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Silent night, blackest night: DC Entertainment comic-book solicitations for December 2009

by  in Comic News Comment
Silent night, blackest night:  DC Entertainment comic-book solicitations for December 2009

I’ll be honest here, folks: I’m not terribly excited about the December solicits. This is not to say that I am “bored with comics” — heaven forbid! — just that there is little in these adverts which really thrills me. It’s like this year’s Emmys. I’m glad “Mad Men” won, but there were a lot of repeat winners.

Maybe the missing week is to blame. Would Ambush Bug Year None or All Star Batman have come out on December 30? We’ll never know.

Anyway, here come the highlights.

BLACKEST NIGHT

While I don’t think any ring-giveaways are involved, December sees a total of fourteen BN-related books. Eight of those are the second parts of regular-series tie-ins from November, three are the latest round of BN tie-in miniseries, and three are the core Green Lantern and BN titles. The tally works out like this:

12/2: BN: Flash #1, BN: Wonder Woman #1
12/9: Adventure Comics #5, Booster Gold #27, Doom Patrol #5, REBELS #11
12/16: GL Corps #43, Superman/Batman #67, Outsiders #25, JLA #40
12/23: BN #6, GL #49, BN: JSA #1, Teen Titans #78

This month BN‘s skip week (if indeed there is one), comes a week later than usual. However, the way the schedule falls, the bulk of BN proper falls on the 23rd with BN #6 and GL #49. Naturally, I am reminded that Green Lantern #50 is on deck for January, and that’s probably related to BN‘s “skip month.”  You’d think the second issues of the BN: [Title] miniseries would appear next month, but if only Blackest Night itself skips, what would be the point?

By the way, it’s funny how last month’s solicits were open about one of the miniseries’ central mysteries, but this month it’s all generic plot and “TOP SECRET.” I know retailers don’t like the lack of information when Marvel does it,* but you know, sometimes I like being surprised. Sometimes I also get a little tired having to separate today’s plots from tomorrow’s.

Speaking of spoilers, the solicit for Blackest Night: Flash #1 tends to spoil the end of Flash: Rebirth, now doesn’t it?

And speaking of Green Lantern #49, I hope it’s not the start of another “emo John Stewart” subplot. Yes, it’s probably been twenty years or so since the last one (brought on by the one-two punches of Katma’s death and Xanshi’s destruction), but I liked “Square John” the outspoken architect and I don’t see much of that guy anymore. Guy gets to be a Red Lantern (naturally) and Kyle was “the Torchbearer,” so here’s hoping John gets a little love as well.

Incidentally, the new BN tie-in miniseries should be good, judging by their creative teams. I’m especially looking forward to BN: Wonder Woman, because I liked Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman and I really like Nicola Scott.

BATMAN

Please tell me the DC Chronicles Batman statue — where he’s rising up out of the fiery explosion — plays “The Final Countdown.”

Tony Daniel didn’t impress me with Battle for the Cowl, but Batman #694’s phrase “Black Mask and his Ministry of Death” is pretty catchy.

I’m reserving judgment on the “Batwoman’s dead sister” bit (introduced in this week’s Detective and revisited in December’s issue #860). It strikes me as melodramatic, but I can see where it might fit into the Church of Crime’s prophecies about Batwoman.

The Under The Cowl collection features Dark Knights Damian Wayne, Terry McGinnis, Jean-Paul Valley, Tim Drake, and …?  Well, that would be telling.  I remember liking that LOTDK story quite a bit, though.

INS AND OUTS

No new Cry For Justice or Batman And Robin solicited for December. However, Widening Gyre #4 and Power Girl #7 are back on the schedule, after missing last month.

With the addition of JSA All-Stars, the Justice Society finally has a presence on each ship week (assuming the idea of “ship weeks” still means something): first All-Stars, then Magog, Power Girl, and the main book. Expect crossovers, folks.

THIS AND THAT

Doom Patrol‘s solicitation is probably supposed to remind longtime readers about the original Patrol’s sacrifice to save tiny Codsville, Maine. Did that still happen in the DP’s revised history, though? I can never remember.

Still can’t believe there’s a character in Warlord named “McBane.” I like Warlord well enough, but really … McBane?

Adam Strange is welcome anytime in World Of New Krypton. However, I did not know he was also in REBELS. (Perhaps I should pick up the REBELS paperback, helpfully solicited this time out as well!)

Jonah Hex is one of those titles (along with Blue Beetle and Manhunter) about which I have heard good things, and which I fully intend to pick up (or otherwise catch up with) in paperback form, should the budget ever allow it. However, Darwyn Cooke’s double-sized issue #50 may finally get me to pick up a single.

I’ll probably sound like an even bigger goober if I try to wax effusively about Daytripper, the upcoming Vertigo miniseries from Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, so I’ll just direct you to the preview.

I liked that Secret Six #16 cover the moment I saw it, and I’m eager to see the whole issue.

FAILED TRADE PAPERBACK HUMOR

There’s a joke somewhere about taking over twenty years to collect an Adam Kubert-drawn miniseries (Doc Savage: The Silver Pyramid), but I can’t find it.

Likewise, there’s a litigation joke somewhere around the Superboy: Greatest Team-Ups paperback, but … yeah.

And finally, the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps paperback suggests an “I dare you to get Alan Moore to sign this” bit….

COLLECTIONS

About that Superboy book, though — Grand Comics Database was down, so I haven’t been able to research the particular team-ups. Still, if memory serves, these are things like Superboy saving a plane from crashing (I think) with the help of fearless teenager Harold Jordan, or solving a crime with a time-traveling Robin. Makes me wonder if these are going to be the basis for future “untold but in-continuity” stories in Superman/Batman.

The Creeper By Steve Ditko collection reminds me that DC can’t do too many of those. There have been the Kirby books, the (sadly out-of-print) Walt Simonson paperback, the Across The Universe Alan Moore collection, The Complete Frank Miller Batman, the George Perez Wonder Woman and JLA books, and the various Neal Adams hardcovers, but even those seem few (relatively speaking) and far between. I suppose the Superman books are ripe for mining, for example with the best of John Byrne or Jerry Ordway. Personally, I’d love to see a book collecting Michael Golden’s Batman work.

Wasn’t expecting the Hellboy crossover to be in the latest Starman Omnibus. That’s a pleasant surprise.

Nice to see a Human Target paperback scheduled to coincide with the new TV show, but what about collecting the original material? There’s only about 144 pages of it (18 8-page stories), so it could even be in color.  Maybe if the show’s a hit?

CAN YOU TAKE ME TO…

So Courteney Cox has this new TV show, “Cougar Town,” about how she might be older, but she’s still gettin’ it done. I used to think Ms. Cox would have made a fine Donna Troy, especially when “Friends” first started. Monica Geller had the right look and she had the same sort of stop-me-from-being-so-fussy attitude. Of course, “Friends” is so far off the radar these days that the premise of “Cougar Town” seems credible, and although DC wants us to believe Donna Troy is just “twentysomething”**, Titans #20 seems to have her acting rather cougarish.  At any rate, she might be older, but she’s still gettin’ it done.

Now, Titans has been a frustrating read for me — full of potential but constantly being tweaked — and in the context of the current run, the solicit for Titans #20 is kinda sad.

For starters, Donna is an odd character. She was created almost by accident out of a castoff concept from one of Wonder Woman‘s more loopy periods. It took her four years even to get a proper origin story, courtesy of Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane; and it took another ten years or so for Wolfman and George Perez to make fans care about her. I mean really care, to the extent that readers ate up Tales of the Teen Titans #50 like they could taste the wedding cake themselves. Accordingly, I tend to think fans find their own dream girl in the relatively wholesome, grounded superheroine.  (She was the Team Titans’ den mother, for goodness’ sake!)  Indeed, I suspect this has created a self-reinforcing protection against a possible descent into skankitude, and it’s why I found Titans #17’s image of Donna in a halter-top and peekaboo thong kind of jarring.

Now, I say that with the full awareness that Donna is a fictional character; and worse, she’s a fictional character ripe for imprinting with any number of fannish desires. I’m pretty sure that at some point some writer (Byrne, perhaps?) has even incorporated into his story the notion that there’s no real reason for Donna to exist. For one person she could personify all of superhero comics’ alleged innocence and whimsy, but for another she could represent the kind of intellectual regression those comics stereotypically foster. Therefore, who cares what Donna wears; because either way it symbolizes DC’s attitude towards its readers, whether condescending to their misguided nostalgia or pandering to their baser instincts.

Regardless, Donna and her fans can’t win. If she remains inviolate, she runs the risk of being “boring,” and therefore unmarketable. If we see more of her thong, though, that’s a sad commentary on what a superheroine needs to do to sell books these days. Bare midriffs aren’t exactly the best reputation-enhancers — just ask Supergirl.

Oh well. It may be just a phase, like Donna’s post-traumatic reaction after being mind-controlled into loving a Titan Of Myth during the Wolfman/Perez days. Pretty sad that it’s happening to a “twentysomething,” though. Good thing she’s not in Cougar Town.

++++++++++++++++

* [DC hasn’t done it in a while, if at all, unless you count the fake Flash solicitations from the summer of ’07.]

** [Donna most likely turned 20 along with the rest of her Titans peers sometime in the mid-1980s, so DC is now telling us she’s not out of “twentysomething” range yet? Sure, DC. Donna and her pals might not be 30 yet, but they can see it from here.]

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