Monday, April 20, 2009

DC's July previews reviewed

DC's solicitations for books shipping in July have been released and are currently peruse-able.

The big news this month is that it will be the kick-off of DC's fourth consecutive weekly comic, this one shorter than the other three, and featuring the industry's top talents on a wide variety of DC properties in an unusual format. Here's the solicit, which, barring any last minute changes, includes the final information about the project:

In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with WEDNESDAY COMICS, a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today! WEDNESDAY COMICS is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28” x 20” tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14” x 20” page. Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello, whose past editing credits include BATMAN BLACK & WHITE, DC: THE NEW FRONTIER and SOLO, each page of WEDNESDAY COMICS spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including:

—BATMAN, WEDNESDAY COMICS’ weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 BULLETS team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso

—ADAM STRANGE, by writer/artist Paul Pope (BATMAN: YEAR 100)

—METAMORPHO, written by New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman with art by Eisner Award-winner Michael Allred (Madman)

—THE DEMON AND CATWOMAN, written by Walter Simonson (Thor, MANHUNTER) with art by famed DC cover artist Brian Stelfreeze

—DEADMAN, written by Dave Bullock and Vinton Heuck, art by Dave Bullock

—KAMANDI, written by Dave Gibbons (WATCHMEN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS) with art by Ryan Sook (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, ARKHAM ASYLUM: LIVING HELL)

—SUPERMAN, written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with art by Lee Bermejo (JOKER)

—WONDER WOMAN, written and illustrated by Ben Caldwell (Dare Detectives)

—GREEN LANTERN, written by Kurt Busiek (TRINITY, ASTRO CITY) with art by Joe Quiñones (TEEN TITANS GO!)

—TEEN TITANS, written by Eddie Berganza with art by Sean Galloway

—SUPERGIRL, written by Jimmy Palmiotti (JONAH HEX) with art by Amanda Conner (POWER GIRL)

—HAWKMAN, written and illustrated by Kyle Baker (PLASTIC MAN, Special Forces)

—SGT. ROCK, written by Adam Kubert (SUPERMAN: LAST SON), ilustrated by legendary comics artist Joe Kubert

—THE FLASH, written by Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS YEAR ONE, THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl

—METAL MEN, written by Dan DiDio with art by Ian Churchill (SUPERGIRL)

WEDNESDAY COMICS will arrive in stores folded twice to 7” x 10”, with the first issue set to reach stores on July 8. Issue #1 on sale July 8; Issue #2 on sale July 15; Issue #3 on sale July 22; Issue #4 on sale July 29 • 1-4 of 12 • 7” x 10”, 16 pg, FC, $3.99 US

I'm tremendously excited about this. That line-up is full of folks I'll buy just about anything by—Paul Pope, Kyle Baker, Neil Gaiman, Mike Allred, Joe Kubert, et cetera—but there aren't really any slouches in the bunch. I'm leery of editor Eddie Berganza, whose comics tend to be bad ones, writing, but artist Sean Galloway mitigates that concern. Well, and then there's the Metal Men feature by DiDio an Churchill, who collaborated on a super-shitty Blue Devil story in which grown-up Charlie Brown and Linus kill Snoopy in a ritual sacrifice to raise a killer Great Pumpkin that ran in DC's supremely awfully Infinite Halloween comic.

But otherwise it looks like a whole bunch of top talent on some of DC's biggest and quirkiest properties.

I was a bit surprised by the $3.99 price tag, as cheaper seems a better way to go with a weekly than more expensive (of the three previous ones, the most successful was the cheapest one), but I'll gladly make an exception to my no-super-comics-over-$2.99-for-22-pages stance for such an interesting project.

Even with all this info, I'm still a little confused about some aspects, including how it will work/what it will look like and what the paper stock will be like, and am curious about some other aspects, like how it will be received and how it will eventually be collected, given the unusual format.

At any rate, I'm extremely excited about this comic. In fact, I can't remember the last time DC or Marvel announced such a promising sounding project.

As for the rest of DC's July plans? Well, there are some that sound like winners, and some that sound like losers. Here's what looks best/worst to me...

In this issue of Batman, by Judd Winick and Mark Bagley, someone…what, breaks a couple thermometers on Batman’s head…?

Batman: Streets of Gotham #2
Written by Paul Dini; co-feature written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs; co-feature art by Georges Jeanty & Karl Story
Cover by Dustin Nguyen
In this second issue by the dynamic duo of Paul Dini (DETECTIVE COMICS) and Dustin Nguyen (BATMAN), Commissioner Gordon teams with the new Batman to combat the fiery threat that Firefly has spread across Gotham City. And to make matters worse, the mysterious adversary known only as Abuse makes his presence felt!

Meanwhile, in the Manhunter co-feature, now that Kate Spencer is the new District Attorney of Gotham City, will she use her legal power or her Super Hero identity to find the killer of the previous D.A.?

New Batman, same old fucking villains.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #6
Written by Art Baltazar & Franco
Art by Stephen DeStefano
Cover by J. Bone
It’s the magic of Shazam versus the magic of King Kull! Winner take all!

Oh fuck yes! I like Mike Kunkel’s Shazam just fine but man, if him not being on the title gets us Stephen DeStefano comics, then good riddance Kunkel!

DeStefano works in animation, so his comics art is way too rare, but he drew the original (and best) Jingle Belle story for Paul Dini, when Oni was still publishing it, and he illustrated the framing sequence for the Bizarro Comics anthology and it was fan-fucking-tastic.

Written by Jim Starlin and Marv Wolfman
Art by George Pérez, Jim Aparo, Tom Grummett, Mike DeCarlo and Bob McLeod
Cover by Jim Aparo
The Batman classic of the 1980s is collected in a hardcover featuring stories previously released seperately as BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY and BATMAN: A LONELY PLACE OF DYING for the first time in one place! Including BATMAN #426-429 and 440-442 and THE NEW TITANS #60-61!

Readers were invited to vote on the outcome of this story — and they decided that Jason Todd should die! In this tragic tale, Jason lived up to his hot-headed reputation, ignoring his mentor's warnings when he attempts to take on The Joker by himself and paying the ultimate price. Driven by anger, with Superman by his side, Batman seeks his vengeance as he looks to end The Joker's threat forever.
Advance-solicited; on sale September 23 • 272 pg, FC, $39.99 US

Er, DC? You guys know you brought Jason Todd back to life right? Kind of invalidating these stories, which are The Story Of How Jason Todd Died, and The Story Of How Grief Over Jason Todd’s Death Drove Batman Insane(-er).

These were among the first Batman comics I ever read, and I liked them both a lot. I was just a teenager at the time, but I remember “A Lonely Place of Dying” being pretty darn emotional for young Caleb, as was, obviously, Death in the Family. And, of course, Aparo does some of the best work of his career in the former.

Written by Jim Starlin
Art and cover by Jim Starlin and Matt Banning
Witness the decimation of the Fourth World in this trade paperback collecting the shocking 8-issue miniseries! Someone's killing off the New Gods. Who — or what — is responsible? How is Darkseid connected to them? And will Superman, Orion and Mr. Miracle be able to uncover Darkseid's schemes before it's too late?
Advance-solicited; on sale August 5 • 256 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Wh— buh— Why? WHY?!

Written by Paul Dini
Art and cover by Guillem March
Tommy Elliott, a.k.a. the villainous mastermind known as Hush, has escaped the confines of Batman’s headquarters and is wreaking havoc throughout Gotham City all under the guise of Bruce Wayne. Will the loose assemblage of Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn be enough to stop the madman’s rampage? Or are Gotham’s femmes fatales doomed to fail before they even begin?

Aw come on, Hush? Fucking Hush? Dini just did a story with Hush. I really want to read this series, as I like Guillem March’s art an awful lot, but I don’t think I can stand to read any more of Dini writing Hush…

Written by James Robinson
Art and covers Mauro Cascioli
What brings a team together? Justice! Batman and Martian Manhunter have been slaughtered. But he’s not the only hero to fall at the hands of villains. The murder has to stop, and it’s time to take the fight to the bad guys! Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Supergirl, Atom, Shazam, Congorilla and Starman unite in a cry for justice!

This 6-part miniseries from James Robinson (STARMAN, SUPERMAN) and rising star artist Mauro Cascioli (TRIALS OF SHAZAM) pushes our heroes to the brink and beyond as evil can no longer be tolerated to win. But when Prometheus plans his revenge on not only the heroes, but on the very places they call home, will this new team be ready to pay the cost for the justice they seek? This time it’s personal – and it’ll only get more bloody before it’s over!

Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers by Mauro Cascioli that will be separately orderable. Cover A shows the left side of the image; cover B shows the right side. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale July 1 • 1 of 6 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

Hey, that James Robinson-written ongoing Justice League comic they announced back in...when was it now, 1987? finally coming out. Let's see here, "this time it's personal"..."more bloody"...sounds just delightful. Also delightful? Each issue will come with half of a cover! Good looking out, DC.

On the plus side, it's a Justice League comic that might not be unreadable, it has a pretty interesting cast (Congorilla) and the first issue is $3.99...for 40 pages. See Marvel, DC can do it, why can't you?

Written by Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges
Art and cover by Jesus Merino
A new era begins for the Justice Society of America as writers Bill Willingham (FABLES) and Matthew Sturges (BLUE BEETLE) take over the series with new artist Jesus Merino (SUPERMAN ANNUAL) just as two new recruits make their debut with the team! Strange happenings at the JSA Mansion are weird precursors to an all-out attack on all members of the team — all but one! And what is the strange connection that new members King Chimera and All-American Kid might have with the turmoil?

I'm totally dropping this after #28, although seeing that Merino will providing art does cause me some pause. That guy's not too bad with a pen and pencil.

Check out this sweet Nick Cardy Spirit cover:
Sweet, huh?

Written by Bryan Q. Miller; co-feature written by Sean McKeever
Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson; co-feature art by Yildiray Cinar & Júlio Ferreira
Cover by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
In the first feature, the team attempts to rescue Wonder Girl from the new Fearsome Five, as Calculator enacts his revenge on the team for not protecting his children. In the 10-page co-feature, Ravager faces the drug problem that could kill her!
On sale July 29 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US

So after whatever happened between Sean McKeever and his editors that resulted in the last issue of Teen Titans bearing a credit reading “original story by Sean McKeever” and no one credited with writing the comic... looks like the new writer is…Bryan Q. Miller?


Teen Titans has been selling poorly, and selling more poorly each month. Barring something unexpected—like new, big-name creators— I sense cancellation in the near future, now that it’s jumped to $4 price tag.

Written by Marv Wolfman
Pencils by Rick Leonardi & John Stanisci
Cover by Walter Simonson
Vigilante must risk his own identity in order to save FBI agent Laura Temple from the Costume Serial Killer. But is Vigilante actually helping her – or is he playing into a bigger trap?

Speaking of cancellation, the new Vigilante series still isn’t canceled! Will it hit the one-year mark? I didn’t think it possible, but by July it will be two-thirds of the way there


Unknown said...

Witness the decimation of the Fourth World in this trade paperback...So only ten percent of the New Gods were killed? Whew, that's a relief.

(/not really that picky)

snell said...

Wednesday Comics is intriguing, yes, but it's still $3.99 for 16 pages. And not a 16-page story, but 16 separate 1-page stories. So it's like you're paying extra for a box of crumbs. Perhaps extra tasty and delicious crumbs, but crumbs nonetheless. It sure feels like a step backwards, price-wise.

SallyP said...

I have to admit to being pretty optimistic about most of these books. Well, with the exceptions of Death of the New Gods and Teen Titans. But still...!

Anonymous said...

People's reactions to Wednesday Comics is providing ample evidence of some comic book readers' inability to do math.

Sixteen 14x20 pages is somewhere between the equivalent of 32-64 pages of 8 1/2 x 11. (14 x 20 becomes four 7 x 10 pages, but that might be down rated depending on how people actually use the extra space and the fact that 7 x 10 isn't 8 1/2 x 11.)

3.99 for a 32 page comic wouldn't really draw complaints (especially given the talent level on this project.)

3.99 for a 64 page comic would draw cries of "OMG, it's ridiculously cheap for a comic book in 2009. And they've got Neil Gaiman!"

ramon said...

what really peeved me was the $40 price tag on the Tom Strong Deluxe book, a huge $10 leap over anything comparable in terms of issues collected in the Deluxe line. More Moore fan cash-grabbing?

The Pretentious Fool said...

The really sad thing about Wednesday Comics is that I can't afford it at that price. I really want to buy it, because of the teams they have going. Especially that Neil Gaiman/Mike Allred Metamorpho. I'm a fan of the character, and a fanboy of both members of that team. So, total win there.

Except I can't justify that kind of money.

This makes me very sad.

snell said...

thokstar--except, of course, you're NOT getting 32 pages of story, you're getting 16. Yes, they're bigger pages, but that doesn't mean you're getting more story, and more than an old Marvel Treasury Edition meant you were getting more story because the pages were bigger.

There's 15 features, one per page plus a cover--which is 8 sheets front and back. Even if you accept that you're getting twice as much per page (and the samples I've seen haven't looked that way), to somehow inflate that to the equivalent of 64 pages isn't accurate.

It may be worth the price...or it may be 3 months of glacially paced decompression theater. But a 64-page comic? Not even close.

LurkerWithout said...

I don't really care about the math on Wednesday Comics. I just know its the first of their weekly books I'm at all interested in getting. I'll give it a month or two to try it out...