Tuesday, February 06, 2007

DC Then and Now

These are the February 2002 DC Solicitations and my comments about then to now as a comparison. Five years was a big enough gap and the information for five years ago was readily available.

DETECTIVE COMICS #767 Written by Greg Rucka and Judd Winick; art by Steve Lieber, Cliff Chiang and Mick Gray; cover by John McCrea In stores February 13. "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" Part 8 - featuring the debut of new penciller Steve Lieber (Whiteout)! Is Sasha going to say Bruce committed the murder in order to get out of jail? Plus, chapter 5 in the "Josie Mac" backup serial, from writer Judd Winick (GREEN LANTERN) and artist Cliff Chiang (WONDER WOMAN: OUR WORLDS AT WAR). FC, 40 pg. $2.50

Some of this was good stuff, but this was during the asshole Batman stage. I think the Dini run is a better take on Batman, but I want something with sub plots soon as Detective has become a reintroduce the rogues gallery book.

NIGHTWING #66 Written by Chuck Dixon; art by Rick Burchett and Rob Leigh; cover by Michael Golden In stores February 13. "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" Part 9! As Dick and Barbara dig deeper into the circumstances surrounding Bruce Wayne's arrest, Lockhaven erupts into fiery chaos! FC, 32 pg. $2.25

I think Nightwing was better then. While it has recently gotten better, it went from bad to okay and before under Chuck Dixon Nightwing was a great read.

BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #26 Written by Devin Grayson, Cyrus Voris and Chris Bachalo; art by Roger Robinson, Bachalo, and John Floyd; cover by Brian Bolland In stores February 20. "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" Part 10! As Bruce Wayne languishes in prison on a brutal murder charge, his closest allies try and come to terms with the horrific reality of the situation. Only…not everyone who loves him thinks he's completely innocent. Plus, a Batman Black & White backup, "Bruce Wayne is Batman!," written by Cyrus Voris & Chris Bachalo, with art by Bachalo (STEAMPUNK). FC, 40 pg. $2.50

This book has been cancelled.

ROBIN #99 Written by Chuck Dixon; art by Pete Woods and Andrew Pepoy; cover by Todd Nauck and Pepoy In stores February 20. "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" Part 11, guest-starring the BIRDS OF PREY. Bruce Wayne stands accused of murder, but Robin's got to rescue a close friend. The secret behind Kip's strange behavior is revealed, while Alfred goes undercover to investigate a suspect in the Bruce Wayne case and Robin and Spoiler join forces once more! FC, 32 pg. $2.25

This is a tough call, I enjoyed Robin under Dixon, but since One year later Adam Beechen has done a great job on this book also.

BIRDS OF PREY #40 Written by Chuck Dixon; art by Rick Leonardi and Jesse Delperdang; cover by Phil Noto In stores February 20. "Bruce Wayne: Murderer?" Part 12! Black Canary picks up an unwanted sidekick in the Spoiler as she investigates the crime for which Bruce Wayne is accused. Meanwhile, Oracle begins to learn the secret that may have led to the murder, and Robin arrives just in time as the case against Bruce Wayne takes a dramatic turn. All that, and some disturbing news for Blue Beetle, too! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

This is a draw also. We went from Chuck Dixon to Gail Simone, so really good to really good.

BATMAN #600 Written by Ed Brubaker with Patton Oswalt; art by Scott McDaniel, Stefano Gaudiano, James Tucker, Sergio Aragonés, Andy Owens, and Eric Shanower; cover by McDaniel In stores February 27. Part 1 of "Bruce Wayne: Fugitive" kicks off in this special 64-page issue! Bruce Wayne is suspected of committing murder and is confronted by his allies in the Batcave - resulting in Batman and Nightwing going toe-to-toe in an amazing display of combat between teacher and student. This confrontation ends with a shocking betrayal by Batman and a startling new direction for the Batman titles! Plus, backup stories round out this issue featuring the talents of Stefano Gaudiano & Eric Shanower, James Tucker, and Patton Oswalt & Sergio Aragonés. FC, 64 pg. $3.95

I think an uptick in quality today. Morrison and Kubert are more dynamic then Brubaker and McDaniel and again that was the asshole Batman.

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #152 Written by J.M DeMatteis; art by Trevor Von Eeden and José Luis García-López; cover by John Cassaday In stores February 6. "Grimm," Part 4 of 5. If you thought Mother Grimm was bad for Batman's and Robin's health, wait until you meet Cyanide! She's the flip side of Mother Grimm's "goodness," and she's out for blood! FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Just cancelled. With Batman Confidential the book has essentially been re-launched. A draw as the quality on this type of book rises and falls with the creative teams.

AZRAEL: AGENT OF THE BAT #87 Written by Dennis O'Neil; art by Sergio Cariello and James Pascoe; cover by Scott McDaniel and Cariello In stores February 13. An assignment for Sister Lilhy leads Azrael to encounter a new foe. Will Jean Paul's mysteriously increased strength be enough to deal with a new metagene-enhanced menace? FC, 32 pg. $2.50

This book has been cancelled.

BATGIRL #25 Written by Kelley Puckett; art and cover by Damion Scott and Robert Campanella In stores February 6. Extra-sized issue! This is it! It's the fight fans have been clamoring for since issue #8. It's the rematch between Batgirl and Lady Shiva…to the death! In issue #23, Batgirl trained hard for this…but is she ready? Who ends up as the #1 martial artist in the DC Universe? Let's put it this way: How bad is Cassandra's death wish? FC, 40 pg. $3.25

This book has been cancelled.

BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #47 Written by Scott Peterson and Tim Levins; art by Levins and Terry Beatty; cover by Bob Smith and Beatty In stores February 27. When the criminal doesn't match up with the crime, Batman makes the rounds in Gotham's underworld and learns there may be a crook in the long arm of the law. FC, 32 pg. $1.99

The animated versions of DC books have never been my taste.

CATWOMAN #4 Written by Ed Brubaker; art by Darwyn Cooke and Mike Allred; cover by Cooke In stores February 27. It's the climactic finish to the strangest case in Catwoman's career. Catwoman finds herself face-to-face with the serial killer she's been pursuing, but he's like nothing she's ever seen in her adventurous life! A battle royale ensues, as Catwoman must take one heck of a drastic measure to stop the threat - and save her own life! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Wow, this is actually a decline in quality to today. Not that Will Pfeffifer and Lopez are doing a bad job, it was just that Brubaker and Cooke absolutely were nailing this title. So this book went from excellent to good.

THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN #3 Written and illustrated by Frank Miller; cover by Miller In stores February 27. The "grand finale" to comics' most eagerly-awaited sequel. Let's be honest - you don't want to know what really goes on in this issue before you get a chance to watch it unfold for yourself. So let's just say that it's our humble opinion you aren't going to be disappointed! Frank Miller and Lynn Varley bring their considerable talents to bear on the Batman epic of the decade! FC, 80 pg. (3 of 3) Prestige Format $7.95

Wow, I forgot this was around five years ago. Truly a reviled follow-up. I’m anxious to re-read this in my Absolute version that contains both parts and see what I really think of this book.

HARLEY QUINN #17 Written by Karl Kesel; art and cover by Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson In stores February 13. At last, at long last, because absolutely no one demanded it! A certain man dressed in red and blue and endowed with tremendous abilities we could only describe as super, swoops onto the scene! That's right, it's…Bizarro? Am confused? Don't be! Finally, someone who'll appreciate Miss Harleen's humor! But what could the Man of…well, something, want with our petite criminal half-mastermind? FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Never a big fan of Harley and never got this book. It has been cancelled.

SUPERMAN #179 Written by Geoff Johns and Jeph Loeb; art by Ariel Olivetti; cover by Ed McGuinness and Cam Smith In stores February 6. Featuring co-author Geoff Johns (JSA, THE FLASH) and guest-artist Ariel Olivetti (JLA/HAVEN: ARRIVAL). A new African-American hero emerges in New York as Superman deals with a crime in Harlem. The Man of Steel is forced to reconsider what makes a hero. FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Easy call, Superman today is light years better then were it was. I really could never follow any of the Superman books, even with repeated try outs.

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #601 Written by Joe Casey; art by Pete Woods and José Marzan, Jr.; cover by John Paul Leon In stores February 13. "Cult of Persuasion" Part 1 of 2. You met disgruntled factory worker Cole Parker in issue #598 - he had the will to defeat Superman, but not the power. Someone's changed all that, and now the Man of Steel has a deadly new enemy who's come to cut him down to size...literally! FC, 32 pg. $2.25

See above same comments. Plus we now have All Star Superman and Superman Confidential.
SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #123 Written by Mark Schultz; art by Yvel Guichet and Dexter Vines; cover by John Cassaday In stores February 20. "Gangs of Metropolis" Part 1 of 3. The various factions in Metropolis unite as the B13 technology runs amok. Superman and Steel are caught in the middle of Metallo, LexCorp, Talia, the Cyber-Moths, and the environmental group Caeloss - as a turf war erupts in the bowels of the City of Tomorrow. FC, 32 pg. $2.25


ACTION COMICS #788 Written by Joe Kelly; art and cover by Pascual Ferry and Cam Smith In stores February 27. "Jikei Ketsuki: Mercy, Love & Blood" Part 1 of 2. Japanese heroes Byakko and Gunshin fight justice on their own terms and run smack into Superman - who doesn't agree with their ideals. Can the Man of Steel convince them that killing is wrong before more lives are lost at the hands of Sakki, a villain who can turn any opponent's anger into a weapon? FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Much better today the Johns/Donner/Kubert team is slow to produce issues, but it is a better book today.

SUPERBOY #97 Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Dan DiDio; art by John McCrea and James Hodgkins; cover by Kilian Plunkett In stores February 27. Wipeout, leader of the Slaughterhouse Six and extremely jealous boyfriend of Trixie, decides he's going to take his frustrations out on The Kid. He better get in line, though - Superboy's learning he's made more than enough enemies since moving into Suicide Slum, the biggest of whom could well be Trixie herself! FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Cancelled and he is now dead.

SUPERGIRL #67 Written by Peter David; art by Diego Barretto and Robin Riggs; cover by Leonard Kirk and Riggs In stores February 20. The Demon Etrigan delightedly tries to play all sides against each other. He becomes aware that Supergirl is threatened by the mysterious captor of the Earth Angel, by Buzz's wavering loyalties and by the demon worshippers who'd like to turn Supergirl into The Demon's bride! Plus, the Bizarro Supergirl shows up in Leesburg, and her presence serves as a threat to Linda Danvers' secret I.D.! FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Cancelled and re-launched with a new Supergirl. David did a good job on this book and the current series is only okay, so I think we again have a draw, with a slight nod towards David’s run.

SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #66 Written by Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer; art by Aluir Amancio, Wayne Faucher and Terry Austin; cover by Mike Manley and Austin In stores February 6. Final issue. "Power Play," Part 2 of 2. Livewire has been a pawn in a game that's brought Lex Luthor into a pact with Darkseid, who has transported them - along with the Man of Steel - to Apokolips! FC, 32 pg. $1.99

Again I don’t care about the animated books.


DEADMAN #3 Written by Steve Vance; art by Josep Maria Beroy and Dan Green; cover by Beroy In stores February 13. The latest adventures of everyone's favorite dead hero continue! Deadman learns that crime lord Duroc's latest shipment of drugs contains an ingredient that will turn users into homicidal maniacs - and the only way he can stop it is by becoming one of them! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

This was a poor Deadman series and we now have a totally different character using the name in a Vertigo series, which I like (but I’m in a severe minority).

DOOM PATROL #5 Written by John Arcudi; art and cover by Tan Eng Huat In stores February 6. Forget the Doom Patrol - this is where the Doom Force takes its place in the super-hero-team pantheon. But even though Robotman and the gang are still out there fighting crime, it'll take the combined might of both the Force and the new new Doom Patrol (Metamorpho, Elongated Man, Dr. Light, and Beast Boy) to even challenge the might of Master Chinese demon Nao Yut and his six demon pals! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Cancelled. A hard series to make the right way. This was a valiant effort.

THE FLASH #183 Written by Geoff Johns; art by Scott Kolins and Doug Hazlewood; cover by Brian Bolland In stores February 27. The original Trickster retired long ago…but there's a newer, younger Trickster in Keystone City who's got a 21st-century bag of tricks - all of them with the aim of making Flash's life miserable! FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Hands down a better book then. Now it is Bart as the Flash and it has been lame so far.

THE FLASH ARCHIVES VOL. 3 HC Written by John Broome and Gardner Fox; art by Carmine Infantino, Joe Giella and Murphy Anderson; cover by Infantino In stores February 6. The third volume in the adventures of the Silver Age Flash reprints THE FLASH (first series) #117-124, which includes the "Flash of Two Worlds" story (from #123) that reintroduced the Golden Age Flash and first mentioned the concept of an "Earth-Two!" Featuring an introduction by DC's Paul Levitz on the impact "Flash of Two Worlds" had on comics fandom. FC, 228 pg. Hardcover $49.95

Wow DC needs to up the ante on producing more Silver Age archives and going to two a month with the archives series (at least 18).

GREEN ARROW #13 Written by Kevin Smith; art by Phil Hester and Ande Parks; painted cover by Matt Wagner In stores February 27. One of the hottest DC titles begins its second year with a bang, as the newest story arc continues - featuring the father/son team-up of Oliver Queen and Connor Hawke. The two Green Arrow's will have a lot of catching up to do… FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Another easy call – way better NOW! Kevin Smith did nothing for this book, except bring Ollie back from the dead (which I hated). Winnick has made GA one of the best books on the racks lately.

GREEN LANTERN #147 Written by Judd Winick; art and cover by Dale Eaglesham and Rodney Ramos In stores February 6. Wheelchair-bound former Green Lantern John Stewart confronts his deepest, darkest secrets - a twisted journey through the psyche of a man who has had it all and lost it all. Meanwhile, the current Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, spreads his newfound wings into near-godhood. FC, 32 pg. $2.25

We are back to Hal as GL and the comic was okay then and it is a stronger okay now.

HAVEN: THE BROKEN CITY #3 Written by Ashley-Jayne Nicolaus and Matthew P. Schuster; art and cover by Ariel Olivetti In stores February 20. A reporter's visit to Haven offers more insights into the crash-landing that altered the landscape of the DCU! Learn how the Havenites have been changed by their arrival, and the plans that the president and his closest advisors have for America's newest city. Plus, a cameo by Superman and the debut of Hank Velveeda! FC, 32 pg. (3 of 9) $2.50

This was an interesting mini-series, ultimately forgotten, but still not bad. No real relevance to this review.

THE HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE TP Written by Marv Wolfman; art by George Pérez and Karl Kesel; painted cover by Alex Ross In stores February 20. This unusual project, which spun out of the universe-changing events of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, returns in a new trade paperback edition - featuring an all-new painted wraparound cover by Alex Ross! Narrated by Harbinger (a central figure from CRISIS), HISTORY brings readers back through time and space to the dawn of creation, and continues on to the end of recorded history - as Harbinger reveals "the History of Heroism." Featuring an appearance by virtually every character in the DC Universe of that time! FC, 104 pg. Trade Paperback $9.95

I think we need a new one of these done.

IMPULSE #83 Written by Todd Dezago; art by Carlo Barberi and Juan Vlasco; cover by Barberi and Wayne Faucher In stores February 13. Impulse encounters a foe within the walls of his own school who is capable of creating fearsome monsters out of thin air! It's up to Bart to discover his new adversary's secret(s)! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Cancelled as Bart is now the Flash.

JLA #63 Written by Joe Kelly; art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen In stores February 27. "Golden Perfect," Part 2 of 3. The Lasso of Truth is severed. Now it seems that the very concept of truth itself has been fractured beyond repair - and the heroes of the Justice League must contend with a world capriciously redefined by the dreams and fears of the human race. Only Rama Khan of Jarhanpur seems to hold the key to their survival, but with the League stretched beyond its capacity, and Wonder Woman's spirit broken, can even the World's Greatest Super-Heroes stand and fight? FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Wow, better then. Now is the “will the team ever be formed” version by Brad Metzler.

JSA #33 Written by David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns; art by Leonard Kirk, Keith Giffen, Keith Champagne, and Al Milgrom; cover by Rags Morales In stores February 20. "Stealing Thunder," Part 1 of 5. The Ultra-Humanite is back and the earth is now under his complete control. Alone in a world gone mad, Sand and Icicle must put aside their differences to defeat an army of DC's greatest heroes. This story introduces a whole new JSA, and features the return of Hourman and the debut of the new Crimson Avenger! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Very good then and even better now. This book has been consistently a really strong series and it is even better with the recent re-launch.

JUST IMAGINE STAN LEE WITH JOHN BYRNE CREATING ROBIN Written by Stan Lee (lead story) and Michael Uslan (backup); art by John Byrne and Terry Austin (lead) and John Severin (backup); covers by Byrne and Austin (front) and Adam Hughes (back) In stores February 13. The road to CRISIS begins here as Stan Lee teams up with John Byrne & Terry Austin to present his take on Robin! An orphan gifted with great agility and intellect, the boy who would one day become Robin fell prey to the mysterious machinations of Reverend Dominic Darrk, who now orders him to attack Batman. Will the reluctant Robin find the strength to defy Darrk's commands? Plus, a backup "On the Street" story by Michael Uslan (with Lee), illustrated by the legendary John Severin (DESPERADOES: QUIET OF THE GRAVE). FC, 48 pg. Prestige Format $5.95

A very bad idea and an embarrassment for Lee and DC.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES #4 Written by Dan Slott; art by Min S. Ku and Dan Davis; cover by Ku In stores February 13. In "World War of the Sexes," the Justice League must find out why Wonder Woman's Amazon sisters have turned against the world…starting with all the men! Can the League stop the female warriors before they conquer the planet? FC, 32 pg. $1.99

Animated book, off my radar.

THE LEGION #5 Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; art by Peter Snejbjerg; cover by Olivier Coipel and Lanning In stores February 27. Returning to the Lost Galaxy in search of Shikari's people, the star-navigating Kwai, Saturn Girl, Spark, Wildfire and Invisible Kid encounter the aftermath of the Progenitor's destruction, and find themselves caught in the middle of a brutal, interspecies war of succession! And what lies in store for Saturn Girl and Spark as they return to the place where Live Wire gave his life? FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Better today. The latest re-boot of the Legion has become one of my favorite series.

ORION #23 Written by Walter Simonson; art by Simonson and Bob Wiacek; cover by Simonson In stores February 20. A young teen and her ratty guardian cross paths with the angriest New God, Orion - and he's got reason to be angry! A crime syndicate had him captured and maimed…and now he demands vengeance! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Cancelled. I almost have a desire to pick this book up on e-bay and see if it was any good or not.
THE POWER COMPANY #1 Written by Kurt Busiek; art by Tom Grummett and Wade Von Grawbadger; painted cover by Andrew Robinson In stores February 13. DC's newest super-team debuts in its own ongoing series! When the Power Company has to confront the mysterious machinations of Doctor Cyber, the team may find itself out of business before they've had a chance to set up shop! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Cancelled. An idea that was never as good as it may have sounded.
PULP FICTION LIBRARY: MYSTERY IN SPACE TP - relist Written by Edmond Hamilton, Gardner Fox, Len Wein, Paul Levitz, and various; art by Jack Kirby, Frank Frazetta, Joe Kubert, Alex Toth, Brian Bolland, and various; cover by Mitch O'Connell In stores February 20. Reoffered, this jam-packed trade paperback collects the best science-fiction stories from more than fifty years of DC comics! Featuring appearances by such beloved characters as Adam Strange, the Atomic Knights, Space Cabby, Tommy Tomorrow, Captain Comet, and more! Reprinting 32 stories from such legendary series as MYSTERY IN SPACE, STRANGE ADVENTURES and MY GREATEST ADVENTURE! FC, 224 pg. Trade Paperback $19.95

I wish the hell DC would have keep up this series. This was a great trade of some excellent old science fiction work from DC.

THE SPECTRE #14 Written by J.M. DeMatteis; art by Craig Hamilton and Jim Royal; cover by Ryan Sook In stores February 6. Can a vicious predator control his own blood-lust? A monstrous vampire-lord isolates himself in a prison of his own devising to try to safeguard others - and to desperately attempt to cleanse his own miserably blackened soul. But the Spectre of God's vengeance might have other plans for the murderous fiend, and not even Hal Jordan can stand in the way. FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Has been replaced in a way and it better today. The Hal Jordan
Spectre was really bad. Too much conflict between host and ghost.

SUICIDE SQUAD #6 Written by Keith Giffen; art and cover by Paco Medina and Joe Sanchez In stores February 13. A super-powered society appears mysteriously on an island in the Pacific and all that they desire is peace…at the cost of the world's freedom. A new Squad is assembled to take this power-mad society out. But it's easier said than done; there's a reason this book is called SUICIDE SQUAD. FC, 32 pg. $2.50


THE TITANS #38 Written by Jay Faerber; art by Barry Kitson and Rich Faber; cover by Kitson In stores February 20. While a young metahuman faces death in the DEO Orphanage's hospital, the Titans make their final stand against Epsilon. This issue promises a conclusion that will leave at least one member of the Titans forever changed! FC, 32 pg. $2.50

Better today then during then five yerars ago. Still trying to reach the heights of the Wolfman/Perez years.

WONDER WOMAN #179 Written by Phil Jimenez; art by Roy Allan Martinez, Jimenez and Andy Lanning; cover by Adam Hughes In stores February 27. Wonder Woman's quest leads to Skartaris, where she confronts the new Villainy, Inc., that's out to subjugate this world. Only the Amazon Princess can bring peace to the land of Warlords and kings. Plus, the Troia backup continues as Donna begins her own quest - to find the new Cheetah. FC, 32 pg. $2.25

Must have been better before, as the latest Wonder Woman series has been a total waste.

YOUNG JUSTICE #42 Written by Peter David; art and cover by Todd Nauck and Lary Stucker In stores February 6. Guest-starring Hal Jordan, the Spectre! Finally, the Secret's true origin is revealed! The Spectre takes Suzie back to relive moments of her past with some surprising revelations and connections to another DCU character. FC, 32 pg. $2.50


DC has actually distinct lines, so I will not include Wildstorm or Vertigo in this then and now comparison.

I think DC started from a much higher level five years ago then Marvel, but is still better now.
DC has 52 and apparently is following it up with countdown so the weekly book format is still a huge success for DC and I think a great element to follow. I’m looking forward to a weekly that will be in “real” time as opposed to filling in the one year gap, but I digress. 52 is a key element that is making DC better now, as we have a good ongoing story with a new chapter every week that is moving and building towards a known end point.

Also the upgrade of the Superman franchise has been nothing short of spectacular. Superman again is a centerpiece for DC and all of his books are of top notch quality. Batman is better, but not as good as Superman. DC is also now doing mini-series as opposed to a lot of ongoing series. Given the market place I’m sure this was an economic move as much as anything, but it also allows a lot more characters to get time in the spotlight. With Mystery in Space, Tales of the Unexpected, Martian Manhunter, Creeper and others it gives us a wider view of the DCU. Finally, DC has been fast to fix major problems. Wonder Woman and Flash have already been overhauled and moved to new teams to try and make these books right

DC was doing okay and I now I think they are doing good. Marvel I thought was doing crap and now I think they are moving towards a low okay.

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