DC released all of their previews of the comics they plan to publish in June today. Do you wanna talk about 'em? I mean, listen to me talk about 'em? Well, you can see them all here, and see what I have to say about 'em below.
Ready? Let's go!
BATMAN AND ROBIN #1
Written by Grant Morrison
Art and cover by Frank Quitely
Variant cover by JG Jones
Sketch variant cover by Frank Quitely
"Batman Reborn" begins here! With the reunited team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3, New X-Men), this first issue kicks off a 3-part story arc that can't be missed! The new Dynamic Duo hit the streets with a bang in their new flying Batmobile as they face off against an assemblage of villains called the Circus of Strange. They also tackle their first mission investigating a child who’s been abducted by the mysterious Domino Killer. But will everything go smoothly? And who exactly are the new Batman and Robin? The newest era of The Dark Knight begins here!
I mentioned my predictions for who's-wearing-what-costume in the Bat-family the other day, but yeah, this looks like Dick Grayson and Damian al Ghul/Wayne are the new Batman and Robin after the Battle for the Cowl time-wasting dust settles, and it looks like this will be the Batman book to read if you only read one Batman book.
Not only is the guy who's been driving what happens to Batman over the last few years writing it, but it's being drawn (for at least the first three issues) by Frank Motherfucking Quitely, who has gone and designed a fantastic-looking new Batmobile and pretty neat new Robin costume. I dig the normal pants and boots look, as well as the let's-just-have-Alfred-alter-one-of-Tim's-old-costumes-to-fit-the-kid tunic and cape. I don't like the character of Damian one little bit, but then, we haven't seen much of him by Morrison yet either.
I am kinda glad that he's Robin instead of Tim though, since Tim was Robin the last time Dick temporarily took over for Batman. If DC's going to recycle Bat-events, they might as well make them as different as possible from the stories they're recycling, right?
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
Cover by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea
Variant cover by JG Jones
In this special epilogue to BATTLE FOR THE COWL, new BATMAN writer Judd Winick rejoins the Bat Family! This 40-page issue explores the final moments of the Battle for the Cowl as the new Batman learns that winning the Cowl comes at a high price! Witness the new Batman taking to the streets of Gotham City for the first time! Putting a new man inside the Bat-suit was the easy part – now the fun begins! Guest-starring Superman and Wonder Woman, this issue is a must-read for any Batman fan.
I predicted this was going to be a Jason Todd-as-Batman book, and that there would therefore be two Batmen, because I couldn't imagine why they'd bring Winick back to Batman if that wasn't the case (As I've mentioned before, not only is Winick just a terrible superhero comic book writer, he's also nowhere near the sales draw he was a couple years ago). Resurrected Jason Todd is his baby after all. Plus, this Batman looks really, really mean on the cover, and the gloves. utility belt, bat-symbol and ears look extremely different than those of the Batman on the cover of Batman and Robin.
Of course, Winick's been writing Dick Grayson in The Titans, so maybe some madman at DC thought he'd be a good person to write a Dick Grayson-as-Batman series for a while. And that cover is by Tony Daniel, who can't really draw very well, so maybe he's just extremely off-model.
I was very excited to see Ed Benes' name in the artist credit here though, since it means my least favorite DC writer and my least favorite DC artist are finally on the same title, so I can more easily avoid them. Is Benes the regular penciller now, and I can start reading JLoA again? (I hope, I hope, I hope).
RED ROBIN #1
Written by Christopher Yost
Art by Ramon Bachs
Cover by Francis Manapul
Variant cover by JG Jones
Writer Chris Yost (New X-Men, X-Force) and artist by Ramon Bachs (Civil War: Front Line) kick off a brand-new ongoing series right here with “The Grail” part 1 of 4! Following the aftermath of BATTLE FOR THE COWL, a new Batman watches over Gotham City. But not everyone is ready to give up on the old one. Someone believes that Bruce Wayne may still be alive...and that someone is Red Robin. But who is wearing the Red Robin costume, and why is he traveling the globe looking for a dead man? Whoever he is, he's not alone in his search!
And if Tim Drake is no longer Robin, then that means this guy must be right? Additionally, the "not ready to give up on the old one" and the detective-solving-a-mystery aspect of the pitch here seem to fit Tim Drake better than any of the other candidates, and Yost seems like a writer an editor would hire to write a teen superhero.
I'm not sure why Drake would not be ready to give up on Bruce Wayne yet though, as in the first issue of Battle for the Cowl he's all like, "C'mon Dick, be Batman, we need a Batman, Bruce is gone, c'mon Dick be Batman, huh, be Batman." Also, I thought he wore the Red Robin costume for, like, an issue and a half of his own title (to cover up a grievous head wound) and then went back to his old costume. Also, it seems odd he would want to wear a costume that Evil Resurrected Once Beat The Living Shit Out of Tim Jason Todd was wearing.
But whatever. This looks extremely skippable, as however and whenever Batman comes back, it's not going to be Yost who writes that story.
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #1
Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March
Variant cover by JG Jones
This all-new series features the bad girls of Gotham City! Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are tired of playing by other people's rules regardless of which side of the law they're on. These tough ladies have a new agenda that's all their own, and they'll use any means necessary to pursue it. But can they get along and work as a team? And who will get hurt along the way? DETECTIVE COMICS and STREETS OF GOTHAM writer Paul Dini kicks off this brand-new ongoing series with amazing artwork by Guillem March (JOKER’S ASYLUM: POISON IVY, GOTHAM GAZETTE).
Having come extremely disenchanted with Paul Dini's abilities during the end of his Detective run, I wasn't planning on reading this at all, until I saw that GUillem March would be handling the art. That guy is fantastic. With this, TEC and Streets of Gotham added to the pull-list, that's...Jesus, four Batman monthlies? That's the most I've read since the '90s.
Shame about the title, though. Sounds like a softball team or strip club or something.
BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #30
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
Cover by Stephan Roux
“Bad Cop” part 2 of 2! Facing the rogue Gotham City police officer who was “created” by The Joker – Commissioner Gordon and Batman receive desperate help from an unusual source: young Barbara Gordon!
Here's another fuck-with-the-completely-unrealistic-ten-year-timeline comic. Batman's only been Batman about ten years, and in in his mid-thirties, huh? And the Joker didn't become the Joker until the end of his first year on the job. Okay, so this is set during Batman's first year at the earliest. By the time Batgirl debuted, she was already in her early twenties, right? (She would have had to made it out of college and grad school to be a librarian). Well, how old do you think she is in that picture? Is that supposed to be Barbara Gordon nine short years ago?
Not that it matters, though. These Confidentials are essentially out of continuity anyway.
I love you, Batman: The Brave and The Bold.
BOOSTER GOLD #21
Written by Dan Jurgens and Matthew Sturges
Art by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund and Mike Norton
Cover by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
“Day of Death” part 1! When Booster Gold learns of Batman’s death, he visits the Batcave, but runs into a new Dark Knight. Fists will fly and Batman will die...again! And in the debut of a new 10-page co-feature, Blue Beetle is back! While enjoying a peaceful lunch with his friends, Jaime Reyes – and all of El Paso, Texas – are attacked by a marauding 50-foot robot, and only Blue Beetle can stop this mechanized monster.
I'd just dropped Booster Gold and they've gotta go and put a Blue Beetle back-up strip in it, just to sweeten the pot. Dammit.
I think these back-up strips are a great solution for books like Blue Beetle and Manhunter that DC wants to publish, but just can't make work as ongoing series and aren't willing to try as original graphic novels. This way they can generate new material without having to publish 22-pages of it a month, and then use it to fill up trades, which some markets may be more interested in than the direct market (for example, the Blue Beetle trades seem to be popular among young adult librarians. Or at least more popular than a lot of other DC and Marvel superheroes who aren't Batman or Spider-Man).
Regarding the main story, this seems like another clue that maybe it's not Dick Grayson as Batman, or that there's two Batmen, as this sure doesn't seem like Dick in the costume, does it?
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #24
Written by Matt Wayne
Art and cover by Howard Porter
At long last, the first meeting of Static and Black Lightning! Virgil Hawkins has always had a bit of a problem with authority figures – especially politicos as seemingly crooked as one-time Luthor crony Jefferson Pierce. When Black Lightning comes to speak at Hemingway High’s commencement, Static fully intends to give him a piece of his mind. But not if Holocaust takes a piece out of both of them first!
I like Black Lightning, I like Matt Wayne and I like Howard Porter, so I'll probably get this, even though I kind of wish Dwayne McDuffie were writing it, If only because I'd like to see him work through a creation of his meeting the character that inspired his creation within the context of a shared story-space.
However, is it just me or have DC really screwed the Static/Milestone introduction into the DCU?
So you guys are going with the Batwoman's burning crotch cover for the Revelations collection then? Huh.
THE FLASH: REBIRTH #3
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and covers by Ethan Van Sciver
At last, the answer to the question that’s plagued DC fans for decades: Who’s faster, Superman or The Flash? Call your bookie and bet the farm, because you’ve never seen a run like this – and if speedsters keep dying at the pace they’re going, you might never see another one again!
Er, I'm pretty sure that hasn't actually "plagued" any DC fans for a couple of decades now, as everyone agrees that Wally West can beat the blue pants off of Superman in a race. Oh, but that's right, it's the new Flash, who is the old Flash from twenty-some years ago. So I guess maybe we don't know if he's faster than Superman or not. Because he is slower and lamer than Wally West.
COMICS CLASSICS LIBRARY: THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA BY GEORGE PEREZ VOL. 1 HC
Written by Gerry Conway
Art by George Pérez with Frank McLaughlin and John Beatty
Cover by George Pérez
The first half of artist George Pérez’s 1980s run on JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA is collected in this new hardcover featuring issues #184-186, 192-194 plus Pérez’s very rare JLA postcard set! Don’t miss the team’s battles with Darkseid and The Secret Society of Super-Villains, as envisioned by the artist of FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS!
Advance-solicited; on sale August 26 • 176 pg, FC, $39.99 US
I hope these things don't preclude this material ever showing up in Showcase Presents volumes, as I was hoping the Showcase program would eventually cover everything up to the JLI issues, which are just now being reprinted. I've read a couple of these, and they're really nicely illustrated. Pérez and the JLA are a match made in heaven. Well, comic book heaven.
JONAH HEX #44
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art and cover by Cristiano Cucina
The “Six Gun War” epic starts here! Quentin Turnbull is out for vengeance on the man he believes is responsible for killing his son – and that man is Jonah Hex! Bullets, broads and banditos abound in this 6-part storyarc. Guest starring El Papagayo, Tallulah Black and the always-charming Bat Lash!
I wonder if and when Jonah Hex will get folded into another book as a back-up feature a la Manhunter and Blue Beetle. I can't think of a current DC title that it would seem to fit in the back of though, as it's their only Western/historical title at the moment.
Well I guess The Spectre III survived Final Crisis after all. And so did his goatee. Damn. I was kind of hoping Mandrakk had finished him off. Or at least finished off his goatee.
THE SANDMAN BY JOE SIMON & JACK KIRBY
Written by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
Art and cover by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
At last, the classic 1940s Super Hero series by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby is collected from the pages of WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #6-7, ADVENTURE COMICS #72-97, #100-102 (1942-1946) and SANDMAN #1, the comic that reunited Simon & Kirby in 1974!
In the capable hands of Simon and Kirby, the Sandman left behind his trademark green suit, fedora and gas mask to become a brightly costumed adventurer on the trail of crime in the big city with the help of his sidekick, Sandy the Golden Boy. With a strong element of the fantastic in the form of haunted dreams and foes claiming to be figures of myth, these stories were perfect examples of the fast-paced, slam-bang adventures that made Simon & Kirby the most celebrated comics talents of the 1940s.
Advance-solicited; on sale August 12 • 304 pg, FC, $39.99 US
Just as soon as I win the lottery I'm going to go back and buy all these damn $40 Kirby repritns I can't seem to fit in my budget.
Written by James Robinson
Art by Renato Guedes & José Wilson Magalhães
Cover by Andrew Robinson
What’s a young man to do when he’s told he’s going to die? See the world while he can, of course! Experience a whistle-stop tour of Earth with Mon-El as he tastes life and fights crime with some of DC’s international cast of Super Heroes.
Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, a media mogul takes to the airwaves. His goal: the banning of all alien life on Earth. His name: Morgan Edge. And just what is the Prankster planning?
I don't know, a prank maybe? This is the only Superman title they're publishing that I'm at all interested in at the moment.
SUPERMAN AND BATMAN VS. VAMPIRES AND WEREWOLVES TP
Written by Kevin VanHook
Art and cover by Tom Mandrake
The 6-issue miniseries that pits the World’s Finest Heroes against bloodsuckers and lycanthropes is collected! In this no-holds-barred fight to save the world, Superman and Batman battle werewolves and vampires — with a little help from Green Arrow, Wonder Woman and Etrigan The Demon!
Advance-solicited; on sale July 29 • 144 pg, FC, $14.99 US
I do hope the Columbus Metropolitan Library orders this, as I kind of want to check it out. Not enough to pay for it even as a trade—and this seems pretty reasonably priced, as I believe it was a six-issue series—but interested none the less.
WONDER WOMAN: AMAZONS ATTACK TP
Written by Will Pfeifer
Art and cover by Pete Woods
The 6-issue miniseries AMAZONS ATTACK by the CATWOMAN creative team of Will Pfeifer and Pete Woods explodes in this new trade paperback! Since the events of INFINITE CRISIS, Wonder Woman's Amazon sisters have retreated to the realm of the gods. But now the Amazons are back, screaming for vengeance. What could compel the Amazons to attack the United States?
Advance-solicited; on sale July 1 • 160 pg, FC, $19.99 US
If you plan on buying this, please email me your address and I'll drive over to your house and try to talk you out of it. And/or slap you.