’s fiercest enemies finds her alone and far from her allies and safe houses – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as Batman returns! Rising star artist Ardian Syaf (BRIGHEST DAY) makes his BIRDS OF PREY debut in a story you must not miss, which we’re calling ”The Death of Oracle”!

On sale DECEMBER 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99


Odd. The way this solicitation is phrased, it makes it sound like Ardian Syaf is joining the book's creative team on a somewhat permanent basis, but DC pushed this book as a Gail Simone/Ed Benes joint, and Benes was only a partial presence for the first four issues, and there was a fill-in artist, and now a new regular artist?

Looks like.

Well, this is rather unfortunate, as BOP really hit the ground stumbling. I gave the book a chance in spite of Benes' presence, rather than because of it, and the fact that each of the first few issues see-sawed between to different artists with two very different styles working from their own personal designs for the same characters didn't sell it to me at all.

I gave up on it after that fourth issue, and now I'm wondering if I might have been more likely to stick with the series if Syaf would have simply been the artist from issue one, and stuck around all this time.

Anyway, Birds of Prey—another Big Two super-comic that is apparently completely fucked up behind the scenes.


DC COMICS PRESENTS: BATMAN BEYOND #1
Written by HILARY BADER
Art by MIN S. KU, RICK BURCHETT and others
Cover by BRIAN STELFREEZE
Blast into the future of Gotham City with these tales from BATMAN BEYOND #13, 14, 21 and 22, as Terry McGinnis teams up with Barbara Gordon, Etrigan the Demon, the Green Lantern of the future, Big Barda and more!

On sale DECEMBER 1 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


I wasn't too into the cartoon this was based on, but I read two of the four issues collected here—the Justice League ones—and they were pretty good. Ku and Burchett are definitely great artists, and this seems like a pretty good introduction to Batman Beyond for people who aren't already in to it, as the stories in this volume are chockfull of pre-Beyond DCU characters.


DC COMICS PRESENTS: BRIGHTEST DAY #3
Written by GAIL SIMONE and STEVE ENGLEHART
Art by ROB LIEFELD, TREVOR VON EEDEN and JOE RUBINSTEIN
Cover by TBD
Kestrel, the mad dog of the Chaos Realm, battles the Teen Titans in a bid to gain power like he’s never had before in a tale from TEEN TITANS #27-28. And in an epic from LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE #26-27, The Joker earns the wrath of both Aquaman and Batman when he dredges up the old Joker-fish routine.

On sale DECEMBER 8 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


Hmmm...I didn't read the Simone/Liefeld Teen Titans story because, come one, Rob Liefeld? In the 21st century? But I did read and dig the Legends story. It's kind of silly, a wacky sequel of sorts to Englehart's own classic Joker fish storyline, but Von Eeden's artwork is fantastic.

This is a really, really weird collection...it's hard to imagine anyone who digs one half of this book really digging the other half. I'll be curious to see how it goes over, honestly.


DC COMICS PRESENTS: JLA #1
Written by DENNIS O’NEIL and JOE KELLY
Art by TAN ENG HUAT, DOUG MAHNKE and TOM NGUYEN
Cover by DOUG MAHNKE and TOM NGUYEN
In this never-before-reprinted tale from JLA #91-93, the team finds itself in a dilemma when a mysterious, shapeshifting creature from another planet gets blasted into our solar system. But is it friend or foe? Plus, Wonder Woman and Batman examine their relationship in a tale from issue #90 that spins out of “The Obsidian Age.”

On sale DECEMBER 29 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


The "Extinction" story arc that runs between #91-93 of JLA marked the beginning of the end of the JLA title, as it was the first of the half-dozen or so "fill-in" arcs that ended the series after the third and final regular creative team moved off to the title and on to Justice League Elite.

I haven't read it since it was first published—it didn't bear repeat readings, really—and all I remember about it at this point is that the Mahnke covers were probably the best part and that Eng Huat's art was interesting. The fourth comic collected in here, JLA #90, is the final issue of the underrated Joe Kelly/Mahnke run (not counting their one-issue return for #100), in which Wonder Woman and Batman use a weird Martian device to learn whether or not them dating would be a good idea or not.

I wouldn't normally recommend it, but the neat thing about these DC Presents half-trades is that they're so reasonably priced that it works out to about $2-per-issue, and the O'Neil/Eng Huat books are worth at least that much.


DC COMICS PRESENTS: T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS #1
Written by WALLACE WOOD, STEVE SKEATES and others
Art by WALLACE WOOD, GIL KANE, STEVE DITKO and others
Cover by WALLACE WOOD
As DC’s new T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS series gets under way, relive these legendary tales from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS #1, 2 and 7! Don’t miss the origins of the team’s members, the death of a lead character, and more!

On sale DECEMBER 29 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


I don't really have any interest in the new THUNDER Agents series DC is about to start publishing and has been hyping up as if it was some kinda big deal, but if I wanted to see just what this THUNDER Agents thing is all about, I imagine an $8 trade featuring work by Wood, Kane and Ditko is a pretty good place to start.


DCU HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2010 #1
Written by DAN ABNETT & ANDY LANNING, SETH ALBANO, TONY BEDARD, JOEY CAVALIERI, KEVIN GREVIOUX and DARA NARAGHI
Art by RENATO ARLEM, ROBERTO CASTRO, RICHARD & TANYA HORIE, CARLO SORIANO and more
Cover by MATT HALEY
From the dawn of time (Anthro) to the far-flung future (Legion of Super-Heroes), sentient life has honored the winter holidays with celebrations and rituals as diverse as the universe itself! Join DC Comics - and a stellar team of writers and artists - to honor the vast and diverse holidays of the DC Universe in
6 tales of holiday cheer! Starring the aforementioned characters along with Superman, The Spectre, Jonah Hex, and Green Lantern John Stewart for a HOLIDAY SPECIAL like no other!

On sale DECEMBER 8 * 56 pg, FC $4.99 US


Attention, Columbusites! Your own Dara Naraghi makes his DC debut with one of the short stories included in this anthology comic! Congratulations, Dara!


Can you imagine how great Freedom Fighters would be if cover artist Dave Johnson handled the interiors as well?




...

I...I’m actually speechless here. Sorry.


GREEN LANTERN: LARFLEEZE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by BRETT BOOTH
Cover by GENE HA

It’s BRIGHTEST (CHRISTMAS) DAY! What do you want for Christmas? Orange Lantern Larfleeze wants everything – including Santa Claus himself! And nothing, not even the heroes of the DC Universe can to stop the Orange Lantern from getting what he wants! Plus, you won’t want to miss the strange holiday season shenanigans starring the rest of the Orange Lantern Corps! Superstar writer Geoff Johns and artist Brett Booth team up for an unbelievable sleigh ride adventure!

ONE-SHOT • On sale DECEMBER 22 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US


YE—$3.99? What? NO! DC! What are you doing?! You are totally blowing your opportunity to make Marvel look like the more evil of two evils in the direct market by following their terrible, terrible example. Hell, if you increased to $3.25 or $3.50, you’d make more money per book and look better than Marvel. Now, having waited to see if your core audience would let Marvel get away with being totally shitty to them before joining in on the exploit your core audience because it's not like they won't take it, you just kinda end up looking like dicks.



GREEN LANTERN/PLASTIC MAN: WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION #1
Written by MARV WOLFMAN
Art and cover by BRENT ANDERSON
Here’s the bad news: a horde of aliens is living undercover on Earth, and they’re smuggling weapons off-planet to fuel an interstellar war! Here’s the good news: two of Earth’s most powerful heroes are on the case, and one of them is the finest cop in the galaxy, Green Lantern! But here’s the bad news again: the other one is Plastic Man. Sorry, GL. This is gonna be rough...

ONE-SHOT • On sale DECEMBER 15 • 56 pg, FC $4.99 US


Well this is...strange. If I had to guess where this came from exactly, I'd guess that it was originally intended for a couple of issues of The Brave and the Bold between the end of Mark Waid's run as writer and the delayed beginning of JMS's but I'm not sure the page count is right for that.

You know, I'm not sure if I've seen Plastic Man and Hal Jordan interact with one another before, although I suppose they must have at least shared panel-time before, in the "Emerald Knights" story arc in the previous volume of Green Lantern, if nowhere else.


One phallic symbol per cover please, Jack of Fables.


JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #15-16
Written by JUDD WINICK
Issue #15 art by JOE BENNETT
Issue #16 art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Covers by DUSTIN NGUYEN

DC’s biweekly JUSTICE LEAGUE event continues!
In issue #15, the world blames the Justice League International for the recent Chicago death toll and the death of a hero. As our team deals with the fallout, Captain Atom returns from a dark future with information on Max Lord’s ultimate plan – and Wonder Woman plays a major part in it!
In issue #16, the Creature Commandos have attacked the JLI and one of the team lies dying. Meanwhile, Power Girl swears vengeance on the JLI for her friend’s death, but Batman suspects foul play.


Let's see here..."death toll...death of a hero...team lies dying...vengeance...friend's death"...

Uh-oh. My bad feeling about this title is getting worse.


JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE AND FALL HC
Written by J.T. KRULL
Art by DIOGENES NEVES, MIKE MAYHEW, FABRIZIO FIORENTINO and others
Cover by MIKE MAYHEW
The Justice League of America must hunt down Green Arrow for murdering the villain Prometheus in this hardcover collecting JUSTICE LEAGUE: RISE AND FALL SPECIAL, GREEN ARROW #31-32 and THE RISE OF ARSENAL #1-4!

Green Arrow has become a fugitive after killing the villain Prometheus for destroying Star City and murdering the daughter of his former sidekick, Arsenal. Now, the Justice League of America must hunt down their former teammate while Arsenal must come to grips with the losses of both his daughter and his arm at the hands of Prometheus.

On sale FEBRUARY 23 • 224 pg, FC, $24.99 US


A hardcover collection, DC? Are you sure? And why are you using that image for the cover instead of this image:


KNIGHT & SQUIRE #3
Written by PAUL CORNELL
Art by JIMMY BROXTON
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE & MICHAEL LACOMBE

Cyril and Beryl have the fight of their lives on their hands when Shakespeare’s most evil monarch, Richard III, returns! And he’s brought with him a cloned army of all the worst Kings of England, intent on taking back the country through the use of social networking! Yes, that’s the plot!


YES.


SUPERMAN/BATMAN #79
Written by CHRIS ROBERSON
Art by JESUS MERINO
Cover by FIONA STAPLES
Get ready to go back to the 853rd century as SUPERMAN/BATMAN visits the world of DC ONE MILLION! What dangerous foe threatens to destroy both the 853rd and 21st centuries? Find out here in the first part of a 2-part story by Chris Roberson (I, ZOMBIE) and Jesus Merino (JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA)!

On sale DECEMBER 22 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


I'm not terribly familiar with the writer—I think I've only read part of an issue of his I, Zombie, but I really love these characters.


TEEN TITANS #90
Written by J.T. KRUL
Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT & DOUG HAZLEWOOD
1:10 Variant cover by KARL KERSCHL
It's mayhem at the cafeteria as Headcase and the Feral Boys run wild! Can the Teen Titans pull themselves together long enough to overcome this combined threat - or will Damian once again be their downfall?

On sale DECEMBER 29 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


The presence of Nicola Scott and Damian really make me want to check out this upcoming run on Teen Titans…but I’m scared. I’m scared of the title in general, having caught up on it via library-borrowed trades, and I’m extremely afraid of J.T. Krul.


TEEN TITANS: COLD CASE#1
Written by MARK SABLE
Art by SEAN MURPHY
Cover by JAY FABOK
Don't miss this untold tale from writer Mark Sable (Grounded, TWO-FACE: YEAR ONE) and red-hot artist Sean Murphy (JOE THE BARBARIAN) bringing the Teen Titans and The Flash's Rogues Gallery into direct conflict! Two people already died over a mysterious object, and now both teams want it. How much more blood will be spilled to obtain it as this gets deadly personal for all involved?

ONE-SHOT * On sale DECEMBER 22 * 56 pg, FC, $4.99 US


This is weird...the cover seems to indicate that there's an older version of the Teen Titans line-up starring in this. And by old I mean really old; Tim Drake hasn't been Robin since spring of 2009's Batman: Battle for the Cowl. I really like Sean Murphy's art, so this might be worth checking out...


TIME MASTERS: VANISHING POINT #6
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art and cover by DAN JURGENS & NORM RAPMUND
Finding Bruce Wayne seems like a trivial pursuit compared to the horrors that the Time Masters stumble upon concerning 2011 and the entire DC Universe! How far has Reverse-Flash gone this time in his manipulations of the time-stream?! Do NOT miss this peek at what lies ahead for the DCU!

On sale DECEMBER 15 * 6 of 6 * 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US


Well, finding Bruce Wayne may seem like a trivial pursuit form the perspective of the characters, but given that this over-priced miniseries was being sold as a companion series to Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, I imagine most of the fans reading it will consider it more than a trivial pursuit.


TITANS #30
Written by ERIC WALLACE
Art and cover by FABRIZIO FIORENTINO
The inmates of Arkham Asylum have taken over, and Deathstroke's team of misfits is fighting for their lives against Gotham City's most dangerous lunatics! Will Deathstroke and Arsenal be able to side with Batman long enough to survive the night? Plus, Ray Palmer guest-stars as he continues his investigation into Ryan Choi's murder.

On sale DECEMBER 15 * 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


So how exactly is this supposed to be suspenseful? I mean, if Batman can take out every single villain in the asylum, and Deathstroke is better at beating people up than Batman, and a stone-cold killer, wouldn't he just easily kill his way through Batman's rogue's gallery here?


This looks fantastic.


And this looks even more so.


WONDER WOMAN #606
Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
Art and cover by DON KRAMER & JAY LEISTEN

J. Michael Straczynski’s blockbuster re-imagining of the Amazon Princess continues with a vengeance! Deep beneath the city, Diana tracks the Morrigan to their lair. And what she finds there will astonish you!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.

On sale DECEMBER 29 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


True story: I found #601, the first full issue of JMS and Kramer's run on the title, in a fifty-cent bin at a used book store and, after giving it a very thorough flip-through, the contents didn't look like something I wanted to spend even fifty cents on.

The cover of this particular issue is pretty nice though. Although didn't that weird "The Other" story arc JMS wrote on Amazing Spider-Man use the same concept on one of its covers...?

10 comments:

zambazo said...

Birds of Prey wasn't really fucked up by behind the scenes tomfoolery, the truth is simply that Ed Benes got extremely sick after taking the assignment. And considering that he lives in a Brazilian village that just got electricity a few years ago, any kind of illness is usually a serious matter.

Eyz said...

It seems like GL and the Batman franchises are doing pretty well nowadays :P

that LARFLEEZE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL looks epic!
Best "surprise" announcement from DC for this winter!

Oh and the Plasticman/GL looks pretty random..but I do miss new Plas' stories, so this will have to do^^

Mory said...

"The Other" didn't just use the Vitruvian Man image for one of the covers, it was the symbol of the crossover. So yeah, this is repeating himself.

Brian said...

To be fair, having the Larfleeze being $3.99 for a normal size comic actually sort of works in this case, being all about greed and whatnot... ;)

SallyP said...

But...but Richard III was actually a very GOOD King!

paschoal said...

>>JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE RISE AND FALL HC
>>A hardcover collection, DC? Are you sure?

The hardcover helps keep the poop-stink of the story fresh.

tomorrowboy 2.7 said...

I'd guess Batman Inc. will probably go to hardcover first. Then paperback afterwards. So maybe you'll get it in time for xmas next year?

Caleb said...

Birds of Prey wasn't really fucked up by behind the scenes tomfoolery, the truth is simply that Ed Benes got extremely sick after taking the assignment.

Eh, I think I've heard that someone before, but when I review a comic, I can only really go by the information in the comic book, so unless there's a little Oracle chibi peeking it's head around a panel saying "Ed is terribly ill; sorry the art is so awful this issue!" I can't really factor it in.

Regardless, if BoP had more than a half-issue in the can before they started selling, they could have avoided the problem all together.


that LARFLEEZE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL looks epic!
Best "surprise" announcement from DC for this winter!


Yeah, I'm glad Johns wasn't just joking when he started talking about it at cons.


To be fair, having the Larfleeze being $3.99 for a normal size comic actually sort of works in this case, being all about greed and whatnot... ;)

Heh. I almost wrote a joke about that into my complaining.

It's just too bad that Larfleeze was apparently given a job at DC, helping set prices...

Dara said...

Thanks for the shout out, Caleb!

Diabolu Frank said...

I've loved the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents since reading the Deluxe run in the early '90s. I own vintage issues, an archive and most of the revivals since the '80s. I just can't get it up for this new version, though. The redesigns suck, so the only character I have very slight interest in is NoMan. However, the whole point of that character is that he's an old scientist given a new lease on life via robot surrogates. NoMan's a devil-may-care uncoordinated adventurer in action who costs the government millions through countless destroyed models. He's fun, not dour.