Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DC's March previews reviewed

Monday DC Comics released their solicitations for books they plan to publish in March of next year, and as it is now Wednesday night, I’m a little behind in my usual review of their previews. Okay, actually I’m a lot behind, but the books aren’t landing in shops for another three months, so I guess a few days here or there doesn’t matter all that much.

Ready?

BATMAN INCORPORATED #5
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art by YANICK PAQUETTE & MICHEL LACOMBE
Cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III
Batman’s Argentinean adventure concludes as The Dark Knight and Gaucho fight to the death to save the lives of countless innocents. Meanwhile, England’s other Batman, The Hood, stumbles across a monstrous conspiracy—can Batman and his international allies stop a plot that threatens to transform the whole world
On sale MARCH 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


Neat-o! It’s The Hood! It’s really The Hood Awesome! As I’ve wondered aloud before, I wasn’t sure if Morrison was going to confine himself to the old Silver Age Club of Heroes characters and a few new ones he made up himself, or use the various international versions of Batman that have popped up here and there in other books over the decades.

I guess he’s doing the latter, as The Hood was a one-off character created by Alan Grant and Bret Blevins in a three-issue Batman: Shadow of The Bat arc. It was part of the KnightQuest: The Search storyline, in which the wheelchair-bound Bruce Wayne left Gotham City under the care of Jean-Paul Valley and Tim Drake to pursue his girlfriend’s captors around the world. The Hood (seen in the cover detail above, painted by Brian Stelfreeze) was a London-based vigilante who did some of Bruce’s leg work for him, while he adapted a weird disguise and tricked out wheelchairs and canes to do…Batman-type stuff with Alfred. I don’t remember the plot all that well, but The Hood character left an impression. He was one of the many, many new characters Alan Grant and his artist contributors came up with during his years on the Bat-books who seemed to have some potential, but never really caught on the way that, say, The Ventriloquist or Mr. Zsasz did. Hell, I think The Tally Man has had more appearances than The Hood.

Another one-off character from a Grant-written Shadow arc I liked was this dude, The Human Flea: If Teenage Caleb found a lamp with a genie that granted him three wishes, and wished he could be a Professional Writer For DC Comics, The Human Flea totally would have been part of a Teen Titans line-up, along with Robin, Superboy, Anima, Damage, The Ray, Impulse, Maya and Anarky.


DC COMICS PRESENTS: NIGHT FORCE #1
Written by MARV WOLFMAN
Art by GENE COLAN & BOB SMITH
Cover by GENE COLAN & DICK GIORDANO
The acclaimed creative team behind Tomb of Dracula reunited in 1982 for DC’s NIGHT FORCE! Now, DC reprints issues #1-4 of this cult favorite series that taps into the lore of Dracula. The series begins as the mysterious sorcerer Baron Winter assembles a team to take on an occult evil. But can the granddaughter of Dracula’s greatest foe, a powerful parapsychologist and a timelost warrior from the court of King David tackle these threats?
On sale MARCH 23 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


I’m almost certain that all four of these comics can be found for somewhere between $2 and $4 in a back-issue bin somewhere, so I guess if you buy this book, you’re really paying for the convenience of not having to search for them.

I’ve never read this series, but the names Wolfman, Colan an Giordano applied to vampire comics for DC certainly piques my interest. Have any of you guys read Night Force….? What’s the verdict?


DETECTIVE COMICS #875
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by JOCK
One bright Tuesday morning, the corpse of a killer whale shows up on the floor of one of Gotham City’s foremost banks. The event begins a strange and deadly mystery that will bring Batman face-to-face with the new, terrifying faces of organized crime in Gotham. Be here for part 1 of the brand new 3-part “Hungry City.”
On sale MARCH 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


TEC’s brief time as a $4, back-up-having book knocked it out of my own personal read-it-as-singles column and into my trade-wait column, but that cover and that solicitation look and sound pretty great. I’m really looking forward to the eventual Snyder/Jock trades.

You guys read their first issue yet? Any goood?


GREEN LANTERN #64
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by DOUG MAHNKE & CHRISTIAN ALAMY
Cover by IVAN REIS & OCLAIR ALBERT
1:10 Variant cover by TYLER KIRKHAM & BATT
“War of the Green Lanterns” ignites with part 1 of the blockbuster event that’ll burn into the summer! A malevolent force has usurped control over all the power batteries, leaving the Corps powerless except for a select few members. Now it’s up to Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart and Sinestro to regain control – but can these warriors overcome their differences in time to save the universe?
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale MARCH 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #58
Written by TONY BEDARD
Art and cover by TYLER KIRKHAM & BATT
“War of the Green Lanterns” part 2! Kyle Rayner vs. John Stewart!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale MARCH 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS #8
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN & CAM SMITH
Cover by FELIPE MASSAFERA
In “War of the Green Lanterns” part 3, it’s the main event! Guy Gardner vs. Hal Jordan – winner take all!
On sale MARCH 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


Yikes. That’s a pretty rotten way to organize a crossover story. I only regularly read one of those three titles, and I don’t think I’m interested enough in the franchise to pick up two extra issues by different creators—the Green Lantern creative team is a large part of why I am still reading that book.

Well, hopefully part 1 will read okay all on its own; I only read the JLoA chapters of the recent JLoA/JSoA crossover and it was…a less than ideal way to read a comic book story.


HITMAN VOL. 5: ACE OF KILLERS TP NEW EDITION
Written by GARTH ENNIS
Art and cover by JOHN MCCREA
Angered by Tommy Monaghan’s previous attack, the Arkannone, a cabal of creatures residing in Hell, send the 10-foot tall skeletal demon Mawzir on a mission of revenge. Realizing that x-ray vision and telepathy are no match for the six-armed, artillery-toting hellspawn, Hitman sends Catwoman and Etrigan the Demon on a quest to hell to retrieve the one weapon that can stop Mawzir: the gun known as the Ace of Killers. A new edition of the title collecting HITMAN #15-22!
On sale APRIL 20 • 192 pg, FC, $17.99 US


Just a reminder: Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman is pretty much the best thing ever. In this story arc, Tommy Monaghan and his pal Nat invent the cat-signal, and end up holed up in a church with a ragtag group of allies, besieged by an invincible demon from hell and scores of gun-toting Gotham mob fodder.
The story kinda sorta picks up on some elements from the Ennis/McCrea Demon run (which, by the way, could use a collection, DC), and there Etrigan is super-scary…more so in this more serious title than in his own book which, at the time, often veered into crazy satire.

Buy it and read it, if you haven’t already.


JIMMY OLSEN #1
Written by NICK SPENCER
Art by RB SILVA & DYM
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
The hit ACTION COMICS co-feature that everyone’s talking about gets its own collection, reprinting the first four parts of the story and presenting 30 all-new pages that bring “Jimmy Olsen’s Big Week” to a ridiculously over-the-top close!
When Jimmy Olsen finds out that his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Sullivan, is spending a week writing a profile about a young big-shot LexCorp employee, Jimmy is determined to prove to Chloe that he can have just as exciting and interesting a week. Cue bar fights with drunken aliens, a visit to the Yarn Barn with Supergirl, Fifth Dimensional stalkers, and Jimmy Olsen: Space Warrior!
One-shot • On sale MARCH 30 • 80 pg, FC, $5.99 US


This critically acclaimed back-up feature from Action Comics was one of the casualties of DC’s seemingly sudden—they had a few features in progress, and had just announced at least one more new one—decision to abandon back-ups. I was assuming it would come out in trade eventually, but this is a rather unexpected format—a $6 80-page giant reprinting the chapters that appeared in Action and finishing the story with new material.

I’d be rather pissed if I already paid for a big chunk of these stories by buying Action, and then had to pay for ‘em again just to be able to read the end of the story.

The Jeff Lemire-written Atom stories from Adventure Comics, meanwhile, are just being concluded, rather than collected and concluded in a 56-page, $5 Giant-Size Atom #1. I guess that’s a size joke about The Atom, but I don’t think DC should use the phrase “Giant-Size” in their titles, as that’s a Marvel expression. It would be like DC launching a DC Team-Up or DC Two-In-One, you know? Or maybe Uncanny Doom Patrol or a whole line of Justice League books, including New Justice League, Mighty Justice League and Justice League Academy.

Speaking of Justice Leagues…


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #55
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art by BRETT BOOTH & NORM RAPMUND
Cover by BRETT BOOTH
“The Rise of Eclipso” continues! With the Spectre fallen and darkness spread throughout the DC Universe, no one is safe from Eclipso’s control! Not any of DCs shadow-based heroes and villains. Not Alan Scott and the magical beings of the moon’s Emerald City. Not even the World’s Greatest Heroes! And when Eclipso’s ultimate goal is revealed, they’ll see that it’s scale is even bigger than the DC Universe. One lone hero has the power to make sure all be well however...for he has hope. Introducing Blue Lantern Saint Walker to the Justice League of America! In the remains of New Krypton, Doomsday tears through Batman, Supergirl and Alpha Lantern Boodikka in his search for Cyborg Superman as “Reign of Doomsday” rampages on!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale MARCH 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


Last week DC’s David Hyde teased “What Lantern joins the Justice League next Spring?” on The Source blog. I didn’t expect it to be a non-Green Lantern, which is kind of exciting. And kind of weird.

But that’s been one of the most engaging aspects of James Robinson’s weird-ass run on JLoA so far. Barred from using most of the traditional JLA characters, and apparently having characters yanked out of the book after already writing them in (Remember Cyborg, The Guardian, Starfire, Mon-El, Green Arrow, Hal Jordan and The Atom being on the team for, what, two issues? Three?), Robinson’s been using some pretty unusual characters, which has kept the book interesting.

It would be more interesting still if the line-up could stabilize for, say, two consecutive story arcs or so, but throwing Blue Lantern Saint Walker into the mix? Okay fine; that’s a surprise, and surprises are welcome.

Tying the book into some dumb Doomsday storyline that’s running through a bunch of other books of varying degrees of popularity—a Steel one-shot, Superboy, Outsiders—is less welcome and artist Brett Booth? I just don’t care for that fellow’s work one bit.

I can understand why Doug Mahnke, Yanick Paquette and Patrick Gleason would stick with Green Lantern, Batman Inc and Batman and Robin respectively, given how much better than JLoA those books sell, but I’m pretty disappointed that Booth is getting DC’s premier team book.

What about Howard Porter, Francis Manapul, Frazier Irving, Amy Reeder, Andy Clarke, Dustin Nguyen, Keith Giffen, Bernard Chang, Pete Woods, Chris Batista, Francis Portela, Phil Jimenez, Moritat, Tom Derenik, Scott Kolins, Freddie Williams II, Nicola Scott, Jerry Ordway, Kevin Maguire or Jamal Igle, to name 20 artists who are penciling DC comics on sale in March whose work I think is much, much, much better than Booth’s?

Actually, of all of those, I think Jimenez would be the best choice for a regular JLoA gig. He’s a great superhero artists, does great with crowds in terms of laying out panels and differentiating characters, has a handle on the bulk of the DCU’s designs (as he proved in JLA/Titans and Infinite Crisis) and is a big enough “name” artists to follow Mark Bagley.

Is he too slow to handle a monthly like JLoA or something? Because DC’s got him on some Legion book right now, which seems like sort of a waste. But I don’t really know what I’m talking about—maybe Jimenez is just crazy about the Legion and loves working with Levitz.


Alan…? Is that you? What the fuck are you wearing? The Iron Lantern costume?


SHOWCASE PRESENTS: GREEN LANTERN VOL. 5 TP
Written by DENNIS O’NEIL and ELLIOT S. MAGGIN
Art by NEAL ADAMS, DICK GIORDANO, MIKE GRELL, VINCE COLLETTA and others
Cover by NEAL ADAMS
Green Lantern’s SHOWCASE PRESENTS series continues with issues #76-100, including the famed stories that teamed Green Lantern with Green Arrow, in which the two heroes face issues of the day including women’s rights, political corruption, religious intolerance and more — all while battling evil. This volume also includes adventures from GL’s 1976 relaunch, collected here for the first time!
On sale APRIL 20 • 496 pg, B&W, $19.99 US


Hey, this is kinda cool—DC has already released the O’Neil/Adams GL/GA stories in pricier, full-color trades, but now they’re appearing in cheap-o Showcase Presents format. Good deal. I hope this means that the Satellite Era Justice League stories that have been released in other formats will eventually be Showcased as well.



SUGAR AND SPIKE ARCHIVES VOL. 1 HC
Written by SHELDON MAYER
Art and cover by SHELDON MAYER
DC’s cult favorite comic about a pair of precocious babies is collected at last in this volume.
Hot-tempered Sugar Plumm and shy Cecil “Spike” Wilson may be toddlers, but they know more about getting into trouble than most grown-ups. And while they can understand each other perfectly, all their parents seem to hear when they speak is “Glx sptzl glaah!”
Now, DC Comics collects their classic series for the first time, starting with issues #1-10, in this hardcover showcasing stories and art by the talented Sheldon Mayer, inspired by the hijinks of his own children.
On sale AUGUST 31 240 pg, FC, $59.99 US


Because Chris Sims demanded it! Loudly, repeatedly and in-person! I’m not sure if this is the way he wanted it…I’d be down for a Showcase or something, um, not$60, but nice to see DC responding at all, I guess.


Well, there’s some action on this one, anyway…


TINY TITANS #38
Written by ART BALTAZAR & FRANCO
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
The awesome underwater issue! Guest-starring Aqualad, Arthur Jr., Inky, Fluffy and Steve, the Sea Horse! Aquagirl introduces everybody to her new Tiny Titans team, “The Hurtin’ Titans!” Featuring: Hardrock, The Face, Star Spangled Kid and TNTeena! Ker-sploosh!
On sale MARCH 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US


I believe this is the first appearance of a Tiny Aquagirl…and she looks completely different than the two DCU Aquagirls.

I’m also looking forward to seeing the Tiny version of The Face.

I think I like the name The Hurtin’ Titans even more than The Terror Titans.



VERTIGO RESURRECTED: FINALS #1
Written by WILL PFEIFER
Art and cover by JILL THOMPSON
The 4-issue miniseries from writer Will Pfeifer and artist Jill Thompson (DELIRIUM’S PARTY: A LITTLE ENDLESS STORYBOOK) is collected at last!
Meet Wally Maurer, his girlfriend Nancy, and his housemates at Knox State, a college where the goal for most students is to survive one another’s senior projects (time-travel machines, “hyper-cinema-vérité” and armed robbery, for example) – as well as their own. Prepare for a cutting satire that takes on the elitism, mindless amusements and hidden agendas of higher education as seen through the eyes of five seniors who just want to graduate – without getting killed.
On sale MARCH 9 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US • MATURE READERS


Note: This is a pretty fun miniseries, well worth the price of admission—$2 per issue!—for Jill Thompson’s art alone, although I recall digging Pfeifer’s story as well at the time.


***********************

Based on the information I have now, it looks like the single-issue comic book-comic books I'll be buying from DC Comics next March are The All-New Batman: The Brave and The Bold #5, Brightest Day #21 and #22, DC Comics Presents: Night Force #1, DC Universe Online Legends #3 and #4, Green Lantern #64, Jimmy Olsen #1, Justice League: Generation Lost #21 and #22, Knight and Squire #6, Tiny Titans #38 and Young Justice #2.

That's 13 books, for a grand total of $46.87 before discounts, assuming I did my math right.

8 comments:

Eyz said...

Interested by the Jimmy Olsen book (since I didn't get it as back-up feature, I'm waiting to get those Adventure comics in TPB..)

You say the Atom giant size (duh!) will also collect the back-up parts?

Caleb said...

Er, no actually. I reread that after seeing your comment, and it looks like they're handling The Atom story completely differently.

I went back and corrected the post; sorry about that.

Yan Basque said...

The last issue of Detective Comics was the best Batman comic I've read in months. As much as I love Morrison's antics, this felt refreshing in a no-nonsense-but-just-great-storytelling-and-great-art kind of way. It's too bad you dropped it. I think it's the best Batman book on the stands right now.

Matt D said...

I never realized there was even a Pfiefer(I can never spell that)/Thompson comic. I can't wait to read that.

I liked a lot about the first issue of Tec, but it was a little darker than I wanted for Dick Grayson/Batman. I get that's the point but I really like him smiling a bit more, even in the face of the macabre.

Ray "!!" Tomczak said...

I've read the first issue of Night Force, and its not bad...but I only paid fifty cents for it...so you definitely can get these stories for less than eight bucks if you look for them...

Siskoid said...

Hey I remember the Flea! He was a Batman analog?

The original Night Force was pretty good, mostly due to Colan's art. Later attempts were not so good.

I dropped out of Detective too, but tried the new team's issue. Verdict: Very very moody, but mystery-based, which is nice. The Gordon back-up also looks great.

The Tiny Aquagirl looks like an Aquafied Wonder Girl.

Caleb said...

Hey I remember the Flea! He was a Batman analog?

No, I believe his whole deal was using some sort of super-rubber in the soles of his boots to commit robberies to fund his grandfather's flea circus...or pay off the crooks strong-arming his grandpa...or something...?

I meant he was a Grant-created one-off character for Shadow like The Hood was, not that he was a Batman-like vigilante.

supertim82 said...

Detective was quite good. /recommend.