DC PUBWATCH – February 2021 Edition

DC Pubwatch - October

It’s February! The shortest month, the coldest month, and the month of romance! So what does that mean for DC Comics? Well at the very least it means DC’s annual Valentine’s day themed giant is here, along with the second half of their Future State event. Will The Dreaming: Waking Hours #7 continue to lay claim to the top spot? How did Future State as a whole shake out? What about Generations?

The News

Not a lot of news to report for this month for DC. They did have a big presence at ComicsPro, the retailer-specific conference for publishers to give comics shop managers and owners an idea of things to come for the coming year. This year they announced eleven new titles that are being developed but are still in the early stages so no creative teams or even really plot details on what they may entail. Of interest were a Wonder Woman 80th Anniversary special, a Nubia and the Amazons series, an Elseworlds series, and a series with “DC Vampires” as the working title. A good chunk of the eleven hyped books is Gotham City related because that’s where the money is.

I’m also happy to note that despite rumors of the contrary reported by some other comics sites, Michelle Wells does not seem to be among the people that were laid off from the company. While she’s no longer the co-Editor-in-Chief, she’s moved back to her position as Executive Editor of the Young Reader line. This is a role she thrives in, and one that is increasingly important to the business, so I’m glad it still has her excellent guidance to pave the way.

Highlights

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #7
Simon Bowland (letters), Nick Robles (cover), Javier Rodriguez (art and colors), G. Willow Wilson (writer)

Heather After holding Goldy the Gargoyle while warding off unseelie

This book remains just a perfect feat in story-telling. One of the best things about this series has been watching these characters develop.  Every single character is given room to breathe and realize their full potentials, each has a fully fleshed-out personality, including the characters that have been brought over from other books like Matthew and Goldy. One of my favorite moments was the revelation that the good nurse from the last issue has true sight, so she perceives Jophiel and Ruin in their true and terrifying appearances. Jophiel is a being of pure light with minimal face and green, orange, and red wings while Ruin is a mass of teal and purple snakes around a giant unblinking eyeball. Oddly, even in this horrific form, there’s still a beauty to Ruin.

This issue also sets up the next arc of the series, as Heather makes a deal with the ousted king of the fae, Auberon. Once more this series is tying back in unexpected ways to the original Sandman, and I love every minute of it. It’s nice that while Sandman was notable for being one of the first places with positive depictions of trans women, it still wasn’t good representation by any means. The stories while seen as progressive for their time now read as good efforts but ultimately deeply problematic. Heather’s inclusion in this series as a focal character with her own motivations and agency, where being trans is just part of who she is not the only thing we care to know about her, is a giant step forward and uses those crumbling foundations that were lain in Sandman to build something new and better.

Grade: A+

Future State (as a whole)

The heroes of DC's Future State

Future State is over, with one exception (Superman vs Imperious Lex #3 won’t be here until the end of March for some odd reason). Even without that final issue, I feel like we can evaluate the event as a whole and see what worked and what didn’t. Overall, I feel like the event finished strong. Several titles improved in the second month, some drastically so (Superman of Metropolis, in particular, jumped from a D to a B) while only a few got markedly any worse. I feel like this event is easily compared to that of Convergence for good or for bad. Both came out of tumultuous times for DC Comics. Convergence came as DC moved their offices from New York to Burbank, and the chaos caused by that move meant it was best to put regular titles on hold for a couple of months. Likewise, Future State comes at the end of the long editorial and publishing career of Dan Didio and Bob Harras, cobbled together from what had been their plans for the future of the lines. I feel that Future State, in that respect feels more haphazard and chaotic than Convergence did.

It’s also important to note that while Convergence had a main mini-series to tie the event together, Future State did not. This definitely led Future State books to feel a little disconnected from each other, but also I can’t stress enough how bad the main Convergence series was. Just real, real bad. So maybe it’s for the better that Future State didn’t have one.

What DC had instead, this time, was two giant bookend issues with the Generations books. These weren’t related to Future State at all, they did come out in the first and last weeks of the event. Generations was less about the dystopic future of the event it surrounded, and more about the future of the publishing line as a whole. It sets up the future of the new DC Omniverse or Linearverse, where any story might be happening at any time. With Future State and Generations over, I feel like this move opens the sandbox a bit more for the new storytellers to play in.

Grade: B

Future State: The Flash #2
Mike Atiyeh (colors), Will Conrad (artist), Brandon Peterson (art and cover), Brandon Vietti (writer), Steve Wands (letters)

Famine Wally West attacking bearded Barry Allen - Future State Flash 2 Cover by Peterson

So was The Flash one of those books that markedly improved itself in the second month? One would hope so after the utter disaster that was the first issue. One would also, sadly, be very mistaken, because while The Flash doesn’t get worse, it doesn’t exactly get any better either. This book with both issues is just a deeply depressing book for what is supposed to be one of DC’s most hopeful heroes. In the end, it also has very much a non-ending, because while this is the last issue of The Flash, it notes that it will be resolved in Teen Titans. The story in Teen Titans then continues this tradition and says that it’s story will be resolved in both Shazam! and Teen Titans Academy. The six issues in what seems to be the “teen heroes” corner of the Future State slate were all the worst issues of the event as a whole, and doesn’t give me, a Teen Titans fan of immense proportions, a whole lot of hope for the new series coming out of this mess.

Grade: F

Batman/Catwoman #3
Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom King (writer), Clay Mann (art and cover), Tomeu Morey (colorist)

Catwoman reflected in Phantasm's blade

Did this series get less confusing since the last time I wrote about it? Of course not. Did it get much more offensive? Absolutely it did! Unsurprisingly, Clay Mann is at the center of this month’s controversy with the book, but before we get to the cookie of it all, I feel like it’s important to point out the other place in this book where Mann gets absolutely fanservicy in a bad way. You see there’s this whole fight scene between Selina and Phantasm that occurs while Selina is in bed. Her nightshirt gets strategically torn and for some reason, she wears a fucking bra underneath her nightshirt like a fucking psychopath. Bras are a notoriously uncomfortable piece of clothing that is usually the first thing to come off when a woman can, and I don’t know of anyone who wants to sleep in one. Of course, we know the real reason for the bra is that DC wouldn’t let him just draw her tits out. The entire fight scene is nothing but gratuitous tit and ass shots, and because this is Clay Mann, it ends with Selina unconscious in a pose that displays, again, both T&A. This is a Clay Mann hallmark, one that he specifically got in trouble with during Heroes In Crisis when he sexualized a dead Poison Ivy so gratuitously that the cover had to be edited to be less offensive.

On top of the grossly sexualized fight scene, there was another scene that made waves when this issue released, and that’s the introduction of Huntress Batwoman to the future tense part of the series. Helena Wayne is introduced to readers with a full-page spread highlighting her costume, or lack thereof. You see, Clay Mann just drew a naked woman, slapped some torso armor, fighting gloves, and a bat cowl on her, and called it good. From her navel down, it very much looks like she’s wearing nothing at all. Part of this is the fault of the colorist, who makes the grey of the suit look a little bit too flesh-colored in the lighting of the page, but most of it’s on Clay Mann’s linework. Helena’s suit is so tight you can see her belly button. If your shirt is that tight, please get some clothes that fit, because it can’t be easy to breathe. In addition, you can see that he just barely erased the lines that would have made this page indecent, as even around her groin this suit just looks to be digging into every little nook of her body. From the rear, it gets sucked right up into her ass cheeks, which again I can’t imagine to be comfortable. In addition, it’s tight enough from the back that you can see the lines of the thong that she’s wearing as underwear. Please for the love of God, just ask a woman what a superhero should wear Clay. I beg of you.

Grade: F

Grades:

A+

The Dreaming Waking Hours #7

A

DC Love Is a Battlefield #1
Future State: Aquaman #2
Future State: Batman/Superman #2
Future State: Catwoman #2
Future State: Dark Detective #3
Future State: Dark Detective #4
Future State: Justice League #2
Future State: Nightwing #2
Future State: Superman: House of El #1
Future State: Superman: Worlds of War #2
Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #2
Future State: Swamp Thing #2
Future State: The Next Batman #4
Future State: Wonder Woman #2

B

Batman Black & White #3
Far Sector #10
Future State: Harley Quinn #2
Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2
Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2
Future State: Superman of Metropolis #2
Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #2
Future State: The Next Batman #3
Generations Forged #1
Man-Bat #1
The Green Lantern Season Two #11

C

American Vampire 1976 #5
Future State: Green Lantern #2
Future State: Robin Eternal #2
Future State: Suicide Squad #2
Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #4
Hellblazer: Rise and Fall #3
Sweet Tooth: The Return #4

D

Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman #2
Future State: Shazam! #2
Future State: Teen Titans #2
Rorschach #5

F

Batman/Catwoman #3
Future State: The Flash #2

Solicitation Situation

Wonder Girl #1

  • written by JOËLLE JONES
  • art and cover by JOËLLE JONES
  • card stock variant cover by BILQUIS EVELY
  • teams card stock variant cover by RAFAEL GRAMPA (minimum order 250 copies)
  • 1:25 variant cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
  • blank variant cover
  • ON SALE 5/18/21
  • $3.99 US | 32 PAGES | FC | DC
  • CARD STOCK VARIANT COVERS $4.99 US
  • The story of Yara Flor starts here!
  • Raised in the faroff land of Boise, Idaho, Yara Flor has always felt something was missing from her life—and now she is headed to Brazil to find it. Little does she know her arrival will set off a series of events that will change the world of Wonder Woman forever. Her return has been prophesied, and with that prophecy comes the undivided attention of benevolent gods from pantheons beyond. Danger lurks around every corner—but is this young hero ready for her journey? Find out in a debut issue you absolutely cannot miss!
  • Spinning out of the bestselling Future State: Wonder Woman, acclaimed writer/artist Joëlle Jones makes a triumphant return to the character to officially introduce her into the DC Universe. You think you know Wonder Girl, but you have never seen her like this!

Wonder Girl with a sword

Yara Flor was probably the highlight of Future State for me, and I’m incredibly excited to see more stories with her as the focus. The only thing I wish this book had was a woman of color working on either the writing or the art because I feel it’s important to let Yara be shaped by a woman who looks like her.

Milestone Returns: Infinite Edition #0

  • written by REGINALD HUDLIN
  • art by DENYS COWAN, BILL SIENKIEWICZ, and others
  • cover by DENYS COWAN
  • card stock variant cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and KLAUS JANSON
  • card stock blank variant cover
  • ONE SHOT | ON SALE 5/25/21
  • $4.99 US | 48 PAGES | FC | DC
  • CARD STOCK VARIANT COVERS $5.99 US
  • At last, it’s the return of the legendary Milestone Comics! This one shot features twenty-four all-new pages chronicling the events of the Big Bang: the police-brutality protest gone wrong that changed the face of the city of Dakota forever by unleashing a wave of superpowers across its population! As the world watches, a bullied teenager will become the hero known as Static… a framed scientist will go on the run as the superweapon Hardware… and a stranded alien will meet an ambitious young woman who will transform his life, and remake the pair as the all-powerful Icon and Rocket!
  • Also included is the 17-page primer story originally released online during the world-famous DC Fandome event, further expanding on our heroes’ origins and where they’re going next… and setting up an entire world of allies, enemies, and surprises!
  • The original Milestone changed the face of superhero comics forever, introducing the industry to a wave of Black talent who still shape the conversation…and the new Milestone intends to raise the bar! This is the perfect jumping-on point—don’t miss out!

The Milestone Heroes flying at the reader

I’ve recently started reading the classic Milestone books (Just Icon for now, because I’m nothing if not predictable, but the rest in the near future) as they get added to DC Universe Infinite. That universe of heroes is incredibly rich, and I’m so happy they’re finally coming back.

The Flash by Mark Waid Book Eight TP

  • written by MARK WAID, BRIAN AUGUSTYN, and JOE CASEY
  • art by PAUL PELLETIER, DUNCAN ROULEAU, SCOTT KOLINS, DOUG BRAITHWAITE, and others
  • cover by STEVE LIGHTLE
  • ON SALE 6/15/21
  • $34.99 US | $45.99 CAN | 368 PAGES | FC | DC
  • Trade paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-77951-010-5
  • As this latest collection of Flash tales written by Mark Waid begins, meet Walter West, a Flash from a parallel reality where his beloved Linda Park died and the speedster doles out brutal justice to criminals as a response. Can the two Flashes co-exist long enough to stop Replicant, a villain with the combined powers of the Rogues Gallery? Better find out fast—the longer Walter West stays on Wally’s Earth, the more he poses a threat to all of reality!
  • Collects The Flash #151-162, The Flash Annual #12, and pages from The Flash Secret Files #2.

Walter West on a pure white background

Finally, the Walter West, Dark Flash saga! Waid’s run on The Flash was the benchmark for the character and I hope it’s a type of story for him that they find their way back to soon.

That’s all for February. Next month the Infinite Frontier era of DC Comics begins, so we’ll see what that looks like.

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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