DC PUBWATCH – December

DC PUBWATCH – December

It wasn’t a great month for DC Comics in the news. The biggest news of the month was the cancellation of Border Town after allegations of sexual harassment and assault came out about Eric M. Esquivel. Both colorist Tamra Bonvillain and artist Ramon Villalobos released statements stepping away from the book, and days later DC

It wasn’t a great month for DC Comics in the news. The biggest news of the month was the cancellation of Border Town after allegations of sexual harassment and assault came out about Eric M. Esquivel. Both colorist Tamra Bonvillain and artist Ramon Villalobos released statements stepping away from the book, and days later DC announced its cancellation. They also pulled Esquivel from upcoming solicits on Nightwing, leaving just Scott Lobdell on the upcoming issues. It should be noted that while DC did the right thing here and stopped working with Esquivel, they still left someone with a history of sexual harassment on the book.

The other big news was also distressing, but in different ways. The cover to Heroes In Crisis #7 leaked, and it depicted Poison Ivy in a pin-up pose, with her dead lifeless eyes staring directly at the reader while she left a hint in her own blood. The cover was gross and sexualized a dead woman, and rightfully caught flack online. Tom King claimed this wasn’t the final cover, and that it hadn’t been approved. A few days later the final cover was revealed, and the changes were a change in the hue of Ivy’s clothes, and less cleavage. That was it. Do better DC.

It was a smaller month for comics than usual, because DC did not put any books out on the 26th. This means that next month will be bigger than usual, as the December 4th-week books come out in January, and then we get the four weeks of January books.

A+

Batman Annual #3

Tom Taylor (writer), Otto Schmidt (artist), A Larger World’s Troy Peteri (letters), Bryan Hitch & Alex Sinclair (cover)

Tom Taylor is one of the best writers in comics today, and this issue was no exception to that rule. A lovely story of fatherhood told through the eyes of Bruce’s actual father figure, it was a wonderful examination of the bond between Alfred and Bruce. The idea of Alfred always living in fear of receiving another call like the one he did when Bruce was a child, and being relieved every time the call is a request for something illogical, is beautiful. One wonders if this book was originally meant to be a summer release, though, since a Father’s Day story doesn’t really work in December.

Batman on a gargoly

A

Adventures of the Super Sons #5

Peter Tomasi (writer), Carlo Barberi (pencils), Matt Santarelli (inks), Protobunker (colors), Rob Leigh (letters), Dan Mora (cover)

This book is just fun. Silver-Age wacky fun. This one is complete Silver Age imaginary story fodder. Robin and Superboy meet older (and heavier) versions of themselves. Turns out it is just the machinations of an alien version of Sandman’s Cain and Abel, but all the same they are able to inspire the imaginary versions of themselves and take out the alien brothers. The kids are still stranded on an alien planet, but they’ve at least gotten out of the immediate danger. It’s a shame that this series is almost half over already.

Superboy about to get cut in half in a laser deathtrap

American Carnage #2

Bryan Hill (story), Leandro Fernandez (art), Dean White (colors), Pat Brosseau (letters), Ben Oliver (cover)

This book is intense in a visceral and upsetting way. Knowing the research that Bryan Hill did to get this right is unsettling, and a little terrifying. This is another book that is very timely and well written. The art of Fernandez reminds me a lot of artists like Michael Lark and Michael Gaydos, and that’s a perfect fit for this story. The imagery in the story is also intense, from the burning crosses to the pieces of Nazi symbolism. Hill and Fernandez are telling a dark story of the zeitgeist, and it’s one that is incredibly important.

Richard getting punched by a man with an SS tattoo

Cover #4 (back-up story)

Brassy Brian Bendis (story), Battlin’ Bill Walko (art), Howlin’ Howie Noel (colors)

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the main story by Bendis and Mack, especially the lines about Kirby. But what really stood out this issue was the backup at the end of the issue. A tribute to a fallen competitor, from back when the competition was friendly and cross town, rather than cross country. Bendis and Walko told a loving story of what its like to meet with an icon. What its like to be seen as a peer to a legend. It was a very fitting tribute to Stan “The Man” Lee, and it made me feel his loss a little bit all over again. Rest in Peace Stan, thanks for all the stories. ‘Nuff said.

Profile of a man with snippets of redacted text

Goddess Mode #1

Zoë Quinn (writer), Robbi Rodriguez (artist), Rico Renzi (colors), Simon Bowland (letters)

Yet another new Vertigo series with an excellent introduction. Quinn and Rodriguez do an excellent job of establishing this futuristic dystopia, one that seems like it may only be a few years off. The first part of the issue establishes the world, but the second part of the issue is where the world sings. Once we are taken into Azoth, Renzi’s colors are captivating and really change the mood when we transition from the real world to cyberspace. As a fan of classic cyberpunk, I can’t wait to get more of this story.

Cassandra in profile in bright pinks and teals

Green Arrow #47

Julie & Shawna Benson (writers), German Peralta (artist), John Kalisz (colors), Deron Bennett (letters), Alex Maleev (cover)

I’m going to miss the Benson sisters on this book. Between Green Arrow and Birds of Prey, their voice has become one of my definitive ones for Dinah Lance, one of my favorite heroes. They did a great job of making her independent and fierce, and I’m going to miss seeing their Dinah every month. The Citizen’s Arrest arc was a well timed arc that showed us the dangers of mob mentality. It showed us dangers of social media, but also good uses for connection via the internet. And I’ll be forever thankful for German Peralta’s costume swap sequence between Ollie and Dinah.

Green Arrow fighting the Citizen in midair

Justice League #14

Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV (story), James Tynion IV (words), Jim Cheung & Stephen Segovia (pencils), Mark Morales & Stephen Segovia (inks), Tomeu Morey & Wil Quintana (colors), Tom Napolitano (letters), Cheung and Morey (cover)

Now that the dust has settled from the Totality arc, and from Drowned Earth, we see something we don’t see often, the heroes reeling from a defeat. Its unsettling to see the heroes down and out, preparing for the worst, and the long game that Tynion and Snyder are playing with this book becomes evident. Like I’ve said before, this is the best Justice League has been since Morrison, because everything feels important again. I also loved them playing with the Hawks convoluted origins. Color me intrigued by the mystery going on at the heart of Thanagar.

Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl and Green Lantern on Thanagar

Martian Manhunter #1

Steve Orlando (writer), Riley Rossmo (artist), Ivan Plascencia (colors), Deron Bennett (letters), Riley Rossmo (cover)

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book, and it doesn’t disappoint. Steve Orlando has been forthright with his love of the character, and it shows. I’m not sure how I feel about J’onn being a crooked cop on Mars, but I have faith that Orlando will play it out well. What I am sure about is how much I love Rossmo’s visuals in this book. He’s a perfect artist for this, as he’s able to portray the surreality of Mars, and also give us good sequences on Earth. I never thought I’d see a Martian sex scene, but here we are.

Martian Manhunter wearing a badge

Shazam #1

Geoff Johns (writer), Dale Eaglesham & Mayo “Sen” Naito (artists), Mike Atiyeh (colors), Rob Leigh (letters), Dale Eaglesham & Alex Sinclair (cover)

This book was delightful. It was just the revival that Shazam! needed before the movie. I loved the introduction of an entire family of Marvels, beyond just Billy, Mary and Freddie. And I loved seeing Mary share the spotlight in the book. I’m glad the book is going to be about the whole family and not just Billy, because that’s a concept that makes the Marvels interesting. Also I can’t wait to see what Hoppy does with his newfound powers.

Captain Marvel sitting in a classroom

The Dreaming #4

Simon Spurrier (writer), Bilquis Evely (artist), Mat Lopes (colors), Simon Bowland (letters) Jae Lee (cover)

This book is by far the best of the Sandman Universe books, and that’s high praise, because the rest of the line is also very good. What makes this book special, though, is that it feels closest to the original series. It has the same characters, the same themes, and feels like a natural continuation of that story. Bilquis’s art is incredible, and it’s no wonder EW picked her as the top comics artist of the year. As I am a devoted fan of the original Sandman, The Dreaming has quickly found a place in my heart.

Lucious and Dora, hanging in a void

 

B

Batman #60-61
Border Town #4 – while this book is surrounded by the allegations of Esquivel, it was still a good book, and it’d be a disservice to the rest of the creative team to ignore that when they were not involved in the allegations
Catwoman #6
Damage #12
Deathstroke #38
Detective Comics #994
Electric Warriors #2
Harley Quinn #56
Hawkman #7
House of Whispers #4
Justice League #13
Justice League Dark #6
Lucifer #3
Pearl #5
Supergirl #25
Superman #6
Teen Titans #25
The Green Lantern #2
The Unexpected #7
Titans #31
Wonder Woman #60

C

Aquaman #43
Doomsday Clock #8
Freedom Fighters #1
Red Hood: Outlaw #29
Suicide Squad #49
The Batman Who Laughs #1
The Curse of Brimstone #9
The Flash #60
The United States Vs. Murder Inc #4

D

Batman Damned #2

Brian Azzarello (writer), Lee Bermejo (artist), Jared K. Fletcher (letters)

There’s no Bat-Pole this month. That doesn’t mean that this issue was better than the last though, because god, it’s not. The lettering is still atrocious, and pulls you out of the book because it’s so hard to read. The art, while beautiful, remains too busy for the story that is being told. And coupling the lettering and art together makes for an almost impossible-to-follow book. I get so lost in this book that it is really hard to figure out what’s going on. I know the Demon is a rapper and Bruce almost died in hellfire, and got licked by Harley and maybe killed her? But that’s it.

Harley Quinn licking her lips

Batman: King of Fear #5

Scott Peterson (writer), Kelley Jones (artist), Michelle Madsen (colors), Rob Leigh (letters)

I will say this: I loved the story this issue had to tell. A reverse “It’s A Wonderful Life” (timely, I know), about what the rogues of Gotham would be without Batman. All their lives would be infinitely better. Well, except Penguin’s, because as Scarecrow said, not everything’s about Batman. No, the story was great. The art however, nearly made this book unreadable for me. I still really dislike Kelley Jones’s style when it comes to Batman. He’s great on Swamp Thing, or Deadman, or Sandman, something with a tinge more horror, but the exaggerated style just doesn’t work on a mainstream superhero book for me.

Batman shadowing his rogue's gallery

Nightwing #54

Scott Lobdell (plot), Fabian Nicieza (script) Garry Brown and Will Conrad (artists), Nick Filardi (colors), Andworld Design (letters), Chris Mooneyham and Nick Filardi (cover)

One thing I’m thankful for this holiday season is that Lobdell is no longer scripting this book. And I’ll say this for the book, I do like the nods to Nightwing’s past in it. All the old costumes. The bar being named Prodigal. But as a whole, I still despise the very concept of this run. I hate Ric Grayson, I hate the dropped letter K. I hate the amnesia subplot. I hate the cops taking over for Dick. This arc is trash and the sooner it’s over the better.

Nightwing standing in front of an Angel statue, appearing to have the angel's wings

Nightwing #55

Scott Lobdell (plot), Fabian Nicieza (script), Chris Mooneyham & Garry Brown (artists), Hi-Fi (colors), Andworld Design (letters), Chris Mooneyham & Nick Filardi (cover)

As I said previously, one of the few things I can appreciate on this dismal run of Nightwing is the references to Dick’s past. This issue had one I didn’t expect, and as a lifelong Teen Titans fan, it’s one I loved. Cardy Park, named after Silver and Bronze Age artist Nick Cardy, the artist half of the early Teen Titans stories. Rumor has it that Lobdell’s run is winding down, but that may be delayed because Eric Esquivel was going to be replacing him, and we all know how that one worked out. That said, DC still has a sexual harasser on the book, so meh.

Fire Chief Nightwing fighting Scarecrow

Sideways #11

Dan Didio (writer), Kenneth Rocafort (art), Daniel Brown (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters),

I literally rolled my eyes at “52nd Precinct.” 52 is one of the only good ideas Dan Didio has ever had, and he won’t stop milking that number for everything its worth. It’s just boring now, Dan, you can stop any time. Even a reference to Crisis can’t save this comic from being dreadfully dull. It didn’t help that the page that referenced Crisis was poorly drawn and didn’t look anything like any scene out of that epic. Rocafort’s art coupled with Didio’s writing make this book entirely skippable.

Sideways fighting Bolt with a skull and a rift

The Solicit Situation – March 2019

DETECTIVE COMICS #1000
written by PETER J. TOMASI, BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS, TOM KING, PAUL DINI, WARREN ELLIS, GEOFF JOHNS, DENNIS O’NEIL, CHRISTOPHER PRIEST, KEVIN SMITH, SCOTT SNYDER, JAMES TYNION IV and others
art by DOUG MAHNKE, NEAL ADAMS, GREG CAPULLO, TONY S. DANIEL, STEVE EPTING, KELLEY JONES, JIM LEE, ALEX MALEEV, DUSTIN NGUYEN, JOELLE JONES, ALVARO MARTINEZ and others
wraparound cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
blank variant cover available

After 80 years, it’s here—the 1,000th issue of DETECTIVE COMICS, the title that literally defines DC! This 96-page issue is stacked with an unbelievable lineup of talent that will take you on a journey through Batman’s past, present and future…plus a sensational epilogue that features the first-ever DC Universe appearance of the deadly Arkham Knight! But who is under the mask? And why do they want Batman dead? The incredible future of Batman adventures begins here!

PRESTIGE FORMAT
ON SALE 03.27.19
$9.99 US | 96 PAGES

The night of many Batmen

Obviously, this is the big one of the month. Just like last year’s Action Comics #1000 event, this is going to be big. I used the Michael Cho cover because it’s my favorite of the ones released.

ACTION COMICS #1009
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art and cover by STEVE EPTING
variant cover by JEFF DEKAL
As clandestine organizations—both good and evil—continue to fall, the official countdown to one of the biggest stories in DC history begins here! Clark Kent and Lois Lane go undercover to find out who is behind the destruction of the Kobra cult, the DEO and some of the greatest organizations in the DC Universe. As the threat of Leviathan looms over everything, the Man of Steel must trust Amanda Waller with his biggest secret: his identity as Clark Kent! All bets are off and all rules will be broken as Leviathan has come to change the DC Universe forever.
ON SALE 03.27.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T

Supermman doing a shirt rip in front of Lois and Jimmy

Speaking of Action Comics, Bendis has been building to something big in this book, and I’m excited to see what’s coming.

BATMAN BEYOND #30
written by DAN JURGENS
art by EVAN “DOC” SHANER
cover by CHRIS SAMNEE
variant cover by BEN OLIVER
Robin no more?! It’s a turning point for the brothers McGinnis as Terry and Matt face a tough road ahead in the wake of The Joker’s attack. But the real question is: Does Batman really need a Robin, or is it time for Neo-Gotham’s Caped Crusader to fly solo once more?
ON SALE 03.27.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T

Batman Beyond burning the Robin Beyond costume

I’m not the biggest fan of Batman Beyond, but you put Doc Shaner and Chris Samnee on the same book, and I’m there.

THE WILD STORM #21
written by WARREN ELLIS
art and cover by JON DAVIS-HUNT
The experimental subjects code-named Apollo and Midnighter have broken cover. Combat-optimized superhumans are now loose on the Earth.
ON SALE 03.20.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+

Midnighter and Apollo advancing toward the reader

FINALLY MIDNIGHTER AND APOLLO.

ZERO HOUR 25TH ANNIVERSARY OMNIBUS HC
written by DAN JURGENS and others
art by DAN JURGENS, JERRY ORDWAY and others
cover by DAN JURGENS and JERRY ORDWAY
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the time-warping event, this massive collection features ZERO HOUR: CRISIS IN TIME #4-0, STEEL #8, OUTSIDERS #11, DETECTIVE COMICS #678, BATMAN #511, SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL #37, SUPERBOY #8, GREEN LANTERN #55, THE FLASH #94, SUPERMAN #93, THE FLASH #0, BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #31, HAWKMAN #13, LEGIONNAIRES #18, VALOR #23, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #516, L.E.G.I.O.N. ’94 #70, GREEN ARROW #90, GUY GARDNER: WARRIOR #24, TEAM TITANS #24, LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #61, ACTION COMICS #703, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #92, JUSTICE LEAGUE TASK FORCE #16, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #68, ROBIN #10, ANIMA #7, CATWOMAN #14, DAMAGE #6, DARKSTARS #24, GREEN LANTERN #0 and stories from SHOWCASE ’94 #8-10 along with a treasure trove of behind- the-scenes material.
ON SALE 09.25.19 | $125.00 US | 976 PAGES

The Heroes of the DCU running and flying at the reader while Extant looms in the background

This will look very nice on my “DC Events Shelf” with all the other Crises.

That’s it for December and the March solicits. Join me next month when I get to complain about TWO issues of Heroes In Crisis and I hope you all had a happy holiday!

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Cori McCreery
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