Monday, October 14, 2013

DC's January previews reviewed

I counted only 49-51 New 52U books this month, depending on whether or not you want to count the He-Man/DCU crossover story and the possible future Damian Wayne miniseries, and a whole bunch of those are miniseries revolving around the events of miniseries Forever Evil. That is, they're temporary comics.

So we should probably see some new books like The Black Bat, Plastic Man Unchained, Enemy Ace: 2013, Wrath of The Red Bee, Dungeons & Richard Dragon and Mr. Mxyzptlk De-Reboots The New 52 debuting in the spring, when Forever Evil wraps up.

In the meantime, you can see what DC plans to publish in Janary of next year here, and see what I had to say about some of those books below.


ACTION COMICS #27
Written by GREG PAK
Art and cover by AARON KUDER
1:25 SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED variant cover
On sale JANUARY 8 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
Superman takes on the brutal Beast Lord as startling revelations are made about our Earth’s underground world! Plus: more on the mysterious Ghost Soldier!

Hey, this actually looks and sounds sort of interesting...!

Now, what the fuck is a SCRIBBLENAUT...? (Don't answer; I don't really care).


Jeez, Superman must have been floating there forever to give Hex enough time to keep reloading and shooting in order to produce that many shell casings. And Hex must not be all that bright if he keeps shooting—I would imagine that after the first 150 or so shots failed to hurt Superman, Hex might try a different approach.


Weird. Aquaman looks like a bad special effect in a cheap movie here, like a stunt man on wires in front of a green screen being yanked out of the digitally-drawn water, rather than a swimming superhero torpedoing himself out of the water...


BATGIRL #27
Written by GAIL SIMONE
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN
Cover by ALEX GARNER
...
On sale JANUARY 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
In this tale tying into “GOTHTOPIA,” what kind of sick world pairs up Batgirl and the woman who tried to kill Jim Gordon — Knightfall?!

Aaa! Batman & Robin's Batgirl is in my head, and I can't get it out! Get it out! Damn you, cover to Batgirl #27!

BATMAN BY DOUG MOENCH AND KELLEY JONES VOL. 1 HC
Written by DOUG MOENCH
Art by KELLEY JONES, JOHN BEATTY and EDUARDO BARRETO
Cover by KELLEY JONES
On sale MARCH 19 • 432 pg, FC, $39.99 US
In these moody 1990s tales from BATMAN #515-525, 527-532 and 535-536, Batman emerges from the shadows to face foes including Killer Croc, The Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face and more. Plus, don’t miss guest-appearances by Nightwing, Robin, Deadman and Swamp Thing.

Oh man, here's a rare instance of my wanting to buy a trade featuring comics I already own in single issues just because I love the comics it contains so very much. I suppose I could buy this for my book shelf, and it would allow me to empty a sizable stack of comics from my longbox comics midden (I'd want to hang on to those Deadman issues though, as they feature awesome glow-in-the-dark covers).

This is probably my all-time favorite Batman creative team, perhaps tied with that Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. These comics aren't perfect, and Moench's writing could be a bit purple, his dialogue so portentous and artificial that seemed like something from a 1950s horror comic or a mystery murder stage play. But he and the Kelley Jones/John Beatty art team played off one another pretty perfectly, and these comics were all some really great character portrait type stories featuring Batman's greatest villains and some incredibly unlikely allies, including Swampt Thing, making an extremely rare DCU appearance.

I'm a huge fan of Jones' artwork, and he's at the very height of his powers here. Highest possible EDILW recommendation! (So long as they don't also collect the letter pages, which featured more than a few gushing, embarrassing letters from yours truly).

BATWOMAN #27
Written by MARC ANDREYKO
Art by JEREMY HAUN
Cover by STEPHANE ROUX
...
On sale JANUARY 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.
Batwoman faces off against the new Black Spider as the mystery deepens! What do the wealthy citizens of Gotham City have that he wants? Will Batwoman’s overconfidence cost her her life? And on the personal front: Kate meets Maggie’s daughter!

Jeez, the New 52U is just 27 months old, and they're already on a second Black Spider...? Yeesh, Andreyko's already facing an uphill climb on this book, and it doesn't sound like he's off to the most imaginative of starts.


BIRDS OF PREY #27
Written by CHRISTY MARX
Art by ROMANO MOLENAAR and JONATHAN GLAPION
Cover by JORGE MOLINA
On sale JANUARY 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
A “GOTHTOPIA” tie-in! We reach a major turning point in the series as the Birds find a new benefactor and a new mission to take down one of the ancient evils of the DC Universe: Ra’s al Ghul!

Huh. This is sorta weird, only in that this month's Red Hood and the Outlaws solicit reads, "The Outlaws have their final bloody showdown with Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins!" Does that mean that Red Hood and The Outlaws lose and are totally killed by Ra's al Ghul? (I'd be totally okay with that, by the way.)

Whatever the in-story circumstances of one Batman spin-off book finishing its Ra's arc the exact same month that another Batman spin-off book begins its Ra's arc, both books ship on the exact same Wednesday, meaning there is exactly zero time between arcs.


CATWOMAN #27
Written by ANN NOCENTI
Art by RAFA SANDOVAL and JORDI TARRAGONA
Cover by TERRY DODSON and RACHEL DODSON
On sale JANUARY 29 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
A “GOTHTOPIA” tie-In! Everything’s all right in Selina Kyle’s world. As the fabled Catbird of Gotham City, she fights alongside Batman to keep the city safe. So why does it all feel so wrong?

"Catbird"...? Ugh.


Nice...what is that, an apron? Nice apron, Spectre.


DETECTIVE COMICS #27
Written by JOHN LAYMAN, SCOTT SNYDER, PAUL DINI, BRAD MELTZER, GREGG HURWITZ and PETER J. TOMASI
Art by JASON FABOK, NEAL ADAMS, DUSTIN NGUYEN, GUILLEM MARCH, FRANK MILLER and others
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
...
1:50 Variant cover by KELLEY JONES
...
On sale JANUARY 8 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED T
 ...
DC Entertainment presents this mega-sized issue featuring an all-star roster of Batman creators past and present!

Don’t miss a modern-day retelling of The Dark Knight’s origin by the incredible team of writer Brad Meltzer and artist Bryan Hitch! Plus, all-new stories by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, Peter J. Tomasi and Guillem March, Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen, Gregg Hurwitz and Neal Adams, new art by legendary Batman writer/artist Frank Miller and more!

Also in this issue, John Layman and Jason Fabok kick off the new storyline “GOTHTOPIA”! It’s a bright, shiny, happy place where dreams come true...as long as you don’t look at things too closely.

I mentioned this briefly the other night, and now we get some more details. Odd that they were able to round up classic Batman artists like Neal Adams and Frank Miller and (for a variant cover, at least) Kelley Jones, but as far as writers go they went with the guys currently writing the Batman comics, plus Paul Dini (who wrote great Batman cartoons, a few good Batman comics and a whole bunch of really shitty Batman comics) and Brad Meltzer, who, to my knowledge, only wrote Batman in a few super-shitty Justice League comics.

The "...and more!" gives me hope that we'll see an appearance by Norm Breyfogle, as well as some Jones interiors. I wouldn't mind seeing Graham Nolan or Bruce Timm none either.

Rather curious cover there, which is the Chris Burnham variant. It's got Batman, Batwoman, Talon, Batwing (I think?) and...Batowl, maybe?

Also, why do you have Capullo, Fabok or the talented Jones and Burnham providing covers instead of Frank fucking Miller? That guy does big, bold, Batman iconography perfect for covers like nobody's business.


FOREVER EVIL #5
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
...
On sale JANUARY 22 • 32 pg, FC, 5 of 7, $3.99 US
RATED T • Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
...
With everything to lose, Lex Luthor and his Injustice League raid the stronghold of the Crime Syndicate with consequences so devastating, the DC Universe will never be the same!

I'm assuming that whoever had to write "will never be the same!" in this solicitation copy must really, really hate themselves.

It rather distresses me that issue #5, which won't ship for another three months, is still playing out an extremely predictable conflict. Hopefully Johns will have some surprises in store before it's all over.

More distressing still? Look how bland this cover is. I'm pretty sure that's the fifth straight Forever Evil cover Finch has drawn that features a group of villains not really doing anything in a background-less void.

FOREVER EVIL: ROGUES REBELLION #4
Written by BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art by SCOTT HEPBURN
Cover by DECLAN SHALVEY
...
On sale JANUARY 15 • 32 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information.
The Rogues just can’t catch a break! On the run from the Crime Syndicate and the Secret Society, the Rogues are forced into a showdown with an army of escapees from Arkham Asylum!

I've often wondered about how the rogues galleries of Batman and The Flash would get along—particularly what Mr. Freeze and Captain Cold think of one another—and while I imagine this won't be all that deep a character study, it might prove interesting none-the-less. I don't know these creators all that well though, so this is one I'll likely library trade-wait.


THE GREEN TEAM: TEEN TRILLIONAIRES #8
Written by ART BALTAZAR and FRANCO
Art by IG GUARA
Cover by IG GUARA and J.P. MAYER
On sale JANUARY 29 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE
Through thick and thin, the Green Team has endured more pain and suffering than any teen trillionaire can withstand. Will this final issue be their breaking point

Canceled right on time with the eighth issue, which is the precise point at which DC cancels its most immediate failing titles (And I'm talking failure in terms of finding an audience, rather than a creative failure. I read and liked the first issue, and read and disliked the second, and then gave up, but there are a lot of comics I don't even make it to the second issue of).

Meanwhile, Baltazar and Franco's Tiny Titans series is set to return. Coincidence?!

Somewhat surprisingly, the Gail Simone-written title The Movement, which launched at the same time as Green Team and shared a promotional campaign with it, has not been canceled...just yet.



Hopefully all of those animals were merely trying to help Harley dye the right half of her head, and things got pretty messy.

MARTIAN MANHUNTER: SON OF MARS TP
Written by JOHN OSTRANDER and JOHN ARCUDI
Art by TOM MANDRAKE and JAN DUURSEMA
Cover by TOM MANDRAKE
On sale FEBRUARY 19 • 240 pg, FC, $19.99 US
These tales from MARTIAN MANHUNTER #0-9 begin as the Manhunter tells Superman how he came to Earth. In his guise as Detective John Jones, he tracks a serial killer and investigates a mystery at Cadmus Laboratories, then saves the Justice League from the threat of Malefic.

I'm not sure why DC is publishing these super-out-of-continuity comics at the moment, but these are remarkably strong supehero comics from the creative team of The Spectre. I remember really loving what they did with the character to distinguish him from Superman and other similar heroes, including giving him various secret identities, including some of which are other superheroes.

Ostrander also made him a pretty integral spoke in a wheel of the DC Universe, thanks to his long life and his many years of service on many different incarnations of the Justice League. Before the series ended, he would seemingly team-up with everyone, but these very early issues functioned quite a bit like a B-Side companion book to Grant Morrison's JLA run (as they cover they chose illustrates). J'onn's battle with Malefic draws various Leaguers of that particular era into conflict in various ways.


SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #2
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art by and cover by DARIO BRIZUELA
On sale JANUARY 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E
Holy overactive imagination! When Scarecrow attacks using his fear gas, only humans are affected, leaving Batman, Robin and the Mystery Inc. gang trapped facing “monsters” from their own imaginations. Now, it’s up to canine crusaders Scooby-Doo and Ace the Bat-Hound to save the day!

What could be better than Batman/Scooby-Doo Team-Up comic? Oh, only one where they face off against my favorite Batman villain!


SHOWCASE PRESENTS: MEN OF WAR TP
Written by ROBERT KANIGHER, DAVID MICHELINIE and others
Art by ED DAVIS, DICK AYERS, HOWARD CHAYKIN and others
Cover by JOE KUBERT
On sale FEBRUARY 19 • 496 pg, B&W, $19.99 US
These 1970s war stories star Enemy Ace and Code Name: Gravedigger, an African American soldier who goes undercover behind enemy lines. Collects MEN OF WAR #1-26, the entire series.

What's that? Enemy Ace? Okay, I'll take one.


Yikes. Might want to see if your boyfriend has any super-glue you can borrow, Di.

1 comment:

Akilles said...

Dc may be a shitty publisher in so many ways, but at least they allow publishing great series that haven`t been collected in decades.

Also, I didn`t expect the return of Tiny Titans at all.