September was a big month for DC. We had Tom King and Brian Michael Bendis start their runs on the Walmart Giants books. We got announcements of a Martian Manhunter series by Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo, and a new Freedom Fighters series by Rob Venditti and Eddy Barrows. DC launched their digital service on Batman Day, a service that will hopefully only get bigger and better as it launches its original content next month. Ben Percy abruptly left the Nightwing title, to be replaced (hopefully temporarily) by Scott Lobdell. And lots of good and some not so good books came out. AND we saw the Batmanhood. To see what grade I gave the Batpeen and all the other books of the month, read on.
Superman Giant #3
Brad Anderson (colors), Clayton Cowles (letters), Sandra Hope (inks), Tom King (writer), Andy Kubert (pencils)
I was very happy to see that DC is giving press copies of the Walmart books this month, because I live in one of the few places in the world without an easily accessible Walmart. I was hesitant about King’s take on Superman, because his story in Action Comics #1000 left me a little cold. But here, King is much better at understanding Clark and his supporting cast. Specifically, he really drives home the point that Superman will never give up on saving a single life. It seems like this story is not in continuity, because there is a discussion between Clark and Pa Kent, and Pa is dead in current continuity. But that’s fine, because this book is designed for people not mired in that continuity, and it’s the exact opposite of the uncaring Costner version of the character from Man of Steel.
Clayton Cowles (letters), Tom King (writer), Tomeu Morey (colors), Matt Wagner (art)
This was a heartwarming story about a father and a son, with scenes in the present interspersed with flashbacks. And while most of the present focused on Nightwing and Batman fighting D-list villains, the flashbacks focused on Dick and Bruce, rather than Robin and Batman. It was a story about how Bruce was there when Dick needed him the most, and now Dick is making the same effort for Bruce after the runaway bride. I also realize it’s leading to the tragedy that’s coming in Batman #55 (RIP Dick’s hair). This is also an issue that caught DC some flack, for replacing the father-son Wagner art team with a house colorist to make it look more standard DC. As much as I like the book, that was a crap thing to do, especially considering the themes of this issue.
Border Town #1
Deron Bennett (letters), Tamra Bonvillain (colors), Eric M. Esquivel (writer), Ramon Villalobos (art)
Viscerally beautiful, and overtly political, Border Town is a book that is highly important right now. A mixture of fantasy horror and real-world terror, it ties the two together seamlessly with demons preying on people’s biggest fears. Bonvillain’s color palette on this book is striking and does a lot to bring the horror to life. Picking this book to be the first of the Vertigo relaunch titles was a brilliant idea, because I have a feeling this series is going to be something very special. Vertigo never really went away, but welcome back, all the same.
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), David Mack (art), Carlos Mangual (letters), Zu Orzu (colors)
Appropriately, the cover to Cover #1 is absolutely stunning. David Mack is a master of the comic art form, and it shines through on this book from the cover to to the last page. The story moves a little slowly, but it seems appropriate for the book, as it sets up the premise. The slow burn of Max’s recruitment by Julia takes up the full issue, but in the end it’s brilliantly paced. I’m a sucker for spy stories—in fact, Queen & Country by Greg Rucka is one of my favorite series of all time—so I’m on board for this ride.
Harley Quinn #50
Mirka Andolfo (art), Brett Booth (art), Andrew Dalhouse (art), Jon Davis-Hunt (art), Gabe Eltaeb (art), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors), Agnes Garbowska (art), Tom Grummett (art), Sam Humphries (writer), Kelley Jones (art), Dan Jurgens (art), John Kalisz (art), Scott Kolins (art), Michelle Madsen (art), Guillem March (art), John McCrea (art), Whilce Portacio (art), Norm Rapmund (art), Dave Sharpe (letters), Alex Sinclair (art), Cam Smith (art), Babs Tarr (art), John Timms (art)
I’m not the biggest Harley fan, but if there was a perfect way to celebrate her fiftieth issue, this was it. Having Harley track through various pieces of DC history as she continues to break and try to fix continuity was great, and it was only accentuated by all the fantastic artists they lined up for the issue. I think my favorite was the Reign of Harleys (I know, surprising, right). But also Lobo: The High Cost Of Living was fantastic too. I hope we see more of Jonni DC in the future too, as she was a delight.
Injustice 2 #33
Wes Abbott (letters), J. Nanjan (colors), Tom Taylor (writer), Xermanico (art)
As this series draws towards its natural close, it’s starting to wrap things up for the characters involved. This issue gave us the reason Brainiac discovers Earth: by using Conner Kent to figure out that the last Kryptonian has made it his home. After finding this information, he leaves Conner and Cassie to die, and I fully braced myself for it, knowing they aren’t in the game. But then Taylor hits me with the most amazing closure for their story in having them rescued by the LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES! Where can I read this spin-off?! Taylor also gave us a fitting close to the story of Booster Gold and Ted Kord, and while I’m sad the story is ending, I’m happy that we’re getting so much good closure.
Justice League #7
Jim Cheung (pencils and inks), Mark Morales (inks), Tomeu Morey (colors), Tom Napolitano (letters), Scott Snyder (writer), Walden Wong (inks)
Scott Snyder’s first arc on Justice League was suitably epic on a scale we haven’t really seen in the book for years. Snyder and Cheung gave us a quintessential Superman moment with him ignoring advice to save his life to save the world instead, and then Snyder paid off a joke he set up in issue #1. Most of all, this might have been an arc ending, but it felt like a foundation was built. I’m very excited for everything that’s going to come out of this book. It’s clear Snyder has plans, and if his Batman taught me anything, it’s that he can play the long game as well as anyone in the business.
Mister Miracle #11
Clayton Cowles (letters), Mitch Gerads (art), Tom King (writer)
This book has been so good since the first issue, and with one issue left, it’s hard to see how it won’t go down as one of the iconic runs. Unless Tom, Mitch and Clayton completely botch the landing, this book is absolute brilliance. This issue was one of my favorites so far, especially baby Jake. Mitch does such a good job with him, especially his interactions with Darkseid. I didn’t expect this part of the story to wrap up before the final issue, so I’m very interested to see where the last issue of the book takes us. Also that splash page at the end of the issue was just glorious.
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Michael Gaydos (art), Joshua Reed (letters)
This book continues to be one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. It combines my two favorite art mediums, tattoos and comics, and it does so brilliantly. There are moments where the book makes me feel like I can actually feel the tattoo needle hitting my skin. Even the lettering of the book is evocative of the atmosphere of a tattoo parlor. The story is also very compelling, but the art is what makes this book my favorite of the Jinxworld titles. I can’t wait to see more of it.
Dan Abnett (writer), Guillem March (art), Denis Medri (art), Brandon Peterson (art), Ivan Plascencia (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters)
Three things made this issue stand out for me. The first was the inclusion of Ben Rubel in the team. Ben was one of my favorite things about Steve Orlando’s Supergirl run, so I’m happy to see that he’s not just forgotten while Supergirl is off exploring the cosmos. This is as good a place as any for Ben to land. The second was the M’Gann and Nightwing storyline. It’s definitely the most intriguing part of this current arc. The last was the inclusion of one of my favorite villains, the Cult of Blood. As a longtime Titans fan, I always love when Brother Blood and his cult show up.
Adventures of the Super Sons #2
Batgirl Annual #2
Green Arrow #44
Harley Quinn #49
House of Whispers #1
Justice League #8
Justice League Giant #3
Nightwing Annual #1
Plastic Man #4
The Curse of Brimstone #6
The Dreaming #1
The Flash #54
The Wild Storm #17
US Vs Murder Inc #1
Wonder Woman #54
Green Lanterns #54-55
Harley Quinn/Gossamer #1
Injustice Vs Masters of the Universe #3
Lex Luthor/Porky Pig #1
Michael Cray #11
New Challengers #5
Red Hood: Outlaw #26
Suicide Squad #46
The Immortal Men #6
The Silencer Annual #1
The Unexpected #4
Batman: Damned #1
Brian Azzarello (writer), Lee Bermejo (art), Steve Cook (design), Jared K. Fletcher (letters)
This book wouldn’t have been graded this low, but for one thing. The story is unique. The appearances of Constantine, Zatanna, and Deadman were welcomed. The art is breathtakingly beautiful. Bermejo’s painted art captures all the emotion of the story. No, the problem with this book is Fletcher’s lettering. I’ve said before that you only really notice lettering if it’s really good, or if it’s really bad. Bad lettering can completely ruin a book, and that happened here. There were choices made with the narration font, and those choices make the entire book look amateurish. The book also gained another strike on release day, when it was revealed that the digital copy available through ComiXology censored out the four panels that showed Bruce Wayne’s uncowled bat-pole. What is the point of using a book to launch your “Mature Readers” line if you’re just going to immediately censor it? Just show the people Batman’s sad lonely junk, and be done with it. Worse, they’ve since announced that future print versions will also be censored. What it boils down to is that a bunch of whiny men got angry and insecure, and demanded not to see it. Lord knows we’ll still get boobs though. Sean G. Murphy already promised that. But heaven forbid Batman be allowed to hang dong.
Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #2
Taylor Esposito (letters), Clayton Henry (art), Scott Lobdell (writer), Marcelo Maiolo (colors)
Mostly I dislike this issue because it kept reminding me of one of my least favorite parts of the New 52. I truly hated that era of Red Hood and the Outlaws. I hated taking Dick Grayson’s best friend and giving him to Jason. I hated taking Dick Grayson’s girlfriend and giving her to both Jason and Roy, as well as stripping away her intelligence and personality. So the fact that this issue was about nothing more than nostalgia for a series I loathed did not make it a good read for me. It also felt like a goodbye to Roy Harper, and I’m not ready for that, as Roy has been one of my favorite characters since Titans #1 by Devin Grayson and Mark Buckingham all those years ago.
Teen Titans #22
Deron Bennett (letters), Bernard Chang (art), Adam Glass (writer), Marcelo Maiolo (colors)
I will say this issue was an improvement over the last couple, but not by enough to move it up a letter grade. Part of that problem is that Glass and Chang are trying to recapture the formula of the New Teen Titans but without the things that made that run work. It even has similar character archetypes. Instead of Starfire, warrior princess, you have Crush, alien warlady. Instead of Wonder Girl, the strong-willed yet compassionate leader, you have Red Arrow, whose no-nonsense approach shows no heart. You have the the somewhat ethnic, somewhat problematic magic user in Djinn, instead of Raven. You have a Kid Flash and a Robin. You have Roundhouse as both the popular kid and the comic relief, taking both Cyborg and Beast Boy’s roles. And while still introducing us to these characters, they killed one. Can you imagine if Wolfman and Perez had killed Cyborg in New Teen Titans #2? We didn’t care enough about Roundhouse for it to hurt yet, and that lack of pain was deadened further by the “twist” ending of this issue.
The Joker/Daffy Duck #1
Wes Anderson (letters), Brett Booth (pencils), Andrew Dalhouse (colors), Scott Lobdell (writer), Norm Rapmund (inks)
The worst thing about the Looney Tunes crossovers is that they are trying too hard to make the Looney Tunes characters look realistic. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the nightmare fuel art of this book. Booth tries to make Daffy look realistic, but he’s not even really good at doing that with humans, so what we get was a horrifying mess of limbs and feathers. Couple that with the writing of Scott Lobdell, and it was easily the least enjoyable book of this set of crossovers. Even the backup story by Joey Cavalieri and Luciana Vecchio wasn’t enough to make up for the opening story.
Detective Comics #988
Rob Leigh (letters), Ivan Plascencia (colors), James Robinson (writer), Stephen Segovia (art),
Well, Batman is actually on the pages of this comic, which is kind of surprising considering how Robinson has treated main characters in the past. That said, Robinson ignores a lot of what the previous two writers on this book set up, and that’s extremely disappointing since Detective has consistently been one of the best books since Rebirth. This issue has Batman ignoring the family that the last two writers made clear was so important to helping him work, and ignores things King has done in Batman. It’s clear that Robinson just wants to write his own take on “sad Batman” while ignoring everything else in current continuity.
GODDESS MODE #1
written by ZOE QUINN
art and cover by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
variant cover by STJEPAN SEJIC
Don’t miss the start of a new series by Hugo Award nominee Zoë Quinn and Spider-Gwen co-creator Robbi Rodriguez! In a near future where humanity’s needs are provided for by a godlike A.I., it’s one young woman’s horrible job to do tech support on it. But Cassandra Price’s life changes forever when she discovers a hidden digital world beneath our own, one where a group of super-powered women are locked in a secret war for the cheat codes to reality.
ON SALE 12.12.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
This is probably my most anticipated new Vertigo book.
I have loved me some cyberpunk since I first read Snow Crash many years ago.
MARTIAN MANHUNTER #1
written by STEVE ORLANDO
art and cover by RILEY ROSSMO
variant cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
blank variant cover available
No matter what you know about J’onn J’onnz, you’re not prepared for this! The acclaimed team of writer Steve Orlando and artist Riley Rossmo (BATMAN/ THE SHADOW, BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN) reteam for a reinvention of the Manhunter from Mars in this twisted, unexpected series. Back on Mars, J’onn was about as corrupt as a law officer can be, and when a reckoning comes for his entire society, he’ll get a second chance he doesn’t want or deserve! One shocking murder, and an unexpected fragment of the Mars he lost, will change his life—and the course of the Earth—forever!
ON SALE 12.05.18
$3.99 US | 1 of 12 | 32 PAGES
Steve Orlando is one of my favorite writers in the game, and seeing him have the opportunity to do for his favorite character what Tom King has done for Mister Miracle is going to be a treat.
written by KELLY SUE DeCONNICK
art and cover by ROBSON ROCHA and DANIEL HENRIQUES
variant cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
The tides turn for the Sea King with a new creative team! Star scribe Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly) and red-hot artist Robson Rocha (TEEN TITANS, SUPERGIRL) take the rudder to steer Aquaman into uncharted waters. In the wake of “Drowned Earth,” an amnesiac Arthur washes ashore on a remote island, and ends up being cared for by a young woman named Callie, who’s just a little TOO curious for comfort. And as a lifetime of horror movies has taught us, there’s something strange going on in this island village. Aquaman needs to come to his senses quickly… or he might wind up sleeping with the fishes instead of chatting with them.
ON SALE 12.19.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
This announcement made me lose my composure at the DC Comics Press breakfast, and I still have not regained it. Having Kelly Sue back at DC is a huge win and I’m so excited for this book.
written by SCOTT LOBDELL
art by CHRIS MOONEYHAM
cover by CHRIS MOONEYHAM
variant cover by YASMINE PUTRI
The repercussions of the cataclysmic events of BATMAN #55 continue as a scarred Dick Grayson has given up his vigilante persona in favor a normal existence. A new job, new friends, new life—all are compromised when a safehouse full of old Nightwing gear falls into the wrong hands. Confronted with a past he’s worked so desperately to escape, will Dick Grayson answer the challenge by becoming Nightwing… or something else? The newest chapter in the evolution of Dick Grayson reaches its next level!
ON SALE 12.05.18
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
I’m including this one, not because I’m excited for it, but because I’m angry and disappointed. Scott Lobdell is one of my three least favorite writers in comics, and I hate that he’s once again being given one of my favorite characters, despite being a bad writer and an awful, misogynistic person. Sigh. At least it will look pretty.
written by MARC ANDREYKO
art by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO, JILL THOMPSON, BRAD WALKER and ANDREW HENNESSY
cover by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA
variant cover by AMANDA CONNER
It’s a super-sized issue of SUPERGIRL! Supergirl and Krypto go back to the “scene of the crime”—the ruins of Krypton! With Z’ndr hitchhiking, Supergirl is not only there to find clues on who the killers of Krypton are, but to pay her respects to her dead family and friends for the first time since she left the planet. But a mysterious caretaker whose duty is to protect Krypton’s remnants at all costs attacks and won’t let Kara through! As if that weren’t enough, the Kryptonian powerhouse and her super-powered pooch are stricken with radiation poisoning from the dead planet and must also fight their inner demons!
This anniversary issue also includes two backup stories! First, witness the thoughts and fears of Krypto as he is affected by the radiation poisoning from the wreckage of Krypton. Then, learn more about our new hitchhiker, Z’ndr Khol, as he scavenges a booby-trapped ruin in a remote corner of the galaxy in an off-the-wall space adventure!
ON SALE 12.12.18
$4.99 US | 48 PAGES
C’mon, who would I be if I didn’t put this on my anticipated list? Seeing Emanuela return to Supergirl will be wonderful, and I’m excited for the other artists too. And even though I am not a big fan of Mahnke, this cover is beautiful.
That wraps up another month. Join me back here next month as we dive into Heroes In Crisis!