Thursday, October 20, 2016

DC's January previews reviewed

Oh hey, DC's solicitations for next January are out now!

Let's discuss them.

ALL STAR BATMAN #6
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by JOCK
...
“Cold to the Core”! Batman travels to Alaska to confront Mr. Freeze as he attempts to extract the world’s oldest ice core and bring humanity to a new Ice Age! Powerhouse artist Jock joins Scott Snyder to bring you another of the Dark Knight’s rogues like you’ve never seen him before.
On sale JANUARY 11 • 40 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T


I'll be quite curious to see how this book adjusts to the varying artists. Right now, it has John Romita Jr. drawing a big, crazy action story involving only the third or so appearance of Two-Face since the 2011 reboot and guest-starring some of the most random characters Snyder could think of to make Romita draw. Jock, though quite talented, is not JRJR, and not someone whose presence on a Batman book alone is enough to get me excited to read it.

And Mr. Freeze? Well, Snyder's used him repeatedly already, and I haven't much cared for the character's New 52 iteration. He's one of those unfortunate characters that was done so perfectly once--in 1992's Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice"--that subsequent stories almost always pale by comparison. I don't think I've ever seen or read a Mr. Freeze story anywhere near as good as that episode was, although I've enjoyed seeing the character's various redesigns in other cartoons. Basically, after you've done that tragic love story, all you've got left is a guy with cool ice powers for Batman to fight.

That's where I am with Mr. Freeze at the moment, anyway. I'm certainly interested in seeing what Snyder and Jock have up their sleeves though.

I don't see any mention of the Duke Thomas-starring back-up feature currently running, but I assume there will still be one, as the book is listed as being 40 pages long and costing $5 still.


BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #6
Written by JULIE BENSON and SHAWNA BENSON
Art by ROGE ANTONIO
Cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
Variant cover by KAMOME SHIRAHAMA
...
“Who Is Oracle?” conclusion! The new Oracle has put the Birds in an untenable position—do what Oracle wants, or their whole lives get made public! So how do they turn the tables? And now that Huntress has Fenice in her sights, can she pull the trigger? She’s never hesitated to kill before…so why now?
On sale JANUARY 11 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Wow, it's going to take all the way until February to reveal who Oracle is...? I got bored and lost interest in this story during the first issue. I guess that means we have to wait until February to hope for a better second story arc.


BATMAN ’66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN ’77 #1
Written by JEFF PARKER and MARC ANDREYKO
Art by DAVID HAHN and KARL KESEL
Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
...
What mysteries are hidden in the book Ra’s al Ghul hired Catwoman to steal? And why does this caper lead Batman down memory lane—to his childhood fight against actual Nazis? Witness the Caped Crusader’s first encounter with one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known: Wonder Woman!
This epic team-up is brought to you by writers Marc Andreyko (WONDER WOMAN ’77) and Jeff Parker (BATMAN ’66), with fantastic artists David Hahn and Karl Kesel (BATMAN ’66 Meets the Man from U.N.C.L.E.). It’s a time- and space-spanning adventure unlike anything you’ve seen before!
On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED E • Digital first


I like all of the creators involved in this, more so than even the iterations of these two characters, so I'll be picking this up. I'm particularly curious about how it will work, exactly, given the fact that the shows featuring these characters are like a decade apart. Although I guess Wonder Woman came out in the seventies, but was set in the forties? At least for the first season, and then got weird...? Anyway, "time-spanning" is promised.


CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #4
Written by JON RIVERA
Art and cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMING
Backup story and art by THOMAS SCIOLI
Variant cover by ANDREW MACLEAN
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.
Cave and his team find the underground city of Muldroog, and it’s not what he expected. Plus, Cave has visions of his deceased wife, but are they hallucinations, or is there more to this than meets the cybernetic eye? Also features a Super Powers backup feature by Thomas Scioli (G.I. Joe vs. Transformers)!
On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • MATURE READERS


The worst thing about this comic, of which I've just read the first issue? It has only a few pages of Tom Scioli's Super Powers feature, compared to a mess of pages featuring Rivera and Oeming's Cave Carson.... And while, yes, the Cave Carson comic was pretty interesting, it was still not the guy who made the decade's greatest comic doing to the DC cartoon/toy-line of my youth what he did to two other cartoon/toy-line franchises of my youth in G.I. Joe Vs. Transformers.

Why on earth isn't Super Powers an ongoing series of its own, dammit?


COSMIC ODYSSEY: THE DELUXE EDITION HC
Written by JIM STARLIN
Art by MIKE MIGNOLA and CARLOS GARZON
Cover by MIKE MIGNOLA
Collected for the first time in a Deluxe Edition, COSMIC ODYSSEY assembles an eclectic group of heroes to race against time to stop a cosmic entity hell-bent on destroying the galaxy. Do they have what it takes? Or will one hero bring destruction to an entire world? Collects the original four-issue miniseries, featuring Superman, Batman, Orion of the New Gods, Darkseid and many more!
On sale FEBRUARY 15 • 208 pg, FC, 7.0625” x 10.875” $34.99 US


The price tag seems a little high to me, but, if you haven't read this yet, it's Mike Mignola drawing Justice Leaguers, New Gods and the Etrigan The fucking Demon and it's awesome.


DEATHSTROKE #11
Written by CHRISTOPHER PRIEST
Art and cover by DENYS COWAN and BILL SIENKIEWICZ
...
“CHICAGO”! Jack Ryder, a.k.a. the Creeper, investigates a series of murders in Chicago…and comes face to face with Deathstroke, the World’s Deadliest Assassin. Christopher Priest is joined by guest artists Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz for an unflinching look at gun violence in America.
On sale JANUARY 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+


Priest, Cowan, Sienkiewicz, Chicago, Jack Ryder, Deathstroke and "gun violence in America"...? Wow. With a combination like that, this should be some read.

Note that it sure looks like the "classic" Creeper, rather than the weird-ass demonic-looking one rather randomly thrown out in the middle of the month of Forever Evil tie-ins.


FUTURE QUEST VOL. 1 TP
Written by JEFF PARKER
Art by EVAN “DOC” SHANER, STEVE RUDE, RON RANDALL and CRAIG ROUSSEAU
Cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER
When worlds collide, it’s up to Hanna-Barbera’s best-known action heroes to save the day! Johnny Quest, Space Ghost, the Herculoids and more are reimagined in this new collection! When Jonny Quest and his adoptive brother Hadji make a startling discovery in the swamplands of Florida, they are pulled into an epic struggle between the Space Rangers and a dangerous villain who threatens the galaxy. Now, it’s up to the combined forces of Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, the Herculoids, Birdman, Frankenstein Jr., the Impossibles, the Galaxy Trio and Mightor to stop him and save their universe! Collects FUTURE QUEST #1-6!
On sale FEBRUARY 15 • 176 pg, FC, $16.99 US


This is good right? Everyone likes this one? It is the only of the Hanna-Barbereboot books I haven't read even the first issue of...on account of the fact that I was so sure I was going to like it I thought I'd just wait for the trade. And it will be here in January!


HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #12
Written by ROBERT VENDITTI
Art and cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
...
“BOTTLED LIGHT” part five! Trapped and collected by Larfleeze, the Green Lantern Corps’ only hope is Hal Jordan and White Lantern Kyle Rayner—but can these two heroes save their friends before they all become playthings to the Avatar of Avarice?
On sale JANUARY 11 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Hmm, one of those guys doesn't look like he fits in with the others.

I've lost track of what they've been doing with Kyle Rayner of late, but in general I dislike the idea of always somehow separating him from the GLC. The cool think about that concept, and about Geoff Johns' original 2005, post-Green Lantern: Rebirth fix to the franchise, was that pretty much everyone who has been a Green Lantern could be one again.

This...is not that, and they seem to be making Kyle into Ion all over again.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: KILLER FROST REBIRTH #1
Written by STEVE ORLANDO and JODY HOUSER
Art by MIRKA ANDOLFO
Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
...
SPINNING OUT OF THE PAGES OF JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD! What happens to a super-villain on their last day in Belle Reve Prison? Against all odds, Killer Frost is up for parole from the Suicide Squad, but you can bet Amanda Waller isn’t going to make it easy for Frost to join the new JLA.
One shot • On sale JANUARY 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Huh. I imagine this spins out of the events of Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad, but Killer Frost is a pretty unexpected character to show up in a Justice League comic. Like, if you wanted to use a lady with ice powers, there's Ice, and if you wanted to use a villain with ice powers, well, whatever happened to Captain Cold? He was on the League at the beginning of "Darkseid War" and just kind of got lost in the shuffle (Same with Captain Marvel Shazam, actually). So there must be story reasons for this.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: THE ATOM REBIRTH #1
Written by STEVE ORLANDO
Art by ANDY MACDONALD
Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
...
SPINNING OUT OF THE PAGES OF JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD! Meet Ryan Choi, prodigious theoretical physics student with severe allergies
and crippling social anxiety. But little does young Ryan know, his first day at Ivy University marks the start of an epic journey into the very heart of the DC Universe!
One shot • On sale JANUARY 4 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Wow, that is a terrible costume. The Silver Age Atom has one of the all-time best superhero costumes, and this Atom, the Ryan Choi one, wore a slight variation of that costume. This appears to be based on the dumb suit-of-armor version that they stuck poor Brandon Routh in on the CW; the choice makes some sense in a live-action medium like TV, but this is comics, not live-action. The Atom shouldn't need a space-suit to shrink here.

It's rather unfortunate how screwed up The Atom's timeline is after The New 52, too, as I've read Ray Palmer's various appearances in books as diverse as Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE and Future's End and man, I can't even begin to tell you what the state of the character is at this point. The "Everyone Is Hawkman Now" reading of the post-reboot DCU seems particularly apropos when applied to The Atom/s.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: THE RAY REBIRTH #1
Written by STEVE ORLANDO
Art by STEPHEN BYRNE
Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
...
SPINNING OUT OF THE PAGES OF JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD! Locked indoors, raised in the dark and told his medical condition could be fatal to himself and anyone he meets, Ray Terrill is dangerous. A freak. Broken. Or is he…? Witness the amazing power of realizing your true self and stepping into the light in this moving rebirth of a long-lost hero for a new generation.
One shot • On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Fun fact: The Ray was on a fantasy line-up of the Justice League I imagined when I was maybe 19 or so, and, had I somehow magically replaced Grant Morrison after his run on JLA ended, The Ray (along with Maya and Anima) would have been inducted into the Justice League, as the Big Seven and friends would have wanted to work closely with the young heroes to make sure that turned out right.

I really liked this version of The Ray when he was originally introduced in the early '90s, part of a wave of young, DC superheroes who were around my age at the time, some of whom were gimmes (Robin III, Superboy, Impulse, Wonder Girl II) and others of whom were really rather odd (Damage, Anima, The Ray). In particular, Christopher Priest's work on the character's monthly ongoing and Justice League Task Force was excellent.

I'm hoping that his reemergence leads to Priest's series being collected...and I wouldn't mind seeing Justice League Task Force and that era's New Titans getting collected as well (Ray wasn't in the Titans team that starred in the book from #115-#130, but Impulse and Damage were for a bit, and I liked that line-up and was never able to track all the issues down). That would sure cut down on the number of old comics I have in long boxes! (Also, while I've read much of The Ray, I did so out of order, and there are still some issues I'm missing).

I would be about 2,000 times more excited if Flashpoint never happened and this was "the real" Ray, rather than a start-from-scratch second version of The Ray II, but then, that's been the case for pretty much every DC character post-Flaspoint, save maybe Batman and Hal Jordan.

I'll be curious to see if Orlando acknowledges that version of the character that Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray helped create, or if he will just pretend that comic never happened, just like the rest of us do.


JUSTICE LEAGUE/POWER RANGERS #1
Written by TOM TAYLOR
Art by STEPHEN BYRNE
Cover by KARL KERSCHL
BATMAN/PINK RANGER variant cover by DAN HIPP
CYBORG/BLUE RANGER variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
THE FLASH/BLACK RANGER variant cover by YASMINE PUTRI
GREEN LANTERN JOHN STEWART/YELLOW RANGER variant cover by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
SUPERMAN/GREEN RANGER variant cover by CHRIS SPROUSE
WONDER WOMAN/RED RANGER variant cover by MARCUS TO
...
Two of comics greatest teams team up for the very first time! Something terrible has happened in Angel Grove! When the Command Center is breached and the teleporters are damaged, Zack is flung into another universe, where he’s mistaken for a villain by a mysterious masked vigilante. Can the other Power Rangers get to their friend in time to save him from Batman? Co-published with BOOM! Studios.
On sale JANUARY 11 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED T


I'm having a hard time thinking of a semi-serious hypothetical crossover that would be more unexpected than these two teams meeting, given how little they have in common...or in contrast.

My first thought, after, "Huh? Really?" was that maybe they would do something cutesy and, like, give the Justice League Megazords of their own, but then, they kind of already did that, huh? I guess seeing the League in -style costume redesigns (The Super-Powers Rangers!) and Batman getting a bat 'zord would be kinda cool.

At any rate, I'm eager to see this, if only because I can't really imagine what it might be like.


JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #4
Written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
Art and cover by FERNANDO PASARIN
Variant covers by TBA
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for details.
[REDACTED BY ORDER OF TASK FORCE X DIRECTOR AMANDA WALLER] and [REDACTED] crew of unstoppable [REDACTED] besiege Belle Reve to take possession of the lost [REDACTED], and only the unbelievable team-up of the Justice League and the Suicide Squad can prevent [REDACTED] from taking revenge on Amanda Waller!
On sale JANUARY 11 • 40 pg, FC, 4 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED T

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #5
Written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
Art and cover by ROBSON ROCHA
Variant covers by TBA
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for details.
[REDACTED] has finally obtained that which [REDACTED] has sought all this time—it’s the means to utterly [REDACTED] the Justice League forever. Now, only [REDACTED] and the Suicide Squad stand in [REDACTED] path of total world domination. No pressure!
On sale JANUARY 18 • 40 pg, FC, 5 of 6, $3.99 US • RATED T


Well that seems annoying.

Hey, Captain Boomerang's on that cover! He's not dead after all! Hooray!


THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE #1
Written by DAN ABNETT and DAN DIDIO
Art by DALE EAGLESHAM, KEITH GIFFEN and SCOTT KOBLISH
Cover by BRUCE TIMM
...
Prepare to take part in one of the greatest adventures from the infinite future of the DC Universe, and join the industry’s top creative teams in a round-robin, no-holds-barred, storytelling extravaganza titled THE KAMANDI CHALLENGE!
Born from the mind of Jack “King” Kirby, the post apocalyptic Earth of Kamandi has been a fan favorite for decades, and now 14 intrepid teams of writers and artists build on this incredible foundation and take the title character on an epic quest to find his long-lost parents and travel to places seen and unseen in the DC Universe.
Each issue will end with an unimaginable cliffhanger, and it’s up to the next creative team to resolve it before creating their own. It’s a challenge worthy of “The King” himself! In this premiere issue, the Last Boy on Earth is dragged from his safe haven by a group of tigers, only to face the nightmarish threat of the ultimate weapon!
On sale JANUARY 25 • 40 pg, FC, 1 of 12, $4.99 US • RATED T


Join the industry's top creative teams...and Dan DiDio!

His presence in the credits reminds me of one of Abhay Khosla's many (many, many, many) points against DiDio's leadership of DC in his epic "The Case Against Dan DiDio", where he noted that DiDio has a weird tendency to give himself plum writing assignments instead of actual comic book writers who could presumably use the work (not to mention do a superior job).

I am hopeful this series leads to the collection of the original 1986 DC Challenge, a series I found a couple of random issues of in a back-issue bin and that kinda blew my mind a little. It features a who's who of DC characters (in both the colloquial meaning of that phrase and the "as in Who's Who in the DC Universe" meaning) and creative talent of that era.


NIGHTWING #12
Written by TIM SEELEY
Art and cover by MARCUS TO
...
“BLUDHAVEN” part three! The body count in Bl├╝dhaven continues to rise! Nightwing will have to team up with the Run-Offs to discover who the murderer is and clear the name of the Defacer. But before they can even begin they cross paths with the killer, Orca, and her Whaler Gang.
On sale JANUARY 4 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Holy shit, it's Tom Spurgeon's favorite Batman villain, Orca, The Whale Woman! She got name-dropped in All-Star Batman, but didn't appear on-panel, so I'm glad to see she's going to be appearing in another Bat-book soon.


SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #22
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art by DAVE ALVAREZ
Cover by DARIO BRIZUELA
He might look monstrous, but the robotic Frankenstein Jr. is really a force for justice—at least, usually. But when the towering, super-powered android suddenly goes bad and terrorizes the city, it’s up to Scooby and the gang to figure out why. Yet, even if they solve the mystery, how can they stop the giant robot’s rampage? There’s only one possible chance: with some super-powered help from the Impossibles!
On sale JANUARY 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E


While I'm still in awaiting a Blue Falcon and Dynonutt team-up in this book, I'm glad Fisch is finally getting around to doing some of Hanna-Barbera's super-hero characters. I wonder if Future Quest helped pave the way for this, by reminding DC Comics editors that some of these characters even existed...?



SUPERMAN #14
Written by PETER J. TOMASI and PATRICK GLEASON
Art by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
Cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
...
“MULTIPLICITY” part one! The New Super-Man of China has been taken! The Red Son Superman of Earth-30 has been beaten! And who knows what’s happened to Sunshine Superman! Someone is collecting Supermen across the Multiverse—this looks like a job for our Kal-El as he is joined by Justice Incarnate in this multi-Earth epic!
On sale JANUARY 4 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

SUPERMAN #15
Written by PETER J. TOMASI and PATRICK GLEASON
Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
...
“MULTIPLICITY” part two! Superman and New Super-Man fight alongside an army of Supermen from across the Multiverse against the threat trying to wipe them all out of existence! Plus, Jon and his neighbor Kathy investigate a hidden horror that seems to be growing in their town.
On sale JANUARY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T


Wow, great cover. You know, with just about any other creative team, I'd be a little nervous about someone so clearly referencing a Grant Morrison concept (I mean, it's right there in the title), but in the past few weeks I've seen this team resurrect a character from Garth Ennis and John McCrea's Hitman for a brief appearance and reference a fairly well-known sequence from the late, great Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier and succeed with both, so I imagine they'll be able to get away with this just fine.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Disagreed about Kyle. One of my favorite things about his time as the main GL was the absence of the Corps, so I've never much liked having him be just another Corps member. Also not big on having him in space as opposed to NYC, but separating him from the Corps helps a bit.

Evan Dawson-Baglien said...

I image the main reason they're focusing on Killer Frost is because she's a prominent character on the CW's "Flash" TV show. Or rather, Caitlyn Snow has been a prominent character, she only recently got her ice powers. Her Earth 2 counterpart has also appeared and has both ice powers, and the Killer Frost codename.