DC PUBWATCH – January 2021 Edition

DC Pubwatch - October

New year, and a slightly revised format! While I’m still going to grade everything that DC publishes in the month, I am cutting back on the capsule reviews a little bit, and just highlighting the books that I really think deserve it, for good or for bad. This month that includes The Dreaming: Waking Hours #6 and Future State: The Flash #1.

The News

This month the big news for DC Comics was the relaunch of the DC Universe app as DC Universe Infinite. With all the television and movie content moving to HBO Max, DC Universe Infinite has become a comics only platform. In moving away from being a multimedia platform and focusing on just comics, it’s allowed the app to be improved for that purpose. Load times are improved, more content is becoming available, and the delay from print to release on the app has been shortened to six months from the previous year. The app also offers some exclusive digital-first comics as an enticing bonus.

Infographic with the new features of DC Universe InfiniteHighlights

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #6
Simon Bowland (letters), Nick Robles (cover), Javier Rodriguez (art and colors), G. Willow Wilson (writer)

Heather After's reflection being reflected in Puck's knife

This series has been one of my absolute favorites since it launched, and that doesn’t stop with this short filler arc to bridge the book into the next arc. This arc gives main series artist Nick Robles a short and deserved break, but the quality of art in the book is still incredible from Javier Rodriguez. This arc shifts focus away from Lindy and Ruin and onto Heather After, who really pissed off the treacherous fairy Puck. Heather’s style throughout the series has been fantastic (remember the Thot Topic shirt?) and that trend continues with another fabulous tee-shirt (and just outfit as a whole, she’s a style queen) – “No Gods, No Masters, No Sulfates, No Parabens.” She also dresses her wonderful himbo boyfriend Todd in a fishnet crop top and fantastically tight leather pants.

But the thing that really got me in this issue was a subtle thing that I had missed in a previous issue (I was too busy geeking out over Heather’s ancestral ties to the original Sandman) that Heather is a trans woman. In an earlier issue of the series as Jophiel was fetching her pain killers,  he read off two other pill names: estradiol and finasteride. Both of these are hormone replacement drugs often used by trans women, and while it’s subtle, it also reveals that this very important character is a trans woman. John Constantine has trained a trans woman in the dark arts and that’s just a wonderful feeling to this trans reader. This was also subtly brought up twice in this issue, which is how I finally caught it. After Puck cuts her with a cursed blade, she winds up in the hospital with a small wound that will not close. One of the nurses notes that on her chart she is supposed to take estradiol daily, but the head nurse refuses to allow it, just one form of discrimination that often presents itself to trans women. The other subtle hint was when Todd went looking for Heather and after describing her to a bouncer, he very angrily and protectively stopped the bouncer from using the “s-slur.” Todd and Heather are both perfect and I want to follow their adventures forever.

Grade: A+

Future State (as a whole)

The heroes of DC's Future State

This was the first month of DC’s “Future State” event, in which all monthly books shift to a sometimes nebulous future to tell stories of what might come. I have some central problems with the event as a whole, in that, I’m really just kind of sick of dark dystopic alternate futures where my heroes aren’t acting like heroes. That said, the books are taking risks that are really exciting. There’s a Black Batman in Next Batman, and a Brazillian Wonder Woman in Future State: Wonder Woman, and indications are that not all of these characters are going to be put back in the box when the event is done (Yara Flor is getting her own TV show already). And while I’m not necessarily a fan of the concept, I have to admit the books have been pretty strong. There are some that are not as good, but overall the event has trended on the better side of quality.

Grade: B

Future State: The Flash #1
Mike Atiyeh (colors), Dale Eaglesham (artist), Brandon Peterson (cover), Brandon Vietti (writer), Steve Wands (letters)

An evil Wally West menacing the Flash family on the cover of Future State: The Flash

The rest of the “Future State” line aside, the absolute biggest stinker of the bunch is Future State: The Flash. It is poorly written and mean-spirited, once more undoing recent goodwill attempts by DC in regards to beloved characters. Future State: The Flash is violent and boring, and just plain insulting to fans of the Flash family. It murders Kid Flash off-page, and Impulse and Jay Garrick are murdered on-page. The book even does a great job of making the worst Flash, Barry Allen, look even WORSE than he normally does, by having him putter away on a moped while ignoring police brutality happening around him. All Cops Are Bastards, including Barry Allen. But the worst thing about this book is that once again, beloved Flash Wally West has been made into a murderous villain. Couldn’t even make it a year after last getting rehabbed from character assassination.

Grade: F

Grades:

A+

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #6

A

Future State: Batman/Superman #1
Future State: Catwoman #1
Future State: Harley Quinn #1
Future State: Justice League #1
Future State: Nightwing #1
Future State: Superman vs Imperious Lex #1
Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #1
Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1
Future State: The Next Batman #2

B

Batman: Black & White #2
DCeased Dead Planet #7
Future State: Aquaman #1
Future State: Dark Detective #1-2
Future State: Green Lantern #1
Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #1
Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Future State: Robin Eternal #1
Future State: Suicide Squad #1
Future State: Swamp Thing #1
Future State: The Next Batman #1
Future State: Wonder Woman #1
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #7
Legion of Super-Heroes #12
The Other History of the DC Universe #2

C

Dark Nights: Death Metal #7
Future State: Shazam! #1
Future State: Teen Titans #1
Generations Shattered #1
Sweet Tooth the Return #3
The Last God #12

D

Batman: White Knight Presents Harley Quinn #4
Batman/Catwoman #2
Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman #1
Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1
Rorschach #4
Strange Adventures #8

F

Future State: The Flash #1

Solicitation Situation

The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #1

  • written by IVAN COHEN
  • art and cover by DARIO BRIZUELA
  • ON SALE 4/13/21
  • $2.99 US | 32 PAGES | FC | DC
  • It’s an all-new, all-ages series that teams the Dark Knight with Scooby-Doo and the sleuths of Mystery Inc.! When Batman discovers his original purple gloves have gone missing, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo travel back in time to Batman’s Year One era to solve the case! Will this “Glove Story” have a happy ending?

Batman, Scooby and Shaggy in a spotlight

While I’m happy to have a Scooby-Doo team-up book back (the last series was a perennial favorite of mine), I’m disappointed that it seems to be nothing but Batman focused, while the last one was spread to the greater DC Universe and Hanna Barbera cartoon universe.

Action Comics #1030

  • written by PHILLIP KENNEDY JOHNSON
  • art by DANIEL SAMPERE
  • backup story written by
  • BECKY CLOONAN and MICHAEL W. CONRAD
  • backup story art by MICHAEL AVON OEMING
  • cover by MIKEL JANÍN
  • card stock variant cover by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
  • ON SALE 4/27/21
  • $4.99 US | 40 PAGES | FC | DC
  • CARD STOCK VARIANT COVER $5.99 US
  • “Warworld Rising” starts here! A new chapter in Superman’s life begins as the challenges of Dark Nights: Death Metal are causing Clark Kent to feel…a change in his powers. Is it possible the Metropolis Marvel could be losing a step? His struggles in taking down the creatures from the Breach would suggest as much! If he’s going to continue to protect the people of Earth, he’ll have to adapt—especially with threats like Mongul out there waiting to launch their biggest attacks on the Earth yet. That’s right, those are Warworld battleships just outside our orbit, and they are heading straight for us!
  • Meanwhile, in the Midnighter backup story, the bad boy of the Authority has to figure out what Andrej Trojan is up to in the present if he ever wants to get back to Future State and swap places with the Midnighter of 2021, whom he left stranded on Warworld.

A boy emulating Superman flying

I have to admit that I’m eating my words a bit as I was not looking forward to Johnson’s Superman runs, due in part to a bad taste left in my mouth from his recent Empyre: Captain America book. The first issue of his “Future State” book has begun to win me over, and hopefully, that continues.

That’s it for this month, next month we have the conclusion of “Future State” and of course the next issue of The Dreaming.

Cori McCreery

Cori McCreery

Cori is a life long comic nerd residing in Northern California. A life long Supergirl and DC Comics fan, she is the DC Comics Beat Reporter for Women Write About Comics.

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