Thursday, July 25, 2019

DC's October previews reviewed

It took me a distressingly long time to realize that the covers like the one above are DCeased variant covers, rather than just an image of, say, a particularly battle-damaged Aquaman. The scratches on his face aren't from Ocean Master's trident or some rebellious swordfish, but rather because the zombie infection in DCeased is a Black Racer-infused version of the Anti-Life Equation, which victims try to rip out of their own heads with their bare hands.

Anyway, the result is that if you scroll through DC's solicitations for October, you'll see  image after image of various DC heroes covered in blood--sometimes their own, sometimes someone else's. The above image, for Aquaman #53, is at least mildly creative in that it has droplets of blood underwater, I guess...?

As much as DCeased seems to be a fairly straightforward answer to Marvel's Marvel Zombies comics, one definite difference is that the covers are infinitely less fun. Right out of the gate Marvel hit upon having artist Arthur Suydam put together zombie "cover versions" of various famous Marvel covers, with rotting, undead versions of the heroes, villains and supporting characters reenacting the covers of Uncanny X-Men #1, Amazing Fantasy #15 and so on.

The concept was a good one, and all of the covers tended to have a macabre sense of humor about them. DC stopped short of imitating that aspect of Marvel Zombies though, opting instead of homages to horror movies created or owned by Warner Bros, it seems. I imagine that the fact that the DCeased zombies are actually "zombies" more than the actual undead might also have been a factor.

Of all the DCeased variants I saw, I think James Harren's variant for Hawkman #17 was probably the best of them, as the artist went in a Hawkman-as-a-scary-zombie direction rather than a Hawkman-with-lots-of-blood direction.
Given that October is the month that Halloween is in, though, if DC was going to spend a month cranking out gory variant covers, than October is the month to do it.

That might also explain why The Joker is all over this month's solicits...but, more likely, DC wanted to get plenty of Joker (sometimes with Harley Quinn, sometimes without) content on the shelves should the release of the film in early October spur an unexpected bout of Jokermania.
As for a more direct celebration of Halloween, DC is once again publishing a season-specific one-shot. This $10 80-page giant is called Secrets of Sinister House #1, and will star the usual suspects, from a group of creators that is only half-announced. One of those is Paul Dini, though, and one hopes he will be providing the framing sequences, given that those were probably the best part of the Harley Quinn-hosted Christmas party issue he did for a past holiday special.

What else can we look forward to in October? Let's take a look, shall we...?

written by JOE HILL
art by LEOMACS
backup story art by CREDIT
The rain lashes the grassy dunes of Brody Island, and seagulls scream above the bay. A slender figure in a raincoat carries a large wicker basket, which looks like it might be full of melons…covered by a bloodstained scrap of the American flag.

This is the story of June Branch, a young woman trapped with four cunning criminals who have snatched her boyfriend for deranged reasons of their own. Now she must fight for her life with the help of an impossible 8th-century Viking axe that can pass through a man’s neck in a single swipe—and leave the severed head still conscious and capable of supernatural speech.

Each disembodied head has a malevolent story of its own to tell, and it isn’t long before June finds herself in a desperate struggle to hack through their lies and to save the man she loves before time runs out.
Plus, in the premiere chapter of the backup story “Sea Dogs,” which sails across all the Hill House Comics titles!
ON SALE 10.30.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 6 | 32 PAGES

I'm not really familiar with Joe Hill at all, having never read Locke & Key or any of his prose, so this doesn't seem like too terribly exciting an event to me personally, but, on the other hand, I have seen Hill's books around the library quite a bit, so I imagine he's at least something of a get for DC.

The premise of this book though--hoo boy. It's a lot of premise. It's not necessarily too much or too weird, but it seems like maybe not all of that information needs to be in solicitation, if that makes sense.

Like, when looking at late summer movies last time I was in the theater, all I really needed to know about the movie Crawl, for example, was that it was an alligator horror movie. Like, okay, got it, good; I don't need to know the character's name, the precise set-up, the mode of storytelling and the major themes of the work. What's that you say, this 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a sequel to 47 Meters? Huh. That's weird. Is Mandy Moore in it? No? Are there still sharks in it? Okay yeah, that might be good.

I don't know, this might end up being brilliant, but for now I'm pretty skeptical of it, based solely on the generic horror movie poster image of the cover, Hill's background as a prose writer and the trying-so-hard solicitation. I hope it's good, and not a first draft of a screenplay. I guess we'll see...

written by TOM KING
art and cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and KLAUS JANSON
The bad guys thought they had it made with Bane in control, but with Batman back in Gotham they’ll be reminded what justice feels like…and how it hurts when it hits you in the face. With Catwoman at his side, the Caped Crusader is looking to take down Bane’s army and reclaim his city. But what happens when old allies like Gotham Girl also stand in his way? The legendary art team of John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson join BATMAN for two action-packed issues that will rock Gotham City to its foundation.
ON SALE 10.02.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

Honestly, by far the most exciting thing about this is the words "art and cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and KLAUS JANSON." I've kinda missed seeing Romita's art on the superhero scene of late, and given how great his arc with Scott Snyder on All-Star Batman was, I imagine two issues of him drawing Batman beating people up will be fun. I can't remember the last time King's Batman run seemed genuinely fun to me...

Here's JRJR's cover for Batman #81. I don't know if the Bane-signal is actually part of the story line (based on its dumbness, I assume not) or just an artistic metaphor, but it looks kinda neat here, and I love the over-the-top villain pose Bane is striking. Given the little white lines appearing around his head, I imagine he is probably yelling something, and the lettering isn't ready yet.

Personally, I hope it is "Osoiiiiiiiittoooooooooo!!!"

written by DENNIS O’NEIL
art and cover by JERRY ORDWAY
In time for the 30th anniversary of the blockbuster movie Batman, DC reprints the official comics adaptation in hardcover for the first time. Written by Dennis O’Neil, the dean of Batman writers, with lush artwork by Jerry Ordway, this story faithfully brings to comics the story from the Academy Award-winning 1989 movie! Collects BATMAN: MOVIE SPECIAL #1, plus high-quality scans of each page of original art presented in black and white to accompany the final colored pages.
ON SALE 11.20.19
$19.99 US | 7.0625” x 10.875” | 144 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-77950-050-2

Oh hey, it's my first Batman! I don't recall ever reading this comic--I do recall reading the novelization of the film that summer--but that original Batman film was my initial introduction to Batman as a "grown-up" (a grown-up of, um, 13-years-old), and, through the gateway the movie provided, Batman comics and then DC superhero comics and then super-comics in general.

I imagine it will be quite interesting to revisit that particular version of Batman (Michael Keaton is still my favorite live-action Batman by a mile) so far removed from the film itself, and to read that comic in today's environment, wherein comic book adaptions of movies are all but unheard of.

I don't know if it's necessarily ironic that, in a time when so much of Hollywood's output is adapted from comic book material and seemingly any movie or TV show with any sizable fandom has spin-off comics building a sort of Star Wars-style expanded universe around it, that we no longer see these sorts of direct comic book adaptations of feature films, or if it's just that the historic amounts of crossovers between film IP and comic book IP makes them superfluous.

I actually hadn't stopped to consider how long it's been since I've actually read a comic book adaptation of a movie, or even seen one in the wild. I mean, I've read these...

...but the most recent of those is from 2000, almost 20 years ago. Aside from the multi-issue adaptations of Star Wars movies, does any publisher still do straight adaptations of feature films...? I feel like there has to have been one since that Kelley Jones-drawn adaptation of Tim Burton's Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but I'll be damned if I can think of one.

Ever since 2000's X-Men re-ignited the superhero trend in Hollywood, I can't think of an adaptation of any of the Marvel or DC superhero films, and the comics related to movies I can think of all tend to be prequels, sequels or side-stories of some kind, stories set in the "universe" of particular movies, but not straight adaptations of said movies. Weird.

written by WARREN ELLIS
cover by BRYAN HITCH
The World’s Greatest Detective must try to inhabit the mind of a murder victim to solve a case—without filling the empty grave next to those of his parents. Can Batman imagine the life of a corpse with a half-eaten face without dying himself?

Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, one of the most legendary creative partnerships of the modern age, reunite in this maxiseries about life, death and the questions most are too afraid to ask.
ON SALE 10.09.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 12 | 32 PAGES

Well I have to imagine that this is gonna sell pretty well. Ellis has written relatively little Batman, and the two Batman solo stories he's written that most immediately come to my mind were good but weird, featuring a very particular, very peculiar version of the character.

In terms of dialogue or panels featuring the character, I have to assume Ellis' Batman has appeared more in his various crossover comics or his JLA: Classified arc, "New Maps of Hell" (Warren Ellis on JLA following Joe Kelly is one of those great JLA runs that never happened, up there with Mark Millar's, Kurt Busiek's or Christopher Priest's, all of whom did some JLA issues or JLA-related stories around that time, but, for whatever reason, DC decided to turn the book into an anthology as Kelly's run neared it's end. Something I guess I am now going to discuss on a monthly basis.)

Anyway, it should be interesting to see Ellis spend this much time with the character. Also interesting will be seeing Ellis re-teamed with his old The Authority partner Bryan Hitch (still boggles my mind that DC never published a JLA/Authority crossover back in the day, when the two teams were at the apex of their popularity).

Hitch also has plenty of experience drawing Batman but, again, that experience is mostly of drawing Batman in the context of League comics. I'm not a huge fan of Hitch's style, and don't think he's particularly well-suited to the Batman character and milieu (preferring, as I do, more expressionistic artists who get as weird as possible when drawing such weird characters in such a weird place), but that is pretty good cover image (a better one than the recent Hitch-drawn variants featuring the character I've seen) and Kevin Nowlan is one of the greatest inkers to work in super-comics in my life time, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what Nowlan-over-Hitch on Batman ends up looking like.

card stock variant cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
Black Canary’s life has spiraled out of control: her personal life is going through the ringer and her band is in crisis when an old flame resurfaces only to flicker out and set her on an all-new mission against an all-new opponent. The only thing she can be grateful for is the fact that she’s not alone, as Huntress finds herself on a collision course with Black Canary’s quarry at Detective Montoya’s urging. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn has resurfaced outside of Gotham City and out of the Suicide Squad, with a new lease on life that is sure to make everyone else’s life more complicated. And that’s only the first five pages.

Needless to say, the Birds are back in town! With more pressure and higher stakes than they have ever faced before, brought to you by hard-boiled superstar writer Brian Azzarello and the bombshell art team of Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy.
ON SALE 10.30.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

I don't even know what to say about this comic, except that it seems weird to me that DC is having another go at the franchise so soon after the last cancellation...although given that there's a movie coming out, it does make a certain amount of sense that they would want a Birds of Prey book in shops just in case people come in looking for BOP comics. That would also explain why the comic seems to closely echo the upcoming film, at least in terms of which Gotham City characters are in it.

From what little I've seen so far, the film seems a confused jumble to me, featuring as it does Black Canary, The Huntress, Harley Quinn, Renee Montoya, Cassandra Cain and Black Mask Oracle or Barbara Gordon? Is that right? It's early days in the film's promotion, of course, but it just seems like its makers collected a bunch of random Batman-related stuff no one else was using, including the name "Birds of Prey."

Given that the original Birds of Prey concept was an alliance between Oracle Barbara Gordon and Black Canary, to not have one half of the equation involved at all in a Birds of Prey movie makes the premise seem slightly strained, but then, the New 52-boots rejiggering of Barbara Gordon, the recreation of The Huntress(es) and the jettisoning of all the previous Birds of Prey stories kinda broke the franchise anyway.

I tried the first few issues of the last few efforts, but the most excited I ever got about a post-Flashpoint Birds of Prey comic is when Babs Tarr and the Batgirl writing team of Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher teased a weird new line-up in the pages of their Batgirl, a line-up that didn't actually show up in the "Rebirth"-branded relaunch of the book (you know, the one they most recently cancelled).
Spoiler! Black Canary! Batgirl! Bluebird! And Frankie Charles as Oracle II, and not "Operator"...! This Birds of Prey woulda been so good!
Anyway, that's a good four paragraphs of me saying, "Eh, this doesn't look so good to me"...

written by TOM TAYLOR
cover by MARK BROOKS
Humanity is on the brink of extinction, and only a few remaining members of the Justice League stand between life and annihilation. As the remnants of humanity make their last gamble for survival, will there even be a planet left to call home when all is said and done? The senses-shattering conclusion to the year’s surprise blockbuster is here!
ON SALE 10.30.19
$4.99 US | 6 of 6 | 40 PAGES

Jeez, what's going on with the art on this book? I thought it bizarre the very first issue of a miniseries had two artists on it, but here, by the sixth issue, the number of artists has increased to three artists for a single issue. Weird.

Not that it seems to have mattered much in regards to how well the book has been selling, of course. Which isn't good news, as it just encourages the minimization of the importance of prioritizing good, solid artwork in super-comics from the mainstream publishers.

writtenby DOUG MOENCH
Reprinting the pivotal chapter of “Knightfall” in which Bane breaks the Bat! Solicited to coincide with TALES FROM THE DARK MULTIVERSE: BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL #1 (page 22).
ON SALE 10.16.19
$1.00 US | 32 PAGES | FC

It's been a while, but if I recall the issue correctly, this is basically a full-issue fight scene, which recounts the events of the "Knightfall" story up to that point, and it was a pretty great showcase for the artwork of penciller Jim Aparo, the definitive Batman artist (Plus, a Kelley Jones cover!). As the solicit says, this is being released in conjunction with the Tales From The Dark Multiverse riff on the story line, and it makes me feel both sad and old to think that there are people who will be buying that book who haven't read "Knightfall."

But then, I am sad and old, aren't I...?

Similarly, this month's slate of Dollar Comics reprints will include one for Superman #75, the death of Superman issue in which Doomsday and Superman seemingly "kill" one another in battle (the basis for another "What If...?"-like riff of a one-shot). The other Dollar Comics are reprints of 1975's The Joker #1 (because there's just never enough Joker), Watchmen #1 (I guess because of the TV show...?) and the first Swamp Thing #1, the one by the character's creators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson (that's the only one I can't see a compelling reason for at the moment; I thought the Swamp Thing TV show was already out, and that it was being cancelled after its first season).

art and cover by PHILIP TAN and MARC DEERING
In the Year of the Villain, what’s a Clown Prince of Crime to do when the world has started to accept doing bad as the only way to live? Out-bad everyone else, of course! The Joker is on a mission to get his mojo back and prove to the world that there is no greater villainy than the kind that leaves you laughing.

This special one-shot is co-written by legendary film auteur John Carpenter (The Thing, Halloween) and Anthony Burch (the Borderlands video games), making for a Joker comic that’s twisted in ways you never imagined!
ONE-SHOT | ON SALE 10.09.19
$4.99 US | 40 PAGES

Weird. John Carpenter is a pretty huge, high-profile creator to be attached to a one-shot tie-in to an event series, isn't he? I would expect a John Carpenter co-written Joker comic to be, like, its own thing, than one of the many character-specific Year of The Villain one-shots. (This month there's also a Black Adam one.)

This is the first of three Joker-specific new comics, and, oddly, it's the shortest of them and the one directly tied into the events of the DCU, but it features the biggest name creator.

written by KAMI GARCIA
In Gotham City, where heinous acts of violence are a daily occurrence, the GCPD relies on Harley Quinn, a young forensic psychiatrist and profiler, to consult on their toughest cases. But Harley is haunted by one unsolved case—the night she discovered her roommate’s body marked with the signature of a notorious serial killer known as The Joker.

Five years later, the case remains unsolved and a new series of horrific murders occur throughout the city. As the murders escalate, Harley’s obsession with finding the depraved psychopath responsible leads her down a dangerous path. When the past and the present finally collide, Harley has to decide how far she is willing to go—and how many lines she is willing to cross—to solve these cases once and for all.

Writtenby #1 New York Times and international bestselling author Kami Garcia (co-author of Beautiful Creatures, author of Unbreakable and X-Files: Agents of Chaos) with art by Mico Suayan (Bloodshot: Reborn) and Mike Mayhew (The Star Wars), JOKER/HARLEY: CRIMINAL SANITY introduces readers to a Joker and Harley Quinn unlike any they’ve seen before, utilizing forensic psychiatry, behavior analysis (profiling) and psychological profiles to create a true-to-life take on these iconic characters that is more terrifying than any psychotic fantasy.
$5.99 US | 1 of 9 | 40 PAGES
FC | APPROX. 8.5” x 10.875”

Here's another of this month's Joker projects, noteworthy (perhaps) for also being about Harley Quinn, who is also awfully over-exposed. This one's of interest for its writer, I think. I have never read Garcia's prose, but I was really quite impressed with how good her Teen Titans: Raven original graphic novel (for DC's DC Ink line of books for YA readers which, in what strikes me as a questionable move by the publisher, is abandoning its just-established branding, so that the line's identity is being abandoned, but the projects are apparently moving forward as just plain old DC-branded comics).

I have a review of the Raven book here, but, in general, there's usually reason to be skeptical of writers from other fields moving to comics, in large part because what makes one's writing good in a field like, say, prose or film is often rather different than what makes for good comics writing. But Garcia really sold me on that book and her emerging version of the Teen Titans, and I thought that was shaping up to be infinitely more compelling than the somewhat similar Teen Titans: Earth One original graphic novels by comics people. So I'm fairly confident that she'll be able to write a good story featuring The Joker and Harley Queen, both of whom seem like infinitely easier characters to build stories around than Raven...especially in this sort of project, where it appears to be it's own continuity.

The other noteworthy thing is that this book looks improbably large. A nine-issue miniseries, each issue of which has an over-sized page-count and will cost six bucks? I'm not entirely sure why this isn't an original graphic novel, or two or three ogns, based on that size/price tag.

Regardless, of all the Joker comics being published this month, I think those two factors make this one not only the most noteworthy, but the one with the most potential.

written by JEFF LEMIRE
art and cover by ANDREA SORRENTINO
variant cover by KAARE ANDREWS
Everyone knows The Joker doesn’t have the most promising history with psychotherapists. In fact, no one’s even been able to diagnose him. But that doesn’t matter to the confident, world-beating Dr. Ben Arnell; he’s going to be the one to unravel this unknowable mind. There’s no way The Joker could ever get through the therapeutic walls Ben has built around himself. Right? There’s no way The Joker’s been entering his house at night…right? There’s no way The Joker has stood over his son’s bed, and put that book in his hands, the one with the, the, the…
The Eisner-nominated creative team of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino (GREEN ARROW, Gideon Falls) reunite for a psychological horror story where nothing is as it seems, your eyes can’t be trusted and Mr. Smiles is waiting behind the basement door.
Wait, who’s Mr. Smiles?
$5.99 US | 1 of 3 | 32 PAGES
FC | APPROX. 8.5” x 10.875”

Here's another one, that looks both a lot simpler and a lot shorter than Garcia's project. I'm not much of a fan of Lemire's super-comics writing, which has all struck me as pretty mediocre--perhaps in large part because it's also so well-praised, that whenever I do read a comic of his I find myself struggling to see what other see in it--and I just plain can't read Sorrentino's art. I mean I can, but I find the style personally unappealing that it's hard for me to look at.

written by DAN ABNETT
art and cover by WILL CONRAD
An unknown warrior assembles Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and various heroes to form a new JLO as guardians of the Ghost Sector. Vastly outnumbered against Darkseid’s savage para-angel strikeforce, they’re going to have to fight their way through Darkseid’s new multi-planet realm of Apokolips to take control of Sepulkore or die trying. What choice do they have? The entire universe is depending on them...
ON SALE 10.09.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

I love that the "various heroes" mentioned in the solicit appear only as silhouettes on the cover, apparently to keep a degree of suspense about who these characters are, and yet one of them is quite clearly a flying house cat, of which there is only in the DC Universe. Well, one without a cape...I'm not actually sure of Streaky's current status in the DCU.

Of course, I guess it will be funny if that flying house cat ends up not being Red Lantern Dex-Starr, though...

written by DAN DiDIO
cover by SHANE DAVIS
The Metal Men are back! And back and back and back again, as we take a deep look into Doc Magnus’ lab as he experiments with what it means to be sentient. Meanwhile, a mysterious liquid Nth metal has appeared in the science site at Challengers Mountain that appears to have come through from the Dark Multiverse…
ON SALE 10.16.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 12 | 32 PAGES

Say, what do you know? DC's publisher Dan DiDio has given himself another writing assignment! Yes, the publisher of one of the biggest comics publishing houses in the North American direct market has once again surveyed all of the comics writers and all of the potential comics writers in the entire world and decided that none of them would do as good a job at writing a 12-issue Metal Men comic as well as he could.

I guess something similar happens whenever DiDio's co-pubisher Jim Lee gets an art assignment with the company he oversees, although the major difference there is that Lee remains a hot commodity in the market, and his presence on a book seems to always help move more copies of it in an appreciable way. That is not the case with DiDio.

Although I guess, as a mini-series, it's already pre-cancelled...

Oh hey, so the solicitation for the first issue mentions Nth metal appearing in Doc Magnus' lab. What are the chances of that metal getting a responsometer at some point in the next 11 issues? Probably pretty good, right? (Please read the footnote to my review of Dark Nights: Metal #2 from 2017 for my thoughts on potential Super-Metal Men.)

Includes 30 pages of new stories plus classic reprints!
ON SALE 09.25.19
$4.99 US | FC | 96 PAGES

Reading this solicitation, I was at first struck by the fact that this seems like a not-very-good way to celebrate Scooby-Doo's fiftieth anniversary. Everyone loves Scooby-Doo! It would not be hard at all to get a huge swathe of all of the greatest and most popular writers, artists and cartoonists to contribute Scooby-Doo comics, pin-ups and redesigns to some giant anthology hardcover or miniseries that could so easily be the greatest Scooby-Doo comic book ever. (And why are we doing a month of DCeased variant covers instead of Scooby-Doo variant covers? Jesus, DC!)

Even if those 30 pages of new stories were three 10-page stories from Neil Gaiman and Jim Lee, Akira Toriyama and Raina Telgemeir, that would still seem not ambitious enough, but I imagine that those are not the folks who will be contributing those 30 new pages.

But then I saw all the other Giants DC has listed, and then this made a bit more sense. Like, sure, DC could/should do something gigantic and historic--at least as big as their Action Comics #1,000 and DC Comics #1,000 specials for Scooby's 50th, but this appears to be just one of a line DC is publishing in the month of October. None of the books have cover images yet, nor creators or contents listed, but the page-count, price tag and mix of new material with reprints suggests these are the equivalent of their Walmart-exclusive books.

Also solicited for October are giants featuring Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, DC Super Hero Girls, DC Villains, Swamp Thing, Teen Titans Go!, Wonder Woman and, most interesting to me, "DC Ghosts." (This being the month of Halloween, after all.)

written by GENE LUEN YANG
art and cover by GURIHIRU
variant cover by KYLE BAKER
The year is 1946, and the Lee family has moved from Metropolis’ Chinatown to the center of the bustling city. While Dr. Lee is greeted warmly in his new position at the Metropolis Health Department, his two kids, Roberta and Tommy, are more excited about being closer to their famous hero, Superman!
While Tommy adjusts to the fast pace of the city, Roberta feels out of place, as she tries and fails to fit in with the neighborhood kids. As the Lees try to adjust to their new lives, an evil is stirring in Metropolis: the Ku Klux Klan. When the Lee family awakens one night to find a burning cross on their lawn, they consider leaving town. But the Daily Planet offers a reward for information on the KKK, and their top two reporters, Lois Lane and Clark Kent, dig into the story.
When Tommy is kidnapped by the KKK, Superman leaps into action—with help from Roberta! But Superman is still new to his powers—he hasn’t even worked out how to fly yet, so he has to run across town. Will Superman and Roberta reach Tommy in time?
Inspired by the 1940s Superman radio serial “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints, The Terrifics, New Super-Man) presents his personal retelling of the adventures of the Lee family as they team up with Superman to smash the Klan.
$7.99 US | 1 of 3 | 80 PAGES

This is one I've been looking forward to for a while now. Of the first crop of DC Zoom and DC Ink books announced, this was the one that seemed most promising to me, in large part because it had Gene Luen Yang attached, and original graphic novels for young readers is where he's from. All of the other announced writers were prose authors making their first attempts at comics. (Additionally, DC hasn't quite made the best use out of Yang since he started working with them. His characters and the basic story of New Superman were good, but the artwork was generally sub-par, and guaranteed that the book looked like everything else in DC's superhero line. That is, it didn't look like something from Gene Luen Yang that fans of his other comics should check out.

Then, of course, there was the fact that the Superman vs. the Ku Klux Klan is such an oft-told story in the history of Superman and in comics, but not one most of the people who have read about it have ever been able to experience for themselves. So yeah, a comic book adaptation of that? Sign me up!

And, finally, when they announced the artists attached, it was only the ideal art team for kid-friendly superhero comics, GURIHIRU. (Although I must confess that I am at least curious to see what Yang's Superman would look like, and I do hope he gets to write and draw a Superman comic at some point, even if it's just a 10-page short or a single, 20-page issue somewhere.

All that said, I do find myself somewhat distressed to see that Kyle Baker is going to be drawing a variant cover. Distressed because Baker is so good, and now the idea has been planted in my head to imagine a Kyle Baker-drawn Superman vs. The Klan story... The wisest course of action, fiscally, would be to trade-wait the book, but I am so excited about this, I'm not sure I will be able to.

There is one curious thing about this solicit. The book was originally announced as part of DC's Zoom line, which is targeted towards middle school readers. But here it is labeled "RATED T+," which means the publisher suggests it for readers 15 and older. I can't imagine they decided to re-rate it for an older audience as the project progressed, so perhaps it was just a mistake. Given the fact that the vas majority of their superhero output is rated T+, maybe it was simple force of habit to include that in the Superman Smashes The Klan solicitation...

written by FRANK MILLER
It’s the jaw-dropping conclusion to Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.’s blockbuster reimagining of Superman’s origin! In this final chapter, Clark Kent arrives in Metropolis, the city where he will fulfill his heroic destiny. Witness the first meeting between Superman and Lois Lane, the beginnings of Clark Kent’s career at the Daily Planet, and the birth of his rivalry with Lex Luthor. But when The Joker arrives on the scene, the Man of Steel must enlist the help of his two strange new friends: Wonder Woman and Batman!
ON SALE 10.16.19
$7.99 US | 3 of 3 | 64 PAGES
FC | APPROX. 8.5“ x 10.875” | RATED T+

When this was first announced, I wasn't sure if this was meant to be the new "real" origin of Superman, ala the Miller-scripted "Batman: Year One" or its own, discrete thing, but the presence of that Wonder Woman design on the cover suggests that not only is this not a new official, canonical Superman origin, but it looks like it will be set in Miller's Dark Knight-iverse.

The collection of the entire series is also solicited this month.

cover by LEE WEEKS
Don’t miss this twisted tale from the pages of the game-changing event “Batman: Knightfall”! Thirty years after Bruce Wayne was broken and failed to take back the mantle of the Bat, Jean-Paul Valley, now known as Saint Batman, has turned Gotham into the city of his dreams. In his new order, killing has become commonplace and criminals live in constant fear—all in the name of justice. But just when all seems lost, a new hope for Gotham City rises…the son of Bane!
ON SALE 10.16.19
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES

DC flirted with similar branding at one point, releasing a collection of Doug Moench, Kelley Jones and company's trilogy of Batman-as-a-vampire comics as Tales of The Multiverse: Batman: Vampire, but apparently it never caught on. Maybe all it was missing was the word "dark"...? (Yeah, I know, the "Dark Multiverse" is actually a thing, introduced in Dark Nights: Metal, and all the comics set there sold pretty well so sure, why not combine that concept with some of DC's all-time best-selling events like the Knightfall saga and the Death of Superman?).

I'd be pretty skeptical of this were it not for the presence of Scott Snyder, who came up with the Dark Multiverse concept and has also proven to be a pretty great Batman writer...certainly the best attached to the character on a regular basis since, I don't know, maybe Grant Morrison...? I also like the term "Saint Batman," which makes a degree of sense in the context of the Jean-Paul Valley story, but also just kinda sounds cool to my Catholic comic book reader sensibilities.

written by JEFF LOVENESS
cover by LEE WEEKS
The Dark Multiverse takes on the highest-selling comic book event of all time—the Death of Superman! In a broken world much like our own, Lois Lane, twisted by rage and grief, becomes the Eradicator and takes revenge on those who let Superman die, and the corrupt world he could never defeat. Now, with the power of a god, she’s going to end the battle by any means necessary…and the Reign of the Supermen will be over before it begins!
ON SALE 10.30.19
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES

While I'm not completely sold on this concept of "Elseworlds...but darker!", I am interested in DC continuing to publish comics that might compel Mike Sterling, the Internet's #1 talker-about "The Death of Superman" event, to generate more "Death of Superman" content on his (Speaking of which, this month's solicits also include a reprint of Superman #75, in which said death occurred, and a print collection of a Louise Simonson-written digital series set during that time entitled The Death of Superman: The Wake).

This was the period in which I first started reading Superman comics, and I have a lot of affection for the work of creators from that period as well as the "Reign of The Supermen" versions of Superboy and Steel (who was then still "The Man of Steel" for a bit). If this story includes those two, I'll be a lot more likely to pick it up.


Joan said...

I don't really keep track of comic adaptations of movies, but I know that the new Star Wars movies have all had them (with the possible exception of Solo? Not sure there). Two versions each, actually- straight adaptations from Marvel, and more all-ages styled ones from IDW.

J. Bencomo said...

I know Marvel released a comics adaptation of Captain America The First Avenger (written by Peter David IIRC), and the 'Spider-Man Far from Home Movie Prequel' is actually a comics adaptation of Spider-Man Homecoming for some reason.

The Skoot said...

I could be wrong, but I believe the reason we don't really see comic (or novel) adaptations of films anymore is the rise of home media. Before a book was really the only way you could own a version of a film, but since VHS and DVD rose in prominence adaptations have become kinda redundant.