By Hunter Camp
Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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 two weeks ago 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 is the second big week of releases. I’m picking up 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 and I will 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 books. 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 27 The Second Set, Baltimore: The Curse Bells, Pigs, and Moon Girl, 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!
Batman and Robin #1 (Peter J. Tomasi/Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray – $2.99): Is this the story that Tomasi and Gleason were meant to tell? A while back they were announced as the new ongoing team to follow up Grant Morrison’s legendary run on the title. Unfortunately, a subpar three issues story arc was released, and they subsequently jumped off the book. Was this because of the impending relaunch? Who knows other than them and DC editorial? I certainly don’t, but I do speculate. And speculation (not speculation, actual fact) is that Grant Morrison and Tomasi will be working closely so that the story in Morrison’s upcoming Batman: Leviathan will tie in with Tomasi’s Batman and Robin. This comic will be the first time other than the Batman: The Return one shot that we see father Bruce and son Damian work together as Batman and Robin. How will the character clash play out? Only one two ways to find out: A.) read the comic, or B.) listen to the next episode of Comics of Doom to hear me talk about it. I’m not a huge fan of Tomasi/Gleason, but this has a lot of potential, and I’m anxious to see how it all plays out.
Batwoman #1 (J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman/J.H. Williams III – $2.99): Oh man, where do I begin? There was supposed to be a Batwoman ongoing series written and published directly after her appearance in Detective Comics a couple of years back. In fact, the idea was to have another Batwoman arc in Detective written and drawn by Williams which would lead into an ongoing series written by Greg Rucka with art from Williams, which was the same team on the Detective run. This never happened. Shortly after a small Batwoman story arc started with Rucka and Jock as the creative team, Greg Rucka announced that he would no longer be writing for DC Comics. Why? No clue other than the fact that he wanted to focus on creator owned worked. He is now writing The Punisher for Marvel. That aside, months later, a new Batwoman series was still announced as a part of the Batman, Incorporated initiative that saw the release of a Batwoman #0 that was released in February of 2011. This issue promised an ongoing starting that spring around March or April, and then the series was cancelled. Fast forward to June when we start getting details about the DC Relaunch, and lo and behold, Batwoman is in the solicits. Is this title cursed or was it all a deliberate plan to make us go insane in anticipation? My bet is on the latter. Now to some specs about the title. J.H. Williams III is probably the most dynamic artist working in comics today, so if for no other reason, you should buy this book. She’s got a great weird family history and she is a model character for several people out there. Military trained, cape and cowl wearing Kate Kane is a story that I have been dying to read. So hopefully, no one finds a way to further delay this comic.
Deathstroke #1 (Kyle D. Higgins/Joe Bennett and Art Thibert – $2.99): Kyle D. Higgins has some strong writing credits to his name like Supreme Power and Gates of Gotham, so my interest in this title comes from him more than anything else. It’s a comic about a villain, and often times those are hard to relate to. To this title’s benefit, though, there are plenty of readers out there that love the character’s rich history. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Sure, Deathstroke can be a pretty bad ass mercenary who cuts people up, and without a doubt, that eye patch is rad. But I’ve just never been a fan of the character, so I’m not picking up this title. It’s got a lot of potential, but my lack of caring is even greater. On the other hand, if some of my friends (I do have some friends, you jerk!) that are reading the comic tell me that it’s a must read, I’ll get caught up on digital and see if it grabs me. And to his credit, Kyle D. Higgins is one of the only writers who could get me to even think about reading a Deathstroke comic.
Demon Knights #1 (Paul Cornell/Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert – $2.99): One of my most anticipated titles! It’s all about heroes in the dark ages, so characters like Etrigan, Jason Blood (The Demon Etrigan!), Shining Knight, Madame Xanadu and more show up in this book. And that’s a very good thing. It’s quirky, demonic, weird, and twisted characters being written by Paul Cornell! This is one of the handful of books that I’m really excited about, so I hope it won’t let me down, but considering Paul Cornell’s previous work with Knight and Squire, Dr. Who (he wrote “Father’s Day”), Action Comics, and last week’s Stormwatch, I don’t think I have anything to worry about. Paul Cornell has an awesome gift in which he can take silly characters and make them serious, take serious characters and make them silly, add a lot of twisted humor in terribly dark situations, and more than anything, he tells a good story. So, if you were on the fence about some of the weirder titles, get off that fence and buy this book. If you’re reading what I’m writing, you should love it.
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 (Jeff Lemire/Alberto Ponticelli – $2.99):Frankenstein is yet another book that I’ve been dying to get my hands on since the titles were initially announced. If you’ve read Seven Soldiers of Victory, you should know all about the awesome interpretation of Frankenstein in the Grant Morrison penned mini-series. Frankenstein is a totally bizarre character that works for a military organization that lies somewhere between government funded protection and privately operated mercenary operations. And he’s Frankenstein’s monster. Like seriously, Frankenstein’s monster. Victor Frankenstein made this monster out of dead flesh, and this is the character we have. And he’s awesome and punches and shoots villains and other monsters. How on Earth could this not sound amazing to you? If it doesn’t, then we just don’t get each other. Either way, Jeff Lemire is writing this, and I think it’s impossible for Lemire to write a straight up goofy book without adding some sort of brilliant personal and emotional elements to the book. So aside from the awesomeness of Frankenstein, we also get the awesomeness of Jeff Lemire! How great is that!? I mean, he wrote the best DC relaunch title so far with Animal Man, so I completely expect him to blow us all away once again with Frankenstein. And if you don’t believe me, read Lemire’s Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown mini-series, you’ll become a believer like all the rest.
Green Lantern #1 (Geoff Johns/Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy – $2.99): Guess what, guys and gals! I’m not buying this one! I know all of you are probably in love with everything Geoff Johns puts out, and that’s fine! Seriously, it is! But you know what? I’m not. I haven’t really enjoyed anything that’s had is name on it since Blackest Night #7. To me, it just seems like he’s lost something along the way. Am I wrong? Maybe. Could Green Lantern #1 be the return to greatness for Geoff Johns? Quite possible. But the real question is, do I even care? And the answer is, not at all. I have spent so much money on several crossovers and events within the Green Lantern universe to experience this big story that everyone is loving, but I never cared. Maybe it’s Hal Jordan, but that doesn’t really explain my lack of caring for one of my favorite characters becoming the new Green Lantern. The only thing that I can think of is, I just don’t like Geoff Johns. Again, hopefully I’m wrong and this series will be great. This is one of the few things that I love being wrong about. But have fun reading this story, I’ll keep my three bucks. Because as everyone working for this site knows, I totally think three dollars is expensive.
Grifter #1 (Nathan Edmondson/CAFU – 2.99): The second part of the “Books That Hunter Cares Absolutely Nothing About” list continues with Grifter. I didn’t care about him on any of his previous books like WildC.A.T.S. when they were coming out on Image and then Wildstorm, and I care even less now. He’s the antithesis of the antihero. A bad ass dude with a chip on his should and two guns on his fists. He’s like Batman but he totally kills people because he’s hardcore, bro. Let’s drink some Mountain Dew, read Grifter and get extreme, brother! That my be taking it way overboard, and there are plenty of non-stupid people that like Grifter as a character and will be buying this book because they either love the creators, love the character, or think that it’s got a lot of potential. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. And I can’t help but think about shredding in it’s various forms of interpretation when I hear the name Grifter. But if you love the book, please tell me what you like about it. I’ve been known to change my mind, and as I stated above, I love being wrong about this sort of thing.
Legion Lost #1 (Fabian Nicieza/Pete Woods – $2.99): I’m going to start this off by saying that I haven’t read a lot of Legion books, but I love the idea and the characters that I’ve come across on the very limited issues and trades that I have read. The only problem is that I have literally no idea where to start with the group of future dwelling super-heroes. So, this relaunch is really giving me a chance to check some stuff out that I wouldn’t normally touch due to continuity. So, I will be buying this, as well as the full on Legion of Super-Heroes book that comes out next week. This book, Legion Lost, is apparently about a group of the future heroes that are traveling through the timestream and get stuck in the present era of the DC Universe with no way way of getting home. The idea sounds great and also, I really enjoy Mr. Nicieza’s work, so like I said, I’ll be picking this up for sure. I can’t wait to join the Legionnaires!
Mister Terrific #1 (Eric Wallace/Gianluca Gugliotta – $2.99): I really love Mr. Terrific as a character. I think he has a lot of potential, and he was always a standout to me in the various Justice Society comics that I’ve read during my time on Earth. So, I’m really looking forward to an ongoing series for this character. Now, I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book from either Eric Wallace or Gianluca Gugliotta (although I might have), so I have no clue what the quality of the work will be, but I’m hopeful. Like I said, I really love the character and would love to see the book be one of the standout books of the relaunch, but I’m not so sure that’s going to happen. This title is definitely a risk, but if you’re a William Riker fan like me, you don’t shy away from risks. You embrace them, hope for the best, and if it doesn’t work out, well at least you had the experience. Does that apply to spending on comics? Maybe? Could be? Yeah, you’re probably right. But if you wanted to take more of a calculated risk like Captain Picard, you could wait until next month and buy the comic digitally for a dollar less. See? That’s only two dollars, and you might just be getting an awesome comic! Go Star Trek: The Next Generation logic!
Red Lanterns #1 (Peter Milligan/Ed Benes and Rob Hunter): Okay, so I have a soft spot for the Red Lantern Corps. They’re pretty much a one note group, but that one note is awesome. And it’s rage. There’s the Compassion Corps, The Love Corps, The Willpower Corps, The Fear Corps, The Hope Corps, and The Greedy Corps, but the one that seems to connect most with fans is rage. And that’s obviously because it’s a very basic human emotion that many are willing to accept as a part of themselves, myself included. If someone cuts you off while you’re driving, or your train is late, or God forbid you try to drive in New York City, what do you do? Do you say, “Gee golly I hope everything works out, nay all will be well”? Of course not. Do you try to scare whatever is causing these problems? You could, but you’d look really stupid. Do you try to tell these unfortunate circumstances that you love them? I hope so, honestly. Do you try to use willpower to make things go your way? Maybe, but I don’t think it’ll work out for you. Do you just say “MINE!”? No, of course not, but that would be hilarious. So what do you? You get pissed off! And who could blame you? There are just things that happen everyday that get in your way and make life hard. That’s why the term “road rage” exists. We deal with problems through anger. We can either let that anger overcome us, or we can learn to harness it into something positivity. But these guys? They spit blood and kill those that they deem wicked. And that’s awesome. We get to see this group do everything that we want to do, and that makes this series stand out. Also, the creative Peter Milligan is a solid writer, so it’s a win/win!
Resurrection Man #1 (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning/Fernando Dagnino – $2.99): I have never read a Resurrection Man comic, but the idea is intriguing. He’s sort of like a reverse dead man. The main character, Mitch Shelly, dies, but doesn’t stay dead for long. He comes back to life after each death and is granted more powers with each resurrection. This sounds so bizarre, but I can’t turn it down. Resurrection Man is obviously one of the titles that will not be a big seller in the overall line of newly relaunched titles, so it’s hard to gauge what they’re plans are. And I’m not the biggest Adnett and Lanning fan, but who knows? This really bizarre book might stand out as a big winner, I certainly hope it does. The weirder the title, the more interested I am in the series, and this might be the weirdest book of them all. But we’ll all find out more about the book as soon as Wednesday hits and, hopefully, we all have this book in our hands.
Suicide Squad #1 (Adam Glass/Federico Dallocchio – $2.99):Suicide Squad has the history of being one of the greatest books on the shelves. I give that credit primarily to all of the creators that have worked on the series over time, and even the book’s conceptual offspring of Secret Six was a killer book, so hopefully the book will withstand the drama surrounding it to become a great title. What’s everyone’s problem with this comic? By scanning the Internet’s complaints about it, the primary issue potential readers have that I’ve found with the book all stems from Harley Quinn’s just flat out awful character redesign. The short skirt (boy shorts?)/corset clown costume that she’s rocking seems a bit on the negative side of the tasteful meter, and it’s certainly rubbing people the wrong way. Flat out, it seems like they are wanting this book to be read by adolescent males that are really into clowns in a creepy way. Also, violence rules. Aside from the negatives, let’s move to the positives. The idea behind Suicide Squad is that a group of Death Row (not the defunct rap label) inmates, the most dangerous villains in the DCU that have been captured, are assembled into a team to work on behalf of the military. They are sent on missions where there is almost no chance of survival. Some might even say they are sent on suicide missions, hence the title. I absolutely love the idea, but I don’t love what we’ve seen, and I’ve been less than impressed with my experiences with Adam Glass. Again, this is one of the titles that I’m getting, but I’m not sure of. I’m expecting the worst, but I’m hoping for the best.
Superboy #1 (Scott Lobdell/R.B. Silva and Rob Lean – $2.99): Oh man, this is another book that I just flat out don’t care about. The character description that we’ve gotten so far for Superboy has been less than interesting for me, and I’ve never really loved the character. There’s a lot that could be great about this book, sure. And Scott Lobdell is certainly talented, and R.B. Silva is a phenomenal artist, but I just can’t get into this book. It’s Superboy, he’s created in a lab, etc. etc. And with DC’s recent trend of loving violence, disregarding fun, and focus on brooding, I just have no hope when it comes to this book and what it seems like they’re doing. In the ongoing theme of this article, I hope I’m wrong. I honestly do. If it’s a fun book that provides a really good read, please tell me about it because I’d love to be wrong about this. But it just serves no interest to me whatsoever. But again, let me know. Please. And also, there are plenty of people out there that enjoy brooding, dark, and serious heroes out there, but aside from the heroes in Gotham, I’m not one of them. I like my Superboy to be hopeful, living on a farm, going to school, and punching science fiction inspired villains. Aside from those specifics, I don’t really even like Superboy. So, while this series clearly isn’t for me, I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that will love it. So, if your not as picky as I am, and you actually really like Superboy, pick this up. Don’t let me words discourage you.
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 Batman, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern Corps, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Wonder Woman!