On Monday, June 6, DC Comics announced 11 brand new ongoing titles and creative teams in the Batman universe. If you didn’t know, I am a huge Batman fan. I pretty much live by the character and his Gotham City associates. I even have a podcast where I talk about every single Batman-related comic. So, in full disclosure, I am one of the many that liked where the company was going creatively with the Batman line of titles, so it’s hard for me to look at these titles as an objective party, because I am so invested in this universe. That said, a lot of the titles announced are not to my liking, some were intriguing, and some had me genuinely excited. One quick thing to mention, when I say “Batman” I mean Bruce Wayne, not Dick Grayson. The idea of multiple Batmen has been thrown out, so fans of Dick Grayson as Batman are out of luck. I am one of those people that are out of luck. So, let’s take a look at each one of these titles, and I’ll give you my running commentary of what I think of each one, shall we?
Batman #1 – Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo, this book is leading on my most anticipated books for the fall. I love what Scott Snyder has been doing on Detective Comics recently, but more than that, I loved what Scott Snyder, Jock, and Francesco Francavilla have been doing on Detective Comics, so it’s terribly sad to see that team broken up. What is cool, however, is the arrival of Greg Capullo, who you may know from his art on Image’s Spawn and Haunt, who will be making his first appearance as an artist in this book. There’s a lot of potential in this creative team, and it will certainly be a step in the right direction for the title, after it’s been having such a hard time finding a cohesive story, recently, and been put almost on the back burner since Grant Morrison left the book. However…
Detective Comics #1 – Tony Daniel, recent writer and artist on the majority of issues of Batman will be taking the reins as both writer and artist on the upcoming relaunch of Detective Comics. I really have a hard time coming up with my opinions on this title. After Snyder’s run on Detective, he made his mark on the book, and it felt important, and unfortunately, when I read Tony Daniel’s work, I am less than impressed. That’s not to say he doesn’t put forth a lot of effort, nor does it mean that he doesn’t have the heart and understanding of the character that is necessary. What it means to me, however, is that I just don’t enjoy the book. When Daniel just writes or just draws, he does a really good job, but I just personally worry about the line of for Detective when Daniel is also taking writing duties on the upcoming Hawkman title. I’ll be checking out this title for sure, as I love his art, and the cover looks amazing (although there is no scar on the Joker’s head), but I just get the feeling that it will wind up exactly like Batman has been recently.
Batman and Robin #1 – Written by Peter J. Tomasi with art by Patrick Gleason, the new Batman and Robin is going to be fighting an uphill battle. With declining sales, and critical praise dropping since Grant Morrison left the title, Batman and Robin has struggled to find it’s footing by having rotating creative teams and a lack of an overall direction. And one of the creative teams on the book during that time period was Tomasi and Gleason. In fact, the team of Tomasi and Gleason was supposed to pick up the title directly after Grant Morrison left on issue #17 of Volume One, but were unable to fulfill those duties due to unknown-to-me reasons. The story arc that they were a part of had it’s moments, but overall did nothing to progress the series, but one of the best parts of the series was the understanding of the character of Dick Grayson as Batman, since the Tomasi had been one of the better writers of the Nightwing series prior to Grayson becoming Nightwing. So, with Batman being Bruce Wayne, Damian Wayne being Robin, and all the other reasons listed, it’s hard to really get excited about the return of this series.
Batman: The Dark Knight #1 – Written and drawn by David Finch, with help on each, temporarily, from Jay Fabok. Oh man, where do I begin? Finch is a great artist, and Fabok has done nothing to disappoint me, but the fact remains that Finch started this series in late 2010 and only two issues have come out so far. Also, the book for me has failed to deliver anything interesting story-wise, but who knows, it’s only two issues! Like I said, David Finch is a great artist, and hopefully this series will get on some kind of track.
Batwoman #1 – In the one book that we actually knew about, writing and art comes in from J.H. William III with writing assistance from W. Hayden Blackman and help on the art from Amy Reeder. No real surprises here, but it is important to note that DC has been delaying this book since Greg Rucka and Williams left Detective Comics last year, so it’s hard to get excited about this title. I mean, I am excited about this title since Batwoman is one of my favorite characters, so I’m anticipating it. The character is great, and the creative team is super-talented, but again, nothing new here.
Batgirl #1 – In the most personally conflicting title, one of my favorite writes, Gail Simone, takes over the book with art from her Birds of Prey partner Ardian Syaf. Let me gain my composure… DC Comics is revamping Batgirl by taking Barbara Gordon out of the wheelchair to step into purple tights and fight crime at night! There is so much wrong with that sentence. First, Bryan Q. Miller and his group of artists put out 24 near-perfect issues in his run on the Batgirl series that made everyone that I’ve talked to love it. People that hated the character, Stephanie Brown, ended up loving her after reading a story arc with the creative team behind the book. There’s a trite saying that goes “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and if anything embodies that statement, it’s Batgirl. Sure it may not be the most action filled, drama heavy, violence laden, blood party, but it was a fun book that everyone enjoyed. Secondly, and most importantly, Barbara Gordon as Oracle has been a cornerstone of the DC Universe that provided a real role model to a lot of people that have lost or have never had the ability to walk. Stealing away a character that means so much to so many people is a horrible horrible horrible thing to do. It’s very hard to even get behind this series knowing what has happened with this title, and if you as a reader feel betrayed by this book, I don’t blame you. In fact, if you want to read a personal account of how taking away Oracle, this source of inspiration for so many people out there, have a look at Jill Pantozzi’s article on Newsarama addressing just that. I love Gail Simone and Syaf’s is good artist with a lot of potential, but it’s really difficult to support this decision.
Catwoman #1 – Judd Winick will be taking this title with art from Guillem March. I don’t really understand this decision at all. I enjoy a lot of what Judd Winick writes, but on the recent Gotham City Sirens series, Peter Calloway has done some amazing things with Selena Kyle, so I don’t entirely understand the idea of handing the character over to someone else. Anyone else, at this point. Also, in previous storylines, I don’t really like Winick’s take on Catwoman, and I also don’t see his writing match up with March’s art style, but maybe the series will surprise me. But with a solicitation that boasts Catwoman as “addicted to shiny things” and “addicted to Batman” doesn’t really hold a lot of promise for the series. Seriously… look at the solicitation.
Meet Catwoman. Sheâ€™s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She canâ€™t help herself, and the truth is â€“ she doesnâ€™t want to. Sheâ€™s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in CATWOMAN #1, written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Guillem March.
Birds of Prey #1 – Duane Swierczynski is taking the writing reigns on this one, with one of my favorites, and current Birds of Prey artist, Jesus Saiz. The creative team for this series is exceptional, and genuinely exciting to me. However, the idea of making Poison Ivy as a heroic character to work on a special ops team in Gotham City is not very appealing, especially with the exclusion of Huntress on the cover. Speaking of Gotham City special ops, that’s pretty much being done in the current story arc of Birds of Prey with writing from Gail Simone, and art from Jesus Saiz, so check that out if think the idea sounds cool.
Nightwing #1 – Kyle Higgins will be writing this one with art coming in from Eddy Barrows. The team is promising, and I’m genuinely looking forward to what’s going to happen in this book. We’ll see, but I’m looking forward to it. Dick Grayson is Nightwing again, and as I personally like progression, as opposed to regression, I’m not happy about that, but of course, I can get over that. I think this is going to be one of the best ongoings and one of the few titles to survive the DC relaunch. Grayson is in good hands.
The Red Hood and The Outlaws #1 – Writing duties for this title come from Scott Lobdell with art from Kenneth Rocafort. Rocafort is an exciting name to have on this as his recent work on Action Comics has gotten me really interested in him, but the team up of Jason Todd, Roy Harper, and Starfire spells an extremely moody, brooding book that I’m not sure I’m going to be able to handle. A lot the potential from the creative team is lost on what appears to be the tone of this book, so it’s sure to be difficult for a lot of people that like to read fun comics. I’ll still pick it up, especially for the art, but it doesn’t look promising. Especially with the Bat represented on Jason Todd’s chest. It just doesn’t feel right on so many levels. Like I said, the creative team is strong, I’m just worried about the content.
Batwing #1 – Written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Ben Oliver. Who knows? Batwing appears to be an interesting character from the very limited pages and panels in which he was featured from Batman, Incorporated, but again, it’s mind boggling that they would pick only Batwing, the Batman of Africa, from Batman, Inc. The Batman, Incorporated initiative has provided a well of great, diverse characters to choose from, specifically the character Nightrunner who made waves of press for DC, so it’s weird that they would choose just Batwing. I don’t get it, but hopefully these creators will have a great story attached to the character. But I’d still rather see Nightrunner of this.
So, that’s it. A load of Batman titles released for September. Some good, some bad, some really disappoint with a little bit of hope attached. As I said, I have a Batman podcast, so I’ll be reading all of these whether I want to or not, but what about you? Anything look really interesting to you? Would you rather spend your money on Marvel or Image after seeing all of this? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
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