What to Expect: Week 1 of the Relaunch

While lebeau continues to give you a fantastic title-by-title breakdown of the upcoming relaunch, I’m going to take a slightly different take on things.    With the full solicits revealed, release dates included, we now have a slightly better idea of what to expect come September.  So I’m going to break down the solicits by release date, talk a little bit about what I’m going to get – and what I’m going to skip – and why, so you’ll have an idea of what some of the books that will definitely see coverage here will be… and which of your favorites you can heartily mock me for skipping.

So, with that brief introduction, on to week one of the solicits, otherwise known as… September 7th.

The titles in bold are the ones I’ll be buying, at least for the first issue.

Justice League International, Jurgens & Lopresti, 2.99$

Green Arrow, Krul & Jurgens, 2.99$

Action Comics, Morrison & Morales, 3.99$

Detective Comics, Tony Daniel, 2.99$

Batwing, Winick & Oliver, 2.99$

Batgirl, Simone & Syaf, 2.99$

Swamp Thing, Snyder & Paquette, 2.99$

Animal Man, Lemire & Foreman, 2.99$

Stormwatch, Cornell & Sepulveda, 2.99$

OMAC, DiDio & Giffen, 2.99$

Sgt. Rock and the Men of War, Brandon & Derenick, 3.99$

Static Shock, McDaniel & Rozum, 2.99$

Hawk and Dove, Gates & Liefeld, 2.99$

Now, I don’t expect all of these to make it past one or two issues on my pull.  Batwing is largely on there because I recently re-read the utterly fantastic The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius and want to give Winick another chance after a few years of ignoring or disliking much of his modern super-hero work.  Sgt. Rock and the Men of War is largely on there to give one of the few definitively non-super-hero titles on the list a shot, and I have no idea what to expect from that.  Meanwhile, Static Shock, Justice League International and Stormwatch are the kinds of books I more reliably trade-wait on, a trend I’ll go back to unless they really wow me in their first couple issues

There are only four titles I’m skipping completely.  Hawk and Dove has potential, and Gates was a pleasant surprise on Supergirl, but Rob Liefeld’s art is a definite down-side for me and even Gail Simone had a hard time making me interested in Hawk and Dove as characters.  Detective Comics will probably just be more of the same as Daniel’s work on Batman, and reading Battle for the Cowl was more than enough – for DC’s flagship title, I expected a whole lot more.  O.M.A.C. has a deadly combination of a complete creative team and character I’m not terribly interested in, unfortunately.  I respect DiDio for some of his tough decisions at DC lately, but I don’t know much about him as a writer (and his storytelling instincts seem perilously off – see Countdown), while Giffen’s cover just doesn’t get me interested.  Finally, Krul is a writer whose work I’ve never felt strongly about, but his work on Roy Harper was enough to make me less than interested to see what he has to say about Ollie.

Overall, I think this is a promising first week.  There is a blend of books here that should make sure there’s something for everyone – team books, single superhero titles, horror, war, action, drama, comedy, you can see a mini-cosmos of the entire relaunch here.  It has big names – Morrison! Simone! – and big titles – Detective Comics! Action Comics! – to balance out the more character-driven work.  If the creators can resist the urge to immediately beat us to death with another origin story, this could be a great week for DC.

In Which I Predict the Future

Most popular title: Action Comics #1

Morrison’s All-Star Superman quickly became quite possibly THE defining Superman story of the current generation, and one of the most iconic superhero titles in general.  Rags Morales is a talented artist working on the biggest project of his career.  The solicit for this issue is painfully vague, but, like Johns & Lee on Justice League #1, it doesn’t need to say much.  Morrison on Superman says it all.

Runners-up: Detective Comics; Justice League International

First canceled: Static Shock

If Xombi is any indication, Rozum is an immensely talented creator, but, if Xombi is any indication, his instincts and talents don’t exactly align with mainstream interests.  Then there’s the fact that, sad to say, minority characters and comic fans just don’t get along very well.  Unlike Batwing, however, Virgil Hawkins doesn’t have the Batfamily to fall back on, nor does Rozum have Batwing-writer Judd Winick’s fanbase.  Still, as I said, Rozum is talented and Virgil is popular, so I suspect it will be worth checking out!

Runners-up: Sgt. Rock and the Men of War, O.M.A.C.

Surprise break-out hit: Swamp Thing #1

Scott Snyder is making a name for himself.  American Vampire is Vertigo’s second most popular book right now.  His run on Detective Comics has drawn critical and fan praise.  He’ll be writing Batman.  And then there’s the fact that Brightest Day ended up being an ad for Swamp Thing, there will be a mini called The Search for Swamp Thing, and horror is popular right now.  Swamp Thing is far from a guaranteed hit, but given the talent of the creators and the atmosphere of the industry right now, this has a lot of potential.

Runners-up: Batgirl, Stormwatch

Critics’ Darling: Animal Man #1

Jeff Lemire has a successful but underselling Vertigo title.  He’s stated that he understands that the core of Buddy’s character is his family, something he’ll be focusing on extensively.  And Animal Man himself has a history of critical respectability.  None of that screams ‘mainstream success’ but it DOES make for decent critic-bait.  And that’s one seriously cool cover.

Runners-up: Batgirl, Action Comics

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