This month’s big DC news is bittersweet for your trusty DC Pubwatcher. Tom King is leaving the Batman title at the end of the year with issue #85. This means that King’s Batman run will clock in at 81 issues, 3 annuals, and a story from the Secret Files issue. This leaves it short of the promised 100 issue run King had planned, but not to worry because DC announced King will finish his long story in a new Batman/Catwoman series starting in January. I haven’t been the biggest fan of King’s Batman but in the current comics landscape, an 81 issue run on a book is very impressive. DC also announced that when King leaves the title, Batman is returning to a monthly schedule, as are the other remaining books that have been shipping twice monthly. It sounds like there may be plans to add other series for those heroes in the same way that Batman/Catwoman is being added to keep taking advantage of good sales on lead books.
And now: on to the grades for this month’s issues!
Superman: Leviathan Rising #1
Marc Andreyko (writer), Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Simon Bowland (letters), Clayton Cowles (letters), Nathan Fairbairn (colors and cover), Júlio Ferreira (art) Matt Fraction (writer), Steve Lieber (art), Paul Mounts (colors), Tom Napolitano (letters), Eduardo Pansica (art), Yanick Paquette (art and cover), Mike Perkins (art), ALW’s Troy Peteri (letters), FCO Plascencia (colors), Greg Rucka (writer), Dave Sharpe (letters)
There was little doubt in my mind that this would be my number one book of the month. I have been highly anticipating this book since it was announced, especially for the Lois and Jimmy stories in it. Rucka’s run on Adventures of Superman cemented his place as one of my favorite writers of Lois Lane, and his history of working on spy/PI/bodyguard stories with great female leads has had him as one of my top choices to write a Lois solo series for years, so I’m glad to finally see that come to fruition. But really the star of this issue is Jimmy Olsen. Fraction and Lieber are the absolute perfect team for this character, as both have comedic stylings well suited for the slapstick and bizarre situations Jimmy finds himself in. Jimmy in this story alone finds himself newly married and hungover from Gorilla Champagne and stuck in a hotel with a very angry Dex-Starr. I laughed through the entire sequence, and I have a feeling that Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen will be in my top ten every month.
Action Comics #1011
Brad Anderson (colors), Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Steve Epting (art and cover), Josh Reed (letters)
It amazes me how well Action Comics has been working as a spy thriller. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense: investigative journalism and spying aren’t all that different, even Zack Snyder tried to tie them together. Bendis has done it a lot better, and has brought in long forgotten intelligence agencies from the DC Universe, along with long forgotten characters like Kate Spencer. Sadly, this is another book that Lobdell has made less impressive with his “Ric” Grayson arc that we’re still picking the pieces up from, as not having Agent 37 involved in this sprawling spy epic seems really pointless. Hopefully, Jurgens can fix that damage in time for Bendis to get to play with him during the mini-series.
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1
Greg Capullo (pencils and cover), Jonathan Glapion (inks), Tom Napolitano (letters), FCO Plascencia (colors and cover), Scott Snyder (writer)
The second installment in DC’s “Black Label” line, and the final installment in Snyder and Capullo’s years spanning Batman epic, Last Knight on Earth kicks off an amazing last act. This creative team’s swan song is out of continuity and set in an alternate future, but is every bit as good as their run on Batman was, and every bit as epic as Metal was. They have set the stage for a fitting farewell to the Dark Knight, hopefully one as influential and seminal as The Dark Knight Returns has become.
Rain Beredo (colors), Greg Capullo (cover), Stefano Gaudiano (art), Trevor Hairsine (art), James Harren (art), FCO Plascencia (cover), Yasmine Putri (variant cover), Tom Taylor (writer), Saida Temofonte (letters)
This is another series I’ve been eagerly anticipating since it was announced, and another that did not disappoint. This is the second time Taylor has had a go at an apocalyptic DC universe, and the second time he’s smashed it out of the park. This book is a fantastic horror comic, and the team certainly ramps up the dread throughout the issue. And I absolutely love Yasmine Putri’s horror movie variant covers. I’m very excited to read the rest of this “Not a Zombie” story. (It’s totally a zombie story).
Female Furies #4
Cecil Castellucci (writer), Sal Cipriano (letters), Hi-Fi (colors), Adriana Melo (illustrator), Paul Mounts (cover), Walt Simonson (cover)
To start with, the Walt Simonson cover for this book is amazing. Simonson is one of the spiritual successors to Kirby, and it’s always wonderful to see him drawing Kirby characters. As with the previous issues in the series, this issue took a good hard look at specific problems facing women, and by focusing on it in this kind of comic book setting, made it seem even more astonishing that this sort of thing frequently happens in real life. In this case, it is the “boys will be boys” argument of Willik, showing us that women have to fight 100% harder to get half as much credit.
High Level #4
Barnaby Bagenda (line art and cover), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (color art and cover), Amancay Nahuelpan (line art), Nate Piekos of Blambot (letters), Rob Sheridan (story)
Somehow this book just continues to get better. This excursion to “Pleasure Island” is mostly just an allegory for the internet as a whole, both the good and the bad that come with it. It provides a safe space for kinks and acceptance, but at the same time there are people who abuse those rules and get away with it, like the white supremacists in this very issue. At first, it reads mostly as an allegory for just Twitter, but the child trafficking ring is what made me realize it’s the whole of the internet. The story is gripping and the art is gorgeous, and it seems like we’re nearing the conclusion of this thought provoking thrill ride.
The Flash #70
Hi-Fi (colors and cover), Howard Porter (storyteller and cover), Joshua Williamson (storyteller)
A new take on the origin of the Fastest Man Alive, and one that builds a little more empathy for him to boot. (No pun intended). I love the bit about Barry going through a veritable mountain of shoes, but honestly I wish Barry had come up with his own solution for that problem rather than relying on Wayne Tech. Barry’s an amazing scientist, and they even make an effort to show that in this issue, so why not give him that chance? As always Howard Porter remains synonymous with the Flash for me, so it’s always nice to see him come back to the character. No letterer is credited in this issue, so I’m wondering if Porter is doing his own letters for the book.
Wonder Twins #4
Stephen Byrne (artist and cover), Mark Russell (writer), Dave Sharpe (letters)
This issue was fantastic, and mostly because it was a wholly unexpected take-down of toxic masculinity. Both Zan and Jayna have dates on their night off from the Hall of Justice, and neither truly ends up how either want them to. Zan’s date winds up getting back with her old boyfriend. Meanwhile, Jayna’s date is the walking essence of a fraternity bathroom, and one that’s been on probation, so no new pledges have been around to clean it in a year or two. It gets better because it turns out this walking pile of red flags is literally a villain named Red Flag, and when he makes fun of Zan for getting ‘friend zoned’ and Zan responds that the idea that being friends with a girl is worse than dating, is stupid. Thank you Mark Russell for providing that wonderful exchange.
Wonder Woman #70
Pat Brosseau (letters), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors and cover), Jesus Merino (cover), G. Willow Wilson (writer), Xermanico (art)
I’m really enjoying this story with one minor gripe. I love the use of a gender neutral god of desire, and in fact one of my favorite fictional deities is Pathfinder’s version of this in their roleplaying game, Arshea. My one minor gripe is that despite being referred to as such, throughout the issue Atlantiades appears predominately feminine. This is a common problem when trying to portray something androgynous and I wish that it wasn’t the case in this issue. That said, the story has been fantastic and I’m really glad Wilson did not go with the traditional name for Atlantiades (Hermaphroditus), since it has different connotations in modern times.
Young Justice #5
Wes Abbot (letters), Kris Anka (art and variant cover), Brian Michail Bendis (script), Gabe Eltaeb (colors), Patrick Gleason (cover), Alejandro Sanchez (cover), Evan “Doc” Shaner (art), John Timms (art)
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Young Justice so far, but this issue was the one I have been waiting for the most. Not only did it have Kris Anka (who is one of my favorite artists working in the business today) draw a wonderful little story with two of my favorite characters (Tim Drake and Steph Brown), but it also had art from one of my other favorite artists, Doc Shaner. This issue was a visual treat, and especially everything with Tim and Steph was perfect. I love all these kids so much, and I’m so happy to finally see them back where they belong.
Adventures of the Super Sons #10
American Carnage #7
Batman/TMNT III #1
DC’s Year of the Villain #1
Detective Comics #1003-1004
Detective Comics Annual #2
Dial H for HERO #3
Dog Days of Summer #1
Freedom Fighters #6
Harley Quinn #61
House of Whispers #9
Justice League #23-24
Justice League Dark #11
Martian Manhunter #5
The Batman Who Laughs #5
The Dreaming #9
The Flash #71
The Green Lantern #7
The Terrifics #16
The Wild Storm #23
Wonder Woman #71
Batman Beyond #32
Batman and the Outsiders #1
Books of Magic #8
Catwoman Annual #1
Justice League Odyssey #9
Red Hood Outlaw #34
Teen Titans #30
Brad Anderson (cover colors), Jordie Bellaire (colors), Clayton Cowles (letters), Jorge Fornes (art), Mikel Janín (art), Tom King (writer), Andy Kubert (cover)
I will say that I absolutely loved the art in this issue. Janín, as usual, knocked it out of the park. But the story is a meandering mess of muddled continuity and poor characterizations. Tim being able to ditch Young Justice somewhere in the Multiverse and return home immediately seems a bit far fetched, and Steph not answering her phone in this situation seems out of place with what we last saw of her in Young Justice #5. But most of all, what made me most upset about this issue was Bruce striking Tim at the end of the issue. I don’t care how “broken” King wants to make him, hitting your kids is never appropriate.
Doomsday Clock #10
Brad Anderson (colors), Gary Frank (art), Geoff Johns (writer), Rob Leigh (letters)
The biggest problem with this series remains the constant delays. It may very well read much better and more cohesive in one sitting, but unfortunately that’s not how we’re reading it right now. It feels oddly paced and confusing as of right now, but there are some things that I did enjoy in this issue. Specifically, I liked Superman’s shifting timeline and how that coincides with all the various reboots over the years. Hopefully the last two issues will come out sooner rather than later, and then I can read it all again to see if that changes my opinions on the series as a whole.
The Silencer #17
Dan Abnett (writer), Sandu Florea (inks), Tyler Kirkham (cover), V Ken Marion (pencils), Tom Napolitano (letters), Arif Prianto (cover), Mike Spicer (colors)
Yet another issue of this series that is really nothing more than a 2o page fight sequence, and honestly, that’s getting old really fast. It also seems to not fit with current DC books, because despite it being heavily invested in the political intrigue and super spy genre, this series is almost an afterthought in all of the Event Leviathan lead-up. Will Silencer even show up in that series, or is she, like this series, doomed to be forgotten and irrelevant now that her series is finally ending? Bendis might be able to make me care about her, but I doubt even he could at this point.
Heroes in Crisis #9
Clayton Cowles (letters), Tom King (writer), Clay Mann (artist and cover), Tomeu Morey (colors and cover)
Just as my top pick for the month probably came as no surprise to the readers who follow my Pubwatch, I’m sure my bottom pick doesn’t either. Every issue of this series has made me viscerally angry, and this is no exception. My biggest problem with this series has always stemmed from how little King understands the characters involved, and this issue includes more examples of that. He continues the character assassination of Wally West, of course, but he also proves that he understands almost none of the Robins in a series of themed “confessions.” He has all but Damian and Steph question their place in the Bat-Family, when really the only one who would is Jason. He shows Damian as insecure, and Steph is just annoyed that everyone forgets her. King has a habit of forcing characters to have mental health problems to support his stories, even when those characters have never demonstrated those issues before. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see a series come to its conclusion, and I’m glad I don’t have to read any more of this series ever again.
written by WARREN ELLIS
art by RAMON VILLALOBOS
cover by JIM CHEUNG
variant cover by CHRIS BURNHAM
They have one job: to save the human race from the human race. And it’s going to kill them.
From the pages of THE WILD STORM, the piratical covert team made up of rogue specialists, extraterrestrial soldiers and a mad astronaut, run by a tech mogul and disguised alien king, all here to stop us from destroying ourselves. Case in point: the secret space program Skywatch has been performing medical experiments on abducted innocents for decades. One of those experiments is about to explode—revealing whole new worlds in the battle for sanity that the wild CAT has been fighting. WILDCATS thought their world was strange, but they’re about to find out how strange…and how high the stakes really are.
ON SALE 08.28.19
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
FC | RATED T+
As I’ve said in previ0us columns, I have absolutely loved The Wild Storm and was hoping something like this would spin out of that. Couple that with the inclusion of stellar art team of Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain, and this is now one of my most anticipated books.
BLACK CANARY: IGNITE TP
written by MEG CABOT
art and cover by CARA McGEE
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries comes Black Canary: Ignite, Meg Cabot’s first graphic novel! With expressive and energetic art by Cara McGee to match the trademark attitude and spunk of Meg Cabot’s characters and dialogue, this mother-daughter story embraces the highs and lows of growing up without growing out of what makes us unique.
Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance knows exactly what she wants, who she is, and where she’s going. First, she’ll win the battle of the bands with her two best friends, then she’ll join the Gotham City Junior Police Academy so she can solve crimes just like her dad. Who knows, her rock star group of friends may even save the world, but first they’ll need to agree on a band name.
When a mysterious figure keeps getting in the way of Dinah’s goals and threatens her friends and family, she’ll learn more about herself, her mother’s secret past, and navigating the various power chords of life.
Black Canary: Ignite is an inspirational song that encourages readers to find their own special voices to sing along with Black Canary!
ON SALE 10.30.19
$9.99 US | 5.5” x 8” | 160 PAGES
This is my most anticipated book of the Ink & Zoom lines, and I can’t wait to read it.
BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER VOL. 3 TP
written by MARV WOLFMAN, PETER MILLIGAN and others
art by JIM APARO, KIERON DWYER and others
cover by NORM BREYFOGLE
This new collection of 1990s Batman stories takes the Dark Knight behind the Iron Curtain to battle the mysterious Demon. Then, the Penguin exploits a disfigured genius for his latest evil scheme, but Batman helps turn his tech skills to the side of good. And The Joker goes on a new killing spree—but is it really the Clown Prince of Crime, or is this a case of a copycat killer? Plus, the Riddler returns in the three-part story “Dark Knight, Dark City.” Collects Batman #445-454, Detective Comics #615 and Batman Annual #14.
ON SALE 09.18.19
$29.99 US | 328 PAGES
I’ve been really enjoying the Batman: The Caped Crusader and Batman: The Dark Knight Detective volumes, and am glad to see them continuing despite the recent cuts to DC’s retro trade paperback line.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: THE WEDDING OF THE ATOM AND JEAN LORING HC
written by STEVE ENGLEHART and GERRY CONWAY
art by DICK DILLIN, GEORGE TUSKA, ARVELL JONES and others
cover by DICK DILLIN
In these 1970s tales, Dr. Light makes his dramatic return—and so does Snapper Carr, who’s now turned traitor to the League! Ultraa, hero of Earth-Prime, joins the League in their battle with the Injustice Gang, while the Phantom Stranger assists the team against a family of ancient gods! Plus, the Atom and Jean Loring get married—but will the power of her mind destroy the Earth? Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #149-158 and SUPER-TEAM FAMILY #13-14.
ON SALE 02.05.19
$69.99 US | 416 PAGES
Mostly with this one, I’m just wondering why? Seems an odd story-line to spotlight right now.
Next month brings us the actual start of Event Leviathan, and is our last month before San Diego, so join me then!