As most of you may know by now, DC Comics is relaunching their entire line of comics this Fall alongside a day and date digital comics initiative. What you might not know, however, is that it all started last week with the releases of the last issue of DC’s summer event Flashpoint, and the beginning of the new universe with Justice League #1.
This Wednesday, however, is the first big week of releases. I’m looking forward to a lot of these books, and there are still a lot of books to look forward to in these upcoming weeks, as well as plenty that you’ll probably want to stay away from for varying reasons. So, in the order of kindness and assignments from my editor, I will be breaking down each title with their creators, what they’re about, and what you can expect from each of the new titles. And, guess what? I’m not in love with a lot of the decisions that they’ve made, so this should be fun!
Every Tuesday through the end of September, I will be writing another installment so you know when you can get yourself to the store, or to your mobile app, and purchase your new #1s from DC Comics! Also, it’s worth noting, dear reader, that since you’re coming to the game a little late, you can’t be guaranteed an issue at the comic book store, so call ahead to see if they have it. Or if you go the store and they don’t have any copies left of these DC books, you could always buy an indie comic like Kirby Genesis, Morning Glories, Severed, and Atomic Robo, which all come out this week, coincidentally. There’s more to comics than just superheroes from DC and Marvel, you know?
But that’s probably why you’re here, and now that I’ve gotten the indie comics alternative plug out of the way, let’s talk about the universe that I’d rather live in, the DC Universe!
Action Comics #1 (Grant Morrison/Rags Morales – $3.99): Remember when DC drew the line at $2.99? That was the old DC Universe! Don’t worry about details, folks! This would probably be a disaster in the hands of anyone else, but under the guidance of Morrison and Morales, I have faith. And despite what the DC executives have been telling us, Grant Morrison’s tale of the new story of the displaced alien from Smallville, Kansas promises to be a story of hope in a dark world, and that’s exactly what I want in a modern day Superman. He might be wearing a t-shirt and jeans, but really, what else could you want from a hero of the people? I have total faith in these creators to tell a truly outstanding Superman story. And if you don’t believe, then go read Morrison’s run on JLA and All Star Superman. In the hands of George Perez in Superman, however, I think we’ll be getting a brooding hero. But we’ll get to that later. If you’ve read Morrison’s Supergods, then you know that Morrison has an undying love for the character of Superman, and he has a specific interpretation of the character, as well. He sees Superman as a hopeful man of the people. A hero that is not only destined to help others, but who also wants to help them. And that is the Superman that I want to read, folks. And if you don’t want to read that Superman, then go pick up a copy of Justice League or Superman. I’m sure that’ll be right up your alley.
Animal Man #1 (Jeff Lemire/Travel Foreman and Dan Green – $2.99): If you’ve read Sweet Tooth, or any of the other indie books from Jeff Lemire like Essex County or The Nobody, you should know Lemire’s ability to write about an outsider. And in the case of Buddy Baker, nothing better describes his life than the word outsider. If you’ve read any of Grant Morrison’s take on the character, expect to see a lot of influence here. I’m sure we won’t be getting the multi-dimensional take that Morrison had, but the importance of Baker as an animal loving family man that does everything he can to save the world and get by are certainly going to be here, I’m sure. And Lemire’s unique style of writing on an emotional level is what has this book on my top picks. It’s not likely to sell a lot of copies, but let’s try to change that. Lemire is an insanely talented writer, and he’s going to have a lot of freedom with Animal Man, where his talents will shine as bright as can be. If you’ve given up on Lemire because you didn’t really like his run on Superboy all that much, then consider this… Jeff Lemire is at home on the dark titles in the DC Universe.
Batgirl #1 (Gail Simone/Ardian Syaf – $2.99): Hey everybody, look! It’s the comic announcement that pissed a whole lot of people off! Barbara Gordon is back to being Batgirl, you guys! That’s right, Barbara Gordon, a fictional woman who was paralyzed by The Joker, Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, and DC Editorial, and in turn worked her ass off to become one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe and an icon to several people out there in the role of Oracle, the prototype of tech-driven superheroes. But now, she’s back to Batgirl. She’s been de-aged and placed into college to give a fun and youthful take on the character. What’s that? Oh, you read Bryan Q. Miller’s run on the comic, too? Yeah, I know the concept for the story is pretty much the same thing as Stephanie Brown in college, I totally get that. Yeah, no, you’re right, I don’t understand why they’re doing this either. Look, I’m not the one that made the decision that only Barbara Gordon can be Batgirl, you guys! Sounds a lot to me like the fact that the only true Flash is Barry Allen, and the only true Green Lantern is Hal Jordan, and the only true Batman is Bruce Wayne, and the only true Atom is Ray Palmer, Hell I could go on for days (or at least sentences), but I digress. Gail Simone loves Barbara Gordon as much as you and I, and I’m sure that she’ll take great care with the character. I’m not happy about the decisions that made this book possible, but at least Simone is in the driver’s seat.
Batwing #1 (Judd Winick/Ben Oliver – $2.99): Introduced in the pages of Batman, Incorporated, the character of Batwing was introduced as the Batman of Africa. You know, just like Batman is the Batman of America. What’s that you say? Batman is the protector of Gotham City, not the protector of America? Whoops! Oh well, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Instead, pay attention to the incredibly beautiful pages drawn by Ben Oliver. Seriously, I was dreading this book, I really was. You see, I do a podcast over at gothampodcast.com where we discuss all of the Batman comics, whether or not we like them, so this pretty much has to be on my pull list. And I was so worried about having to read this, but the saving grace is clearly the art. Now that I’ve seen the art, I want to but this book. So, if you’re in the store and you flip through the pages of this one, pick it up. The book might surprise both of us, who knows?
Detective Comics #1 (Tony S. Daniel/Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn – #2.99): Tony Daniel, the writer/artist for the recent Batman stories when Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin was the flagship title, will be taking the helm of the relaunch of Detective Comics, and if we’re being honest with each other, I don’t know how I feel about that. Well, yes I do. I don’t like it. I don’t want to dog Tony Daniel, because he’s not a terrible creator. His art is wonderful, and the proof of that is in Batman R.I.P., and his writing is definitely serviceable. He’s newish to the writing world, so it’s unfair to expect his comics to be at the level of all star creators like Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, or any of the other leaders of the DCU. That said, it’s also unfair to him to also put him on a book like Detective Comics, the namesake for DC Comics. Detective is easily one of the highest profile books, so to expect him to hold a great number of sales is unfair. Seriously, he’s not bad at what he does, but I think the pressure might be a little too much. His story arcs on Batman lasted anywhere between six and nine issues, featured a plethora of new, less than interesting characters, and he had fill in artists. He’s also going to be writing The Savage Hawkman with artist Philip Tan. Considering Daniel’s writer/artist duties on Detective, his work is going to suffer somewhere. It’s unfair to ask anyone to do that, especially a young writer like Daniel. He has a lot of promise, and I hope that this book is going to be amazing, but, all things considered, it’s not on the top of my list.
Green Arrow #1 (J.T. Krul/Dan Jurgens and George PÃ©rez – $2.99): This is the first book that we’ve gotten to that I won’t be buying. Why won’t I be buying? Well, I’m not really a Green Arrow fan, and although J.T. Krul is a great writer when it comes to character moments and relationships between characters, overall his style is not one that I prefer. It’s sucks to be cursed by one piece of work, but if Krul were to be cursed by that one work, it would be The Rise of Arsenal, which was extremely difficult to get through for me, as it featured some of the worst events in recent superhero comic history. So, I’ll be doing without this book. But again, if you are really into relationships in comics, then Krul is your man. I mean that. And who knows, I might end up picking this up. I enjoyed his Flashpoint tie-in Deadman and The Flying Graysons. If I hear good things about this one, I’ll end up buying it. You can’t judge a writer on only one work. So if you like Green Arrow and you like strong character work, then pick this up. Forget about Arsenal.
Hawk and Dove #1 (Sterling Gates/Rob Liefeld – $2.99): If you can get past this: …then you should buy this comic. I can’t, so I’m passing.
Justice League International #1 (Dan Jurgens/Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan – $2.99): If this comic doesn’t end up being hilarious, then they just need to cancel it. But I have a feeling that it’s going to be. Booster Gold, Batman, Guy Gardner, Fire, Ice, and more team up under orders of the United Nations. Just think about that for a second. The United Nations wants to form an international team of superheroes, and this is who they chose. This is pretty much the series that Justice League: Generation Lost was leading to, although I’m sure some changes have been made. Primarily the addition of a few heroes, and the removal of Blue Beetle (what’s up with that?). Dan Jurgens will be writing this, and there’s one thing he knows how to do, it’s combine humor and action to make a great comic book. This feels right in line with the previous incarnations of the JLI, so hopefully the new DC initiative to put everybody in high collars and brood for 20 pages (I’m looking at you Justice League) doesn’t infect the fun of this book. Because that would be a travesty.
Men of War #1 (Ivan Brandon/Tom Derenick – $3.99): It’s a military comic. That’s all I really know about it. However, I hope that it is basically the DC Universe version of G.I. Joe, because that would be pretty righteous. This was initially announced as the modern Sgt. Rock comic, which in my opinion was something I didn’t want. One of the reasons that I loved Sgt. Rock was his WWII mentality in a modern age. A guy that was such a hard nosed general commanding his troops in the DCU. I loved that. And I loved The Blackhawks for the same reason. It was nice whenever they showed up because it was a nod to the war comics of the 40s. So, when Men of War was announced, I wasn’t really feeling it. However, I have recently been trying to get my hands on some of the modern G.I. Joe comics, and I like what I see in those issues. And with the help of fellow Geeks of Doom writer, Chris McDavid (Henchman21), I’m starting to come over to the side of the new Sgt. Rock and the Men of War. I’m still a little hesitant, and the $3.99 price tag doesn’t do anything to sooth my hesitation, but I’ll be picking up this issue, and if I like what I see in there, I’ll continue the series.
O.M.A.C. #1 (Dan DiDio/Keith Giffen – $2.99): Okay, in no way do I expect this comic to be great. Honestly, I don’t even expect it to be good. But am I looking forward to it? Oh Hell yeah. I was reading DiDio and Giffen run on The Outsiders near the close of that series and the one word to sum up the events of the tail end of that book is “ridiculous.” The plots were insane, the art was Giffen’s crazy interpretation of Jack Kirby’s work, and I loved every second of it. As a writer, the only thing I’ve loved from Dan DiDio were his episodes of Reboot, but his work on The Outsiders was so incredibly out of left field that it became a blast to read. I can only hope that O.M.A.C. lives up to my hopes and dreams. Do I think everyone will like it? Of course not, but this team delivers the crazy comic books that I love in a world where everything is serious. At some point, O.M.A.C. even fights a rock monster. How could I not love that?
Static Shock #1 (Scott McDaniel, John Rozum/Scott McDaniel, Jonathan Glapion, LeBeau Underwood – $2.99): Static finally returns! The Milestone hero was supposed to come back earlier in the year alongside Xombi (which recently wrapped its six issue run), but was unfortunately delayed due to the would-be writer Dwayne McDuffie’s untimely passing. Static is character that many associate with McDuffie, his creator, but I’m positive that McDaniel, Rozum (Xombi‘s writer), and the rest of the team would have had his blessing, because if they didn’t, well they shouldn’t be on this book. Static means a whole lot to a whole lot of people, so hopefully this book is amazing, because I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a story about a teen whose family moves to New York City where the young man gets super powers. All things considered, it looks like this is going to be about a young kid that grows up loving super heroes, and ultimately becomes what he loves. As long as the spirit of the character is not broken, I think this will be a really fun comic.
Stormwatch #1 (Paul Cornell/Miguel Sepulveda – $2.99): The Martian Manhunter and Wildstorm’s Apollo and Midnighter written by Paul Cornell. That’s all I needed to get excited about this book, but I understand you might feel a little differently, so let me do my best to get you pumped for this book. It’s a group of super powered brought together as an agency that lurks in the shadows to fight super crime without the Earth ever finding out about the threat. That good enough? No? Are you serious, bro? Well, let me give this a shot… The moon attacks Earth. Yes, that’s right in future issues, our moon… attacks… our Earth. Booyah. If that isn’t enough to make you want to read this series, then I honestly don’t know what will. I never really read a lot of the Wildstorm comics since they symbolized, to me, why I stopped reading mainstream comics in the mid-90s, but with DC’s relaunch, it’s giving me a place to start on some characters that I feel like I’ve missed out on. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about these heroes over the past several years, so I’m really excited to jump in on what feels like the ground floor with this title.
Swamp Thing #1 (Scott Snyder/Yanick Paquette – $2.99): Along with Action, Animal Man, and Stormwatch, Swamp Thing is at the top of my list. Featuring the writing talents of Scott Snyder who recently kicked ass on Detective Comics for the past year, this comic is what Brightest Day and The Search For Swamp Thing have built up to. Based on DC’s recent events, it really seems like Swamp Thing is going to be one of the most pushed comics from the publisher, so hopefully it well sell. And considering Snyder’s skill that he’s perfected over the years alongside the gorgeous art of Yanick Paquette, who kicked off Batman, Incorporated alongside Grant Morrison, I don’t think they’ll have anything to worry about. Snyder has said that he’ll be pulling from all of Swamp Thing’s comic book history while also being extremely accessible to new readers. But I’ll find out on Wednesday when I buy it, and believe me, I’m buying. The “dark” titles from DC have got me the most excited, and this is one book that DC seems certain will lead the way.
But if you don’t know where your closest comic book store, and you don’t have a convenient way to read digital comics, then make sure to find your local comic shop from the Comic Shop Locator!
That’s it for this week, but make sure to show up next Tuesday for titles like Batwoman, Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Red Lanterns, and Grifter!