Saturday, September 22, 2007

DC Preview Review for December

Jim: DC is pushing Countdown big time and if the core title doesn’t start heating up, they may have bet the farm on a loser. The end game maybe great but the build up so far has been lukewarm.
Gwen: I'm not terribly excited by this month. Even my innate comic book glee is being worn down by the Countdown fiasco. This worries me as DC is my main source of superhero type fun and joy. Marvel just makes me want to cry and many Independent publishers focus more outside the realm of superheroes.
Lee: Sorta like politics, the big two are really interchangeable these days. Hopefully, DC has something else besides Countdown to be excited about.

COUNTDOWN: ARENA #1-4 Written by Keith ChampagneArt by Scott McDaniel & Andy OwensCovers by Andy KubertVariant covers by Dale EagleshamGet ready for COUNTDOWN: ARENA - a 4-issue weekly event written by Keith Champagne (JSA) with art by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens (GREEN ARROW) that pits the DCU's greatest heroes against themselves!The villainous Monarch begins the last chapter of his campaign against the Monitors, combing the entire Multiverse to enlist the most powerful - or deadly - heroes and villains from throughout existence to join his army. The abducted must battle one another in Monarch's specially constructed Arena, where only the strongest will survive to join his battle againstthe Monitors.

Jim: This could be a fun book or it could be the stupidest book ever, but by making it done in four weeks, if it is stupid it can be forgotten quickly.
Gwen: This is old. How many times are we going to bring together the 'world's most powerful villains' or the world's greatest heroes'? Seriously, Countdown has not excited me.
Lee: WOW. If this doesn’t say anything about the state of DC nothing will. Seriously, the two biggest DC geeks I know are less than enthused about the current creative direction. This is not a good sign for DC in the long run. As for me, all these events are so interconnected that I don’t bother anymore because it can’t be read cleanly.

BAT LASH #1 Written by Peter Brandvold & Sergio AragonesArt by John SeverinCover by Walter SimonsonVariant cover by SeverinWill he save the West - or ruin it? Acclaimed Western novelist Peter Brandvold (Rogue Lawman, .45-Caliber Deathtrap) teams up with Bat Lash co-creator Sergio Aragones (Groo, MAD) to answer that question as BAT LASH begins! This 6-issue miniseries recounts the origin story of the most unusual cowboy of them all as young Bat Lash braves a corrupt sheriff and a greedy rancher just to woo a rancher's lovely daughter. With interior art by the legendary John Severin (DESPERADOES) and beautiful covers by Walter Simonson, BAT LASH is a classic Western high adventure made fresh and exciting for today!On sale December 12 o 1 of 6 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Jim: This book looks to be terrific, teaming up the series creator with a western novelist and adding John Severin as the artist, wow, what more could you ask for. Bat Lash was a non-traditional western hero and is the antithesis of Jonah Hex.
Gwen: This book looks like fun, although I've never been one for westerns.
Lee: Now this I am excited about. Bat Lash was wonderfully done in the 60’s and hopefully this team can recapture some of the magic.

BATMAN #672 Written by Grant MorrisonArt by Tony Daniel & Jonathan GlapionCover by DanielThe Gotham Police HQ is taken over by the mysterious Third Batman who begins to kill cops, working his way towards Jim Gordon as he tells his tale and waits for his prize: the life of the Dark Knight, in exchange for the lives of the precinct cops. What dark secret from Batman's past lies behind the creation of the Impostor Batmen? Guest starring Bat-Mite!On sale December 26 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Jim: Why did I pick this book? Grant Morrison as the writer and guest starting Bat-Mite? Let’s see Morrison pull this one off.
Gwen: Please, DC, get a new author on this book. I can't take this anymore. How can you want a Bat-Mite story these days in a mainstream book? Composite Superman is one thing (and that didn't go so well in S&B) but this is ridiculous.
Lee: What was wrong with Composite S&B???? And, if anyone can pull off Batmite it’s Morrison. My only question is it going to be evil, grim, & gritty Batmite because Batman ignored him or the fun Batmite that he’s meant to be.

BIRDS OF PREY #113 Written by Sean McKeeverCover by Stephane RouxArt by Nicola Scott & Doug HazlewoodNew series writer Sean McKeever (TEEN TITANS) debuts with an issue guest-starring Superman! A high-tech hazard threatens the streets of Metropolis, and a mob boss recently "promoted" is to blame. As the Birds lose control of the situation, Metropolis's other hero warns Oracle about her future in the City of Tomorrow.On sale December 19 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Jim: This has been a great series under Chuck Dixon, then made better under Gail Simone. I think DC picked a good writer to follow in their footsteps as McKeever seems to understand that the characters dictate the way the stories play out as much as the writer does, in other words he respects the characters.
Gwen: I'm interested to see how this goes. I still miss Gail being on this book but considering there's already a solid cast in place with good foundations a decent writer should do fine.
Lee: This actually has potential to be really good. McKeever is a good writer and Birds of Prey is a good place to start. I look forward to seeing where the title is going.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #37 Written by Jim ShooterArt and covers by Francis Manapul & John LivesayCelebrate a bold new era for the Legion of Super-Heroes with the return of writer Jim Shooter and the debut of new series art team Francis Manapul (Witchblade, Tomb Raider) & John Livesay (THE FLASH)!Several Legionnaires find themselves in mortal peril as the universe is faced with a frightening and mysterious alien threat. Plus, in the absence of longtime team captain Cosmic Boy, the Legion seek new leadership, only to find themselves under the the shaky and uncertain control of...Lightning Lad?On sale December 26 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Jim: In Action Comics we have the original Legion being introduced and here we have one of the better Legion writers coming back to the series after a very, very long absence. Curious to see if Jim Shooter can recapture the magic he once had as a child writing the Legion all those years ago. Jim has told many good comic stories over the years and hopefully this will be a good homecoming.
Gwen: This will be interesting - Shooter working on Waid's Legion. Hopefully this will result in good things - I'm definitely looking forward to reading it!
Lee: I guess this is exciting. I’m not that big a Legion fan. I’m not that big a Jim Shooter fan. Shooter hasn’t written comics in a very long time and general comic book writing styles have changed somewhat over the years. I wonder if audiences will accept what will likely be an old school style of story telling.

DOOM PATROL ARCHIVES VOL. 4 HC Written by Arnold DrakeArt and cover by Bruno PremianiThe World's Strangest Heroes return in this volume collecting THE DOOM PATROL #106-113 (Sep. 1966-Aug. 1967)!Advance-solicited; on sale February 27 o 228 pg, FC, $49.99 US
Jim: Due in February, but it is still a gift to me. One more volume and they will have reprinted the entire first run of one of the best silver age books ever produced. This was Grant Morrison type madness and we just didn’t recognize it as kids.
Gwen: I love the Doom Patrol. I've always had fun reading their adventures and I especially loved their tie ins with Vertigo when I was a kid. It's nice to see another collection coming out.
Lee: Don’t get me wrong, Doom Patrol is a great book. BUT, it is firmly rooted in 60’s silliness. This is for the true Silverage fan.
Jim: Lee is wrong, this stuff is for any fan of great work. It wasn't silliness, it was absurdist.

GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY: THE WEDDING HC Written by Tony Bedard, J. Torres, Judd Winick and Dwayne McDuffieArt by Paulo Siquiera, Tom Derenick, Mike McKone, Amanda Conner, and othersCover by Ryan SookCelebrate the superhero wedding of the year with this amazing hardcover collection that includes BLACK CANARY #1-4, the JLA WEDDING SPECIAL, the BLACK CANARY WEDDING PLANNER and the GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY WEDDING SPECIAL! Before the nuptials can take place, The League of Assassins tracks Black Canary to Star City in an effort to liberate the child, Sin, they believe to be the DCU's next greatest assassin. Luckily, Black Canary has other plans for Sin's abilities and future! Then, the fun unfolds in the most unexpected way possible!Advance-solicited; on sale February 20 o 208 pg, FC, $24.99 US

Jim: This stuff has been fun, but hard cover worthy, not even close.
Gwen: This is a silly hardcover. As a trade, sure, but why would someone pay $25 for this?
Lee: I disagree, why shouldn’t this be a HC? It’s got great names. It’s a great “mini” event. AND, it’s a wedding! And, really, they HC everything else, why not this?

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: BATMAN TEAM-UPS VOL. 2 TP Written by Bob Haney and Dennis O'Neil Art by Neal Adams, Nick Cardy, Jim Aparo and othersCover by Jim Aparo
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL. 3 TPWritten by Gardner FoxArt by Mike Sekowsky, Carmine Infantino and othersCover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: AQUAMAN VOL. 2 TPWritten by Jack Miller, Bob Haney and othersArt by Ramona Fradon, Nick Cardy, Howard Purcell and othersCover by Nick Cardy
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER VOL. 1 TP Written by Gardner Fox, Bob Haney, Leo Dorfman and othersArt by Mike Sekowsky, Neal Adams, Gil Kane and othersCover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson

Jim: Since they screwed up in soliciting some of these book before we are playing catch up by having four solicited in one month. 2 For December and 2 for January. This material is all well and good, but I want more of the obscure stuff to come out.
Gwen: Showcase stuff is so much fun. I too would like some more obscure stuff. I still have the Human Torch Essential Jim sent me, and that's the type of older comic I love. I still chuckle to myself just thinking about Plant Man.
Lee: Marvel already did all their core titles as essentials so DC has to catch up. I think DC is doing core stuff to keep the material in print. We like obscure stuff but I would rather have the JL before lots of other stuff so I can share it with my kids.

WILDSTORM FINE ARTS SPOTLIGHT ON GEN13 Written by variousCover by Jim LeeArt by Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell, Adam Hughes and othersWildStorm Fine Arts casts the spotlight on Gen13! In addition to eye-popping art by series creators Jim Lee and J. Scott Campbell, this special includes trading card artwork by Adam Hughes, classic covers from Lee Bermejo and Adam Warren, and even a few treats from the BOOTLEG series!On sale December 5 o 40 pg, FC, $3.50 US

Jim: Okay bringing back the embarrassed to be a fanboy award. Pin-ups of scantly clad women drawn in pencil and ink is wrong on many levels, especially considering that this is a poor man’s Playboy thing. Also these are teen-age characters. It is just wrong, wrong and wrong.
Gwen: "Eye-popping art", eh? Is it just me or does this cover look nothing like the actual characters... People who buy this art of sexualized children are creepy like Lewis Carrol =/ Sadly though, the Playboy mentality continues to spread. Do you know how scary it is when people come into Spencers and purchase Playboy merchandise for their 12 year old daughter? Apparently women and girls no matter how young are supposed to be sexy. Heck, you should see the 'teen' costumes we carry for Halloween - they are miniaturized version of adult costumes sold in lingerie stores. It's very sad.
Lee: I LOVE THIS STUFF!!! Oh wait, we’re talking creepy. Nevermind. SHAME SHAME SHAME to DC for pandering to masses like this.

NORTHLANDERS #1 Written by Brian WoodArt by Davide GianfeliceCover by Massimo CarnevaleVariant cover by Adam KubertChristian/Islamic conflict. Technological revolution. Fear of the end of the world. Sound familiar? It should. But it's not the world of 2007?it's the world of Europe, circa 1000 AD. The world of Brian Wood's brand-new monthly series, NORTHLANDERS.Following the red-hot success of one of last year's most critically-acclaimed books, DMZ, NORTHLANDERS is a fresh take on Vikings. NORTHLANDERS tells the epic tale of Sven, an exiled Viking prince who's been living the decadent, high life in Constantinople - the 11th century's answer to Las Vegas - but now must return to the desolate lands of his birth in the frigid islands of the North Sea to reclaim his vast inheritance. Intending only to take his money and run, he finds more than he bargained for as his former family and friends are enslaved at the hands of Gorm, his ruthless uncle. What follows is not only a bloody quest to free his people, but also a young man's struggle to discover where he belongs in a rapidly changing world, and what awful sacrifices it will take to make a Prince into a King.On sale December 5 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US o

Jim: This looks to be a terrific new series. Brian Wood is a good writer, unsure of the artist, but an interesting premise.
Gwen: Wow this looks really cool! What a fun idea, I love the allusions to our own time period.
Lee: DMZ was soooo good and Brian Wood is such a good writer. This is most definitely a winner.

INCOGNEGRO HardcoverWritten by Mat JohnsonArt by Warren PleeceCover by Stephen John PhilipsWriter Mat Johnson (HELLBLAZER: PAPA MIDNITE), winner of the prestigious Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, constructs a fearless graphic novel that is both a page-turning mystery and a disturbing exploration of race and self-image in America, masterfully illustrated with rich period detail by Wareen Pleece (THE INVISIBLES, HELLBLAZER).In the early 20th Century, when lynchings were commonplace throughout the American South, a few courageous reporters from the North risked their lives to expose these atrocities. They were African-American men who, due to their light skin color, could "pass" among the white folks. They called this dangerous assignment going "incognegro."Zane Pinchback, a reporter for the New York-based New Holland Herald barely escapes with his life after his latest "incognegro" story goes bad. But when he returns to the sanctuary of Harlem, he's sent to investigate the arrest of his own brother, charged with the brutal murder of a white woman in Mississippi.With a lynch mob already swarming, Zane must stay "incognegro" long enough to uncover the truth behind the murder in order to save his brother - and himself. He finds that the answers are buried beneath layers of shifting identities, forbidden passions and secrets that run far deeper than skin color.Advance-solicited; on sale February 6 o 136 pg, 6.875" x 9", Black-and-white, $19.99 US, MATURE READERS

Jim: Lee and I had recently talked about historical pieces being done as graphic novels and this looks to be really fascinating. I love books that explore parts of history that I only know a little about. This has the potential to be a great book.
Gwen: This looks pretty neat. Still Jim, doesn't ever book have the potential to be great? I mean you could just as easily say it has the potential to be a disaster. This is an area of history I don't know much about and it would definitely be something I'd want to read a story about.
Lee: I wonder how honest it will be. It was certainly a brutal period in American history so there is a chance it will be watered down. But, I think material like this is important to offset all the superheroes. Hopefully, lots of people will give this a try.

WOMEN OF THE DC UNIVERSE SERIES 2: BATWOMAN BUST Designed by Terry DodsonSculpted by Jim MaddoxThe popular WOMEN OF THE DC UNIVERSE line of cold-cast porcelain busts continues with the addition of Terry Dodson's Batwoman bust! This crime-fighting partner of Batman appears here standing atop a gargoyle base and ready to throw the batarang clutched in her fist. This Batwoman Bust measures approximately 5.5" tall x 3.5" wide x 2.5" deep and is packaged in a 4-color box.Advance-solicited; On sale May 7, 2008 Bust o $55.00 US

Jim: It’s just not the same, when you are lusting after a lesbian.
Gwen: Maybe it's to attract all the lesbian fans, sheesh.
Lee: Uuummmm lesbians. No, no, it’s still the same.

Jim: Well between Legion happenings, Doom Patrol and Northlanders I have found a few books that I will be looking forward to in the coming months from DC.
Gwen: The Countdown stuff need to either pick up or go away. I am so done with its false hype. The semi-historical fiction (Northlanders, Incognegro) looks really cool and I can't help but be excited about the idea of Jim Shooter back with the Legion. I am still upset about Grant Morrison ruining the Talia/Batman story and will probably not get over it anytime soon - and yes, I realize I'm being unreasonable.
Lee: Actually, DC non superhero stuff seems to be getting better these days. Between Vertigo, Westerns, and the Historical stuff there’s lots to be excited about.


  1. "Creepy like Lewis Carroll"

    Sounds like a great new catch-phrase to me!

  2. Jim-

    Let me clarify. Doom Patrol was no better/worse than Superman Imaginary tales or Jimmy Olsen of the day.

    Absurdist is a good way to put it. Acquired taste is another.