Thursday, March 31, 2016

DC's June previews (finally) reviewed: The Special "Rebirth" Edition

"Okay, who wants out of the New 52? Who wants a new costume? Just take my hand!"
Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! Definitely not another reboot! It's a "Rebirth," or so DC Comics has been terming and teasing their next big marketing and branding push, scheduled for June of this year.

They originally announced Rebirth back in February, revealing the titles, price-points and schedules, but holding back on the creative teams. Those they finally announced last weekend during WonderCon, and you can read them all here. Because DC held off on announcing the teams until they could do so at a convention, their solicitations for the books they plan on shipping in June of this  year were delayed a few days, and my writing about them were delayed a few more days because, um, I've been busy (Season 2 of Daredevil really devoured my discretionary free time).

The exact nature of "Rebirth" has only been spoken of in pretty broad and vague terms, but those in the know who have been doing the speaking-about seem pretty insistent that this is not a widespread hard continuity reboot of the DC Multiverse setting of the kind that occurred in the wake of 1985's Crisis On Infinite Earths or 2011's Flashpoint (although if you peruse the June solicitations, you'll see a lot of changes that suggest some degree of continuity rejiggering, perhaps more in line with the here-and-there approach of 1994's Zero Hour or 2005-2006 Infinite Crisis/52).

The name is a very clear call-back to Geoff Johns' own miniseries 2004's Green Lantern: Rebirth and 2009's The Flash: Rebirth, both of which restored previously discarded elements of their franchises, created new elements and aimed for a nice, balanced, make-every-fan-happy approach (Green Lantern resolved the Hal vs. Kyle vs. John debate by making all three of them Green Lanterns, and Guy, too; Flash brought Barry Allen back as The Flash, but had him running alongside rather than replacing Wally West as The Flash). The former was a bit more successful than the latter, and had a much longer lasting impact (Most of The Flash: Rebirth's changes would be deleted during the New 52 reboot that followed rather quickly on its heels, erasing all of the speedster characters save Barry Allen). While the in-story retcon was Johns' chosen method of retooling those franchises, it was pretty easy to do in the case of Green Lantern, given the title character's power-set ("do anything") and the fact that Hal Jordan was, at the time, The Spectre (DC's God stand-in).

One would expect the changes of "Rebirth" to similarly be accomplished by some sort of in-story tinkering, then, and the appearance of a God-like hand-in-space on the cover of the special, a familiar cosmic symbol relating to the creation of the universe in DC's crisis comics, is likely no coincidence.

As for the line, DC seems to rather wisely be paring it down from the random (and high!) number of 52 books a month to a much more manageable number, and to be focusing on the most marketable characters and franchises, rather than taking too many risks on books that would have a hard time reaching issues #24 even if they weren't competing against 51 other DCU books (not to mention all those other DC and Marvel and the rest of the direct market books). And, again, wisely, rather than trying to increase their profits and market share by charging more for individual books, like raising the price of the 100,000+-units-per-month Batman from $2.99 to $3.99 or $4.99, they're just going to ship it (and many other books), twice a month.

That makes sense from a business standpoint, and it positively delights my wallet. As for how it will work creatively, well, DC's going to need to be very smart, as it will likely take twice as many artists to make those books. It's early, but it seems like in many cases they've found two very compatible artists (Patrick Gleason and Doug Mahnke on Superman, for example), or tried to build in a strategy for differing artists (publishing two story arcs simultaneously in Wonder Woman, for example, with two artists switching consecutive issues, each tied to a specific story arc). It will be very easy for the publisher to fuck this up, and the resultant books looking as messy as their weekly comics often do, but here's hoping they've learned enough to plan well ahead.

The strategy seems to split the difference between that of "The New 52" (52 new books by the same guys making the pre-Flashpoint books, all designed and drawn to fall within a Jim Lee-defined "house style") and the "DCYou" (more diverse leading characters, more diverse tone and art styles, more new creators), and it's certainly tempting to give DC the benefit of the doubt, to assume they've learned from their mistakes with their last two efforts at line-wide revamp and that they are really, truly, totally going to get this one right, and that the results will satisfy both their sales goals and the audience's desire to read well-written, well-drawn comic books starring DC's superheroes.

Looking over the titles and creators once again, I'm a little surprised to see some of them. Surely the market has spoken on whether, and how badly, it wants to read comics starring Deathstroke (he's had two titles since 2011, the first lasting 21 issues, the second and ongoing one lasting 16 so far), John Constantine (<i>Constantine</i> lasted 23 issues, was replaced by <i>Constantine: The Hellblazer</i>) and Red Hood Jason Todd (<i>Red Hood and The Outlaws</i> lasted 41 issues, then was relaunched as <I>Red Hood/Arsenal</i>) , hasn't it? Other books seem to have been rejected by DC readers pretty thoroughly in recent years based solely on their creative team turn-over, low sales and reboots–Green Arrow, Teen Titans–but hell, at least they have ongoing multi-media adaptations to justify their continued existence. Constantine already had a movie and a TV show, and neither took. Maybe it's time to retire him for a few years?

I was also a little surprised to see Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens so prominently featured again. Both have done some great work in the past, and are generally reliable talents, but they have each had so many credits over the past four years, and their books keep failing. I'm sure they're nice guys, and I don't want to see them unemployed or anything, but it seems like maybe DC could find someone else to work on Superman and Blue Beetle at this point...?

They are just two of the many, many returning names. Dan Abnett, Brett Booth, Tony Daniel, Scott Snyder, James Tynion, David Finch, Patrick Gleason, Bryan Hitch, Eddy Barrows, Mikel Janin, Tom King, Scott Lobdell, Tim Seeley, Doug Mahnke, Francis Manapul, Clay Mann, John Romita Jr., Gene Luen Yang, Steve Orlando, Ardian Syaf, Dexter Soy, Peter Tomasi, and Robert Venditti are among the creators who will be returning, although many of them will be on different books.

Long-absent creators returning to DC include Greg Rucka, Phil Jimenez, Christopher Priest (!!!), and among the new and most surprising gets is probably cartoonist Hope Larson, who will be the new writer of Batgirl.

That surprised me not only because Larson's work is very personal, very idiosyncratic and doesn't exactly suggest someone perfect for superhero universe comics (now a Batgirl original graphic novel written and drawn by Larson? I'd be trembling with excitement about such a prosepect!), but because the Batgirl creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr did perhaps the platonic ideal of a character redesign/reboot/refresh in the pages of Batgirl, giving her a new costume, new supporting characters, a new setting and a new focus, and they did so organically, between "The New 52" and "DCYou" initiatives.

I would have expected to see them continuing on Batgirl, or perhaps moving to a related book like the upcoming Batgirl and The Birds of Prey or Supergirl (Good news: DC is finally fucking publishing a Supergirl comic). Instead, they're completely absent.

In fact, many of my favorite artists and writers that are currently or have been recently working on DC Comics weren't mentioned at all in the solicitations, including Tarr, Stewart, Fletcher, Doctor Fate artist Sonny Liew (Hey, check out his The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye ogn from Pantheon), Black Canary artist Annie Wu, Swamp Thing artist Kelley Jones and All-Star Section Eight artist John McCrea.

While the books themselves are mostly rather conservative in their choices–a lot of Bats, a lot of Supers, a lot of names familiar from film, TV and cartoons, zero WildStorm characters and only one Vertigo import*–there are at least a few oddballs. I'm genuinely surprised to see the Yang-written New Superman, for example, or the Jimemez-written Supermwoman and, most of all, The Super-Sons, featuring Damian Wayne and Superman and Lois' son Johnathan (from Superman: Lois & Clark, not their adoptive son from The Phantom Zone).

Not all of these books are launching in June, of course. That's another rather smart thing DC is attempting this time around. Rather than releasing their entire new line avalanche style in a single month, the publisher is staggering the releases, making it easier for shop owners and readers to sample the books a few at a time, rather than feeling forced to decide if they really want to read Action Comics, Superman, New Superman, Supergirl, Superwoman and The Super-Sons all within the same month, for example.

While this all looks pretty hopeful on paper (or computer screen, I guess), the one thing casting a shadow over the entire endeavor is the fact that this is still very much a Dan DiDio, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns joint and, well, those are the same guys who have been in charge of the DC Universe as a fictional setting and a line of comic books for about a decade now. The guys presenting "Rebirth" are the guys who presented "DCYou," and The New 52, and the Countdown/Infinite Crisis/52/"One Year Later" cycle of stories.

In each case, DiDio and other DC executives, editors and creators would say the equivalent of "We realized this wasn't working the way we wanted to, and so we've proposed this fix," and then, a few months later, they same the same thing, but this time the fix is different, or in the opposite direction of the previous fix, and then again. And again.

Basically, the guys who see problems with DC's line keep screwing with it dramatically, and then, realizing they've screwed with it too dramatically, try to correct course and over-correct in the process, and then over-correct again.

It's a little like riding a bus in which the driver is lost, but keeps thinking he's found the right path and assuring you this time you're going to get where you're going, only to realize a few hours later he needs to turn around and go back in the opposite direction. Man, just pull over and call for help. Someone will come find you and get you on the right path. (Wait, is this metaphor even working?) Or maybe confess, "Hey, I have no idea where I'm going; maybe someone else should drive for a while?

But enough about DC's "Rebirth" in general. Let's refocus on the first of the "Rebirth" books, those that will be coming out in June of this year.

Shall we...?

Written by DAN JURGENS
“PATH TO DOOM” Chapter One
Superman returns to Metropolis just in time to meet the city of tomorrow’s newest protector: Lex Luthor. But it’s not long before these dueling titans meet someone unexpected — the new Clark Kent!
DON’T MISS: ACTION COMICS returns to its original numbering with this issue!
On sale JUNE 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Not only do we get Jurgens writing Superman yet again, but we'll be getting Jurgens writing Superman vs. Doomsday. If the title of this issue's story isn't a strong enough clue, Doomsday is explicitly mentioned in the solicitation copy for Action Comics #958 (this being one of the book's shipping twice a month now), and is also on the cover.

As my friend pointed out, the woman on the right half of the cover–Lois Lane, presumably–was apparently modeled by cover artist Mikel Janin to look just like Claire Forlani.

But let's not let wondering who Janin used for photo reference distract us from the costume tweaking. Superman is no longer wearing a dumb suit of armor, and his S-shield looks like it's been restored to its classic size.

He's still going around shorts-less though, and seemingly wearing a Man of Steel-esque half girdle...thing...? More dramatically though, check out his boots. They're blue! That's different. Very, very different. I don't think I've ever seen Superman rocking blue boots anywhere before.

Less dramatically, Wonder Woman's "W" is gold/yellow rather than silver/metallic, so it looks like she's regained her traditional color scheme. At least on this cover.

As for Luthor's new duds, we'll discuss those a bit below.

I'm not interested in the new Aquaman book at all, despite really liking Aquaman in general, but look, it's Garth/Tempest! And it looks like he'll be wearing an outfit that is at least approaching the general direction of the one that he wore as Aqualad in the Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! cartoons, which I think is his best costume (and overall design).

Art and cover by MIKEL JANIN
Variant cover by TBD
Longtime Batman and Eisner Award-winning writer Scott Snyder co-writes with rising-star writer Tom King!
EVIL 365: Gotham City faces the threat of the Calendar Man!
One-shot • On sale JUNE 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

I plan on sitting out the new Batman series, which will feature artwork by–ugh–David Finch*, but I'll probably check out this Finch-less issue, if only because of the villain. Here's hoping the Rebirth-ed Calendar Man is 365-times cooler than the New 52 one was!

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
It all begins here. Do not skip to the last page. Do not let a friend or message board ruin this comic for you. The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
THEY SAID IT: “Rebirth is about focusing in on the core of the character and their respective universe,” says writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. “It brings back what has been lost: the legacy of the characters, the love and the hope of the DCU!”
One-shot • On sale MAY 25 • 80 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Check out that price point. While there will likely be ads in this book, meaning this is not quite an 80-Page Giant, that's still a pretty good deal on a book of that size. Even those insanely cheap, "Why Marvel Doing This? Oh, Just To Screw With DC" books that Marvel will be publishing in June under the "Timely Comics" banner will only feature 60-66 pages worth of story in them.

I honestly have no idea how DC brings back it's past after the events of Flashpoint/The New 52, although I'm guessing re-integrating the JSA and lengthening the "age" of the DCU's modern age of superheroes back to 10-12 rather than 5-7 years will do a lot of it. How that gets accomplished, I don't know, but I do hope Johns finally resolves the hows and whys of the reboot in the first place, since Pandora's harnessing of The Flash's speed and time-travel shenanigans to create The New 52-iverse out of the post-Crisis DCU, the WildStorm Universe and the Veritgo-iverse has never been explained. At least, not to my knowledge.

In these 1980s tales from THE DARING NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL #1-12, Supergirl relocates from Metropolis to Chicago—and meets evil in new forms, including the villainous Psi! Plus, while battling the evil foursome known as the Gang, Kara stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens all of her new hometown! Guest-starring the Doom Patrol!
On sale JULY 13 • 208 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Well this collection seems to be over a year late, but I suppose if anyone excited about the charming TV show who wanted to read comics about Supergirl when i first came out still want to read not-awful comics featuring the character come July, then they'll have this to look forward to.

I've never actually read any of these comics, but it's got Carmine Infantino art, so i can't be that bad. It still kind of depresses me how far back one has to look for comic books featuring a Supegirl who is simply Superman's cousin from Krypton rather than all of the later nonsense (These are, after all, like 30 years old).

With the life of his daughter Rose hanging in the balance, Slade Wilson is forced into a tense alliance with Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins. And before he can carry out his vendetta against Victor Ruiz and his mercenary army, Slade must first engage in a violent rematch with his latest deadly foes, Lawman and Snakebite. Can Deathstroke survive this all-out “Blood Feud”?
On sale JUNE 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

Woah, woah, woah...Lawman is one of Deathstroke's deadly foes? This guy?
I had no idea!

Written by GARTH ENNIS
Cover by JOHN McCREA
The Demon is back for more violent, over-the-top adventures in this collection, featuring never-before-reprinted stories, which feature the unexpected return of Merlin, who warns Jason Blood of Etrigan’s demonic offspring! Then, The Demon and Jason Blood trick Captain Scumm into selling something he can never get back. And don’t miss appearances by Hitman! Collects THE DEMON #49-58.
On sale JULY 27 • 272 pg, FC, $19.99 US

I'm really glad to see this being solicited. I just read the first volume a few weeks ago, and it was great. I had previously read much of the first volume in different formats previously–single issues scored from back-issue bins, in that one Hitman trade–but it was nice to be able to just sit and read then all straight through between a single set of covers like that.

An unknown predator begins outdoing Batman, taking down dangerous threats with military precision. It’s up to the Dark Knight and series costar Batwoman to rally and train the young heroes of Gotham City to end this mysterious threat!
WHAT NOW: Batman and Batwoman begin training Spoiler, Red Robin and Cassandra Cain, but is the villainous Clayface ready for redemption?
On sale JUNE 8 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

First things first, let us take a moment and say a prayer of thanks that Red Robin Tim Drake is no longer wearing The Worst Costume of The New 52, which has been hurting my eyes and wearying my soul for well over four years now.

I'm a little surprised to see that he's going back to wearing a costume that looks so similar to the original Robin costume he wore, however, particularly given the fact that he's still using the name "Red Robin" and the fact that in The New 52 reboot, Tim Drake was supposedly never Robin, but took the Red Robin name from his first day on the job, so as to distinguish himself from Dick and Jason.

If they were going to keep Tim as Red Robin, than I assumed he would end up wearing a version of his original costume that was all red and black, perhaps hewing closer to the Robin costume designs on the Young Justice cartoon, or like that worn by Tim Drake in Batman: The Animated Series, when he replaced Dick Grayson as that Batman's second Robin.

I know I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but, well, I clicked on Barrows' cover for 'TEC #934 for a closer look at the costumes and that's when I saw it: Tim's new costume has double R's, for "Red Robin."


Look, I don't want to keep complaining about Tim Drake's costumes, particularly since this one is so much better than his last one, but here's a good rule of thumb for how many letters a superhero should have on their chest.

The best superheroes have one letter.
Dave Bullock

The worst have two or more.
Alan Davis

Surely you don't want to be known as the Geo-Force of Robins, do you Tim?

Also, look at Cassandra Cain! She's basically wearing what she wore in the pages of Batman & Robin Eternal, but with a completely unnecessary helmet covering her entire head. And it doesn't even have bat-ears on it!

I'm hoping that she'll become Black Bat, and get a costume closer to that one, in the very near future.

I'm not sure how I feel about this particular book.

On the one hand, I like the idea of Gotham's many teen vigilantes all functioning as a team, and it's something I know I've wondered aloud about a few times, particularly when discussing Batman Eternal, Batman & Robin Eternal, Batgirl and Convergence: Batgirl. And I like James Tynion as a writer okay. I'd say most of his comics that I've read have been pretty okay, and some of the ones that disappoint tend to do so not because of a failure at the craft level so much as my wanting them to be more ambitious or, on a purely fannish level, to align more closely with my own particular visions about the characters (see Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

But, on the other hand, I do not Care for Eddy Barrows' art at all. His work on the current Martian Manhunter book has been the best of his career, but man, I think back to his work on Teen Titans and shudder. (Actually, take a close look at that cover, again, and you can see some of the problems with Barrows' work. This is just a cover, meaning he's not called on to do any real storytelling, at least, not in sequential images, and it's still a mess. Spoiler just kind of out their in the middle of nowhere, the characters all hiding their hard-to-draw feet in obvious ways, Tim's bizarre pose...)

If Barrows is going to stick around long, maybe this will end up being a wait-to-borrow-the-trade-from-the-library book (Better artists for this book, choosing only from artists that DC has hired to draw some of these characters recently? David LaFuente, Scott McDaniel, Bengal, Babs Tarr, James Harvey, Khary Randolph. Alain Mauricet, Moritat)

You know who is noticeably absent from that cover though? Harper "Bluebird" Row, who partnered with Tim throughout Batman Eternal, has been living with Spoiler since the end of that series and has recently been sharing an adventure with Cassandra in Batman & Robin Eternal. I sure hope this doesn't mean she's being killed off, or erased from continuity**...

Similar, Duke Thomas seems like a natural character to appear in this title, although I suppose it's possible he will give up Robin-ing after the events of We Are Robin.

Written by PAUL LEVITZ
From a windowless tower in Salem, Massachusetts, a man who is familiar with Doctor Fate, Kent Nelson, smells trouble coming. But will he be able to properly teach the former medical student and current possessor of the mystical power, Khalid Nassour, how to truly be Doctor Fate before all New York City is aflame?
On sale JUNE 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The sole reason I was reading this title, at least for the first six or seven issues, was because Sonny Liew is such a great artist. Here, it seems they have subtracted even that from the book, and Liew is providing neither interior art nor the cover. I can't imagine this issue will prove all that popular, then, but I also imagine it's on it's way out, along with most of the other books that aren't part of "Rebirth," so that it hardly matters.

What went wrong? Well, my guesses would be...

1.) Overall mediocrity. It was fine, but not spectacular, an with so many superhero books on the stands these days, being "fine" isn't that far removed from being not-worth-reading.

2.) The lead. It was a Doctor Fate book, not a Batman or Spider-Man book, so there was always going to be a bit of an uphill climb for it.

3.) The pacing. Paul Levitz wrote this like it was Ultimate Spider-Man, rather than a brand-new(-ish) character, taking over half a year to tell us the character's origin story and set up his first complete adventure. It's 2016, so "decompression" isn't the fresh, new thing it was in 2000, and, again, people are less likely to be patient with Doctor Fate than thy are with Spider-Man.

4.) The New 52. With DC's first-generation of supeheroes (and most of their third and fourth) wiped from continuity, there was no Doctor Fate in the shared-setting...except the alternate dimensional version that starred in the Earth 2 books, which were garbage. This then was a legacy character whose legacy no longer existed. I'm sure there are some ardent Doctor Fate fans in the world, just as I'm sure that many of them wouldn't be on board for a new series featuring a new character with no relation to the no-longer-extant version. (Although, based on this solicitation copy, I guess Levitz is introducing New 52 Kent Nelson...?

Written by JEFF PARKER
Art and cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER
Still reeling from their encounter with the ghost from outer space, Jonny and Hadji reach the wreckage of the vessel that burst through the vortex. The ship’s sole survivor doesn’t remember what she was fleeing, or even her own name…but she does know her pet is called Blip. Plus: journey to Earth’s past, 45,000 years ago—and witness the birth of the world’s first fantastic hero: Mightor!
On sale JUNE 29 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

From creative team to premise, this looks like it's set to be the Hanna-Barbera remix comic best positioned to be both high-quality and high-selling. While some of the others may have a "What the fuck?" factor in their favor, this one is more likely to elicit an "Oh cool!"

I'm still not interested in reading Green Arrow, but I wanted to point out the important change to the character that is part of "Rebirth": Oliver Queen has his little beard back!


You know, now that I think about it, I wish they would have just gone ahead and entitled this book Green Arrow's Beard's Rebirth.

Hey, take a close look at who GA and Black Canary are fighting on that cover. It's Wild Dog...s. Is DC rebirth-ing Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty's late-1980s vigilante character as some kind of street gang or something? Boo!

“RED PLANET” Chapter One
New Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz promised to protect others in brightest day or blackest night, but as “Red Planet” begins to rise, the partners find themselves confronted with an unimaginable threat from Bleez and the Red Lanterns!
THEY SAID IT: “I am psyched for GREEN LANTERNS!” says writer Sam Humphries. “Myself, Simon, and Jessica are all new to the DC Universe. We’re gonna have a blast exploring it—if we don’t destroy it first.”
On sale JUNE 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

While I'm in no hurry to spend more time with the napalm blood vomitting Red Lanterns than I already have, I'm really glad to see the return of Green Lantern Simon Baz, one of actually new characters of the New 52 that showed a great deal of potential, and whom I grew to actually like quite a bit, despite the way DC initially introduced the character (In fact, while reading about him in Green Lantern, after a while I kind of wanted he and B'dg to take over the book and let Hal Jordan leave when Geoff Johns did).

Also, it looks like Power Ring Jessica Cruz, who Johns has been using in his Justice League, will trade in the evil power ring from Earth-3 for an actual Green Lantern ring, becoming Earth's sixth or seventh Green Lantern, but its first female Green Lantern.

So that's cool.

Sam Humphries is a really good "get" for DC too.

Harley’s been to some very strange places in her bizarre life…but an alternate-reality time-travel trip is a new one even for her! Somehow, some way, Harley’s managed to find herself in the world of the Bombshells, a universe where female heroes have taken to the battlefield of World War II! And most unbelievably of all…she’s gonna meet herself?! Our heads hurt already.
On sale JUNE 22 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T+

DC's been increasingly in the habit of making the settings of particular Elseworlds or out-of-continuity stories visit-able worlds or places in their Multiverse, so I guess it's no real surprise that the Bombshell-iverse would interact with the DCU at some point. I am a little surprised that it happened so quickly, though, and that it would be happening in this particular book. Bombshell Harley has had a relatively minor role in the series so far.

I would love to see Conner draw this issue, just so we can see her takes on the various characters. She's an excellent pin-up artist, and the fact that the characters are all based on vintage girlie pin-ups would certainly play to Conner's strengths. Sadly, she's just doing the cover.

The initial "Rebirth" announcement featured a book called "The Super-Man," which has since been changed to New Superman. When I first heard the original title, I immediately connected it to this cover, which was already solicited for May release, and assumed that The Super-Man would be a new book starring Lex Luthor, seeing as how he has the look (bald) and moral alignment (bad) that Joel Siegel's first conception of a super-powered character he called The Super-Man had.

Written by BRYAN HITCH
Green Lantern’s ring has been hacked! Someone has a personal vendetta against the League, attacking them where they are the most vulnerable!
On sale JUNE 22 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Written by BRYAN HITCH
The vendetta of the League’s newest enemy puts them through the ultimate test by releasing the DCU’s most dangerous super-villains from prison!
On sale JUNE 29 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

This may have already happened–I know there was a random Martian Manhunter solo story slotted in to fill a late-shipping issue of this book already–but I see that the title sold as Bryan Hitch writing and drawing the Justice League is now just Hitch witing the Justice League while someone else draws it for him.


I noticed that in this week's DC comics there was a house ad for this series calling it "A Fresh New Take On Scooby And The Gang For A New Generation," but I'm pretty sure this is a fresh new take on Scooby and the gang for the old generations. The new generation seems quite content to rewatch the original Scooby cartoons on TV and on DVD, along with all of the original movies based on the original show's formula, designs and characterizations, and the new shows like Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo (Both of which are excellent, by the way).

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
The world needs a Man of Steel, but can Superman protect the world while raising a super-son with his wife, Lois Lane?
IT BEGINS: Now it's Clark's turn to be Pa Kent and teach his son what it means to be super, but who is hunting Superman's son—and why?
One-shot • On sale JUNE 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

No complaints about this particular creative team. Tomasi is a very good writer. And while he's written a few bad issues, he's got more good comics to his name than bad ones. Dough Mahnke is an excellent artist, who has been drawing Superman in various capacities for years, and has worked with Tomasi before.

This isn't the superstar team that was Gene Luen Yang and John Romita Jr., or even Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, but that's a fine creative team for any DC Comic.

Reading the solicit, it looks like this Superman is the one from the pages of Superman: Lois and Clark, which was the pre-Flashpoint one from the pages of Convergence, aged by 5-6 years.

I would guess the two Supermen (that guy, and the New 52 Superman) will somehow merge into a single character, but that's just a guess. Either way, this is a big, dramatic lurch in the opposite direction of The New 52 reboot of the character, that wanted to make him a younger character; this Superman would be even older, or at least, by comics publisher/editor standards, "feel" much older.

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
The Last Son of Krypton must decide whether to help his young son use his new and rapidly increasing abilities, or hide them from the world.
THE CREATORS: The team supreme that brought fans the adventures of Damian Wayne in BATMAN AND ROBIN returns for the adventures of Superman and his offspring.
On sale JUNE 15 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Like most of the titles shipping twice a month, this one will need two artists to stay on schedule. And Doug Mahnke is being paired with Patrick Gleason, which is about as good a fit as you could hope for, in terms of pairing two artists with stylistic similarities.

Written by LEN WEIN
Art and cover by KELLEY JONES
The stunning conclusion to Len Wein and Kelley Jones’ smash-hit miniseries! The fate of his home hinges on Alec Holland and his allies as shocking information is revealed about his friend-turned-foe Matt Cable.
On sale JUNE 1 • 32 pg, FC, 6 of 6, $2.99 US • RATED T

Wait, this has been a "smash-hit" miniseries...? Really? Awesome! Does that mean we'll be getting some more Len Wein/Kelley Jones Swamp Thing comics? Or at least some Kelley Jones Swamp Thing comics? Or even just Kelley Jones-drawing-anything comics? Because I am on board with any of those options.

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art and cover by ANDY MACDONALD
After months on the run from the twisted project that created them, Cyborg, Terra, Beast Boy and Garth are near their breaking point, barely surviving on what they can steal, squatting in the ruins of an abandoned subdivision. But as they reach their lowest ebb, their creator, Dr. Niles Caulder, is ready to make his move…and they’re about to learn that they weren’t the only kids to go through Caulder’s twisted process! There are more children with powers out there, and unlike our heroes, they were raised for only one purpose—to be the living weapons Caulder wants ALL his Titans to be!
Writer Jeff Lemire (GREEN ARROW, ANIMAL MAN) teams up with artist Andy MacDonald (THE NEW 52: FUTURES’ END) to deliver the next chapter in the Earth One series!
On sale AUGUST 10 • 144 pg, FC, $22.99 US

I'm tempted to say that it seems like it's been an extraordinarily long time since Teen Titans: Earth One Vol. 1 was published, but the space between volumes of DC's various Earth One series is generally a lot longer than their page counts would seem to indicate, perhaps because their chapters aren't published serially, and so their aren't as many regular deadlines to hit.

I do believe this is the first time that the artist changed between books on an Earth One series, though. Terry and Rachel Dodson drew the first volume of Teen Titans: Earth One.

Written by KEN PONTAC
Art and cover by LEONARDO MANCO
The world has ended, but the race has just begun! Penelope Pitstop, Peter Perfect and the rest of the Wacky Racers vie for the finish line in a contest where the winner takes all and second place is death. Today’s trial: the shattered maze of freeways known as the √úberpass, where they’re beset by giant sand beasts, mutated insects, and worst of all, Dick Dastardly’s murderously poor sportsmanship. The last thing they need after surviving the race is a brutal bar fight in a local dive, but that’s just what they get!.
On sale JUNE 8 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

That's it...drink it in. I get the feeling that "Wacky Races reimagined as Mad Max" is a premise that sounds a lot more entertaining than reading a comic book series based on that premise might be, but why not?

Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by LIAM SHARP
“THE LIES” Chapter One
Why has the Lasso of Truth stopped working for the Amazon Princess? Start down the rabbit hole as dark secrets from Wonder Woman’s past unravel her present!
THEY SAID IT: “Drawing Wonder Woman isn’t just drawing a comic, it’s drawing an icon—the most famous and recognizable female superhero in the world,” exclaims artist Liam Sharp. “To get to draw her in her 75th year, with a new storyline scribed by no less than Greg Rucka, makes this without a doubt the most important drawing gig of my 30 years in comics.”
On sale JUNE 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Uh-oh. It looks like Wondy's changed into her Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice costume. That doesn't necessarily bode well, nor does the suggestive copy that her magic lasso has "stopped working" (So? She mostly just uses it garrote people these days anyway, preferring the phallic, deadly sword to her peaceful weapon of capture and submission) and "dark secrets."

That said, look! Look, everyone! DC has assigned their Wonder Woman book to a readable creative team! Hooray!

I'm intrigued by the presence of Liam Sharp, an excellent artist whose style and resume don't exactly suggest him as an obvious choice for a DC superhero comic, and I've rather mixed feelings about the presence of Greg Rucka.

Part of me thinks he's already had his chance to write Wonder Woman, and while his take on the character and his world might not have been to everyone's tastes, he did an all-together fine job, at least up until the end of his run, when the book and the character became swept up in some of the sillier plot elements of Infinite Crisis. While I'd like to see new creators with new takes on Wonder Woman, I can definitely appreciate the logic of having a known quantity on the book (For example, I can look at this solicitation and know that I'll like this comic okay enough to add it to my pull-list, rather than having to try it out), and for DC wanting to make up for the presence of David and Meredith Finch on the book for the past...however long it's been.

Rucka on Wonder Woman almost seems like an apology to fans of the book. Sorry about the Finches and Brian Azzarello's weird mangling of Wonder Woman's back-story, guys; what can we do to make it up to you? You liked Greg Rucka's run, you say? Done.

I feel like Greg Rucka on Wonder Woman again is a little like DC guiltily buying us ice cream. But that's fine. I like ice cream.

*The actual solicitation copy for the first issue of the new Batman series reads "Superstar artist David Finch returns to the Dark Knight alongside writer Tom King for this five-part storyline," so I suppose it's possible that Finch will only be around for that first story arc, and then perhaps they'll assign the book to someone who can draw comic books well.

**Neither seems to be the case. I've since read Batman & Robin Eternal #26, the last issue in the series, and it explains why Harper's not hanging out with her friends on the cover Detective. And why Cassandra Cain's dumb new costume lacks bat-ears


Jer said...

I absolutely do not understand what DC is doing with Superman.

This is a sentence that I've probably said dozens of times since 2011, but they continue to baffle me. As far as I'm concerned the entire reason that the New 52 needed to be a reboot rather than a relaunch was because Didio et al decided that Superman's marriage needed to be ended and it couldn't end in divorce or the death of Lois. They couldn't figure out a way to do it so they broke their universe and put it back together (in an even shoddier reboot than the aftermath of Crisis, but whatever).

Then the New 52 version of Superman kind of flailed. I enjoyed Morrison's Year One origin of Superman in Action Comics, but there was literally nothing he did there that couldn't have been done as a retcon continuity implant along the lines of Waid's Birthright or Johns's Secret Origin. The rest of the reboot for Superman was not thought out at all - the main Superman book had initial stories that were fairly standard Superman stories that could have been written without a reboot. And then Scott Lobdell took over. In fact the only stories I can think of during the New 52 run that couldn't have been written pre-reboot would have been the "Superman and Wonder Woman Are A Couple" stories. Is it possible that DC had to break their universe so that they could write Wonder Couple stories? (Honestly again - making those stories set in Superman's younger past would have worked equally well for the Wonder Woman/Superman fans out there).

And now they're bringing back Married Superman. I don't get it. I mean, I'm happy to see something resembling "my" Superman back (though "my" Superman has been mostly gone since Alan Moore wrote his last story back in 1986, the post-Byrne Superman eventually ended up as a reasonable facsimile), but I still do not understand anything about their direction for Superman. It's just so odd. (Is it because the movies have now solidified that Clark and Lois are a team and are destined to be together? If so then I'll have to grudgingly give Snyder some credit - that part of Man of Steel was one of the few things I liked about that movie.)

SallyP said...

Greg Ruck on Wonder Woman will definitely get me reading it again. And huzzah for having Clark and Lois back together again.

I am just hoping that there will still be a Green Lantern Corps, because I could not care less about Simon Baez or Jessica Whatshername.

Mike said...

"I do believe this is the first time that the artist changed between books on an Earth One series, though. Terry and Rachel Dodson drew the first volume of Teen Titans: Earth One."

Actually, Shane Davis only did two of the three Superman: Earth One books.

As for Wonder Woman, I'd really like to see Rucka keep Diana as a demigod, rather than going back to the born of clay origin. It made her more interesting to me. (In fact the Azzarello/Chiang run was the longest I'd collected WW in my almost-45 years of buying comics.

David Charles Bitterbaum said...

"...since Pandora's harnessing of The Flash's speed and time-travel shenanigans to create The New 52-iverse out of the post-Crisis DCU, the WildStorm Universe and the Veritgo-iverse has never been explained. At least, not to my knowledge."

They NEVER explained it, I believe. They basically dropped that whole plot-point like a bag of rocks to the bottom of the ocean, never to be seen again.