Monday, November 26, 2018

DC's February previews reviewed

I dropped Batgirl sometime after Hope Larson's first arc or so, so I'm pretty out of the loop on Batgirl's adventures. Does she now get her hair pulled in, like, every single fight now...?

If she's going to forgo the cowl, girl needs some bat-barrettes or batty-pins or...something...

written by PETER J. TOMASI
art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
Batman’s tried everything on Earth to stop the menace hunting his friends and it’s time to turn to things not of this Earth! In the past, whenever Batman’s encountered the supernatural, he’s turned to Jason Blood for guidance—and to Etrigan, the demonic entity living inside him! But securing their help is never simple, and what Blood has to show him will shake Batman to his core!
ON SALE 02.13.19
3.99 US | 32 PAGES

This looks awesome.

That is all.

In this new helping of crossover tales, Catwoman finds herself embroiled in the endless battle between Sylvester and Tweety, and comes to the aid of her fellow cat. Then, Harley discovers a mysterious crate washed up on Coney Island’s shore and releases the big, hairy beast that is Gossamer. Daffy Duck visits Gotham City to see Acme headquarters, but discovers the building abandoned and overtaken by the Clown Prince of Crime. And Porky Pig takes an entry-level job at LexCorp, only to find himself hauled to Washington, D.C. Collects Catwoman/Sylvester and Tweety Special #1, Harley Quinn/Gossamer Special #1, The Joker/Daffy Duck Special #1 and Lex Luthor/Porky Pig Special #1.
ON SALE 03.13.19 | $16.99 US | 168 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-8833-4

I don't think any of these four specials were particularly successful. I thought the Looney Tunes-style back-ups in the Harley Quinn/Gossamer and Lex Luthor/Porky Pig specials were pretty great, but the other six stories didn't really land for me, and ranged from just awful to just sort of muddled (In general, as with the first round of these from last year, the back-up strips tend to be far better than the lead stories, perhaps at least in part because they are so much shorter, and don't have to try to turn what are essentially larks into novel-length adventures; like, the two Harley Quinn/Gossamer stories were pretty darn close to the same basic story told twice, just in different styles and settings).

The only other real pleasures that can be derived from these are simply seeing how weird and scary Looney Tunes characters look when various artists translate them into a "DC Universe" style, so that, in the case of Sylvester and Tweety, they are just drawn as realistic versions of a house cat and a canary, but they can talk, and, in the case of Brett Booth's Daffy (Daffy cameos in the Lex Luthor/Porky Pig special too), he is a hideous duck man with long, stork-like legs and black feathers that protrude from the tips of his arms that serve as his fingers.

Or maybe it's just me who takes pleasure in these weird-ass DC crossovers with Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters for their gradual creation of the new comics genre of funny animal body horror...

written by STEVE ORLANDO
art and cover by TRAVEL FOREMAN
After infiltrating a secret Covenant gathering, our heroes are left disheartened and helpless. Have all of their battles been for nothing? Will their home planets ever survive the harsh reality of the universe that surrounds them? It’s up to an unexpected leader, the Interceptor, to inspire his cohorts once more. But will his efforts ensure victory or only the beginning of the end for the Electric Warriors? And what will their rebellion mean for all their friends and family back on their home planets?
ON SALE 02.06.19
$3.99 US | 4 of 6 | 32 PAGES

This book wasn't really on my radar at all, beyond my being aware that DC was publishing a book with that title, and that said title had an oddly-dated ring to it. It wasn't until I rather randomly saw a blog post highlighting Jim Baike's art from the original Electric Warrior comic that I realized there even was an original Electric Warrior comic. So there was. It ran for 18 issues between 1986-87, it was written by Doug Moench and it looks very, very British.

Well, that explains why the title sounds so dated.

I haven't been reading the comics press--or, perhaps I should say, the "comics press"-- beyond The Comics Journal and Comics Reporter in a good long while now, so maybe writer Steve Orlando has been giving tons of interviews to those folks about his love of Dough Moench and Jim Baike's original series and I just haven't seen it anywhere, but it feels weird and wrong to me that this is a kinda/sorta reboot that's not being more obvious with the fact. Having never read Electric Warrior or Electric Warriors, I can't say if they share anything other than a title and a futuristic sci-fi milieu--I've read the synopsis for Moench's series on Wikipedia and the solicitation copy for Orlando's series, and that didn't really help. Perhaps it's just a reboot of the title itself, in the way that DC has been publishing a comic called Damage that has nothing to do with the last ongoing series they published called Damage. If it's more than that, though, then isn't it kind of icky that the new series origins aren't being more openly acknowledged? I haven't seen any mention of the original series in any of the solicitation copy for these first few issues of Electric Warriors and, when the first issue recently came out, I scanned it for something like a "based on the series Electric Warrior by Dough Monech and Jim Baike" and found nothing.

I don't know; this feels a little gross to me. That said, I may be preconditioned to expect the worse, given that some of Orlando's earlier work that I've read has tended to homage obscure elements of his favorite writers or comics runs in a ways that feel like appropriations. That, and, well, he was the guy whose name was attached to the comic plopping Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III's Promethea into the middle of a Justice League story, something neither of her creators were probably overly thrilled about...

All their lives the Female Furies have been raised to be the meanest, most cunning and most ruthless fighting force on all of Apokolips. So why are Granny Goodness’ girls left behind every time the men go to war? With the might of New Genesis hanging over the planet, and the Forever People making mincemeat out of Darkseid’s army, Granny thinks it’s about time that changed.

And so, Big Barda, Aurelie, Mad Harriet, Lashina, Bernadeth and Stompa set out to beat the boys at their own game. Little do they know the game is rigged—and one accidental murder could spell disaster for them all!

FEMALE FURIES is an exciting new miniseries starring some of Jack Kirby’s coolest Fourth World characters by the writer of SHADE, THE CHANGING GIRL and the artist of PLASTIC MAN!
ON SALE 02.06.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 6 | 32 PAGES

I love that the lesson DC learned from Mister Miracle's unexpected success was that the Direct Market craved more New Gods-related miniseries. I don't know if that's why that title was such a hit--I mean, Mister Miracle is a great character and all, but still--but if it leads to more comics like this, that's fine by me.

Castellucci's DC Comics-writing has been hit-or-miss with me, and referring to the artist as "the artist of PLASTIC MAN!" (that weird, gross-looking miniseries written by Gail Simone) is kinda of an anti-endorsement, although, to be honest, I haven't looked at a single panel of that book, so maybe the art is great, and it's just the premise that seems all kinds of wrong.

Harley Quinn and Batman...teamed-up? What a brand-new and unusual idea for a sory!

I really do kinda love Guillem March's cover for this month's issue of Harley Quinn though, and that fact that giant Batman is essentially just carrying Harley around one-handed by the handle of her giant clown mallet.

written by TOM KING
Get a deeper look into the inner workings of Sanctuary. When heroes visited the facility, they relived their trauma through virtual reality, contending with the events that brought them there in the hope of reaching a meaningful resolution. That is, until the trauma took over and escalated these personal events into a full-blown crisis! Find out what pushed one of the superheroes over the edge and how it broke the machine. This special issue reunites the Eisner Award-winning MISTER MIRACLE team of writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads!
ON SALE 02.27.19
$3.99 US | 6 of 9 | 32 PAGES

Ha, I was honestly a little surprised to see that this was still going on in February, for some reason, as I kinda sorta forgot it was even a thing. And it will only be two-thirds of the way over in February? Yeesh. Now, maybe it's just me, and the websites and blogs I read, the people I follow on Twitter, but is Heroes In Crisis being talked about as much as past comparable DC crossovers? It seems that shortly after the first issue dropped, I haven't really heard anyone talking about this comic.

But, again, maybe that's just me.

art and cover by STEPHEN BYRNE
Princess Mera is teenage royalty and heir to the throne of Xebel, a colony ruled by the other no-so-lost land under the sea, Atlantis. Her father, his court, and the entire kingdom are expecting her to marry and introduce a new king. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown...

When the Xebellian military plots to overthrow Atlantis and break free of its oppressive regime, Mera seizes the opportunity to take control of her own destiny by assassinating Arthur Curry—the long-lost prince and heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. But her mission gets sidetracked when Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love. Will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera’s side, or will he die under her blade as she attempts to free her people from persecution?

An astonishing story that explores duty, love, heroism, and freedom…all through the eyes of readers’ favorite undersea royalty

From New York Times best-selling author Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and artist Stephen Byrne comes a Mera -and-Aquaman story that explores Mera’s first steps on land, and her first steps as a hero or villain, forcing her to choose to follow her heart or her mission to kill.
ON SALE 03.27.19
$16.99 US | 6” x 9”
192 PAGES | FC

"Readers' favorite undersea royalty"...? Oh shit, is Ariel, the Little Mermaid in this comic? Namor, The Sub-Mariner?

I'll be embarrassingly honest: I'm still not entirely sure if these things are prose novels or original graphic novels; the cover, with the giant "Danielle Paige" and the little "Illustrated by Stephen Byrne" suggests prose, whereas the "art and cover" of the solicitation copy suggests the contents are comics.

art and cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
written by DAN DiDIO
Secrets are revealed and new mysteries emerge as Derek uncovers his mother’s killer and the origins of his powers in this, the final chapter of his story, for now.
ON SALE 02.13.19
$2.99 US | 32 PAGES

What's this? One of the "New Age of Heroes" comics has been cancelled? And it's the one written by Dan DiDio? I am shocked! Who could have predicted this book would only last 13 issues?!

Not me. I declared it "dead on arrival," but it did last 13 issues. I noticed it in the pages of  one of the Wal-Mart exclusives I had flipped through--Teen Titans, I think?--I wonder if its cancellation can be read as a data point suggesting those aren't funneling new readers into comic shops or online to buy digital copies of the comics and characters featured, and/or if it speaks to that character and comic being a particularly poor choice for the DC Universe "ambassador" role that being included in those bargain-priced anthologies put Sideways/Sideways in...

Wow, does Damian ever in this picture. Particularly his hair color.

written by MARK RUSSELL
art and cover by STEPHEN BYRNE
variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
Exiled from their home planet, alien heroes Zan and Jayna must navigate life as teens on Earth at South Metropolis High School, where they’re even bigger outsiders than the typical awkward young adults. Under the watchful eye of Superman, the brother and sister pull monitor duty at the Hall of Justice as interns, while also trying to overcome the pitfalls of Zan’s brash confidence and Jayna’s shy but streetwise persona. If you think you know the Wonder Twins, think again—this book takes the form of the unexpected.
ON SALE 02.13.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 6 | 32 PAGES

Tom Scioli's version of the Wonder Twins in his recent-ish "Super Powers" back-up from the pages of Cave Carson... was so incredible that I'd hate to be the writer following him. This take, of course, seems pretty completely different, and I guess only those who read "Super Powers" will even be aware of it, so there's that.

I hope this is pretty good. Mark Russell is an interesting writer in that I literally never have any idea what to expect from his work. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I hate it, often times it feels confused to me. He's not a bad writer by any definition of bad, and the craft that goes into his scripts is always evident, but I don't always like what I read, regardless of how good it is, if that makes sense.

I prefer Bill Walko's redesign, personally, but Byrne's image is definitely superior to the redesigns that showed up in the Extreme Justice comic or the Justice League Unlimited comic.


Nicholas Ahlhelm said...

The Mera book is a graphic novel, supposedly in the style of various young adult market GNs already out there. Whether this will actually play out as truthful in the long run remains to be seen. They do ALSO have novels based on various works out now (Killing Joke, Mad Love and Court of Owls) but those are co-published by Titan Books.

Peter said...

Project Rooftop shout out ! *air horn sound* *air horn sound*