Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DC's November previews reviewed

Come November of this year, DC's three-year-old "New" "52" line will be down to 47 comics, although that's counting limited series like Multiversity (which may or may not count as part of the New 52; I will be shocked if it's branded as such) and the three weekly series. Using the original conception of 52 ongoing series, they're actually down to just 43 series.

I wonder if anyone at DC ever wishes they named their new publishing initiative/shared setting something that didn't have a specific number in it, like, I don't know, The New Universe. Wait, no, that wouldn't be good.

It looks like November's variant theme will be Lego variants, and these vary from Marvel's early Lego variants in that the bendy-limbed minifigs are all leaping through black and white panels from the comics, in homage to DC's own month of zero issues.

The third weekly series Earth 2: Worlds' End will be in full swing by this point, and seems to be in sharp contrast to the other two weeklies (Batman Eternal and Futures End) in that it will apparently tie-in pretty directly other ongoings, with Earth 2 (obviously), Worlds' Finest (also rather obviously) and Constantine (?) all tying into it.

That seems like an awfully large page-count devoted to a storyline that hasn't generated great interest so far—Apokolips vs. a rather random Elseworld—but perhaps the the involvement from a character from this universe (er, that universe; Earth-New 52 or whatever) means the apostrophe is in the right place, and, as awkward as it may read, it actually refers to both Earths, just like Worlds' Finest.

Anyway, for the full solicits, you can click here; for me talking about them, you can stay where you are and merely scroll down at your leisure.


AQUAMAN #36
Written by JEFF PARKER
Art and cover by PAUL PELLETIER and SEAN PARSONS
Lego Variant cover
On sale NOVEMBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Aquaman races to find his mother, who is suddenly very much alive – even though her presence threatens to destroy everything he has built in his kingdom


Wait, Martian Manhunter is Aquaman's mom?! That is a twist I did not see coming.


AQUAMAN AND THE OTHERS #7
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art by LAN MEDINA and ALLEN MARTINEZ
Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale NOVEMBER 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
While the secrets of their past continue to be used against them, The Others face down the lethal KGBeast...and it’s not going to go well! One of these heroes may not walk away from this confrontation!


While this isn't the last book I'd expect the KGBeast to show up, it's honestly pretty far down the list. Is this the Beast's first appearance in the New 52? If so, his costume, at least as it appears on the cover, isn't such a bad redesign (Although he's a character that I wonder has any real appeal outside of his history with Batman, which the reboot would necessitate readers not take into account).

Oh hey, and is that Cheshire there? She's wearing Cheshire's clothes, but seems to have gotten some face tattoos. Or be wearing some face camouflage. Or just be really confused as to how make-up works.


BATMAN AND ROBIN #36
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
...

On sale NOVEMBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
“Robin Rises” continues as Batman and his allies make their push toward the heart of Apokolips!


I have no idea why Red Robin, Red Hood and Batgirl are all wearing Robin body armor on this cover, but, in Red Robin's case, it looks a hell of a lot better than his usual costume.

It's not great, mind you, but with the staff and the utility belt, he looks more like himself than he has in a long time. Red Hood's battle hood there looks an awful lot like Dr. Fate's helmet, doesn't it? And Barbara Gordon seems to have gone blond. Or maybe she's Stephanie Brown and this is some alternate reality thingee...? I guess we'll see.


BATMAN: THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA BOOK 1 TP
Written by JIRO KUWATA
Art and cover by JIRO KUWATA
On sale DECEMBER 3 • 352 pg, B&W with spot color, 1 of 3, 5.75” x 8.1875, $14.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
In the 1960s, at the height of the Batman TV series’ popularity, a shonen manga magazine in Japan serialized fifty-three chapters of original comics starring The Dark Knight, all written and illustrated by Managaka Jiro Kuwata. Now, DC Entertainment is proud to publish the complete Batman Manga adventures in English for the first time in three painstakingly restored volumes. The adventure begins when the Dynamic Duo faces the insidious threat of Lord Death Man!


Hell yeah, I'll take one of these.


BATMAN ‘66: THE LOST EPISODE #1
Story by HARLAN ELLISON
Script by LEN WEIN
Art by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ and JOE PRADO
Cover by ALEX ROSS
1:25 Variant cover by JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ and JOE PRADO
One-shot • On sale NOVEMBER 19 • 80 pg, FC, $9.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.
During the original Batman television series run, legendary science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison turned in an outline for a story that would have introduced Two-Face. The story never made it to air, and Two-Face never entered the TV show’s Rogues Gallery. Now, “The Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face” is adapted to comics by two comic book legends: writer Len Wein and artist José Luis Garcia-Lopez. Also included in this special edition are Ellison’s original prose story outline and the complete, original pencils by Garcia-Lopez.


Wow. Check out Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez's and Joe Prado's Two-Face and TV version of the Dynamic Duo. It's probably worth noting that this is just one of three Batman '66 comics being published this month, including the sixth and final issue of Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet and the regular Batman '66 monthly.


Nice Catwoman cover, Jae Lee!




Nice Constantine cover, Juan Ferreyra.


EARTH 2: WORLDS’ END #6
Written by DANIEL H. WILSON, MARGUERITE BENNETT and MIKE JOHNSON
Art by ROBSON ROCHA, STEPHEN SEGOVIA, JAN DUURSEMA, JORGE JIMENEZ, EDDY BARROWS, and TYLER KIRKHAM
Cover by PAULO SIQUEIRA
On sale NOVEMBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Power Girl, Batman, Red Tornado and the new E2 Superman take on the Super Clones of Apokolips!


This series looks and sounds awful in every conceivable way, never more so than when editor Eddie Berganza was trying to sell it in a two-page advertorial feature, "5 Reasons to Pick Up Earth 2: World's [sic? The add consistently puts the apostrophe between the D and S] End."

Those reasons included "Bad-Ass Batman," as compared to the regular mewling version in the other 15 Batman books, I guess, and "Bring The Body Bags." Under that last reason, Berganza went on to say "Lots of  them."

But I was pretty surprised to see the name "Jan Duursema" pop up as one of the half-dozen artists on the issue. Duursema was the artist of the very first comic book I ever bought, the series that started me reading comics—DC/TSR's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons—and has spent the last several years on Dark Horse's various Star Wars books. I was wondering what would happen to her (and many of the other Dark Horse Star Wars creators) once the license for tie-in comics officially transferred to Marvel Entertainment, and now I guess we know.

I wish she were working on something less-awful looking, and were drawing it herself, rather than being part of a Frankenstein's monster of an art team...

Speaking of Frankenstein's monster, there's the cover for Earth 2: Worlds' End #7. 


THE FLASH #36
Written by ROBERT VENDITTI and VAN JENSEN
Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND
Lego Variant cover
On sale NOVEMBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Out of time! The Flash is trapped in a bizarre, lost land terrorized by castaways from the past, present, and future. But that leaves Central City without a hero...or does it?


I love dinosaurs, and loathe Booth's artwork (and Brett Booth in general, if his social media presence is indicative of the real Brett Booth), so the dinosaurs and Booth pretty much cancel each other out here.

Also, The Flash is one of the least interesting superheroes to have fight dinosaurs, given that they can't touch him. Also also, Booth does draw dinosaurs better than he draws everything else.

GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT #1
Written by RAY FAWKES
Art and cover by BEN TEMPLESMITH
...
On sale NOVEMBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.
Strange doings are afoot in Gotham City! Look out, though – Jim Corrigan is on the case in this new series by writer Ray Fawkes (CONSTANTINE, BATMAN ETERNAL) and artist Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Ten Grand)!


Interesting. I haven't really enjoyed the Jim Corrigan thread of Batman Eternal, mostly because I have no idea who the new Corrigan is, how The Spectre works anymore or what the hell is going on exactly (additionally, Corrigan seems to be written as if he's old DCU Jason Blood rather than old DCU Jim Corrigan now), but a supernatural series set in Gotham City seems like a good premise. And that's a good assignment for Templesmith, too.

Can he keep a monthly schedule, I wonder? If not, might I suggest Kelley Jones and Ted Naifeh for fill-in artists to keep in mind...?

This Justice League Dark cover is gross and I hate it. Even though I love the work of Guillem March, the artist who produced it.


THE MULTIVERSITY: PAX AMERICANA #1
Written by GRANT MORRISON
Art and cover by FRANK QUITELY
...
On sale NOVEMBER 19 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T
...
Brace yourselves for the next exciting chapter of THE MULTIVERSITY as the acclaimed ALL-STAR SUPERMAN team of writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely investigate the conspiracy on Earth-4, home of Pax Americana! Told backwards through an experimental storytelling technique that reveals new mysteries with each turn of the page, PAX AMERICANA stars The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade and Peacemaker like you’ve never seen them before! As the assassination of the U.S. president leads to political intrigue, interpersonal drama and astro-physical wonder, the truth behind the crime and those involved will blow your mind! What confidential conversation between the president and Captain Atom could reveal everything? How far will The Question take his hunt for the truth before he hurts his former friends – or himself? And who is the steel-handed bogeyman operating in the shadows? Discover all this and more in this exciting stand-alone issue which also acts as chapter four of the MULTIVERSITY storyline. Join us, if your dare, for THE MULTIVERSITY!


This will be maybe the most interesting of the Mutltiversity books from a few different angles, as this will essentially be Grant Morrison's version of Alan Moore's Watchmen (and I think it's noteworthy that Morrison wasn't one of the DC writers to tackle that embarrassing Before Watchmen project)I'm not sure to what extent Morrison will have written this chapter of Multiversity hat way, but this is Morrison writing the Charlton-originated superheroes that the analogues in Watchmen's cast was derived from, and Morrison can't have been unaware of the fact that he was doing so, and the results will certainly be read as Morrison's Moore's Watchmen.


SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #7
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art and cover by DARIO BRIZUELA
On sale NOVEMBER 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E
When a test of Dr. Albrick Einstone’s time machine goes awry, Scooby and the gang find themselves the unexpected guests of everyone’s favorite modern Stone Age family, the Flintstones! And they’ve arrived just in the nick of time – because Bedrock is being plagued by that notorious spook, The Phantom of the Operrock!


Well, that's not a team-up I saw coming—surely Captain Caveman and The Teen Angels are an infinitely more likely group of cartoon characters for Scooby-Doo and the gang to rub shoulders with—but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to reading a bunch of stone and rock puns.


SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #4
Written by NEIL KLEID, ROB WILLIAMS and OLLIE MASTERS
Art by DEAN HASPIEL, TOM LYLE and AMY MEBBERSON
Cover by ADAM HUGHES
On sale NOVEMBER 19 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST
Wonder Woman appears in a trio of tales with some offbeat guest stars! First, Diana and her friend Etta Candy are captured by Ra’s al Ghul, but he’s not the most surprising soul they meet. Then, a Thanagarian menace returns to Earth, and you won’t believe what Diana must do in her battle with Byth! Plus, the London police are confused as to why they caught Catwoman so easily. Fortunately, Wonder Woman is in town to take charge of the situation!


They had me as soon as I saw Etta Candy tackling a ninja, but I'm always up for more art from Haspiel and Mebberson, and I'm particularly interested to see Tom Lyle's name there, as I honestly can't remember the last time I saw his work, but he was one of the reasons I liked the Tim Drake character so much upon his initial introduction.


SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #13
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE
...
On sale NOVEMBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
...
Welcome the new creative team of writer Peter J. Tomasi (BATMAN AND ROBIN) and Doug Mahnke (JUSTICE LEAGUE)! The unity between Superman and Wonder Woman will be tested as never before as a mysterious group of villains make their New 52 debut – but first, Atomic Skull and Major Disaster cause trouble for our favorite heroic couple!


Whew, thank goodness this is at the fuck that noise price of $3.99, otherwise I'd be tempted to add this book to my pull-list, as I really like Doug Mahnke, and sometimes really like Tomasi, depending on the book and/or story arc.


That's it, New 52 Ladytron, or whoever you are! Get that costume! Tear it off! Destroy it!



WONDER WOMAN #36
Written by MEREDITH FINCH
Art and cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND
Lego variant cover
...
On sale NOVEMBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
...
Please welcome the new superstar creative team of writer Meredith Finch and artist David Finch! As this new epic begins, the fate of the Amazons is about to be revealed, major new characters will be introduced and a new villain will arrive with enough power to defeat the combined might of Wonder Woman and her Justice League teammates! Don’t miss the start of this story that guest stars Swamp Thing! It will define what it takes for Diana to fulfill her destiny as Wonder Woman!


So if one of complaints leveled at the original, pretty-damn-good writer of the New 52 Wonder Woman series was that the supporting cast was so large that the title character often got lost and seemed to sometimes play only a supporting role in her own book, I'm sure adding the Justice League and Swamp Thing into the mix will fix that right up.

I have nothing but reservations about this creative team ("superstar creative team"...? Is superstardom a transitive state, where one becomes a superstar by marrying a superstar? In comics?), although I'm sure I'll read their work in trade someday.

In the mean time, I'm having a hard time making up my mind-- Which of those two covers has a more realistic depiction of a human female, do you think...?

3 comments:

Jer said...

I'm having a hard time making up my mind-- Which of those two covers has a more realistic depiction of a human female, do you think...?

Ouch.

Honestly I'm happy that DC has Sensation Comics coming out for the next year, because I can get a Wonder Woman fix without having to deal with Nu52 Wonder Woman. I'm enjoying "As Olympus Turns" from Azzarello and Chiang well enough, but it isn't really a superhero book as much as it is a modern fantasy book. Which is great, but I like Wonder Woman as a superhero, so I'd like to get more of that please.

Rev'd '76 said...

Jiro Kuwata, fuck yeah!

Ben should manage just fine. The only Templesmith project I've ever seen bog down was Fell, and that was just Ellis being Ellis.

"Oh noes, my pocket typewriter has had an aneurysm and I don't keep handwritten notes so that's six months worth of six titles down the pipe, I guess. Time for a ciggie!"

SallyP said...

Oh, the Lego version of Wonder Woman is by FAR the more realistic of the two! I am not even sure how Finch's Wonder Woman can stand!

I hate Superman and Wonder Woman together, but I DO love Tomasi and Mahnke. Oh Comics!