Monday, February 14, 2011

DC's May previews reviewed

Normally I'd suggest you follow along at Newsarama, since they pay me money to blog for them, but since they're currently not showing the cover images associated with the solicits for May, I wouldn't blame you if you followed along at Comic Book Resources instead.


THE ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #7
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art and cover by RICK BURCHETT & DAN DAVIS

A tale from Batman’s past! The young Dark Knight has just begun his war on crime. But if he wants to prowl the shadows, Batman must first withstand the light of Gotham City’s original protector: the Golden Age Green Lantern!

On sale MAY 11 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E


This looks good. I’ve long thought the fact that Green Lantern Alan Scott was a Gotham-based superhero before Batman was is one of the potentially more compelling unexplored stories involving DC’s most popular character.

Oh, I know there have been lots of shorter stories exploring various aspects of the Alan Scott/Bruce Wayne relationship, but I’ve never read a very thorough story, answering questions like where Alan Scott was the night Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed, if Batman blamed him for not stopping that particular crime, or for letting Gotham City fall into the state it was in during Batman: Year One, and what Alan Scott was up to while Gotham was becoming such a hellhole and so on.

This isn’t in continuity, of course, and will be a done-in-one, so this won’t be that story either. Someone’s gonna write it eventually though, I’m sure.


AQUAMAN: DEATH OF A PRINCE TP
Written by STEVE SKEATES, PAUL LEVITZ and others
Art by MIKE GRELL, JIM APARO and others • Cover by JIM APARO

Don’t miss this dramatic 1970s tale from ADVENTURE COMICS #435-437, 441-455 and AQUAMAN #57-63! As Aquaman faces his greatest foes, Black Manta plans his ultimate revenge on the Sea King – resulting in the death of Aquaman’s infant son and the dissolution of his marriage.

On sale JUNE 29 • 336 pg, FC, $29.99 US


I’m leery of paying top-dollar for many 1970s super-comics when there’s the highly-attractive Showcase Presents format available, but $30 for over 330 pages sounds like a pretty decent deal.


BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY #1-2
Written by PAUL DINI
Art and cover by CARLOS D’ANDA

It’s been a year since The Joker took over Arkham, and Gotham is still trying to get back to normal in this all-new, 5-issue miniseries bridging the gap between the hit videogame Batman: Arkham Asylum and the exciting, upcoming sequel, Batman: Arkham City! And now, an attack by a pair of super-powered twins increases the threat level and triggers Gotham City’s new mayor to call for drastic measures.
In issue #2, amid the protests of both human rights groups and Bruce Wayne, a new Arkham rises. The Joker is scheduled to be its first inmate, but not if Harley Quinn has anything to say about it. Meanwhile, Batman’s suspicions lead him to investigate just who is really behind this new, more sprawling asylum and what their motivations might be.

Issue #1 on sale MAY 11; Issue #2 on sale MAY 25 • 1 and 2 of 5, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


I’m looking forward to this one. I hope it’s good. I was rather disappointed with the last DC comic based on a video game based on a DC comic that I read, but this one looks like it’s by creators involved with the original game.


BATMAN & ROBIN #23
Written by JUDD WINICK
Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH

Jason Todd - Batman’s one-time sidekick, currently the anti-hero known as Red Hood - has been imprisoned in Arkham Asylum for the past several months. But after a period of good behavior, will a transfer to a lower-security prison mean reformation for Jason Todd . . . or is trouble waiting in the wings for Batman and Robin? Don’t miss “The Streets Run Red” part one of three!

On sale MAY 11 • 32 pg, FC $2.99 US • RATED


That’s quite a striking cover, and a nice play off of Frank Quitely’s cover for Batman and Robin #1. In fact, it’s so nice that, from a distance, it’s hard to tell that it’s not actually the work of Quitely.

That creative team pretty much cancels out my interest in the story—I love March and would thus buy it, but I loathe Winick and thus wouldn’t—so I’ll probably wait to read this from a library in two years.

What’s most interesting here is that this is fill-in #2 since Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason were announced as the “regular” creative team on this book, which was originally created as Grant Morrison’s post-“Batman R.I.P.” book, but continued life anyway…now apparently as some sort of in-continuity, set-in-the-present version of Batman Confidential or Legends of the Dark Knight.


That should just be Hawk’s costume from now on.


DC COMICS PRESENTS: GREEN LANTERN: WILLWORLD #1
Written by J.M. DEMATTEIS
Art and cover by SETH FISHER

Don’t miss a new printing of this story of Hal Jordan’s early days as a Green Lantern!
An inexperienced Hal Jordan must undergo a surreal right of passage in order to master his power ring. Waking up on a strange, hallucinatory world with no recollection his journey there, Green Lantern attempts to decipher the insanity around him while instilling justice in a mad existence. Dealing with a senseless reality, Hal is forced to learn how to focus his will, thus accessing the true, unbridled power of his ring. Featuring strikingly beautiful artwork, this book reveals how Hal Jordan transformed himself from a novice hero to a legend.

On sale MAY 25 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


If you missed this 2004 original graphic novel, don’t miss this cheap re-publication of it—it’s well worth it for the brilliant artwork from the brilliant Seth Fisher.

I'm really kind of curious about the economics of these things, as this is another DC Comics Presents featuring a reprinting of an original graphic novel, following the recent DCP: Green Lantern—Fear Itself.


Nice TEC cover image by Jock...


FREEDOM FIGHTERS #9
Written by JIMMY PALMIOTTI and JUSTIN GRAY
Art and cover by TRAVIS MOORE & WALDEN WONG

They’ve saved America countless times, but there’s one national crisis the Freedom Fighters are powerless to combat: a troubled economy. The recession hits home as our heroes find themselves among the ranks of the unemployed and facing an uncertain future.

On sale MAY 4 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, FINAL ISSUE • RATED T


Yes! The Freedom Fighters vs. a troubled economy! What could be more thrilling than that?

I’m not at all surprised this book is getting canceled (even if I would have expected it to run a few more issues, given how long it takes DC to cancel poor performing books), and I can’t imagine that anyone else is either. My very first thought on hearing that it was launched as an ongoing was along the lines of, Huh. I bet that gets canceled really quickly.

DC’s also apparently pulling the plug on Doom Patrol, REBELS, JSA All-Stars and Outsiders in May as well. They’re all low-selling books, so no real surprises. Canceling JSA All-Stars seems especially like a no-brainer, given that the book it spins out of has been losing sales for so long now.


That’s a nice cover for Green Arrow this month.


GREEN LANTERN MOVIE PREQUEL: SINESTRO #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS and MICHAEL GOLDENBERG
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO

GREEN LANTERN MOVIE PREQUEL: KILOWOG #1
Written by PETER J. TOMASI and ADAM SCHLAGMAN
Art by JOE BENNETT and FABRIZIO FIORENTINO

GREEN LANTERN MOVIE PREQUEL: ABIN SUR #1
Written by MICHAEL GREEN
Art by KARL KERSCHL

GREEN LANTERN MOVIE PREQUEL: TOMAR-RE #1
Written by MARC GUGGENHEIM
Art by CLIFF RICHARDS

GREEN LANTERN MOVIE PREQUEL: HAL JORDAN #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS, GREG BERLANTI and DONALD DE LINE
Art by JERRY ORDWAY

Written by the creative talents behind the blockbuster motion picture, these exclusive one-shots tell the tales of the movie characters before the events of the film. What were Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Kilowog, Abin Sur and The Guardians all doing before the curtains rise on June 17? Experience it all in these one-shots, as told by the superstar Green Lantern movie team including producer Geoff Johns (GREEN LANTERN, THE FLASH), screenwriter Michael Goldenberg, producer/screenwriter Greg Berlanti, producer Donald De Line, screenwriter Michael Green (SUPERMAN/BATMAN) and screenwriter Marc Guggenheim (JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA)!


DC published a couple of similar character-specific prequels around the time of 2006’s Superman Returns. The library I used to work at had a trade collecting all of those prequels, and while I made a point of reading almost every graphic novel at my library at the time, I could never bring myself to work up enough interest in it to bring it home and read it.

These efforts strike me as sort of strange, because if you were really interested in, say, Hal Jordan or Lex Luthor, there are hundreds of comic books you can read about them already; why would you choose one based on a single, narrow version of the character…?

Efforts like this seem like they would be more effective when attached to movies that aren’t based on comic books already.

At any rate, it looks like these are being written by folks involved with the comics and the movies. The only two that I could even imagine flipping through are the Abin Sur and Hal Jordan ones, because of the involvement of Karl Kerschl and Jerry Ordway (I confess to curiosity regarding what Ordway’s Ryan Reynolds would look like).


GREEN LANTERN SUPER SPECTACULAR #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS, JOHN BROOME and ALAN MOORE
Art by DARWYN COOKE, ETHAN VAN SCIVER, GIL KANE, KEVIN O’NEILL and others
Cover by CARLOS PACHECO and JESUS MERINO

As excitement for the blockbuster Green Lantern movie continues to build, DC Comics collects these GL classics in a new, magazine format Super Spectacular! Don’t miss “Flight,” by Geoff Johns and Darwyn Cooke from GREEN LANTERN SECRET FILES 2005; “Alientated,” featuring Hector Hammond, from writer Geoff Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver, from GREEN LANTERN #4; “The Secret Origin of The Guardians,” by John Broome and Gil Kane, pulled from GREEN LANTERN #40; and “Tygers,” starring Abin Sur from GREEN LANTERN CORPS ANNUAL #2 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.

On sale MAY 4 • 96 pg, FC, $9.99 US • RATED T


This looks like a little greatest hits collection, put together to showcase characters from the movie, as well as to put together a can’t-miss creative roster.

That Cooke story was really beautiful looking; it was Cooke, but not in the exact same style one would expect form him.


Assuming the big guy with the sunglasses and shit-eating grin is Freight Train, who’s the dude just behind Katana, the dude in the headdress…?

This is, of course, the cover to the final issue of Outsiders, which means writer Dan DiDio has some free time in schedule. What book will he put himself on next, do you think…?


DC COMICS PRESENTS: BATMAN – DARK KNIGHT, DARK CITY #1
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art by KIERON DWYER, TOM MANDRAKE and DENNIS JANKE
Cover by MIKE MIGNOLA and GEORGE PRATT

In these thrilling tales from BATMAN #452-454, The Riddler goes on a crimepsree – but when he has the chance to kill Batman, he let The Dark Knight live. What strange game is The Riddler playing? Plus, in a story from DETECTIVE COMICS #633, Bruce Wayne returns to Wayne Manor to find no trace of the Batcave, and Alfred without any knowledge of his master’s crimefighting career. Has Bruce Wayne gone insane?

On sale MAY 18 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


“Dark Knight, Dark City” is a pretty great story, from what I’ve read of it—I read the first and last chapters, but never could track down the middle one. I think it’s one of Milligan’s first Bat-stories, and it has an elaborate, and very dark story, featuring a very, very dark take on The Riddler.

Don’t quote me on this, but I think it was The Riddler’s big return to a life of crime after the semi-retirement that Neil Gaiman wrote him into in that great story from Secret Origins Special #1.

As for TEC #633, that’s a single chapter from Milligan’s very strange, very good, very overlooked and underappreciated contributions to TEC, which accounted for the majority of the issues between #629 and #643 or so.

If you ever find any of those in back-issue bins, be sure to snap them up (they’re often found in back issues bins). They are very somber, very unsettling Batman comics, and almost all of the ones I remember reading were terse, done-in-ones.

Milligan’s run, which featured art from Jim Aparo (and, in one case, Mandrake) and had some pretty evocative Character Just Posing covers from Michael Golden and Scott Hampton, is way overdue for the collection treatment (along with the five million or so Grant/Breyfogle Bat-comics sitting there, not-collected), but I guess this is better than nothing.


STATIC SHOCK #1
Written by FELICIA HENDERSON
Art by SCOTT MCDANIEL and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by KERON GRANT

It’s been nearly a decade since Virgil Ovid Hawkins, a.k.a. Static Shock, rocked the pages of his own comic book. Now he’s back as DC Comics launches this new ongoing series! Bang Babies are suddenly popping up all over the country: Hotstreak, Commando X, Virus, the Swarm and more are taking over where the Mafia no longer reigns. Can Static contain the rising mayhem? Not while he’s holed up at Cadmus Labs, undergoing vital testing! For the first time, Virgil must ask: Why did he lose his powers? What caused The Big Bang in the first place? Why are new Bang Babies turning up outside of Dakota? Why has Dr. Rochelle Barnes arrived in Dakota? Stay tuned – because Static is back!

On sale MAY 4 • 32 pg, FC $2.99 US • RATED T


I offered my thoughts on this already over at Blog@ the other day, but basically it looks dead on arrival with that particular creative team attached to it.

It probably doesn’t help that DC is just now getting around to rolling out a Static title either, after having introduced him into the mainstream DCU almost two years ago in the pages of Terror Titans, a Teen Titans spin-off/Final Crisis tie-in comic, and generally made a mess of the Milestone characters in the DCU and of the character’s appearances in the very, very messy Teen Titans comics.


STRANGE ADVENTURES #1
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO, SCOTT SNYDER, PETER MILLIGAN and others
Art by EDUARDO RISSO, JEFF LEMIRE, KEVIN COLDEN and others
Cover by PAUL POPE

Don’t miss this eighty page collection of science fiction short stories from some of Vertigo’s all-time greats, as well as the hot new talents of tomorrow! From the far reaches of space to the not so distant future, we bring you eight science-fiction stories as only Vertigo can do them. Plus: the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso reunite to bring you the first chapter of their upcoming new series SPACEMAN!

One-shot • On sale MAY 25 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • MATURE READERS


I’m not quite sure I understand this. Is it a one-shot, or a series? If the former, where will the second chapter of Azzarello and Risso’s Spaceman series appear…? Whatever this is exactly, it has a list of creators attached that demands attention.


SUPERMAN/BATMAN #84
Written by CULLEN BUNN
Art by CHRISCROSS and MARC DEERING
Cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN

Superman must help the JLA of the future – Aquaman, Klarion the Warlock, Traci 13, Stanley and His Monster, Scream Queen and Jason Blood – in preventing Morgaine le Fey from traveling back in time to our era and destroying the sun! But Batman insists that you can’t change the past, and, well, Batman is kind of always right, so . . . hello, eternal darkness? Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun) and ChrisCross bring “Sorcerer Kings” to a sun-shattering conclusion!

On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC $2.99 US • RATED T


Well I like the sound of that Justice League line-up…


TINY TITANS #40
Written by ART BALTAZAR & FRANCO
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR

Because you demanded it, the wait is finally over – it’s the all-Kroc issue! Ever wonder if you’re doing things the right way or the wrong way? How about the Kroc way? This issue is filled with household, how-to, and cooking tips – the Kroc way! Don’t worry, the Tiny Titans will be there, too!

On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E


If you’ve been reading this blog for at least one month, then you know I’m a huge fan of Tiny Titans. It’s one of my favorite comic books.

That said, I have a confession to make: I hate Baltazar and Franco’s Kroc. I’m not sure how they arrived at using the character at all, given that he has such an extremely tangential relationship to the Titans, nor why they chose him to act as the goofus character in their occasional Goofus and Gallant-style gags. Also, I don’t understand why they call him Kroc instead of Croc.

I do know that I’ve never found any of their Kroc jokes the least bit funny.

So the prospect of a whole issue of nothing but Kroc jokes fills me with dread. I’d be tempted to skip this issue entirely, which would make it the first issue of Tiny Titans I’ve missed.

5 comments:

tomorrowboy 2.7 said...

Did you know there are Tiny Titans children's books? Since you like the comic (and children's books) so much you might want to seek them out.

Dara said...

Regarding the 5 titles being canceled in May, here's a look at their most recent monthly sales figures from December 2010:

* Outsiders #35 — 13,133
* Doom Patrol #17 — 9,564
* Freedom Fighters #4 — 10,028
* R.E.B.E.L.S. #23 — 10,619
* JSA All-Stars #13 — 18,395

Frankly, I'm surprised Doom Patrol wasn't canceled 6 months ago (and I say this as a big fan of the current book) given those numbers. But JSA All-Stars seems to have twice the sales, so that's an off choice. Maybe they want to bolster the numbers for the regular JSA book?

snell said...

I would suspect that one of the reasons for the cancellations is that DC is trying to clear some room on the shelves for the 15 Flashpoint mini-series...

rev'D said...

'Dark Knight, Dark City' was a perfect place for Morrison to not-quite-retcon the Omega Hyperadapter into being as Batbatos. Great to see Milligan's work best Detective work again-- can't wait to meet Thomas Wayne / The Black Glove for the first time... all over again.

Akcoll99 said...

I haven't been reading the current Outsiders series, but the guy with the headdress looks to be Achilles, a.k.a. "The Olympian" from Gail Simone's run on Wonder Woman. No idea how he got on the Outsiders roster, if that is indeed him.

And I just last night sat down and read Milligan's run on TEC and it is quite good and fittingly disturbing in places. They are all one-and-done's except for a 2 parter in issues #631-632 involving a Rabbi resurrecting a Golem to take out some racists threatening minorities in Gotham. Also read the Grant/Breyfogle run this week as well and can't say enough good things about it other than "What the heck, DC?" Why hasn't this been reprinted...?