Welcome to the May 2020 DC PUBWATCH. The biggest news of the month is surely that comics have returned to retail shelves, and that a hint of normalcy may be creeping back in. Stay safe, and get your comics however you can.
Other news is the announced ends of two runs. Harley Quinn is ending with issue number 75, a nice number with which to assuredly relaunch her book in a few months. The Flash is not ending, but Josh Williamson’s time on the book is coming to an end. It’s too much for me to hope that Barry Allen’s time on the book also is coming to an end.
As we slowly ramp up, there are still fewer DC books on the stands than normal, so there are fewer reviews than normal as well. Soon we should be back to a steady amount of books.
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #4
Jason Badower (art), Kami Garcia (writer), Edward Kurz, MD (consultant), Annette Kwok (colors), Francesco Mattina (cover) Tyler Smith (letters), Richard Starkings (letters), Mico Suayan (art)
This book continues to be both incredibly well-written and well-researched, delving into the depths of forensic psychiatry and profiling. As part of the Creators 4 Comics auctions, Garcia and Kurz hosted a chat about the making of this book, which I won in the auction, and it was an extremely illuminating and interesting conversation. One of my biggest takeaways from the chat was that both Garcia and Kurz were adamant that this version of Harley and Joker not have a romance. The other thing they wanted to stress is that their Joker is not insane, but rather cold and calculating, and knows exactly what he’s doing. This fits closer to what most real-world serial killers match up to. The series is definitely ramping up, and we were left with a terrifying cliffhanger at the end of this issue.
Basketful of Heads #7
Deron Bennett (letters), Joe Hill (writer), Leomacs (art), Reiko Murakami (cover), Dave Stewart (colors)
This book was a camp horror delight. It’s probably the least horrific of the Hill House imprint, but also definitely the most fun. It felt like it would not be out of place as a bad ’80’s slasher flick, a genre that I hold near and dear to my heart. Jason Takes Manhattan is fun, don’t @ me. June is very much a solid “final girl” and the couple of twists in this issue were unexpected and cathartic. June’s story as a horror movie protagonist seems to be over, but it always seems that way before the inevitable sequel, and I, for one, would love to see more of her, and of the axe.
Lois Lane #10
Simon Bowland (letters), Tula Lotay (variant cover), Mike Perkins (art and cover), Greg Rucka (writer), Andy Troy (colors)
This book continues to be absolutely fantastic, even if this issue went off in a completely different direction from what I expected. I didn’t expect this noir heavy, investigative journalism story to dive deep into an explanation of the Multiverse and some chaos magic. Little things I appreciated: how Clark is in Lois’s phone, a universe where Montoya is shacking up with Huntress, seeing a Supergirl version of Action Comics #1, and the little nod to the Supergirl tv show. Big thing I appreciated: Tula Lotay’s absolutely stunning cover, pictured here. The variant covers for this series have been some of the best in the business.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #10
Clayton Cowles (letters), Nathan Fairbairn (colors), Matt Fraction (writer), Steve Lieber (art and cover)
Yarr matey! Tharr be pirate boots! Bane impressions! Banana thieves! Totally NOT Daleks! Totally NOT Daleks doing classic banana peel pratfalls! Aliens with out-there bogus names like Kevin! Superman’s Pal Jimmy MRFF*! Who is Mister Metropolis? The answer may surprise you! Jimmy’s thing with all the glue! And who is Mister X? The answer may not surprise you. Grand theft spaceship! Who is Miss Sue Donym? Oh come on, you can’t be surprised by that one. Some real Game of Thrones shit! All this and more, in another romp with Superman’s best buddy, Jimmy Olsen!
The Dollhouse Family #6
M.R. Carey (writer), Jessica Dalva (cover), Peter Gross (layouts), Todd Klein (letters), Vince Locke (finishes), Cris Peter (colors)
This vastly unsettling comic ended as strong as it started, building to a terrifyingly intense climax. The demon at the heart of the dollhouse takes form, and it’s an eldritch monstrosity the likes of which haunt the best of my favorite cosmic horror stories. A bast of writhing flesh and numerous varyingly sized eyes, with several gaping maws full of far too many razor-sharp teeth, the beast is drawn to horrific results by Gross and Locke. Dalva’s cover also fits the tone of the book, with an unnerving image of a dollhouse just seeping vicious blood in a dark room.
The Low Low Woods #5
Tamra Bonvillain (colors), Dani (art), Jenny Frison (variant cover), Carmen Maria Machado (writer), Steve Wands (letters)
So while the comic within was fantastic, upsetting, and visceral, it’s Jenny Frison’s variant cover, pictured here, that absolutely took my breath away. The cool tones of the blue in the face and skin of the woman coupled with the vibrant neon pink of the bloody tears pouring from her eyes is striking, and the details in the face are incredible. When we get to the meat of the issue, I do have to mention that it comes with a content warning for themes of sexual assault. We dive into exactly what has made the monsters of this small dead town, and how the true monsters are the men who caused harm in the first place. I can’t wait to see how this series resolves.
The Terrifics #27
Vicente Cifuentes (inks), Sergio Davila (pencils), Dan Mora (cover), Tom Napolitano (letters), Protobunker (colors), Gene Luen Yang (writer)
Much like Supergirl, The Terrifics is ending as a digital-first series. Unlike Supergirl, I’m actually sad to see this series go. Kara’s series has been in a rut since, if I’m being honest, Bendis’s Man of Steel. The Terrifics, on the other hand, has been remarkably good for most of its run. This issue was no exception, with the introduction of the Terrific Council. It’s nice seeing some sciency superhero faces we haven’t seen in a while. I can’t remember the last time I saw Ted Kord. Maybe in Blue Beetle before it was canceled (yes, I’m purposefully trying to forget Heroes in Crisis). So it was great to see both him and the Atom.
Batman Beyond #43
DCeased Unkillables #3
Harley Quinn #72
He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse #6
Justice League #44
Justice League Odyssey #20
The Flash #753
The Green Lantern: Season Two #3
Wonder Woman #755
Books of Magic #19
House of Whispers #20
Justice League #45
Red Hood: Outlaw #45
Teen Titans #41
The Flash #754
Batman and the Outsiders #12
Clayton Cowles (letters), Veronica Gandini (colors), Bryan Hill (writer), Tyler Kirkham (cover), Arif Prianto (cover), Dexter Soy (art)
For something labeled a finale, this issue didn’t do a very good job of feeling like a conclusion of any sort. Almost nothing of importance happens at all. The Outsiders get a new, as-yet-codenameless, member (because that’s something Batman would allow, sure). Orphan’s getting the same arc Hill gave to Psylocke in Fallen Angels, it seems. Hill unceremoniously killed off his Cable knock-off between pages. There is no real reason to keep reading this series. Even if you’re a diehard Batman fan, you can definitely find better.
Suicide Squad #5
Wes Abbott (letters), Adrriano Lucas (color and cover), Bruno Redondo (art and cover), Tom Taylor (writer)
Alright, I fudged the truth up above in my Terrifics review. This was actually the last place I’d seen Ted Kord, because I read the week’s releases in alphabetical order. That said, I’d be fine forgetting this appearance too. Tom Taylor is normally really good when it comes to characterization, that’s his biggest strength really, but having Ted “Got shot in the head for uncovering government plots” Kord be behind a government shadow organization? No sir, I don’t like it. Here’s hoping this is a misdirection, because if not? Oof. Before that reveal though, I was enjoying this issue a lot.
Metal Men #6
Shane Davis (art and cover), Dan DiDio (writer), Travis Lanham (letters), Jason Wright (colors)
So, uh, how many more issues do you think DiDio got in the can before he left the company? Because yikes this wasn’t good. Like Will Magnus has never been particularly likable, but lord he goes into full-on scumbag in this issue. This issue is a short one-off story to give us a glimpse into Platinum’s mind-set, and in doing so we find out that she was patterned after an idealized version of a girlfriend who dumped Magnus and got a restraining order against him. Nothing says love like creating a robot in your ex’s image and programming her to love you forever, and then rebuking her for years because she’s not human.
The Solicitation Situation
Hey Solicits are back! Woohoo!
written by CECIL CASTELLUCCI
art by ROBBI RODRIGUEZ
cover by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
variant cover by IAN MacDONALD
“The Last Joke” part one! Why is Barbara in the hospital and what is James Gordon Jr. doing here? After an encounter with the Joker leaves Barbara temporarily handicapped, Babs is determined to find the technology she needs, but her journey’s cut short when a redhead-serial killer is on the loose! Who’s the obsessive freak? And will Gordon Jr. prove to be the changed person he claims to be?
RESOLICIT | ON SALE 8.25.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
UGH. JUST ENOUGH ALREADY. WE DO NOT NEED TO CONSTANTLY REVISIT THIS. WE KNOW ALREADY. JUST FUCKING STOP.
HARLEY QUINN #75
written by SAM HUMPHRIES
art by SAMI BASRI, RILEY ROSSMO, EMANUELA LUPACCHINO, RAMON VILLALOBOS, JOE QUINONES, NICOLA SCOTT, and NGOZI UKAZU
cover by GUILLEM MARCH
variant cover by FRANK CHO
At last, it’s the star-studded roast of Harley Quinn! Nothing is off-limits, no topic is out of bounds, and no one—and we mean no one!—will escape unscathed. Harley may be the funniest person in the DC Universe, but how well can she take a joke?
Plus, in a backup story illustrated by superstar artist Riley Rossmo tying into “The Joker War,” Harley Quinn faces off against Punchline!
ON SALE 08.04.20
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES
FC | DC
FINAL ISSUE — YES, WE’RE SERIOUS!
I unironically love the “Yes, we’re serious” of this solicit. I’m also pretty ready to see a fresh take on Harley.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #8
written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by EVAN “DOC” SHANER, JEFF LEMIRE, DUSTIN NGUYEN, JOËLLE JONES, MICHAEL AVON OEMING, LIAM SHARP, ANDRÉ LIMA, SANFORD GREENE, CULLY HAMNER, YANICK PAQUETTE, DAN HIPP, DAVID MACK, DARICK ROBERTSON, DAN JURGENS, BILQUIS EVELY, FABIO MOON, MICHAEL ALLRED, RYAN SOOK, ALEX MALEEV, JOHN TIMMS, DUNCAN ROULEAU, and NORM RAPMUND
cover by RYAN SOOK
variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
Beginning a special two-part comics storytelling event! Over the course of two spectacular issues, 44 artists will dive into the 31st century—with each page starring a different Legionnaire! It starts when the team is arrested by a galactic authority that does not approve of the Legion—and it leads into an intergalactic showdown that will affect every member of the team!
RESOLICIT | ON SALE 08.25.20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES
This is going to be a fun series of issues. I can’t wait to learn more about these versions of my favorite future kids.
That’s gonna wrap us up for this first full month back, join me next month as we get fully into the swing of things with Death Metal.