Monday, December 17, 2007

DC's March previews reveiwed

Is Infinity Inc cancelled yet? Is a new issue of the supposedly not cancelled Manhunter going to come out in March? How overt is the phallic imagery on the cover of Batman Confidential #15? There’s only one place to find out! DC’s March solicitations, which you can see here.

And the only place you can see my pithy comments on them? That would be right here.

One thing I’ve really come to appreciate after spending much of the month scribbling drawings of Batman on index cards is just how awesome his cape is. It’s huge and black and, if you draw it big and billowy enough, it can be used to obscure pretty much any part of his body you’re not particularly good at drawing. I try to use it to cover up everything except maybe a hand or two.

Tony Daniel knows what I’m talking about. Here he uses it to cover up Batman’s crotch, feet and the entire left side of his body. Hey, I’m not ragging on the guy; sure he’s a shitty pencil artist, but he’s a thousand times better than me, and, like I said, I totally appreciate his taking the exact same shortcuts as me.

My only complaint about his cover? I really think Daniel should have used the cape to cover up more of Batman. Particularly his chest. What the hell kind of shape is that supposed to be? An umbrella? It sure doesn’t look like the regular bat-symbol. Was Batman in a hurry to get dressed, and accidentally grabbed the wrong gray shirt on the way out the cave door or what?

Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Julian Lopez & Bit
Cover by Doug Braithwaite
The Outsiders run into trouble while a recon mission for Batman at a European Space Administration site in North Africa! Meanwhile, tension within the group comes to a head as the Outsiders’ newest member challenges Batman for leadership!

Now with 100% more Geo-Force! I assume he’s the “newsest member” who will challenge Batman for leadership. I also assume he will fail to win leadership. I mean, who on Earth would buy a comic book called Geo-Force and The Outsiders?

I like Doug Braithwaite’s art, and think he makes for a fine cover artist, but I wonder if this is the best team book for him to be working on, given the nature of the team members’ costumes. I think Braithwaite would be better suited to JLoA.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


Written by Mark Waid
Art by Jerry Ordway
Cover by George PĂ©rez
Superman and Ultraman of the Crime Society…together? What situation could be so dire that it would cause this team-up? Will two men who are the exact opposite of each other be able to work together long enough to save the day? Featuring guest art by Jerry Ordway!

“Guest art?” Noooooooooooo!

Written by Robert Loren Fleming and John Ostrander
Art by Colleen Doran, Tom Mandrake and Ray Kryssing
Cover by Ryan Sook
Collecting stories from Eclipso #10 Spectre #17-18, shedding light on these pivotal characters from COUNTDOWN!

I already own these comics, so will definitely be passing on this, but I just wanted to point out that the Ostrander/Mandrake Spectre is a great, great, great series (and one that’s almost entirely uncollected in trade), and I really enjoyed the majority of the short-lived Eclispo ongoing.

I’m not sure why DC is bothering to reprint them as part of Countdown, since the current Eclipso kinda breaks the “rules” of Eclipso, but whatever.

I look forward to seeing the Sook cover, too. The one solicited looks like it’s simply a blown up piece of a Mandrake panel.

Written by Marv Wolfman
Art and cover by Damion Scott & Robert Campanella
From Marv Wolfman, co-creator of Raven, and maverick penciller Damion Scott (BATGIRL) comes a 5-issue miniseries delving into Raven's past and giving her a new life — but first she must survive the horrors of high school! Can the Titan's empath endure the wave of teen angst at school, especially after someone begins killing students? Emotions are driven sky high thanks to the reappearance of the Psycho Pirate's Medusa mask, and there's no way anyone can contain it once it has fallen into the wrong hands. Titans fans new and old dare not miss this one!

I was super-excited when the Wonder Girl miniseries was announced, as it was being drawn by an artist I really liked and was eager to see more work from, and written by J. Torres, who has a lot of great comics under his belt. And well, I lasted two issues before losing all interest in all the Countdownian, NewGodkillingness of it.

So here's another miniseries featuring a female Titan lead being drawn by an artist I really like and am eager to see more work from, so I would be super-excited, but maybe I should temper that down to an excited.

I love Scott's work, particularly on the later issues of Batgirl (It took him a couple arcs to really find himself, I think). His more recent work on Robin saw his style getting a way from him quite a bit, but I imagine back under Campanella's inks he should be looking good again (The cover's nice). Wolfman's writing, and he knows Raven better than anyone, but I don't know that his old-school writing style is exactly a good match for Scott's new school art style.

There's some more weirdnesses about this book too. Why's it titled with a "DC Special," especially since it's a five issue series? And why's it coming out now? Wouldn't a mini focusing on Raven's new status quo as a teenager have been better in 2004, when Raven was first de-aged to a teenager, staring high school, starring in a popular team title and a well-received cartoon show?

Written by Tom Peyer
Art and cover by Freddie Williams II
“Fast Money” begins! Don’t miss the kickoff of this provocative new storyline by Tom Peyer (HOURMAN), as the Flash is pulled into an intense moral dilemma about superpowers — and Keystone’s plagued by a menace who’s using familiar mind-bending tactics!

Hey, just last week I was wondering why I haven’t seen a credit by Tom Peyer anywhere in a while, and what do you know? He’s taking over—or just filling in on?—The Flash. I haven’t read an issue of this since Infinite Crisis, so bad was the taste left in my mouth by the Flash switch just for switch’s sake, but I’ll probably check this out. Surely the bad taste of the switch will be gone by March, right?

Written by Chuck Kim
Art and cover by Nelson
Part 2 of CURSE of THE LOST LANTERNS written by HEROES scribe Chuck Kim continues to reveal the missing time between Parallax’s destruction of the Corps and its survivors struggle against the Manhunters and the coming threat of the Sinestro Corps as Boodikka ponders her future as one of the newly anointed Alpha Lanterns. Can her old allies trust her anymore, what secrets does she hold and why does it mean to Hal Jordan?

Chuck Kim? Tomasi just took over the title last week, and they’ve already got another writer coming in? I blame the Hollywood writers’ strike. Pass.

Written by Grant Morrison & Mark Millar
Art by Stephen Harris, Keith Champagne, Drew Geraci and others
Cover by Howard Porter and John Dell
From writers Grant Morrison (52, BATMAN) and Mark Millar (Ultimates, Civil War) comes Aztek, the visionary hero from the 1990s! In these stories from Aztek: the Ultimate Man #1-10, Aztek fights the forces of evil in Vanity City, where he meets costumed characters including Green Lantern and The Joker!

Well it’s about fucking time. Aztek seems to have come out about a year too early—can you even imagine a Morrison and Millar book being cancelled after a year today?—and I can’t believe it’s taken DC this long to get around to capitalizing on the two writers’ since risen stars. (Morrison was, by that point, already a big name creator, but I think he’s become even more popular since; Millar, meanwhile, went from a guy who wrote really awesome comic books that no one read to really shitty comic books that every one reads).

The series isn’t all that awesome, truth be told. There are a lot of fun concepts at play in it, and Aztek is a really cool hero and a nice addition to the DCU (though he didn’t last all that long), but the art is really rocky, and the storyline is visible flailing through much of the run. Still, I’m all over this. I’ve been looking for the issue guest-starring the JLA since it came out, and I could never find it for less than $10 anywhere.

Written by Alan Burnett
Art by Ed Benes & Sandra Hope
Cover by Benes
Don't miss the final chapter of "Salvation," as the JLA turn themselves over to the U.S. government to be sent to prison off-world! What old foe will they have to rely on to save themselves from planet hell?

Hey, remember when DC said Dwayne McDuffie was going to be JLoA's regular writer until he no longer wanted to be? Is McDuffie sick of writing the title already?

Of course, who could blame him, considering JLoA is, by this point, a tie-in to Salvation Run, which is itself a tie-in to Countdown to Final Crisis?

On the plus side, this month's terrible Ed Benes cover is completely ass-less. I'm shocked. Why, by simply showing this exact same image from the opposite direction, like inside the Boom Tube, he could have worked a record-breaking nine asses on a single cover, four of them belonging to females.

JLA BUILD-A-SCENE STATUE: PART 1 Based on the art of Ed Benes. Sculpted by Alterton Bizarre. Ed Benes’ legendary image from the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7 stands tall as it becomes a multi-part statue! Sold in three parts, each features two of the world’s greatest superheroes and includes a piece of a bonus Red Tornado figure. (To fully assemble Red Tornado, all three Build-a-Scene statues are needed.) All of the pieces slide together to make a complete cover scene in striking 3-D!

And speaking of Benes…

I don’t normally comment on the DC Direct toys and statue stuff, because it usually is all worthy of the same amount of denigration, and I don’t want to be at this all night or anything, but I did want to point out that this solicitation refers to Ed Benes’ cover for JLoA #7, which, you’ll recall, was actually only half an image, with the other half available on a second issue of the exact same comic book, is referred to here as “legendary.” Legendary. As in “something commemorated in a legend” or “appropriate for a legend” or “a story told as history in future generations which may or may not be true.”

A legend. This cover—

Man, “legendary” would be hyperbolic for some of the most famous comic book covers ever, but I think you could get away with it if you’re talking, I don’t know, Spider-Man swinging on the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15 or Superman with that car over his head and the dude freaking out in the corner, but JLoA #7?

Does anyone even like that cover?

Written by Keith Giffen
Art by Christopher Jones & Dan Davis
Cover by Jones
An untold tale of the Justice League by 52’s Keith Giffen! Meet the early Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, who want to join the League — because that’s where the big money is! They have much to learn…

Wow, it’s “Blue and Gold” month, I guess. And check it out—written by Keith Giffen!

Kiichi and the Magic BooksWritten and illustrated by Taka Amano. CMX/FLEX COMIX. With his horned head and pointed ears, young Kiichi resembles a demon. When his mother dies, he is ostracized from his village. Alone and with no clue to his true origin, he meets Mototaro, a traveling “Library Man” who goes from town to town, lending out books. When Kiichi spies some magical creatures literally jumping out of the pages of one of these books, he thinks he may be on the way to finding out where he came from. Mototaro and Hana – his young assistant – agree to let Kiichi accompany them. Together, they will encounter strange creatures and adventures while Kiichi tries to find his place in the world.

Gah! Fuck you, Taka Amano! I was working on something with a similar premise, and now it turns out that there’s a manga series already done on the subject! And, since it’s an English translation being reprinted here in the West, it’s probably years old too! Well, at least mine will be distinguished by vastly inferior art and shoddy hand lettering, likely full of spelling and grammatical errors…

I like the cover image.

Written by Peter Tomasi
Art and cover by Rags Morales & Michael Bair
Why is another super-powered body, this time the corpse of the KGBeast, being stolen from the Gotham Cemetery — and how is Nightwing going to stop it?
Nightwing starts to piece together the diabolical plans of Dr. Creighton Kendall, a scientist whose twisted mind harbors dark and devious plans that may fit into the far-reaching scheme of Talia al Ghul and her desire to protect herself once and for all from the evil clutches of her father and the world at large.

Aww, when did the KGBeast die? I have no memory of this. But maybe I did read that story and have just forgotten; the deaths really are starting to all blur together in my mind. Anyway, that’s too bad. Sure, he was a lame character, but I kind of liked the goofy Claremont-esque Russian accented dialogue writers like Chuck Dixon would come up with for him, and he had the absolute most awesome ‘80s codename…even better than New Wave.

Ladies and gentleman, we have a new contender for Worst Costume In the DC Universe…

Written by Joe Kelly
Art and cover by Scott Kolins
Acclaimed writer Joe Kelly joins fan-favorite artist Scott Kolins (THE FLASH) for a reimagining of a classic story from Superman and Batman's Silver Age! In WORLD'S FINEST #178, Superman lost his powers and took on the identity of Nova, the inspiration for 52's Super-Nova. Now, the mysterious Socrates has robbed the world of its Man of Steel forcing Batman and Robin to find a way to replace him!

Joe Kelly's Superman/Batman Annual #1, in which the World's Finest, pre-secret identity reveal, sparred in their alter egos and came into conflict with Ultraman, Owlman, Deatshroke and a stealth guest-starring Deadpool, was by far the single best story to appear under the Superman/Batman name. So seeing Kelly return for a second annual, set during the same time period, is really great news. Not so sure about the art at this point; I usually enjoy Kolins' work, but his Robin on the cover looks a Is the original Robin really so hard to draw? Ian Churchill similarly butchered the design in Titans East, although Kolins will have to do much, much worse than that to match Churchill's hairy-legged Robin. (Shudder!)

Oh, and the last annual was in 2006; this one's due in 2008, which strains the definition of annual, but whatever—I look forward to seeing a Superman/Batman team-up issue that isn't terrible again.

I like the composition of this cover. Just in case you didn’t notice that the focus of the image were Ravager’s boobs, they’ve included a man’s hand pointing his index finger at her boobs.

Have I mentioned how much I love Karl Kerschl’s Teen Titans: Year One art yet? What’s that? I have? For the last two months now? Well, I still love it.

Man, could I go for a cupcake arrow right now…

Written by Judd Winick
Art & Cover by Mauro Cascioli
The Trials of Shazam conclude…and win or lose, Freddy Freeman may still need the help of the Justice League to survive the “verdict”!

Woo-hoo! It’s finally over! Now quick, put everything back together the way it was before Trials of Shazam #1!

VARIANTE VOL. 3 Written and illustrated by Iqura Sugimoto. CMX. Agent Sudo tries to uncover the secret behind Aethos, the government linked corporation in charge of investigating the Chimeras. But in doing so, he stumbles upon a secret from his own past—a girl he believed he had killed years ago, but who instead has been a subject of experimentation. As for Aiko, she’s having doubts about what the_Chimeras really are and may be losing the will to fight them.

I wonder if it will have a variante cover? Ha ha ha ha! Get it? Variante cover? Ha ha!

YOUNG LIARS #1 Written by David Lapham. Art and cover by Lapham. Indie comics auteur and SILVERFISH creator David Lapham hasn’t embarked on a monthly series since STRAY BULLETS, his magnum opus that garnered industry awards and international acclaim. Now Lapham’s back with YOUNG LIARS, his first full-color monthly series, about a group of misfits and their desperate attempt to salvage their crushed dreams. “I haven’t had this much fun since my Uncle Chuck took me on a crime spree in the fourth grade.” — David Lapham. At the core of YOUNG LIARS is the disturbing relationship between Danny Noonan, a habitual liar and crap guitar player from Texas, and Sadie Dawkins, the object of his desire. Sadie was a poor little rich girl until a bullet lodged in her brain turned her into an adrenaline junkie who only listens to Danny. But who shot Sadie is only part of the mystery that drives YOUNG LIARS, from the twisted club scene of lower Manhattan to absurdist hijinx on the high seas. And from the hot shores of Ibiza to the haunted castles of Spain, Danny, Sadie and their entourage of losers will run from poorly disguised assassins, demented billionaires, and psychotic midgets — not to mention each other — in an absurd quest to get rich and famous. Or kill each other trying. YOUNG LIARS will provide relentless action, suspense, sex and murder in the way that only David Lapham can deliver.

I like that logo.

Usually what I do with intriguing looking new Vertigo series is read the first issue or two or three, and then switch to trades. I think I may just start with the trades on this one though, as it’s pretty much guaranteed to be good comics.


Anonymous said...

Caleb... That Titans "cover" is a panel from over half a year ago. They're not showing the cover.

But, I'm in a much more "WTF" mode thanks to GLC. Not only is their a new wrtier out of nowhere, there's the second part of a previously unannounced arc. Where did that come from? When did Alpha Lanterns happen in to GLC?

Anonymous said...

Guest art maybe bad but it appears that Ordway's inking his own pencils which is a very good thing. In my opinion he's every bit as talented as Perez, he only seems to suffer under certain inkers.

Anonymous said...

The covers for Booster Gold and Justice League Unlimited make me very, very happy.

And I can definitely live with Jerry Ordway serving as a fill-in artist on Brave & Bold.

Anonymous said...

Man, Violet's costume looks like it was designed by Liefeld. Random football pads on a girl, plus leg pouches?

Things that stuck out at me from the previews:

Blue Beetle's blurb uses "World's Greatest Heroes" to refer to Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Fire, and Ice. Sweet.

Metapowered Amanda Waller? Am I the only one who sees this as a tremendously bad idea?

Salvation's Run is starting to look like the old Planet Luthor story from the 70s.

Birds of Prey cover reminds me of those random plasma guns the cops used in the old X-Men cartoon.

Ice Kate is the best name for an ice themed villainess ever.

DC finally bought a clue regarding the WoW comic and is switching to a higher proportion of Sam Didier covers.

Also, whose idea was it to add Chloe from Smallville to the Superman cast? Isn't the character rather extraneous as long as Lois is around?

Anonymous said...

I was jazzed for Booster Gold until I actually read the text. ARGH! They'll have an arc starring Beetle and Booster, but of course it's going to pit them against the BEST character from the JLI run, Max Lord, in his latter-day, massively-mischaracterized persona.

I was thisclose to checking out the first Booster Gold trade, but now I doubt I actually will, because I'll certainly be dropping it for the second collection.

On the other hand, the JLU issue looks pretty darn nice as a substitute. Plus Giffen trumps Johns any day of the week.

Agreed that AZTEK - kinda neat, but never quite came together in a satisfying way. I'm surprised DC waited this long to collect it, but I'm also not really that interested in re-reading it.

KGBeast died in the first OYL Batman arc, Face the Face, by James Robinson. Shot in the head twice by a whale or something.

Young Liars looks great.

Jeff said...

Caleb, if you want, I've got those Aztek issues with the JLA. If you don't want to spring for the whole trade, name your price and I'll fire 'em off to ya.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you should go ahead pick up the first Booster Gold trade. Skeets riding a horse and the awesome sequence of Booster heroically and unsuccessfully trying to save Babs Gordon will make it worth your trouble.

Anonymous said...

Corey, I might do that. Still up in the air. I've always thought the superhero-cum-celebrity aspect of Booster has a ton of potential, and I'm not quite the target audience for the time-travel, continuity-loving angle they're taking... but I do have a soft spot for Booster.

Caleb said...


Ah. That would explain why it looks like a Tony Daniel drawing then, huh?

I wonder if the GLC issue continues from a part one in GL proper, which I think was also about Alphan Lanterns the previous month?

C.B.J. and Corey,

Oh, I dig Ordway myself, I'm just disappointed to see him pop up in Brave and the Bold, as it being Waid and Perez doing whatever they want with the DCU is why I love that book so much. Especially since I thought Perez was only on through issue #12.


Having never seen Smallville, adding Chloe to the comics does nothing for me, but DC and Newsarama do seem to think it's a big deal, huh?


Thanks for the offer my man, but I think I may invest in the trade anyway, as it will help empty a fraction of a long box.

Mr. Lorah,

I second Corey's reccomendation! The Jonah Hex issue is fantastic. You may want to wait for a trade paperback though. I have no idea why thye're going with a hardcover, but "Booster Gold comic" and "hardcover" just seem....wrong to me.

Anonymous said...

re: Your Booster recommendation will be taken under advisement.

btw, Busiek's said in a few interviews that he has ideas about introducing Chloe into the Superman cast, so I suspect you can lay this almost entirely at his feet. Being underwhelmed by the half-dozen or so Smallville episodes I've seen (nice idea, mediocre execution), I'm fairly ambivalent to the character - meaning, it will not influence me to buy or not buy the book. However, the high quality of previous Busiek Superman trades will go a lot farther in convincing me to pick up the Chloe story when the collections start rolling.

Tucker Stone said...

bullshit. jerry ordway is dead, everybody knows that. he died in the same bus crash that killed left eye.

Anthony Strand said...

KGBeast died in James Robinson's One Year Later Batman arc.

As for Blue & Gold vs. Max, I'm hoping that they address how none of that makes any sense. Booster Gold hasn't a book that shies away from mocking bad DC editorial decisions.

But yeah, three books with Booster Gold and (a) Blue Beetle in one month - that's pretty great.