Monday, May 22, 2017

DC's August previews reviewed

So, what kind of axes do you think those are that Batman is holding on the cover of Dark Days: Metal #1...? Me, I'm guessing they are BATtle axes.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

So DC released their solicitations for the comics they plan to publish in August. For the complete listings, I guess you can go to, even though they don't pay me to write for them anymore. For commentary and more jokes like the one above, but maybe not as funny, you can simply read on...

Written by ROB WILLIAMS • Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH • Variant cover by MIKEL JANIN
“EVE OF DESTRUCTION” part one! Superman finds himself side by side with Lex Luthor once more, but is his former foe truly committed to being a hero, or is it just a ruse to gain the Man of Steel’s trust? As world events point to something dark on the horizon, the mysterious Mr. Oz makes his final move against the Man of Tomorrow.
On sale AUGUST 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Written by ROB WILLIAMS • Art and cover by GUILLEM MARCH • Variant cover by MIKEL JANIN
“EVE OF DESTRUCTION” part two! The inhumanities of Earth put even Superman’s trust to the test as he and Lex Luthor begin to see a pattern emerging that points to Mr. Oz and his agents. When Lex confronts Mr. Oz alone, one walks away changed forever.
On sale AUGUST 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

I think DC's recent comics have been far too Guillem March-less of late, so I'm glad to see he's getting the opportunity to do a big story for one of the publisher's bigger books, even if I don't think a Superman comic is the most natural fit for his particular design and rendering skills (Dude is so good at drawing Batman, and he draws some of the best gargoyles! He'd also be pretty great on the cheesecake-fueled fan-fiction-as-alternative history DC Comics Bombshells, but his style is so different than everyone who has previously drawn that title that it would result in some seriously severe whiplash).

Of course, when I say this is a "big" story, I mean relative to, like, most of the other stuff being solicited for this month. It features Mr. Oz, anyway, which seems to indicate that this will be the next in the Bataan death march towards The Doomsday Clock, and the inevitable re-reboot of DC Continuity.

I kinda hope this is where they finally reveal who the hell Mr. Oz is and what his whole deal is. The obvious answer, Ozymandius, seems so obvious as to be too obvious (and it wouldn't explain his eschewing purple and/or gold in favor of green), so I can't help but imagine it's someone non-Watchmen related, and then give up in frustration when trying to think of who it might be.

Written by HOPE LARSON • Art by CHRIS WILDGOOSE • Cover by DAN MORA • Variant cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
“SUMMER OF LIES” part one! Batgirl and Nightwing’s feelings for each other have always run deep…but is their bond built on more than Bat Family loyalty and a long-ago childhood crush? When an old villain comes back into Babs’ life, she and Dick will have to reopen painful wounds and remember a time they’d hoped would remain forgotten. This is an event no Batgirl or Nightwing fan will want to miss!
On sale AUGUST 23 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Among the many things I can't wait for a Doomsday Clock-related reboot to wipe away? Poor Dick Grayson's dumb-ass post-Flashpoint Robin costume.

Written by TOM KING • Art and cover by MIKEL JANIN • Variant cover by TIM SALE
“THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES” part four! War is hell. Unless it’s in Gotham City, where it’s so much worse. The clash between The Joker and the Riddler continues to escalate, with the rest of the city’s villains picking sides and joining in. In the midst of the battle, Batman must try to save whoever he can while knowing he will forever be haunted by those he can’t.
On sale AUGUST 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Written by TOM KING • Art and cover by MIKEL JANIN • Variant covers by TIM SALE
“THE WAR OF JOKES AND RIDDLES” part five! Batman has done his best to keep the peace, but with neither faction backing down, he may have to choose the lesser of two evils if he wants the violence to end. Will Batman embrace the murderous anarchy of The Joker or the bloody fascism of the Riddler? If he wants to win, he’ll have to choose a side—and either way, he loses.
On sale AUGUST 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Scott Snyder has done a pretty good job of elevating The Riddler into a truly menacing threat to Batman during the course of his run on the character, but he hasn't done so thorough a job that The Riddler seems to be in The Joker's weight-class to me. Ra's al Ghul? Bane? Two-Face? Maybe even The Penguin or, of late, The Scarecrow? They seem like legitimate rivals to The Joker, but I just can't quite picture The Riddler posing a threat to Batman's archenemy. I guess that is one of the functions of this story, though, and I am rather eager to see what King does with it...especially since he'll be working with his "I Am Suicide" artistic partner, rather than his "I Am Gotham" or "I Am Bane" partner.

I've been reading Batman in single issues ever since the "Rebirth" relaunch and renumbering, but I've got to say, knowing Tim Sale is doing variants and that this arc will feature a huge swathe of Batman's rogues gallery really rather makes me wish I was trade-waiting Batman. Sale's versions of many of these characters are among my favorites, and I like his designs of all of them...

Shilo Norman has taken up the mantle of Mister Miracle, following the example of Scott Free by cheating death on a daily basis. But when he pushes himself to the limit, the Black Racer comes calling. Now Shilo is literally running from death itself and a cosmic chase leads both target and hunter across the universe. Also featuring a Fourth-World era reprint!
ONE-SHOT • On sale AUGUST 30 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

This is one of several specials featuring Kirby-created characters that is solicited for August, all of which look to be somewhere between rather dreadful and quite promising, depending on the creative teams involved (this looks closer to promising than dreadful, in my estimation; I mean, it's hard not to enjoy anything that Cowan and Sienkiewicz draw). The idea seems to be a continuity-free (or at least continuity-lite) comic by top talent (and/or Dan DiDio) paired with a reprint of a classic Kirby comic. I'm curious if this will continue into the fall, as there are a handful of Kirby characters that I might have expected to get their own specials that didn't.

Anyway, this one is former Black Panther writer Reginald Hudlin (whose run I managed to read more of than that of Ta'nehesi Coates'!) and the aforementioned Cowan and Sienkiewicz. It also features two of the most prominent black characters Kirby created while working for DC, and it never really occurred to me until just now that it was Jack Kirby that created some of the publisher's earlier black super-people (Black Lightning debuted in 1977, while Norman appeared in 1973 and The Black Racer in 1971).

At last, DC collects Catwoman’s 1990s adventures! Gotham City’s Feline Fatale has turned a new leaf as she faces off with Bane, takes on thugs and includes Knightquest, Knightsend and Zero Hour crossovers!
Collects Catwoman #0-14.
On sale SEPTEMBER 6 • 328 pg, FC, $29.99 US

Ha ha, I was wondering if and when DC would start collecting this series, given how much attention they have paid to various Batman-related books of the '90s recently.

Say what you will about Balent's rendering of the female form in the pages of Catwoman, the man could draw, and I remember him doing a pretty great Batman. And Robin. And Azrael as Batman. And Two-Face. And Scarecrow. He also displayed a rather remarkable stick-to-it-ivness that was rather rare for an Big Two artist back then, and only more so now. I haven't seen much of Balent's post-Catwoman artwork, aside from what Chris Sims used to post on his Invincible Super-Blog to make fun of, but I don't really care for his current style as much as his Catwoman-era art, some of which might be attributable to his having worked with some truly great inkers back then, and some of which is due to the fact that I just prefer the way they used to make comics back then, when computers were less omnipresent.

I personally didn't care for this initial chunk of the what would end up ultimately being an eight-year, 96-issue series...which Balent stuck around for the first 77-issues of. Of the issues included in this trade, Duffy wrote the first fourteen, while Doug Moench wrote the #0 issue. I think the strongest runs on this particular book were those written by Chuck Dixon and, later and especially, Devin Grayson. As Dixon comes on with issue #15, I suspect the second volume of this will be a bit more enjoyable than this first one for most Batman and/or Catwoman fans, but, in the mean time, here's about 330-pages of Balent's Catwoman, including encounters with the Jean-Paul Valley version of Batman.

In this final issue, will Power Girl join Faora in creating a new Krypton? When given the chance to avenge her family on Hugo Strange, will Lois Lane take the shot? Then, find out which side Lex Luthor has truly been on, and what this means for the future of the Bombshells!
Watch for the return of the Bombshells in an all-new series coming soon!
On sale AUGUST 16 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T • DIGITAL FIRST

What? "Final issue"...? Nooooooooooooooooooooo-- Oh, wait. I didn't read far enough. There's an "all-new series" coming soon. Well, hopefully they just keep on keeping on, only with a new #1, as there's relatively little I would change about the series, and that which I would might not be feasible if they want to keep their current publishing schedule. That is, I'd rather it be drawn by a single artist, rather than changing artists every ten pages or so.

Well, I'd change that, and I'd definitely put President Eleanor Roosevelt on-panel.

And maybe make it "Rated M," so it could be naughtier...

“LONGER CHAINS” part one! Having exiled herself from Batman’s world, Spoiler has nearly destroyed herself trying to expose the corruption of Gotham City’s vigilantes. Fortunately for her, help has arrived…but unfortunately for the city, it’s in the form of the mysterious Anarky! Is he truly on the side of the people, or is he a dangerous lunatic?
On sale AUGUST 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Anarky...? I love Anarky! And this book already has or had Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain and The General in it...! This book really has all the makings of a dream Batman book for me personally...if it weren't set on the wrong side of Flashpoint, and the versions of all of those characters appearing in its pages weren't all mangled beyond (almost) all recognition and (almost) all affection.

I was kinda hoping Anarky wouldn't appear again in The New 52-isverse, as I've managed to avoid reading the Detective Comics arc (from the previous volume of the series, not this third volume) because I was afraid to see what DC did to him. All I know for sure is that his costume is terrible now.

Written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON • Art and cover by CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO • Variant cover by HOWARD PORTER
“NEGATIVE” part one! It’s a bleak new day as the citizens of Central City meet Negative-Flash! He’s got a terrible attitude and volatile powers that leave a wake of destruction wherever he goes. Exactly the kind of person you’d want The Flash to put behind bars. There’s just one problem: he is The Flash! Can Barry Allen get his new powers under control before they kill him?
On sale AUGUST 9 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Negative-Flash, huh? Well I guess at this point they have so damn many Reverse-Flashes they had to come up with something new to call evil opposites of The Flash.

The original Kid Flash's original costume always freaked me out.

Written by JEFF PARKER • Art and cover by ARIEL OLIVETTI • Variant cover by STEVE RUDE
After the thrilling events of FUTURE QUEST, a new age of adventure begins! First up, Space Ghost and his young wards Jan and Jace team up with the Herculoids to rebuild the mighty Space Force. Will they rise again to become defenders of the galaxy? Or is there something lurking in the shadows ready to stop them for good?
On sale AUGUST 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Space Ghost, Future Quest, Green Lantern/Space Ghost and now this. Come on, DC: Just go ahead and introduce Space Ghost into the DC Universe proper already. Have him join the Justice League. It will be awesome.

For the first time, DC collects the complete run of Jack Kirby’s MISTER MIRACLE in one stand-alone color volume! Traded as an infant as part of a peace pact between the twin worlds New Genesis and Apokolips, Scott Free grew up in the cruel care of Granny Goodness to become a super escape artist who fights for freedom. Along the way, he battles Darkseid’s forces, including Dr. Bedlam, Kanto the assassin, the Female Furies and more, with the help of his assistant, Oberon, and former Apokoliptean enforcer Big Barda.
Collects MISTER MIRACLE #1-18.
On sale SEPTEMBER 20 • 448 pg, FC, $29.99 US

No lie, this is one of the all-around best superhero comics I've ever read.

Written by TOM KING • Art by MITCH GERADS • Cover by NICK DERINGTON • Variant cover by MITCH GERADS
From the team behind THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON and the Hugo Award-nominated writer of Vision comes a unique new take on one of Jack Kirby’s most beloved New Gods.
Scott Free is the greatest escape artist that ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former female fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, which counted him among its ranks.
You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick—except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out.
Written by Tom King (BATMAN) and illustrated by Mitch Gerads (The Punisher), this is a MISTER MIRACLE unlike any you’ve read before.
On sale AUGUST 9 • 32 pg, 1 of 12, FC, $3.99 US • MATURE READERS

I mentioned my excitement and reservations about this book in the previous post, as last week's issue of Batman served in some ways as a preview of what this particular creative team can do with a DC superhero. I really like the cover by Nick Derington, and it kind of makes me wish he was handling the interiors as well, but I'm definitely interested in giving this book a shot. I really like this character, who I think should--along with Captain Marvel and Plastic Man--be pretty much a permanent fixture on the Justice League roster, along with the Big Seven.

Written by HOWARD CHAYKIN • Art and cover by HOWARD CHAYKIN
Jack Kirby’s two wartime kid gangs share their first adventure together in a novel-length tale written and illustrated by Howard Chaykin! When the Boy Commandos arrive in New York on the trail of a secret Axis agent, they’re greeted as turf invaders by the crime-fighting Newsboys! Can these kids put aside their rivalry and join forces to protect the home front? Also features a Kirby reprint!
ONE-SHOT • On sale AUGUST 9 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

I have no idea what Chaykin is going to do with these two groups of characters, but I love the idea of smashing them both into a single story.

Don’t miss two new tales starring Jack Kirby’s costumed Master of Nightmares from the 1970s. Sandman, Brute and Glob battle an onslaught of dreams so powerful that they are invading the dreams of other people! Then, a grown-up Jed Walker returns to his childhood home, only to find himself haunted by dreams from the past. Plus: a seldom-seen Sandman story from the 1970s!
ONE-SHOT • On sale AUGUST 16 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US • RATED T

An unfortunate side-effect of the success of Neil Gaiman's reinvention of Kirby's 1970s Sandman for DC Comics in the early '90s in the pages of The Sandman was the fact that Gaiman's series included just enough of the source material that it made any future use of the character more-or-less undesirable (And when DC did publish other comics starring a Sandman, they went with the Golden Age version, rather than this superhero who patrols the dreams of children version). In fact, this version of Sandman was so scarce for so long that I remember thinking it genuinely scandalous when the Geoff Johns-written JSA incorporated elements of it into the "Waking The Sandman" arc.
I wasn't the only one who clutched my pearls when I first saw this cover, was I?
(If I recall correctly, Sandy Hawkins went by the codename "Sand" during most of the JSA/Justice Society of America run because DC wouldn't let them call him The Sandman. Is that correct? Or did I dream that?)

Anyway, he's back! Dan Jurgens' writing is...well, it's reliable, and that's probably good enough for a one-shot homage comic like this. And I'm genuinely eager to see Jon Bogdanove's art again, as I see it so rarely these days.

For any fans of Kirby's seventies Sandman who might have missed it, do check out The Allred Family's Bug!: The Adventures of Forager #1, as he is rather prominently featured in that issue (Also that comic is awesome).

Written by ROB WILLIAMS • Art and cover by CLAY MANN • Variant cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
“DARK DESTINY” part one! Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman must turn to the mystic trinity of Dead Man, Zatanna and John Constantine when Red Hood, Artemis and Bizarro are sacrificed into the depths of the Pandora Pits by Circe and Ra’s al Ghul.
On sale AUGUST 16 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Okay, let me get this straight. There's the title trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, who turn to the "mystic trinity" of Deadman (it's all one word, DC Comics Solicitation Writer!), Zatanna and John Constantine in order to help them rescue the dark trinity of Red HOod, Artemis and Bizarro? That's three trinities! A trinity of trinities!

I don't know if I should groan or applaud. I will go with a slow clap. I will need both hands to do it though, so I will have to stop typing for the night now.

1 comment:

William Burns said...

Rats, I guess the final issue of DC Bombshells isn't going to tell us who won WWII.