DC PUBWATCH – February 2019

DC PUBWATCH – February 2019

The biggest news this month came from the annual Comics Pro conference held right before convention season kicks off. Dan DiDio was there to talk about the company’s future. Among things talked about were the rumor of a massive cutback of the publishing line, and DiDio confirmed that it was true, but the cuts have

The biggest news this month came from the annual Comics Pro conference held right before convention season kicks off. Dan DiDio was there to talk about the company’s future. Among things talked about were the rumor of a massive cutback of the publishing line, and DiDio confirmed that it was true, but the cuts have already happened. No titles that have not been announced to be ending already are in danger of cancellation. It is a cutback to the standard line, and meant to make room for more young adult and 100 Page specials.

Also announced at Comics Pro were a couple of things about the Walmart Giant books. First, the original stories within those books are going to be collected into trades, or reprinted in upcoming 100 Page Specials that will be available to comic shops. Second, the line is expanding and changing. The expansion is to retailers other than Walmart, and the change is moving to a 48 page format. They also said that they are cutting back on collected editions, which is sad, but not a surprise to anyone who’s been following the solicits. Now onto this month’s slew of books. As always there will be limited spoilers in these snippets.

A+

Man And Superman: 100 Page Super Spectacular #1

Claudio Castellini (art), Hi-Fi (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters), Marv Wolfman (writer)

I’ve read a lot of Superman stories in my life. It is without hesitation that I say this is the best one I’ve ever read. It so timelessly and effortlessly captures the spirit of the character that it’s hard to believe that it was written over ten years ago. Marv Wolfman says that he thinks it’s one of the best stories he’s ever written, and I wholeheartedly agree. It shows us a Superman just starting out, who’s still scared of how people may react, and more importantly, afraid of not being able to do enough. We get Clark’s first interactions with Lex and Lois, and see why even before seeing her Clark was already smitten with the woman who would become his wife. Wolfman told a story for the ages, and one that I will absolutely give to people who want to know why I love Superman.   The shadow of Superman Flying Towards Metropolis, S Shield hovering behind the Daily Planet

A

Action Comics #1008

Brad Anderson (colors), Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Steve Epting (art and cover), Josh Reed (letters)

The buildup to Leviathan Rising continues, and it’s already a heck of a ride. Something is taking out the secret organizations, and doing so very quickly. The mystery is building, and in a way that makes me extremely excited to dig in for more details. As always, Epting’s art is absolutely beautiful. Little things like Lois’s expression when she tells Robinson to give them hell, and the anger on Clark’s when he sees Waller make his pencils really stand out. This is a Superman event I’m excited for like I haven’t been since the 1990s.

Members of various secret organizations pointing their guns at Jimmy

American Carnage #4

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

While Goddess Mode has been providing a bit of escape, in a world that seems close to real, but not quite there yet, American Carnage is making us look at the world we do live in without blinders. Everything about this book feels immensely real, and terrifying because of that. The characters all feel like people who actually exist, and like we’re seeing glimpses into their lives. A little shout out to Pat Brosseau with the way he letters and balloons the sign language portions of the book, I really enjoyed that distinction. This issue ended on a massive cliffhanger, that may change the entire scope of the series, so looking forward to seeing that move forward.

In a field of bright blue and soft pink, White Supremacists with guns in front of King's face

Deathstroke #40

Jeromy Cox (colors), Tyler Kirkham & Tomeu Morey (cover), Fernando Pasarin & Carlo Pagulayan (pencils), Christopher Priest (story), Trevor Scott, Jordi Tarragona & Jason Paz (inks), Willie Schubert (letters)

This title honestly doesn’t get the praise it deserves. Priest has made Deathstroke one of the consistently good books DC is putting out since he took over at the start of Rebirth. Priest is a master storyteller and how he builds his arcs is amazing. Each one feels extremely cinematic, and I could see DC building a Deathstroke movie from one of them in the future. He also made probably the best fourth wall breaking joke I’ve ever read in this issue. Including a parody of a parody is brilliant, and having him make a crack at the creator of the original parody even more so.

Deathstroke leading the Gotham rogues out of Arkham

Female Furies #1

Cecil Castellucci (writer), Mitch Gerads (cover), Hi-Fi (colors), Carlos M. Mangual (letters), Adriana Melo (illustrator)

In any other month, this probably would have gotten my A+ rating. This book is poignant social commentary, and hits it on so many cylinders. We get glimpses of the past that made Granny the lapdog she is, and for the first time in my life, I feel for Granny Goodness. It also showed us how victims staying silent can cause more victims, and become pawns in their own persecution. This is the book that the #MeToo era needs and deserves. Take down the patriarchy, Furies!

Barda leading the Furies while Granny looms

Goddess Mode #3

Simon Bowland (letters), Zoë Quinn (writer), Rico Renzi (colors), Robbie Rodriguez (art and cover)

I thought I couldn’t get more All-In for this book than I already was, and then we finally found out what Cassandra’s domain entails. You see, I have a type, and that type is the paladin archetype fighting for hope when it’s a hard thing to come by and hoo boy it seems like that’s going to be her whole thing. I have become fully immersed in this world, and it is a book I look forward to reading every month. The more we learn about the world and its characters, the more I become invested in everything happening to them. Rodriguez and Renzi work magic on the art of the book too, making it feel both all too real and just fantastic enough.

The Oracles fighting a Daemon

High Level #1

Barnaby Bagenda (art), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors), Rob Sheridan (writer)

This book reads like a futuristic Dungeons & Dragons game in the best possible way. It feels like high fantasy and space opera had a glorious beautifully painted baby. Just in the first issue we get a good feel for the landscape of the world and the character of Thirteen. The concept of High Level feels very MMORPG where you can’t access certain areas before you reach certain level thresholds. I would definitely be willing to play an RPG campaign set in this world, and it’s a world we still haven’t fully fleshed out.

13 looking towards High Level

The Dreaming #6

Simon Bowland (letters), Bilquis Evely (illustrator), Jae Lee and June Chung (cover), Mat Lopes (colors), Simon Spurrier (writer)

While the rest of the series has felt reminiscent of and reverent to Sandman, this issue fully embraced that series’ horror roots. This issue was dark and visceral in a way the previous five were not, starting with the stunningly beautiful and simultaneously terrifying cover by Jae Lee and June Chung. The covers for this series have been gorgeous, and have set the tone for the stories within. The issue neatly wrapped up the Judge story, but left us with a new direction for the story to start heading.

Dora's face covered in blood

The Flash #64-65

Chris Burnham & Nathan Fairbairn (cover), Tomeu Morey (colors), Rafa Sandoval (pencils), Jordi Tarragona (inks), Steve Wands (letters), Joshua Williamson (writer)

The only good things to come out of Heroes In Crisis thus far have been the the tie-in issues dealing with the aftermath. Green Arrow has had a couple of hard hitting issues, and this Batman/Flash crossover is delivering, too. When Barry remembers Wally’s costume ideas, it hit me like a ton of bricks, as did Iris writing Wally’s obituary. Wally has long been one of my favorite characters, and I’m angry about what has happened to him, but glad of the stories being told after. Williamson has been a wonderful writer for his entire Flash run, and I’m glad for the breath of fresh air that this crossover brought to Batman while it went on.

Batman and Flash defeated on broken concrete while the silhouette of Gotham Girl hovers

B

Adventures of the Super Sons #7
Aquaman #45
Batman #64-65
Catwoman #8
Electric Warriors #4
Freedom Fighters #3
Green Arrow #49
Harley Quinn #58
Justice League #17-18
Justice League Dark #8
Martian Manhunter #3
Naomi #2
Shazam! #3
Supergirl #27
Superman #8
Teen Titans #27
The Green Lantern #4
The Terrifics #13
The Wild Storm #20
Wonder Twins #1
Wonder Woman #64-65
Young Justice #2

C

Batgirl #32
Batman Beyond #29
Books of Magic #5
Detective Comics #998-999
Hawkman #9
Hexwives #5
House of Whispers #6
Justice League Odyssey #6
Lucifer #5
Old Lady Harley #5
Silencer #14
Suicide Squad Black Files #4
The Batman Who Laughs #3
The Curse of Brimstone #11
Titans #34
United States vs Murder Inc. #6

D

Damage #14

Hi-Fi (colors), Aaron Lopresti (pencils), Tom Napolitano (letters), Matt Ryan (inks), Robert Venditti (writer)

It’s very telling that Damage is such a weak character that they have literally sent him to an island of misfit toys, er, monsters. This book has been pretty boring from the very beginning, and this issue is no exception to that. I will say that I never expected to see Congo Bill show up, least of all in this book. I’m glad that of the big cutbacks DC has done to their line, most of the casualties were from the New Age of Heroes line, as almost none of those books actually clicked with me.

Damage fighting a giant ape

Nightwing #57

Tamra Bonvillain (colors), Andworld Design (letters), Zack Kaplan (script), Scott Lobdell (plot), Chris Mooneyham & Nick Filardi (cover), Travis Moore (art)

Lord, how I await the end of this stupid and drawn out amnesia arc. Even my forever shipping Kory and Dick heart can’t take joy in Babs laughing at the thought of her and Dick being together, because the rest of the issue is so bad. Suddenly, Dick — sorry Ric — is a superhero again, but why? The motivations make less sense than his motivations to be a cab driver. Amazing how the story in which Jason Todd pretended to be Nightwing and then became a hentai monster is no longer the worst replacement Nightwing story.

Joker's Daughter torturing a tied up Ric (sigh) Grayson

Red Hood: Outlaw #31

Scott Lobdell (writer), Rex Lokus (colors), ALW’s Troy Peteri (Letters), Pete Woods (art)

It’s amazing that I’m typing this right now, because my eyes rolled so far back into my skull at “My word is LAW!” “Unfortunately for you, I’m an OUTLAW” that they are still there and I’m typing wholly from my knowledge of home row on the keyboard. Sorry for any typos, copy editors. I don’t know if any of you figured this out, but really, I’m just really, really tired of Scott Lobdell. I don’t even like the Red Hood (mostly because of Lobdell) and I still want to see him in better hands.

Close up of Red Hood's face with a broken mask

Sideways #13

Dan Brown (colors), Dan Didio (writer), Travis Lanham (letters), Kenneth Rocafort (art and cover)

This final issue of a bad copycat comic was titled closure, and it completely failed at giving us any. Despite knowing going in that it was going to be the final issue of the series (and let’s be honest, probably the last time we’ll see the character until he’s killed in a company-wide crossover as D-List cannon fodder) DiDio and Rocafort left us with a cliffhanger that will never get resolved. It did solve the mystery of who killed Derek’s mom, but it also gave us several pages of boring Derek’s “real” mom subplot. Including several sections of untranslated Spanish dialogue that was more annoying than anything. I’m extremely glad this series is done.

Sideways charging undynamically out of a rift

F

Heroes In Crisis #6

Clayton Cowles (letterer), Mitch Gerads (cover, art, and colors), Tom King (writer), Clay Mann (art), Tomeu Morey (colors)

This issue was not as disappointing as the series as a whole has been, but that’s not saying much. This issue did give us a deeper delve into the inner workings of Sanctuary, which is what I wanted from the series to begin with, but that was small condolence for how some characters within the book have gotten treated. Most egregiously is still a Harley Quinn who doesn’t believe in therapy. Let me repeat that: a licensed psychiatrist who doesn’t believe therapy has any merit. This goes against a Harley in Suicide Squad who worked to get everyone on the team therapy. It goes against the most popular current version of Harley in DC Superhero Girls. It spits in the face of the origins of the character. This is a character who once believed she could use therapy to try to cure the Joker, and now believes it can’t provide her any benefit.

Harley laying under a blood splattered robe with a sanctuary mask

The Solicitation Situation

DCEASED #1
written by TOM TAYLOR
art by TREVOR HAIRSINE, STEFANO GAUDIANO and JAMES HARREN
cover by GREG CAPULLO
variant cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA
horror movie variant cover by YASMINE PUTRI
“I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was Death, and Hades was following close behind him.”—Revelation 6:8
A mysterious techno-virus has been released on Earth, infecting 600 million people and turning them instantly into violent, monstrous engines of destruction.
The heroes of the DCU are caught completely unprepared for a pandemic of this magnitude and struggle to save their loved ones first…but what happens to the World’s Greatest Heroes if the world ends?
New York Times best-selling writer Tom Taylor (INJUSTICE) returns with a terrifying new tale and is joined by artists Trevor Hairsine (LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT) and Stefano Gaudiano (The Walking Dead).
ON SALE 05.01.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 6 | 32 PAGES

Tom Taylor won me over with his work on the Injustice comics, and I’m absolutely here for letting him have the reigns for a DC event comic. No idea how this ties into continuity yet, but I’m more than ready to read it.

Robin with Joker as Pennywise holding a red balloon

SUPERMAN: LEVIATHAN RISING SPECIAL #1
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS,
MATT FRACTION, GREG RUCKA and MARC ANDREYKO
art by YANICK PAQUETTE, STEVE LIEBER and MIKE PERKINS
cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
An all-star roster of writers and artists highlight the new threat of Leviathan, but also tees up new ongoing series for Jimmy Olsen by writer Matt Fraction and artist Steve Lieber, and Lois Lane by writer Greg Rucka and artist Mike Perkins, coming in June! As Leviathan enacts a plan to take down Superman, it’s up to Lois, Jimmy and the heroes of the DC Universe to rescue the Man of Steel.
ONE-SHOT | PRESTIGE FORMAT
ON SALE 05.29.19
$9.99 US | 80 PAGES

The thing that excites me the most about this issue is not the issue itself, but the two series spinning out of it. Greg Rucka has been my dream writer for a Lois Lane series since his run on Adventures of Superman back in the early 2000’s, and Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber are probably the best team I could ever dream of, for a Jimmy Olsen book.

The Justice League Watching as Jimmy and Lois help a Kryptonite strucken Superman

YOUNG JUSTICE #5
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by PATRICK GLEASON and KRIS ANKA
cover by PATRICK GLEASON
variant cover by KRIS ANKA
Gemworld rips in half as Dark Opal battles the teen heroes of Young Justice as this huge, in-continuity epic continues. While Robin, Amethyst, Impulse, Teen Lantern and Superboy fight for their freedom, the secrets of Jinny Hex, Jonah Hex’s great-great-granddaughter, are revealed—and it is a DC Universe doozy!
ON SALE 05.01.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES

KRIS ANKA DRAWING TIM AND STEPH. I MAY ACTUALLY DIE WHEN THIS ISSUE COMES OUT. I NEED TO SEE THIS VARIANT COVER. GIVE IT TO ME, DC.

The YJ team in the facets of a pink gem

That’s it for this month, join me again in March, as I’ll have some more news after Emerald City Comic Con!

Cori McCreery
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