Friday, October 25, 2019

DC's January previews reviewed

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the current round of solicitations, for comics that DC intends to publish in January of next year, is that there isn't anything too earth-shattering in them. Rumors of DC's "5G" shake-up, which will apparently involve the establishment of a new five-generation continuity after yet another continuity-rejiggering crisis and a new group of legacy heroes including a black Batman*, remain just that, rumors.

As for what is going on, one does get that eerie sense of wrapping up that sometimes accompanies big DC re-branding or re-jiggering efforts, including the conclusion of Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and company's Justice League and the beginning of the suspiciously uninspired new creative team on Batman (Suspicious, I say, because they seem like a fill-in team to keep the book going for six months or so, but more on that later).

Everything big happening in the DC Universe proper in January seems to be associated with Brian Michael Bendis' books, including the Superman: Heroes one-shot, the Bryan Hitch-penciled cover of which is above, which appears to be the matching bookend to Bendis and company's Superman: Leviathan Rising one=shot.

Anyway, let's peruse some of the stand-out solicits...

written by guest writer KYLE HIGGINS
art by guest artists AARON LOPRESTI and MATT RYAN
The countdown to Aquababy has begun! As the birth of Aquaman and Mera’s child grows near, don’t miss this special interlude issue! In a story that takes place days after Aquaman and Mera’s engagement, a violent encounter with the resurgent Kingdom of the Trench leads to an unexpected outcome, and the conflict sheds new light on Aquaman and Mera’s plans for their future.
ON SALE 01.15.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

I never expected to read the sentence "The countdown to Aquababy has begun!" In any context. Although this is the context it is the least unexpected, I guess.

How out of touch with Aqauman am I...? I didn't even know Mera was pregnant.

written by JAMES TYNION IV
cover by TONY S. DANIEL
It’s a new day in Gotham City, but not the same old Batman. With Bane vanquished and one of his longtime allies gone, Batman has to start picking up the pieces and stepping up his game. Batman has a new plan for Gotham City, but he’s not the only one. Deathstroke has returned as well, under a mysterious new contract that could change everything.
Beginning a whole new chapter in the life of the Dark Knight, the epic art team of Tony S. Daniel and Danny Miki are joined by new series writer James Tynion IV!
ON SALE 01.08.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

Given that Tynion has been writing and co-writing Batman comics off-and-on for about eight years now, and Daniel has been drawing and sometimes writing Batman comics for about 12 years now, this is probably the least interesting new team they could have announced for the book. I'm not a huge fan of either creator—Tynion writes a lot of comics I want to read, even if I don't generally like what he comes up with in them as much as I wish I did, and I've never really liked Daniel's Jim Lee-esque art—but I don't mean their presence on the book being uninteresting as a criticism of either of them personally. It's just they've both had really substantial amounts of time and pages to say what they had to say about Batman in the extremely recent past, so I don't know what the draw here might be for readers who aren't already huge fans of the pair. (Even if you ignore the hundreds of pages of Batman comics that Tynion wrote in collaboration with Scott Snyder and other co-writers, and his various miniseries or short stints on various Batman comics, he still had a two-year, 50-ish issue run on Detective Comics that just ended last year.)

I'm a little surprised DC didn't pick a more high-profile team, like maybe giving the "real" Batman book to someone who has recently had success with the character elsewhere (Sean Gordon Murphy comes to mind, for example, Christopher Priest has written pretty interesting Batman stuff in the course of his long Deathstroke run and short Justice League run). Or that DC didn't look at this as an opportunity to maybe get some goddam ladies on a Batman book. Or just to do something—anything!—slightly out-of-the-ordinary. Picking two dudes who always do Batman as the new Batman team is just kind of...well, lame.

That said, if all these "5G" rumors are to be believed, then maybe this will end up being an extremely temporary fill-in run on Batman and, in that case, just picking the guys who are already in the loop and aren't going to do anything too dramatic/exciting to pump out some Bat-content for a couple months makes some amount of sense.

Neither the solicitation copy or the cover image do anything at all to make me second-guess my original reaction to the new team's announcement, though. In fact, the Daniel cover actually kind of actively depresses me.

The award-winning creative team of 100 Bullets puts its stamp on the Dark Knight! A dead girl’s body is found in a Gotham City landfill, and the discovery sends Batman on a journey that pits him against The Joker, Killer Croc, and more! Gotham is a city of shadows, as twisted and dangerous as the monsters and maniacs who haunt it. As he pursues a murderer down a path that leads to some of his greatest enemies, can even the Dark Knight Detective withstand the city’s psychological horrors? Collects Batman #620-625.
ON SALE 02.26.20
$16.99 US | 144 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-9925-5

Between the end of Ed Brubaker's run in 2002 and the start of Grant Morrison's in 2006, Batman entered a relatively short but strange period in which big-name, prestige creative teams came on for the length of a sizable story arc. Between Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee and Scott Williams' popular and (too) influential 12-part "Hush" and writer Judd Winick's multi-artist 18-issue run (which was briefly interrupted by the "War Games" and "War Crimes" crossover event/stories), came this six-part arc by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Given the big events of "Hush" and Winick's "Under The Red Hood" (some of which seemed premised on taking a brief fake out from "Hush" and making it not a fake out**), I suppose it makes a certain amount of sense that it has since been semi-forgotten...or, at least, is not as often referred to as other stories from that decade of Batman comics.

Personally, what I remember most about it is that it felt out-of-continuity enough to read more like a Legends of The Dark Knight arc than a Batman arc, that Killer Croc wore shirts as well as pants and looked weird because of it (in "Hush," he was just redesigned to look more crocodillian than ever before, and as long as I had been reading Batman comics he was generally presented as more monster than gangster-with-a-skin-condition) and that Dave Johnson's covers, which used generous amounts of white space as a design element, were incredibly striking.

I'm sure this is well worth revisiting, though.

Batman must confront the evil that he is responsible for creating and personal demons that have haunted him since that fateful night in Crime Alley. Plus, the Dark Knight Detective usually works alone, but the threat of mass murder in the financial district forces him to team up with a bizarre private eye. Then, movies of death are being filmed in Gotham—and Batman may be the next star. This and more iconic stories from the late 1980s! Collecting Detective Comics #592-600.
ON SALE 02.12.20
$34.99 US | 352 PAGES

This includes the two-part introduction of Grant and Breyfogle's Cornelius Stirk (who didn't really outlast their run on the character the way that their other villains like Mr. Zsasz, Ventriloquist and Scarface and even Anarky did), the introduction of now-obscure private eye Joe Potato (the Breyfogle cover above is from this issue), an Invasion tie-in, a two-part Eduardo Barreto fill-in story and the three-part "Blind Justice" arc written by the screenwriter of the 1989 Batman film. That last issue, Detective Comics #600, is full of pin-ups and a few prose pieces from people associated with or inspired by the character, and I certainly hope they all make it into this trade collection.

I've previously read most of these—the Barreto-penciled story not included, and I'm not certain about the Joe Potato one now—but never in the order in which they were published, so I'm looking forward to this.

In fact, I'm somewhat sorry to say that this is the book DC has solicited for this month that I'm most looking forward to...

cover by MIKE KUNKEL
In these tales from Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1-12, Billy meets a new kid in school: Theo Adam! Theo tries to play nice with Billy and his fellow classmates, but it’s all just a ploy to learn the secret word that will magically transform him back to his evil alter ego, Black Adam! Can Billy stop this supervillain in disguise before it’s too late, and keep his super-powered little sister out of harm’s way?
ON SALE 02.12.20
$19.99 US | 280 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-77950-116-5

This series was something of a fantastic mess, featuring a whole host of really great talent deployed in fairly confused fashion to create an ongoing all-ages follow-up series to Jeff Smith's 2007 Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil. I think the idea was to have Herobear and The Kid's Mike Kunkel do the honors,but his "run" only lasted four issues (plus the cover for #5). After that, Art Baltazar and Franco took over writing duties, and the art changed drastically, from Kunkel's incredibly idiosyncratic artwork, which you'd never mistake for anyone's other than his, to Byron Vaughns and Ken Branch for one issue, to Stephen DeStefano (!!!) for one issue, and then back to Vaughns for the next six issues.

Starting with #13, Mike Norton would take over art chores, and the book would then have a consistent creative team until its cancellation with #21, but holy moley did it get off to a chaotic start. It was pretty unfortunate, because these are obviously great characters, some of the best in the history of comic books, and Jeff Smith came up with a pretty great modern, all-ages take on them that could very easily have been the official version of the characters (Smith has said repeatedly that part of his deal with DC was that his Monster Society of Evil was to considered canonical an in-continuity, although DC obviously ignored it almost as soon as it was released, and this series was the only one that really seemed to be set in the same world as Smith's, although it was branded as a "Johnny DC" rather than DCU book), and any of the above teams likely would have done a fine job on a Captain Marvel comic...although the weird over-lapping of very different teams made the whole book suffer.

I read these as they were coming out, and I guess I'm curious how they might read all in one sitting. I'm a little surprised this is coming out now, though, rather than months and months ago when Shazam was headed to theaters. Not as surprised as I am that DC's not just doing a Shazam Chronicles program and reprinting all the original comics in order like they did with Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, though; that would be a great series of trade paperbacks.

Anyway, these comics are set shortly after Billy Batson met the Wizard Shazam and the shape-shifting ifrit Tawky Tawny, and he was given the powers of Shazam, some of which rubbed off on his little sister Mary, who became Mary Marvel to his Captain Marvel. Smith's Monster Society of Evil introduced United States Attorney General Dr. Thaddeus Sivana and alien invader Mr. Mind. Both villains return in these issues, which also introduce Black Adam, the Seven Deadly Sins/Enemies of Mankind, Mister Atom, a new version of Mister Banjo with a guitar named "Axe Banjo" and King Kull (Kull first appears in the DeStefano-drawn issue; I don't know how DC got him to draw a seemingly-random issue of a Captain Marvel kids comic, but I love DeStefano's art, and wish he would draw more DC superheroes. He drew the excellent framing sequence to Bizarro Comics, and he draws the best Bizarro and one of the better Mr. Mxyzptlks).

cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
Black Canary’s life has spiraled out of control: her personal life is going through the ringer and her band is in crisis when an old flame resurfaces only to flicker out and set her on an all-new mission against an all-new opponent. The only thing she has to be grateful for is the fact that she’s not alone, as Huntress finds herself on a collision course with Black Canary’s quarry at Detective Montoya’s urging. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn has resurfaced outside of Gotham City and out of the Suicide Squad, with a new lease on life that is sure to make everyone else’s life more complicated.
And that’s only the first five pages of this high-octane, graphic novel-length one-shot that pushes the Birds of Prey far beyond their limits and puts them up against the most brutal crime syndicate to ever sweep into Gotham City! Hardboiled superstar writer Brian Azzarello and the bombshell art team of Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy take the Birds into the no-holds-barred world of Black Label, and none of them will ever be the same!
ON SALE 01.29.20
$9.99 US | 96 PAGES
Some of this material was previously solicited as BIRDS OF PREY #1 and 2.

Curious. DC's new Birds of Prey series, apparently launched to capitalize on any interest generated by the upcoming film—given that, like the film, it's line-up breaks rather sharply from that of the Birds of Prey's Barbara Gordon + Black Canary + Sometimes Huntress formulation—has been downgraded from an ongoing series to a one-shot.

I'm not quite sure what the thinking might be here. I find it hard to believe the higher-ups at DC would think, "Say, we have one Harley Quinn book too many, don't we?" or "I'm afraid we already have too many comics set in Gotham City", so perhaps it's more likely that Azzarello wasn't interested enough in the series to keep at it too long and they didn't want to announce a new writer for, like, the fourth issue...? That, or maybe this "5G" business will necessitate a rejiggering of some kind that would make this particular series unfit for the upcoming state of the DC Universe/publishing line...?

If it's the latter, I guess we'll know soon enough...

written by LAURA MARKS
In the gaslit splendor of late 19th-century New York, rage builds inside 14-year-old Daphne. The sudden death of her father has left her alone with her irresponsible, grief-stricken mother—who becomes easy prey for a group of occultists promising to contact her dead husband. While fighting to disentangle her mother from these charlatans, Daphne begins to sense a strange, insidious presence in her own entity with unspeakable appetites. What does “Brother” want? And could she even stop him if she tried?
Writer Laura Marks (TV’s Ray Donovan, The Expanse, and The Good Fight) and horror-art legend Kelley Jones (The Sandman, Batman: Red Rain) join forces to unleash spirits from beyond into the Hill House Comics line!
ON SALE 01.08.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

Daphne Byrne...? Never heard of her. Daphne Blake? I might read that. Let's see...written by Laura Marks? I don't know who that is either. So I suppose this isn't worth pre-ordering after a—WOAH WOAH WOAH. Kelley Jones? Oh. That's a pupil-less, teeth-baring, nostril-flaring, painfully contorted-looking horse of another color! (Black, probably.) I think I will try this out, despite my reservations about a TV writer doing a comic book for a prose writer/celebrity's "pop-up" imprint...

Now, why on Earth did DC decide to have two covers on this issue, neither of which features the work of the interior artist? I honestly very nearly scanned right by this without imagining one of my favorite artists might be drawing it...

written by PETER J. TOMASI
cover by STEVE RUDE
Of all the mayhem and madness that “City of Bane” visited upon Batman’s world, the death of Alfred Pennyworth had the greatest impact. As Bruce struggles to pick up the pieces of his life, the absence of the man who had always helped him is felt with devastating consequences. With new storm clouds brewing on the horizon, does Bruce Wayne have what it takes to honor his dearest friend’s memory?
ON SALE 01.29.20 $4.99 US | 48 PAGES

I'm sorry, the death of who now...?

I hope this is more of a MIA kind of "death," in which Alfred goes missing in an explosion or when a building collapses and then he has amnesia or goes deep undercover and Batman just thinks he's dead, because we all know how temporary death is, and thus, if you've read comics for long enough—a couple of years should do it—character deaths are actually more tiresome than dramatic, as you just know that 1) they're not really dead and 2) something ridiculously convoluted that you will likely have to suspend your disbelief over and then purge from your memory will be necessary in the near future.

I used to think that Batman, being a slightly more "realistic" book than some of the other super-comics DC publishes, was a bit more immune to this sort of thing, but that was before they brought Jason Fucking Todd back to life in what is surely the dumbest resurrection of a superhero ever. (Robin Damian Wayne has also died and been brought back to life during the time since. Red Robin Tim Drake was thought to have died by Batman and the other characters for a while there, but he was only presumed dead; DC let the readers know that he wasn't dead from the get-go.)

Hey, remember how Alfred got his hand cut-off at some point during Scott Snyder's run on Batman (that is, the run immediately proceeding the current run), and then somehow got better? I do...but only vaguely. I forget exactly how he lost it and how it came back, and I only remembered it happening at all just now because I am thinking about other times Batman's close allies have died or almost died.

written by PETER J. TOMASI
The Dark Knight is on the trail of the figure behind a brutal series of murders across Gotham City—and what he finds will send a cold shiver up his spine! A public attack on Bruce Wayne has brought the possible perpetrator of these murders to what is an axe-wielding cult leader from the 1600s doing in present-day Gotham? Find out for yourself in the conclusion to Batman’s “Silent Knight.”
ON SALE 01.22.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

I don't have anything in particular to say about this, beyond wanting to drop it in here to contrast with Tynion and Daniel's Batman. I know Batman has fought ax-wielding enemies before, and he's fought cult leaders before, and hell, given how long he's been around, I'm sure he's even been almost burned alive at the stake before, but at least this cover image looks different enough from other Batman comics covers that I can tell at a glance I haven't read it before (as opposed to Daniel's bunch-of-action-figures-in-the-air cover to Batman, which, based on the content, appears to be the comic in which Batman fights Deathstroke), and there's something to potentially grab on to in the solicitation copy. Like, yeah, what is a 400-year-old cult leader doing in 21st century Gotham City...?

written by ALAN BRENNERT
cover by JIM APARO
Reprinting the 1980s tale of the Earth-2 wedding of Batman and Catwoman, in advance of BATMAN/CATWOMAN #1.
ON SALE 01.08.20
$1.00 US |32PAGES |FC |DC

An old comic starring my favorite Batman villain that I've never read? For a dollar?! Yes, I'll take that, thank you. (And, if you're wondering, it does concern me that I seem far more interested in reprints of Batman comics from decades ago than the new stuff DC is publishing right now, and yes it is definitely making me wonder if DC just isn't planning to publish the best possible Batman comics these days, or if I am old and cranky and out-of-touch.)

This month's other Dollar Comics reprints include Kelley Puckett, Mike Parobeck and Rick Burchett's Batman Adventures #12, the first appearance of Harley Quinn in a comic book; the first issue of Greg Rucka and Burchett's Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood (an odd choice, given the fact that that was a previous iteration of Helena Bertinelli, and it isn't even the most current origin of that previous version of Helena Bertinelli) and Doug Moench, Joey Cavalieri, Klaus Janson, Jerome Moore and Bruce Patterson's Detective Comics #554, which debuted Black Canary's short-lived '80s costume, which has the distinction of being the very worst Black Canary costume of them all.

written by PAUL STORRIE
Unable to resist a golden opportunity to fund her beloved lion preserve, Catwoman heists a vial of a mysterious formula for a shady company—only to discover she’s actually working for Harley and Ivy! Detective Renee Montoya, investigating the theft of the formula, follows the deadly trail of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, while Ivy tries to convince Catwoman and Batgirl that they should cooperate with her. Then, Harley Quinn gets control of the chemical formula everyone wants, which means that nothing goes as planned—not even for her best pal, Poison Ivy! Collects Gotham Girls #1-5.
ON SALE 02.12.20
$16.99 US | 128 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-9971-2

This 2002 miniseries was originally entitled Gotham Girls, and it's probably not too great of a mystery as to why it's been retitled for its belated trade collection. Probably the same reason that they used Glines' cover for the third issue of the series on the front cover, rather than any of the others. They're all great, though. Here are the other four, each featuring one of the characters; Glines drew all of them save the Batgirl one, which was apparently drawn by Rian Hughes:

I know I bought and read all of these, although I can't remember a single detail about the series at this point, so, if nothing else, I can confidently state that it was not too terribly memorable. In fact, I can't even remember if it was set in the Batman: The Animated Series universe, or in the DC Universe, or somewhere in between specific to itself. The designs on the covers are all clearly those from The New Batman Adventures period of The Animated Series.

I do know I like Jennifer Graves' art quite a bit, and I remember that quite clearly from a handful of great issues of Robin she had drawn in the 1990s. For that reason alone I'd be interested in rereading this in this new trade paperback format. Her pencils were inked by J. Bone, another favorite artist of mine, and I want to say there were some other artists involved in the layouts.

written by SCOTT SNYDER
In the wake of the Justice/Doom War, the Justice League finds themselves stranded at the far end of the universe and facing a challenge they’ve never faced before. But what will they find on their journey? Has their battle with Perpetua had consequences reaching farther across the cosmos than they ever imagined? Superstar scribe Scott Snyder says farewell to the Justice League with a special story that both winds down all the things he started in issue #1—and nods toward everything that comes next in the DC Universe.
ON SALE 01.15.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

Well, that's my worst fear about Justice League confirmed: Scott Snyder and James Tynion really are planning on ending their Justice League run at the conclusion of their first story arc. I mean, yes, it was a years-long story arc that will end up being somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-50 issues (counting the annual, a handful of "Drowned Earth" tie-ins, some stories from specials and No Justice), but the entire run has revolved around a single conflict: The Justice/Doom war for reality sparked by the breaking of the Source Wall.

There have been the appearance of individual story arcs, marked off by different story titles, but it's been the same iteration of the League (with very minor, relatively unimportant changes) vs. Lex Luthor and his four-person strong "Legion" of Doom (with original member The Joker leaving, later to be replaced by Brainiac) locked in a conflict about the nature of existence. And...that's it. That's been the book.

There hasn't been much in the way of character development, beyond perhaps regarding Hawkgirl and J'onn J'onnz, but then, they were both more or less blank slates, (re-)introduced at the beginning of the series. There hasn't been much in the way of a theme, or shifts in points-of-view, or an exploration of the relationships between the characters, or what the raison d'etre of the League is. They haven't really done all that much, outside of fighting Luthor.

The stakes have been high and the milieu vast, but then, this is the Justice League; the stakes are usually high and the milieu vast. The series hasn't necessarily felt bigger than Final Crisis or Infinite Crisis or Crisis On Infinite Earths or Zero Hour or Dark Nights: Metal (although that last series, also by Snyder and some of his same collaborators here, is very much a part of this story), in any way other than the issue-count.

I've mostly liked the series so far, although it has grown tedious at times, and I see a certain amount of appeal to the idea of a Justice League title that is really just an extremely long "crisis" crossover event, and even in the idea of telling the longest single story arc pretty much ever, but I can't shake the feeling that this entire series is just telling a story that Grant Morrison could have told in 4-6 issue, and Gardner Fox in one or two.

I've been getting anxious for Sndyer and company to finally get on to the second act of their Justice League epic, or at least a second story, but I guess this is it, and, despite all the cool stuff they've given us so far, it's disappointing. I can't judge the entire run at this point, obviously, but I'm beginning to wonder if anything will have changed by the time it's over.

As of right now, it appears that this will lead into another "crisis" that will rejigger space, time, the multiverse an DC continuity—I was honestly expecting either Doomsday Clock or this series itself to function as the crisis that fixes The New 52, but I guess there's another one in the offing, that Snyder and company are alluding to—and that that one will give us the new continuity, and lead into this wacky-sounding The New 52-but-this-time-with-more-than-half-a-month's-forethought-put-into-it "5G" status quo.

written by KEITH GIFFEN, J.M. DeMATTEIS, and others
For the first time the start of the 1990s, Justice League Quarterly returns to print with quirky adventures from the Justice League International era! In these stories, meet the Conglomerate, a new super-team assembled by Booster Gold! Booster’s new pals and gals include Maxi-Man, Praxis, Gypsy, Echo, Vapor, and Reverb, but Booster has to wonder if their industry backers want them to be heroes...or corporate puppets. Collects Justice League Quarterly #1-4.
ON SALE 02.12.20
$24.99 US | 304 PAGES
FC | ISBN: 978-1-4012-9906-4

Meanwhile, here's another way to handle a Justice League run. In addition to writing two Justice League ongoings for about five years, Justice League/Justice League International/Justice League America and Justice League Europe, as well as the attendant annuals, the Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis writing team also contributed quite heavily to this quarterly series, providing still more stories within their still unmatched Justice League run.

I didn't read any of DC's past collections of the Giffen/DeMatteis run, as I had previously, laboriously put it together from back-issue bins in the late-90s/early-aughts, so I'm a little surprised that this material hasn't been collected already; I just assumed that at least some of it would have appeared in those collections.

I do so love that Adam Hughs cover, and, in particular, the fact that it is yet another riff on artist Kevin Maguire's cover to 1987's Justice League #1 (Check out Flash Wally West there, by the way). There are some differences between the cover for Justice League Quarterly #1 and the version above, which will apparently appear on the trade.

Not sure why they removed Batman (UPDATE: Well, I wasn't. But now I know).

I wouldn't be too terribly surprised if there are some changes to what is included within, too, even just in terms of credits; there is at least one writer among the "and others" that I assume DC Comics no longer wants to be associated with in any way, which is presumably why they stopped collecting Justice League America so close to the end of its run.

cover by RYAN SOOK
card stock variant cover by JIM CHEUNG
You knew there was no way Jon Kent was going to leave his best friend behind! Welcome to the future, Damian Wayne! (This is such a terrible idea!) Also, meet the new Legionnaires as they head to a secret undercover mission on the first man-made planet: Planet Gotham. Every page of this new DC epic plants seeds and ideas that will blast out across the DC Universe for months to come! All this, and Monster Boy is on the loose!
ON SALE 01.08.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.
variant cover — not final art

I've never really been a fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and never really read any stories featuring that holy mess of characters that lasted all that long— maybe the Geoff Johns-written Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds miniseries was the longest sustained LOSH narrative I've ever been exposed to?—but Bendis' take sure seems interesting. At the very least, his more direct tying of the future team to the past of the DC Universe makes a degree of sense to me. I mean, I can see why some LOSH fans might view it as heresy, but it makes me more interested.

As for what is being suggested here, I would definitely like to see Damian wandering around the 30th Century 31st Century being a dick to everyone and everything. And I'm not sure what this Brainiac will be like but, if he's like past versions, than the prospect of long scenes shared between him and Damian is certainly an exciting one.

art and cover by MANUEL PREITANO
The #1 New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp and artist Manuel Preitano unveil a graphic novel that explores the dark corridors of Barbara Gordon’s first mystery: herself.
After a gunshot leaves her paralyzed below the waist, Barbara Gordon must undergo physical and mental rehabilitation at Arkham Center for Independence. She must adapt to a new normal, but she cannot shake the feeling that something is dangerously amiss. Strange sounds escape at night while patients start to go missing.
Is this suspicion simply a result of her trauma? Or does Barbara actually hear voices coming from the center’s labyrinthine hallways? It’s up to Barbara to put the pieces together to solve the mysteries behind the walls.
In The Oracle Code, universal truths cannot be escaped, and Barbara Gordon must battle the phantoms of her past before they consume her future.
ON SALE 03.04.20
$16.99 US |FC |6” x 9”
ISBN: 978-1-4012-9066-5

Man, I miss Oracle...even more than I miss Batgirl Cassandra Cain, whose YA original graphic novel was in last month's solicitations. Interesting that these two characters who are still around the "real" DCU in other forms had OGNs revolving around their pre-New 52 identities solicited back-to-back like this.

As to Barbara Gordon's problems here, I think she probably made a mistake going to the Arkham Center for Independence. I mean, is the family best known for housing but never actually curing criminally insane serial killers in easily-escapable cells really the best choice for physical therapy...?

Especially if this Barbara Gordon was shot by the other Arkham's most famous regular escapee.

At any rate, I'm pretty interested to see what they come up with here.

That extremely slender twentysomething with the thin arms devoid of any muscle definition on the cover of Red Hood #42 doesn't look anything at all like Artemis, does it...?

I think that's supposed to be Artemis, though. Or maybe it's her teenage daughter...? I don't know; who reads Red Hood comics?

Well, the covers of the current Shazam series have all been pretty good, although I've only read the first issue of the series yet. It's gotta be well past time for a trade collection by now, hasn't it...?

and others
1940s variant cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
1950s variant cover by JENNY FRISON
1960s variant cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
1970s variant cover by OLIVIER COIPEL
1980s variant cover by GEORGE PEREZ
1990s variant cover by BRIAN BOLLAND
2000s variant cover by ADAM HUGHES
2010s variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
blank variant cover available
An all-star 96-page celebration of the Amazon Princess by longtime favorites and acclaimed new voices! In the lead story, Wonder Woman’s epic “Year of the Villain” battle comes to a close, leading the way to new challenges ahead. Additionally, this oversized gem tells tales from Diana’s past, present and future by some of the greatest storytellers in the business— including Colleen Doran, Mariko Tamaki, the Teen Titans: Raven team of writer Kami Garcia and artist Gabriel Picolo, and legendary Wonder Woman creators returning to the character, including Gail Simone and Greg Rucka!
$9.99 US FC DC
This issue will ship with nine variant covers.
Please see the order form for details.

Let's see, the previous issue of the Wonder Woman solicited was November's #83, so either they plan to publish 667 issues of the title in December, or DC did that Marvel-ous thing where they just randomly added up a bunch of comics from various volumes of various series to get a high number they like and are using it as an anniversary celebration issue. At least with Action Comics #1,000 and Detective Comics #1,000 they reverted to the old, pre-New-52boot numbering some time before they hit those anniversary numbers.

I can't stress enough how much this kind of thing bugs me.

Some interesting creators are involved, some of whom are not traditionally associated with the character, so I guess it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

I'm curious about J. Scott Campbell's "1960s variant," because his style is so '90s, it's hard to imagine him doing an homage to a style from any other decade previous to that, particularly a Silver Age or Golden Age one.

art and cover by JOHN TIMMS
It’s an epic Wonder Comics crossover: Naomi, the Wonder Twins, and Young Justice all come together for the first time to confront the secrets behind the entire first year of the teen team’s series. Where did Connor Kent come from? Why does Bart Allen remember everyone but no one else does? How does it all connect to Jinny Hex’s trunk? It’s a Wonder Comics blockbuster!
ON SALE 01.08.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

Wait, wait, wait. Not only has answers to questions like where did pre-New 52 Superboy come from and why does Impulse remember everyone haven't yet been answered in the pages of Young Justice, but they won't be until the twelfth issue...?! That means somewhere around the climax of the second trade collection...? Yeesh. I only read the first issue or two and then decided to wait for the trade (no-fun fact: Justice League is the only comic book I am still reading in serially format), but one of the things that most impressed me about that first issue was how fast it was moving, with the entire team all introduced within the first 20 pages or so of the story, and that Bendis seemed to be eschewing his "decompressed" habit of storytelling.

But I guess that wasn't quite the case after all...? Sigh. I guess Bendis is gonna Bendis, after all...

*Which is supposedly Batwing Luke Fox, which doesn't make much sense to me, given the order of succession of the Batman lieutenants. Even if you reduced it to just male Batman apprentices, Luke would probably be around sixth or seventh on the list, and even if you reduced it to just black, male Batman apprentices, he'd be second behind Duke Thomas. Maybe if this next generation is set decades and the future and we're talking about Luke Fox Jr, then I could maybe buy that.

**Winick's resurrection of Jason Todd still bugs me to this day. I still maintain that Jason Todd is one of those characters that definitely never should have been brought back to life (see also: Barry Allen), but if he had to be, then he was better off having come back in the pages of "Hush" than in "Under The Hood." Also, the costume that Hush "Jason Todd" wore and his streak of white hair was far cooler than his fist Red Hood costume. Why was he dressed like that, and not wearing a tuxedo and a cape...?

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