Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DC's September's previews reviewed

DC released their solicitations for the comics they plan to publish in September of 2011 earlier this week. If you’ve been reading EDILW for at least a month now, you know I generally write a feature called “DC Previews Reviewed,” in which I comb through their releases in order to judge the upcoming books by their covers (and creative teams and paragraph of solicitation text).

Well, as you’ve probably already heard—and been hearing constantly over the course of the last week or so—DC has an ambitious plan to relaunch their entire line with 52 new #1 issues, canceling a slew of titles and seemingly flooding the market with new books, mostly by the same old creative teams. (Plans I've been reacting to already on the blog here, here, here, here and here.

Some element of a reboot or series of tweaks to their continuity (in-story DC Universe history) seems to be part of it, although the publisher’s coyness on the matter has been somewhat frustrating.

Almost all of the characters will be redesigned to some extent, even Superman (Superman! For God’s sake!), in an effort lead by Jim Lee, generally known as a terrible character and costume designer, working with Cully Hamner and some others.
This is a pretty huge story, obviously, and big enough to drive a DCU-focused comics blogger like myself mad, which is, in part, why this feature is so late in coming, and why it’s so goddam gigantic this month.

Let me apologize in advance for that length. I’m going to essentially handle the column as per usual, although in greater depth than usual, since almost all of the books are new. You can review the solicitations for yourself here at

Before we get started, I have some general observations to make.

1). I don’t see any DC Comics Presents reprint volumes solicited for September, which troubles me, as I love those things. Many of the new books suggest various candidates for these cheap collections, too—for example, if DC’s doing a new Resurrection Man series, it might be a good idea to put a story arc or two in a DCCP collection, and so on.

2.) Of the 52 new titles, 12 are rated “T+,” while the other 40 are rated “T”. The T+ books are Catwoman, Red Lanterns, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, I, Vampire, Resurrection Man, Stormwatch, Voodoo, Deathstroke, Suicide Squad, Men of War and All-Star Western.

Here’s a quick overview of the just recently introduced ratings system, but in general the T books are for ages 12-14, and the T+ for 16 and up. The refocused line, then, is predominantly focused on 12 to 14 year olds, and 12 and upwards in general.

“E” rated books remain exclusively limited to the informal Johnny DC line, while “M” books remain exclusively limited to books on the Vertigo imprint.

3.) I see very little variance in the art styles of the named artists participating in these books. I think Brett Booth, Guillem March, Keith Giffen, Rags Morales and Rob Liefeld are among the most individualistic and expressionistic of the artists, with most hewing fairly closely to a Lee-inspired, Wildstorm house style. I can see the logic of making all of your books look similar, but it’s also kind of sad and depressing at the same time. (I realize I'm being really reductive here; I can tell the difference between Eddy Barrows art and RB Silva art, or Joe Bennett and Ig Guara, of course, but I don't think the gulf between those artists is the same as between, say, Cameron Stewart and Joe Calafiore, or John McCrea and Nicola Scott).

4.) Several books look like guaranteed losers to me. Perhaps not as obviously canceled-within-months the way the thoroughly market-tested and market-rejected Freedom Fighters monthly was, but many of them do seem primed to fail, especially if they’re only one of the over 50 new books coming out in a given month.

I predict short lives for Batwing, Resurrection Man, Justice League International, Captain Atom, Mister Terriffic, Green Arrow, Hawk and Dove, Grifter, Voodoo, Stormwatch, DC Comics Presents, Animal Man, Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE and I, Vampire. I suppose digital sales could bolster books that look more or less doomed in the direct market, but then, since the digital versions are so expensive, I can't imagine them selling all that much. I don't really know anything about the digital market, but the price I expect to pay for content online is zero (Disclaimer: I am what is referred to as a Luddite or, perhaps, fuddyduddy, and like reading comics online about as much as I like reading newspapers underwater, so I have no idea what I'm talking about here).

5.) Other bookss seem guaranteed to either go off schedule or need fill-in artists quickly, which is kind of a silly way to launch a new line—why not hire artists and writers with a track record of dependably delivering quality product and being able to avoid delays? Of these, Justice League, The Flash, Batman: The Dark Knight, Red Lanterns, Swamp Thing, and possibly Superman and Action seem like the ones that won't have the same artists attached by the second, third or fourth issues.

6.) New names to the DCU (as far as I know) include Greg Capullo, Brian Buccellato, Paul Jenkins, Mikel Janin Duane Swierczynski, Josuha Hale Fiaklov and Scott Lobdell (who's writing at least three books!)

In other words, Marvel Comics seems to be the talent pool most of DC’s “new” creators were pulled from.

7.) There’s exactly one woman working as a writer or penciler on these 52 books: Gail Simone, who is writing one book and co-writing another. In August of 2011, DC's planned releases included a one-shot written by Louise Simonson, an issue of an ongoing by Kelly Sue DeConnick and an issue of ongoing by Gail Simone and an issue of an ongoing by Nicola Scott.

8.) I’m not sure if I’ll be reading any of these as serials, as this is pretty much the ideal time to stop reading monthlies and switch to all trades (I only read three ongoings from DC serially right now anyway). These are the books I would be interested in buying for myself to read though, as a reader and fan (as an industry watcher/talker-about, I’m of course curious about most of these, but moreso in the “Yeah, I’ll read that free review copy you send me” or “I guess I’ll maybe check out a trade from the library in two years to see what they did with the concept”).

If I buy any of these serially, they’ll be these Green Lantern (which I’m already reading), Aquaman, Justice League , Wonder Woman, Batwoman and Action Comics. If not, I’ll probably buy the trades.

I’m also curious about Swamp Thing and Animal Man, but those I’ll definitely trade-wait.

That said, let's finally look at these solicitations, shall we?


First things first, allow me to sigh a sigh of relief…

Art and cover by RICK BURCHETT and DAN DAVIS
Old West gunslinger Jonah Hex would rather ride the range than the streets of 19th century Gotham City, but that’s where he ends up on his latest bounty hunt. Now, unless he and a time-traveling Batman can stop a threat put in motion back in 1879, today’s Gotham will face certain doom!
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US RATED E

Written by ART BALTAZAR and FRANCO •
It’s the issue of doom! Join the Tiny Titans as they – walk to school! Beast Boy takes a wrong turn when confronted by the crossing guards he calls The Doom Patrol. Plus, witness Beast Boy’s first encounter with the Crossing Patrol Boys of Doom! Crossing the street has never been so tough!
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED

Two of the three DC comics I have on my current pull-list are going to be completely unaffected by the realunch (The third, Green Lantern, seems to be only mildly affected, with a new #1 and maybe a new collar on Green Lantern’s costume).

Variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

My favorite super-comic writer joined by one of my favorite super-comic artists is a pretty good silver-lining for the all-time dumb-ass publishing decision to renumber and relaunch the longest-running, continuously published comic book still being sold regularly. I’m certain the original numbering will be resumed at some point, but a new #1 followed by the resumption of old numbering somewhere down the road seems like a very Marvel thing to do (For some reason, both publishers seem to only imitate one another’s worst practices, not their best ones).

I’m not really sure what the point of the re-numbering is here, anyway. Certainly “Grant Morrison on Superman” is all DC really needed in order to make this a hit, and one of its best-sellers.

I don’t care for that cover image yet (a rock instead of a car? And shouldn’t there be a guy freaking out somewhere in the foreground), but I think I actually like that makeshift costume a lot better than the weird armored suit Superman’s wearing on the Superman cover (below) or the high-collared, short-less costume he’s wearing on the JL cover (also below).

Art and cover by MORITAT
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+
Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!

So apparently the “other genres” Dan DiDio, Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza have mentioned as being part of the relaunch consist of a retooled version of their one western comic…and a few of their old war comic IP’s refashioned as superheroes (and not, sadly, Super-Enemy Ace)

Not sure how a Western-set-in-the East will work, but for a story arc at least it should be interesting. The back-ups sound promising, as does Moritat art.

The former Jonah Hex, by these writers and starring the same character who is anchoring this book, seemed immune to market concerns, selling well below cancellation levels for long, so whether or not this sells well in the current market shouldn’t matter as much as with some of these other books. So while this looks like a book that’s going to be DOA, or at least D-ingOA, I imagine it’s got a long life ahead of it.

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in this dramatic new series from writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist).

I really like Animal Man—he’s got neat powers, and is one of the relatively few superhero vegetarians—but I haven’t liked much of what DC’s done with him since…well, since near the end of his Vertigo series, really. Even some of Morrison’s work on the character in 52 seemed rather regressive, and too many creators seemed to simply re-play those some notes that Morrison was playing in the Animal Man portions of 52.

Theoretically though, this is something I’d potentially be interested in reading, and I’d rather read it from Jeff Lemire than from some of the other folks DC could have gotten to write it. Not sure about Travel Foreman, though, as the name is familiar but I’m unable to connect specific work to it off the top of my head.

Any creative team is going to have their work cut out for them, though. After Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan and Tom Veitch, Jamie Delano wrote the hell out of Animal Man for what seemed like forever, and in addition to all of the stellar artists to work on the original monthly series—including Steve Dillon, Steve Pugh, Tom Mandrake and others—Brian Bolland’s covers visually defined the character and concept in a way that would be hard for almost any artist to try and cut through.

The solicitation text doesn’t sound very reassuring as to whether or not they’ll be able to pull it off, either; Maxine demonstrating her powers and the stresses it and animal powers in general put on the Baker family is pretty much what Delano concerned himself with during his run.

I really wish Lemire was drawing this instead of just writing it; his style is so radically different than that of every other artist above, and every other artist that’s ever drawn Animal Man, that it would instantly define his run as something completely different and, for DC, daring.

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The superstar creators from BLACKEST NIGHT and BRIGHTEST DAY reunite to take AQUAMAN to amazing new depths!
Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges... The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!

This would almost certainly be a hit, particularly by the standards of Aquaman titles, but, like many of the DCU listed here, how well it goes over will likely hinge on the exact nature of the relaunch/reboots relationship with DCU continuity.

It would be really perplexing if this were divorced from past DCU continuity, as it would seem to be building naturally and organically upon the well-received Brightest Day and well-received Blackest Night. But then, much about this whole initiative is perplexing.

Written by GAIL SIMONE
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Yes, it’s really happening!
Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl – and she’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won’t want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!

In the days since I wrote this post, I haven’t changed my mind any regarding the wisdom of DC doing the series at all. I suppose there’s a chance that it’s set in the past, which will probably be a lot less objectionable to a lot of fans and readers who know/care about DC comics at all. But even still, it would have to turn out to be a lot better than Batgirl: Year One and, frankly, I think that’s pretty damn impossible for Syaf and Cifuentes to pull off, given that they’re not Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez.

Plus, this Batgirl Barbara Gordon has a pretty repulsive costume compared to the previous Batgirl Barbara Gordon. That glove gives me the willies.

Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information. Be here for the start of a new era for The Dark Knight from writer Scott Snyder (AMERICAN VAMPIRE, BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Greg Capullo (Spawn)! A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.)

So DC gets Spawn and Haunt’s Capullo, and Image gets Nathan Fox to replace Capullo on Haunt? Oh man, DC shoulda hired Fox for Batman—I’d read the hell out of a Snyder/Fox Batman, no matter how dumb his costume was or screwed up his continuity is.

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Battling evil with his son, Damian, at his side, Batman now realizes that the hardest part of the job may be trying to work together!As Batman and Robin try to adjust to their new partnership, a figure emerges from Bruce Wayne’s past: His name is NoBody, and he’s not happy that Batman Incorporated is shining a light on his own shadowy war against evil...

Continuing this title, launched as a signature showcase for writer Grant Morrison and his temporary take on the titular team in which happy-go-lucky, smiling Batman Dick Grayson teamed with grim, violent Robin Damian Wayne, after Morrison left it with #16 didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Re-launching makes even less sense—especially since it will now feature the same Batman character as all the other Batman monthlies (Batman, Dark Knight, Detective; currently, the Dick Grayson Batman stars in Batman, TEC and Batman and Robin, while Bruce Wayne stars in Batman Inc and Dark Knight).

Written by LEE BERMEJO
Art and cover by LEE BERMEJO
On sale NOVEMBER 2 • 112 pg, FC, 7.0625” x 10.875”,
$22.99 US
Inspired by Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol, BATMAN: NOEL features different interpretations of The Dark Knight, along with his enemies and allies, in different eras, from writer/artist Lee Bermejo (JOKER). In this spectacular, oversized graphic novel, Batman must come to terms with his past, present and future as he battles villains from the campy 1960s to dark and brooding menaces of today, while exploring what it means to be the hero that he is.

This original graphic novel was announced some time ago, although I don’t recall hearing about the Christmas Carol element. That’s kind of strange, as Jeph Loeb and Time Sale already did a Batman riff on Dickens’ Christmas Carol, in their third and final Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special preceding their The Long Halloween series..

Written by DAVID FINCH
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The Dark Knight struggles against a deadly – yet strangely familiar – foe in this phenomenal debut issue from superstar writer/artist David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, ACTION COMICS)! As a mysterious figure slinks through the halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight his way through a gauntlet of psychos, and Bruce Wayne faces the unexpected legal ramifications of Batman Incorporated!

Of all the characters DC owns and could publish comic books featuring, of all the creative teams in the world, they decided to relaunch David Finch’s The Dark Knight? You may recall that the series launched in November of 2010, and went off-schedule immediately, thus far having seen only two issues released.

Two issues before a new #1, that’s gotta be some sort of record, right?

Written by JUDD WINICK
Art and cover by BEN OLIVER
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Africa, a land of beauty – and of great horror. A land of creation and conflict. It is in desperate need of a defender, and from the ranks of Batman Incorporated comes a soldier to carry on the legacy of The Dark Knight in the most tumultuous region on Earth. Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa!

Judd Winick isn’t my first (Unknown Soldier writer Joshua Dysart), second (G. Willow Wilson) or fifteenth choice to write a book like this, but it’s an interesting idea, and a noble attempt, even if it’s doomed to failure (Perhaps the most popular of the Batmen of Many Lands is The Knight, and his miniseries Knight and Squire sold extremely poorly…and it wasn’t positioned as an ongoing serial).

I kinda wish they woulda went with a Nightrunner ongoing, just to court the sort of made-up controversy that accompanied the character’s introduction.

Art and cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
At last! Batwoman’s new series begins, from the multiple award-winning creative team of J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman!
In “Hydrology,” part 1 of 5, Batwoman faces deadly new challenges in her war against Gotham City’s underworld – and new trials in her life as Kate Kane. Who or what is stealing children from the barrio, and for what vile purpose? Will Kate train her cousin, Bette Kane (a.k.a. Flamebird), as her new sidekick? How will she handle unsettling revelations about her father, Colonel Jacob Kane? And why is a certain government

Well, now we know why DC pushed the release date of this book back the last time they did so. I’m not sure why we need solo books featuring redheaded female Batman analog Batwoman and redheaded female Batman analog Batgirl at the same time, nor if that sort of dilution is smart for the current market, but nobody asks me anything.

For the first time ever, DC reprints the 1975 comics adaptation of the Bible, featuring the earliest chapters of the book of Genesis, including the stories of The Garden of Eden, the Flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah! Don’t miss this once in a lifetime hardcover edition!
ADVANCE SOLICITED • On sale FEBRUARY 29 • 64 pg, FC, 10” x 13.25”, $29.99 US

I didn’t even know these comics existed—they were originally published two years before I was born—but I’m down for Joe Kubert drawing anything, and his interpretations of some of the most famous stories of all time more than most other anythings.

Two thoughts, beyond the initial “I want to read this.”

1.) I wonder why DC didn’t publish this a few years back, when R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis was getting tons of press. It seems like it would have been relatively easy to piggyback onto that explosion of press coverage.

2.) If DC really wanted to shake up their line, they should publish a new monthly entitled The Bible and set it within the DC Universe.

Was Vandal Savage the Cain that slew able? How did he survive the flood? Didn’t Eclipso kill all the first-born of Egypt right before the Exodus? Did Hawkman and Hawkwoman meet Moses in their previous incarnations? Superheroing up the tales of the Bible seem like the sort of audacious, controversy-courting publishing move that would guarantee public interest (Of course, they nixed a Swamp Thing/Jesus crossover long ago, so maybe this isn’t their cup of tea…?)

Art and cover by JESUS SAIZ
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
One is wanted for a murder she didn’t commit. The other is on the run because she knows too much. They are Dinah Laurel Lance and Ev Crawford – a.k.a. Black Canary and Starling – and together, as Gotham City’s covert ops team, they’re taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch. But now they’ve attracted the attention of a grizzled newspaper reporter who wants to expose them, as well as a creepy, chameleon-like strike team that’s out to kill them. Don’t miss the start of this hard-hitting new series from mystery novelist/comics writer Duane Swierczynski (Expiration Date, Cable).

Oh, so that character no one recognized is a new character. Or an old character so obscure she sounds new, I guess.
This doesn’t look very good, really, but then, it’s hard to imagine a series about Oracle’s partnership with Black Canary and their strikeforce of allies looking quite right when you subtract Oracle from the equation.

Regarding whether or not the relaunch is a hard reboot, or whether it’s set on a different “Earth” than the Earth/Earth-1/New Earth of DC’s post-COIE cosmology, it may be worth noting that Golden Age character Zinda “Lady Blackhawk” Blake and the Huntress, originally from Earth-2, are not in the series.

Art and cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
No sooner has Batman’s former sidekick, Jason Todd, put his past as the Red Hood behind him than he finds himself cornered by a pair of modern day outlaws: Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal, the damaged soldier of fortune, and the alien Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war who won’t be chained again. As a loner, Jason has absolutely no interest in this motley crew of outlaws. So what’s he going to do when they choose the Red Hood as their leader? Find out in this hot new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men), featuring art by rising star Kenneth Rocafort (ACTION COMICS)!

Well, I thought maybe DC wanted to have Roy Harper’s arm ripped off just so they could get rid of that stupid tribal tattoo he got at the end of his first, quite good miniseries (the one by Devin Grayson, not the, um, other one), but on this cover image it looks like Roy has two, not-robot arms, and they both have tattoos.

I really like, well, liked, The Roy Harper character, but this doesn’t looks so hot. It looks like Jason “Red Hood” Todd gave up his last, superhero-looking costume— to re-adopt his lamer one (at least this one is less lame than the previous, helmet and leather jacket one)—

Written by MIKE COSTA
Art and cover by KEN LASHLEY
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Welcome to a world waging a new kind of war that’s faster and more brutal than ever before. It’s fought by those who would make the innocent their targets, using computers, smart weapons and laser-guided missiles. The new enemy is hard to find – and closer to home than we think. Between us and them stand the Blackhawks, an elite force of military specialists equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us.

Wow, this looks and sounds like they just gave the Blackhawk license to WildStorm, back when it still existed, and I imagine it will produce similar results to previous WildStorm books and the last Blackhawk-in-modern-times attempt (A few panels in the background of the “Our Worlds At War” event story, I think). You know, retailers probably shouldn’t worry over much about DC flooding the market with product and over-producing their lines—these 52 titles are gonna turn to 35-40 titles awfully quickly, by the looks of most of ‘em.

Written by TONY BEDARD
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
It’s not easy being Jaime Reyes. He has to deal with high school, family and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. Also, he’s linked to a powerful scarab created by an alien race known as the Reach who seek to subjugate planets – or annihilate them. It’s up to one teen hero to turn this instrument of destruction into a force for good.

While DC could conceivably make the argument that some of these heroes who have survived canceled books haven’t had a chance to be rejected by the market lately, that’s not the case with Blue Beetle, whose monthly was canceled in 2009, had a back-up strip in Booster Gold, and was prominently featured in Teen Titans and Justice League: Generations Lost (It’s odd he’s not in JLI, honestly).

Ig Guara is a fine artist, and I like the character in general, so I do hope this hits, but I can’t imagine it doing all that well now, especially with Bedard attached to write. As I’ve mentioned before, because of the sorts of comics his name has been attached to more often than not over the last five years or so, I think he’s one of those few unfortunate creators at DC who has an aura of “You don’t want to/need to read this” about his byline.

Written by J.T. KRUL
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, Captain Atom has the potential to be a literal god among men – a hero without limits. But the question is: Will he lose himself in the process? Don’t miss the start of a legend from writer J.T. Krul (GREEN ARROW, TEEN TITANS) and artist Freddie Williams II (JSA ALL-STARS)

This is a strange one. Captain Atom was part of the cast of Justice League: Generation Lost for the past year, so the JLI book launching out of it would seem the most naturally place for him to show up, not anchoring his own title.

The character starred in his own long-ish running series, although the 1987-launched series ended in 1991. The character never really went away, and was rather poorly treated in the post Identity Crisis DCU (he was prominently featured in Countdown, for example).

Written by JUDD WINICK
Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in this new series from writer Judd Winick (BATMAN: UNDER THE HOOD) and artist Guillem March (GOTHAM CITY SIRENS)!

I love Guillem March’s work, and hate Judd Winick’s work, so I think this is going to end up being one of those comics I don’t read until it’s been collected into trade and makes it way into a library collection.

I think it’s cool to see that the Darwyn Cooke design for Catwoman’s costume has been kept in tact. That says something about the power of that design, and, while I’m not sure what exactly it says, it also says something about DC at the moment that they redesigned Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman’s costumes, but decided to leave Catwoman’s completely alone. (And Catwoman, unlike any of the Trinity characters, has long had a history of radically changing costume design on a fairly regular basis).

Cover by RYAN SOOK
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
It’s the start of a new series spotlighting some of the DC Universes’ most exciting super heroes! First up is Deadman, straight from the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY, in a five-issue epic where the body-hopping hero meets his match in a new foe who wants to make sure the souls that Deadman helps out go straight to Hell!

Hey look, Paul Jenkins. I can’t recall ever reading a Jenkins-written DC comic, although he’s been writing for Marvel Comics for as long as I’ve been reading Marvel comics.

On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
“Friends die, family disappoints, but a legacy... That lives forever.”
Slade Wilson is the best mercenary in the DCU, and he’s been doing this a long time. Some might say too long. But they’ll learn: Never turn your back on Deathstroke the Terminator. He won’t quit, no matter how high the stakes. Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and Joe Bennett (TEEN TITANS) team up to bring you the finest in mayhem and gore.

I like Bisley’s cover a whole lot, but Joe Bennet and Art Thibert’s interiors won’t look anything at all like that. Deathstroke had a decent enough monthly for quite a long time (from 1991-1996), but that was when DC portrayed him more as a Wolverine-like anti-hero, not the cackling supervillain the post-Identity Crisis, omnipresent Deathsroke has been.

I’m definitely passing, but this could conceivably hit.

Now, what’s with the Batman-style gauntlets and Az-Bats style shinguards?

On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Set in the Dark Ages of the DC Universe, a barbarian horde is massing to crush civilization. It’s fallen to Madame Xanadu and Jason Blood, the man with a monster inside him, to stand in their way – though the demon Etrigan has no interest in protecting anyone or anything other than himself! It’ll take more than their own power to stop an army fueled by bloodlust and dark sorcery, and some very surprising heroes – and villains – will have no choice but to join the fray!

DC has quite a few characters who are more-or-less immortal, and I always thought a series devoted to tracking one or more of them through history would be one worth doing. This isn’t the character I would have chosen, but I can understand the impulse—DC seems completely unsure to do with the character any more, even to the point of deciding if he’s going to be a hero or a villain or an anti-hero or what. In the past decade, he’s shown up repeatedly in different books in the same months with different degrees of evil behavior.

Setting this in the Dark Ages—after Etrigan became imprisoned in Jason Blood, I assume—at least gives it a different tableau than most of the last uses of the character, and opens up many unusual story possibilities (Like, Shining Knight is now a more likely guest star than Superman).

While I like Cornell and Etrigan, I really don’t care for Neves’ art, and some of the first of it I’ve seen has been sub-professional in storytelling quality, so I can’t imagine wanting to read this.

Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
Variant cover by IVAN REIS and TIM TOWNSEND
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The Fastest Man Alive returns to his own monthly series from the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato! The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who really can! As if that’s not bad enough, this villain is a close friend!

There have been so many Flash relaunches, featuring so many different Flashes, in the last five years, I’ve actually lost track of ‘em. It was certainly less than a year ago that Geoff Johns and artist Francis Manapul launched the previous volume of the series, starring Barry Allen.

Manapul looks to be the latest of the many DC writer/artists, although he’ll be working with a co-writer, whose name is unfamiliar to me.

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Cover by J.G. JONES
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
It’s Frankenstein as you’ve never seen him before, in a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Alberto Ponticelli (UNKNOWN SOLDIER)! Frankenstein is part of a network of strange beings who work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive! But can he protect the world from threats even more horrifying than himself? And since he’s vilified for who and what he is, will he even want to take on this mission?

Points for the gun-placement on the cover there, Jones!

This is another one of those books that seems like it would have a much better chance of finding an audience if it were simply one of, say, five new books the publisher was launching in a given month, rather than 52.

On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond. These two high school students are worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super-science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control. The dark secrets of the murderous Dog Team and its Firestorm Protocol force them to put aside their differences to confront a threat so terrifying that it may lead to a new Cold War! Welcome to a major new vision of nuclear terror from writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone with astonishing art by Yildiray Cinar!

Weird. Firestorm is another character who has been going through years-long rehabilitation, and, in summer of 2011, is well-positioned to benefit from the new status quo established after Brightest Day and Blackest Night. Unlike Aquaman however, this book seems to geature an obvious, hard reboot, as college students Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are being referred to as high school students.

This is a somewhat interesting creative team, in that Van Sciver is primarily known as an artist and Gail Simone as a writer with her own voice.

Firestorm has carried his own comic before, including five issues in 1978, 100 issues in a series starting in 1982 (all starring Ronnie Raymond) and 35 issues of a series launched in 2004 (starring Jason Rusch), the latter of which was cancelled due to low sales.

Written by J.T. KRUL
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to breaking every law. Now, armed with cutting-edge weaponry and illegally gained intel (courtesy of his team at QCore), Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.

Hmm. Green Arrow, written by J.T. Krul, is being relaunched…and still being written by Krul. The artist, Dan Jurgens, is new, at least…well, not to Green Arrow, of course, but to Krul’s Green Arrow.

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.The red-hot GREEN LANTERN team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke introduce an unexpected new Lantern.

Why mess with success?

DC did mess with success regarding their Batman franchise by pushing back Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc, seemingly undoing many of it’s big changes, and Morrison’s Batman was the only reliable hit the publisher had, beyond Johns’ Green Lantern.

The fact that GL is completely unchanged in terms of creative team makes me wonder if maybe Batman Inc wasn’t simply canceled and turned into a miniseries to be published next spring because of delays on the book more than anything else.

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
When deadly conflicts emerge across the universe, it’s up to Guy Gardner, John Stewart and an elite Green Lantern strike force to keep the peace – or else.

Written by TONY BEDARD
Art and cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Kyle Rayner has assembled the most powerful team in all the universe, selected from the full spectrum of corps. But can he even keep this volatile group together?

This seems similar to the TEC/Batman switch, wherein the creative teams stayed (mostly) in tact, but the titles changed.

Peter Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin are still doing a Green Lantern Guy Gardner comic, but now they’re doing it in the pages of GLC instead of Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors. And Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham are still doing a Green Lantern Kyle Rayner comic, but they’re doing it in Green Lantern: New Guardians instead of GLC.

Art by CAFU
Cover by CAFU and BIT
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The DCU’s most wanted man stars in his own series!
Cole Cash is a charming grifter few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see! Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?

Well, good luck with this one. Like the other WildStorm properties that are now DCU ones, I think this is going to be an extremely tough sell to their audience. DC hasn’t had a whole lot of luck folding other universes into their own lately (Milestone, Red Circle).

Art and cover by ROB LIEFELD
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war! Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland! And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefeld (X-Force, Youngblood)!

The never-very-popular heroes get their own new series for the first time in ten years, featuring art by the controversial artist, who drew said heroes for a couple of issues in 1988, an artist that nobody really likes (save for those who really like him) and is notorious for not being able to draw more than a few consecutive issues in anything resembling a timely fashion….an artist who has another, creator-owned project that will likely more greatly appeal to his fans than this one, going on simultaneously.

DC is practically daring people to read some of these. I predict this will be the first of these books to go off schedule (or get a fill-in artist), and the first to get canceled.

On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now that truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree – and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU!

Hmm…Well, this doesn’t look like a book that’s long for this world.

Johsua Hale Fialkov at least qualifies as someone new to DC, and not simply because he usually writes for Marvel Comics (although he has written for Marvel). The only books I’ve ever read from him was Elk’s Run, and I liked that okay. Certainly well enough that when I saw his byline here I though, “Oh, the guy who wrote Elk’s Run!”

I don’t suppose Andrea Sorrentino is a lady artist? Lemme check. No, no of course not.

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
1:25 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
RETROSOLICITED • On sale AUGUST 31 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US RATED T • Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!

According to Graeme McMillan (who apparently had the patience I lacked to sift through the LA Times event Saturday) in this post, at least two of the new DC books will be set in the past (Whew! That potentially makes the new Batgirl seem a lot less appalling!), and this is one of them.

So I guess this is going to be Justice League: Year One for the post-Flashpoint DCU…? If so, Cyborg’s presence is sort of troubling, especially if he’s there instead of J’onn J’onnz (Unlike the other six members of the Big Seven, J’onn loses a lot when you subtract his JLA service from his history).
Given the creators involved, this is probably the closest thing you can get to a guaranteed hit in the 21st century direct market, and DC was going to sell tractor trailers full of this comic, no matter what. Ironically, attaching it to a possibly continuity-bending (or undoing) reboot is perhaps the only way DC could risk alienating fans and risking they not pick this up.

Cover by RYAN SOOK
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against this mystical madness? Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope – but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?

DC’s been toying with an all-magic-y characters team in various capacities, official and unofficial for decades now: The Sentinels of Magic, The Trenchcoat Brigade, Shadowpact and, my personal favorite, the “Totems” team that featured the DCU exports to the Vertigo imprint as a super-team in exactly one (1) comic book:“Justice League Dark” has got to be the worst possible name for such a group, though.

This group seems sort of evenly split between traditionally DCU characters (Deadman, Zatanna) and Vertigo ones (Shade, Constantine), although they’ve allg one back and forth to some degree.
Peter Milligan is probably the perfect writer for this assignment too, given how much time he’s spent writing many of these characters, and that he’s probably the single writer working regularly with DC that has done the most DCU and Vertigo work over the years.

I’m not sure how long this grouping of characters could be believed as a “team” of any kind, but this is one of the books I’m most interested in trying out—ridiculous name be damned.

Interesting to note that this book, which features a few characters who have starred in “Mature Readers”-branded books exclusively for decades, is rated “T” rather than “T+”

Written by DAN JURGENS
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International. Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?

Uh, what?

I was looking forward to JLI, after spending a year reading the bi-weekly, Justice League: Generation Lost series that reformed a version of the original JLI line-up and ended with a promise of a new series.

Of course, this isn’t really that book, is it? For one, it has a different writer, Dan Jurgens, who wrote much of this cast during a run on Justice League America in 1992-1993 (the nineties, incidentally, seems to be period of comics history DC is seeking inspiration from in this relaunch).

I like—well, liked—a lot of these characters, and Lopresti is a fine artist, and one of the better ones working on the JL:GL title, but this solicitation copy is troubling, as it sounds like a hardcore reboot of DCU continuity.

Art and cover by PETE WOODS
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from annihilation. But when the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in a nightmarish world that, for them, is the ultimate struggle to survive!
Don’t miss the start of this all-new LEGION series illustrated by Pete Woods – fresh off his spectacular run on ACTION COMICS – who is joined by writer Fabian Nicieza (RED ROBIN)!

Written by PAUL LEVITZ
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The Legion of Super-Heroes has been decimated by the worst disaster in its history. Now, the students of the Legion Academy must rise to the challenge of helping the team rebuild – but a threat of almost unstoppable power is rising at the edge of Dominator space, and if the new recruits fail, the Legion Espionage Squad may be the first casualties in a war that could split worlds in half!

Apparently the new DCU still has room for two Legion titles. These are both definitely not for me, but Woods and Portela are both fine artists. I do wonder what became of Phil Jimenez though, as it was announced not too long ago that he would be rather heavily involved with one of the Legion books.

Cover by J.G. JONES
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in this new series from Eric Wallace (TITANS) and Roger Robinson! Michael Holt is the head of a successful high-tech corporation and an institute that recruits and encourages the finest minds of the next generation to excel. As Mister Terrific he inhabits a world of amazement few others know exists, let alone can comprehend.

I already said a bit about this; reading the actual solicitation, the fact that Mister Terrific battles “against science gone mad” jumped out at me. That’s the raison d’ etre Mark Waid gave the Metal Men in his two-page origin story in 52, and one the Doom Patrol was operating under in their latest comic.

Mister Terrific is the only JSA character appearing in the solicits, and as such it’s unclear whether or not the Justice Society of America existed in this new DCU (See the promotional paragraph about Action Comics in this Source blog post, which states, “This momentous first issue will set in motion the history of the DC Universe as Superman defends a world that doesn’t trust their first Super Hero”). A Mister Terrific that wasn’t inspired by the original is a little hard for me to process, frankly.

I’m a little surprised that the character was singled out for a solo book, especially given a pretty unimpressive creative team (Now, if Golden Age Mister Terrific fan Michael Chabon wanted to do a series featuring the modern Mister Terrific…), and if the idea was to give a solo book to a black male superhero in an effort to diversify the line, Steel and Black Lightning seem like better choices. On the other hand, they’ve both had their own books before, and Mister Terrific hasn’t, so perhaps that was a likely factor.

Art and cover by EDDY BARROWS and JP MAYER
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES
OF GOTHAM)! And as he embraces his destiny, Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, returns to Gotham City – bringing with it murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront his past, among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while uncovering a much greater evil!

I can’t look at this costume and not see Chris O’Donnel from the first cycle of Batman movies. And I can’t look at Eddy Barrows art. Period.

I’m sort of curious how they’ll justify Dick Grayson abandoning his role as Batman to become Nightwing once again in-story, though.

I do kind of love that bat in the upper left corner of that cover though; he looks like he's just ecstatic to have the opportunity to be on the cover of Nightwing comic. He looks like he was just flying by, saw they were shooting a cover, and then swooped in.

O.M.A.C. #1
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!

Someone at DC (DiDio) really, really loves OMAC, as various interpretations of the character have been in the DCU pretty much constantly since the build-up to 2006’s Infinite Crisis (The OMAC Project, IC, OMAC, Batman and The Outsiders, Countdown, Justice League: Generation Lost).

And what’s this, Dan DiDio’s still writing? Huh. His Outsiders wasn’t exactly what one would call a success.

Nice to see Giffen on art though, and the Kirbyness of that cover image. This might be DC’s most visually interesting book announced so far, in that it has a much greater distance from the center of the stylistic Venn diagram suggested by all of these.

Art and cover by ED BENES and ROB HUNTER
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps return in their own series, battling against injustice in the most bloody ways imaginable!

I get the feeling this is going to be the book that determines just how many books the Green Lantern franchise can support. I thought three was pushing it, but sales have apparently been encouraging enough that they added a fourth. This one is extremely far removed from the others though, not starring any of the human Lanterns (I’m kinda surprised they didn’t have Guy keep a red ring to star in this book and maybe belong to both Corps, allowing all four Earth GLs to have their own spotlight books).

On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
It’s the return of Mitch Shelly – and he’s still dead.
Resurrection Man can’t stay dead for long, though – and with each rebirth comes new and unexpected powers. But his many returns have not gone unnoticed, and forces are gathering to learn what’s so special about him – and to see which of them will finally stop Resurrection Man dead.

Resurrection Man was a pretty great series. Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning came up with a neat premise for their central hero’s super-power—he could be killed, but every time he was, he would come back to life, with a completely different super-power, some of which seemed to be random and some of which seemed to be in response to the way in which he was last killed.

It functioned as a bit of a tour of the DCU, I think as much as a survival strategy as much as anything else, and gradually became pretty entwined with obscure, ancient DCU history (Vandal Savage emerged as an archenemy, Immortal Man had something to do with the hero, and a new Forgotten Heroes team emerged), which no doubt made it go down easy. I know I was initially attracted to seeing the Morrison-era JLA in it (Resurrection Man joins at one point, and he has a fairly important role to play in Morrison’s DC One Million event) and Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman guest-star in a pair of issues (it was the only non-Hitman Hitman that was really any good), as well as to Butch Guice’s beautiful covers.

Despite the book’s many relative strengths, it only lasted 27 issues, and was canceled due to poor sales. Is the market so different 12 years later that now it can support the series, sans its most distinct element (Guice)? I don’t know. Maybe. If anything, the market seems to have shrunk quite a bit, so perhaps a books canceled in the ‘90s for low sales would end up being strong mid-list performers.

I wish a more distinct artist was involved, however. Dagnino’s art is…fine, but, like too many artists on this list, it’s fine in the same way as pretty much that all the others’ are. If this is a weirder, darker, funnier, more unusual superhero book, then why not have weirder, darker, funnier, more unusual art on it?

Written by TONY S. DANIEL
Art and cover by PHILIP TAN
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive! Witness the start of a new action series from writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Philip Tan that will take Hawkman where no hero has flown before!

I kinda like the idea of Carter Hall as an expert in alien astronaut-type archeology, which is probably a pretty respectable field of study in the alien-filled DCU.

That said, I’m not sure why Daniel’s getting a second title, as a writer, in addition to his Detective Comics run as writer/artist. I’ve read an awful lot of his comics at this point, and he’s not really that great of a writer, and he has a bad habit of simply playing with the toys in the Batman toy box, in Jeph Loeb on “Hush” or Superman/Batman fashion.

Maybe this will reveal a different side to Daniel as a writer, however, since Hawkman doesn’t have nearly as big or deep a toy box as Batman does.

On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+
On the ground and on the front lines, a young, headstrong soldier known as Joe Rock assumes command of Easy Company – a team of ex-military men turned contractors. Will they survive the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DCU’s Super-Villains? Find out in this explosive new series from Ivan Brandon (Viking, DOC SAVAGE) and Tom Derenick (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

Nice, striking image, anyway. This sounds kind close to the Blackhawk book though, and, again, DC tried a modern Sgt. Rock thing once already and it didn’t go over very well.

Is it alarming that this was announced as Sgt. Rock and the Men of War, but the official solicits have it listed as simply Men of War? That is, DC is obviously still tinkering with some of these books (See also JLI).

Art and cover by SCOTT McDANIEL and
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!
A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs! As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?

Written and illustrated by Scott McDaniel? But no one likes Scott McDaniel anymore! (The fault for which lies mainly in DC’s constant assignation of him to titles that tend to be either completely terrible or completely unimportant and instantly forgettable).

More importantly, where’s the previously announced Felicia D. Henderson? She was originally announced as the writer for an upcoming Static Shock monthly, and apparently is only doing a special one-shot before a pair of male writers take over the character?

Is it odd that while DC is making a very obvious and concerted effort to diversify their line-up in terms of the sorts of heroes starring in the books (i.e. the DCU heroes now look less white, male and straight than they ever have before), the creative roster seems to be getting less diverse? (Artist Nicola Scott and writer Henderson are MIA for September’s solicits, which once again makes Gail Simone the publisher’s only primary female creator…not counting inkers and cover artists).

Art and cover by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds...

Er, they just redesigned Martian Manhunter’s costume a year ago, and he received a new status quo weeks ago. Now he has another new (worse) costume, and is on Stormwatch instead of The Justice League?


Looks like Authority members Apollo and Midnighter have much, much, much worse costumes now too.
Given the The Authority’s ability to sell a sustainable amount of comics ever since Millar quit writing them, I have a hard time imagining an Authority-as-JLA black ops take is going to last very long.

I might be willing to give it a try because of J’onn and Cornell, but I can’t remember who Sepulveda is, and that cover looks just hideous.

Written by ADAM GLASS
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
They’re a team of death-row super villains recruited by the government to take on missions so dangerous – they’re sheer suicide! Harley Quinn! Deadshot! King Shark! Defeated and imprisoned, they’re being interrogated about their mission – and about who’s pulling the strings behind this illegal operation. Who will be the first to crack under the pressure?

I can’t fathom the logic behind the Harley Quinn redesign, as she’s rendered completely unrecognizable from her many other other-media appearances (and why’s she have a Worthy hammer from Fear Itself, instead of a cartoon mallet?). King Shark seems to be an entirely different species of shark now, which is also kinda weird (For what it’s worth, Great Whites are much scarier than Hammerheads), and Deadshot gets a new, terrible costume design too. They last redesigned Deadshot in his 2005 miniseries, giving him a more basic, stripped-down, real world look—and then abandoned that look immediately for his traditional superhero costume.

In these stories from issues #7-12, the Squad is trapped in Russia. And before they escape, they’ll have to fight The People’s Heroes. Then, Batman discovers the existence of the Suicide Squad – and he’s not happy. Plus: a crossover from JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #13.
On sale OCTOBER 19 • 224 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Well, as long as DC keeps publishing old, great comics I never read as serials in trade format, they can still count on me as a consumer, no matter what strange shenanigans they do with their modern superhero line. I’m definitely planning on buying this, Batman Inc Vol. 1, Batman: The Black Mirror (Hey, that’s not a very good cover, Whoever Decided Which Jock Cover To Use!), Gotham Central Book 3: The Freak Beat and Showcase Presents: Ghosts.

On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
They thought he was just an experiment – and a failed one at that! Grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA, the Clone was no more than a set of data to the scientists of Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon! Now the question is: Can a clone develop a conscience?

I like Silva, and have no opinion on Lobdell, whom I don’t think I’ve ever actually read anything by. I suppose it’s a good sign that the same guy is writing both Superboy and Teen Titans, which will feature Superboy in the cast.

Art and cover by MAHMUD ASRAR
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!

Here’s a question—what DC character has been rebooted the most in his or her fictional career? I think it may actually be Supergirl rather than the more obvious answers of Hawkman or Donna Troy. I know Jeph Loeb did a weird “Let’s just pretend all that other stuff never happened and start over” introduction of the character during his popular, insane run on Superman/Batman, and since that reintroduction her raison d’ etre and status quo changed with each creative team change, of which there were many.

If that paragraph isn’t just a general, place-holding bit of copy put together while the publisher frantically scrambled to decide what they’re going to do revitalize this character who is all of six years old, then it sounds like DC is giving itself another mulligan on the character (Is it really that hard to get “Superman as a teenager girl” right?).

I have no interest left in the character at this point, nor in this creative team, although a pair of television writers and producers doesn’t inspire me with a lot of faith, given television writers and prodcuers’ track record in producing good comics for DC. This particular pair wrote the “Search for Kryptonite” story arc of Sueprman/Batman, which I reviewed here).

Also, I hate that costume, with it’s panels. Why do Superman and Supergirl have costumes that look like metal jigsaw puzzles?

Breakdowns and cover by GEORGE PEREZ
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!

The sheer audacity of this whole endeavor is probably better communicated by the fact that they redesigned Superman’s superhero costume more than anything else, even renumbering the comic book that introduced the world to the concept of the superhero and the one the comic that DC comics took its name from.

Under almost any other circumstances, I’d be really excited by the prospect of Jesus Merino finishing Perez breakdowns on a Superman comic, but I don’t know, that costume design kinda scares me.

The solicitation copy is scary vague as well, as one of the big question marks about the reboot is whether or not Lois Lane and Superman will still be married, or if DC is doing their own version of “One More Day” with the character?

Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth!
Alec Holland has his life back...but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!

I’d actually kind of hate to be in Scott Snyder’s shoes, here; there is so much weight, gravity and pressure associated with Swamp Thing comic at this point—even the post-Alan Moore ones—that taking on such an assignment seems bizarrely intimidating, given that we’re talking about a fairly generic swamp monster instead of, you know, Superman or Batman.
I imagine Paquette is feeling similar pressure to, given how damn beautiful so many Swamp Thing comics have been since Moore and his collaborators reinvented the character.

At this point in my life, I’m fairly certain I’ve already read all of the Swamp Thing stories I need to read, but I’d be much more likely to pick up a new one by this creative team than by some of the other creative teams participating in DC’s new relaunch effort.

Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world! They – along with a few other tortured teen heroes – will be the Teen Titans in this new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

Now I’m sorry for all the times I mentioned wishing Tim Drake’s Red Robin would get a new costume.

Well, this cover and those designs haven’t really grown on me at all, but do note that the new solicitation text reveals that Tim was still Batman’s sidekick at one point (I really, really, really, really liked the Bruce Wayne/Tim Drake Batman and Robin team, by the way), so I suppose that allays some fears. Wonder Girl and Kid Flash are still being discussed as if they’re new characters though, which is pretty weird.

The mention of “tortured teen heroes” is a real turn off, as is the creative team. (I will say this about Booth though; I flipped through his latest issue of JLoA in a comic shop today, and it didn’t look all that bad compared to his previous work).

There’s not enough money you could pay me to voluntarily to bring that image into my house, however. (Okay, I’m exaggerating—you could pay me $10 dollars and I would bring that image into my house; for $2,500 I’d sign a contract promising never to destroy it).

Written by RON MARZ
Art and cover by SAMI BASRI
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Who is Voodoo? Is she hero, villain – or both? Learn the truth about Priscilla Kitaen as she leaves a trail of violence across America. Discover the new DCU through her eyes, because the things she sees are not always what they seem...

Notable only for the fact that this is a WildStorm character and book joining the DCU. Well, most notable for that fact, I think. Perhaps also of note is the return of Marz to a regular monthly at DC, and Power Girl artist Basri getting a new assignment on a female lead’s monthly book.

Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?

That’s a hell of a creative team, the best Wonder Woman’s had since…Phil Jiminez and Phil Jiminez maybe? As oft-rebooted as Wonder Woman’s continuity is, it seems there’s relatively little harm a hard reboot could do to her franchise…although she played such a key role in so many other stories, that every time you mess with her continuity, you mess with the whole DCU.


Jesus God, that took forever. Please DC, don't ever do this again, at least, not until I quit blogging. Because this was a hell of a lot of work.


Nick McNerderson said...

DC's strategy for Digital content stinks right now, and I expect that unless they make some major changes that will flop. I use Marvel's Digital unlimited and love it for $9.95 a month. I don't get new books, but I get to read books I would never pay money for.

DC on the other hand charges near cover price for back issues, and I simply will not pay that much for something that has 0 Value.

Have you seen the story on Newsrama about the Killing Joke remaining in the continuum? That will have to be some awfully creative writing to make that work with this mess.

Nick Ahlhelm said...

Your numbering on Firestorm back issues are way off. 5 issues, than 100 straight issues, than somewhere around 30 for the last series.

doron said...

I think that only JLA's first storyline takes place in the past.

Patrick C said...

So what happened to DC Online Legends or whatever it was called. Is it just skipping a month?

Eyz said...

Oh god...oh man...oh god....oh man...
(I'm having a "Tough Guys Don't Dance" flashback...yep..)

Good thing I already only follow comics in Trade rather than with on-going issues... And it's not those awful redesigns and doubtful relaunched books that will convince me otherwise.
At least, the Johnny DC line seems pretty safe, right?

By the by, the Brave and the Bold Cartoon Comic will still be released in September? Won't the cartoon's last season be over this summer?...does this mean we're getting a new "surprise" season next year?? (I sure wish it)

Caleb said...

Have you seen the story on Newsrama about the Killing Joke remaining in the continuum?

I saw it on The Beat, and then again on Newsarama. Not sure what any of it actually means though, since they're being vague.

My best guess at the moment is that when The Flash/Whoever puts the DC Universe back together at the end of Flashpoint, they will severely alter parts of it. Which, of course, just makes DC continuity that much more confusing (For example, maybe the Killing Joke happened, but then in the latest continuity adjustment, it didn't it happened, but then was changed, and the only ones who know are, um, the readers...?) I don't know; we'll see.

I'm growing really fascinated by this whole endeavor as someone who watches DC Comics as a publisher, but am pretty disinterested as someone who reads DC Comics as a reader/fan.

Your numbering on Firestorm back issues are way off. 5 issues, than 100 straight issues, than somewhere around 30 for the last series.

You're right. I was just going off of's listings, and they use different entries for when books change titles. So the latest Firestorm actually launched in 2004 and lasted 22 inches, and then changed it's title in 2006 to Firestorm: The Nuclear Man (and thus getting a new entry) and lasted 13 more issues.

Same thing with the 1982 series, which went from Fury of Firestorm to Firestorm: The Nuclear Man.

I'll fix that in the post.

Anthony Strand said...

Here's what I don't get - why does the solicit for the second SUICIDE SQUAD TPB say that it contains "#7-12"? The first one had #1-8. If that's not just a typo (which it likely is, considering that the JLI issue mentioned was continued in #13), I hope someone catches it before they reprint two full issues.

Akcoll99 said...

Here's what I don't get - why does the solicit for the second SUICIDE SQUAD TPB say that it contains "#7-12"? The first one had #1-8. If that's not just a typo (which it likely is, considering that the JLI issue mentioned was continued in #13), I hope someone catches it before they reprint two full issues

Especially since the "Nightshade Odyssey" storyline ran in issues #14-16. I suspect this collection is for #9-16 and that JLI issue. Fingers crossed anyway...

David said...

I like gigantic posts.

d said...

I was pretending it was 1986 again & comics only cost 75 cents while I was making up my pretend pull list and listed 18 books I would buy out of the 52. Back in the real 86 I was probably buying 20-25 DC books regularly. Of course, at 2.99 a pop, I'm gonna be a lot pickier. A lot of these new series (Titans,Suicide Squad, the Wildstorm imports, the lesser Bat-books) look like real losers. Considering that out of the remaining 4 DCU books I currently buy only Jonah Hex seems to be coming back in familiar form I think I'm going to say good-bye to the DC Universe & monthly comics after 35 years.

Nick McNerderson said...

@D I totally understand what you are saying. I am personally dropping my entire pull list as it looks today, and will be switching over to some of the newer titles that are less familiar. I will eventually get back on track, but I have to ease myself into this.

So for me, it looks like I will be reading Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Justice League dark, and possibly Jonah hex. Sad thing is that this cuts my pull list significantly.

Kid Kyoto said...

"Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa!"

Does no one in DC understand that Africa is a continent, one that's significantly larger than the US or Europe?

Would it be so hard to say "Meet Batwing the Batman of the Congo/Zimbabwe/Sudan/Somalia/where ever?"

Whenever I see something like this I just know we're going to a get a book where the author's reseearch consisted of watching a few Tarzan films.

John Foley said...

The only way I'm buying that Stormwatch series is if it's 22 pages of J'onn beating up Apollo every month. The big guy deserves to be in a book where he actually wins a fight once in a while.

Ty Chilton said...

DC. their plan of attack and the revitalization of the monthly comic book still looks extremely dodgy.

As others have said, you don't wish death and scorched earth, but it sure will be a barrel of fun to see the carnage that comes from this bold new initiative from the brain trust of Johns, Didio, Lee, Harras, Rood, Caldon & Nelson.

I join the peanut gallery in saying the $3/2 bucks digital comics is a non-entity for me.

I currently only get 4 DC comics. Detective, Xombi, Thunder Agents and Batman Inc. Not a big list.

When the September "Quickening" happens, I will be getting Action, Batman, Frankenstein, Resurrection Man and the DC Universe Presents. 1 additional title. (When and how and if Batman Inc. comes out, I ain't holding my breath)

The fact that non Bat/Supes titles in each list, basically didn't/won't sell well is pretty obvious. To each their own, right.

Is it any stretch at all to think that "16" titles of this list of 52 comics will be below the Comic Mendoza line, unprofitable, etc. immediately. That HALF will be there by January of 2012. Wildstorm, First Wave and Red Circle have the broken bones and open chest wounds to prove that. You just have to dig them up out of their shallow, fresh graves.

There seems to be a feeling, at least for me, of long time DC comic fans just pulling the old "Wait and See" card HARD. Add the general apathy, event fatigue, economic malaise, and comics-don't-need-rebooting feeling that long time fans have right at this moment. The real (but mystery to what degree) ?? factor is all the delays, fill ins, temporary gigs involved in the new comics. Many titles/creators/company execs will face a shit storm when they start happening. So, the monthlies get no love right out of the gate (generic statement I know). It just increases the cannibalization of the 20 pg., by the collected edition. Why experiment on DC's shot in the dark, when one can wait it out, hear what reveiwers say and feel about the creme de la creme of the DC Universe 3.0.

(Interesting that so far there is no mention of specs for a regular softcover collected edition yet. E.g. a regular softcover for the new Firestorm is now 100 pgs/five issues for the cover price of 12.99 and won't be on sale until Xmas of 2012, in hopes of getting more late comers to try it digital. Who knows?)

As a comic book shop cannot compete with online discounts of collected editions, the local comic store gets 2 barrels of economic mayhem. The local shops are the ones in real danger of being put up against the wall.

The other element that strikes me as odd is that nothing monumental is being done. It seems like their talent search was done on the cheap, rushed, 1/2 assedly, etc. Beyond another needed JLA reboot with an artist who cannot cut it on a monthly, is Action Comics. Grant Morrison & Rags Morales is only the 2nd WOW, 5 star, A+++, title on the list. (I am sure Aquaman & Wonder Woman will have a semi nice start, but I remain unconvinced of their long term survival or success).

Ty Chilton said...

Part 2 sorry if I am rambling fool

Never going to care about sex, race, religion of the people involved in producing my entertainment. Just dazzle the reader for decent value. Can't give enough kudos for 2.99 price, but if the experiment fails, I see $4.00 comics with a vengenance.

If the PR and marketing I've read is to be believed, the point of this September Quickening is to revitalize your comic books. Not retread it.

Nothing in any of the 52 listed creators or titles is new AND fresh. As most can see/tell, it is a lot of "chip shuffling" with not one new character being featured in a title (Blue Beetle is most recent and that was 5 years ago). Unless there is a great story/idea written with distinctive quality art splashed all over the pages, there doesn't need to be a title out there just because another cycle has come and gone and "Captain Chili" needs to be out in a comic for Trademark purposes. This is the time to get it all 100% perfect.

Grant Morrison gets mentioned as a lockshow, sure fire creator based on most in the comic world universally give praise to All-Star Supes and his Batman is equally or approaching the same levels. But again, that is a form of retread, working off past glories. A Superboy, Smallville, year one Clark is iffy quasi-New and Fresh idea at best (& not as good as Batman Inc. by a country mile). And Legal Affairs, District Court necessitated at worst.

After that, it is the same old same old. Throughout the whole line. But with 52 books, there is not enough A-level talent to fit into the 52 slots. The "sausage making" of this 52 issue experiment is beyond most people's insight or purview, but I just feel there is a lot of stop gap grizzled workhorse product filling the gaps between 10-12 potentially great titles. And how is that different from September 2010? From September 2005?

Oh well, it is fun times in Funny Book world that's for sure. The meek will get pinched, the bold will survive. I will keep reading comics of all shapes and sizes.

PS. The fact that Shazam didn't get a book is a crime of gigantic proportions. My one greedy, me-first wish.

The fact that Darwyn Cooke didn't get to do it however he wanted, is bordering on crimes against humanity.

Nick McNerderson said...

@ty, can't wait to see your blog! YOu have your first post in the comment sections here!

john said...

I think Ty Chilton hit it on the head: "Nothing in any of the 52 listed creators or titles is new AND fresh" and "The fact that Darwyn Cooke didn't get to do it however he wanted" kinda sums it up for me.

This reboot smells an awful lot like more of the same editorial committee top-down writing approach to the DC Universe that has made this 'reboot' necessary in the first place.

IMHO, the best thing that DC Universe editorial could do right now is stop planning the universe's events and simply let good writers loose to do whatever the best they can without editorial edicts and mandatory crossovers and event comics for at least a year, preferably two.
Ideally it should all have been a total reboot, with the new DC Universe being built up the same way the Marvel Universe was in the 60s + 70s eg: as writers felt the storytelling need or not. Use a DCU 'Bible' for intial premises and costumes (Only of the 52 titles) and use a DC company internal Wiki so that it is easy enough for writers and artists to not contradict each other across books, and they could then be simply be trusted to write whatever stories they like - with editorial checking the wikis to avoid any contradictions.
That way, each book would stand and fall on the strength of the talent involved and the overall quality of the books might improve as the talent would also have a solid year to get their act together.
The first 12 issues of, say, the top 26 best-selling titles could be packaged in nice looking but cheapish hardcovers as "XXX Title DCnU Year One" just in time for Xmas 2012 in the bookstores and direct market, whilst the TPBs are readied for summer 2013. The bottom 26 poor sellers are simply quitely taken out the back and put down and replaced with 12 new titles at the rate of one a month so that full publicity and hype can be given to them by DC marketing and readers can afford to check them out knowing that the talent are also able and expected to devote their best efforts to this new title because it is something they actually genuinely want to create as opposed to editorial mandating a title or storyline and assigning it to them.