Monday, November 14, 2011

DC's February previews reviewed

DC Comics released their solicitations for comics they plan to publish in February of 2012, and though that's the month of Valentines Day, I'm afraid I don't see a whole lot in them that I'm in love with.

In fact, the first one damn near breaks my heart.

ALL-NEW BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #16
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art and cover by RICK BURCHETT and DAN DAVIS
On sale FEBRUARY 8 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E • FINAL ISSUE
It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. But so is a whole lot of sheer magical insanity, because Batgirl has a not-so-secret admirer: Bat-Mite!


F-F-Final issue? But-- but-- No! No! Nooooooooooooooo!

Brave and The Bold is like DC's best title! How could they do this?!

I imagine the reason they're doing it has something to do with the show it's based on being canceled, as they've previously canceled all of the other comics based on TV cartoons in the past once those shows end their runs.

I don't know why they have to do that though, as all-ages Batman team-up comics (especially those of the exceptionally high quality that Fisch and Burchett have been producing), should be able to stand on their own, with or without the logo of a TV show on the cover. Simply put, there will always be little boys that want to read about Batman, and it seems a damn shame not to have a comic book on the shelves each month to give them.

As with the cancelation of Justice League Unlimited the comic a few years ago, I think this is a bad idea, and one that leaves money on the table, in addition to shutting down one of the relatively few gateway comics DC still publishes for young readers (And, like JLU, this title was specifically dedicated to introducing those readers to new characters and concepts from the deep DCU each month).

Not that DC cares what I think or anything.

I'm now especially glad to hear that Fisch has gotten a new assignment starting in February with the back-ups in Action (which I mentioned in yesterday's links round-up), and I hope I see Burchett and Davis' names crop up somewhere in one of these solicitation posts soon too.


ALL-STAR WESTERN #6
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art by MORITAT and PHIL WINSLADE
Cover by LADRONN
On sale FEBRUARY 22 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US RATED T+
Jonah Hex fights a giant bat to the death! But even with his winged foe slain, will he and Amadeus Arkham survive being trapped in a cave with the lost tribe of Miagani Indians? Hex and Arkham must enlist help – including some familiar faces and some surprising saviors – if they’re going to make it out of this death trap and bring justice to the enslaver of Gotham’s underprivileged children. Plus: The Barbary Ghost proves that a girl can be a gang boss’s worst nightmare when she has vengeance on her mind.


That's a hell of a cover. I love the giant bat's dainty little feet. He's at once scary and cute—just like a real bat!

I don't think the solicitation writer needed to try quite so hard with this one though. Surely he or she could have just stopped writing after "Jonah Hex fights a giant bat to the death!"


BATMAN #6
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
...
On sale FEBRUARY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Trapped far beneath Gotham City and hunted by the Talon – the Court of Owls’ unstoppable killer – Batman lies bleeding and broken. With no way out and no one to help, is this the end for The Dark Knight?


Say, that's a pretty striking cover by Capullo!

Is it a coincidence that the Court of Owls' unstoppable killer is named the Talon, while one of the alternate evil Earth's from the post-52 DCU featured an evil Robin to Owlman's Batman named Talon (A character that, if I remember correctly, first appeared on the Teen Titans cartoon and, at this point, has logged more appearances in Tiny Titans than in any other DC comics).

Oh, and this is probably a good time to point out that the flagship Batman book is rated "T for Teen," which, in DC's system, means “Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.” Of course, TEC is and was rated T as well, and the first issue of that series ended with an image of the Joker's face carefully skinned from his head and nailed to a wall.

So I have my doubts that the DCU Bat-books, numerous though they are, are going to fill the void of a kid-friendly Batman comic left by the cancellation of Brave and the Bold. None of them are meant for anyone under 12, and, as you're probably aware if you've read many of DC's T-rated books, saying they're fit for 12-year-olds is assuming rather generously that the 12-year-olds like gore and killing (And perhaps a whole lot of them do, although their parents, who may or may not want to buy them comics, might like them liking it a lot less).


BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #1
Written by ADAM BEECHEN, DEREK FRIDOLFS and DUSTIN NGUYEN
Art by NORM BREYFOGLE, DUSTIN NGUYEN and DEREK FRIDOLFS
Cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
On sale FEBRUARY 29 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
A new era begins with the debut of the oversized, monthly BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED, featuring the print debut of the new Justice League Beyond!_In the Batman Beyond chapter, legendary Batman artist Norm Breyfogle returns to draw the Dark Knight of the future with best-selling writer Adam Beechen. In “10,000 Clowns,” an onslaught of new Jokerz is plaguing Gotham City – and the implications of this chaotic clown menace could have disastrous consequences for Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne!_And the debut of the Justice League Beyond is here, courtesy of the BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM art team of Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, as the first two digital-first chapters are available in print for the first time! Batman Beyond is a new recruit in the mighty Justice League, but the team will be immediately tested by a very Neo Gotham-related enemy! How will the team work together to combat this threat?


Damn you DC, why have you done this to me…? I go way out of my way to find Norm Breyfogle art, especially Norm Breyfogle Batman art, but, at the same time, I go way out of my way to avoid Adamn Beechen scripts. And they're paired as a creative team on this title?

Further complicating things, this is a split book featuring Batman Beyond, which I'm not really interested in, and the Justice League from Batman Beyond, which I'm a lot more interested in (I love bikini top and hot pants Barda).

Oh man I don't know...the art team of Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs on the back-up is pretty awesome too...

I'm gonna have to think on this for a while. Luckily I've still got about three more months to do so.

Oh hey! Note that this is a comic book based on a long since canceled cartoon show! Like Batman: The Brave and The Bold, it was originally canceled when the show it was based on was canceled, but was then brought back years later to soldier on without the show, and it was a modest enough success that DC turned it from a miniseries into an ongoing to a new, post-"New 52" ongoing.

Note also that even though this is based on a cartoon show, it's rated T instead of E for Everyone.


BIRDS OF PREY #6
Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI
Art and cover by JAVIER PINA
On sale FEBRUARY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
You’ve never felt better. You’re eating right, sleeping soundly, kicking butt at work. But there’s one tiny problem. You’re being hunted through the streets of Gotham City by five women who seem dead-set on sticking you with syringes and even chopping your head off with a sword. But listen, buddy – you don’t understand. These women? The so-called Birds of Prey? They’re the only things standing between you and instant death, triggered by some creepy guy who’s been secretly controlling your mind for a year now…


Let's see, Black Canary, Starling, Katana, Poison Ivy...that's four. Is Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon officially part of the team now? Because she would make five. And she's on the cover again.


That's a pretty interesting cover by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau for February's issue of Captain Atom. I like the asymmetry of it, and the idiosyncratic jumble of monster markers on the left-half of Cap's face.


Simon Bisley’s covers for Deathstroke have been awesome every month, I particularly love this one, as it shows Slade crying through his eye patch.


That's a pretty interesting collection of heroes on the cover of DC Universe Online Legends, and would make for a fine Justice League line-up. I dropped the title pretty early on due to its sheer awfulness, but maybe I should check out the eventual trades from a library in the future though.

If nothing else, it has all the old, superior costumes in it...!


That's a pretty swell cover on Demon Knights. I think it'd look even better with some speed lines or something though; took me a second to realize what that lady was doing with that dinosaur.


THE FLASH #6
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
...
On sale FEBRUARY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Struggling with the climactic aftermath of his battle with Mob Rule last issue, The Flash must solve a murder mystery that dates back 150 years! Is this case too cold even for Barry Allen? Also: Learn the origins of Central and Keystone City!


I kind of like the way Barry's Flash suit is exploding in a little red starburst out of his Flash ring on this cover. I've been hearing good thing about Manapul's Flash—anyone care to confirm or deny this?

This issue in particular sounds kind of interesting; one of the things I really like about fictional universes like the DCU is the world-building involved, and while I enjoyed all of the effort Geoff Johns put into Gotham-icizing (or Opali-izing) Keystone and Central Cities, I don't think I ever read anything about their foundings.


FLASHPOINT: THE WORLD OF FLASHPOINT FEATURING BATMAN TP
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO, J.T. KRUL, JIMMY PALMIOTTI and PETER MILLIGAN
Art by EDUARDO RISSO, MIKEL JANIN, JOE BENNETT, GEORGE PEREZ, FERNANDO BLANCO, SCOTT KOBLISH and JOHN DELL
Cover by DAVE JOHNSON
On sale MARCH 14 • 272 pg, FC, $17.99 US
Don’t miss this Batman volume collecting BATMAN: KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #1-3, DEADMAN AND THE FLYING GRAYSONS #1- 3, DEATHSTROKE AND THE CURSE OF THE RAVAGER #1-3 and SECRET SEVEN #1-3.
Not a dream, not an imaginary story, not an elseworld. This is Flash Fact: When Barry Allen wakes at his desk, he discovers the world has changed. Family is alive, loved ones are strangers, and close friends are different, gone or worse. It’s a world on the brink of a cataclysmic war – but where are Earth’s Greatest Heroes to stop it?


Ooh, I don’t like the way they’re collecting Flahspoint at all. At only three issues, collecting the individual minis by themselves would have made for some exceptionally slim volumes. Grouping them by character makes some amount of sense, but only half of these really seem to have a strong Batman connection (I"m guessing anyway; I only read two of them, and I know no Bat-related folks show up in Secret Seven; there doesn't seem to be any Batman connections in the Deathstroke series, but I don't actually know what I'm talking about.

Of the Flashopint books I read, Batman and maybe the Cantebury Cricket are the only one’s I’d recommend to anyone beyond the main miniseries, and the various Flashopint trades in this month's solicitations don't really allow readers to be all that selective in their reading, as all of the good bits are going to be packaged with a whole lot of the...less good bits.


Wow, those are some pretty serious cameras that John and the gang are rocking...


Ha! Is this the first time Liefeld has drawn Batman? I’m assuming it must be, as I’m pretty sure I’d remember a Batman as hilarious as that one. He looks like a Macy parade balloon.


Not quite sure how I feel about this cover. I kind of love it and hate it simultaneously. I think it's the chin-strap of the helmet-shaped mushroom cloud that's causing most of the hate.

I do want to point out the back-up in this issue is by John Arcudi and Richard Corben, and it deals with the supernatural. Are they doing Weird War Stories in the back of this title now, instead of just straight war stories? Because that seems like a pretty good idea. As good an idea as hiring Arcudi and Corben to do just about anything at DC.


THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #6
Written by TONY S. DANIEL and JAMES BONNEY
Art and cover by PHILIP TAN
On sale FEBRUARY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Hawkman comes face to face with Jim Craddock, a.k.a. the Gentleman Ghost, a malevolent spirit obsessed with finding an ancient relic called the Mortis Orb. Can Hawkman stop Craddock from using the power of the Orb to unleash hell on Earth?


I kind of love the Gentleman Ghost, who has a hell of a great design, by Joe Kubert. He's basically an invisible man in formal wear.As for the new "New 52" Gentleman Ghost? Ugh. That's all I can say about it. Well, maybe "blah" and "ick," as well as "ugh."


SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE LOSERS VOL. 1 TP
Written by ROBERT KANIGHER
Art by RUSS HEATH, ROSS ANDRU, MIKE ESPOSITO, KEN BARR and JOHN SEVERIN
Cover by JOE KUBERT
On sale MARCH 21 • 432 pg, B&W, $19.99 US
Collected from G.I. COMBAT #138 and OUR FIGHTING FORCES #123- 150, Captain Johnny Cloud, Captain Storm, Gunner Mackey and Sarge Clay – team up as The Losers. Even though these heroes always won in the end, they had to do everything the hard way!


Hooray! This month's solicitations are sadly light on Showcases and DCCPs, so this is especially welcome.


STORMWATCH #6
Written by PAUL CORNELL
Art and cover by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
...
On sale FEBRUARY 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US RATED T+
What lurks within the Stormwatch space station? As the origin of their alien HQ is revealed, what’s left of the decimated Stormwatch roster regroups and a new team is formed! Apollo, Midnighter, Martian Manhunter...who’s in, who’s out and who’s the new team leader? Note: The catastrophic events of this issue – especially the secret of Stormwatch HQ – will be felt in upcoming issues of GRIFTER and VOODOO!


The solicitations for the first few issues of this series read like Cornell was molding the team in the spirit of Grant Morrison’s JLA. The first issues connected with Cornell's own Demon Knight, and had some small intersection with the first issues of Superman. Here two more titles are explicitly mentioned, and the solicit for Suicide Squad also mentions a connection to Stormwatch. In a sense, I wonder if this isn't the super-team book that's actually serving as the new DCU's true flagship title, at least in the way it apparently weaves in and out of so many other books.

The things happening in it seem to affect the rest of the DCU in a way that the events in, say, Justice League don't. Of course, that could simply be because come February, JL will still be focused on its opening Justice League: Year One story arc, while Stormwatch is set in the present.


SWAMP THING #6
Written by SCOTT SNYDER_Art by MARCO RUDY
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE_
...
On sale FEBRUARY 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
...
The Rot is winning, and its necropolis in the American desert is nearly complete. With Abigail Arcane all but lost to its power and the herald of Sethe risen, Alec Holland will bitterly regret trying to flee his destiny as Swamp Thing…but even if he wanted to do the right thing, it’s too late now!


ANIMAL MAN #6
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by JOHN PAUL LEON, TRAVEL FOREMAN and JEFF HUET
Cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN
On sale FEBRUARY 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Before he and his family became hunted by The Rot, Buddy Baker starred in a low budget indie Super Hero film. Now we get to “watch” the movie, courtesy of director Jeff Lemire and guest cinematographer John Paul Leon!


I didn't realize it until just now, but apparently Swamp Thing and Animal Man are pretty closely connected? Or, at the very least, the two protagonists are facing the same villains?


This is a very nice cover by Cliff Chiang.


Is that tattoo on Aqualad’s arm an eel? Has it always been an eel? And it took me this long to notice it?

7 comments:

Diabolu Frank said...

Adam Beechen is good on all-ages/licensed books. Seems like a retreat back to his strengths.

i have no name said...

Flash: Its been interesting and shows a lot of promise. Manpul's art is absolutely stunning, but the writing is still coming into its own.

Swamp Thing & Animal Man: Yeah, they're fighting a mutual threat, weaving the Red and the Green from their respective mythos together as fauna and flora against rot.

Matches Malone said...

That Gentleman Ghost does look terrible. Big Golden Shoulderpads? Really? Is he the ghost of Jean Paul Valley?

Eyz said...

Some neat - thought non-Valentine related - releases there!

And BOOOH to the cancellation of Brave and the Bold... :(
I'm gonna cry in the corner now. (though not too long, my co-workers are starting to look at me strangely)

SallyP said...

The Flash is indeed awfully good. The art is pretty, and dynamic, and the story has been just as fun.

Kevin Tam said...

Add a third person to The Flash! Manapul and Buccellato are really pushing the medium visually.

MOCK! said...

Bummer about Brave and Bold. I have my 8 year old interested in comics, but his pull list keeps dwindling...