Jim: Wow DC is cranking out a lot of stuff. They were crushed by Marvel in the May sales race and I’m not sure if all of their strategies are working, but sometimes a plan takes time to develop.
Lee: I’m definitely not sure if their strategy is working! DC seems to have placed a lot of eggs into the Countdown basket. If Countdown continues to go down in sales, I wonder what it will do to the entire line? But, let’s read on and see for ourselves.
COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #1
Written by Steve Gerber and Matt Sturges Art by Justiniano & Walden Wong and Stephen Segovia Cover by Justiniano Get ready for two incredible features in new stories that shine a light on the dark places in the DCU! The Helmet of Fate has landed on Kent Nelson - a man so far down on his luck, he doesn't know what luck is! The transformative nature of the helmet grants him powers he can't begin to comprehend but will they make his life better, or even worse? Plus, Eclipso becomes the temptress of the DCU, bribing its heroes to the dark side in more ways than one! She succeeds and the results will shock you! On sale September 19 o 1 of 8 o 48 pg, FC, $3.99 USJim: See right away I think putting Countdown in the title is not as effective as what Marvel did with cutting the covers in half and stamping Civil War on every thing. I’m looking forward to this series and was sorry to hear the Steve Gerber’s health issues had caused Dr. Fate to end up as a mini-series and half a book as opposed to its own series.
Lee: I have to agree and it makes the title of the book dumb. It will be interesting to see just how it gets incorporated into the cover. I wonder if the “countdown” styling will be the same as the regular book and how big.
THE BLACK CANARY WEDDING PLANNER
Written by J. Torres Art by Lee Ferguson, Christine Norrie and Karl Story JLA WEDDING SPECIAL #1
Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Mike McKone & Andy Lanning Cover by Ed Benes
THE GREEN ARROW/BLACK CANARY WEDDING SPECIAL #1
Written by Judd Winick Art by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti Cover by Conner Everyone will have seen Black Canary's response to Green Arrow's proposal from GREEN ARROW #75 and the BLACK CANARY miniseries. Now see why that response may have been the biggest mistake for both of them in this landmark special issue! On sale September 19 o 48 pg, FC, $3.99 USJim: Geez, it’s not like this is the couple of the year or the wedding everyone was demanding. Yet DC is making it a huge event with plenty of books to sell you for a wedding. Nice to see the Black Canary is dressed like a hooker for her wedding day and apparently going to be handling Ollie. I don’t like this, as it feels like a backwards step for Canary. Still the solicitation gives me hope the wedding may not happen. If it does I hope next month we don’t have the wedding night and honeymoon specials.Lee: Maybe this is on of DC’s attempts to woo back the female readership. It’s working well on Supergirl!
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #13 Written by Dwayne McDuffieJim: Yeah, ya-hoo, yippee!Lee: Finally, this may be worth reading again.WONDER WOMAN ANNUAL #1
Written by Allan Heinberg Art by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson and Gary Frank & Jonathan Sibal Cover by Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson At long last, the climactic, extra-length chapter of "Who is Wonder Woman?", the story that launched the WONDER WOMAN monthly! In this arc's conclusion, the combined forces of Wonder Woman's transformed rogues gallery declare an all-out war on the amazing Amazon, compelling Wonder Woman to mend fences and join forces with Donna Troy and Wonder Girl if she's going to survive to answer the question: "Who is Wonder Woman?" On sale September 26 o 48 pg, FC, $3.99Jim: DC should be embarrassed to have to publish this. To me this was one of DC’s biggest mistakes out of One Year Later and to have to publish this to allow the fans to see how it ended is appropriate. Still this is a Wonder Woman chapter best swept under the carpet.
Lee: At least they are publishing it! How many series never get to see an end at all. But, you are correct, this is a huge black eye for DC.
SUICIDE SQUAD: RAISE THE FLAG #1
Written by John Ostrander Art by Javier Pina & Robin Riggs Cover by John K. Snyder When original Suicide Squad member Rick Flag Jr. returned from the dead in the pages of CHECKMATE, it blew open a brand-new espionage mystery for the DC Universe! In this eagerly awaited miniseries by legendary Squad writer John Ostrander (WORLD WAR III), it's revealed how Flag survived a nuclear blast while battling terrorism in Qurac - as his hard path home takes him from Skartaris to Dubai and into the hands of dueling commanders Amanda Waller and General Wade Eiling. Their power struggle reveals surprising secrets from their pasts - even as a new Suicide Squad is created to play a key role in the DCU's ever-evolving future! On sale September 12 o 1 of 8 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99Jim: Very happy to see this book being solicited. John Ostrander wrote the entire run of Suicide Squad for around 66 issues back in the day. He dealt with the altering of people’s memories (ala Identity Crisis) and the bad guy being forced to be a good guys issue way before others ever did. The original run suffered from having a less then stellar art, but the stories were terrific. John Ostrander also invented Oracle in Suicide Squad. I very happy to see this book and to see Johnny O. back in the DCU.
Lee: I’m with you, I’ve always had a soft spot for the S. Squad. BUT, I am not sure this really looks all that interesting. Seriously, Rick Flag as the lead character? There squad members on the cover are either dead or in other books so there isn’t even a hint of who is on the team. This could be a tough sell to newer readers.
TALES OF THE SINESTRO CORPS PRESENTS PARALLAX #1
Written by Ron Marz Art by Adriana Melo & Marlo Alquiza Cover by Mike McKone & Andy Lanning Get ready for a new series of specials focusing on members of the Sinestro Corps and tying into the "Sinestro Corps War" crossover! In this initial installment, the writer who introduced Kyle, Ron Marz, dissects what led Kyle to his downfall and explains the Parallax entity.Jim: I’m confused, Kyle is part of the group searching for Ray Palmer and now he is going the Parallax route. What the frell is going on. DC is mishandling Kyle if they take him down this road. Hopefully it has to do with the multi-verse.
Lee: Wow, does this not interest me at all. Are there that many GL fans out there to support this material?
UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS #1
Written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti Art by Renato Arlem Cover by Dave JohnsonJim: Happy to see this book back, unhappy that it is another mini-series. If the first one sold well enough to warrant a come back, why not as an unlimited monthly?Lee: I thought I heard rumor that DC is no longer green lighting ongoning series. If a title sells well, then it will continue to be a collection of miniseries. Sooooo who thinks that’s a good idea? BUT on to Uncle Sam. I read the first series. It was good, straight forward superheroes. You really can’t go wrong with this.
THE FLASH #232
Written by Mark Waid Art & cover by Daniel Acuña What alien menace lies beneath the Flash's own home? And what's his dark, dark family secret - the one that's helping him keep the peace in Keystone? On sale September 19 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 USJim: Weird and a little creepy and oddly disturbing cover on the new Flash book, which picks up with the numbering from the Wally West Flash book. Which kind of tells us who the new Flash is and it looks like Wally is back. Waid is writing, but still I’m a little shaky about this one.
Lee: Weird cover? Nothing weird about a big toothy, tentacled… monster. Yep, that’s one strange monster all right. When in doubt… “Hey Kids! This is a great jumping on point!”
ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER #7
Written by Frank Miller Art and cover by Jim Lee & Scott Williams Retailers please note: This issue will feature two covers that may be ordered separately. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Jim Lee & Scott Williams), retailers may order one Variant Edition (featuring a cover by Frank Miller). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.Comment #1:Lee: OOOHHHHH. Another issue of All Star B&R. Scheduled for September! Bets if it actually comes out this year?.... I bet “no”
Jim: If they publish one more issue this year they will beat last year’s record.Comment #2:Lee: I like the new marketing strategy too. The retailer doesn’t get any variant covers. They have to be ordered separately AFTER you order 10 copies of the regular cover. I always like new and creative ways to screw the retailer.
Jim: This is because of other issues and not about screwing the retailers. I’m as skeptical of big business as anyone, but this has to do with making sure the retailer is buying what he wants and not forcing variants on him.
Art and cover by Dustin Nguyen & Derek FridolfsLee: This months “embarrassed to be a fanboy” cover award goes to this book. But, I must say, I may not like the rainbow guns but I can “appreciate” them.
Jim: I just keep thinking that Orion will kick Batman’s ass after seeing this set-up. It is really does win the award so far this month.
Off Preview Topic – On Fanboy Cover TopicLee: Even though S/B #40 won the award, honorable mention to goes to The Flash for the very subtle “that monster looks strangely familiar” cover and Gen 13’s “His third leg looks like a chicken foot” cover.
Jim: It is these type of covers which make it hard to defend our favorite hobby as more then low-brow entertainment.
Back to the regularly scheduled reviews….52: THE COMPANION TP
Written and illustrated by various Cover by J.G. Jones The super-powered stars of 52 are featured in this volume collecting the best of their solo stories. Included here are stories from MYSTERIOUS SUSPENSE #1, GOTHAM CENTRAL #40, ANIMAL MAN #16, DETECTIVE COMICS #350, METAL MEN #45, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #97, STRANGE ADVENTURES #226, RIP HUNTER: TIME MASTER #97, SECRET ORIGINS #35 and JSA: SAVAGE TIMES! Advance-solicited; on sale October 17 o 224 pg, FC, $19.99 USJim: Now this stuff just really getting me grinning from ear to ear. A lot of these stories will never see the light of day any other way and some are almost too recent. But this looks to be some fun stuff and an odd mix.
Lee: A very odd collection since this will have material from the silverage thru today. I imagine it will read very uneven. BUT, if you really liked 52, then this is a great collection.
THE QUESTION: ZEN AND VIOLENCE VOL. 1 TP
Written by Dennis O'Neil Art by Denys Cowan & Rick Magyar Cover by Cowan & Bill Sienkiewicz A new trade paperback collecting the 1980s adventures of The Question, the faceless, morally conflicted avenger based in corrupt Hub City! A martial arts master, The Question delved into Eastern philosophy as he battled crime and the crooked politicians of his hometown. This volume, collecting issues #1-6, features appearances by Batman and many of DC's martial arts heroes. Advance-solicited; on sale October 3 o 176 pg, FC, $19.99 USJim: Love that this book is being reprinted, not happy that it is only 6 issues for $20. Still this was a great series and I definitely want this on my book case.
Lee: I am so looking forward to this. It’s a long time in coming. Yes, $20 is expensive but it beats trying to find the original issues.
SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE GREAT DISASTER FEATURING THE ATOMIC KNIGHTS AND HERCULES VOL. 1 TP
Written by John Broome, Gerry Conway, Jack Kirby and others Art by Murphy Anderson, Jack Kirby, Walter Simonson and others This thrilling volume collects futuristic tales from Strange Adventures, First Issue Special, Hercules Unbound, Kamandi, Weird War Tales, House of Mystery, Superman, Amazing World of DC Comics, and House of Secrets! Advance-solicited; on sale October 24 o 576 pg, B&W, $16.99 USSHOWCASE PRESENTS: METAL MEN VOL. 1 TP
Written by Robert Kanigher Art and cover by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito From the 1960s comes this volume collecting BRAVE AND THE BOLD #55, METAL MEN #1-16 and SHOWCASE #37-40, starring one of the strangest super-hero teams ever, now featured in a new miniseries! Created by Dr. Will Magnus, the team includes six robotic heroes: noble Gold, powerful Iron, loyal Lead, hot-headed Mercury, timid Tin and lovely Platinum! Advance-solicited; on sale October 10 o 528 pg, B&W, $16.99 USJim: I love the Showcase line, otherwise we would never see stuff like the Atomic Knights, Hercules Unbound and even more Metal Men then the Archives has in it. Fun stuff and the right price.
Lee: I agree! And this is even better for me because I am so unfamiliar with the DC line of books. It’s all new and exciting.
Written by Garth Ennis Art and Cover by John McCrea Tommy Monaghan, the long-lost hero of HITMAN, returns in part one of this two-issue miniseries! There's a problem on the JLA moonbase, and not even the World's Greatest Heroes can cope by themselves. Can Tommy help them out? Will he? Unpleasant secrets from the past return...on the Darkside. On sale September 19 o 1 of 2 o 48 pg, FC, $3.99 USJim: Hitman is back!!! – that book was so great and I hear DC will now finish doing the trades on the original series. Should be a fun 2 part series.
Lee: Hitman just needs a nice series of HC’s. But, I will take what I can get.
Written by Tony Bedard Art by Matthew Clark Cover by Manuel Garcia A new era dawns for the Outsiders! Batman makes a stunning last-minute change to the Outsiders' new roster - but there's a bigger surprise in store as the team uncovers a worldwide upheaval within the supervillain community! On sale September 5 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US o FINAL ISSUEJim: The hype talks about surprise changes and this happening and that happening and yet it is the final issue. After the five part story where Batman comes in and takes control and now this wrapping it all up I’m thinking a relaunch is next month. I’m also thinking it is called Batman and the Outsiders. If not why do all this work just to end it.
Lee: I hadn’t noticed this was the last issue. But, lots of talk of change tends to mean relaunch. At some point this gets old. Green Arrow is going to be relaunched. Now Outsiders. Thank goodness Superman started in the 30’s otherwise they would relaunch that too! Oh wait, they already did that.
THE MAD ARCHIVES VOL. 2 HC
Written by Harvey Kurtzman Art by Will Elder, John Severin, Kurtzman, Wallace Wood, Jack Davis, Basil Wolverton and Bernard Krigstein Cover by Kurtzman This second volume collecting the early issues of MAD COMICS features classic material from issues #7-12, including "Shermlock Sholmes," "Dragged Net," and "Little Orphan Melvin"! Advance-solicited; on sale November 28 o 224 pg, FC, $49.99 USJim: This is the stuff before Mad was the book you all may remember. Very different, but still some really terrific stuff in this book.
Lee: This is great, great stuff. Humor and satire but definitely not what you familiar with. I can’t wait to get it.
Written by G. Willow Wilson Art and cover by M.K. Perker Written by breakout talent G. Willow Wilson, a Cairo-based journalist, and drawn by renowned illustrator M.K. Perker, the original hardcover graphic novel CAIRO is action-adventure that brings the ancient and modern Middle East together with a Vertigo twist! A stolen hookah, a spiritual underworld, and a genie on the run change the lives of five strangers forever in this modern fable set on the streets of the Middle East's largest metropolis! This magical-realism thriller interweaves the fates of a drug runner, a down-on-his luck journalist, an American expatriate, a young activist, and an Israeli soldier as they race through bustling present-day Cairo to find an artifact of unimaginable power, one protected by a dignified jinn and sought by a wrathful gangster-magician. But the vastness of Africa's legendary City of Victory extends into a spiritual realm - the Undernile - and even darker powers lurk there? Advance-solicited; on sale November 7 o 7" x 9" o 160 pg, B&W, $24.99 US MATURE READERSJim: probably a pass for me, but I like that some really different stuff is coming out under the DC banner. I believe this is a Wildstorm book and kudos for them to do something different.Lee: This is a pass for me too which leads to an interesting question. Who does read this? Every month we point these books out but don’t buy them. We like the diversity but don’t support it. I wonder what that says about you, Jim?
Jim: Lee I would disagree, you and I actually support diversity. You pick some of the oddest stuff and find great books like the Surrogates from Top Shelf. I talk up Alien Pig Farm, Left on Misson, Mr. Stuffins, Wasteland and others until people try them to shut me up. My thought process is “If you and I are both passing on this book and the cape only crowd won’t even read the solicitation who is the audience?” My guess is this is designed to sell in book stores and what ever they sell to the direct market is a bonus.
UNI-FORMZ: BATMAN (MODERN)
DC Direct begins the vinylization of the DC Universe! BATMAN is the first in a new line of large format and stylized vinyl UNI-FORMZ? inspired by the red-hot "designer toy" phenomenon. DC Direct joined forces with a leader in the contemporary toy movement, Monster 5, to create this powerfully built and unique vision of Batman for the first time. This bold new take on Batman is a must-have for collectors of contemporary toy design as well as traditional fans of superheroes! Advance-solicited o On sale February 27, 2008 o Vinyl o $49.99 USJim: What the heck is this thing supposed to be?
Lee: I read it as designer toys = statue. It doesn’t appear to have any movable parts which makes it… a statue. It’s just a wild exaggeration for the manga crowd.
ROBIN 13" Deluxe Collector Figure
Robin, The Boy Wonder, is the newest addition to DC Direct's line of realistically proportioned, super-heroic 1:6 scale figures! This latest hero in the 1:6 scale figure line is the first of DC Direct's accurately scaled "teen" style figure, and has all the detail and articulation that collectors have come to expect. The ROBIN 13" DELUXE COLLECTOR FIGURE comes clothed in an authentically detailed fabric costume, includes a display stand and is packaged in a deluxe 4-color window box with a fifth panel. Advance-solicited; on sale February 6, 2008 o Collector figure o $69.99 USJim: Not only can’t they retro-con this costume away, they now have to embarrass Dick Grayson but making a large short pant figure. I want the short pants costume to go away in all future stories and in all future collectables.
Lee: What’s wrong with the short shorts? They’re classic! CLASSIC!!!! I wonder if he wears a thong so he doesn’t have a panty line.
Jim: A lot of stuff, but much of it is reprints and Vertigo and Wildstorm have almost no new projects. One month we should focus on the ongoing books a little more.
Lee: Maybe, but as a look ahead unless there is a creative change or new direction the ongoing books are what they are. If you like Superman, then you will like the on-going. And, I will say we always seem to make mention of the Zatanna crossovers when they occur!!!! See, we cater to all readers!