The Rebirth era is over, though my column will remain titled such for alliterative purposes. With the end of the Rebirth branding comes a new cover dress for DC Comics. We see the return of corner boxes, which honestly, is an iconic look. Titles that are canon will have DC Universe branding, while titles that aren’t will have DC Comics branding. Each book is also given its own snazzy logo in the corner box. I took umbrage with one title’s logo, but not enough to prevent it from being this week’s Rebirth Royalty. Read on for my reviews, but beware some spoilers.
Tim Seeley (Writer), Javier Fernandez (Artist), Chris Sotomayor (Colorist), Carlos M. Mangual (Letterer)
As Tim Seeley’s run on Nightwing comes to a close, it’s one we can look back on fondly. He brought Dick back to Blüdhaven, gave Dick a supporting cast and fleshed them out, and most importantly he dug a villain out of Hostess fruit pie ads. It’s fitting that Raptor’s story ends with the two men who created him, bringing it full circle. My heart broke for Dick when Shawn told him that they still couldn’t be together. Seeley made me, an unabashed Nightfire shipper, care about this couple. And while I loved Seeley’s time on the book, I also look forward to Humphries. My one gripe about this book is the new cover boxes. I love them on almost every other book, but my complaint here comes from the fact that Dick doesn’t get his own logo, and has to share Bruce’s. Give him the credit he’s due, DC.
Bane Conquest #8
Chuck Dixon (Writer), Graham Nolan (Artist), Gregory Wright (Colorist), Carlos M. Mangual (Letterer)
Relic is a good word. It’s also a good descriptor of this book. This book still feels like a relic of the nineties, and in a bad way. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of the nineties, and even a lot of Chuck Dixon’s work from that period. But this just feels antiquated and overblown. It also still has the problem of being way too decompressed. This series could have easily worked in six or maybe even four issues; the story is plodding, and boring, and I just want it to be done.
Tom King (Writer), Clay Mann (Penciller), Clay Mann and Seth Mann (Inkers), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
This issue was delightful! King absolutely nails the Batman and Superman friendship. I love the hesitancy of each to introduce their significant others, Lois and Catwoman. For the most part the art was also good, but I have one very big nitpick, that should have been caught by both the editorial team and Jordie Bellaire. The current iteration of Lois Lane has reddish brown hair, like she had in the 1990s, rather than black. It’s a minor gripe, but I’ve always preferred Lois with lighter hair, so it’s one I’m going to make. I can’t wait to see their double date.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1
James Tynion IV (Writer), Freddie Williams II (Artist), Jeremy Colwell (Colorist), Tom Napolitano (Letterer)
Poor Donnie. I felt so bad for him and his dented self-esteem. I haven’t yet had a chance to go through the first Ninja Turtles and Batman team-up, but much like the Power Rangers and Justice League, this was a dream team-up for ten-year-old Corinne. As a fellow child of the nineties, I can only imagine it’s the same for Tynion. I love Freddie Williams’s Ninja Turtles, and how distinct each of them looks. His Bane is terrifying and imposing, and feels more like Bane than his other appearance this week. Tynion does a better job with Dixon’s characters than Dixon does at this point in their careers.
Batman: White Knight #3
Sean Murphy (Writer and Artist), Matt Hollingsworth (Colorist), Todd Klein (Letterer)
There are things in this issue that I really liked, and then things that I really, really didn’t. First, I loved New Harley’s “Joker” look. I like the general premise of the book, in that it’s interesting to look at the collateral damage of superheroes and supervillains. Now the things I didn’t like. The book still pushes the horribly dangerous idea that drugs magically cure mental illness, and that taking more of them does it quicker. I will never stop talking about how bad this concept is. Be responsible with how you portray mental illness. I very much disliked Nightwing; Dick should never be cold and broody. Even more than that, I hate that Murphy switched the order of Jason and Dick as Batman’s Robins, and gave Dick feelings of inadequacy compared to Jason.
Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #2
Tony Isabella (Writer), Clayton Henry (Artist), Pete Pantazis (Colorist), Josh Reed (Letterer)
Man, this book continues to be topical and relevant. Tony Isabella returns to a character he helped create with a fresh take for a fresh decade, and boy is it invigorating. This is honestly the first time I’ve cared about Black Lightning since he was the Secretary of Education for President Luthor (See? Luthor at least put qualified people in his cabinet, stop comparing him to Trump). This book also reminds me a lot of Louise Simonson’s Man of Steel and Steel runs, which is high praise from me. Part of that may be the super weapons terrorizing a black hero’s neighborhood, but also the tone and feel of the book. It addresses important issues like gun control and police brutality, and it does it in a very powerful and organic way.
Bombshells United #7
Marguerite Bennett (Writer), Richard Ortiz (Artist), J. Nanjan (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
This book is consistently great in both art and writing. While the artists rotate, most of them have such a similar style that it seems seamless. Since we saw a hint of this arc in the last issue, I wonder how far this series is planned out. I still haven’t finished the original Bombshells run, so I don’t know how much of Batwoman and Renee’s history has been covered before, but I really liked learning it. Poor Jason Todd, always doomed to die–in fact, twice in one week. Somewhere there’s a universe where Jason lived, and it is a weird place.
Kevin Grevioux (Writer), Cliff Richards (Artist), Ivan Nunes (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
So Vic is back to feeling inhuman? Didn’t we just go through an overly long, overly tedious 18-issue arc about this? There’s only so many times we can read the same exact story. We’ve seen this same conflict in New Teen Titans, in Titans, and in his own series, it’s tired. Cyborg wasn’t solicited for February, and maybe that’s for the best. What Vic really needs is a villain to truly call his own. I will say that Cliff Richards did a fantastic job of providing art for an otherwise underwhelming story.
Dastardly & Muttley #4
Garth Ennis (Writer), Mauricet (Artist), John Kalisz (Colorist), Rob Steen (Letterer)
Wow. This got even more racist, really quick. Scientist creates an unstable element, names it unstabilium and then turns into a yellow peril villain. Good lord. The book tries to be edgy and funny, and really only manages to be offensive and crude. I did not laugh at a single gag in the issue, and got viscerally angry at several of them, including the aforementioned race switch of a villain. This book is bad, and was a poor choice to add to DC’s Hanna-Barbera line. I wouldn’t put this in my worst enemy’s Christmas stocking.
Neal Adams (Writer and Artist), Clem Robins (Letterer)
This story is confusing to me, especially the end of the issue with the Spectre and the Demon showing up. I’m sure this will all be explained, but I’m lost right now. There were several times within the book that the dialogue felt stilted and weird. I also wish Adams had gotten someone else to color the book, because the colors seem pretty lackluster and dull to me. The best part of the book is that Adams’s pencils still look fantastic, if maybe a little overindulgent at times. With a better colorist, the visuals of this book could be great.
Christopher Priest (Writer), Diogenes Neves (Penciller), Jason Paz (Inker), Jeromy Cox (Colorist), Willie Schubert (Letterer)
Deathstroke is the most interesting man in the world, confirmed. I really dislike comics with foreign languages and no translations. The throwback of Terra being angry and smoking delighted me. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an issue that had more editor’s notes sprinkled within. Dave, Alex, and Brian certainly worked overtime this issue. I noticed the Superman credit on the credits page, but this is definitely not the Superman I expected to see. I was waiting the whole issue for Big Blue to show up, only for it to be Kenan, and that made me laugh.
Green Arrow #35
Benjamin Percy (Writer), Juan Ferreyra (Artist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)
The first thing I noticed is something I didn’t notice last month. Apparently Green Arrow has moved to a monthly schedule, which is probably a good thing. While I like that some of the best titles are twice monthly, sometimes the output has affected the quality. And in this case, the quality was worth the wait. Juan Ferreyra delivered stunningly beautiful pages, and Percy is telling an engaging story. I, for one, can’t wait to see Emi’s new costume. Seems Ollie’s sidekicks always get a soft spot in my heart.
Green Lanterns #36
Tim Seeley (Writer), Ronan Cliquet (Artist), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letterer)
A Green Lantern villain who is a living black hole is a fantastic concept, and the concept was fleshed out amazingly well by both Seeley and Cliquet. Seeley tells unnervingly good creepy stories, and Cliquet provided art to accentuate that feeling. When Jain ate something, the warping of reality around her was done to incredible effect. I admit that because Humphries had defined Jessica’s voice for me and made her one of my favorite Lanterns, I was worried about whether or not Seeley would keep it that way. I needn’t have worried. Jess is still great.
Harley & Ivy Meet Betty And Veronica #3
Paul Dini and Marc Andreyko (Writer), Laura Braga and Adriana Melo (Artists), Arif Print (Colorist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)
This book really would have been much better had they hired at least one woman to help write it. A book about four women and you hire two men to write? I don’t get that logic. I did enjoy watching Harley and Ivy have a good day at school, but mostly this issue just felt boring. There was no real conflict until the very end. The Reggie-as-Joker thing is bizarre and having a Riverdale kid murder someone (even a peach-headed henchman) seems a bit much. This is comics Riverdale guys, not CW Riverdale.
Injustice 2 #15
Tom Taylor (Writer), Mike Miller (Artist), J. Nanjan (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer)
As much as I liked this story, I’m annoyed that DC hired Mike Miller to draw it. Miller is a known homophobe, and putting him on a book with the Amazons is an insult to LGBT people. People say that comics is not welcoming to conservative creators, yet Miller and Ethan Van Sciver still get hired to draw the biggest heroes in the industry, no matter how inflammatory they are to fans online. That said, this Amazon civil war is very intriguing. I love that Nubia took over the mantle of Wonder Woman, and is leading the contingent of Amazons loyal to Hippolyta.
Justice League #34
Christopher Priest (Writer), Pete Woods (Artist), Willie Schue (Letterer)
Priest and Woods get off to a fantastic start. The issue really focuses on the humanity of Batman, amongst all the near gods of the Justice League. Batman’s lack of sleep causes near catastrophe in one crisis and results in a death in another. Woods is really able to convey just how exhausted Batman is, and the story as a whole is great at illustrating how damaging that could be. Batman is the tactical brain of the team, and when he’s not at his best, things get lost in the fray. It’s a good start to what should be a much better Justice League run.
Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi (Writers), Doug Mahnke (Penciller), Jaime Mendoza and Dough Mahnke (Inkers), Wil Quintana (Colorist), Rob Leigh (Letterer)
Superman does what no other person could. He brings hope to the most hopeless place in the universe: Apokalips. This issue closes out the “Imperious Lex” story, and leaves us with an interesting change in the status quo on Darkseid’s home world. With Darkseid de-aged (and taking up more space in Wonder Woman than she is), and the Furies and Kalibak taken care of, Apokalips is left with a benevolent ruler for the first time. While I’m not usually a fan of Mahnke’s art, his Granny Goodness is probably the best I’ve ever seen. And it seems like this is the start of a return to villainy for Lex, which was not unexpected, but still makes me sad.
That’s it for this week, come back next week to see if Wonder Woman shows up in her own book this time. It’s also my most anticipated week of every month, with new issues of both Supergirl and Titans.