DC PUBWATCH – May 2021

DC Pubwatch - October

Mayday mayday! Waking Hours did not earn the top slot this month. Instead, that honor went to The Other History of the DC Universe #4, a book that has also been remarkably good for its run, but in a much different way than Waking Hours has.

The News

Oh boy, the biggest news this month involved DC’s parent company divesting themselves of the WarnerMedia properties, with AT&T merging WarnerMedia with Discovery to take focus on the entertainment wing of the company. It’s unlikely that this will mean much for the comics side of things since they’ve already been cut so far back from where they were, but maybe an entertainment-focused company will be better for DC than a phone company. One can only imagine.

Highlights

The Other History of the DC Universe #4
Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouts and cover), Jamal Campbell (variant cover), Andrea Cucchi (finishes), John Ridley (story), José Villarrubia (color), Steve Wands (letters)

Renee Montoya surrounded by silhouetted images of people and themes from her life - Other History of the DC Universe #4 Cover by Jamal Campbell

The Other History of the DC Universe is not a traditional comic in any sense of the word. Instead, it’s presented mostly as in-universe memoirs of characters going through various time periods of DC history, only the characters involved are not the traditional main characters of the universe, it is a series focused on telling the stories of the heroes whose lives fall outside the spotlight that surrounds the DC trinity. It focuses on the marginalized and victimized, showing their perspectives in a world that is different, but not that different, from our own. It’s a series that takes chances and utilizes the DC Black Label line to the fullest extent, doing things like dealing with racism and homophobia or tackling subject matter like Deathstroke’s grooming of Terra. This issue, in particular, focused on the journey of Renee Montoya, from the Catholic guilt that kept her in the closet for years to her time as a cop, and finally to her fall and rise as the Question. On top of that, Jamal Campbell’s variant cover for this issue is just stunning, outlining people and themes of Renee’s life in vibrant neons while she herself is shrouded in mysterious smoke.

Grade: A+

Superman #31
Gabe Eltaeb (colors), Scott Godlewski (breakdowns and art), Phillip Kennedy Johnson (writer), Norm Rapmund (art), Dave Sharpe (letters), John Timms (cover)

Superman and Superboy standing against aliens

It’s honestly incredible how quickly Phillip Kennedy Johnson has won me over with his Superman and Action Comics runs. While the Superman run is coming to an end, he still set up the groundwork from which Tom Taylor can build when his book launches later this summer. What really gets me though is how well Johnson nails Clark’s voice. In one page, Johnson wrote the Superman as a dad book that Tomasi wished he had written. “As I slid deeper and deeper into the black, I reached out through the voices… found the sound of your heartbeat… and then everything was okay again. Your heartbeat is my favorite sound, pal.” That’s just an all-time great Superman line, and it made me incredibly happy to read it.

Grade: A

Stargirl Spring Break Special #1
Hi-Fi (color and cover), Bryan Hitch (art), Geoff Johns (writer), Rob Leigh (letters), Todd Nauck (art and cover), Alex Sinclair (color)

Stargirl in the middle of star-framed images of the other Soldiers of Victory

For a book that stealth announced two new ongoing series, this book did nothing to excite me about either one. I want somebody new on Justice Society of America, not Johns taking his THIRD swing at the characters. Johns has always been about playing to nostalgia, bringing back the characters of his youth rather than working within the new and evolving framework of the DC universe. Now Johns is to a point in his career when he’s playing to his own nostalgia, returning to the characters and teams he refuses to let go of, and making it so other fresher voices can’t take their own crack at them the way he did 20 years ago. That, and Johns shoehorning in a reference to Roy Harper’s addiction problems in a book that needed no reference to that just struck me the wrong way.

Grade: D

Strange Adventures #10
Clayton Cowles (letters), Mitch Gerads (art and cover), Tom King (writer), Evan “Doc” Shaner (art and cover)

Alanna wiping off a mirror

Sigh. I thought war-crime Adam Strange was bad enough. But not bad enough for the story that King wants to tell with him apparently. In fact, in this issue, we see one of the very specific war crimes that Strange did, and that’s to line up at least 27 (maybe more, maybe some of them children, the art gets unclear towards the end of the line) prisoners and executes them one by one with shots to the back of the head. It’s horrific and unnecessary but made all the more so when we get the revelation that the reason Strange committed these war crimes was as part of the bargain he made with the Pykts to save Rann by delivering them Earth. See he had to give himself the look of a war criminal who hates the Pykts, and to do that he did war crimes to the Pykts. Flawless logic.

Grade: F

Grades

A+

The Other History of the DC Universe #4

A

Action Comics #1031
Batman #
108
Batman/Superman #
18
Catwoman #
31
DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #
1
Detective Comics #
1036
Milestone Returns: Infinite Edition #
0
Nightwing #
80
Superman #
31
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #
10

B

Batman Black & White #6
Batman: The Detective #
2
Crime Syndicate #
3
Future State: Gotham #
1
Harley Quinn #
3
Justice League: Last Ride #
1
Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #
1
Robin #
2
Superman Red & Blue #
3
The Joker #
3
The Swamp Thing #
3
Wonder Girl #
1
Wonder Woman #
772

C

American Vampire 1976 #8
Batman: Urban Legends #
3
Justice League #
61
Man-Bat #
4
Suicide Squad #
3

D

Green Lantern #2
Rorschach #
8
Stargirl Spring Break Special #
1
Teen Titans Academy #
3
The Flash #
770

F

Strange Adventures #10

Solicitation Situation

SUPERMAN ’78 #1

  • story by ROBERT VENDITTI
  • pencils by WILFREDO TORRES
  • inks by WILFREDO TORRES
  • cover by WILFREDO TORRES
  • price: US $3.99 pages: 32 FC|DC On Sale Date: 8/24/21
  • 1 of 6
  • CARD STOCK OPEN ORDER Variant by EVAN “DOC” SHANER
    Price: US $4.99
  • CARD STOCK 1:25 Design Variant by WILFREDO TORRES
    Price: US $4.99
  • Fly into director Richard Donner’s Superman once more in Superman ’78! Written by Robert Venditti (Superman: Man of Tomorrow) and drawn by Wilfredo Torres (Batman ’66), Superman ’78 tells a brand-new adventure in the world of the beloved film. A bright, shining day in Metropolis is interrupted by a mysterious drone that crash-lands in the city and starts wreaking havoc. This looks like a job for Superman! But where did the metallic menace come from, what is its purpose, and who is Brainiac?
    BELIEVE A MAN CAN FLY AGAIN!

Superman holding a crystal in the fortress of solitude

It’s a good month to be a fan of Doc Shaner Superman, as we get three Superman-related covers from the artist this month. Beyond this incredible rendition of Christopher Reeve, there’s also Superman: Red & Blue and Crime Syndicate.

 

Superman Red & Blue #6

  • story by TOM KING, MATT WAGNER, SOPHIE
    CAMPBELL, REX OGLE, AND DARCIE LITTLE BADGER
  • art by PAOLOE RIVERA, MATT WAGNER, SOPHIE CAMPBELL, STEVE PUGH AND MORE!
  • cover by EVAN “DOC” SHANER
  • ON SALE 8/17/21
  • $5.99 US | 40 PAGES | FC | DC
  • variant by GABRIELLE DELL’OTTO
  • variant by KEVIN EASTMAN
  • prestige format
  • 6 of 6
  • It’s the final issue of this free-form anthology, featuring the Metropolis Marvel in new stories, bedazzled in his signature colors. It’s the only place to see Superman chasing down headlines in a classic style and taking pause to reflect on growing up on a farm in Smallville. Not to mention, the return of Streaky the Supercat by superstar cartoonist Sophie Campbell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)!

The Superman family (ALL OF THEM) flying towards the sky, while Superamn invites you to fly with them

Speaking of Doc Shaner, just LOOK at this beautiful cover for the final issue of Superman: Red & Blue! Plus a Sophie Campbell Streaky story that is sure to be adorable.

Batman: No Man’s Land Omnibus Vol. 1

  • written by DENNIS O’NEIL, GREG RUCKA, DEVIN GRAYSON, CHUCK DIXON, AND OTHERS
  • art by ALEX MALEEV, ROGER ROBINSON, DALE EAGLESHAM, AND OTHERS
  • cover by DALE EAGLESHAM AND SEAN PARSONS
  • ON SALE 10/26/21
  • $125.00 US | 1120 PAGES | FC | DC
  • Hardcover
  • 7 1/16″ x 10 7/8″
  • ISBN: 978-1-77951-322-9
  • A CLASSIC SAGA IN HARDCOVER FOR THE FIRST TIME!
  • After a cataclysmic earthquake hits Gotham City, destroying much of its infrastructure, thousands are dead and even more are without homes. The U.S. government declares the city uninhabitable and orders all citizens to leave. Many do. But months later, those who refused to vacate live in the lawless territory now known as “No Man’s Land.”
    Forsaken by the rest of the country, the former Gotham is now a citywide turf war of gangs and costumed villains in which the strongest prey on the weak. But with the return of Batman and the appearance of an enigmatic new Batgirl, justice is returning to Gotham.
    Batman: No Man’s Land Omnibus Vol. 1 collects the first half of the monumental crossover event that changed the Dark Knight forever. Collects Batman: No Man’s Land #1, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83-88, Batman #563-568, Detective Comics #730-735, Azrael: Agent of the Bat #51-57, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #116-121, The Batman Chronicles #16-17, Young Justice in No Man’s Land #1, Robin #67, Nightwing #35-37, and Catwoman #72-74.

The Batman Family Gathered on a rooftop

I’m a little annoyed that it’s the modern Batman logo on the cover of this book and not the logo that was in the books of that time, but that’s a small price to pay for an omnibus edition of one of my favorite Batman events.

That’s it for the month of May, next month DC celebrates Pride with both a special and variant covers on their main-line books! See you then!

 

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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