Wednesday, March 22, 2017

DC's June previews reviewed

Remember a while back, when DC did a month's worth of variant covers depicting their superheroes interacting with Looney Tunes characters? Some of those covers were awesome, some were terrible, but one thought I had repeatedly while looking at them was that I wished the contents of the comics, rather than just the covers, featured crossovers, which, awesome or terrible (or even just good or bad, or mediocre) would have at least been interesting (My other thought was to remember the old Superman/Bugs Bunny crossover comic, with I read the first three-fourths of without finishing).

Well, guess what? Now DC is doing actual Looney Tunes crossovers (and collecting that Superman/Bugs Bunny crossover!) and, oh boy, do they look weird! There is precious little to go on here, just titles, cover images and a sentence or two of solicitation text, but based on that precious little, these seem to be at least partially inspired by the publisher's Hanna-Barbereboot, and the upcoming DC/HB crossover books they have on deck, as the various Looney Tunes characters all seem designed in the direction of the DC characters, rather than vice versa (or meeting in the middle, or staying true to their own designs and making the design clash a feature, as in the Superman/Bugs Bunny crossover).

The particular characters chosen are kind of unusual too, as you'll see in a moment, with relatively popular Looney Tunes characters like Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Sylvester and Tweety MIA, and a few relatively obscure DC heroes incapable of carrying their own books anymore, like Jonah Hex and The Legion of Super-Heroes (and maybe Lobo) present, instead of, I don't know, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern or The Flash (I guess they already did The Flash-races-Speedy Gonzales and The Road Runner gag though).

I see the books will all be rated "T for Teen," which is in keeping with most DC super-comics, but which seems unusual for a comic featuring Looney Tunes characters; another suggestion that the books owe more to Suicide Squad/The Banana Splits and Scooby Apocalypse than to Scooby-Doo Team-Up).

Finally, each of the solicits ends with mention of "a Looney Tunes backup story" that "features DC characters," whatever that will mean.

The creators of the lead stories mostly seem to be whoever DC had laying around, like, maybe the editors just looked at their inboxes and doled out assignments to every fifth name or so, and there's only one that I am genuinely super-excited about based on the characters, the story suggested by their pairing and the creators, but, to be honest, I can't wait to see all of them as, if nothing else, they should prove to be really, really weird, maybe about as weird as the Big Two can get outside of The Flintstones reboot or having Tom Scioli do the Justice League in Cave Carson back-ups....

Anyway, let's start this month's look at DC's solicitations for comics to be published three months hence with the Looney Tunes crossovers, and then go from there...


BATMAN/ELMER FUDD SPECIAL #1
Written by TOM KING • Art and cover by LEE WEEKS • Backup story art by BYRON VAUGHNS
...
After a chance meeting with billionaire Bruce Wayne, Elmer Fudd’s obsession quickly escalates into stalking Batman through the dark alleys and high-class social settings of Gotham City. Welcome to Bat Season! And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters written by Tom King and artwork by Byron Vaughns.
On sale JUNE 28 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T


I don't even know. Weeks' cover is stylized enough that we don't get to see either of the characters beyond vague suggestions of how they might look, but that fact alone lets us know this will apparently be much more of a Batman comic than an Elmer Fudd one. Fudd, by the way, is one of the oddest choices here, as he's not exactly a top-tier Tune, but rather an antagonist to the likes of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Which I guess puts Batman in the Bugs Bunny role? See what I mean? These are weird. Notably, King is the regular writer of Batman, so who knows, perhaps this will be a canonical encounter.


JONAH HEX/YOSEMITE SAM SPECIAL #1
Written by JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art and cover by MARK TEXEIRA
Backup story written by BILL MATHENY
Backup story art by DAVE ALVAREZ
...
When miner Yosemite Sam strikes it rich, word gets out as everyone comes gunning for his wealth! To protect himself and his new riches, he hires bounty hunter Jonah Hex-—but the man protecting him may be his worst nightmare! And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters written by Bill Matheny and artwork by Dave Alvarez.
On sale JUNE 28 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T


This one is unusual in that neither character is a particularly popular one--Sam is about at Fudd's level, while Hex's books have generally sold at cancellation level since DC kept publishing Palmiotti and/or Justin Gray-written Hex comics. It's also unusual in just how compatible the characters are, both coming from a similar milieu...and both boasting similar fashion sense.

I'm curious who the giant bird is. His size makes me think Foghorn Leghorn, but I suppose he could also be a radically redesigned Beaky Buzzard.


LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES/BUGS BUNNY SPECIAL #1
Written by SAM HUMPHRIES
Art by TOM GRUMMETT and SCOTT HANNA
Cover by TOM GRUMMETT and KARL KESEL
Backup story written by JUAN ORTIZ
Backup story art by JUAN ORTIZ
...
The Legion of Super-Heroes always thought they had taken their inspiration from the 21st Century’s Superboy. But when they try to bring that hero into their future time, the team discovers to their surprise the caped champion isn’t who—or even what—they expected! And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters with story and art by Juan Ortiz!
On sale JUNE 14 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T


Bugs looks really fucking weird here, although I like the idea that it wasn't really Superboy/Superman who inspired the Legion, but Super-Rabbit. Reality warps details as real people become legends, particularly when time is measured by centuries; is it really so hard to imagine that a Super-Rabbit could become a super-human over a millennium...?

I really hate the Super-Rabbit redesign, though!


LOBO/ROAD RUNNER SPECIAL #1
Written by BILL MORRISON
Art and cover by KELLEY JONES
Backup story art by BILL MORRISON
...
Wile E. Coyote travels to the far reaches of space to hire Lobo to hunt down and kill his greatest nemesis of all time, the Road Runner. And when the Coyote and Lobo are
after him, the Road Runner knows if they catch him—he’s through. And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters with story and art by Bill Morrison!
On sale JUNE 21 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T


This is the one I'm most looking forward, to. As you probably guessed. Not only do I love Kelley Jones' work, but the story suggests itself from the mere juxtaposition of the characters' names, and Bill Morrison is one of the back-up artists' whose name I recognize immediately. Lobo, like other bounty-hunter and assassin types, fits easily into the antagonist role of the basic Looney Tunes formula generally occupied by hunters and predators, and Jones' stylized art ought to look every bit as weird as applied to Lobo as it would the cartoon characters.


MARTIAN MANHUNTER/ MARVIN THE MARTIAN SPECIAL #1
Written by STEVE ORLANDO and FRANK BARBERE
Art by AARON LOPRESTI and JEROME K. MOORE
Cover by AARON LOPRESTI
Backup story written by JIM FANNING
Backup story art by JOHN LOTER
...
Martian Manhunter tries to halt Marvin the Martian’s determination for world domination. J’onn is conflicted with his own Martian identity as he attempts to stop the hapless, determined Marvin from blowing Earth to bits in order to gain a clear view of Venus. And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters written by Jim Fanning with art by John Loter!
On sale JUNE 14 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T


Yeah, that one looks about perfect, doesn't it? Not crazy about J'onn's dumb-ass costume there, but I suppose he's worn worse.


WONDER WOMAN/TASMANIAN DEVIL SPECIAL #1
Written by TONY BEDARD
Art by BARRY KITSON
Backup story art by BEN CALDWELL
Cover by JIM LEE
...
Not since the twelve labors of Hercules has a Greek warrior faced as great a danger and as destructive a peril as the Tasmanian Devil! And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters with story by Tony Bedard and art by Ben Caldwell!
On sale JUNE 21 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T


Yikes. That particular image comes courtesy of Jim Lee, who was also responsible for the Scooby Apocalypse redesigns, which were terrible. Unlike some of the others, this one doesn't really suggest a storyline, so it will be interesting to see what Bedard comes up with. Personally, I would like it to include a lengthy scene in which the DC superhero named Tasmanian Devil confronts Taz and complains about how his entire career he has had to put up with stupid questions about why he doesn't spin around like a tornado and so on.

That, or a Captain Boomerang appearance.


BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER VOL. 1 HC
Written by MIKE W. BARR, JO DUFFY, JOHN WAGNER, ALAN GRANT and JIM STARLIN
Art by ALAN DAVIS, TODD McFARLANE, NORM BREYFOGLE, JIM BAIKIE, JIM APARO and others • Cover by MIKE MIGNOLA
In these stories that immediately followed BATMAN: YEAR ONE, the Caped Crusader learns what kind of compromises he must make to be the hero that Gotham City truly needs. As he battles against the deadly Reaper, the city’s first vigilante hero, Batman must work with the man who murdered his parents and a cadre of mob bosses to protect Gotham City. Collects DETECTIVE COMICS #575-584 and BATMAN #413-420.
On sale JULY 5 • 440 pg, FC, $49.99 US


Huh. This is an interesting collection. Detective Comics #575-578 are "Batman: Year Two," the Todd McFarlane-penciled sequel to "Batman: Year One" that used to be a big enough deal to deserve a trade of its own, but is now just sandwiched in with a bunch of other business and, in fact, its not even McFarlane who gets the cover, but Mike Mignola, who drew that cover for 'Tec #584. As for the rest of those issues from Detective, Norm Breyfogle drew #579 (featuring The Crime Doctor), Jim Baikie drew a Two-Face story in #580 and #581 and then there are three more issues penciled by Breyfogle.

Over in Batman, you've got Aparo-drawn comics mostly written by Starlin, the climax of which comes in the form of the four-part "Ten Nights of The Beast" story arc, introducing the KGBeast.

If you had $50 to spend and the patience to look for them, I'm fairly confident that you could find all of these comics and still have a decent chunk of that $50 in your pocket, but there are certainly worse ways to spend your money than on 400+ pages of classic late 1980s Batman comics from some of the very best Batman artists of all time.


Holy shit. That is some cover.


BUG!: THE ADVENTURES OF FORAGER #2
Written by LEE ALLRED
Art and cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
Backup story written by and art by JAMES HARVEY
...
Bug’s tumble through dimensions ends up taking him back in time, to the start of General Electric’s mad scheme. In the remote Himalayas, the mad scientist leads his robot army in search of a precious magical metal. Sandman, Sandy, Blue Beetle and the Losers are already out in the snow looking to stop him, but only Bug knows that the fate of the multiverse hangs in the balance. Plus, we begin a new backup feature by James Harvey (Masterplasty, We Are Robin).
On sale JUNE 7 • 32 pg, FC, 2 of 6 • $3.99 US • MATURE READERS


Team Allred doing Kirby? That sounds exciting enough but man, check out the other obscure heroes appearing in this issue: The original Sandman (during his post-gas mask phase), the original Blue Beetle and The Losers? I imagine this is going to be either continuity-lite or set in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, but I'm not entirely certain. The other Young Animal books all seem to fit loosely into the pre-Flashpoint DCU, and Mother Panic seems to fit into DCU continuity before or after Flashpoint, but I honestly haven't thought too deeply about it. Cave Carson is the only one I've stuck with, and I'm actually an issue behind on that.

Speaking of which...


CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #9
Written by JON RIVERA
Art and cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMING
Backup story written by MARK RUSSELL
Backup story art by BRANDON BIRD
...
Team Carson continues in hot pursuit of Cave’s cybernetic eye, which has its sights set on the emotionally draining and life-sucking Whisperer and its cult. But just where are they going? Or better yet, when?
On sale JUNE 21 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US• MATURE READERS


Hey, back up by Brandon Bird...? Where's Tom Scioli's Super Powers feature? It can't possibly be over already, can it? Is it taking a month off? Did DC decide to move it to an original graphic novel or something? I need to know, as I've been reading CCHaCE mainly for the back-up.


DARK DAYS: THE FORGE #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER and JAMES TYNION IV • Art by JIM LEE, ANDY KUBERT, JOHN ROMITA JR. and others
Cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
...
DARKNESS COMES TO THE DC UNIVERSE WITH THE MYSTERY OF THE FORGE! Aquaman, The Flash and more of DC’s pantheon of heroes suspect Batman of hiding a dark secret that could threaten the very existence of the multiverse! It’s an epic that will span generations—but how does it connect to the origins of one of DC’s most legendary heroes?
The great comics event of summer 2017 is about to begin courtesy of superstar writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV and illustrated by a master class of comics artists: Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr.! You do not want to miss this one!
ONE-SHOT • On sale JUNE 14 • 40 pg, FC, card-stock covers, $4.99 US • RATED T


Oh good, finally DC is going to do a dark comic book featuring their characters.

I think the creators have done some press on this, or DC has issued some press releases, but all I've seen about it is what you see above. I like all the creators, and it's interesting that DC is enlisting creators who are both popular and talented instead of just having Geoff Johns and Jim Lee or whoever do it (not that those guys aren't talented, but I don't think Johns has ever written anything as good as some of Snyder's better work, for example).

I can't guess from what is above whether or not this is the Watchmen vs. The DCU event that DC has been teasing for so long now (there's a hard tease in this week's super-confusified conclusion to "Superman Reborn," by the way). Part of me hopes that it is not; as much as I'd like DC to rip that bandage off and just get on with it, part of me also thinks Geoff Johns needs to put his name on that eventual travesty. We'll see.

As for the identity of "one of DC's most legendary heroes"...? Fingers crossed for Crimson Avenger...!


DC/LOONEY TUNES 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR #1
Written by MARK EVANIER
Art by JOE STATON, MIKE DeCARLO and TOM PALMER
Cover by STEVE RUDE
The miniseries from 2000 that first united the best-known heroes from two very different universes is back in a single issue collection featuring SUPERMAN/BUGS BUNNY #1-4! All the Looney Tunes are making their way into the DC Universe thanks to Mr. Mxyzptlk and the Do-Do—and only Superman stands a chance of keeping the universes apart…with the help of a certain wascally wabbit!
On sale JUNE 7 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US


Hooray! This is the trade I was hoping to eventually get, although I guess this will be in the trade-with-ads format that previous "100-Page Super Spectacular" collections have been in. I recall it being pretty insane, and not as bad as one might think; the presence of Mr. Mxyzptlk helped, as his presence excuses pretty much anything, no matter how weird, in a Superman-related narrative. Despite the title it was originally published under, this is really much more of a Looney Tunes/Justice League crossover, and, if I recall correctly, it will have some particular legacy characters that will date it to the year of its release, like having Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and Green Arrow Conner Hawke present (Wally West is, of course, The Flash in this, but as he and Barry Allen look so similar, I doubt that will be an issue for anyone).


ELSEWORLDS: JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL. 2 TP
Written by RANDY L’OFFICIER, JEAN-MARC L’OFFICIER, DOUG MOENCH and others
Art by TED McKEEVER, DAVE ROSS, GEORGE FREEMAN and others
Cover by TY TEMPLETON
These alternate histories of the Justice League are collected for the first time! Includes JLA: ACT OF GOD #1-3, SUPERMAN: METROPOLIS #1, BATMAN: NOSFERATU #1 and WONDER WOMAN: BLUE AMAZON #1, plus ELSEWORLDS 80-PAGE GIANT #1!
On sale JULY 19 • 424 pg, FC, $34.99 US


Based on this cover, I don't think I read that particular 80-Page Giant (I loved and miss those, by the way, but I suppose they are no longer economically feasible to do). The Trinity-specific one-shots are all excellent, if you're wondering. This is a pretty good $35 investment in solid DC Elseworlds comics, I believe (I'm still only about half-way through the first Elseworlds: Justice League collection.


THE FLINTSTONES #12
Written by MARK RUSSELL
Art by STEVE PUGH
Cover by RICK LEONARDI and SCOTT HANNA
...
You are now leaving Bedrock! The Great Gazoo is on his way home to the stars, while Fred and company leave the Church of Gerald, and Mr. Slate leaves behind being a jerk— at least for a little while. Say good-bye to Pebbles, Bowling Ball, Philip the turtle, Fred and Barney, and the whole cast in this final issue of what critics are calling the best comic of 2016!
On sale JUNE 7 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE


On the one hand, I'm shocked this lasted 12 issues, given how insanely weird this comic was. On the other hand, I'm kinda surprised that this and Future Quest--i.e. the "good" Hanna-Barbereboot books--have been canceled, but Scooby Apocalypse is still going on (The fourth of the mini-line, Wacky Raceland, was both the worst and the first of them to be canceled).

Hey, some new iteration of The Terrible Trio will be appearing in Gotham Academy: Second Semester in June--Hey, wait a minute! That's a crow, not a vulture! What is going on here...?


GOTHAM ACADEMY: SECOND SEMESTER VOL. 1 TP
Written by BRENDEN FLETCHER, KARL KERSCHL and BECKY CLOONAN
Art by ADAM ARCHER, SANDRA HOPE and MSASSYK
Cover by KARL KERSCHL
With a new semester under way, Olive and the rest of the Detective Club have a new mystery: the Book of Gotham! The club must find out why this book is so important as Olive faces her destiny! Collects GOTHAM ACADEMY: SECOND SEMESTER #1-3, #5-8.
On sale JULY 19 • 160 pg, FC, $16.99


Check out that title. It strikes me as unfortunate that a book that is as bookstore and library-friendly as Gotham Academy is going to have a confusing numbering of volumes due to the "Rebirth" reboot and accompanying title change--from just Gotham Academy to Gotham Academy: Second Semester, but I guess DC was more-or-less forced into it by the decision to reboot and re-title. Although I guess they could have just collected Second Semester under Gotham Academy in trade, right?


I'm switching to trade on this due to the price increase, but I just wanted to use this opportunity to recommend Super Sons. Those are two great characters, and that book has been pretty good so far. I do love this title; I wonder if I will ever get to the point where Batman's robot dinosaur doesn't amuse and delight me whenever I see it...?


SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #27
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art and cover by DARIO BRIZUELA
A fortune-teller has predicted doom for Plastic Man’s sidekick, Woozy Winks! Plas needs the Scooby gang to find out if the fortune-teller’s curse is a scam. But if the curse isn’t real, who’s behind the series of accidents that might guarantee that it comes true?
On sale JUNE 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E


I'm actually slightly shocked that it has taken this long for Plastic Man to appear in the pages of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, especially when one considers that Plas had his own cartoon show, even it was a Ruby-Spears rather than Hanna-Barbera production. This will actually be the first Plastic Man comic of any kind DC has produced in quite a while now; in fact, the only ones that they've published since Flashpoint that I can think of right now are that one Injustice annual and then the two-issue Convergence-related mini-series, Plastic Man and The Freedom Fighters. I know Geoff Johns introduced an Eel O'Brien who gets shot full of holes and goes all melt-y during Forever Evil, and it sure seemed like a New 52 Plastic Man was on the horizon, but if he or anyone else at DC were planning on going anywhere with that, plans apparently changed at some point.


WONDER WOMAN #25
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art by LIAM SHARP and BILQUIS EVELY • Cover by LIAM SHAR
...
Writer Greg Rucka weaves together the threads of “The Lies,” “Year One,” “The Truth,” and “Godwatch”—every story in WONDER WOMAN since the start of the DC Universe Rebirth era—in this extra-sized anniversary issue!
On sale JUNE 28 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • Each RATED T


If that's accurate, that should be quite a feat of writing, as that is a lot of different threads.

3 comments:

John Q said...

"I'm curious who the giant bird is. His size makes me think Foghorn Leghorn, but I suppose he could also be a radically redesigned Beaky Buzzard."

My initial thought was that it's Foghorn Leghorn mashed up with Rooster Cogburn from TRUE GRIT.

Daniel Von Egidy said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention Deathstroke becoming a 3.99 monthly. I'm dropping it at the end of the current story before The Lazarus Contract I think. I've already been priced out of Titans and now it looks like the whole Titans line now.

Caleb said...

Daniel,

I probably would have had I even noticed. Yeah, that will get me to drop the book and switch to reading trades from the library. That sucks; Deathstroke has been so good since the relaunch.