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Grumpy Old Fan | Harvesting DC’s October solicits

by  in Comic News Comment

After September’s market-chasing “Villains Month” solicitations, the October listings look a lot more normal. I say “more normal” because I only count 47 New 52 ongoing series, which means October’s new additions don’t balance out August’s cancellations. Forever Evil and other miniseries are picking up some of that slack, but obviously they won’t be around forever. If DC is serious about having 52 ongoing titles — and why wouldn’t it be serious about something so arbitrary? — now may be a good time to start pushing for that Crimson Fox series you’ve always wanted. Hey, DC has greenlit worse ideas …

NOT FOREVER, BUT CLOSE

Forever Evil is 2013-14’s big-event crossover miniseries whose hook is that the villains have taken over the world. Final Crisis was 2008-09’s big-event miniseries whose hook was that Darkseid (helped in part by a revived Secret Society of Super-Villains) had taken over the world. Final Crisis didn’t actually do much crossing over into ongoing series, but it did have an array of tie-in miniseries and specials, including one featuring the Flash’s Rogues Gallery.

Appropriately enough, therefore, Forever Evil will also have a series of tie-in miniseries. Get ready for six issues each of Arkham War, A.R.G.U.S. and (yes!) Rogues’ Rebellion. With the seven-issue core miniseries, that makes 25 issues’ worth of bad behavior, none of which will be over before March. Moreover, in October FE crosses over into all of the Justice League titles, plus Suicide Squad and Teen Titans. Basically, it’s a tie-in miniseries and at least one crossover issue every week except the first and last:

10/2 – FE #2/7
10/9 – FE: Arkham War #1/6; JLA #8; SS #24
10/16 – FE: Rogues’ Rebellion #1/6; JL #24
10/23 – FE: ARGUS #1/6; JLD #24; TT #24
10/30 – n/a

Subject to change, naturally.

THIS IS YOUR BIG DEBUT, LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE

We may never know the extent to which anguished debate filled the halls of DC Comics about whether to launch its latest batch of high-profile books in September, for the New 52’s second anniversary, or in October, so as not to compete with Villains Month. Clearly, October won (because the villains won in September, duh), and it will see the first issues of Justice League 3000, Superman/Wonder Woman, the Damian: Son of Batman miniseries from writer/artist Andy Kubert, the new Sandman miniseries from Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III, and the new Vertigo witchcraft series Coffin Hill.  Each looks fairly impressive, either on the merits or in terms of hype potential, so start anticipating now.

BUSINESS AS USUAL

For the various Justice Leaguers — presumably either doomed or newly recovered, depending on timing — superheroic life goes on unabated outside of the Forever Evil bubble. Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier help Aquaman come to grips with the Scourge of the Seven Seas, while the Others are rumored to get their own series if their Aquaman Annual #1 spotlight does well enough. Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul continue their Reverse-Flash arc in The Flash, Brian Azzarello and Goran Sudzuka launch a “shocking new direction” for Wonder Woman (one which may well ignore the new SM/WW book, if history is any guide), while the JLA’s Katana, Green Arrow and Vibe seem unaffected by their ostensible deaths elsewhere in these solicits.

Meanwhile, in the “I believe I had that” department, Pandora #4 begins her “quest to kill the Seven Deadly Sins”; or, as some might call it, “the rest of the series.”

THIS AND THAT

R.B. Silva should be a good fit for Worlds’ Finest #16. Rafael Albuquerque might not last long on Animal Man, but boy will it look pretty.

While Greg Pak may be the new Action Comics writer, apart from Superman Unchained, October belongs to Scott Lobdell. He writes “Psi War’s” conclusion in Superman #24, pens a follow-up to Grant Morrison’s Brainiac storyline in Action #24, and kicks off the next crossover, “Return of Krypton,” in Action Annual #2.

As for Pak’s current title, for some strange reason I have jumped to the conclusion that the end of Batman/Superman #4 is a Trouble-style reversal, where we learn that the “main” Bruce Wayne is Helena’s real father. I am sure that’s absolutely wrong, but just in case, remember where you heard it.

Wow, after months of crossovers among the Green Lantern books, October begins another crossover among the Green Lantern books. I would be more upset about this if I’d actually bought all of “Wrath of the First Lantern,” and if “Lights Out” lasted any longer than October.

The Witching Hour is the latest classic DC horror title to get a Vertigo-special makeover, and with it a solicit that actually says (with a smile, of course) “destroy all men.” The book will probably be good, given who’s involved, but the sentiment might have gone over better if the creative teams didn’t have so much testosterone.

DIGITAL NOTES

Arrow and Ame-Comi Girls are both canceled in October, although Arrow may return in the fall when the TV show does. Meanwhile, Legends of the Dark Knight will skip the monthly floppy format entirely and go straight to collections. That last is a little surprising, mostly because I thought DC would be reluctant to cancel a monthly Batman comic, even an eclectic anthology. Maybe it didn’t want competition on the shelves with the Black and White miniseries? Still, moving to collections-only is better than nothing, and honestly speaks more to the material’s staying power. I was thinking about making that move for Smallville and Adventures of Superman, although I wouldn’t mind continuing to read those monthly.

Speaking of digital-first, the solicit for Batman ‘66 #4 refers to “1960s London,” although the show did a (somewhat epic) three-parter set in “Londinium.” I guess London:Londinium::New York:Gotham?

COLLECTIONS

And speaking of “Arrow,” the first batch of stories from the 1987 Mike-Grell-written ongoing series gets a paperback collection. At the time, Grell’s revamp (in the Longbow Hunters miniseries) was pretty radical, ditching the happy-warrior attitude and the trick arrows and settling firmly into an urban-vigilante mode. Today, these stories are probably fairly close to the TV series. I wouldn’t count on DC reprinting all of this ‘80s-‘90s series, as it ran for more than 100 issues (many of those under writer Chuck Dixon) and eventually featured Ollie’s son Connor Hawke. In fact, I suspect DC probably should have called this Green Arrow By Mike Grell Vol. 1, both to make its purpose plain and to distinguish it from those other “first volumes” out there.

If memory serves, that Green Arrow series was Ollie’s first-ever ongoing. He’d starred in various backup features and a couple of miniseries, and of course was a regular in Justice League and (for a while) Green Lantern. I say all that to note that there was a time when the Joker was deemed more worthy of an ongoing series than Green Arrow was, and that time was 1975. Curious readers can revisit this Joker solo series — which, coincidentally, features an issue guest-starring Green Arrow and Black Canary — in this fall’s affordable paperback. Despite an all-star creative roster, I don’t think it has the best reputation, but odds are it’s still better-remembered than Man-Bat.

Speaking of affordable, the solicits include a series of DCE Essentials, 64-page issues for $1 each. The solicitation copy suggests that each DCE issue might only reprint the first issue of the New 52 Batman, Wonder Woman, et al, but if that’s the case, what are the other 40-odd pages for? Here’s hoping they each reprint the first three issues, which for a buck apiece would be a pretty good deal. (Also, for the conspiracy theorists out there, I note that the Sandman and V For Vendetta books are “DCE,” and not otherwise identified as Vertigo …)

Along the same lines, the Ex Machina paperback looks like a pretty good deal — 11 issues and 272 pages for $20.

AND FINALLY …

I’m glad to see Nicola Scott break through the ceramic Bat-ceiling, but now I really want a Batman: Black & White statue designed by Kate Beaton.