As most of the big news hit at SDCC last month, there’s little to report in the way of news this month. The biggest piece of news this month was the announcement of a new Batman & the Outsiders series by Bryan Hill, launching in November. I wrote my review of his last issue of Detective Comics before the announcement was made, and I knew that something had to be coming. Otherwise, DC publicist Clark Bull has also been tweeting vaguely about the return of Catman, so we’ll see where that leads. As usual, there will be some spoilers for August’s books ahead, so read on to see what grades I gave to this month’s pile of books.
Justice League Dark #2
James Tynion IV (writer), Alvaro Martinez (pencils), Raul Fernandez (inks), Brad Anderson (colors), Rob Leigh (letters)
Tynion is weaving a terrifying and mysterious tale that continues to get creepier as each issue progresses. Martinez brings a scary atmosphere with his pencils, and that atmosphere is enhanced by Anderson’s colors. Using Nabu as a secret enemy was a great choice, even if I didn’t really like the apparent death of Khalid Nassour. But truly the best part of the book was the horrifying introduction of the Upside Down Man, a monstrous villain that is sure to find its home in many nightmares.
Adventures of the Super Sons #1
Peter J. Tomasi (writer), Carlo Barberi (pencils), Art Thibert (inks), Protobunker (colors), Rob Leigh (letters)
This is how I like my Damian Wayne. He should be the angry stick in the mud to someone else on his team’s joyous overenthusiasm. Damian and Jon make a great pair, and I’m so glad to have this book back. I hope once Jon returns from space with his grandpa, we’ll see an ongoing series again. In the meantime, we get this maxi-series, and the reintroduction of Gold Kryptonite. A team of kid super villains is perfect, including Rex Luthor. This story hearkens back to the Silver Age in the best ways possible.
Detective Comics #987
Bryan Hill (writer), Miguel Mendonca (pencils), Diana Egea (inks), Adriano Lucas (colors), Sal Cipriano (letters)
This arc was very clearly a backdoor pilot, and I’m excited for what’s to come next. I hope Hill gets to continue to write this team when the Outsiders spin into their own book again (note: he does, as it was announced shortly before this piece went up). I love the idea of Batman providing support for the team, but not actually being a part of it. This new Outsiders team is a mix of old and new, with Outsiders mainstays Black Lightning and Katana, and the new blood of Signal and Orphan. I’m guessing the Markovia plot will give us Geo-Force joining the team too. Metamorpho is a little preoccupied over in The Terrifics, but maybe we’ll see new versions of Looker and Halo. One can hope.
Green Arrow #43
Julie and Shawna Benson (writers), Javier Fernandez (artist), John Kalisz (colors), Deron Bennett (letters)
The Benson sisters kicked off their Green Arrow run with a bang, literally. (I’m sorry.) It seems like Roy and Dinah are both going to be very big parts of this book, and that makes me incredibly happy. I was wondering if Roy was going to land somewhere after the Titans restructuring, and I’m happy it’s in the hands of writers I trust. We also got some hints at a Heroes In Crisis tie-in, and I’m interested to see what Roy went through at Sanctuary. I’m also very fond of this story idea, with a villain actually guillotining one-percenters.
Injustice 2 #31
Tom Taylor (Writer), Daniel Sampere (Pencils), Juan Albarran (Inks), John Kalisz and Rex Lokus (Colors), Wes Abbott (Letters)
It still amazes me that one of the best titles I read on a monthly basis is based on a video game whose very premise I originally despised. I’ve never been a fan of “Superman goes evil” stories, because often they’re boring and overplayed. But it also gives us an entire universe in which Tom Taylor has free reign to do what he wants. And in this case it’s give fraggin’ Lobo a Green Lantern ring. I’m also living for the Kon-El and Cassie Sandsmark moments, but I worry because neither of them are actually in the second game so…
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Michael Gaydos (artist), Joshua Reed (letters)
The first DC published JinxWorld book does not disappoint. Some of the only Bendis I had read before he came over to DC was the first two volumes of Jessica Jones, because I wanted to learn more about her before her series started. In Pearl, Bendis returns to team with Jessica’s co-creator Michael Gaydos to present an intriguing and visually stunning book. As a fan of tattoos and comics, this book is very much my visual niche, and it’s cool that they got an actual tattoo artist to provide designs for the pieces in the book. It’s definitely a slow burn mystery, but I’m excited to let it play out.
Shade, the Changing Woman #6
Cecil Castellucci (writer), Marley Zarcone (artist), Ande Parks (additional inks), Kelly Fitzpatrick (colors), Saida Temofonte (letters)
A beautiful and emotional last issue closes out what has been my favorite of the first run of Young Animal books. Both Marley and Cecil said that this is the ending that they always wanted for the book, even before the original six-issue seres was released. A big theme of the book has been growing up, and discovering how important found family is. So it is a fitting end as Loma discards Rac Shade for the friends she made while on Earth, sacrificing both him and her human body to save both herself and River.
I covered this issue in depth along with my interview of writer Mark Andreyko.
Wonder Woman #52
Steve Orlando (writer), Aco (pencils), David Lorenzo (inks), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors), Saida Temofonte (letters)
It’s so nice to have a Wonder Woman book that actually features the main character again. The funniest thing is that we just finished James Robinson’s “Dark Gods” arc, and now we have Wonder Woman, Artemis, and Aztek facing off against another dark god. Only this time around, Diana isn’t being overshadowed by her formerly nonexistent brother. Oh! And we have a conversation between Steve Trevor and Diana where he doesn’t call her “Angel” the entire time. It’s also nice to see Aztek again, now that Justice League of America is over.
Wonder Woman #53
Steve Orlando (writer), Aco and Hugo Petrus (pencils), David Lorenzo and Hugo Petrus (inks), Romulo Fajardo, Jr. (colors), Saida Temofonte (letters)
It was no surprise to me when the comic sales numbers came out and Steve Orlando’s first issue of Wonder Woman jumped up by 12,000 copies from James Robinson’s final issue. In just three issues, Orlando’s run on the book is more memorable and exciting than Robinson’s was in twenty. This issue was a giant action set piece, reminiscent of epics like Crisis on Infinite Earths, a similarity that Orlando plays with well. In particular, when he had Tezcatupoca yell at Wonder Woman, “You turn in battle, woman? That is a fatal mistake!” I got chills. The Anti-Monitor shouted almost the same sentence (replacing woman with girl) at Supergirl immediately before killing her in the Crisis.
Batman Beyond #23
Damage Annual #1
Eternity Girl #6
Green Lanterns #52-53
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50
Harley Quinn #48
Injustice 2 #32
Injustice vs Masters of the Universe #2
Justice League #5-6
Mister Miracle #10
Mother Panic: Gotham AD #6
Raven: Daughter of Darkness #7
Sandman Universe #1
Suicide Squad #45
Suicide Squad Annual #1
The Flash #52
The Terrifics #7
The Unexpected #3
The Wildstorm #16
Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye #6
Harley Quinn #47
Plastic Man #3
Red Hood and the Outlaws #25
The Curse of Brimstone #5
The Flash #53
The Immortal Men #5
The New Challengers #4
The Silencer #8
Action Comics #1002
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Patrick Gleason (artist), Alejandro Sanchez (colors), Josh Reed (letters)
I wanted to like this issue. In fact, I wanted to love this issue. Most of it was a very good comic, but one thing dropped it from an “A” to a “D” Using the word autistic as an insult. I expect so much better out of Bendis, and the great Superman editorial team. I understand it was a loathsome villain who used the term as such, but it is still harmful to people who are neurodivergent. So many neurodivergent people find solace in comics, and to see themselves relegated to an insult is disgusting. Bendis did apologize for the use of the word, and has promised that it will not be in reprintings, or in the trade when it releases. That said, there is much to enjoy in the comic as well, and I don’t want to let one big negative overshadow the rest of the book. I do find it very refreshing that Bendis is focusing so hard on investigative journalism and Superman’s supporting cast. Often that part of Superman’s identity gets left at the wayside, and honestly it’s so important right now. Patrick Gleason continues to be one of the great modern day Superman artists, and I’m glad he stuck around even after Tomasi left. The cliffhanger at the end of the book was great, as was the mystery leading up to it.
Batman: Kings of Fear #1
Scott Peterson (writer), Kelly Jones (artist), Michelle Madsen (colorist), Bob Leigh (letters)
I’ve never been a fan of Kelly Jones’ Batman. I know he has his fans, but I can’t get over the bad anatomy and the super long ears on the costume. Jones adds all sorts of nonexistent muscles to the body, most notably tons of oblique-like muscles right beside characters’ pecs. The story in this issue was also very clunky, relying a lot on heavy blocks of dialogue. Most notably, I was just as annoyed with Joker’s long winded stream of consciousness as Batman was. It seems we finished with one lackluster Batman-related series focused on heavy 1990s nostalgia just to get saddled with another.
Teen Titans #21
Adam Glass (writer), Bernard Chang (artist), Marcelo Maiolo (colors), Rob Leigh (letters)
To me it’s a shame how lackluster Teen Titans has been since the advent of the New 52. Even decent runs like Ben Percy’s didn’t capture the magic of Geoff Johns or Marv Wolfman’s iconic runs. Adam Glass’s team is a step backward, mostly because it ignores the key point of the Titans. The Titans aren’t a team, they’re a family. Adam Glass’s team is not a family, and is hardly a team. It’s a haphazard combination of personalities, most of which we don’t even know much about. Chang and Maiolo deliver excellent art, but it is not bolstered by the story.
The Wildstorm: Michael Cray #10
Bryan Hill (writer), Phil Hester (breakdowns), N. Steven Harris (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), Ross Campbell (colors), Simon Bowland (letters)
This story continues to just drag along. A majority of this issue is conversations, and that really is not a great application of Harris’s pencils. As I’ve said before, Harris’s faces are wildly inconsistent and are often weirdly proportioned. When we’re coupling that with action sequences, it’s easier to ignore. When it’s paired with intimate conversations, it stands out like a sore thumb. This issue did give us a bald, naked John Constantine butchering a goat, and that did bring me joy to share with friends, because I’m a monster. So there’s that.
Dan DiDio (story and dialogue), Kenneth Rocafort (story and art), Ivan Plascncia and Dan Brown (colors), Travis Lanham (letters)
What if Spider-Man were an asshole with space bending powers? The similarities to Spider-Man’s origin are blatant, especially now that Sideways has experienced the loss of a family member he could have saved. While other books in the New Age of Heroes line are definite riffs on Marvel properties, none of them do it this poorly. On top of what seems like lazy story telling, the art is also sloppy, which is a shame for what’s supposed to be an artist led initiative. Throwing random shapes in the gutters just made the whole book look cluttered.
What’s Coming Up?
The November solicits are out, so let’s talk about what books from those have me the most excited.
TP NEW EDITION
written by DOUG MOENCH, ALAN GRANT and CHUCK DIXON
art by MIKE GUSTOVICH, RON WAGNER, BRET BLEVINS, PHIL JIMENEZ, LEE WEEKS, GRAHAM NOLAN and others
cover by RON WAGNER and JOE RUBINSTEIN
After the game-changing events of “Knightfall,” Bruce Wayne asks Nightwing to take his place while he recovers. As the new Batman, Dick will learn the responsibility and pressure that his former mentor bore as the Dark Knight. But when the maniacal Two-Face returns, the new Batman must overcome his childhood demons to defeat the first villain he ever faced! Collects BATMAN #512-514, BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #32-34, ROBIN #11-13 and DETECTIVE COMICS #679-681.
ON SALE 12.26.18
$24.99 US | 304 PAGES
This announcement excites me mostly because this run has been out of print for so long, and its an important conclusion to the Knightfall storyline, that never goes out of print. It’s nice to see it finally get included as a wrap up for that story.
DC NUCLEAR WINTER SPECIAL #1
written by PAUL DINI, STEVE ORLANDO, PHIL HESTER, MARK RUSSELL, MAIRGHREAD SCOTT and others
art by CULLY HAMNER, PHIL HESTER, GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI, YASMINE PUTRI and others
cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
The holidays are tough enough as it is, but when you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (or, you know, 2018) the world can seem bleaker than ever. So do yourself a favor this holiday season, break out your best eggnog and enjoy ten all-new stories featuring the World’s Greatest Heroes, including looks at the futures of Batman, Superman, and the Flash, as well as many more denizens of the DC Universe.
ON SALE 11.28.18
$9.99 US | 80 PAGES
We see Christmas or Winter specials almost every year, and they’re usually a fun showcase of current and upcoming talent, but the idea behind this one seems like it will be a lot of fun, and much more than traditional winter special fare.
INJUSTICE 2 ANNUAL #2
written by TOM TAYLOR
art by BRUNO REDONDO
and JUAN ALBARRAN
cover by BRUNO REDONDO
Injustice 2 ends here—so as the story segues into/sets up the Injustice 2 video game, we take one final look back. Batman and Superman’s alliance was torn apart years ago by the events of Injustice. But when Bruce Wayne receives unexpected visitors, he is reminded of a happier time when Clark was his savior. A time of the World’s Finest friendship.
ON SALE 11.21.18
$4.99 US | 48 PAGES | FC
RATED T+ | DIGITAL FIRST
All good things must come to an end. As a prequel series to Injustice 2, we all knew this series had a finite lifespan, but that doesn’t make me any less sad that it is ending. I hope we see more of Tom Taylor in the DCU, because he definitely has a knack for the characters.
written by MARC ANDREYKO
art and cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER
variant cover by AMANDA CONNER
Supergirl goes bar-hopping… in space! Hot on the trail of Rogol Zaar, Supergirl is on the hunt for the Krypton killer’s mysterious cohorts known as the Circle. That quest finds the Maid of Might kicking over rocks at a scuzzy intergalactic dive bar, where she runs into Ambush Bug of all people—not to mention a wretched hive of scum and villains who want to kill her, too. But before Supergirl can track down Krypton’s former location, her suit’s yellow sun energy starts to run out, which is going to leave her gasping in the vacuum of space!
ON SALE 11.14.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
DOC SHANER ON SUPERGIRL!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I’ll try to calm down. Doc is my favorite current artist, so getting to see him on at least one (hinted at more on his Twitter) issue of my favorite character’s series is a dream come true.
WONDER WOMAN #58
written by G. WILLOW WILSON
art by CARY NORD
cover by TERRY DODSON and RACHEL DODSON
variant cover by JENNY FRISON
blank variant cover available
“THE JUST WAR” part one! A new era of Wonder Woman begins as best-selling writer G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) makes her return to DC with art star Cary Nord (Conan, THE UNEXPECTED) joining the series! Far below Themyscira, Ares, the God of War, has been imprisoned for generations, repenting his past sins. But his new cellmate Grail may have an unexpected effect on him… and the plan they’ve come up with will change Themyscira—and the world—forever! When Wonder Woman rushes to Eastern Europe to rescue Steve Trevor from a mission gone wrong, she’ll find herself face-to-face with a very new, very different God of War!
ON SALE 11.14.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
As much as I’m enjoying Steve Orlando’s run on the title, I’m extremely excited for G. Willow Wilson to take over the book. There have been so few women who have written the most iconic super-heroine, and it’s about time we got another.
That’s a wrap for this month’s DC Pubwatch; join me back here next moth and we’ll get to talk about some more Looney Tunes and DC crossovers. Th-th-th-that’s all folks!