Monday, March 17, 2008

DC's June previews reviewed

I know the words "Pekar" and "cute" don't often appear in the same sentence but, man, did Darwyn Cooke just draw the cutest image of Pekar ever for this American Splendor cover or what?

Introducing The Atom III’s new villain, Chronos III, the one that’s female!

ARMY@LOVE VOL. 2: GENERATION PWNED TP Written by Rick Veitch. Art by Veitch & Gary Erskine. Cover by Veitch. Collecting issues #6-12 of the incisive ARMY@LOVE, a series writer Rick Veitch describes as Desperate Housewives meets the war. This volume, leading into the upcoming ARMY@LOVE SEASON 2, follows the exploits of rivals Loman and Flabbergast, as well as Switzer, the woman they both love.

I’d have to check my records to be sure, but I’m fairly certain that the above is the greatest name for a trade paperback collection ever.

BATMAN: FACES TP-new edition Written by Matt Wagner. Art and cover by Wagner. Batman must prevent Two-Face from creating an army of deformed, super-powerful slaves in this collection by Matt Wagner!

Just a heads up in case you missed it the first time around when in ran in Legends of the Dark Knight, which was actually quite a while ago, this is a really, really solid Batman vs. Two-Face story by Wagner. Some of the story elements are pretty played out, but one of the unique aspects of Batman comics is that even the played out can be given new life when applied to the stylish milieu, provided they’re executed and rendered good enough. And since it’s Wagner we’re talking about, you can be fairly certain everything is executed and rendered good enough.

Thinking back to when I originally read this story, I remember being struck by the fact that Wagner’s Two-Face had a red scarred face. It was the first time I’d seen his ugly half anything other than green, and I remember thinking how great it was in red.

Also, Legends of the Dark Knight is a much better title than Batman Confidential, isn’t it?

Just a reminder: Kelley Jones rules.

Written by Grant Morrison
Art and covers by J.G. Jones
Meet Japan's number one pop culture heroes, the Super Young Team and their languid leader, Most Excellent Superbat! Join legendary wrestler Sonny Sumo and super escape artist Mister Miracle as they team to face the offspring of the Anti-Life Equation! See Earth's superheroes mourn one of their oldest allies! Witness costumed criminals sinking to new depths of cowardice and depravity as Libra takes things too far! Uncover the doomsday secrets of the poisoned city of Blüdhaven! Learn the shocking identity of the prime suspect in the murder of a god! And read on if you dare as Batman becomes the first of Earth's champions to face the Fallen of Apokolips. All this and a spectacular return from the dead...
Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones' multiverse-spanning epic continues with bombshell after bombshell in FINAL CRISIS #2 — "Ticket to Blüdhaven"!

Well, the solicitation copy sure is exciting! I mean, that's a lot of very excellent sentences there, almost each of which ends with a well-earned exclamation point.

Also, "Superbat"? Pretty much the best name ever...and that's before you add the "Most Excellent" even. Has DC really never had a Superbat before? I mean, if "Super-" and "Bat-" are you're two most popular and marketable adjectives, why aren't they on the cover of a comic yet? Likewise, Marvel really ought to have a Spider-X book by now.

I don wonder how Countdown counted down to this series though. Based on the solicitation, this sounds like it picks up from where the New Gods were at in Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle more so than Countdown/Death of the New Gods, but obviously I'm just basing that supposition on a half dozen vague sentences about a book I can't read for three months yet...

GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY #9 Written by Judd Winick. Art by Mike Norton & Rodney Ramos. Cover by Cliff Chiang. Green Arrow and Black Canary follow the trail of Connor Hawke's missing body to the heart of the League of Assassins — and face the resurrected Ra's al Ghul himself!

How great is my disdain for Winick? He can put one of my absolute favorite characters in the book, it can have a cover drawn by an artist as awesome as Cliff Chiang featuring that very character, and I still won’t buy it. Woe is the DCU, when it makes me sad to see Plastic Man appearing in it, for fear of what’s being done to him in it…

And speaking of Plas, you can read Art Spiegelman's 1999 New Yorker cover essay on Jack Cole and Plastic Man here. See, this is one of the reasons I think Plastic Man always oughta be on the Justice League, if the League is the fictional DCU's way of honoring the greatest superheroes DC happens to own the rights to at the moment. How many essays about Geo-Force, Red Tornado or Roy Harper has Spiegelman penned? How many times has Hawkman, Green Arrow or Black Canary made the cover of The New Yorker? Exactly.

SUPER FRIENDS #4 Written by Sholly Fisch. Art by Dario Brizuela. Cover by J. Bone. One villain is bad enough. But the Super Friends are in for a real struggle when they face six villains — secretly known as the Jester’s League of America! Plus, puzzles, fact files and more!

Hey, “Jester’s League of America” is a pretty clever name for a group of DC villains who want to take on the League. The Joker, The Prankster, Punch and Jewlee, Harley Quinn, maybe Toy Man or Rag Doll…it’s an idea with potential. Too bad it’s being wasted on this book.

Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Ed Benes
An all-out action issue as Red Tornado is given another chance at life! The problem is that the dormant Amazo program within him wants the death of all League members! Plus, Zatanna and Animal Man come to aid Vixen with her power problem.

On the plus side, McDuffie...and not writing a tie-in to a dumb-ass story I have no interest in. On the minus side, Benes is back.

Also on the plus side, Animal Man guest-stars. But then, also on the minus side, this is that story where the robot member's programming forces him to betray the super-team he's a member of, and I think I've read that a few hundred times now.

It looks like someone's talked to Benes about the inappropriate exploitive imagery however, since he has four female characters laying down on the cover, and not a one of 'em is splayed out butt-first. That’s something.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #46 Written by Matt Wayne. Art by Carlo Barberi & Bob Petrecca. Cover by Zach Howard. Say goodbye to the League as John Stewart and the Green Lantern Corps. take on a universe-threatening mission. Who is the force behind it all? And who is the traitor within the ranks?

This is the final issue of DC’s all-ages, entry level superhero book, which was cancelled to apparently make room for the kids’ book based on a toyline Super Friends, which is not all ages. So now would-be DC super-comics readers who want to read about the Justice League have nothing between a children’s book that contains puzzles and the one with all the bare-asses, crying androids and stuff like this in it. That…makes…sense?

THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES IN THE 31st CENTURY #15 Written by Jake Black. Art by Robert Atkins & Rick Ketcham. Cover by Alexander Serra. Bouncing Boy and Triplicate Girl finally get their second date, but the trend of nothing ever going as Chuck plans continues when they get hopelessly lost in virtual reality…with a fast-talking, impulsive brat named Bart as their guide! Can they put their differences aside to stop a virtual threat that gets very real, threatening the existence of New Metropolis?

Please note: Bart Allen is in this comic book. As Impulse.

Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Michael Gaydos
Cover by Liam Sharp
The fan-favorite series returns! New series artist Michael Gaydos (New Avengers, Alias, Nightmare Factory) and cover artist Liam Sharp (COUNTDOWN PRESENTS: LORD HAVOK AND THE EXTREMISTS) deliver a stunning new look for the continuing adventures of the DCU's most human hero! Los Angeles is Manhunter's town — so when Kate Spencer learns of the disappearance of hundreds of women along the Mexican border, she's on the case both as law-breaking D.A. and costumed vigilante. Meanwhile, Kate's bloodline tie to the JSA returns to haunt her — and it looks like her sidekick's most notorious supervillain ex-boss is doing the same to him.

Well it's about freaking time. I've started this in trade, and will probably keep reading it as such, so the wait has been excruciating, knowing that it would be Whenever They Actually Decide To Start Publishing + 6 months or so.

Nice to see Michael Gaydos joining up, too; he should be a great fit, and, hopefully a boost to the book. I think it's fair to say that if you like the bitter, kinda sorta superheroine Jessica Jones in Alias, then you'll like the bitter, kinda sorta superheroine Kate Spencer.

Even if there is less anal sex in Manhunter.

Written by Chuck Dixon
Art by Rafael Albuquerque and Victor Ibáñez
Cover by Albuquerque and Cris Peter
From the rooftops in Robin to Gotham Underground, Spoiler's identity has remained a mystery — until now. All is revealed in this special when Robin and Spoiler team up to take down a kidnapping ring, hit up an illegal warehouse party and finish Tim's algebra homework; just another day in the life of a teenaged vigilante super-hero! Plus, even more Robin doesn't know: Spoiler's secret identity in another country, in another life - one she can never leave behind

Hmmm...did Stephanie Brown fake her own death? Or have her death faked by Dr. Thompkins and maybe even Batman?

I like this cover. I think DC would be better off employing Alex Ross on titles that could use the extra boost his presence likely brings—Flash, Wonder Woman and Supergirl for example, as I can't see him being jazzed about painting Blue Beetle III or the current cast of Checkmate—instead of JSoA, Superman and Batman, but what do I know?


Anonymous said...

So, that last pic of Superman holding the Daily Planet's globe, do you think it fell off again and he had to catch it for the hundredth time, or is Alex Ross painting a scene from one of the previous instances where it fell off as an "homage"?

Anonymous said...

You'd think there'd be a city investigation, fines, and mandatory earthquake proofing eventually.

Oy. Speaking of Super-friends, a comp copy of Teen Titans got sent to my dad's pediatrics office. Forget not being as good as the DCAU comics or Marvel Adventures, it's not even up to the standards of the comics in Disney Afternoon Magazine. It also seemed to oddly require knowledge of characters in a book I wouldn't let anyone under the age of ten touch.(This coming from someone whose first comic was Elfquest, when they were four.)

I'll have to buy that LoSH though. I'm a sucker for Bart.

Anonymous said...

Spiegelman and Chip Kidd also penned the interesting book JACK COLE AND PLASTIC MAN, which reprints (I think) four Golden Age Plas stories by Cole. It's pretty great.

Army@Love: Generation Pwned gets my vote for best title of the year, no doubt.
And for timeless and awesome sounding comic book titles, Legends of the Dark Knight pwns Batman Confidential.

Overall, as a trade-waiter, not much thrilling me this month. Spirit Archives, Army@Love, DMZ... maybe I'll finally get around to reading Morrison's Batman or I'll pick up the JM DeMatteis-penned Going Sane collection if the mood is right.

SallyP said...

Oh, Manhunter is coming out. I may swoon with delight. Also, in June, they are bringing out a Showcase special of James Robinson's Starman, which I am looking forward to, with almost indecent joy.

Matthew said...

I'm pretty sure Alex Ross doesn't admit that Jaime Reyes exists. Heck, I'm almost surprised that he doesn't stick with Dan Garrett.

Greg said...

Sincere thanks for the link to the Speigelmann piece on Cole--what a story!

Caleb said...

Sincere thanks for the link to the Speigelmann piece on Cole--what a story!

Awesome; anything I can do to evangelize the greatness of Cole and his signature creation!

Unknown said...

Couldn't agree with you more when you say that Plastic Man should always be in the Justice League. (: