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Today’s Grumpy Old Fan is brought to you by the letters J, M, and S, and the DC Entertainment comic-book solicitations for June 2010

by  in Comic News Comment
Today’s Grumpy Old Fan is brought to you by the letters J, M, and S, and the DC Entertainment comic-book solicitations for June 2010

There doesn’t seem to be a lot going on with DC in June. Sure, there are the Trinitarians’ anniversary issues and the new Green Arrow series, but beyond that there’s not much in the way of lineup changes. This may be a scattershot look at DC’s solicitations, a mile deep and an inch wide.

Still, that never stopped me before, so…

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY TOO, YEAH

Who would have thought that all those delays and hiatuses actually helped DC’s Big Three series sync up? It’s almost as if Dan DiDio planned Wonder Woman’s four-month break back in 2006 (not to mention the lack of any regular Super-titles in May).

I kid because I love, of course. I’ve always liked it when anniversary issues were used as jumping-on points, and I think it’s good of DC to schedule them one after the other like this. (Plus, Justice League #50 will be coming up in the fall, and Action Comics #900 is about a year away, so it’s not like everything happens this month.)

So it’s the perfect opportunity to sample J. Michael Straczynski’s work on Superman and Wonder Woman; but I’m not sure how excited I am about him taking over either title. While JMS is certainly enthusiastic about Superman, and Gail Simone sounds pretty excited about him succeeding her on WW, to a great extent those are things you’d expect them both to say. As it happens, the series which really soured me on his comics writing — and, to be fair, I hadn’t read a lot of his comics work before or since — was Marvel’s adults-only DC parody Supreme Power. I thought SP took itself way too seriously, really pounded the table with its plot points and character beats, and moved agonizingly slowly to boot. JMS’s Brave and the Bold run has had its problems, but at least pacing isn’t one of them.

Anyway, back to anniversary issues generally: I think going more traditional is good, but I like that James Robinson and Bernard Chang get to wrap up the whole “New Krypton” saga in Supes #700. I’m looking forward to re-reading all those issues (… someday…). I don’t know what to make of the Dan Jurgens story, except to note that DC still feels comfortable calling Jurgens “the man who killed Superman.” It’s not like Jurgens is going to kill him again. And I’d like to think that “shocking new directions” aside, JMS and Eddy Barrows have it in them to tell some familiarly-set Superman stories, considering that the past year or so has been all shocking and new. Elsewhere, Batman #700 features a Batman triptych from Grant Morrison and appropriate artists; while Wonder Woman #600 offers no clues about story, just an impressive list of creative teams. (George Pérez isn’t listed as one of WW #600’s writers, but I kinda hope he got to contribute a little something in that direction as well.)

AND ON THE OTHER HAND…

The fact that DC publishes three high-profile three-digit anniversary issues in the same month as the latest Green Arrow #1 doesn’t strike me as contradictory. There will never be a Green Arrow #200, let alone a #600. I had thought DC would drag out Ollie’s (or whoever’s) flight from the authorities a little longer, and I sure didn’t think it would restart Green Arrow with a new no. 1. It reminds me of the Flash’s short-lived changes in direction in 2006 and 2007, and before that the tinkering with Hawkman in the early ‘90s. Both of those eventually resulted in DC going back to basics — big shocker there — but DC’s already done that with Green Arrow, a couple of times. I’m sitting out the “Rise and Fall” storylines, so let me know if this turns out to be the best thing for the Emerald Archer since Elliot S! Maggin’s little class project.

BATMAN

One last thing about Batman #700:  although Tony Daniel has become Batman’s regular writer/artist, the fact that Morrison is writing the big anniversary issue suggests that he and his regular gig Batman And Robin are still, conceptually speaking, driving the Bat-bus. I continue to wonder how all this will shake out once Bruce Wayne is back for good — which books will be cancelled? Which teams will go where? — and I thought the rubber would meet the road around #700, but apparently not.

Special Bat-projects abound in June, as The Return Of Bruce Wayne continues, the second round of Joker’s Asylum specials debuts, and the second Batman Beyond miniseries appears. Joining them, however, is the miniseries no one seems to have demanded; namely, the Red Hood: Lost Days six-parter from Judd Winick and Pablo Raimondi. While I can only speak for myself, I think I would be more excited about a J-T miniseries if he had done more with his second life than glower under a leather jacket. (Oh, and he rides a motorcycle–!) Come to think of it, I might really enjoy a Jason Todd/ Damian Wayne glower-off … but I doubt this will feature that. Instead, it’s pretty clearly meant to get comics fans excited about the “Under The Hood” animated adaptation (collectible maquette also coming soon), not to mention having one more Batman paperback to stock next to those DVDs. Accordingly, I can understand why DC would commission such a thing. I just wish I had more of a reason to read it.

COMINGS AND GOINGS

Thanks to James Robinson’s slip of the tongue at the Emerald City Comic-Con, alert Internet readers have a pretty good idea about JLA #46’s special surprise guest.

In the Bat-line, Frazer Irving finally comes aboard Batman And Robin for his long-awaited three-ssue arc, Fabian Nicieza returns to Tim Drake’s adventures as Red Robin’s new writer, and “Manhunter” wraps up in Batman: Streets of Gotham #13.

Besides JMS and Eddy Barrows starting on Superman, Marc Guggenheim and Pete Woods begin as Action Comics’ regular creative team with June’s #890, and Judd Winick and Sami Basri start on Power Girl with June’s #13.

Paul Levitz kicks off his Legion of Super-Heroes run in Adventure Comics, but that feels a little anticlimactic considering that his new Legion of Super-Heroes book is scheduled for a month earlier.

I am somewhat surprised that DC is cancelling The Shield and The Web after just ten issues. (Bad timing, too, that the first Shield paperback is solicited here, too late for its sales to affect the fortunes of the regular book.) It may be in the service of some future relaunch, but I thought DC was more committed to the Red Circlers.

And for whatever it’s worth, DC refers to Tony Bedard as “new Green Lantern Corps writer” in the solicits for his other two titles, The Great Ten and REBELS. That may be the most useless statistic I have ever compiled.

THIS AND THAT

It’s a dirty trick Keith Giffen’s playing in Generation Lost and Booster Gold, bringing back Justice League International just to pound on poor Booster. I thought only Dan DiDio was allowed to do that….

Apparently DC/WildStorm’s first Fringe miniseries did well enough that a follow-up is on June’s schedule.

Finally — and this will surely tell you how limited my reading habits have become — I enjoyed Andersen Gabrych’s stint as a Batman writer a few years back, so I may well check out his Fogtown graphic novel (drawn by Brad Rader).

COLLECTIONS

The big news in these solicits is the Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali reprint, available in two equally-attractive editions. At one point in my wayward youth I actually owned a copy of this oversized … well, it’s not quite a classic, but it was very fun. Whichever version you choose, I recommend renting the excellent Ali documentary When We Were Kings for a good taste of “The Greatest.”

Otherwise, the second volume of Batman Annuals looks promising, and it’s hard to go wrong with the third volume of Showcase Presents Sgt. Rock. I also recommend the JSA Vs. Kobra collection, as a good standalone Justice Society story and a nice coda to writer Eric Trautmann’s work (with Greg Rucka and various artists) on Checkmate.

* * *

Well, that’s what jumped out at me this month. What looks good to you?

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