Monday, May 21, 2007

DC's August previews reviewed

DC has released their solicitation info for comics being released in August, which means it's time for the monthly EDILW activity of passing summary judgement on comics that we won't even be able to read for months yet based solely on the covers, the creators and a paragraph or two of solicitation copy. So click on over to's listings and follow along!

Yikes! Not only are Countdown’s covers not up to 52’s standards, but the covers in a few months won’t be up to the current Countdown standards. It may be a little early to write the whole thing off yet, but based on what I’ve seen (the first two issues) and what they’ve teased (everything through August), it sure seems like DC coulda waited to better plan this thing out. At this point, I can’t see a third weekly comic from the company. 52 built the machine and groomed the audience; Countdown may not wreck the machine, but it sure is wrecking continuity, and is definitely driving the audience away.

ACTION COMICS #853-854 Written by Kurt Busiek. Art and cover by Brad Walker & John Livesay. The Countdown tie-in trilogy continues with the Kryptonite Man on the loose, Mr. Action on the prowl and Superman on the ropes! Plus, a certain long-lost superdog returns…but what does fate hold for Jimmy Olsen? And in ACTION COMICS #854, it’s a desperate battle for Superman, a turning point for Jimmy Olsen, and a deadly radioactive threat for Metropolis! Will Mr. Action live or die? And what will the future hold for Krypto? Plus: giant monkey!

Actually, that’s a giant ape, not a giant monkey.

That aside, this is one hell of an exciting preview paragraph, and that image…! This is exactly why I don’t much care if the Donner/Johns/Kubert team ever actually gets their shit together long enough to a deliver one whole story arc. Busiek is on fire on the Super-books.

ACTION COMICS #855 Written by Geoff Johns & Richard Donner. Art and cover by Eric Powell. The dynamic writing team of Geoff Johns & Richard Donner joins artist extraordinaire Eric Powell (The Goon) for “Escape from Bizarro World,” a 3-part story that will thrill and horrify! Last seen in ACTION COMICS #845, Bizarro returns to kidnap one of the most important people in Superman's life. But what does the twisted, ersatz Man of Steel want? The only way to find out is to travel to the enemy's home: Bizarro World!

Oh, here’s Johns and Donner, forging ahead as if there wasn’t an unfinished story arc just sort of hanging there. Huh. Well, whatever; this sounds like a lot of fun…I do hope Bizarro’s more funny-Bizarro than scary-Bizarro. It sure is awesome to see the artist of a comic book called Satan’s Sodomy Baby working on Superman, isn’t it?

THE ALL-NEW ATOM #14 Written by Gail Simone. Art by Mike Norton & Trevor Scott. Cover by Ladrönn. Part 3 of "The Hunt for Ray Palmer,” tying into COUNTDOWN! Ryan Choi, Donna Troy, Jason Todd and Bob the Monitor continue to search the Nanoverse for Ray Palmer — and the travelers find themselves in what some might call…Heaven.

Uh-oh. I’d dropped this title because despite liking Ryan Choi and Simone’s plots and dialogue okay, the way she write it drives me nuts, and no art team seems to be able to stick around for more than three consecutive issues. I was planning on returning for this storyline, but maybe not—nothing says “Please don’t buy this” quite like the words “Jason Todd” in the solicitation.

ALL-NEW BOOSTER GOLD #1 Written by Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz. Art and cover by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund. Exploding from the pages of52 and exploring the timeline of the DC Universe comes a new monthly book featuring the greatest super-hero history will never know: Booster Gold! Following the universe altering conclusion of 52, Booster Gold wants what’s due to him — a spot on the Justice League of America! But the time stream’s in trouble, and Booster Gold is in the center of it! Now he must make a choice: reclaim his former glory or do the right thing, forgoing the credit. ALL-NEW Booster Gold will take you through time and space, to the greatest moments of the DCU that have happened and will happen. “52 Pick-Up” begins in this extra-sized issue #1! Someone is exploiting the ravaged time stream, hoping to eliminate the world’s greatest heroes — and only Booster Gold can stop them. But, really — Booster Gold? Why him? What does Rip Hunter truly want? And what shocking figure is behind it all? And coming up in the months ahead in DC’s time spanning monthly: the world’s greatest Green Lantern — Sinestro, Jonah Hex, Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon, Flash and Kid Flash, and plenty more of DC’s super stars from throughout its past and future!

This looks like a ton of fun, and I’m totally on board for it, but what’s with the addition of All-New to the title there? Are they worried someone might mistake it for the previous Booster Gold series? You know, the one that was cancelled nineteen years ago? Or are they hoping to brand it like the dismal-selling All-New Atom?

More Kevin Maguire, please.

Hey, check it out! Doug Mahnke’s drawings of corpses have more life and personality in them than Michael Turner’s drawings of live women do!

Not sure if I’ll be able to follow the adventures of a protagonist who is now Hitler times six, but I like the creators, so I’ll try my hardest.

BATMAN/LOBO: DEADLY SERIOUS #1Written by Sam Kieth. Art and cover by Kieth. Get ready for an action-packed 2-part tale teaming up the Dark Knight with the interstellar madman, as only Sam Kieth can deliver! Batman, transported to an alien vessel by a mysterious figure, is asked to help cure a plague that has infected its inhabitants. Lobo, who has also been shanghaied, finds himself in the same boat. Now, Batman and Lobo, two incredibly unlikely companions, must somehow find a way to work together — and find out the real reason for their abductions — before they kill each other!

I sure hope this is better than this Batman/Lobo book was

Or this recent Sam Kieth book co-starring Batman

Or this recent Sam Kieth book co-starring Batman

In general, anything by Kieth is at least worth a looksee, so count me down for the first issue at least.

Written by Brian Azzarello
Art and cover by Cliff Chiang
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang join forces to tell the adventures of Dr. Terrence Thirteen, a parapsychologist who disproves reports of supernatural activity. In this story collected from
TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #1-8, Dr. Thirteen rounds up a group of the world’s magical beings to prevent strange forces from tearing asunder the very fabric of the past, present, and future!

I’ve really been looking forward to this, and am glad DC’s decided to put it into a trade all by itself, without any Eric Battle art or goateed Spectre getting in the way of a Genius Jones story.

GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY: FOR BETTER OR WORSE TP Written by Dennis O’Neil, Alan Moore, Brad Meltzer and others. Art by Dick Giordano, Klaus Janson, Mike Grell and others. Cover by Alex Ross. Collecting stories from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #75, ACTION COMICS #428, #434, THE JOKER #4, GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW #94-95, DETECTIVE COMICS #549-550, GREEN ARROW: LONGBOW HUNTERS# 1, GREEN ARROW (VOL.1) #75, #101, GREEN ARROW(VOL.2)# 4-5, #12, #21 and BIRDS OF PREY #88!

Huh. That’s a very interesting collection right there, pulling stories from all over, even chapters of stories out of other stories which are already available in trade. I’ll likely pass, as I’ve already read and have all of these—except the one from the Joker’s short-lived series—but this seems like a pretty nice sampler for Green Arrow stories.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #12 Written by Brad Meltzer. Art by Ed Benes, Sandra Hope and Eric Wight. Standard covers by Alex Ross. Variant cover by Michael Turner. Brad's Meltzer's fantastic run on the JLA concludes with a shocking cliffhanger! “Monitor Duty" is an amazing day in the lives of the world's greatest heroes, as only the League’s artist Ed Benes could envision! Retailers: This issue will feature three covers. Standard Edition Cover A and B are by Alex Ross and will ship in approximately 50/50 ratio. One copy of the Variant Edition, with a cover by Michael Turner, may be ordered for every 10 copies of the Standard Editions ordered.

Wow, that was fast. We knew going in that Meltzer’s run on this title was going to be a comically short one, but it sure seems to have flown by, doesn’t it? Once it’s finally wrapped, I predict “Tornado’s Path” is going to seem even more turgid. Check it out: Not only did the professional novelist only contribute four stories (one co-written by Geoff Johns) during his entire run, but the one about the re-founding of the team comprised two-thirds of his run.


And I know I seem to spend an awful lot of energy on EDILW being negative about Meltzer’s JLoA but, it’s so hard to resist when even the solicitations include lines like this: “Brad's Meltzer's fantastic run on the JLA concludes with a shocking cliffhanger!”

His run concludes with a cliffhanger? What?!

I am pretty excited about next month’s previews of September now, as they’ll have to name Metlzer’s successor by then. I don’t suppose there’s much hope that it’s anyone other than Geoff Johns at this point, is there? I’ve just about given up on the title ever being as great as it was during Grant Morrison or Giffen and DeMatteis’ runs in the near future, so I guess I can settle for a good run from Johns, likely keeping the title warm until Meltzer deigns to return.

On the other hand, I wouldn't mind Kurt Busiek getting another chance, after his run was aborted after a single story arc to make way for the Infinite Crisis business. Busiek's story "Syndicate Rules" wasn't great, but it at least had a tone of Justice Leaguers, including the then-current team (Big Seven plus Plas plus the "Justice League Elite"), old teammembers (Green Arrow, Hawkman, Black Canary, Power Girl,etc) and people who just plain belong there (Captain Marvel).

DETECTIVE COMICS #835Written by John Rozum. Art by Tom Mandrake. Cover by Simone Bianchi. Part 1 of a 2-part story written by John Rozum (MIDNIGHT, MASS)! Dr. Jonathan Crane has discovered that being confined in Arkham simply means a captive audience for his experiments in fear. Now, more powerful than ever, he easily escapes from the Asylum and spreads his reign of terror throughout Gotham as the Scarecrow. With the entire city spooked and the Scarecrow committing seemingly random crimes, can Batman stop him before the game turns even more deadly?

I love the Scarecrow. I love Tom Mandrake. (Well, his art). I’ve been trying my best to avoid the Dini-less TECs, but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist this one. I do hope that Superboy-Prime punch Judd Winick’s dumb-ass were-scarecrow business right into Mr. Mind’s mouth.

OUTSIDERS: FIVE OF A KIND — WEEK 1: NIGHTWING/BOOMERANG Written by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir. Art and cover by Freddie Williams II. Get ready for FIVE OF A KIND — five issues, five top creative teams, one team-up per week, as Batman takes control of the Outsiders by using these adventures to pick his new lineup! In WEEK 1: nightwing/boomerang, Batman’s first vote is cast! The two Outsiders with just one thing in common — a troubled relationship to the Dark Knight — must reconcile their differences to go up against Chemo!

OUTSIDERS: FIVE OF A KIND — WEEK 2: KATANA/SHAZAM Written by Mike W. Barr. Art by Kevin Sharpe & Robin Riggs. Cover by Cliff Chiang. Batman’s Week 2 vote! The souls of long-dead criminals roam the earth, forcing Tatsu Yamashiro to risk her own life by entering the realm to which she condemned them with her Soulsword! She’ll need the help of the DCU’s most powerful magical guardian — but can the power of Shazam prevail while confined to the Rock of Eternity?

OUTSIDERS: FIVE OF A KIND —WEEK 3: THUNDER/MARTIAN MANHUNTER Written by Tony Bedard . Art and cover by Koi Turnbull & Art Thibert. Batman’s Week 3 vote, tying into COUNTDOWN! Black Lightning’s daughter and the Last Martian investigate a mystery at the center of the earth — but the mystery only deepens when they find a New God on the run!

OUTSIDERS: FIVE OF A KIND — WEEK 4: METAMORPHO/AQUAMANWritten by G. Willow Wilson. Art and cover by Joshua Middleton. Batman’s Week 4 vote! International war is brewing over an ocean under the Sahara, and when Metamorpho and Aquaman intervene, they find it’s also the home turf of another elemental who’s got the Orb of Ra. If the deadliest foe is your heart’s desire, they may have no chance!

OUTSIDERS: FIVE OF A KIND — WEEK 5: GRACE/WONDER WOMAN Written by Marc Andreyko. Art by Cliff Richards & Art Thibert . Cover by Christian Alamy. Batman’s Week 5 vote, tying into AMAZONS ATTACK! The shocking aftermath of the Amazons’ assault on Washington, D.C. forces an unlikely alliance between two-fisted Grace Choi and the Amazonian princess as they team up to find a time bomb like no other hidden in America’s heartland!

So, is it safe to assume that Outsiders is in serious danger of cancellation? Because this event really reminds me of this

And this

And, as I recall, neither Scare Tactics nor that volume of Teen Titans survived long after the seemingly surefire sales-booster of teaming the regular protagonists with (more) popular guest-stars in a series of one shots.

The premise of this event sound a little wonky from the outside. Why wouldn’t Batman pick Nightwing, Captain Marvel, Martian Manhunter, Metamorpho and Wonder Woman over the newbies and troubled folks with morality the Bat doesn’t agree with at all? And why would any of them join the Outsiders? Is Wonder Woman going to quit the League to hang out with Grace and Thunder? Is Martian Manhunter going to just join any team that will have him since he Brad Meltzer doesn’t like him enough to have him on the League, despite the fact that it makes no sense for him to not to be there?

While I like all of the guest-stars for the most part, I’m trying to avoid the “New Look” Martian Manhunter and the conceptually retarded Captain Marvel recreation. I’m down for the Metamorpho/Aquaman story though…that cover looks great, and Middleton is a force to be reckoned with. I wonder if whoever's editing Outsiders realizes that this incarnation of Aquaman can only survive out of water for about an hour at a time, and thus would be pretty lousy on a team book?

METAL MEN #1Written by Duncan Rouleau. Art and cover by Rouleau. Bursting from the pages of 52 andSUPERMAN/BATMAN into their own new 8-issue miniseries by Duncan Rouleau — it’s Gold! Platina! Mercury! Iron! Lead! Tin! And now Copper! Doc Magnus’s creations are ready to take on all-new threats and some old, reimagined ones: Chemo, Doctor Yes, B.O.L.T.S., The Balloonatic and his Orphan Army, as well as the Robot Renegades led by an old Manhunter Robot! But the greatest threat lies in Le Cabinet Noir and its bid to control the natural order using dangerous lieutenants like the Nameless, an armored being that feeds off the blood of the innocent and controls the Gogoloth, giant stone Golems made of Granite, Bizmuth, Onyx and Lime.

Woo-hoo! This looks and sounds promising. I sorta hated the last thing I read that Rouleau wrote (The Nightmarist), and the words “from the pages of Superman/Batman” kinda scare me (Please don’t be a pointless reboot, please don’t be a pointless reboot, please don’t be a pointless reboot…!). But Rouleau’s Metal Men designs are top notch, and just reading that list of villains was fun. If the outline for the series is that good a read, I have high hopes for the actual comics.

SUPERMAN #666 Written by Kurt Busiek. Art and cover by Walter Simonson. An extra-sized spectacular featuring art by Walter Simonson, as Superman goes to Hell — literally — during the most nightmarish adventure of his heroic career, and a dread portent of that which may be coming! Who, or what, is “The Beast from Krypton”? This issue — featuring the Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, the Demon and a host of other DC superstars from Wonder Woman to Animal Man — is guaranteed to send chills down your spine!

Awesome. Two DC books hitting their 666th issue this year, two DC books taking note of the fact with diabolical stories.

Written by Geoff Johns & Adam Beechen
Art by Peter Snejbjerg, Tony Daniel, Chris Batista and others
Cover by Daniel
In this latest volume of the hit series, collecting issues #42-47, master assassin Deathstroke has formed his own team of Teen Titans in order to take on the original Teen Titans, destroy them and take their place. What new team of Titans will rise out of the ashes in this epic battle?

If you were lucky enough to miss this in singles, DO NOT BUY THIS. Seriously, just don’t do it. You’ll hate it. It’s awful. In fact, it may just be the worst thing ever. The worst! Don’t buy it. I’m not kidding. It sucks.


Tony said...

Good lord, the Meltzer JLA really does suck, doesn't it? I picked up a couple of issues for the JSA crossover, and man ... it's boring, confusing, and contradictory.

I can handle confusing and contradictory, but not boring, and never all three at one time.

Anonymous said...

"Doug Mahnke’s drawings of corpses have more life and personality in them than Michael Turner’s drawings of live women do!"

ROTFL, I'm putting a screen cap of that on the top of my blog. So terrible and yet so true :-)

Am I the only one thou who liked the first storyline Meltzer did on JLA thou? Mind you I am waiting for the trades on the rest of the run, but I still had fun on The Tornado's Path, but that could be due in part to the fact that I didn't know squat about Red Tornado.