Probably the biggest news of the month is that it will see the very last issue of Hellblazer, which began its life in 1988 as a Swamp Thing spin-off and has been in constant publication ever since. It is the last remaining title of those that launched DC's mature readers Vertigo imprint, and was written by a who's who of writers, including Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Brian Azzrello, Mike Carey and Peter Milligan. It will end with February 2013's 300th issue, which means it will have published as many issues as Dave Sim's Cerebus did, just to put its longevity into perspective.
DC is apparently going to move protagonist John Constantine into his own DCU title entitled simply Constantine (the character has been appearing in DCU books since just around the time of the "New 52" relaunch).
What does that mean for Veritgo...? Essentially the imprint consists of little more than The Unwritten, Fables and Fables spin-offs, plus reprinted collections of books from their 1990s heyday. In other words, the writing seems to be on the wall that Vertigo may be about to go the way of all the other DC imprints it has so far managed to outlive.
Also worth noting this month is DC's insanely ambitious, soul-crushing, maybe-even-DM-damaging plan to release fifty-motherfucking-two variant covers for Justice League of America #1 (more on that below), and that seemingly never-ending family-specific crossover stories will continue to not have ended, including the Batman line's "Death of the Family," the Superman line's "H'el on Earth," the Green Lantern line's Third Army/First Lantern business, Justice League/Aquaman's "Throne of Atlantis" and Animal Man/Swamp Thing's "Rotworld."
To see DC's complete solicitation info, I'd recommend doing so at Comic Book Resources or ComicsAlliance, as those are the folks who occasionally pay me to write about comics for 'em.
Now allow me to read over your shoulder...
Written by ALAN MOORE
Art by JIM APARO, PARIS CULLINS, GEORGE FREEMAN, DAVE GIBBONS, KLAUS JANSON, KEVIN O’NEILL, JOE ORLANDO, GEORGE PEREZ, KURT SCHAFFENBERGER, CURT SWAN, RICK VEITCH, AL WILLIAMSON, BILL WILLINGHAM, JIM BAIKIE, MICHAEL LOPEZ, AL RIO, TREVOR SCOTT and more
Cover by FRAZER IRVING
On sale MARCH 27 • 464 pg, FC, $24.99 US
• Alan Moore’s work on some of DC’s greatest characters is a benchmark for great stories with fresh approaches to iconic characters.
• Now available in trade paperback, this volume includes ACTION COMICS #583, BATMAN ANNUAL #11, DC COMICS PRESENTS #85, DETECTIVE COMICS #549-550, GREEN LANTERN #188, THE OMEGA MEN #26-27, SECRET ORIGINS #10, SUPERMAN #423, TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS ANNUAL #2 & 3, SUPERMAN ANNUAL #11, VIGILANTE #17-18, VOODOO #1-4 and DEATHBLOW: BY BLOWS #1-3!
It seems to me DC publishes this book about once a year, with slightly different contents and a new cover each time. THis particular verison of it seems to be chock-full of Moore's WildStorm work, from the period before DC absorbed WildStorm.
Irving's a fine artist and all, but his cover doesn't hold a candle to Brian Bolland's cover for an earlier version of an Alan Moore does DC collection:
GREEN ARROW #17
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and cover by ANDREA SORRENTINO
On sale FEBRUARY 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Welcome the new team of writer JEFF LEMIRE and artist ANDREA SORRENTINO!
• As Ollie struggles to come to terms with the loss of his fortune, his company and his heritage, he discovers a shocking truth about his father that ties to his time stranded on an island before he became Green Arrow.
• Plus: Green Arrow battles the deadly archer known as Komodo!
Wow, Ann Nocenti’s done writing Green Arrow already…? Well if Jeff Lemire is set to become the new “regulare” writer on the series, that will make him its in just 17 issues, following J.T. Krul (3 issues), Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens (3 issues) and the aforementioned Nocenti (11 issues, if she's doing the ones between now and #17 too).
Written by JACK KIRBY, JOE SIMON, MICHAEL FLEISCHER, JOEY CAVALIERI and others
Art by JACK KIRBY, JOE SIMON, MIKE ROYER, WALLACE WOOD and others
Cover by JACK KIRBY
On sale APRIL 17 • 624 pg, FC, $39.99 US
• Collecting more of Jack Kirby’s epic tales from the 1970s and 1980s starring The Sandman, The Justice League, Atlas and many more.
• Collects BLACK MAGIC #1-9, 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #1, 5 and 6, KUNG FU FIGHTER #3, THE SANDMAN #1-6, DC COMICS PRESENTS #84, SUPER POWERS VOL.1 #1-5 and SUPER POWERS VOL. 2 #1-6, and KOBRA #1.
Hey, I once wrote a post in which I discussed my desire to see all of the Kirby Super Powers comics collected!
This isn't the way I would have wanted to see them published—in my perfect world, DC would publish everything as Showcase Presents collections—but it's better than nothing.
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale FEBRUARY 6 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
• The march toward TRINITY WAR begins with part one of “WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS”!
• Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren’t the world’s greatest super heroes—they’re the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings?
• Plus: Find out why Martian Manhunter is the most dangerous of them all. Period.
In an effort to boost sales on the Jim Lee-free, Justice League B-title to the point it sells in the neighborhood of last year’s Justice League #1, DC will quite insanely be offering 52 different variant covers, each including the flag of one of the 50 states, plus one for Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., just to hit that magic number the publisher is so enamored with.
Here’s the scheme, as DC lays it out:
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 is available with cover art by DAVID FINCH.If they were truly variant covers, varying by content and art, that might be something, but it appears as if they will simply digitally swap out the American flag in the image above for the various state flags...and that they will look kind of shitty.
The standard edition cover features the flag of the United States.
This issue is available in 52 U.S. flag variant editions, one for each state plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico
In addition, you may order a shrinkwrapped pack of the standard edition of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 plus all 52 variant covers, with a suggested retail price of $149.99 US. There is no minimum purchase needed to order this item.
Maybe I’d be interested if there was an Ohio artist drawing the Ohio one…? (And if David Finch wasn’t drawing the interiors. And if it was set in pre-New 52 continuity, as the characters I like on the line-up will now be brand-new, Ultimate versions of the ones I know, care anything at all about).
Written by ANDREW KREISBERG and GEOFF JOHNS
Art by PETE WOODS
Cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale FEBRUARY 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• No, that’s not a typo. Vibe stars in his own ongoing monthly title, starting with this debut issue cowritten by GEOFF JOHNS!
• One of the most unlikely members of the Justice League of America ever (okay, THE most unlikely) will soon discover he’s one of the most powerful individuals on Earth. But how did Vibe get his abilities? What is the cost to them? And why does the JLA want him on the team so desperately?
• Plus: We’ve seen the Red Room and the Black Room, but what is...the Circus?
They’re not taking any chances with the Vibe ongoing are they, putting the words “Justice League” right there in the title, instead of just a “From the Pages of JLA!” tag on the cover (as they did with Martian Manhunter's late-'90s ongoing).
I imagine this will do okay as long as Johns sticks around, but the fact that the person writing the solicits is already making fun of Vibe isn’t encouraging me to read it. After having seen how Johns handled Aquaman, by spending a year insisting the character is a joke character while simultaneously having the character angrily insist he is not a joke, I’m kind of afraid to see what Johns would do with Vibe.
Written by ANN NOCENTI
Art by ALEX SANCHEZ
Cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale FEBRUARY 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• From the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and BIRDS OF PREY!
• KATANA is a former assassin on a noble quest to restore the OUTSIDERS to their former glory!
• Will she succeed, or will she be overcome by the power of her sword, the SoulTaker?
Huh. Not only will Katana be getting her first solo title, but she’ll also be on two different superhero teams simultaneously…? That seems like a lot of Katana, doesn’t it? Perhaps her inclusion in the next Batman cartoon and the higher profile it might bring will justify all the Katana content in the DCU next year.
I was surprised to see a mention of the Outsiders in the solicit…do the Outsiders exist in the New 52, then…? I know they just recently introduced Black Lightning; I haven’t heard or seen anything of Metamorpho or Geo-Force existing yet.
Oh, by the way, I think I kinda like Katana's new costume. It may be the only New 52boot redesign I prefer to what a character was wearing pre-New 52.
THE PHANTOM STRANGER #5
Written by DAN DIDIO
Art by BRENT ANDERSON and PHILIP TAN
Cover by JAE LEE
On sale FEBRUARY 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• The Phantom Stranger’s family has gone missing!
• He’ll stop at nothing to find them, even if it means going up against Pandora and the vengeful wrath of The Spectre!
So how come The Spectre is still in the New 52’s main DC Universe, while the rest of his JSA teammates are now on New 52 Earth 2…?
Written by ANDY DIGGLE, ANN NOCENTI, CECIL CASTELLUCCI, PETER MILLIGAN and others
Art by GENE HA, EMANUELLA LUPPICHINNO, BECKY CLOONAN, PHIL JIMENEZ, SANFORD GREEN and others
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
On sale FEBRUARY 6 • 64 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED T
• Romance is in the air in this very special Special!
• Wonder Woman consults Eros himself about her feelings for The Man of Steel.
• Barbara Gordon has always been too busy for romance, but could her role as Batgirl bring her back to the first guy she ever kissed?
• Following the events of “Death in the Family,” how can Catwoman ease Batman’s troubled soul?
• Aquaman makes waves as he treats his wife like a queen for a day.
• From the pages of STORMWATCH, Apollo and Midnighter celebrate Valentine’s Day separately but with each other in mind. Who—or what—stands between them?
• Dick Grayson and the daughter of Lucious Fox meet-cute!
• Plus: Perforated Valentine’s Day cards featuring the stars of these stories!
The cover, featuring Wonder Woman dry-humping Superman, is kind of a disappointment, especially given the title's suggestion of an older book with a very distinct style of cover imagery.
The solicit does offer some very specific details, including a fairly full roster of involved creators and even breakdowns of several of the stories, which is good news; generally DC's solicitations of such anthology books are very vague, suggesting the contents are still being hashed out.
The involvement of EDILW favorites Cloonan, Jimenez and Green is also good news; I may check this one out, although I think we are now at the point that books of 60 or more pages should probably just be published as original trade paperbacks; when one's breaking a ten for a single issue, one might as well get a spine on their comic, even if it costs a couple more bucks.
I do hope this means DC will be doing more holiday specials in the near future.