Wednesday, July 15, 2015

DC's October previews reviewed

Francis Manapul's cover for Justice League: Gods and Men–Batman #1, in which Batman becomes a god that knows everything. Wait, Batman always knows everything, doesn't he?
October looks like it could be a fairly good month for DC Comics. In addition to launching the sequel weekly series Batman and Robin Eternal, they'll be publishing a suite of six one-shot tie-ins to writer Geoff Johns' "Darkseid War" storyline in Justice League, which apparently involves many of the Leaguers ascending to New God-hood.

More quixotically, there are a trio of kinda sorta Convergence spin-offs launching, which strikes me as odd, as I don't recall any signs that Convergence was a massive hit (I certainly didn't hear anyone crying for more Telos comics).

The theme for October's variants–remember, there are always variants and they always have a theme now–is "Monsters," as it was last October (Or was it the October before?). For a complete run-down of what DC plans to publish in October of this year, you can check in at Comic Book Resources, and for what grabbed my attention, you can stay right here at Every Day Is Like Wednesday.

Written by SHAUN SIMON
Art and cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
On sale OCTOBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • MATURE READERS
In this new series by Shaun Simon, co-writer (with Gerard Way) of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and legendary artist Michael Allred (iZOMBIE), art not only imitates life, it becomes it! When rogue figures from famous works of art come to life and escape their frames, it’s up to Reggie Riot and the agents of Art Operatives to track them down before they wreak havoc on the unsuspecting public. But Reggie has secrets of his own that may affect his ability to interact with these living works of art--—and he wants no part in the agency his mother ran before him. Pop culture will never be the same.

One of the 52 new Vertigo series announced at Comic-Con last week, this one has a strong premise, an excellent artist and a "Cancel Me Immediately, Please!" price-point of $3.99. Like a lot of the series announced, this one sounds very much like a mini-series of substantial length that can be collected in a trade or two or three, rather than something of an ongoing. And that seems reasonable, as I get the impression that the Vertigo series do much better as trade in the bookstore market, rather than as single issues in the direct market. Image seems to have fulfilled the niche Vertigo used to in comic shops very well.

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
On sale NOVEMBER 18 • 192 pg, FC, $16.99 US
Batman has finally accepted the death of his son—but Damian’s grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul, has not! In order to resurrect Robin, he’s stolen the body—and now Batman will stop at nothing to reclaim him! Collects BATMAN AND ROBIN #29-34 and ROBIN RISES: OMEGA #1!

I just read the hardcover version of this collection, which includes the handful of issues where the title was changed to Batman and Aquaman and Batman and Wonder Woman and so on, as he traveled the world, teaming up with various other heroes as he travels the world trying to recover the corpse of his then-dead son Damian from Ra's al Ghul. It climaxes in an Everybody vs. Glorious Godfrey battle, followed immediately by a Batman vs. Justice League battle.

The very best part, however, is the scene at the end, where Batman calls together Batgirl, Red Hood and Red Robin to clear the air after all the ish that went down during "Death of The Family" in the pages of Batman. Batman promises to be completely honest with the three of them from now on, and the second they leave, Dick Grayson--whose death Batman helped fake and whose survival he's been keeping secret from all of them for months--appears to chat with him.

Oh man Batman, you are just the worst...!

Story and script by JAMES TYNION IV and SCOTT SNYDER
Art and cover by TONY S. DANIEL
1:50 Variant cover by MIKEL JANIN
Blank variant cover
On sale OCTOBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for details
It’s here at last—the sequel to the blockbuster weekly series BATMAN ETERNAL!
Five years ago, Batman and Robin worked the most disturbing case of their crimefighting careers—bringing down the organization of the ultimate human trafficker, the mysterious woman known only as Mother. At the time, Dick Grayson never quite understood the scope of that case, but now its darkest secrets are coming back to haunt him and everyone else who ever worked with Batman! With Bruce Wayne now lost to them, Dick and all his allies are out in the cold! Who can they trust? Is someone among them not who they say they are? And who is the deadly, silent young woman in black who’s come to Gotham City looking for Batman?

Prepare yourself for six months of international intrigue, twists and turns, and new additions to the world of Batman and Robin, from showrunners James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, and writers Tim Seeley, Steve Orlando, Genevieve Valentine, Ed Brisson, and Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly!

So this is the awaited sequel to the weekly series Batman Eternal, with the perhaps obvious title of Batman AND ROBIN Eternal. The most notable changes here are that it looks like it will be half as long as the previous series--six months rather than a year--and that James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder (the billing reversed!) will be joined by an almost all-new writing team, with only Tim Seeley sticking around. That worries me a bit, as the writing team of the last weekly was so solid. I'm always leery of fixing things that aren't necessarily broken.

I'm not crazy about Tony Daniel either, but it looks like he'll just be drawing that first issue, and then other artists will take over, starting with Paul Pelletier (who I do like). I expect the art teams to change constantly, as was the case with the prior series, although it would be nice if they could assemble a team of art teams, maybe divvying up particular storylines between them.

Most exciting of all, of course, is the question "And who is the deadly, silent young woman in black who’s come to Gotham City looking for Batman?" Hopefully post-Flashpoint Cassandra Cain, who will become Black Bat in short order. DC reintroduced her one-time friend Stephanie Brown/Spoiler via a weekly Batman series, and that seemed to make a lot of Stephanie Brown fans happy, although they haven't done much with her since, with only an appearance in Catwoman to her name since.

Anyway, I'm excited about this, and hope that it's at least as good as Batman Eternal was.

BATMAN ‘66 #28
Written by JEFF PARKER
On sale OCTOBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E • DIGITAL FIRST
Two new additions to the ’66 Rogues Gallery are introduced in two stories. The Scarecrow is here to say “boo” to the good citizens of Gotham City, and to chase off the Caped Crusader. Then, a former henchman of King Tut has taken on a green, scaly look and roams the sewers under the city streets!

I'm always excited to see new and different versions of The Scarecrow, and am glad to see Michael Allred's on the cover, although I suppose that's not necessarily Allred's Scarecow, as much as it is Allred's version of Kener or Haspiel's version of Scarecrow '66.

Written by DAN JURGENS
Art and cover by CORIN HOWELL
On sale OCTOBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, 5 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED E
Bat-Mite faces his greatest makeover challenge yet when he comes up against those dolorous denizens of the DC Universe, The Inferior Five! The Light Mite wants them to go from Inferior to Superior, but the half-witted heroes are not quite ready for prime time.

Huh. When the Inferior Five appeared on the cover of Bat-Mite #1, I assumed they were only on it as a gag--I didn't expect that cover to actually presage things to come in the pages of Bat-Mite.

Cover by ANNIE WU
On sale OCTOBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The secrets of Ditto’s bizarre abilities come to light—and Dinah and her newfound nemesis Bo Maeve come face to face! It’s not gonna be pretty…

Oh, I don't know. Pia Guerra art, and a cover by Annie Wu or Michael Allred? I'm pretty sure this comic is gonna be pretty...

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
On sale OCTOBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
A brand-new epic begins as the superstar team of writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Marcio Takara takes the new Batman on his first mission with the Justice League! When Jim Gordon is approached by the Justice League to solve a series of mysterious mass murders, he must turn his focus away from Gotham City and test his mettle with the World’s Greatest Heroes!

1.) Why is Batman so little? Or why is everyone else so big, I guess?

2.) Flash and Cyborg are the only ones from the original, post-Flashpoint Justice League line-up to not undergo a radical costume/design change this year? Huh. Superman's t shirts are starting to bug me, too. Why are they different than the t shirts he wore during his "Year One" phase? How does he keep finding the exact same design to buy off the rack, if he is buying 'em off the rack? (In the pages of Action Comics, Grant Morrison revealed that he was having his own Superman t shirts printed, in blue, red and white, although he usually wore the blue ones).

Jenny Frison's "Monsters Variant" for Grayson is just weird. What if if the Creature from The Black Lagoon had a really cute face, and a hot, human torso, but was otherwise a fish monster everywhere else? Gah!

Props to Frison, though; this is the one monster variant that is honestly terrifying, and may actually give me nightmares.

Here's Kelley Jones' Green Arrow monster variant...although all three of those facts were probably immediately apparent the moment you looked at that image, huh? You know, they probably coulda just had Jones draw all their variants this month, and it would have turned out pretty alright...

That's Guillem March's cover for Green Lantern: The Lost Army, which I'm posting here for no other reason than to point out once again that I really like Guillem March's art. Why doesn't he have a monthly, at the moment...?

Strange that the magical mummification ceremony did such a good job of preserving Harley's breasts, but the flesh on her right arm is decomposing into non-existence....

Advance solicit • ONE-SHOT • On sale NOVEMBER 11 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
A boy becomes an army of Gods! No longer does Billy Batson have access to the powers of the Old Gods. Now, he commands the combined might of Highfather, Mantis and other New Gods. But these Gods are not passive. And they will sooner destroy Billy than give up control of their power.

So who will be Billy's new patron gods? Seagrin, Highfather, Astorr, Atinai, Mantis and...Wait, is there a New God character whose name starts with a "Z"...? Shazam may have to change his name to "Sha'am" here...

I kind of love this "Monsters Variant" for Justice League of America by While Potacio, because it's so obvious that he started trying to match Justice Leaguers to Universal Studios-style monsters, and just gradually ran out of monsters, so that by the time he gets to Flash, he's just like, "Eh, werewolves are kinda fast, I guess; I'll make Flash a werewolf. And as for Cyborg, um...well, I guess I'll make him a, um, A horseman would be a monster right? Whatever. Cyborg's a horseman."

Written by JEFF PARKER
On sale OCTOBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
“Warzone” continues as more long-lost DC heroes join the fray! What bizarre force is causing Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace and the Creature Commandos to fight the same, insane war over and over again, and how can the team of Stargirl, Batgirl, Steel, Robotman, and Vandal Savage set things right?

I honestly couldn't read the first issue of Parker's run on this book--which really should have been re-titled Justice League Task Force or Justice League Unlimited and given a new #1, given the change in creative team, change of line-up, change of direction and even change of logo--because the art was so off-putting. I like Pelletier's art a lot, and I like all of these characters (Stargirl the least, although I don't mind her), and I love Enemy Ace so, um, I don't know, I guess we'll see...

Art and cover by DAVE ALVAREZ and SCOTT McRAE
On sale OCTOBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E
When IRS investigator Egghead appears on Daffy’s doorstep, Daffy panics and tries everything he can to get rid of him. Let’s see if Daffy can get through all the red tape—or will the red tape (literally!) get to him?

Egghead? Damn, that's a deep Looney Tunes cut. By the way, check out that issue number–is Looney Tunes now DC's longest-running ongoing to not be rebooted?

Art and cover by BEN CALDWELL
On sale OCTOBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, 5 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T
President Ross extricates herself from a civil war via the creative use of kitchen appliances! Meanwhile, a self-aware killer robot goes to church, and a couple of hippies escape Boss Smiley’s gerbil cage.

Retailers: This title now will run six issues.

Apparently Prez #1 didn't do so hot. I could have sworn I read somewhere that Dc was committed to keeping all of the new ongoings ongoing for at least a year, but I can't remember where I read that now, or who the source was. Nor can I remember if Prez was meant to be an ongoing series, or just a longer-than-six-issue miniseries that is being cut short.

Sadly this is not the cover to The Mystery Inc Swimsuit Special, which still doesn't exist, but is just the cover of October's issue of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?.

I'm not exactly sure how this qualifies as a "Monsters" variant, aside from the fact that the image if fucking horrifying, but I imagine if sales for October's Sinestro #16 skyrocket, we can expect some sort of all LOL Cats variants month in the future.

I like both Amanda Conner's regular cover and Guillem March's monster variant cover for October's issue of Starfire.

On sale NOVEMBER 11 • 240 pg, FC, $19.99 US
In these all-ages tales from SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #1-10, the Man of Steel must convince the citizens of Metropolis that he really is a force for good when Lex Luthor unleashes a terrifying robot look-alike on the city. Plus, Superman faces off with Metallo, Brainiac, Live Wire, Mr. Mxyzptlk, General Zod, and more!

I don't think I've read all of these, but I've read some of them, and the Superman Adventures title was a pretty great Superman comic. Actually, if you just scan that list of creators, you can tell it was written by two pretty damn solid writers of comics, and drawn by a handful of really great artists, all of whom are slightly constrained by sticking to the animated style established by Bruce Timm, who provides the cover.

If you haven't read these, I highly recommend this book for all-ages, high-quality Superman comics.

Written by DAN JURGENS
Art and cover by LEE WEEKS
On sale OCTOBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Following the epic events of CONVERGENCE, here are the adventures of the last sons and daughter of the Krypton and Earth as they try to survive in a world not their own. But can they keep this world from suffering the same fate as their own? Can this Superman stop the villains he once fought before they are created on this world? What is Intergang, and why does Lois’s discovery of it place everyone she loves in jeopardy? What will happen when their nine-year-old son learns the true identity of his parents? Make way for the original power couple, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do them part!

Hey, a bunch of Comics Alliance contributors were just asking DC for a Lois Lane series, and here we have one...kinda. I wonder, if this is one of those cases where DC is giving readers exactly what the readers want, but in a way that the readers do not want it? Kinda like Convergence itself, which this is apparently spinning out of (Jurgens and Lee Weeks collaborated on Convergence: Superman #1).

Wait, speaking of Convergence, let me go check something...

Huh. Yeah, the world that Convergence: Superman was set on was the planet Telos, of course, but the city was Gotham City from the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe. In the last issue of Convergence, that Earth (New Earth/Earth-O) was transformed into that of the New 52.

When we last saw Superman, Lois and their baby, they were joining Parallax, The Flash Barry Allen and the original Supergirl in their attempts to alter the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, and they succeeded off-panel. So, I have no idea what world Superman, Lois and their kid landed on.

But as appealing as a Superman/Lois comic is, one set on an alternate future on an alternate Earth sounds...much less so, doesn't it?

And Clark, lose the beard. Especially if you're gonna wear black like that; it makes you look a little too...Zoddy.

J.P. Leon's redesign of Wonder Woman for this "Monsters Variant" of Superman/Wonder Woman? Better than David Finch's recent redesign of the character.

On sale OCTOBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • MATURE READERS
One was possessed by a poltergeist. Another was trapped in a haunted house. A third had a killer doll. Ever wonder what happened to these children of the 1980s? Find out in SURVIVORS CLUB, a new series cowritten by renowned horror novelist Lauren Beukes and videogame journalist Dave Halverson, with art by Ryan Kelly (NORTHLANDERS).

Having found each other over the internet, six grown-up survivors are drawn together by the horrors they experienced in 1987 when a rash of occult events occurred around the world—with fatal results. Now, there are indications that it may be happening all over again. Is it possible that these six aren’t just survivors—but were chosen for their fates?

So, a bunch of analogues for kid characters in various '80s horror movies get League of Extraordinary Gentleman-ized...? That's definitely a good pitch for a comic, but I wonder if that's not one of those comics that I'd rather read about than actually read...?

Also, no offense to Dave Halverson, but I really wish they would have just referred to him as "Dave Halverson" rather than "videogame journalist Dave Halverson," which doesn't exactly make him sound like a guy who can write comics well. Why, the only thing that would be less likely to make me read a comic book co-written by a "videogame journalist" would be if it were co-written by a "comics journalist"...

Written by MARK MILLAR
On sale NOVEMBER 18 • 256 pg, FC, $19.99 US • MATURE READERS
In these tales from issues #151-160, Swamp Thing meets the spirit of a dead writer who is trapped in her own unpublished short story collection. Swamp Thing can free her only by working his way through the reality of each of her stories. Along the way, Swamp Thing visits the occult side of New Orleans, becomes a golem in a world ruled by Nazis, inhabits the form of the villainous Solomon Grundy, and more.

Wait, did DC not have all their Mark Millar comics in print before? Weird. I honestly can't remember if I read these or not, which doesn't speak too highly of them or Millar's Swamp Thing comics in general if I did, but those are four really great artists, and these scripts would have been long, long before Millar looked at comics writing as a way to pitch movies.

Written by JEFF KING
On sale OCTOBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The villain of the world-shattering CONVERGENCE event stars in his own new series! Set loose from his planetary tether at the end of the best-selling CONVERGENCE, Telos finds himself free and able to traverse space and time via a sliver of Brainiac’s powers. As this epic begins, he embarks on an odyssey, journeying across time and space in search of his past.

Here's your guaranteed-to-be-cancelled-in-eight-issues-or-less new series, starring the maguffin character from Convergence, in a title no one asked for. I suspect this will end up being akin to the monthly series awarded to Flashpoint cameo character Pandora, only when the short-lived Pandora monthly was launched, it was done so as a tie-in to a Geoff Johns-written Justice League crossover story.

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art and cover by PAULO SIQUEIRA
On sale OCTOBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 12, $3.99 US • RATED T
CONVERGENCE is over, but the ripples are still being felt, especially by a young precog named Lilith. What are these visions she’s having of a Teen Titans team the world never knew? And why does she feel compelled to seek out Dick Grayson, Roy Harper, Donna Troy and an Atlantean named Garth and warn them that something dark and sinister is coming after them? Who are Mal, Gnarrk, Hank Hall and Dawn Granger, and what is their connection to the others—and to the fate of every soul on Earth? This is the Secret History of the TEEN TITANS!

Huh. I honestly can't make heads or tails of this one. The Titans, like the Justice Society characters, were all screwed-over pretty hard by the reboot, to the point that many them no longer existed, or couldn't exist in forms anything like their earlier forms (i.e. the ones fans liked). Actually, the Justice League characters didn't do so hot either–stripping history away from the DC Universe really hurt the teams, and the characters who only really existed within the teams, or who had the majority of their adventures play out in the team books.

I like an awful lot of these characters, but I don't know if I understand what the hell this is, or how it might work. I don't have a ton of confidence in that particular creative team either. I guess we'll see; the best I can say about this one is that I'm really curious about it.

Art and cover by DARWYN COOKE
On sale OCTOBER 14 • 40 pg, FC, 1 of 4, $4.99 US • MATURE READERS.
For the first time ever, legendary comics creators Gilbert Hernandez (Love and Rockets) and Darwyn Cooke (DC: THE NEW FRONTIER) have joined forces for a surreal project unlike anything you’ve ever read before!

When a white orb washes up on the shore of a remote Latin American village, a group of children naturally poke at the strange object to see what it is. The orb explodes, leaving the children completely blind. And when a beautiful young woman who may be an alien is found wandering the seafront, she’s taken in by the townspeople, but soon becomes a person of interest to a quirky pair of undercover CIA agents, and the target of affection for a young scientist. Can they come together to prevent an all-out alien invasion and save the souls in this sleepy, seaside town?

Well, creative teams don't really get any stronger than that, do they? I like the work of the pair as individuals, and am curious to see how they work together. I might simply be spacing at the moment, but off the top of my head I can't recall every reading something that Hernandez wrote but didn't draw.


Anonymous said...

Is it shallow for me to be excited about TITANS HUNT because I think Lilith is by far the hottest Teen Titan and possibly the hottest DC Comics character period? Well, so be it.

Greg said...

Prez was originally 12 issues. What a weird thing to do, even if the sales were poor. I mean, DC couldn't have thought they would be good, right?

Millar's Swamp Thing is the best thing he's ever written. And I say that as someone who hates 21st Century Millar and wishes he would stop hogging great artists. Swamp Thing is an amazing piece of work.

Lee Lemon said...

I think Hernandez wrote Birds of Prey for a while but didn't draw it?

d said...

Shame about Prez, I really liked issue 1, guess sales were ridiculously bad, even for a title DC should've had zero expectations for.
And love the homage to JLofA #100 on Titans Hunt #1, I might to buy it just for that!

Michael C. said...

DC announced prez as a 12 issue series. still says so on their website.

Evan said...

Maybe we should start calling DC "Monkey's Paw Comics."

Brian J said...

For what it's worth I really liked Prez and was ready to buy all 12 issues. You hear that, DC?!

Alkazaar said...

Mark Russel (the writer) announced on twitter that Prez will be divided into TWO 6-issue miniseries. So we're still getting the twelve issues.