Last month, I did a write-up of the DC solicits largely because I was irritated with the blandness of them as well as some rumors I’d been hearing about the direction things were taking. The article was fun to write and I got some good feedback. So, I figured I’d try it again now that the March solicits are available. This time, I haven’t read through the solicits first. So, you’re getting my uncensored first impressions. So, here goes:
Last month, I said the following about Trinity:
“I don’t have a lot to say about Trinity. I haven’t been reading it. 52 was the first book I read every week. Countdown, despite being awful, was also one of the first books I read every week. It was truly horrendous, but I just had to see the trainwreck as it happened. I started reading Trinity, but I quickly got bored. While it is obviously far superior in quality to Countdown, it just didn’t hold my interest. I keep meaning to come back and check in with it, but I just can’t motivate myself to do so. More power to anyone who is reading and enjoying this series. ”
No changes. I still haven’t picked it up.
FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF 3 WORLDS #5
This is it! The time-stopping finale to this FINAL CRISIS tie-in arrives as Superman, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl battle Time Trapper while Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains engage in an all-out war with the Legions! Leading into the all-new ADVENTURE COMICS #1!
I’m sure this is going to be good stuff. And don’t get me wrong, I’m totally buying this even though I am not a Legion fan. But, won’t Final Crisis have been over for two months by the time this hits?
BATMAN: BATTLE FOR THE COWL #1
Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea
Covers by Tony Daniel
“Batman: R.I.P.” and FINAL CRISIS saw the end of Batman. Now, months following the disappearance of her protector, Gotham City sits at a precipice and it may be too far gone for Nightwing, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and the rest of the city’s heroes to save the day. Amid the fires, rioting, looting and gang warfare, one question rings out from the souls of Gotham’s desperate citizens: Where is Batman?
With guest-stars galore, the destruction of a sacred Gotham City institution and an ending that will have everyone talking, this 3-issue miniseries event written and drawn by Tony Daniel (The Tenth) features the battle to take on the Mantle of the Bat. Who has earned the right? Who thinks they deserve it? Robin? Nightwing? Jason Todd? Two-Face? Catwoman? Batgirl? Who will ultimately win the BATTLE FOR THE COWL?
If Tony Daniel is going to write this, I insist that they let Grant Morrison draw it. Does anyone else think it’s a little crazy to let an artist start their writing career on a book this important following up Grant Morrison’s epic Batman story… in which said artist was one of the weaker points…
Again, I’m there. It’s a Batman event. I’m a sucker. I’ll read it. I hope Tony Daniel can write. But I’m skeptical.
BATMAN: BATTLE FOR THE COWL – COMMISSIONER GORDON #1
Written by Royal McGraw
Art by Tom Mandrake
Cover by Ladrönn
Gotham City is in a state of emergency. Crime runs rampant, commerce is at a standstill, and gang warfare is on the rise. Through its darkest hours, one man has stood firm against the criminal element in Gotham – Police Commissioner James Gordon. Now, in the aftermath of “Batman: R.I.P.,” Gordon and the GCPD will have to reclaim Gotham and take down Mister Freeze without the assistance of Batman. But with evil on the rise, will this be the beginning of the end of law enforcement in Gotham City? The battle has just begun in this all-new one-shot.
Oh boy, a one-shot. I get the impression this is the first of many. Feels like a money-grab. And who the heck is Royal McGraw? Anyone else think it sounds like a cartoon horse? The cover’s nice though.
GOTHAM GAZETTE: BATMAN DEAD? #1
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by various
Cover by Dustin Nguyen
A city looking to kill itself. A population without its dark avenger, without answers, without hope. A cop looking to save Gotham from its own madness. A reporter looking to reclaim her career by revealing that it’s no coincidence the city’s top billionaire and its urban legend are missing at the same time. A doctor seeking to regain her soul by stepping back into Hell. One hero who can’t quite get it right no matter how hard she tries. Harvey Bullock. Vicki Vale. Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Stephanie Brown. What do all these people have in common?
Without Batman, Gotham City continues to fall apart, and these extraordinary “ordinary” people try to mend the city’s wounds, looking into a dark night for answers. This one-shot special explores the effect a missing Batman has on the citizens of Gotham City.
That Various guy almost always disappoints me. Why do they keep hiring him? Seriously though, if anyone good were doing the interiors on this book, they’d probably be mentioned by name. Fabian Nicieza is a good writer and I’m interested in the stuff with Dr. Thompkins and Spoiler. So, the money grab will probably work this time.
AZRAEL: DEATH’S DARK KNIGHT #1
He was a husband and a father. A brother and a friend. A cop and a dark knight. But he had all that taken away. And in return, he was given a suit of sorrows, a quest for redemption and a new name. He is Azrael, avenging angel for the Order of Purity and a new protector for Gotham City’s troubled times. But who will protect the citizens from him?
Guest-starring Robin, Nightwing, Talia and the League of Assassins, this miniseries runs alongside BATTLE FOR THE COWL and features the dramatic presence of a strangely familiar, troubled hero with two things on his mind: crazed vengeance for the wrongs he has suffered and salvation for the sins he continues to commit!
Damn you, DC! Don’t you know I have bills to pay?
I was an Azreal fan back in the day, so I’ll give this a look. Doesn’t sound like JP Valley is back, but that’s okay in my book. My one question is, why is Azreal wearing sneakers?
Written by Kevin VanHook
Art by Don Kramer and Jay Leisten
Cover by Guillem March
Part 1 of 3-part story that will change the life of Oracle forever! Barbara Gordon, after disbanding the Birds of Prey, returns to Gotham City as a recluse only to lose herself to her Oracle identity entirely. But when the evil Calculator seeks the remnants of the Anti-Life Equation to save the life of his daughter, Oracle will be caught in the crossfire, and Barbara Gordon will pay the ultimate price!
Cancelling Beddard’s Birds of Prey was a mercy killing. I guess I should be glad Oracle got a mini-series instead of Infinity. Anyone else think that the premise sounds pretty unappealing. And who is Kevin VanHook?
THE OUTSIDERS #16
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Lee Garbett & Trevor Scott
“The Deep” part 2 of 6. Who are The Insiders, and what exactly are they searching for deep under the Earth’s surface that could alter the future of mankind? As The Outsiders engage the first defensive circle of The Insiders, the newly formed team face a severe test as Geo-Force displays a unique perspective on how best to lead them in battle – and it doesn’t sit well with Black Lightning.
I’m taking a wait-and-see approach here. The new line-up isn’t very appealing to me. And Tomasi is hit-and-miss. Judging from the cover, at least the art should be good.
ACTION COMICS #875 & SUPERMAN #686
Written by James Robinson
Art by Renato Guedes & Wilson Magalháes
Cover by Eddy Barrows & Julio Ferreira
Following the startling events of “New Krypton” and the shocking occurrence in the Phantom Zone, Earth finds itself without its greatest protector! Luckily, Metropolis still has a few heroes, like Mon-El and the Guardian. But after years of knowing nothing but the solitude of the Phantom Zone, how will Mon-El acclimate himself to society? And the recently returned Guardian has his hands full with his new position in the Science Police. How can they fill Superman’s shoes? They’d better figure it out fast, because dangerous mysteries abound which will carry all the way into 2010!
The highly acclaimed writer-artist team of James Robinson and Renato Guedes continue their run on SUPERMAN with or without The Man of Steel!
ACTION COMICS #875
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Eddy Barrows & Ruy José
Cover by Eddy Barrows & Julio Ferreira
To give the full details of this story would spoil the dramatic finale of the “New Krypton” crossover, and we don’t want to do that! Suffice to say, a “World Without Superman” is a very dangerous place, indeed, and the only thing standing between the good (and not so good) folks of Earth and an impending shadow of doom are the all-new Nightwing and Flamebird!
Eisner Award-winning writer Greg Rucka (FINAL CRISIS: REVELATIONS) teams with rising star Eddy Barrows (TEEN TITANS) to kick off a bold new era for ACTION COMICS!
Last month I commented on Internet rumors that had James Robinson leaving the Superman books. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but I said as long as the replacement was someone good, I was on board. Well, apparently those rumors were a bunch of hogwash. Instead, Goeff Johns is moving off Action Comics. This would be sad, sad news. Except that the winning team of Johns and Frank will still be working on Superman in the Secret Origin mini-series. And the replacement team on Action includes Greg Rucka. Also DC is definitely teasing us with the possible return of a much missed member of Superman’s supporting cast.
The Superman books have been as good as ever lately and I hate to see the winning formula changed. But these look pretty promising. I hope they can continue the momentum Johns and Frank built up in Action Comics.
SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON #1
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Pete Woods
Cover by Gary Frank
Variant cover by Ladrönn
Following the events of the “New Krypton” crossover, the Man of Steel has had to embrace his past to ensure humanity’s future. And while a devastating armed conflict with Earth may have been averted, keeping the peace will be Superman’s greatest challenge yet.
Hot new writer Andrew Kreisberg (BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL) and fan-favorite artist Pete Woods (ACTION COMICS, SUPERMAN: UP, UP AND AWAY!) lead Superman through a world of interstellar treachery and deadly machinations where the lives of two races hang in the balance!
Speaking of New Krypton, it’s been a really enjoyable read so far. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. My one reservation is that I felt somewhat burned by Andrew Kreisberg’s first issue of Green Arrow/Black Canary. (review here)
Written by Sterling Gates
Art by Jamal Igle & Keith Champagne
Cover by Joshua Middleton
“Who is Superwoman?” part 3! Supergirl continues her manhunt for Reactron, determined to bring him to justice for the heinous crimes he committed in “New Krypton”!
Meanwhile, Lois Lane and Inspector Mike Henderson investigate the appearance of a dead body in Metropolis Harbor. Whose body is it and what could it have to do with the new Woman of Steel? Find out as the big mystery of 2009 continues!
We’re only two issues into their run. But so far, the Gates/Igle & Champagne team seems like a winner. I never thought I’d be reading (and loving) Supergirl. But I am. And if you’re not, you should check it out.
BOOSTER GOLD #18
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art and cover by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
The “Reality Lost” arc concludes as Booster Gold gets help from…Booster Gold? Thanks to the powers of time travel, the future Booster Gold jumps back in time to team up with none other than himself to defeat a powered-up Chronos and stop him from using the time-knife to forever alter history. It’s Booster Gold and Booster Gold in a fight against time!
Booster Gold is one of those rare comic book success stories you just love to see. I really enjoyed Johns’ run on the book. And I know the book is in good hands with Booster Gold’s creator taking over the writing duties. People often forget that Jurgens is a talented writer as well. I really hope Booster Gold continues to succeed even though Geoff Johns has left the book.
GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY #18
Written by Andrew Kreisberg
Art by Mike Norton & Josef Rubinstein
Cover by Ladrönn
It’s quiet in Star City – a little too quiet. And a new menace hits town that Black Canary herself may be responsible for! Also, Green Arrow crosses a line that just may send the couple going their separate ways!
In my review of GA/BC 15, I complained a lot about the way Andrew Kreisberg portrayed Black Canary. What I did not address was that the issue appeared to end with Black Canary misusing her powers and unintentially creating a supervillain. I didn’t address it because it seemed too dumb to be true. This solicit sure seems to suggest that as dumb as it is, it may still be true.
If it is, expect a very long rant about Black Canary’s mastery of her powers. Expect it to put all my previous GA/BC rants to shame. Expect me to condemn Andrew Kreisberg as the second coming of Winnick. And don’t say I didn’t warn you!
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #34
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Pat Gleason & Rebecca Buchman
Cover by Pat Gleason
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
The prelude to “Blackest Night” continues as the “War of Light” heats up. Mongul commands Daxam and their Superman-like citizens plus the entire Sinestro Corps. Can Arisia and a small resistance of Daxamites defeat the fear-bearing Corps with Sodam Yat out of the picture?
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Pat Gleason), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Rodolfo Migliari). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
“War of Light” sure sounds pretty good. I just hope I’m not sick of Blackest Night before it even gets here. Tomasi usually delivers an okay story, but he rarely wows me. I expect to be entertained but not wowed here.
GREEN LANTERN #40
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Philip Tan & Jonathan Glapion
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
“Agent Orange” part 2! The prelude to “The Blackest Night” continues as the war of light explodes across the Vega System. It’s the Green Lantern Corps vs. the bizarre Orange Lantern Corps led by the most disgusting, filthiest, vilest being in the universe. But now that Agent Orange has been disturbed, what does that mean to the rest of the universe? Plus, John Stewart battles alongside his newest ally…Fatality?
I think I just pissed myself!
Is this an issue of Green Lantern that focuses on a Lantern other than Hal Jordan? Holy crap! It’s about time! I can not wait for this issue. Hopefully, it will be the start of a trend. Not that I dislike Hal, but a steady diet of Johns telkling me how cool he is has really gotten tiresome.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #31
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Ed Benes & Sandra Hope
Cover by Ed Benes
Death, destruction and betrayal! The fallout from FINAL CRISIS leaves the Justice League of America on the brink of dissolution. Black Canary faces her greatest test as she tries to hold her devastated team together. Will those who remain be enough to save the world?
Every issue, it’s the same thing. I read the solicit and I think, “Well, that could be good.” And then the issue comes out and it reads like someone ripped off Justice League Unlimited. And Ed Benes the women on the team in ways Larry Flynt would find disrespectful.
Having said that, this issue looks like it could be good…
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #25
Written by Geoff Johns & Jerry Ordway
Art by Jerry Ordway & Bob Wiacek
Cover by Alex Ross
Variant cover by Dale Eaglesham & Nathan Massengill
The “Black Adam and Isis” epic concludes here! With Billy Batson banished from the Rock of Eternity, the Justice Society calls upon an old friend to help in the battle against the Black Marvel family and stop Black Adam and Isis once and for all!
First Johns leaves Action Comics and now he’s leaving JSA. (Well, after issue 26 anyway.) I can hardly begrudge the guy. He’s put in his time on this title. So, I’m just going to enjoy the next few issues and hope his replacement is someone good.
As for this issue, Johns + Black Adam = buy.
Written by Tony Bedard
Art and cover by Andy Clarke
Vril Dox – the son of Brainiac – finds himself fleeing from the universe’s deadliest bounty hunters as he tries to figure out who stole his intergalactic L.E.G.I.O.N. police force from him. But the more he learns, the less he likes! Guest-starring Supergirl.
And the winner of the Book I Am Least Interested in Award goes to… Rebels. Thanks, Tony Bedard. I want my Birds of Prey back!
THE MIGHTY #2
Written by Peter J. Tomasi & Keith Champagne
Art by Peter Snejbjerg
Cover by Dave Johnson
Section Omega is in chaos, and Lt. Cole and the hero known as Alpha One must work side by side for the first time! But in his quest to bring murderers to justice, Cole is in way over his head! When the two locate the villains responsible for the recent trouble, the fight doesn’t go as planned, and Cole finds that being partnered with the world’s greatest Super Hero isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. The consequences of their first battle together will leave even the great Alpha One shaken!
Can’t really say much about this one until I read the first issue. If at all possible, I’ll try to get a full review of the first issue up when it comes out.
Gotta support new characters, ya know.
SECRET SIX #7
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood
Cover by Nicola Scott
It’s the big finale of the first arc and a punishing battle royal, Gotham City style, as the bloody, ragged remains of the Secret Six fight their way through throngs of Gotham City heroes and villains. And when the dust finally settles, the man pulling the strings of this whole affair will finally be revealed! Guest stars, betrayals and bad taste galore in this powerful issue!
What’s your favorite new book of 2008? Mine’s Secret Six.
What on-going comic book do you look forward to the most? Fo me, it’s Secret Six.
Which book do you recommend to everyone you know? Secret Six.
You get the picture. This book is great. Read it!
SOLOMON GRUNDY #1
Written by Scott Kolins
Art and cover by Scott Kolins
Born on a Monday! Writer/artist Scott Kolins (THE FLASH, FACES OF EVIL: SOLOMON GRUNDY) brings you the origin behind one of the most mysterious figures in DC comics! Smashing out of the pages of his “Faces of Evil” one-shot, Solomon Grundy teams with Cyrus Gold – the man he once was before becoming a monster – to uncover the truth behind the Grundy curse! But how can he team with Cyrus Gold? How was Solomon Grundy created? And can Cyrus ever be set free? There are seven issues for each day of the nursery rhyme that haunts the longtime DC favorite, and by Sunday, could this be the end of Solomon Grundy?
I guess is Tony Daniel can write and draw Battle for the Cowl, Scott Kolins should be allowed to write and draw a Solomon Grundy mini-series. Seven issues? Are you kidding me? Who wants to read seven issues about Solomon Grundy? I’ll probably check out the first issue. But it’ll have to be pretty damn good to keep me on board for six more!
STRANGE ADVENTURES #1
Written by Jim Starlin
Art by Manuel Garcia & Al Milgrom and Jim Starlin & Rob Hunter
Cover by Jim Starlin & Rob Hunter
Variant cover by Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
Master storyteller Jim Starlin takes readers on an epic sci-fi adventure starring Adam Strange, Comet and the reverse Superman known as Bizarro. A deadly peril threatens the universe, and it’s up to Adam Strange to stop it. Meanwhile, a contract is put out for the death of Comet while Bizarro finds a new purpose in life, which leads to the beginning of a strange new journey.
I know Jim Starlin has his fans. And someone must be reading his space hero adventures because DC keeps putting them on the stands. I don’t dislike them. I’ve tried reading a few in the past, but I always loose interest before the story wraps up. This time, I’ll save the effort. But if this is your thing, enjoy!
The Titans Franchise
I’m going to lump the whole Titans franchise together for a minute. Why? Because all three books are completely unreadable. First of all, there is no excuse for DC putting out three Titans books. None. The Titans can support two books. And that’s only if the main book is excellent. This month, the main title introduces the new line-up Sean McKeever has been build towards for what feels like ten years now. The most striking thing about the cover is that Robin isn’t on it. The next thing you notice is Wonder Girl’s latest uninspired costume change. (Can we just put her in one of Donna Troy’s old costumes and be done with it?) Oh, and look… there’s Bombshell. Why, DC? Why?
The line-up itself isn’t bad. But it sure doesn’t feel like the Titans. Getting rid of Bart and Conner pretty much gutted this book. Sending Tim packing is probably the last straw from a line-up perspective. In the hands of a better writer, I’d have a little faith that I could be made to care about the new line up (well, except for Bombshell). But McKeever has managed to make me not care about characters I like. (I used to be a Wonder Girl fan back in the days when Peter David wrote her.) So, I don’t really see him winning me over.
McKeever continues his destruction of the Titans franchise in Terror Titans. Thankfully, this ill-advised mini-series finally comes to an end in March. I am already pushing the delete button on any memories I have of this train wreck. I’m sure DC will do the same once McKeever is no longer on Titans.
Last and least in Titans 11. It seems like we finally have a regular artist on this book. After watching several artists embarass themselves by drawing overtly provactive pictures of Starfire (naked) and Donna Troy (with double D’s spilling out of her costume) Howard Porter’s been sticking around for more than 3 issues. On this book, that’s a long run. Porter has two styles. There’s the impressive (but tardy) work on Power of Shazam. And then there’s this. It may be on time, but the facial features all look weird.
Titans has been a train wreck since issue one. And it will likely continue to be a train wreck to the end. Why is that any writer who tries to take on the Wolfman/Perez-era Titans suddenly becomes a hack? Not that Judd Winick needs any help transformthing into a hack. He’s been living down to that reputation for a while now.
From the solicit for issue 11, it sounds like someone died last issue. Or maybe not. The solicit says they “lost” one of their teammates. Which could mean anything. Nightwing’s not on the cover. Gee, didn’t see that coming. It’s not like all the Batman supporting characters are being pulled out of other books or anything… Good for you, Nightwing and Robin. You’ll be better served by artist-turned-writer, Tony Daniel than you were by Sean McKeever and Judd Winick!
WONDER WOMAN #30
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Aaron Lopresti & Matt Ryan
Cover by Aaron Lopresti
Variant cover by Eric Shanower
“Rise of the Olympian” Part 5! Created by Zeus himself, the Olympian is charged with spreading the message of peace and unity throughout the world – by any means necessary. Is a battered and bruised Wonder Woman up to the challenge of stopping his brutal ways? And does the world even want her to? All this plus a surprising revelation about the true origin of Genocide, the creature that beat Wonder Woman!
Gail rules. Secret Six is awesome. Her Wonder Woman is good. I sure hope Rise of the Olympian is the masterpiece it is being billed as.
Okay, that’s more or less it for this month. I left off a few things that were non-DCU or that are so off my radar I had nothing to say. What’s the verdict?
I’m looking forward to the Superman books. I hope they continue to rock after New Krypton. I’m a little more skeptical of the Batman books, but the premise is intriguing. Let’s hope the execution is there.
The DC team books aren’t looking so hot. Sure, there’s JSA. And Secret Six if you count a team of villains. But the Titans books are awful. Outsiders is reinventing itself (again). And JLA just never seems to come together. Maybe this will be the month that happens…
On the whole, it looks more promising than February!