DC Comics PUBWATCH – April 2019 Edition

DC Comics PUBWATCH – April 2019 Edition

The biggest news this month for DC Comics was the full-on committal of the company to getting their comics on the DC Universe App. At Wonder Con it was announced that soon they’d have their entire digital catalog (with a twelve-month delay for new issues) on the platform, and they’re doing their best to make

The biggest news this month for DC Comics was the full-on committal of the company to getting their comics on the DC Universe App. At Wonder Con it was announced that soon they’d have their entire digital catalog (with a twelve-month delay for new issues) on the platform, and they’re doing their best to make good on that promise. As this is something I’ve wanted for years, I’m beyond excited. Most recently they added over 8,000 books from 1985-2010 to the service, with more getting added each week. As for the reviews this month, you’ll notice I don’t have the standard five poor grades. That’s because overall the books were better this month, and the titles that usually sit at the bottom of my list have been canceled, are ending, or just had creative team changes. I hope this trend continues, because I’d much rather enjoy the books I’m reading.

A+

Naomi #4

Wes Abbot (letters), Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Jamal Campbell (art and cover), David F. Walker (writer)

Wow. When David F. Walker talked about Naomi at Emerald City Comic Con last month, I thought he was exaggerating Jamal Campbell’s workload when he talked about the two-page, forty-panel spread. It turns out he was, but only slightly, and probably not on purpose. While it wasn’t a forty panels, it was thirty. Even more impressively, the only page of the issue that was a single page was the opening title page. Everything else in the issue was amazingly drawn and laid out in two-page spreads. Also the mystery of Naomi’s origin gets a bit revealed, but there are still more tantalizing secrets left unrevealed.

Naomi leaping into light from memories

A

American Carnage #6

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

The way this issue opened with a monologue from a white supremacist was chilling and powerful. I applaud that choice by Hill, despite it being so unsettlingly accurate to rhetoric I see and report on Twitter every day. We see the struggle Richard is going through, as he’s truly caught between worlds. I think this struggle will get even more intense in the next issue, because this issue ends on a cliffhanger. With his secret out, I’m terrified of what is coming next. This book’s villain is probably the most monstrous I’ve read, if only because he seems so real.

Jennifer Morgan Holding Tarot Cards

Batman #69

Clayton Cowles (letters), Nathan Fairbairn (colors and cover), Tom King (writer), Yanick Paquette (art and cover)

The Nightmares arc has been hit or miss for me, especially since it was broken up by the Heroes In Crisis tie-in issues. That said, I really do think it ended on a high note. Specifically the dance sequences and their nods to the past of Catwoman and Batman were very nice and intimate. Paquette’s art was beautiful and serene. That was contrasted by the sparring match between a naked (?! WHY) bald Bane (again, why bald, give him his glorious pony tail, you cowards) and Thomas Wayne. That was brutal and visceral, and showed us that neither really care for the other, they’re just using each other as a means to their end.

Batman and Catwoman dancing on a rooftop surrounded by bats and angels

Female Furies #3

Cecil Castellucci (writer), Sal Cipriano (letters), Hi-Fi (colors), Adriana Melo (art), Nicola Scott & Romulo Fajardo Jr. (cover)

This issue was a detailed look at the effects of gaslighting, though a little bit more than what can be managed in the real world. Real world gaslighters only wish they could be as effective as Granny Goodness using Beautiful Dreamer’s powers to do their dirty work. The practice in the real world is sloppier, but even more sinister in a way. It’s what we see at the end of the issue with the Lashina trying to make Barda doubt what she saw with her own eyes. In this issue our focus changes from Aurelie to Barda, as Aurelie is finally free, but not in the way she wants. The seeds are planted for Barda to become Free herself and we’ll see how that works out here.

Beautiful Dreamer working her magic on the sleeping Furies

Goddess Mode #5

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

Quinn does a fantastic job in this book of interrogating the common fallacy of having to live in a capitalist society without wanting to be a part of one. “Well, you buy stuff, if you really didn’t want capitalism you wouldn’t!” There’s no good way around having to support systems that want to break you down, and this book is a wonderful illustration of that concept. The best you can do is fight back within the systems in place, and work to change them. Rodriguez and Renzi continue to breathe life into this world, and the glitch effects and crumbling daemons added a fresh look to this issue.

Cass fighting an enraged Antimony

High Level #3

Barnaby Bagenda (breakdowns and line art), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors), Amancay Nahuelpan (line art), Nate Piekos of Blambot (letters), Otto Schmidt (cover), Rob Sheridan (writer)

Much like American Carnage this month’s issue of High Level started with an opening salvo that seems much too real in today’s political climate. In contrast to American Carnage’s hateful screed, this one was more nuanced and felt like very real propaganda. The world-building in the book continues to astound me, and I really would love to play in or run a roleplaying campaign in the world once we have a few more details. Bagenda’s art remains absolutely stunning, and the panel of Min with a pouty face in her bear hat is one of the best I’ve seen in ages.

13 controlling a little robot

Justice League #22

Francis Manapul (art and cover), Tom Napolitano (letters), James Tynion IV (writer)

I feel attacked by this issue. You throw Crisis references at me and I melt. This is a retconning of the creation of the Multiverse, and it is one that actually works really well. Three different monitors for three different phases of life, and for three different domains. It also very thoroughly explains the animosity the Anti-Monitor has for his brother, as his brother is the reason the Anti-Matter Universe is a barren wasteland. And I absolutely loved the “the multiverse would become a universe, and a multiverse again” line in reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis. Like I said, throw Crisis references at me and I’m yours.

Perpetua rising in front of the Legion of Doom

Nightwing #59

Andworld Design (letters), Nick Filardi (colors), Dan Jurgens (writer), Chris Mooneyham (art)

Amazing how much the quality of a book can skyrocket immediately with a writer replacement. While still not perfect, this issue was better than Nightwing has been since the head wound. Jurgens is still stuck cleaning up Lobdell’s “Ric” nonsense, but it’s clear that he’s set on a path to do just that. Already the inner monologues are more Dick Grayson than they were, and Dick is actually acting more like the hero I love than he had been. Jurgens also added a lot more depth to Malcolm Hutch, one of the replacement Nightwings, and maybe he can flesh out the rest of the supporting cast too.

Ric Grayson and Hutch running from a fire monster

The Batman Who Laughs #4

David Baron (colors), Sal Cipriano (letters), Jock (art and cover), Scott Snyder (writer)

This series has finally done something to grab my attention. I’ve been lukewarm on the series, but this issue played with Bruce’s relationships with his kids, and that’s a way to always get me interested. The idea that when he’s at his lowest, Bruce tries to think like Dick, or Tim, or Damian or even Jason, is a wonderful one and fills my heart with warmth. Jock had a lot of fun this issue, and pointed out parallels to the first time he worked with Snyder on Batman, in that he used a nearly identical page layout for a page in this issue featuring Robin and one from his Detective Comics run featuring Dick Grayson Batman. But the thing I loved most about this issue was Sal Cipriano’s lettering showing us how Bruce is slipping ever closer to the darkness.

The Batman Who Laughs in Ominous Portrait

The Dreaming #8

Simon Bowland (letters), Abigail Larson (illustration), Simon Spurrier (writer), Tiffany Turrill (cover), Quinton Winter (colors)

This issue finally gave us some clues as to what is going on with Daniel, and why, like Morpheus before him, he has abandoned his domain. Daniel has fallen in love with Rose Walker’s daughter, Ivy. Though he’s not Morpheus, this still feels a little bit incestuous to me, as Rose is the granddaughter of Dream’s sibling Desire. This arc with Rose and Ivy and Daniel has so many ties to the original Sandman series that it would be very hard for someone who hasn’t read that series to keep up with, and indeed, even for me it’s a little bit deep, because it’s been too long since I read the original. If only I had time right now to sit and read all 75 issues. Sometime soon, I hope.

A Raven and Daniel with flowers

B

Action Comics #1010
Adventures of the Super Sons #9
Aquaman #47
Batman #68
Catwoman #10
Deathstroke #42
Detective Comics #1001-1002
Dial H For Hero #2
Electric Warriors #6
Freedom Fighters #5
House of Whispers #8
Justice League #21
Justice League Dark #10
Pearl #8
Supergirl #29
Superman #10
Teen Titans #29
The Flash #68-69
The Terrifics #15
The Wild Storm #22
Wonder Twins #3
Wonder Woman #69
Young Justice #4

C

Batgirl #34
Batman Beyond
#31
Books of Magic
#7
Damage
#16
Harley Quinn
#60
Hawkman #11
Justice League Odyssey #8
Lucifer #7
Suicide Squad: Black Files #6
The Green Lantern #6
Wonder Woman #68

D

Red Hood: Outlaw #33

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

I’m already bored with this “Prince of Gotham” arc. It’s not something new, and let’s be honest, Scott Lobdell doesn’t do a great job with rehashes. I also sense a bit of bitterness at the fact that Lobdell’s Teen Titans runs have been retconned into oblivion, and feel like that’s the only reason he’s using Bunker again here. Pete Woods drew a fantastic fight scene, and again it’s sad to see his talents being wasted on a book that at its best is simply mediocre. At least we’re down to minimal Lobdell every month again.

Red Hood watching the Penguin through his fish tank safe room

The Silencer #16

Dan Abnett (writer), Sandu Florea (inks and cover), V. Ken Marion (art and cover), Tom Napolitano (letters), Arif Prianto (cover), Mike Spicer (colors)

Here it is, the start of the last arc of The Silencer, the book with the weakest “let’s copy a Marvel character poorly” setup of all the “New Age of Heroes” books. What if: Punisher, but his family was alive? This series never really worked for me, and I don’t see that changing with its final three issues. It’s weird that so many of the series that frequently wind up in these lower grades are ending, but if need be, I’m happy to just not award poor grades. Anyway, two more months of Not-Punisher versus Not-Ghost, as Bendis tears down the DC espionage world they’re a part of. I wonder if Leviathan Rising and Event Leviathan will even get referenced in this book.

Silencer and Smoke fighting over Silencer’s house with family inside

Titans #36

Dan Abnett (writer), Marcelo Maiolo (colors), Bruno Redondo (artist and cover), Alejandro Sanchez (cover), Dave Sharpe (letters)

I’m very disappointed in how the final run of this book turned out. I had such high hopes for this team, but when Nightwing was suddenly sidelined, everything fell to pieces. The book didn’t know how to handle that (and let’s be honest neither did the Nightwing book). And as much as I wish Kyle had been an adequate replacement (because I love Kyle), the book lost the spark that it had. There were times in this issue where Redondo’s art slipped a little too far into the uncanny valley than is comfortable, but other times when the art was fantastic. Let us hope the next Titans series doesn’t get hamstrung by editorial right out of the gate.

The Titans flying at the reader

F

Heroes In Crisis #8

I was so disappointed in this book that I had to review it separately. You can find that here.

Wally and Family in a Kansas field among bodies of Sanctuary victims looking at the sunset

The Solicitation Situation

BATMAN: UNIVERSE #1
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by NICK DERINGTON
new cover by NICK DERINGTON
Available to comics shops for the first time! Following the theft of a priceless Fabergé egg, the Riddler leads the Dark Knight on a wild hunt after its true owner: Jinny Hex, descendant of Jonah Hex! Guest-starring Deathstroke, Green Arrow and dozens of Riddler look-alikes in stories by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Nick Derington, originally published in BATMAN GIANT #3 and #4!
ON SALE 07.10.19
$4.99 US | 1 of 6 | 32 PAGES

As someone without a Walmart near me, I’ve been wanting to read the Walmart books for some time, and am glad that I will have that opportunity.

Batman leaping from a rooftop descending at the reader

SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN #1
written by MATT FRACTION
art and cover by STEVE LIEBER
variant cover by BEN OLIVER
Jimmy Olsen must die!
Wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Jimmy Olsen lives! Superman’s best friend and Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen tours the bizarre underbelly of the DC Universe in this new miniseries featuring death, destruction, giant turtles and more! It’s a centuries-spanning whirlwind of weird that starts in Metropolis and ends in Gotham City. And then we kill Jimmy.
ON SALE 07.17.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 12 | 32 PAGES

This is my most anticipated new comic in recent memory, and it comes out the day before my birthday! SCORE.

Jimmy lying down looking at his wall of disguises

LOIS LANE #1
written by GREG RUCKA
art and cover by MIKE PERKINS
variant cover by JENNY FRISON
On the road and out of Metropolis—and carrying a secret that could disrupt Superman’s life—Lois Lane embarks on a harrowing journey to uncover a threat to her husband and a plot that reaches the highest levels of international power brokers and world leaders. Critically acclaimed and best-selling author Greg Rucka and master storyteller Mike Perkins team up for a tale of conspiracy, intrigue and murder that pushes even Lois to her limits.
ON SALE 07.03.19
$3.99 US | 1 of 12 | 32 PAGES

Only slightly more excited for Jimmy Olsen than I am for Greg Rucka on Lois Lane.

Lois in black and white holding a newspaper with the S shield burned into it
That’s all from me this month. See you again in May, DC fans!

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