Monday, February 11, 2013

DC's May previews reviewed

DC officially released their solicitations for the comics they plan to ship in May of this year, and the most newsworthy changes were already announced on Friday, and parsed (by me at least) over the weekend, including the six books that are being canceled and the two new ones that have been announced.

The big surprise, for me, and the one that I think could effect DC's line the most drastically going forward is that Geoff Johns will wrap up his run on Green Lantern with this month's issue.

Also, I notice Robin IV Damian Wayne doesn't appear in any of these solicitations (well, except for the out-of-continuity Injustice: Gods Among Us), not even in the text or on the cover pertaining to Batman and Robin, and several of the Bat-books mention death and tragedy in the characters' lives.

Does Damian get killed off at the end of "Death of the Family"...? It wouldn't be a shock, particularly if Grant Morrison is leaving Batman in the near future, but Jason Todd's resurrection and Stephanie Brown's erasure from existence both kind of dampen the dramatic nature of a sidekick getting killed off now.

Anyway, for the complete solicitations, I would recommend you peruse them at Comic Book Resources or ComicsAlliance. For partial solicitations, with my commentary, I would recommend you read the rest of this post.


ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #1
Written by ORSON SCOTT CARD, AARON JOHNSTON and JEFF PARKER
Art by CHRIS SPROUSE, KARL STORY and CHRIS SAMNEE
Cover by BRYAN HITCH
1:25 Variant cover by CHRIS SAMNEE
On sale MAY 29 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
...
Don’t miss the debut of this all-new, digital-first series starring The Man of Tomorrow, written and illustrated by some of comics’ finest talents!
Journey into Superman’s past in a tale written by acclaimed Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, with art by TOM STRONG’s Chris Sprouse and Karl Story! Plus, witness Superman’s first encounter with the work of Lex Luthor, brought to you by Jeff Parker (Hulk) and Chris Samnee (Daredevil)!


I'm glad to see this comic exists, as it looks to be a companion series to the similarly digital-first Batman comic, Legends of the Dark Knight which is, I personally find hard to believe, the only Batman comic book I'm reading anymore (I'm trade-waiting Batman Inc and the Snyder stuff, which better be the best goddam Batman comics ever made, based on how much everyone online seems to talk about them!)

Plus, it will be great to see Superman not looking like an idiot in his goofy high-collar, plate-armor costume!

I think I'll probably start with the second issue of this series though, rather than the first. As much as I love Jeff Parker, Chris Sprouse, Chris Samnee and Karl Story, I'm pretty sure my disgust with Card outweighs my affection for the rest of the creators.


BATGIRL #20
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN
Cover by EDDY BARROWS and EBER FERREIRA
On sale MAY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
There’s no time to catch your breath after last issue’s shocking ending as an emotionally unstable Batgirl must confront one of Batman’s most violent foes: The Ventriloquist!


Tch. The reboot would have provided the opportunity to bring back the original John Wagner/Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle Ventriloquist, but it looks like instead Gail Simone is using the Paul Dini re-created Ventriloquist II...and instead of working as Scarface's moll, she's got a creepy Batgirl puppet. Oh, and she's apparently a horribly withered-looking scary lady now...? Huh.


BATGIRL/ROBIN YEAR ONE TP
Written by CHUCK DIXON and SCOTT BEATTY
Art by MARCOS MARTIN, ALVARO LOPEZ, JAVIER PULIDO and ROBERT CAMPANELLA
Cover by MARCOS MARTIN and JAVIER PULIDO
On sale JUNE 19 • 424 pg, FC, $24.99 US
For the first time in one trade paperback, it’s the year one tales of both Robin and Batgirl, from BATGIRL YEAR ONE #1-9 and ROBIN YEAR ONE #1-4. See what happens when Robin dons his costume for the first time, then learn how Barbara Gordon transformed from ordinary citizen to costumed super heroine.


Hey, it's a single volume collection of the two great miniseries Dixon and Beatty wrote, featuring incredible art by Martin, Pulido, Lopze and Campanella! That's a great price for 400 pages of comics, too.

If you haven't already read these in miniseries or individual trade collections before, I really can't recommend this highly enough. Like, if you're only gonna spend $25 on DC super-comics in May of 2013? This is probably what you're going to want to buy.


So that's the new Batwing costume. Yes, it's lame, and yeah, it kind of defeats the purpose of the original costume, which was meant as a visual homage to the black Batman seen in an imaginary sequence of Batman #250, where a little boy describes Batman as "a one-man army!...Muhammed Ali--Jim Brown--Shaft-- and Super-Fly all rolled into one!"

Whoever is under the new mask and armor (Freedom Beast? John Henry Irons?) I at least hope he's black, as I was just saying the other day that Batwing is now the only black character at DC headling his own title.


BIRDS OF PREY #20
Written by CHRISTY MARX
Art and cover by ROMANO MOLENAAR and VICENTE CIFUENTES
On sale MAY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The traitor revealed! Who will aid Mr. Freeze as he continues his onslaught against The Court of Owls—and how can the Birds hope to stop him?


Now that we know that Sword of Sorcery, which contains the Christy Marx-written Amethyst feature, is being canceled, the fact that she was named the new writer of Birds of Prey after DC had already announced Jim Zub as the writer of the book seems even more gross.

Now it kinda looks like a "star" writer from outside comics who used to work with the co-publisher took a shot at writing a comic book, failed miserably (Sword will be canceled after publishing only eight issues) and, as a consolation prize, is being given another book, and bumping that book's writer in order to do so.

I don't know that that is going on, but that's what it looks like. And that looks gross. Not that it matters much to me personally, as I haven't read Birds for a couple of years now, and have no interest in doing so again.


GREEN LANTERN #20
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMY
Wraparound cover by DOUG MAHNKE
...
On sale MAY 1 • 64 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED T
...
It’s the final battle against the First Lantern and the Guardians in this, the extra-sized finale of Geoff Johns’ historic run on the title! Plus, don’t miss a special retrospective on Geoff’s run on GL!
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.


Geoff Johns—LEAVING GREEN LANTERN?! Shouldn't this have been scheduled for What The Fuck April? Because, seriously: What the fuck?

I honestly can't believe Johns is stepping down from this book, even if he does have two Justice League titles and Aquaman to keep him busy (Sad irony? Justice League is awful and Aquaman not so hot; Green Lantern is Johns' best-written book by a long shot).

Well, over the years—almost a decade, I guess?—that Johns has been writing Green Lantern, I've made fun of it a lot, and expressed disappointment quite a bit, but I've also read every single issue of it, making it maybe the single comic book I've followed for the longest time. I'm going to miss Johns on the book, and, honestly, I can't imagine who they could possibly get to take it over (Although I suppose there's a 49% chance it's Scott Snyder, a 49% chance it's Jeff Lemire and a 2% chance it's a "superstar" writer from a different medium who will write it for three to six issues before Snyder or Lemire take it over). Whoever it is (James Robinson, probably), I don't envy them. That is going to be a very tough act to follow

It will be interesting to see what happens to the franchise in the wake of Johns' leaving. He's managed to make the book into a franchise, currently supporting three spin-off ongoings and anchoring a couple of big crossover stories with the rest of the DCU, and he's managed to make it the second-best selling franchise, right behind Batman.


THE GREEN TEAM #1
Written by ART BALTAZAR and FRANCO
Art by IG GUARA
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
1:25 Variant cover by CLIFF CHIANG
On sale MAY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
INVENTORS! EXPLORERS! ADVENTURERS! Do you need money to finance an important project? Then you should set up a meeting with THE GREEN TEAM!
• Nature of world-changing idea: _____
• Amount requested: _____
• Does your project have the potential to:
Fracture space-time? __
Replace the combustion engine? __
Attract extraterrestrial attention? __
Prove/disprove existence of deities? __
Piss off The Justice League? __
Render the human body obsolete? __
If any of the above are checked, please fill out liability release form GT2013-05. Send any 82 drawings, plans, models, or photos with request.


I've already discussed this at some length near the end of last night's post about the latest wave of DC's cancellations. This is one of the most unlikely titles I could have imagined DC announcing, and the creative team is unusual enough to be exciting (I don't think this is the whole reason Superman Family Adventures was canceled, as I imagine DC would still want Baltazar to be drawing something for them every month, but I suppose it's possible he wants to focus his drawing on his own stuff at this point).

You can see that the cover references "the 1%", which is a rather 2011 sort of thing to build a comic book around. It's companion title, The Movement (see below), mentions "The 99%."

Interesting that this book seems to be positioning the 1% as the heroes, which is perhaps counter-intuitive. On the other hand, DC's most popular superhero is a billionaire in his secret identity...


Hey look, The Atom is a female now! (If that is The Atom and not some new heroine with shrinky powers). DC hasn't really done any gender-swapping or race-switching with their reboot.

Personally, I like the Batman: Brave and The Bold take best—Ryan Choi as The Atom, Ray Palmer in semi-retirement. I don't think DC really needs to gender-swap any of their male heroes in order to get good female heroes, as they've already got so many good female super-people.

Oh well; I'll probably read this eventually in a trade I borrow from the library.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Backup story written by MATT KINDT
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH
Backup story art by SCOTT CLARK
Variant cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and BATT
1:100 B&W Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
On sale MAY 8 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with four covers. Please see the order form for more information.
The League uncovers the leader of The Secret Society of Super-Villains—but can such a diverse group of heroes defeat the collective might of the Society? And in the backup story, Manhunter goes behind the scenes to learn more about the Secret Society!
This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.


1.) What on earth is going on with Catwoman in that picture? Unzipping her costume to her navel for some reason is one thing. But to then lie her on back like that, with her breasts standing up like mountains rather than being pulled down to her chest by gravity...? That is some super-crazy posing there Mr. Finch, sir.

2.) This looks like another one of those super-lazy "The Justice League is all laying down while a villain stands above them covers," a category which some 79% of those for Justice League of America fell into.

3.) What are you doing, J'onn? It's just the Shaggy Man, not the Firey Man! Aren't you still Superman-strong, and able to go intangible and shit in the New 52? Man up, Martian Manhunter!

Also, I wonder what DC will be doing with these Martian Manhunter back-ups, in terms of collecting them. I recently read the first collections of All-Star Western and Action Comics (super-brief reviews here, fuller ones to follow on EDILW sometime soon I hope), and in each case those collections had the back-ups kind of crammed awkwardly in the back. I wonder if that's what they'll do with these and the Shazam back-ups in Justice League, or if they'll be published as standalone trades...?


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA’S VIBE #4
Written by STERLING GATES
Art by PETE WOODS and SEAN PARSONS
Cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
...
On sale MAY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Why is Vibe battling Batman? Our hero is in way over his head when he’s forced to turn against A.R.G.U.S.


Sales, mostly.


Great cover, guys. I like how it tells the reader absolutely nothing about the comic called Katana aside from the fact the character Katana, and her katana< are definitely in it.

THE MOVEMENT #1
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by FREDDIE WILLIAMS II
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
...
On sale MAY 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
We are faceless. We are limitless. We see all. And we do not forgive.
Who defends the powerless against the GREEDY and the CORRUPT? Who protects the homeless and poverty-stricken from those who would PREY upon them in the DARK OF NIGHT?
When those who are sworn to protect us abuse their power, when toxic government calls down super-human lackeys to force order upon the populace...finally, there is a force, a citizen’s army, to push order BACK.
Let those who abuse the system know this as well: We have our OWN super humans now. They are not afraid of your badges or Leagues. And they will not be SILENCED.
We are your neighbors. We are your co-workers. And we are your children.


Canceled with issue #8. I can't imagine how hard it must be for a retailer to order something like this, in which they are given almost know information, save for the presence of a few creators who don't sell comics in huge amounts.


THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #20
Written by TOM DeFALCO
Art and cover by JOE BENNETT and MARC DEERING
On sale MAY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE
Hawkman vs. Blockbuster round two! Hawkman transforms his Nth metal armor into a new berserker mode! Blockbuster’s true identity is revealed! Plus, don’t miss an appearance by the new JLA!


Wwwwwwaiiiitaminute..."Blockbuster round two"...? Doesn't that sort of answer the "WTF Certified" mystery of who is attacking Hawkman on the cover of #19?

And Blockbuster? Why would that make me say "WTF"...?


SUPERMAN #20
Written by SCOTT LOBDELL
Art and cover by AARON KUDER
1:25 B&W Variant cover by AARON KUDER
On sale MAY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
Hector Hammond is looking for Superman to save him from the New God known as Orion in “Metropolis Burning!”


Oh. I was kind of relieved that the first place I saw any New Gods popping up in The New 52iverse were in the Azzarello-written, Chiang and Atkins-drawn Wonder Woman, but it looks like they won't be getting the New Gods all to themselves for long.


Cool hat, Tim.


Please note that Power Girl is no longer wearing her awful-looking New 52 redesign costume on this cover to Worlds' Finest, but appears to have put back on one of her pre-Flashpoint costumes. Are we this much closer to Superman getting his shorts back, and all the Bat-people taking off their creepy-looking tire-tread gloves...?

3 comments:

KentL said...

Don't really pay much attention to DC these days (though I'm reading the first Batman and Robin HC right now, and it's not bad). I'm not at all familiar with Aaron Kuder, but that Superman cover is great. It's not overly busy, but still gives us a good idea of what is in the book. At least I hope that's what's in the book. It's very visceral without being over-the-top (I'm lookin' at you Batgirl cover!). I'm not sure what his interior work looks like, but if this cover is any indication, it's pretty darn good. Looking forward to Marvel snatching him up so I can see more of his work.

SallyP said...

I too am flabberghasted about the departure of Geoff Johns from Green Lantern. I had thought of Peter Tomasi taking over, but Scott Snyder wouldn't be a bad choice at all either.

Akilles said...

Hey...I was wrong. There IS a new comic by Baltazar and Franco. Well, I`m glad about that.