The biggest DC news this month is the expansion of their Walmart exclusive Giant line. I was in favor of this idea when it was launched, and I am still a fan of getting more comics into more hands cheaply, even if I don’t have a Walmart near me to access them. The line is expanding with Flash Giant written by Gail Simone with art by Clayton Henry and Swamp Thing Giant with art by Mike Perkins, and story written by Tim Seeley. These are fantastic teams for these two books and I’m excited to see them find their audience. Also announced was the renaming of two of the Giant books. Teen Titans Giant becomes Titans Giant, and Justice League Giant becomes Wonder Woman Giant. In Wonder Woman’s case, it makes sense: she’s headlined that book since day one.
The other big news of the month also involved the Walmart books, but it was less savory news. Tom King turned some heads and disappointed many readers by using an issue of the Superman Giant book to spend twelve pages killing Lois Lane repeatedly because he wanted to show us Superman’s anxiety. Couple that with Batman #63 and we have a bit of a pattern with Mr. King.
Now on to this month’s books. And there are a LOT of them. DC put out over eighty books in the month of January, and I didn’t realize just how many that was until I was writing this Pubwatch. I read a lot of comics for you all.
I do want to say that Mysteries of Love In Space gets an honorable mention, because it’s got one of the best Superman stories I’ve ever read. A love letter from Lois to Clark, illustrated by one of the best Superman artists of all time, Tom Grummett.
Young Justice #1
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Patrick Gleason (artist), DC Lettering (letters), Alejandro Sanchez (colors)
I loved everything about this book. It’s no secret that I grew up in the early nineties, so right as Superboy, Robin, and Impulse were launching their solo books. Chuck Dixon and Tom Grummett’s Robin was the first non-Superman book I picked up regularly. I should have loved the original Young Justice, because I loved all the characters, but I didn’t because the writing didn’t work for me. I’m happy to say that’s not the case with this issue. Bendis nails the personalities of some of my favorite characters, and while this issue was predominately team building, it’s so nice to see them back in main continuity. I’ve missed Cassie, and Kon, and Bart, and Tim. The whole issue left me wanting more, especially that last page.
Laura Allred (cover), Fernando Blanco (artist), Elena Casagrande (artist), Joëlle Jones (cover/writer), John Kalisz (colors), Josh Reed (letters)
I love Joëlle Jones’ art, but honestly her taking a break from art duties is the best thing to happen to this book so far. Casagrande and Blanco deliver a stunning issue, and make the new costume really shine. The plot is tight, and I’m really interested to see what Oswald wants with Selina. There’s a close up of Selina where she’s smirking at her assailant, and it’s one of the most beautiful faces I’ve seen in a comic. I keep going back to look at that panel because it’s so well done.
Detective Comics #996
David Baron (colors/cover), Mark Irwin (inks), Rob Leigh (letters), Doug Mahnke (pencils/cover), Jaime Mendoza (inks/cover), Peter J. Tomasi (writer)
A few issues into Tomasi’s run up to issue #1000, and it’s finally starting to click for me. The story has more nuance than the typical “bad guy goes after Batman’s allies” story. I’m not usually a fan of Mahnke’s art, because it feels too scratchy to me. That was true for most of this issue, but Lord, his rendition of the flesh golem thing with the heads of all the Batman rogues was truly unsettling. It drives home my feeling that Mahnke is best suited, like Kelly Jones, to drawing horror comics, because his style just makes things terrifying.
Goddess Mode #2
Simon Bowland (letters), Zoë Quinn (writer), Rico Renz (colors), Robbi Rodriguez (artist and cover)
I was all in on the first issue, but with the second issue we get the world a bit more fleshed out and are introduced to the other oracles a little better. And holy shit, is this my jam. Cyberpunk girl superhero team fighting monsters in cyberspace is something I’m 100% here for. The art remains vibrant and fun, and the world seems like one that could be coming. And don’t think I missed that Snow Crash reference, Ms. Quinn. I saw that and I applaud you.
Justice League Annual #1
Juan Albarran (inks), Nathan Fairbairn (cover), Adriano Lucas (colors), Tom Napolitano (letters), Yanick Paquette (cover), Daniel Sampere (pencils), Scott Snyder (story), James Tynion IV (story/words)
This felt like the main event. DC has two event comics going on right now, and another about to start, but this is the one that felt the most like the epic events of yore. This felt like the middle of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Heroes dead, the remainder on the ropes. The universe is collapsing around them. The main Justice League story has played a little fast and loose with DC canon, but sometimes that’s when DC is at its best. Play with what you need to play with, to tell the best story you can, and I believe Snyder and Tynion are doing just that.
Justice League Dark #7
Brad Anderson (colors/cover), Raul Fernandez (inks/cover), Rob Leigh (letters), Alvaro Martínez Bueno (pencils/cover), James Tynion IV (writer)
This was a fun and interesting issue, harking back to the horror anthologies of yesteryear. While this is still ostensibly a superhero book at its core, Tynion really played up the horror aspect nicely this month. There was a good sense of overwhelming dread and we can see that this is building to something big. As I’ve said before, Martínez Bueno is a very good fit for the art on this book, able to draw creepy monsters with the best of them. I will say I’d love to see what Kelly Jones would do with this book for an issue or two, though.
Martian Manhunter #2
Deron Bennett (letters), Steve Orlando (writer), Ivan Plascencia (colors), Riley Rossmo (artist/cover)
Much like last year’s Mister Miracle, Orlando and Rossmo’s Martian Manhunter is a trippy reimagining of the character. I’m loving the foray into Martian life, and the idea of molding one’s own social shape. Seeing J’onn’s family life makes both the past story and the present story all the more tragic. I’m also in awe that we got a Martian sex scene in the first issue and a Martian brothel in the second. I never imagined Mars to be nearly as horny as Orlando and Rossmo are making it.
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Jamal Campbell (artist & cover), Josh Reed (letters), David F. Walker (writer)
Bendis has become known for creating characters that can join an existing universe, and having them stick. Whether it’s Miles Morales, Jessica Jones, or Sentry, he made several lasting contributions to the Marvel Legacy while he was there. Now we’re finally getting that for the Distinguished Competition. Naomi has that spark that I think will last, and the first issue is full of wonder and mystery. Jamal Campbell’s art is gorgeous and vibrant. The one complaint I have is that the dialogue was a bit much at times, but that’s also something we’ve come to expect from Bendis.
The Dreaming #5
Simon Bowland (letters), June Chung (cover), Bilquis Evely (artist), Abigail Larson (artist), Jae Lee (cover), Mat Lopes (colors), Simon Spurrier (writer), Quinton Winter (colors)
Five issues in, and The Dreaming remains the gold standard for the Sandman Universe line of books. It just feels and looks like a continuation of Morpheus and Daniel’s story, and truly does the job of making me want to go back and reread the original story as well, so maybe I’ll do that soon. This issue took a couple turns I didn’t expect with the unexpected appearances of both versions of Dream, and with the apparent death of an old friend. My one wish for this book is that we’ll get to see Bilquis draw the other Endless.
Wonder Woman #61
Pat Brosseau (letters), Terry & Rachel Dodson (cover), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors), G. Willow Wilson (writer), Xermanico (artist)
Wilson has already washed the taste of James Robinson out of my mouth. She’s gone back to telling the Wonder Woman stories I want to read. Bringing back the gods is overdue, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it reminded me a little of what Greg Rucka did with the gods during his first Wonder Woman run. I love the idea of updating the Greek gods for a modern take, as the ideals they once upheld stand for something different now. I hope we get introduced to a few more of them along the way, but right now I’m loving the ride.
Action Comics #1006-1007
Adventures of Super Sons #6
American Carnage #3
Batman Beyond #28
Books of Magic #3-4
Detective Comics #997
Freedom Fighters #2
Injustice vs Masters of the Universe #6
Justice League #16
Mysteries of Love In Space #1
Raven, Daughter of Darkness #11-12
Teen Titans Annual #1
The Batman Who Laughs #2
The Flash #61-63 and Annual #2
The Green Lantern #3
The Terrifics #11-12
The Unexpected #8
The United States vs Murder Inc #5
The Wildstorm #19
Wonder Woman #62-63
Batman Beyond #27
Batman King of Fears #6
Detective Comics #995
Green Arrow #48
Harley Quinn #57
Hex Wives #3
House of Whispers #5
Justice League Odyssey #4-5
Old Lady Harley #2-4
Red Hood: Outlaw #30
Suicide Squad #50
Teen Titans #26
The Curse of Brimstone #11 and Annual #1
The Silencer #12-13
Jordie Bellaire (colors/cover), Deron Bennett (letters), Paul Pelletier (pencils/cover), Norm Rapmund (inks/cover), Mairghread Scott (writer)
I’m not a fan of where this new story arc seems to be heading. I’m especially not okay with making Jim Gordon an example of toxic masculinity. It seems to be dragging him out of character to make a point, and that’s not how points should be made. Tackling corruption in the GCPD is not a new story idea, and I have so many other ideas about how you could make this arc better. First among them is allowing Barbara Gordon to run for the office like she did in the Bronze Age.
Heroes In Crisis #5
Rain Beredo (cover), Clayton Cowles (letters), Trevor Hairsine (cover), Tom King (writer), Clay Mann (artist), Tomeu Morey (colors)
I’ll say this, issue #5 was the best of Heroes in Crisis so far. That’s not saying much at all, but I needed to say it anyway. The major problems I had in this issue were threefold. The first is that it was simply a boring issue. Nothing really happened to progress the story, and the fact that this series was extended to nine issues is mind boggling. Second, the whole issue smacks of propaganda. Superheroes aren’t soldiers, but this issue would have you think they were. I laugh when people say Tom King is writing CIA-sponsored propaganda, but Lord, this issue was. The last thing that bugged me was how WILDLY out of character Batgirl is in it. Tom King does not write a good Barbara Gordon, and this issue was a travesty to her character.
Justice League #15
Jim Cheung (pencils/cover), Mark Morales (inks), Tomeu Morey (colors/cover), Tom Napolitano (letters), Wil Quintana (colors), Stephen Segovia (pencils/inks), Scott Snyder (story), James Tynion IV (story/words)
Honestly, I’m liking the story being told, but what lost me was the wordiness. Tynion is a very good writer, but sometimes his editors don’t rein him in enough. This was one of those times. The sheer word count in the dialogue made the issue drag on and on. Pair it with the convoluted mess of the Hawks, and it was just boing and confusing. I do look forward to seeing how everything ties together though, and it pains me to rank a Justice League issue this low with how much I’ve been loving the relaunch.
Marc Andreyko (writer), Nathan Fairbairn (cover), Scott Hanna (inks), Kevin Maguire (pencils), Tom Napolitano (letters), Sean Parsons (inks), Yanick Paquette (cover), FCO Plascencia (colors), Chris Sotomayor (colors), Wade Von Grawbadger (inks)
Much like Justice League, I’ve been mostly enjoying this arc of Supergirl, so it makes me sad how hard this issue missed the mark. Much like Justice League, it has one big flaw that drops it down a peg, but in this case it’s an even more egregious flaw. Supergirl is a teenager in this book. Canonically underage. And yet, Andreyko thought it was a good idea to include rape threats to the character. Yeah, great, it shows us the villain is vile and monstrous. It’s also gross to include in any comic, much less one with a teenage girl as the protagonist.
Heroes in Crisis #4
Rain Beredo (cover), Clayton Cowles (letters), Trevor Hairsine (cover) Tom King (writer), Clay Mann (artist), Tomeu Morey (colors)
This the opposite of Young Justice for me. While Young Justice heralds the return of some of my favorite characters, and more importantly a return to the their proper characterization, Heroes In Crisis killed several of my favorite characters, and for those it didn’t, Tom King massively screws up their characterization. While the Titans TV show gave us an absolutely perfect Donna Troy, Tom King doesn’t understand one thing about her. But most egregious is his treatment of Lois Lane as nothing more than a gonzo tabloid journalist. You have DC characters that can fill that role, you didn’t need to assassinate Lois’s character to do it. I can’t even say nice things about the art, because the art is so woefully misused. Clay Mann is not the right artist for the story being told, and that’s never more evident than when he makes Batgirl showing her scars in therapy look like pin-up poses.
The Solicitation Situation:
TEEN TITANS: RAVEN TP
written by KAMI GARCIA
art and cover by GABRIEL PICOLO
When a tragic accident takes the life of seventeen-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom—and Raven’s memory—she moves to New Orleans to live with her foster mother’s family and finish her senior year of high school.
Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. When strange things start happening—things most people would consider impossible—Raven starts to think it might be better not to know who she was in her previous life.
But as she grows closer to her foster sister, Max, her new friends, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past…and the darkness building inside her.
From the #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of Beautiful Creatures Kami Garcia and artist Gabriel Picolo comes this first graphic novel in the Teen Titans series for DC Ink, Teen Titans: Raven.
ON SALE 06.26.19
$16.99 US | 6” x 9” | 176 PAGES
This is my most anticipated book from the DC Ink line, especially because I’ve been a fan of Picolo’s Teen Titans fan art for ages.
written by DAN JURGENS
art and cover by CHRIS MOONEYHAM
variant cover by YASMINE PUTRI
There’s a new team in town who will have to learn the hard way that fighting injustice doesn’t mean you’re cut out to be a superhero. As the newly formed Nightwings are forced to deal with a fiery threat they never saw coming, reluctant recruit Ric Grayson has to make the choice between a carefree life without capes or answering the call that’s been ringing his entire life—the call to be a hero. Join Ric Grayson and the Nightwings as they learn what it takes to be a team—and what happens when you fight who you truly are.
ON SALE 04.17.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
Our long nightmare is ending. Scott Lobdell is gone from the book, and replaced by Dan Jurgens, who remains one of my favorite writers of all time. We’re still stuck with Ric Grayson, but sounds like that might be ending too.
written by DAN ABNETT
art and cover by BRUNO REDONDO
variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
“Into the Bleed” finale! It’s all been building to this! Witness the battle for the fate of the entire Multiverse as our heroes tackle Mother Blood and her armies of Unearth! Mother’s plan to use the Bleed to spread her power throughout every corner of the fabric of reality has reached its zenith, and she’s pulling out all the stops to see to it the Titans fail in stopping her. But even with Raven’s soul-self reunited, can the team rescue their heavy hitters Kyle Rayner and Steel before it’s too late? Don’t miss this melee of multiversal mayhem!
ON SALE 04.10.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
I’m sad to see this book go, but really it was hamstrung by Heroes in Crisis and Nightwing when a solid half of their characters were taken off the board. Maybe it can return when the founding five are all back somehow in the future.
THE OUTSIDERS BY JUDD WINICK BOOK ONE TP
written by JUDD WINICK
art by ALE GARZA, TOM RANEY, CHRISCROSS and others
cover by TOM RANEY and SCOTT HANNA
The Justice League is a bunch of pushovers. The Teen Titans are just kids. When the DC Universe calls for a more…aggressive approach, they call Nightwing, Arsenal and company: the Outsiders. A renegade Superman Robot goes on the rampage, and a long-standing member of the Teen Titans dies. Stricken with grief, old allies Nightwing and Arsenal decide that enough is enough: a more proactive approach to justice isn’t just needed—it’s necessary. This title collects TITANS/YOUNG JUSTICE: GRADUATION DAY #1-3, TEEN TITANS/OUTSIDERS SECRET FILES #1 and OUTSIDERS #1-7.
ON SALE 05.22.19
$24.99 US | 304 PAGES
Speaking of founding Titans, I loved Winick’s Outsiders run, and it cemented Arsenal and Nightwing as one of my favorite ships. I’m glad to see this getting reprinted.
SHAZAM!: THE WORLD’S MIGHTIEST MORTAL VOL. 1 HC
written by DENNIS O’NEIL, OTTO BINDER, ELLIOT S. MAGGIN, E. NELSON BRIDWELL and others
art by C.C. BECK, KURT SCHAFFENBERGER, DAVE COCKRUM, BOB OKSNER and others
cover by MICHAEL CHO
The 1970s adventures of Shazam—now the star of his very own movie—are collected in color for the first time! These new adventures combined the cartoony art of C.C. Beck, the original artist from the best-selling comics of the 1940s, with the modern, tongue-in-cheek sensibility of writers including Dennis O’Neil as the entire Marvel family reunite for all-new adventures. Collects SHAZAM! #1-18.
ON SALE 05.29.19
$49.99 US | 336 PAGES
Some great Bronze Age goodness for everyone to help celebrate Shazam’s big screen debut.
That’s it for this very big month. I’m going to go sleep for a couple days now.