So the biggest "event" of DC's July seems to be the launch of the Bendis era of Superman comics, following the Man of Steel weekly series he's writing with a bunch of great artists drawing an issue apiece. Additionally, the Justice League franchise seems to be growing (and growing way too fast, if you ask me, which you more or less did just by visiting my blog), and there is such an unexpected crossover that it makes Batman meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Archie seem obvious in comparison. Anyway, here's what jumped out at me, for good or ill...
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON
Acclaimed writer Brian Michael Bendis’ new chapter for the Man of Steel and the world of tomorrow begins here! The devastating repercussions from the Man of Steel miniseries still reverberate as Metropolis enters a new age! The Daily Planet teeters on the brink of disaster! A new criminal element has made its way onto the streets of Superman’s hometown! The longest-running superhero comic of all time explodes off the page with art by fan favorite Patrick Gleason.
ON SALE 07.25.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
Includes a code for a free digital download of this issue.
So after his Man of Steel limited series ends, Brian Michael Bendis will be writing both Action Comics and Superman (the cover of which is at the top of the post). The solicitations for both Action Comics #1,0001 and Superman #1 are on the vague side, so it's not entirely clear to me at this point if the two books will have some form of "triangle"-style numbering, implied or otherwise, with a single narrative jumping back and forth between both books, or if Bendis will be telling two separate and parallel storylines in the two books (Or, God forbid, it turns into something like what he was doing with Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men, where he seemed to just write whatever he wanted with little apparent rhyme or reason). I can see the benefit of both strategies, honestly, but I'd certainly want to know the answer before I add either to my pull-list (I'm personally more inclined towards Action, as I prefer Gleason's art to that of Ivan Reis). I guess...we'll see...? (UPDATE: Actually DC editor Mike Cotton tweeted that they will be two separate stories, rather than chapters of the same story published in alternating issues of the two series. Twitter is such a convenient way to get information!)
Note that both books are going monthly, instead of publishing twice a month, and both will run $3.99 instead of their "Rebirth"-era price of $2.99. So instead of offering 80-pages of Superman comics for $12 every month, starting in July DC will be offering 40-pages of Superman comics for $8. Though the two main Super-books are now being increased in price by 33.3%, they will also now include a "free digital download," so I guess DC Comics pricing in mid-2018 will be similar to that of Marvel's a couple of years ago...?
I suppose that means I will end up trade-waiting these series after all. As excited as I am that a former Clevelander will be writing Superman and I kinda can't wait to see what Bendis' Superman comics will be like, I was already leaning toward trade-waiting since this is Bendis we're talking about, but $3.99/20-pages is my move-to-trade point for super-comics.
written by TOM KING
art by MIKEL JANIN, DAVID FINCH, JOELLE JONES, MITCH GERADS, RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE, NEAL ADAMS, ANDY KUBERT, BECKY CLOONAN, TY TEMPLETON, JOSE LUIS GARCIA-LOPEZ, FRANK MILLER, LEE BERMEJO and more
cover by MIKEL JANIN
It’s the wedding you never thought you’d see! The Batrimony is real as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are set to tie the knot in a can’t-miss, extra-length milestone issue that will reshape Gotham City. All their friends (and a few enemies?) will be party to a comic book coupling for the ages.
Superstar scribe Tom King officiates the sure-to-be-offbeat nuptials, joined by an all-star lineup of guest classic Bat-artists doffing their hats to the lucky couple in a series of pre-wedding flashback scenes sure to set the romantic mood.
ON SALE 07.04.18
$4.99 US | 48 PAGES
I do hope "and more" means Tim Sale and Kelley Jones, because it seems wrong to have David Finch, Mitch Gerads and even Rafael Albuquerque in there instead of those guys...
Anyway, I'm obviously really looking forward to this, as I have dozens of questions, many of which may or may not even be addressed in this issue. I'm a little disappointed that it's only 48 pages and not an 80-page giant, though.
This is the first of two issues of Batman shipping in July, leading me to believe it will keep it's double-shipping schedule. That said, Batman #51 is going to cost $3.99, as DC seems to be gradually gravitating to the Marvel-set price-point for super-comics. That's a shame, as I've enjoyed King and company's run in single, serially-published issues, and I'm not really looking forward to making the switch to trades for this title as well.
written by DOUG MOENCH
art by KELLEY JONES, JOHN BEATTY, J.H. WILLIAMS II and others
cover by KELLEY JONES
In these moody tales from the 1990s, Batman emerges from the shadows to battle corruption in Gotham City and face foes including Man-Bat, The Joker, the Penguin and more. These tales by the classic Batman creative team of writer Doug Moench and artist Kelley Jones include guest appearances by the Demon, the Spectre and Ragman. Collects BATMAN #536-552.
ON SALE 08.01.18
$49.99 US | 416 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8129-8
Look at that cape! Look at it! It's like a parachute, but a few times bigger!
These comics are great. Both Moench's writing and Jones' art are acquired tastes, but I've long since acquired them (Moench's writing took me a bit longer to get used to than Jones' over-the-top art, which I loved immediately). As I've said a million times, this is my second-favorite Batman creative team (following Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle), and this is an all-around incredible run on the title. There literally aren't any bad issues in the run, although there were some that weren't as incredible as I had hoped base on the characters and the creators (That Joker/Demon story, for example; Etrigan seemed right up Jones' particular aesthetic alley, but I found his Etrigan wanting, particularly compared to the versions drawn by, say, John McCrea or Tom Mandrake).
If memory serves, The Penguin story is unusual in that it really fleshes out his early origin in a way that makes him seem a bit more of a tragic character, and both The Spectre and Ragman stories are pretty fantastic Batman-meets-the-supernatural tales. Those are both extremely compelling characters on a purely visual level, too, and Jones seemed to be having endless fun drawing them both.
Here, let's use this excuse to appreciate Jones' Spectre and Ragman:
That Spectre story ran at the same time that Batman (and the Joker) appeared in an issue of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake's The Spectre. Both were pretty great. The former had Batman asking The Spectre about the fate of his dead parents, while the latter had the spirit of vengeance finally turning his attention on The Joker and it going rather sideways.
written by JIM STARLIN and MIKE BARON
art by JIM APARO, DICK GIORDANO, MARK BRIGHT, DAVE COCKRUM, ROSS ANDRU and others
cover by TODD McFARLANE
In this new collection from the 1980s and companion volume to BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE VOL. 1, Batman and Gotham City are beset by “Ten Nights of the Beast” and the deadly post-Soviet villain known as the KGBeast. Then, Batman and Robin must project the city’s citizens from themselves and organized crime. Collects BATMAN #417-425, 430-431 and BATMAN ANNUAL #12.
ON SALE 08.15.18
$29.99 US | 320 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8136-6
I've always liked that Todd McFarlane image of Batman. It's very weird, but I think it works. I like how McFarlane draws Batman as essentially a sentient cape: There's no body, no feet, no face. You have to look twice, and rather closely, but the only part of the figure that is not cape or cowl is Batman's right hand, grasping the woman. That means his arm is not folding his cape protectively around her; instead its seemingly moving in a wing-like fashion of its own volition.
McFarlane, like Breyfogle, also drew really good flocks of bats.
written by JOELLE JONES
art and cover by JOELLE JONES
The wedding night’s barely over, but Catwoman’s back on the streets, this time to expose a copycat who’s pulling heists around Gotham City. As Selina cracks the whip on her former criminal cohorts, she’s attracting unwanted attention from one of Gotham’s most dangerous groups. The mob? Nope. Try the GCPD. And as if the Bat-Bride didn’t have enough problems, don’t miss the debut of an all-new villain determined to make trouble for all nine of Selina’s lives. Don’t miss the start of an all-new monthly series written and illustrated by Eisner Award-nominee Joëlle Jones!
ON SALE 07.04.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
Hmm. I was a little taken aback by the announcement of this title. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a pretty good book. I've not read anything of Jones' that she's written--at least, not that I can think of off the top of my head--but her art has been consistently great in Batman. I'm a little bummed in that it means she will be leaving Batman, as she's only the second woman to ever draw Batman, and the first to have something approaching a run on the title. Although, because of the double-shipping, no one is really the "regular" artist on Batman anymore.
Speaking of which, even with Catwoman shipping monthly instead of twice-a-month, it's got to be a challenge for a single artist to keep up with that schedule, right?
Also, note the price. If the last try at a Catwoman ongoing failed at $2.99-a-pop, will making the book significantly more expensive really help improve sales? I have to assume that whatever benefits this attempt might have--Jones, increased attention due to the status quo change of the character--the fact that it costs 33.3% more than it did before will erase them. Or, at the very least, severely diminish them.
written by JOHN BROOME, GARDNER FOX, CARY BATES, WILLIAM MESSNER-LOEBS, GEOFF JOHNS, FRANCIS MANAPUL, BRIAN BUCCELLATO and JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
art by CARMINE INFANTINO, GREG LAROCQUE, SCOTT KOLINS, FRANCIS MANAPUL, CARMINE DI GIANDOMENICO and others
cover by BRIAN BOLLAND
Captain Cold, leader of the Rogues, has been one of the Flash’s greatest foes since the start of the Scarlet Speedster’s crime-fighting career! Now DC has collected this unforgettable villain’s greatest battles in this new title that includes SHOWCASE #8; THE FLASH #150 and 297, THE FLASH #28 and 182 (1987 series), FLASHPOINT: CITIZEN COLD #1, THE FLASH #6 (2011 series) and THE FLASH #17.
ON SALE 08.22.18
$16.99 US | 160 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-7521-1
In my previous post, I mentioned a few of the DC title that Brian Bolland did covers for, and in so doing I had completely forgotten his run on the covers of The Flash, right at the beginning of Geoff Johns' time on the book. That's where the above image is from.
This seems to be an answer to those villain-specific Batman: Arkham collections of stories, and it is a very good idea, given what a great rogues gallery The Flash has. I'm also a little surprised it's taken them this long, given the prominence of some of these characters on the various CW TV shows. I'll cross my fingers for a Rainbow Raider and a Turtle collection, although I won't hold my breath for either.
written by PAUL DINI and MARC ANDREYKO
art by LAURA BRAGA and ADRIANA MELO
cover by AMANDA CONNER
Free college tuition for all Riverdale residents?! That’s the plan—after the town drains the wetlands that lie between it and Gotham City and then builds a new campus. The only snag? A certain botany-obsessed super-villain. When Poison Ivy enlists her bestie, Harley Quinn, to kidnap both Veronica Lodge, daughter of Riverdale’s most important citizen, and her friend Betty Cooper, she’s counting on some assistance—and the mayhem that ensues will probably work as well! This title collects the six-issue miniseries co-published with Archie Comics!
ON SALE 08.29.18
$24.99 US | 160 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8033-8
I trade-waited this, as I was pretty certain I was going to like it, based on the fact that I like the work of all the creators attached. Did any of you read it? Was it good?
written by TIM SEELEY
art and cover by FREDDIE E. WILLIAMS II
Believing He-man and the Masters of the Universe defeated, a robotic impostor has seized control of Eternia—but not for long! After freeing his kingdom from this strongman’s rule, Prince Adam learns not everyone is pleased to see the pretender deposed—but Adam knows the value of freedom. So when heroes from another dimension ask his aid in deposing a super-hero turned dictator, he agrees. Teaming up with Batman against the Superman of the Injustice Universe, He-man and his new allies face dangerous and familiar enemies in a battle where no world is safe!
ON SALE 07.18.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | 1 of 6 | RATED T
Well this is...unexpected. A comic book mini-series in which the comic book adaptation of a video game based on DC Comics characters crosses-over with the comic book adaptation of a 35-year-old cartoon series based on a toy line.
Well, Seeley is a good writer, Williams is a good artist and it's not like this could possibly be any worse than 2013's DC Universe Vs. Masters of The Universe, which brought us...this:
written by JAMES TYNION IV
art and cover by ALVARO MARTINEZ BUENO and RAUL FERNANDEZ
variant cover by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION
From the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE! Earth’s magic once belonged to them. Now they want the magic back. But who exactly are they? It’s up to the new Justice League Dark to find out and stop this nightmarish new threat at all costs! After the events of NO JUSTICE, team leader Wonder Woman guides the misfit magic mix of Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat and Detective Chimp against enemies too fantastic even for the Justice League. Plus, what awful things are coming through the Tree of Wonder? Dark days ahead…
ON SALE 07.25.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
So come July, there will be three different Justice League titles, one of which publishes twice-a-month. That's four issues a month, total, and they will all cost $3.99 instead of $2.99. That doesn't sound remotely sustainable, and despite the push the two secondary League books will likely receive from spinning out of the No Justice event, itself something of a spin-off of the very successful Dark Nights: Metal event series, and the potential boost that might come from riding the coattails of the Scott Snyder-written flagship Justice League, there's no guarantee the interest is actually going to translate to these books, which seem to be more Justice League books in name only. And also not be by Snyder. And also lack the Batman-focus of Metal. Given how long it's been since the market could comfortably sustain three successful Justice League books--the first few years of '90s, I think?--this sounds a little insane to me, and I can't help but wonder if Snyder's Justice League might sell better if the magic and space-focused secondary books were just named something different, like Shadowpact and Legion or Omega Men or something...
As for the line-up, it's unusual, to say the least. As the first real magic-based Leaguer, Zatanna makes perfect sense, and Swamp Thing has had a long on-again, off-again association with DC's magic types, going back to Alan Moore's Crisis On Infinite Earths tie-in (which killed off Zatanna's dad, come to think of it). I've enjoyed the more straightforward superhero take on the character that has been a part of the recent-ish Justice Leage Action cartoon. I dig his beard and dreads, which give him a new look, although it has been pointed out that giving Swamp Thing a big, long beard makes him look a lot more like the writer he's most associated with.
Detective Chimp's inclusion among a magic-centric Justice League is a bit of a stretch, but given the prominent role he played in Shadowpact, he makes a certain degree of sense here.
I imagine that Wonder Woman is there to make it more Justice League-y, and certainly her mythological connection can be exploited to make her seem like the most magical of the Big Seven (I'm actually a little surprised they didn't use
Man-Bat is a bit of a puzzle, though, as he's a scientist who turned himself into a were-bat through science. I imagine Tynion's use of the character here is akin to his use of Clayface in Detective--that is, the one character who doesn't seem to belong among the others.
written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
art and cover by STJEPAN SEJIC
Spinning out of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE! When a cosmic menace threatens worlds beyond our own in the Ghost Sector, it falls to a new Justice League team to answer the call to battle! Cyborg, Starfire, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and an out-of-his-element Azrael head to deep space inside a commandeered Brainiac Skull Ship. But as these wildcard teammates try to stop Despero from slave-trading Coluan refugees, they discover something that nothing in the universe could have prepared them for: Darkseid…who says he’s there to help?!
ON SALE 07.11.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
This one is even weirder. The name seems to be taken from 1988 Jim Starlin/Mike Mignola comic Cosmic Odyssey, a kinda sorta New Gods/Justice League comic that is well worth reading if you somehow haven't done so already (and not just because it's Mignola drawing a huge swath of the DC Universe!). If you look at the cover of the first issue (or the original collection, or the "Absolute" edition), you'll see the characters posed on it (or them) would make for a pretty interesting League line-up.
That Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, gives this League a bridge to the "real" one, as does the presence of Cyborg, who would appear to be the leader of the group.
Starfire certainly makes sense there, and between her and Cyborg, that makes this team as much a Titans team as a League team; maybe even more of a Titans team. She sure has bounced around a lot since Flashpoint, as DC has struggled to figure out what to do with the characters in her "generation" (or is age group a better term for it). First she was with Jason Todd and Roy Harper in Red Hood and The Outlaws, then she went solo for the length of her own short-lived title, then she was the grown-up in the Teen Titans, and now she's a adjunct Justice Leaguer, I guess.
Darkseid is obviously a wild card, as in the new continuity he has essentially been not only a villain the biggest of the Justice League's Big Bads, and the threat they originally formed an alliance to face. I really like artist Stjepan Sejic's version of Darkseid there, too. Rather than making him stocky, he seems to have stretched him out, which, if maybe not the ideal way to draw the character, it certainly makes this depiction stand out from past one.
Azrael is presumably the post-Flashpoint version of the Jean-Paul Valley character who showed up in Batman and Robin Eternal and then Detective, where he briefly wore a version of the above costume. I have no idea what he's doing in the book, since he's never even met any of those characters, but I guess we'll find out. My guess? Batman wanted to get rid of him, so when Cyborg asked if he could borrow one of Batman's 57 partners to take deep into outer space with him, Batman suggested Azrael.
written by DAN ABNETT
art by BRANDON PETERSON
cover by RYAN SOOK
Can anything stop the Metagene pandemic unleashed through the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE? The all-new Titans are on the case. Roll call: Nightwing, Donna Troy, Raven, Steel, Beast Boy and Miss Martian! But can even their combined might stand against new super-powered weapons of mass destruction birthed by the Metagenes? And (SPOILERS) how will the events of TEEN TITANS #20 come back to haunt the Titans? New enemies are out for blood in part one of “The Spark.”
ON SALE 07.18.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
At this point, DC's Titans franchise seems so broken, that I don't really feel much of anything regarding any of its many, many relaunches.
I thought the latest Teen Titans relaunch, in which Robin Damian Wayne basically press-ganged a handful of other characters into forming a team with him, had a lot of potential, and I liked the first arc of it. This looks like two of Abnett's current Titans team (Dick and Donna) have taken two of the Teen Titans (Raven and Beast Boy) and pulled two characters out of the late aughts at random (Miss Martian and Steel Natasha Irons). I'm not sure how any of them work post-Flashpoint and whatever ended up happening to Dick's peers as a result of whatever was going on in DC Universe: Rebirth (But I assume since Doomsday Clock is still going on, it's still a retcon in progress...?)
written by DENNIS O’NEIL, MIKE SEKOWSKY and others
art by MIKE SEKOWSKY, DICK GIORDANO and others
cover by DICK GIORDANO
In these stories from the late 1960s, Wonder Woman leaves her superpowers behind to become an ultra-mod, globe-trotting secret agent. With a new costume and a new attitude, Wonder Woman fights crime like never before! As secret agent Diana Prince, she takes on international crime with the help of her new mentor, the mysterious I Ching. Collects WONDER WOMAN #178-204, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #87 and 105, SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND LOIS LANE #93 and WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #204.
ON SALE 12.05.18
$99.99 US | 736 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8529-6
I like this short-lived Catwoman costume, which was briefly featured in the last issue of Batman.