DC Pubwatch June

DC Pubwatch June

Oh hey! A new look, a new schedule, and a lot less stress on your DC beat writer! We decided to move to a monthly column rather than weekly, and to only fully review a handful of books a month. The ten books I liked most, as well as the five books I liked least,

Oh hey! A new look, a new schedule, and a lot less stress on your DC beat writer! We decided to move to a monthly column rather than weekly, and to only fully review a handful of books a month. The ten books I liked most, as well as the five books I liked least, will all get explanations, while everything else just gets a letter grade. The lone A+ of the month goes to what I consider the best book of the month, the other nine in my top ten get As. Good, but not quite great books get Bs. Books that didn’t do much to keep my interest, but weren’t glaringly bad get Cs. Read ‘em if you have a vested interest in the character; maybe skip ‘em if you don’t. The four titles that comprise my worst books of the month get Ds, and the absolute worst book of the month gets the sole F. Spoilers ahead for a few books.

A+

Justice League #1

Scott Snyder (Writer), Jim Cheung (Pencils), Mark Morales (Inks), Tomeu Morey (Colors), Tom Napolitano (Letters)

The opening page of the book immediately took me to a place where I haven’t been in years. Just from that first page, we get a feeling of a Justice League that is grander in scope than they’ve seemed in years. Steve Orlando’s team and run on the book was great, but it was more character driven than all out superhero epic. From J’onn playing chess master for the team, to everyone dragging on Batman, there is so much in the first ten pages that instantly made me fall in love with this book. And that was before Batman blew up the moon. We are also presented with a Lex Luthor, who is much more diabolical than he’s been in a long time, as he fully slides back into villainy. Cheung and Morales deliver vibrant and dynamic art that fits the scope of the book, and Tomeu Morey’s colors always shine.

The Justice League (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter) flying at the reader

Cover by Jim Cheung

A

Curse of Brimstone #3

Philip Tan and Justin Jordan (Storytellers), Justin Jordan (Dialogue), Rain Beredo (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letters)

This was not one of the “New Age of DC Heroes” books I was expecting to enjoy so much, but here we are. This book is clearly not written like a hero book, but more like a classic DC horror book in the vein of House of Mystery or Swamp Thing. Tan’s art does a lot to give it that dark and ominous vibe, his line work demonstrating the stresses and fears the characters are going through. Jordan’s storytelling has also made us care about these characters, and as someone who comes from a smallish town that seems to be dying from the inside, the book totally captures that feeling as well.

Brimstone burning a semi truck, with a body in the foreground

Cover by Philip Tan

Flash #48

Josh Williamson (Writer), Howard Porter (Artist), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Steve Wands (Letters)

Much like Justice League #1, this issue grabbed me on the first page and never let go. All I want in life out of Flash comics is for Wally to be happy with Linda and the twins, and this opening sequence gave me a glimpse of what I could have. I want everyone “trapped” in the Speed Force to come back, but especially the twins and Bart. Bringing back Howard Porter for this book is perfect, because he’s the artist that defined the Flash for me. This story is pulling all of my nostalgia strings, and you know what? I’m here for it.

Wally West and Barry Allen being weighed on a Justice's scale, with the Rogues in the background

Cover by Howard Porter

Green Lanterns #49

Aaron Gillespie (Writer), Roge Antonio (Artist), Hi-Fi (Colorist), Dave Sharpe (Letters)

For what was a short fill-in arc between main creative teams, this was a very engaging story. It showed us just how much Jess has grown as a character over the last 50 issues, and how much her and Simon’s partnership has blossomed. Fifty issues ago, there is no way she would have stood up to Hal Jordan the way she did here. Likewise, the Simon we saw in the Rebirth issue wouldn’t have stood up for her like he did here. They have both become such great characters, and well deserving of their place in Green Lantern history.

Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz hiding from other Green Lanterns

Cover by Paul Pelletier, Adriano Lucas and Danny Miki

Injustice 2 #28

Tom Taylor (Writer), Daniel Sampere (Pencils), Juan Albarran & Daniel Sampere (Inks), Rex Lokus (Colors), Wes Abbott (Letters)

“That’s clearly a talking, evil kitty.” I like Injustice Hal’s guilty manifestation of Guy Gardner more than I like the real Guy. I love the idea of Hal Jordan being able to harness his rage through his undeniable willpower. But what really made this issue shine for me was the end. We got a look at the Superman and Wonder Woman this universe need, and the only SuperWonder ship that I will take part in. Conner Kent and Cassie Sandsmark, together again, even if only in an alternate reality where everything is awful. At least I have this, until Tom Taylor rips it away from me like I know he will.

Red Lanterns flying over a Domed Hal Jordan

Cover by Daniel Sampere and Alejandro Sanchez

Justice League #2

Scott Snyder (Writer), Jorge Jimenez (Artist), Alejandro Sanchez (Colors), Tom Napolitano (Letters)

I didn’t expect there to be a drop in quality for this series, because I trust the creative team, and I was not disappointed. Every page of this book makes me feel a way about the Justice League that I really haven’t felt since Grant Morrison and Howard Porter. What Snyder, Cheung, and Jimenez are doing here is similar to what Morrison and Porter did in the nineties. Taking the team in a new direction to fix years of them not being the powerhouse they should be. Also, Swamp Thing taking control of a space plant to broadcast a message from Batman to John Stewart, is totally a thing that happened and I still can’t get over.

The eight heroes of the Justice League standing tall

Cover by Jorge Jimenez

Man of Steel #4

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Kevin Maguire and Jason Fabok (Artists), Alex Sinclair (Colors), Josh Reed (Letters)

I’m not gonna lie, it took me longer to get into Man of Steel than I had hoped it would. Luckily, as a weekly series, it doesn’t take long for it to take off. We’ve finally gotten to the meat of the story, and are also finally getting snippets of answers. It seems obvious now where Jon and Lois have gone (not gonna spoil that, read the issue), and where the story from Action #1000 fits (Answer: After page ten in this issue). The biggest drawback of this issue for me is that while extremely expressive sometimes Maguire’s faces don’t work for me. That said, the story and action in this issue absolutely make up for inconsistencies in the faces. Specifically, Bendis does something a certain other Man of Steel named property didn’t. Have Superman focus on civilians and getting the fight away from the city. Its clear to me that Bendis truly gets Clark, and that will make his stories worth reading.

Superman kissing Lois Lane

Cover by Ivan Reis

Nightwing #45

Benjamin Percy (Writer), Chris Mooneyham (Artist), Klaus Janson (Inks), Nick Filardi (Colors), Carlos Mangual (Letters)

Man, does Chris Mooneyham draw a pretty Dick Grayson. Shirtless scenes abound, and I have no complaints about that. What I do have a complaint about is the thought that Dick’s idealized life includes domestic bliss with Babs. I will never get off the Dick and Kory ship, even if it goes down like the Titanic. But it’s okay; Dick and Babs fans get their ship in this issue, and I get mine on the cover of Heroes in Crisis #1. Which kinda hearkens back to the days when he was trying to make things work with Babs in his own book, while sleeping with Kory in Outsiders. Stop playing the field Grayson.

Nightwing fighting an electric monster

Cover by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire

Batman: Prelude to the Wedding: Red Hood vs Anarky

Tim Seeley (Writer), Javier Fernandez (Artist), Hugo Petrus (Pencils), John Kalisz (Colors), Otto Schmidt (Epilogue Artist), Dave Sharpe (Letters)

All of the Prelude to the Wedding specials have been pretty good, and that’s a credit to how well Tim Seeley writes the Batfamily. I chose this one over the other three, mostly because it was refreshing to see a voice that isn’t Scott Lobdell writing Jason. Javier Fernandez’s art also makes both the fights and the bachelorette party believable in this issue. Jason being enough of a jerk to demand money to watch over the party is perfect, but so is him using that money to make sure it is safe for Selina and her friends. The one thing I didn’t like about this story was the playing both sides of the issues thing, as I’m tired of giving that idea merit.

Red Hood fighting Anarky amid a protest

Cover by Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig

Titans Special #1

Dan Abnett (Writer), Sergio Davila, Vicente Cifuentes, Brent Peeples, Matt Santorelia, Brian Ching, Nicola Scott, Max Raynor, Ben Oliver (Art), Luis Guerrero, Marcelo Maiolo, Michael Atiyeh, Jordie Bellaire, Dinei Ribeiro, Romulo Fajardo Jr (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Letters)

As you could guess by the credits, art-wise, this issue is a bit all over the place. What’s harder is the credits don’t give you specific pages for each team, so if you don’t know a particular artist’s style, its hard to know which pages belong to which team. That said, this issue gave us a good “Putting the team together” story and a great concept for this new era Titans team. It brings it back to the idea of the Teen Titans being the future, the Justice League being the now, and the Titans bridging that gap. Also, this issue gave us a Nicola Scott Nightwing butt, and those are always appreciated.

Nightwing standing in front of the trinity

Cover by Brandon Peterson

B

Batgirl vs Riddler
Batman #49
Batwoman #16
Bombshells United #21
Deathstroke #32
Eternity Girl #4
Green Arrow #41
Green Lanterns #48
Green Lanterns Annual #1
Harley Quinn #43-44
Hawkman #1
Injustice 2 #27
Man of Steel #3
Mister Miracle #9
New Super-Man #24
Nightwing vs Hush
No Justice #4
Plastic Man #1
Red Hood & The Outlaws #23
Robin vs Ra’s Al Ghul
Sideways #5
Supersons/Dynomutt
The Unexpected #1

C

Aquaman #37
Aquaman/Jabberjaw
Batman #48
Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey
Cyborg #23
Damage #6
Detective Comics #982
Doomsday Clock #5
Green Arrow Annual #1
Immortal Men #3
Man of Steel #1-2
New Challengers #2
Raven #5
Suicide Squad #43

D

Bane Conquest #11

We are finally near the end of this book. I’ve said it in past reviews of this book, but lord it is a drag. It should have been a six issue mini-series at best, and even then it probably would have been too much filler. The art is stuck in the ’90s, and so is the story, which is also incredibly boring. The one thing I will give this issue, is that it taught me some Spanish. I had thought that “Adios enemigo” was just just Chuck Dixon trying to play with “Adios amigo,” but now I know that enemigo is actually Spanish for enemy, and I plan to use “Adios enemigo” frequently in day to day life.

A patriotic sniper with a Cyclops mask takes aim

Cover by Graham Nolan

Flash/Speed Buggy

Scott Lobdell (Writer), Brett Booth (Penciller), Norm Rapmund, Mark Irwin, Marc Deering, Matt Banning, John Livesay (Inks), Andrew Dalhouse, Pete Pantazis (Colors) Tom Napolitano (Letters)

This book pairs one of my least favorite writers with one of my least favorite pencillers on one of my favorite characters. The story wasn’t terrible, but the art was horrendous. I’ve never liked Booth’s style, and his poor anatomy always bugs me. That said, my biggest problem with this issue had less to do with the actual art, and more to do with a reveal that should not have been made in this book. The end of the book reveals a person who looks remarkably like Bart Allen in a variation of a Kid Flash costume. I swear to god if this mess of a book spoiled the end result of Flash War, I’m gonna flip a table.

Flash racing Speed Buggy

Cover by Brett Booth

The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #8

Bryan Hill (Writer), N. Steven Harris (Penciller), Dexter Vines (Inker), Ross Campbell (Colorist), Simon Bowland (Letterer)

This book has similar problems to Bane. The art is very lackluster at it’s best and off putting at its worst, and the character designs leave a lot to be desired. It is a travesty to have a bald John Constantine, and Wonder Woman in this looks more like Big Barda. Its also suffering from the same “too many issues” problem as Bane. This story could be much more cohesive if they trimmed the fat.

Wonder Woman choking Michael Cray

Cover by Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Steve Buccellato

Wonder Woman Annual #2

James Robinson (Writer), Marc Laming, Frazer Irving, J. Calafiore, and Stephen Segovia (Artists), David Baron, Frazer Irving, and Allen Passalaqua (Colors), Saida Temofonte (Letters)

Hey, look, another issue of Wonder Woman with ten credited creators and only two women (Letterer Saida Temofonte and cover artist Yasmine Putri). I’m tired you guys, so tired. When will this all be over (Spoiler: next month will contain James Robinson’s last Wonder Woman issue). I gotta give this to James Robinson; it takes balls to think you can tell a Star Sapphire Wonder Woman story better than Greg Rucka (Second spoiler: he can’t). I’d like to point out that Wonder Woman sold more than 44,000 copies an issue with Rucka, and Robinson has dropped that number by 10,000.

Wonder Woman with a Star Sapphire ring and costume

Cover by Yasmine Putri

F

Wonder Woman #48

James Robinson (Writer), Jesus Merino (Artist), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colors), Saida Temofonte (Letters)

Guess who only appears on two pages of her own comic again? Good job, you were right. It’s Wonder Woman. To celebrate the end of Robinson’s trash fire of a run on this book next month, I’m going to finish count of pages Wonder Woman has appeared on during his run. If it’s more than 75%, I’ll mail him $5. I think my wallet is going to be safe. This issue was boring, with the Dark Gods easily taking out the whole Justice League just to show how powerful they are. And Lord, the dialogue was bad. So bad. There was actually a moment that I, a person who hates puns, thought a pun would have been better than what Robinson actually wrote. He had Hawkgirl say “I’m new here too, just do what I do…” How do you not end that thought with “Wing it”?

Wonder Woman pushing against the giant hand of a god

Cover by Jesus Merino and Romulo Fajardo Jr

Solicits to Salivate Over

Heroes in Crisis #1

Tom King (Writer), Clay Mann (Artist and Cover Artist), J.G. Jones (1:50 Variant Cover Artist), Mark Brooks (1:100 Variant Cover Artist) Francesco Mattina (1:200 Variant Cover Artist)

Blank variant cover available.
There’s a new kind of crisis threatening the heroes of the DC Universe, ripped from real-world headlines by C.I.A.-operative-turned-comics-writer Tom King: How does a superhero handle PTSD? Welcome to Sanctuary, an ultra-secret hospital for superheroes who’ve been
traumatized by crime-fighting and cosmic combat. But something goes inexplicably wrong when many patients wind up dead, with two well-known operators as the prime suspects:
Harley Quinn and Booster Gold! It’s up to the DC Trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and
Batman to investigate—but can they get the job done in the face of overwhelming opposition?
ON SALE 09.26.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | 1 of 7 | RATED T+
This issue will ship with five covers.
Please see the order form for details.
Includes a code for a free digital download of this issue.

I’m a sucker for DC’s Crisis events. Always have been, and always will be. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Tom King’s mainstream superhero work, but this seems like a concept he can play with better.

A large gathering of heroes in morrning

Cover by Clay Mann

The Flash #54

Joshua Williamson (Writer), Christian Duce (Artist), Dan Mora (Cover Artist), Howard Porter (Variant Cover Artist)

The Flash is now the strongest man alive thanks to a jolt from one of the new forces! Turning his jacked-up sights to Trickster, the two duke it out inside Iron Heights for utter supremacy. Will anyone stop these two behemoths from beating the hell out of each other … or is this just what Warden Wolfe wants?
ON SALE 09.12.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

The FLash #55

Joshua Williamson (Writer), Scott Kolins (Artist), Dan Mora (Cover Artist), Howard Porter (Variant Cover Artist)

Barry Allen’s CSI team gets called to the scene of an arson at Iron Heights, and the victim happens to be a well-known Flash Rogue. Barry’s new partner thinks it’s an inside job, the warden sending a message to the inmates about who’s in charge. But the real culprit turns out to be the latest “Force” threat. Can the Flash and Commander Cold snuff this flaming mystery before it becomes an inferno?
ON SALE 09.26.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

These two issues make my list of solicits that have me salivating, because unlike Flash/Speed Buggy, they do a fantastic job of skirting the spoilers of who wins Flash War. They separate the identities of Flash and Barry Allen pretty clearly and deliberately in these solicitations.

Flash's head with flames coming out of the mask

Cover by Dan Mora

Mister Miracle #12

Tom King (Writer), Mitch Gerads (Artist; Variant Cover Artist), Nick Derington (Cover Artist)

It’ll be a miracle if you can get through this mind-bending conclusion with your sanity intact! After his epic battle with Darkseid, Scott Free sees life a whole new way: he’s the new Highfather of New Genesis, and he’s madly in love with his wife and child. But what if it’s all a lie? Did Mister Miracle really escape death way back in issue #1? No one really knows but Tom King and Mitch Gerads!
ON SALE 09.12.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | 12 of 12
MATURE READERS
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

This has been one of my favorite books this year, and I’m very excited for the conclusion, and whatever ramifications therein.

Mister Miracle and Barda in front of a red curtain, waving

Cover by Nick Derington

Supergirl #22

Marc Andreyko (Writer), Kevin Maguire (Artist), Terry Dodson (Cover Artist), Rachel Dodson (Cover Artist), Amanda Conner (Variant Cover Artist)

Who murdered Krypton? Supergirl and Krypto rocket into space, en route to the Green Lantern world of Mogo, where she hopes to find clues about Rogol Zaar and his connection to the destruction of Krypton. Instead, she finds whispers and cover-ups. What are the GLs hiding? And will they go from Green to Red when they find out she’s in possession of Zaar’s weapon of war? (Hint: yes!)
ON SALE 09.12.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T
This issue will ship with two covers.
Please see the order form for details.

Come on, it’s like you don’t even know me if you didn’t think this solicit would be here. Supergirl on an interstellar road trip with Krypto! Encountering the Green Lanterns! Wearing the better Silver Age throwback costume instead of the weird space sash! This is what I want in life.

Supergirl facing off against Green Lanterns holding the axe

Cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson

That’s it for this month friends, come back next month as we wrap of Man of Steel, and a certain Caped Crusader gets hitched.

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