Monday, February 13, 2012

DC's May previews reviewed

I’ve said before that when Marvel steals ideas from DC, they steal their good ones, but when DC steals from Marvel, they steal their bad ideas.

Here’s a good illustration. DC’s solicitations are now in that annoying, “We couldn’t be bothered to think of an entire complete paragraph about each of our books, because we don’t really care and maybe they’re not even done yet anyway”, bullet-point format.

That's the most evident "news" in this round of solicitations to me. I also note no new DC Comics Presents collections, which kind of bums me out—I love those things, and I sincerely hop we haven't seen the last of them.

The big news (to people who aren't me) in DC’s line this month (which is May, remember) is the launch of the “second wave” of “New 52” titles, and the rebooted publisher's first big franchise-specific cross-over series, “Night of Owls,” in which Scott Snyder’s Batman plot spills into most of the other Bat-books.

I haven’t been reading, so maybe it will end up being dynamite, but some of the specific solicitations don’t fill me with hope. Most of them say something like “NIGHT OF THE OWLS continues here!” and “[insert title character’s name] fights some Owls!”

In fact, the solicits for Batman: The Dark Knight (guest-written by Judd “Not David Finch” Winick) and Batwing are almost identical:

Red Robin is back in Gotham City just in time to face off against TALON and THE COURT OF OWLS!

BATWING arrives in Gotham City just in time to fight the chaos the Court of Owls has unleashed! Outgunned and on unfamiliar turf, can Batwing survive?

As always, you can read the complete solicitations at ComicsAlliance and/or Comic Book Resources.


ACTION COMICS #9
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Backup story written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art and cover by GENE HA
Backup story art by CULLY HAMNER
...
On sale MAY 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
...
• Featuring characters from parallel Earths, including PRESIDENT SUPERMAN!
• Introducing new villain SUPERDOOM!
• Guest artist GENE HA joins GRANT MORRISON for this tale of not one, not two, but THREE Earths!
• And in the backup story, President Superman must stop a nuclear attack – but he can’t leave the White House!


This sounds pretty cool, although I’m surprised to see Gene Ha on art here. Where’s Rags Morales?!

Ha’s cover image looks pretty week too, especially when compared to its initial Alex Ross inspiration, or the image of this “President Superman” that Doug Mahnke and company drew in Morrison’s Final Crisis: Also, those high-collared, armor-plated Superman costumes don’t really fit under button-up, collared dress shirts, do they? Did Jim Lee take into account that Superman can’t really do his iconic pulling-the-shirt-open-to-reveal-the-S-Shield pose anymore?

Well, he can, but it’s a little harder to believe, like Green Arrow or Captain America wearing their quiver and shield under their shirts when in their civilian identities…


So that, apparently, is “the team AQUAMAN belonged to before the Justice League,” his equivalent of The Justice Experience, I guess.

I don’t recognize any of them, although the lady in the black animal skin bikini on the far left is probably Shakira from Warlord. I suppose it’s possible the dude in the background is some kind of weirdly redesigned Adam Strange, but I’d guess they were mostly new characters.

Also, they each have a gold, glowing thingamabob of some sort, so I’m guess they are all at least semi-powered by lost Atlantean artifacts.


Batgirl vs. Owlgirl! Or is that Spider- or possibly Crabgirl? Her limbs sure look arthropoddy to me…

So I haven’t been reading Batgirl, because sticking Ultimate Barbara Gordon in the middle of the DCU for no reason is so weird and gross I can’t really get past it enough to read a comic that features poor art and a story that’s going to be, at best, not-that-bad.

But! I’m curious: Did they ever establish New 52 Barbara Gordon’s age? Because she looks really young here, like, in her early teens, whereas Nightwing (who used to be younger than her) looks like he’s the same age he’s always been. Also, her boobs are different sizes, depending on who’s drawing what cover. I mean, I guess that’s always been the case with most DC females, but in the past, Barbara Gordon’s breast size has varied from really big to huge, depending on who was drawing the cover, whereas now it seems to vary between prepubescent and post-pubescent.

I am discussing the age of the new Batgirl based on the size of her breasts on various comic book covers: I feel really great about my life right now. (Sigh…)


Here’s the cover to Batman #9, by the way. I think that’s Batman’s bat-burqa, under which he’s wearing his Ray-Bans…?


BATMAN, INCORPORATED #1
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art and cover by CHRIS BURNHAM
...
On sale MAY 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
• BATMAN, INCORPORATED makes its NEW 52 debut with an all-new first issue!
• The series hits the ground running as BATMAN and ROBIN face off against the assassin GOATBOY!
• LEVIATHAN’S sinister mission revealed!


That’s a fine cover by Burnham…he’s one of DC’s best artists right now, and he’s especially adept at covers. This is among the only ones that really leaped out at me from this round of solicits, and the one that looks like it will be more distinct on the new comics racks.

I imagine Batman Inc returning in the same month as the “Night of Owls” crossover will be welcome new to Bat-fans who maybe aren’t that into it; of all the Bat-books, only Batman Inc, Batwoman and Tony Daniel’s stupid-looking TEC are doing their own "Night of The Owl"-less things.


In this month’s issue of Detective Comics, Batman hate-humps a huge pile of red hamburger meet in the middle of a grave yard!


EARTH TWO #1
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art by NICOLA SCOTT and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
...
On sale MAY 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
...
• First issue of an ongoing series from writer JAMES ROBINSON and artist NICOLA SCOTT!
• Who are the heroes of EARTH 2 – and what befell them?
• Starring ALAN SCOTT, JAY GARRICK and many others!
• You may think you know Earth 2…but this is DC Comics – The New 52, where anything can happen!
• Don’t miss the extra-sized debut issue!


I already discussed the variant cover for this book a bit in yesterday’s post, but I wanted to put this here to note the actual spelling of the title, Earth Two, and the actually spelling of the designation of the name of the alternate Earth, “Earth 2.”

Got it.


Hey look Green Arrow’s got not a bow, not a crossbow, but guns that shoot arrows! That’s…different.


MYSTERY IN SPACE #1
Written by PAUL POPE, KYLE BAKER, ANDY DIGGLE , ROBERT RODI, NNEDI OKORAFOR, MICHAEL ALLRED, ANN NOCENTI, MING DOYLE and STEVE ORLANDO
Art by PAUL POPE, MICHAEL ALLRED, KYLE BAKER, MING DOYLE, DAVIDE GIANFELICE, SEBASTIAN FUMARA and others
Cover by RYAN SOOK
...
One-shot • On sale MAY 2 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • MATURE READERS
This one-shot anthology is loaded with unsettling short stories that will hijack your imagination and take you to strange, mysterious places. Journey to the edge of the abyss with Michael Allred! Arrive in the middle of an intergalactic space heist with Paul Pope! Plus: Broken hearts will be cryogenically frozen, a zero-gravity menage á trois will be compromised by aliens, and solar systems will spiral out of control when top comics talents and exciting newcomers collide!


This looks like a companion book to last June's Strange Adventures book. I thought that was pretty good. I count three of my favorite artists contributing to this, so I'm pretty excited about it.


THE RAVAGERS #1
Written by HOWARD MACKIE
Art and cover by IAN CHURCHILL
...
On sale MAY 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
• First issue of a new series spinning directly out of “THE CULLING!”
• FAIRCHILD, brother and sister THUNDER and LIGHTNING, the monstrous RIDGE, BEAST BOY and TERRA are being pursued by ROSE WILSON and WARBLADE, who want them dead at any cost!
• No one’s survival is certain each month in THE RAVAGERS!


So, who are all these goofballs in the horrible Ultimate Tron costumes in this book? Well, there’s the girl from Gen 13 front and center, a new monster guy named Ridge (I’m assume he’s the bastard son of former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, created in a dangerous experiment during Ridge’s brief stint as the director of the Department of Homeland Security).

There’s a new new Thunder and Lightning, not Black Lightning’s post-Superboy punch, continuity error daughters from Judd Winick’s Outsiders and Geoff Johns and Alex Ross’ Justice Society of America (respectively), and not the original Teen Titans characters, but all new ones. Thunder’s thunder powers apparently involve having Havoc from the X-Men’s powers…? (Actually, looking at his costume, I would guess he bangs those little wrist baubles together and that shoots sonic waves out of his chest hole, which Churchill as illustrated as a big laser beam). I don’t know what’s up with Lightning’s weird, vestigal extra breasts on her shoulders, or her terrible haircut, but she’s the lady with the lightning powers (I’m actually just sort of relieved she’s not the New 52iverse’s Sparx, whom I always kinda liked). It’s worth noting that these all new versions have nothing to do with the previous comic book versions, or the Teen Titans cartoon versions, which have presumably been in front of a lot of kids’ faces over the course of the last few years.

The girl in the middle is Terra, who would be the third or fourth Terra, depending on whether Geoff Johns’ retcon of the alternate dimension Terra from Team Titans being the original Terra or not holds. If so, she’s the third. And also the second brunette Terra. Why is she so radically redesigned, so as to not at all resemble any previous Terras? I don’t know. A bigger question would be why does Beast Boy look like he looks.

Yeah, that russet-colored werewolf guy is apparently supposed to be Beast Boy, the 47-year-old character who debuted in Doom Patrol (and was, at the time, totally awesome) before moving on to find relative fame as a member of the Marv Wolfman/George Perez era Titans teams.

I think he may have been purple for a little while, but he’s been green for most of his fictional life, including the time he spent as one of the chief stars of a popular Cartoon Network series, and all of its spin-off merch.

So naturally, DC decided to relaunch him so that he’s completely unrecognizable.

I hope these guys get new costumes pretty quickly, because these designs look like, to use a technical art term, throw-up.


STORMWATCH #9
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art and cover by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA
...
On sale MAY 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
...
• New writer PETER MILLIGAN comes aboard!
• APOLLO and MIDNIGHT battle RED LANTERN SKALLOX!
• V-MAN’S connection to STORMWATCH is revealed – and it’s a doozy!


I am forced to admit: Red Lantern Skallox looks pretty metal. And he’s pretty hardcore too; in fact, he’s so hardcore he ripped the –er right off the end of Midnighter’s codename!


Did Rob Liefeld really need to sign his cover to Savage Hawkman? Is it not apparent who drew it?


SUPERBOY #9
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Art by R.B. SILVA and ROB LEAN
Cover by IAN CHURCHILL
On sale MAY 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• “THE CULLING” continues here from this month’s TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #1 and leading into LEGION LOST #9!
• SUPERBOY vs. ROSE WILSON – round two!
• The shocking debut of the all-new WARBLADE!


There was an old Warblade…?


SUPERMAN #9
Written by KEITH GIFFEN and DAN JURGENS
Art by DAN JURGENS and JESUS MERINO
Cover by IVAN REIS and OCLAIR ALBERT
1:25 B&W Variant cover by IVAN REIS
On sale MAY23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
• SUPERMAN faces new supervillainess MASOCHIST!
• How can Superman fight an opponent he can't touch?
• LOIS LANE faces a turning point in her career as a journalist.


...??!!

Oh, so that’s what was on Hades’ head in the last issue of Wonder Woman

Like a lot of the Olympian redesigns we’ve seen so far, that looks pretty neat.

6 comments:

Eric TF Bat said...

They've cancelled a bunch of their comics and they're celebrating with a crossover event called The Culling? Isn't that a bit, you know, tasteless?

ealgylden said...

Warblade was a Wild C.A.T., and extremely '90's even by those standards.

Kevin Tam said...

Oh my goodness, The Justice Experience. What a delightful name. It sounds like an indie rock band.

I have no clue what they were going for with that Bat-burqa cover, but I'm not reading the title either.

Hahaha, "hate-hump."

Nitz the Bloody said...

Are Superman and Masochist fighting over who's worse dressed? Because that's a conflict where the victor isn't certain.

Jenerator said...

Hades appears to be channelling Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast.

Bella's owner said...

Warblade was a Wild C.A.T., and extremely '90's even by those standards.


I just Google Imaged him...he's the guy with the Lady Deathstrike hands and a green pony-tail, right?

Ugh.

Given how poorly the WildStorm Universe has been selling since DC bought it, I'm really surprised to see how much WildStorm their stuffing into the New 52...