Monday, May 19, 2014

DC's August previews reviewed

August seems like a pretty big month for DC Comics. Grant Morrison's Multiversity, now called The Multiversity finally kicks off and a slew of comics get culled, perhaps indicating a new wave of launches in the near future (With All-Star Western, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Trinity of Sin: Pandora, Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger and Superboy all being canceled, DC's 44 "New 52" titles will shrink to just 38 in September, unless they follow those up with a bunch of new launches).

I see too that DC is pulling a Marvel and double-shipping their unexpected hit comic Harley Quinn, and having an artist other than regular artist Chad Hardin draw one of those issues so they can double-ship, Marvel style.

But probably the biggest news of the month is that I saw words I never thought I'd see before in these solicitations: "DC UNIVERSE selfie variant cover."

No examples are shown, but if they turn out to be anything at all like the results of a Google Image search for the term "selfie" plus DC superheroes, I think we can all agree that DC UNIVERSE selfie variant covers are going to be the best thing ever (Here's hoping they collect them all in a standalone comic book; as I hope they're doing with all those Mike Allred variants).
Note that the fourth image that came up was an actual woman in an actual refrigerator.

Anyway, for DC's complete solicitations, you can go other places. Like here, for example. But for me offering opinions on them, there's nowhere to go but here, which is where you already are.

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #16
Written by JOE KEATINGE
Art by MING DOYLE, BRENT SCHOONOVER, DAVID WILLIAMS, AL GORDON, TULA LOTAY and JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER
Cover by JON BOGDANOVE
On sale AUGUST 27 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
As citizens of Earth flee to the stars, Kamandi tells the story of Superman’s earliest defeat – one that haunted him for years. Don’t miss this epic adventure spanning the entirety of Superman’s lifetime, from an all-star roster of talent!

Damn, Bogdanove sure did a hell of a job drawing in the styles of a bunch of very different artists on that cover.



ALL-STAR WESTERN #34
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art and cover by DARWYN COOKE
On sale AUGUST 27 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+ • FINAL ISSUE
Time has finally caught up with Hex as he battles to the death against his worst enemy: Jonah Hex!


Whatever Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have been blackmailing Dan DiDio with all these years has apparently come out, as their Jonah Hex book, first called Jonah Hex and then New 52-booted as All-Star Western is finally being canceled, years after its sales would have dictated it be canceled.

I like the way Darwyn Cooke draws horse legs.


AQUAMAN AND THE OTHERS #5
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art by LAN MEDINA and ALLEN MARTINEZ
Cover by JOE PRADO
On sale AUGUST 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
As Aquaman lies impaled with his own trident, the ancient evil of Legend finally claims possession of the Others’ Atlantean artifacts – except for one. And for that one, Legend must take it from the resurrected Vostok X!


Ancient evil? Okay, first of all, I didn't think Legend was that bad. And ancient? It's from 1985; that's hardly ancient.

I like Pat Gleason.


Cute cover for this month's issue of Batman/Superman.

....

Although I guess the cat standing on another cat to push Catwoman's pelvis into Superman's is a little weird.

And those stars and moon will probably be a little ruined when they put the logo on the image.


BATWING #34
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art by EDUARDO PANSICA
Cover by DAN PANOSIAN
On sale AUGUST 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE
It’s the final issue of BATWING – but what is the final fate of Luke Fox?

This book's cancellation seems way overdue, based on the way it sells in relation to the rest of DC's comics. I imagine the character will live on in Batman Eternal and, if a Batman weekly sells (and tells) as well as I think it will, then I imagine weekly Batman comics may be here to stay for a while, giving plenty of space for characters like Batwing to appear in a better-selling book.



BIRDS OF PREY #34
Written by CHRISTY MARX
Art by ROBSON ROCHA and OCLAIR ALBERT
Cover by JORGE MOLINA
On sale AUGUST 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE
By Batgirl betrayed! But why is she siding with the Suicide Squad? Find out in this tale from the Birds’ past!


Birds of Prey...cancelled? On the one hand, that seems perfectly predictable to me, given how incredibly far its drifted from its original conception (I think by the time you've removed Oracle from the equation, BOP has basically just become one more superhero team, especially when you divorce it from its own history and the character relationships that made the drifting from core concept seem more like evolution than change for change's sake).

On the other hand, it's kind of hard to believe that DC would cancel this particular kinda sorta Batman Family book, while still publishing Red Hood and The Outlaws. Perhaps this is only being canceled in the way Teen Titans and Suicide Squad were...that is, to be relaunched with a new creative team and new #1 issue next month.

 Oh, hey, look—King Shark is back to having a Great White shark-shaped shark head, rather than the Hammerhead shark-shaped shark head he was rebooted into having. That's...completely random.


CONSTANTINE #17
Written by RAY FAWKES
Art by EDGAR SALAZAR and JAY LEISTEN
Cover by JUAN FERREYRA
On sale AUGUST 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
John Constantine is no stranger to death, but he’s never seen it on this scale – a spell gone terribly wrong has sent him back through time to World War I! Unfortunately, he’s not the only mage in the trenches…and where death has this much power, black magic couldn’t be more dangerous!


Part of me wants to accuse DC of ripping off the cover of Danica Novgorodoff's The Undertaking of Lily Chen
—but then the rest of me realizes that the motif isn't really that unique, and some comic artist before Novgorodoff likely did something similar before her too.

GRAYSON #2
Written by TIM SEELEY
Art and cover by MIKEL JANIN
DC UNIVERSE SELFIE variant cover
...
On sale AU
GUST 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Grayson digs deeper into the mysterious organization known as SPYRAL and learns more about his new partner – Helena Bertinelli!
 
Oh hey, it's the New 52 debut of...the name of the former secret identity of the post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint Huntress. Surely that is of interest to...someone...?



JUSTICE LEAGUE #34
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and KEITH CHAMPAGNE
Cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
DC UNIVERSE SELFIE variant cover
...
On sale AUGUST 20 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
...
Paranoid survivalist. Wanted fugitive. Damned soul. Meet the newest member of the Justice League: Jessica Cruz, a.k.a. Power Ring! With the most dangerous weapon in the universe in her possession, Jessica has been transformed into a dark prophet – one who will force the other members of the League to confront their greatest fears in preparation for a horrific new threat. Meanwhile, Batman and Lex Luthor continue their mission to cure the world of super-villains – but will the extremes they’re willing to go to threaten even their closest allies? Lex hopes so.


Well, her costume is all kinds of stupid, from the camo to the light-construct survival gear, to the doubling of the logos, to the eye-patch (which, for reasons that escape me, resembles a shamrock more than the vague butterfly shape of Power Ring's regular logo), to the head band to the over-accesorization. That said, it's neat that Earth finally got a female Green Lantern (sorta), and that there will be at least one semi-lasting effect from Forever Evil (aside from Grayson, of course, but I don't expect that to last too long).


THE MULTIVERSITY #1
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
...
1:100 Variant cover by GRANT MORRISON
...
On sale AUGUST 20 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
...
The biggest adventure in DC’s history is here!

Join visionary writer Grant Morrison, today’s most talented artists, and a cast of unforgettable characters from 52 alternative Earths of the known DC Multiverse! Prepare to meet the Vampire League of Earth-43, the Justice Riders of Earth-18, Superdemon, Doc Fate, the super-sons of Superman and Batman, the rampaging Retaliators of Earth-8, the Atomic Knights of Justice, Dino-Cop, Sister Miracle, Lady Quark, the legion of Sivanas, the Nazi New Reichsmen of Earth-10 and the latest, greatest Super Hero of Earth-Prime: YOU!

Comprising six complete adventures – each set in a different parallel universe – plus a two-part framing story and a comprehensive guidebook to the many worlds of the Multiverse, THE MULTIVERSITY is more than just a multipart comic-book series. It’s a cosmos spanning, soul-shaking experience that puts YOU on the frontline in the Battle for All Creation against the demonic destroyers known as the Gentry!

In issue #1, pencilled by superstar artist Ivan Reis (AQUAMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE), President Superman of Earth-23 uncovers a threat to all Reality so apocalyptic it will take a team of incredible heroes from across the Multiverse to face it – including Captain Carrot, like you’ve never seen him before!

But even with a multitude of alternate worlds to choose from, where every variation is possible, can anyone hope to prevail against the onslaught of ultimate evil and undying hatred – in the unstoppable form of a one-time cosmic defender with unimaginable powers?! Join us, if you dare, for the beginning of THE MULTIVERSITY!


This really sounds even better than I would have/could have hoped. There's more to get excited about in that first paragraph in the solicit than almost the rest of the New 52 line combined; Morrison's like his own New 52.

There will be some six variant covers (although I didn't see a mention of a "selfie" variant), but I left in the one that sounded the most interesting—one by Morrison himself. As I've noted before, Morrison is really a pretty good artist (for a writer, anyway), so I'm eager to see what that will look like, whether it's just a sketch repurposed as a collectible gimmick cover, or if it's a legit piece of artwork from Morrison, tackling it the way an artist might tackle a cover assignment.

I'm in no hurry for this summer to pass, but between this comic book solicitation and that trailer for that one Marvel superhero movie, August seems like it's going to be the most exciting nerd month of the year...

I suppose it would be silly to ask why Harley Quinn has a balaclava to keep her head and face warm in the cold of the Russian winter, while having so much skin exposed, huh? Especially since she's not even wearing the balaclava?

I do find myself wondering how Joker's Daughter is in New Suicide Squad (and thus presumably captured by law enforcement) while simultaneously causing trouble in Batman Eternal (and thus presumably not yet captured by law enforcement), although I suppose her story arc in Eternal could finish up much more quickly than expected.

SECRET ORIGINS #5
Written by MARV WOLFMAN, SCOTT LOBDELL and JEFF PARKER
Art by ANDRE COELHO, PAULO SIQUEIRA and ALVARO MARTINEZ and RAUL FERNANDEZ
Cover by LEE BERMEJO
On sale AUGUST 27 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
The latest explosive origins from DC Comics – The New 52 include Cyborg by Marv Wolfman and AndrĂ© Coelho; Red Hood by Scott Lobdell and Paulo Siqueira; and Mera by Jeff Parker and the art team of Alvaro Martinez and Raul Fernandez.


Well, Cyborg's origin is wildly unnecessary, as we just read it in the first half-dozen issues of Justice League, which were among the best-selling and most-read comics of the New 52 relaunch (they already based a direct-to-DVD animated adaptation of that story arc, didn't they?), but I'm actually interested in the Red Hood origin. I hate, hate, hate the character, and super-hate the fact that he survived The New 52 reboot (he seemed like one of the "mistakes" of the old DCU that a reboot might actually be needed to help purge from the universe), but I'm curious as to how his story makes sense in the new continuity, as his resurrection was initially tied to the events of the Crisis On Infinite Earths (retroactively, of course) and Infinite Crisis).

I would have thought that, if you were going to reboot your entire continuity anyway, and you wanted to have a character who died alive, the easiest thing to do would be to rewrite history so he never died, but, apparently, Jason Todd still died and still came back to life... (I just read Batman and... #20, I think it was, the issue where Batman takes Jason Todd back to the scene of his death to try and jog his memory about his having come back to life, and it was really, really weird and confusing, because I had no idea what the hell they were talking about (I guess "Death In The Family" happened, just not the way it happened in "Death In The Family," which is one of those worst-of-both-worlds situations DC has created for itself).

SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #1
Written by GAIL SIMONE and AMANDA DEIBERT
Art by ETHAN VAN SCIVER and CAT STAGGS
Cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
1:25 Variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
On sale AUGUST 20 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
DIGITAL FIRST
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.
Diana Prince: Amazon warrior, ambassador to Man’s world, or champion of women in need? All of the above! This digital-first anthology series will bring some of comics’ greatest talents to Themyscira, and give them leave to explore Diana, her world – and ours!
Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver kick things off when Oracle calls for help after the entire Bat-Family gets sidelined. But when Wonder Woman steps into the breach, Gotham City’s criminals get the surprise of their lives! Then, Amanda Deibert and Cat Staggs take Diana to school, where she meets her biggest fan!


I've already mouthed off about this a bit on Twitter, but my first two thoughts were 1.) I can't believe DC is finally publishing a Legends of the Dark Knight-style anthology book starring Wonder Woman, and 2.) I can't believe they weren't already publishing the book.

This seems to be the Wonder Woman equivalent of the Digital First, $4, 40-page, continuity-lite anthology books Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman, which is fine by me; I read and enjoyed both of those books, even though the quality could vary pretty drastically from story to story and issue to issue. DC did cancel them both, but they were around long enough to generate a few trades' worth of material, give some great creators the chance to play with DC's biggest creators and to produces some evergreen stories.

This seems to follow the same pattern, as it sure sounds like an "old" DCU storyline, and, in fact, sounds like Van Sciver may be illustrating a script Simone has had lying around for a while (or a story that's been bouncing around in her head for a while), as she previously wrote both Wonder Woman and Oracle's book Birds of Prey.

I hate to complain at all about a gift I've been asking for for years now, but I do note this is rated "T for teen." I hope that it will be a more new-reader, all-ages friendly version of the character, at least in some issues, and that they'll take it easy on the Wolverine/Punisher version of Wonder Woman that is the default one in the DCU now. You know, less talk of of killing, now testicle-grabbing or limb-severing. If only because it seems to me that DC should m make sure that anyone that owns a comic shop should always have a Wonder Woman comic they can hand to a little girl who asks for one...preferably without having to ask her to wait while they go through their longboxes in search of an issue of Adventures in the DC Universe from the late 1990s.

Oh, and I suppose it's worth noting that this makes three Wonder Woman monthlies, if you count Superman/Wonder Woman (and I just did).


TEEN TITANS #2
Written by WILL PFEIFER
Art and cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
DC UNIVERSE SELFIE variant cover
1:25 Variant cover by CAMERON STEWART
On sale AUGUST 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Now the new hotness on social media, the Titans try to control their own images as a new threat continues to grow around the team. Meanwhile, S.T.A.R. Labs takes an interest in DC’s teen heroes.

"New hotness"....? "Social media"...? Wow, this comic is about teens!

I like that Cameron Stewart person, and would like to see him drawing more for DC than just one out of every 25 covers of Teen Titans...


I found the few issues of Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger that I read to be pretty dull, but I really like the work of cover artist Guillem March. Those are some nice, scary versions of Phantom Stranger he drew on this particular cover.

In other news, Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger is totally canceled with this, it's 22nd issue. That's actually a pretty damn respectable run for a Phantom Stranger comic in 2014, particularly given the...peculiarities of this version of the character, the more-standard-than-not creative team chaos on the book, and the fact that DC still hasn't gotten around to explaining what the fuck is up with this whole Flashpoint/Pandora/merged universes/Trinity of Sin business yet.

Speaking of Pandora, her book ships its final issue in August as well, with #14.

4 comments:

culturewarreporters.com said...

1) It's so hard for me to believe that Marvel is releasing a solo title featuring an African-American cyborg character before DC, whose African-American cyborg character is a member of their premiere superhero team.

2) Judging by the Teen Titans cover [http://i.newsarama.com/images/i/000/129/533/i300/TT_Cv2.jpg] I'm not sure DC quite understands what a selfie is supposed to be.

SallyP said...

Wait, they are cancelling Jonah Hex? Noooooooo!

On the other hand, dumping Birds of Prey is long overdue...and I say that as a former huge fan of BOP.

The Wonder Woman book looks interesting though.

Caleb said...

I'm not sure DC quite understands what a selfie is supposed to be.

I thought that too, and was going to put that image at the top of the post, but then when I read the solicitation about the Teen Titans being "the new hotness" on social media, I assumed that wasn't the "selfie variant" but the regular cover, which just coincidentally featured someone taking a picture with a cellphone...

David said...

All this talk of selfie variants has given me a nightmarish vision of Wonder Woman doing a duckface.

Also, I thought the last issue of the Huntress mini prior to World's Finest stated that Helena Bertinelli was dead and Helena Wayne had replaced her. Not that DC ever pays attention to their own continuity.