Welcome to the July and SDCC@home edition of the DC Pubwatch! This month we bid a fond farewell to the antics of one James Olsen with Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #12 and cover the news that came out of a very different version of San Diego Comic-Con.
DC had two panels at SDCC@home, but neither of them really provided much in the way of announcements. DC’s big announcement happened earlier that week when the long-dreaded Tom King Watchmen book was announced. It’s Rorschach and it’s just as dreadful as we were all expecting. I’m beyond tired of Watchmen things, and especially don’t want a series focused on the one character that all the worst people in fandom think is a real hero. Mostly, the DC panels were just creators talking about their current runs on books or already announced upcoming runs. The panels were also weird in that they were broken into micropanels. What would have been a full hour panel at any other SDCC was given 7-15 minutes before switching to the next section. This made it so that not much was really discussed at any of them, and it just didn’t feel worth the time to spend watching them.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #12
Clayton Cowles (letters), Nathan Fairbairn (colors and cover), Matt Fraction (writer), Steve Lieber (art and cover)
Oh sweet Jimberly, how I will miss you. I’ll miss the silly ways I recap you. I’ll miss your antics. I’ll miss your rage vomit cat. I’ll miss the laughs you brought me every single month during the hellish past year. I’ll miss your subtle humor and background gags hidden in the art (like Dex-Starr pissing on the Olsen family household’s wall. I’ll miss Clayton Cowles’ stupid sound effects like BA-CROC (the sound a crock makes as it collides with a chin). I’ll miss the stupid shit we thought was just throwaway gags but turned out to be super relevant not only to the plot of this book but to all of the Superman line (turns out Lex and Jimmy are related which gives Jimmy power over Lex’s finances and keeps the Daily Planet in business with Jimmy as the new publisher). But most of all, I’ll just miss this stupid little book that I never imagined could happen and turned out to be the best book DC has put out in years.
Andworld Design (letters), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (cover), Jordie Bellaire (colors), Giuseppe Camuncoli (cover), Cecil Castellucci (story), Robbi Rodriguez (art), Cam Smith (cover)
I talked in detail about this issue on its own.
DC Cybernetic Summer
Corinna Bechko (writer), Jordie Bellaire (colors), Max Bemis (writer), Tamra Bonvillain (cover), Andrew Constant (writer), Heath Corson (writer), Leila Del Duca (artist), Ferran Delgado (letters), Liz Erickson (writer), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors), Che Grayson (writer), Luis Guerrero (colors), Cully Hamner (artist), Gabriel Hardman (writer and artist), Hi-Fi (colors), Scott Koblish (artist), David LaFuente (artist), Travis Lanham (letters), Rob Leigh (letters), Adriano Lucas (colors), Carlos M. Mangual (letters), Stuart Moore (writer), Dan Mora (cover), Steve Orlando (writer), Paul Pelletier (pencils), Troy Peteri (letters), Stephanie Philips (writer), Norm Rapmund (inks), Marguerite Sauvage (artist), Christy Sawyer (letters), Nicola Scott (artist), Greg Smallwood (artist), Mike Spicer (colors), Rob Steen (letters), Nik Virella (artist), Steve Wands (letters), Joshua Williamson (writer)
DC’s seasonal specials have been some very strong issues over the last few years. Part of that is as a place for new talent to kind of stretch their wings (though I really wish that some of the talent that has been relegated to these specials would get their shots at ongoing books, too). Highlights of this issue included: Nicola Scott drawing Wonder Woman again, a fun Silver Age era Legion of Super-Heroes story, Harley Quinn escalating the “What do you have?” “A KNIFE!” “NO!” meme, and SUPER CYBORG CYBORG SUPERMAN. But my two favorite stories this issue involved just some guys bein’ pals. We get one last Apollo and Midnighter story from Steve Orlando before he heads off to do big creator-owned work and dip his toes into Marvel’s pool, and sure enough, he sends us off with some proper beefcake. Bless you, Steve, can’t wait to see what you do next. And then my favorite story of the bunch, from Heath Corson and Scott Koblish, is just a story of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle trying to have a nice quiet day at the beach. Maybe a few two many times.
DCeased: Dead Planet #1
Gigi Baldassini (inks), Rain Beredo (colors), David Finch (cover), Stefano Gaudiano (inks), Trevor Hairsine (pencils), Tom Taylor (writer), Saida Temofonte (letters)
Once more Tom Taylor astonishes with character work. The personal moments in this book are spectacular, even if I found the overall plot to be a bit lacking. This picks up five years after the events of the original DCeased series, with all the refugees now on a new Earth, with Lois Lane as their president and a new Justice League as their protectors. Jon and Damian share the same chemistry they always have, a perfect dynamic for a new era of World’s Finest. There are also tender moments between Lois and Jon and between Ollie and Dinah, which of course set up heartbreak and an absolutely brutal cliffhanger.
John Constantine: Hellblazer #8
Jordie Bellaire (colors), Aditya Bidikar (letters), Aaron Campbell (art), John Paul Leon (cover), Simon Spurrier (writer)
What an intensely messed up conclusion to what had already been one hell of a fucked up issue. A story of magic built on love, and the power that it has, and the dangers that it entails when that love is not real. A horrible monster of a man who gaslights a fuckin’ mermaid. Who does that? What kind of loathsome do you have to be to do that?! All because the greedy little bastard overfished the waters, so had to come up with new gourmet fish meat to sell. It was immensely satisfying to see him get his comeuppance.
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity Secret Files #1
Jason Badower (art), Kami Garcia (writer), Edward Kurz, MD (writer), Annette Kwok (colors), David Mack (art and cover), Mike Mayhew (art), Tyler Smith (design and letters), Cat Staggs (art), Richard Starkings (design and letters), Mico Suayan (art)
Really, what makes this special is the amount of detail that went into it. This book is truly something I’ve never seen before in comics in that it is a very accurate representation of a criminal investigative file. The art is stunning, and there are so many subtle and hidden clues to this ongoing narrative and so many little insights into the minds of the characters. Really, the biggest thing I have to say about this book is that it is one that you need the physical copy of to truly appreciate. Being a Black Label book, its pages are prestige sized, so there’s more room for the detail. I can’t wait to pore over it again with that physical copy in hand.
Justice League #48-49
David Baron (colors), Aaron Lopresti (pencils), David Marquez (cover), Tom Napolitano (letters), Matt Ryan (inks), Si Spurrier (writer)
I was very excited for this arc because Spurrier can get absolutely WEIRD, and he absolutely did not disappoint. Between eldritch horrors, Star Trekesque allegories for racism, and the Justice League having to make a strong moral decision, this issue had a lot of the things I love to see in a Justice League story. There are incredible action sequences, beautifully illustrated by Lopresti, Ryan and Baron, with horrifying looking monstrosities. I love the idea of exploring racism and prejudices through a race that choose either a life of being organic or a life of being cybernetic, it is just the sort of allegory that is fantastically used in science fiction. I also love the universal translator having to pick a signifier for a race that has no gender.
Lois Lane #12
Simon Bowland (letters), Mike Perkins (artist and cover), Greg Rucka (writer), Andy Troy (colors)
As this volume of Lois Lane comes to a close, we get an issue that is mostly an epilogue. While the series seemed to get a little off course from what the first couple of issues seemed to be leaning toward, this was still a very enjoyable series that had been one of my dream books for decades. This issue was a soft coda that tied up the loose ends and subplots of the series and provided us a sense of closure. I hope that we get another series starring Lois Lane soon, and next time I hope that we have more women on the creative team and that more of the focus is actually on Lois.
Young Justice #16
Wes Abbot (letters), Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Gabe Eltaeb (colors and cover), Scott Godlewski (art), John Timms (cover), David Walker (writer)
I’m very glad we are starting to get more and more explanation about how this version of Young Justice can even exist. This issue was a fun and light-hearted look at just how we got here. It really did a good job of building out the friendships that had been lost to reboots and retcons, and restoring them to their proper state. These kids are family, and it’s nice to see them back in each other’s lives. Bart and Kon’s race was great to see, as was Tim popping up out of nowhere having been there all along.
Action Comics #1023
Batman Beyond #45
Daphne Byrne #6
Dark Nights: Death Metal #2
Detective Comics #1024
Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #7
Harley Quinn #74
House of Whispers #22
Justice League Dark #24
Justice League Odyssey #22
Legion of Super-Heroes #7
Metal Men #8
Suicide Squad #7
Teen Titans #43
The Batman’s Grave #8
The Terrifics #28
Wonder Woman #758-759
Batman and the Outsiders #14
Books of Magic #21
Detective Comics #1023
The Flash #757-758
The Green Lantern: Season Two #5
The Last God #7
Red Hood: Outlaw #47
Strange Adventures #3
Clayton Cowles (letters), Mitch Gerads (art and cover), Tom King (writer), Evan “Doc” Shaner (art and cover)
written by CECIL CASTELLUCCI
art by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO, MARGUERITE SAUVAGE and ANEKE
cover by JOSHUA MIDDLETON
variant cover by TERRY DODSON and RACHEL DODSON
ON SALE 10/27/20
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES | FC | DC | FINAL ISSUE
Series finale! All good things must come to an end, as we wrap up this run of Batgirl with one final oversized celebratory issue! In the aftermath of “The Joker War,” Gotham is left in pieces that need to be picked up by Barbara and Alejo’s team—but is Gotham a city worth saving anymore, and how much longer does our girl have it in her to keeping fighting for it as Batgirl? Then, if Barbara is to ever give her relationship with Jason a chance, she knows she has to face him and finally make amends with the act that crippled him.
Sigh. Yet another female character whose book is ending. This means in November we’ll have ongoing books for Catwoman and Wonder Woman and that’s it. No Batgirl. No Batwoman despite a tv show. No Harley despite a cartoon and a movie. No Black Canary. No Supergirl despite a tv show. I’m just really tired, DC, give me something, please.
BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #17
written by BRYAN HILL
art by DEXTER SOY
cover by TYLER KIRKHAM
variant cover by SANFORD GREENE
ON SALE 10/13/20
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES | FC | DC
Series finale! The war with Ra’s al Ghul reaches its end, and none of the Outsiders will ever be the same. And none of them might ever be a team again! Did Batman choose the wrong allies to assemble to fight Ra’s? Or did those allies make a mistake in believing in Batman? The critically acclaimed series comes to its end!
This series is mercifully coming to a close. The entire series seems to be doing one seventeen issue arc, and that’s about 11 too many for the story that was being told.
RED HOOD: OUTLAW #50
written by SCOTT LOBDELL
art by PAOLO PANTALENA
cover by DEXTER SOY
variant cover by PHILIP TAN
ON SALE 10/27/20
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES | FC | DC
Jason Todd’s downward spiral began when he was murdered by The Joker. But deep in his heart he blamed himself for charging headfirst into deadly danger. His rage and self-loathing caused him to lash out at those around him—keeping friends and family alike at arm’s length. Until the Outlaws. First Arsenal and Starfire, and later, Artemis and Bizarro, saw through his defenses. Now it’s time to pay it forward to the one person who represents all the mistakes he’s made in his own life: Duela Dent. But can he save The Joker’s Daughter…when he couldn’t even save himself? Don’t miss the end of the Outlaw era!
Lobdell’s final issue! After ten years we are FREE. DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD. Now give Jason Todd to a queer lady writer, DC.
That’s it for this month’s DC Pubwatch. Man, really going to miss Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.