February finds DC's superhero books gearing up for various endgames. The month begins with the end of the World Of New Krypton miniseries and ends with the final issue of Cry For Justice. Blackest Night and Superman: Secret Origin present their penultimate issues, Titans reaches a stopping point, and the revamped Batman line closes out its third quarter. Given the publisher's track record, I suppose that means a month or two of relative calm before the next round of character-specific events starts. (The 700th issues of Superman and Batman are right around the corner, relatively speaking.)
But that's still in the future, and just like a box of chocolates or a big pile of valentines, there's a lot right here....
I've just about concluded that there will be a big letdown after Blackest Night. There has to be, if these solicits are at all credible. I mean, over the past few years we've gone from a new Multiverse to the triumph of Ultimate Evil and now to the very limits of Death itself -- and what's left after that? Reunification with Vertigo? (Wouldn't it be great to see Death of the Endless put a big hurt on Nekron?)
The solicit for BN #7 does give me a nice thrill: the thought of Hal Jordan as the ultimate pioneer -- "star voyager," even -- out on the farthest frontier imaginable, with only his indomitable will standing between the universe and utter annihilation. Again, stuff like that is a big part of the reason I read superhero comics. You're on notice, issue #7 -- my expectations have been raised!
Speaking of Vertigo, though, did we ever get closure on Daniel/Sandman's advice to Kyle that because he "knows fear," he'll "surpass" Hal? Maybe the revived Kyle is the key to the whole thing, hmm?
Of course, the thing about those Black-Lantern-fied issues of Adventure Comics and Green Arrow is that they could both refer to alternate versions of Superboy (-Prime, perhaps? I read this week's Adventure…) and Green Arrow (Everyman?). In any case, I'm surprised Geoff Johns isn't writing the Adventure issue.
I'm sure I'm not the first person to think that "Bruce Wayne lost in time" practically begs for a crossover between Red Robin and Booster Gold. It's one of those things which, on the surface, looks just that simple; but as a practical matter of course it won't be.
Case in point: looks like February's Batman And Robin issues might involve that dessicated Batman corpse we saw in Final Crisis….
There's something to be said for the relative simplicity of the secondary Bat-books' solicits. Streets Of Gotham's storyline has been building since the first issue, but it's still straightforward superhero action. Same goes for Batgirl #7, which (appropriately) uses C- and D-list villains. Meanwhile, Azrael tries to broaden its horizons, spiritually speaking, with a Ragman guest appearance.
By the way, the "Batman Reborn" books (Batman And Robin, Streets, Red Robin, and Gotham City Sirens) are all set to hit issue #12 in May, which is perfect timing to set up June's aforementioned Batman #700. The Superman books don't have similar timing. DC's on pace for Superman #700 in May, but World Of New Krypton (the final issue of which might have made a good lead-in) ends right at the beginning of February.
You know, we hear so much about stereotypically intransigent fans making up the core of the Big Two's readership, it makes me wonder about how the solicit for Superman: Secret Origin #5 -- and really? Metallo is your penultimate-issue villain? -- will be received. John Byrne's revisions to Metallo's origin are pretty well-established by now, so you'd think a vocal contingent of readers would protest Geoff Johns' changes. On the other hand, it's just Metallo, right? Who would care that much?
Along the same lines, I'm surprised, but not unpleasantly so, by Helen Slater's involvement with Supergirl #50. Considering the reputation the (now twenty-five-year-old) Supergirl movie has, Ms. Slater sure has been a good sport about it, and seems genuinely to like the character.
I expect the Peter Johnson/Chris Sprouse backup stories in the new Human Target miniseries will follow the format of the new TV show, which eschews the character's traditional disguises. However, by the same token, I'd hope the Len Wein-written lead would be about as traditional as you can get.
Two 48-page issues to wrap up four years' worth of the Milestone Universe? Heroes Reborn got a lot longer sendoff, and it was a lot shorter (and a lot less fondly remembered). At least the original creators are back together.
While I've been critical of J. Michael Straczynski's Brave and the Bold, I liked this week's Batman/Brother Power story and am looking forward to February's Aquaman/Etrigan combo.
Yay, Crazy Jane's back in Doom Patrol #7! I'm cautiously optimistic -- which, appropriately enough, seemed to be Jane's default attitude....
If REBELS #13 means what I think it does, I'm kinda glad Despero's dead. He was okay in Trinity, but he's become a sort of all-purpose unstoppable villain, and that's gotten old.
The cover of Justice League of America #42 reminds me that the Dr. Impossible action figures aren't exactly flying off the Target shelves. More to the point, though, "evil versions of good New Gods" is the kind of thing I'd expect to see in a Justice League book; so I'm really looking forward to this one. Here's hoping Dr. I. justifies his toyetic status.
And not to be overly pessimistic, but Titans #22 strikes me as an excellent jumping-off point for longtime readers like myself. That said, though, I'm curious to see where the book goes from here. Clearly it won't become DC's loose-knit answer to Defenders, but I don't know who's left from that particular generation to join the new team. It's hard to explain, but I'm getting kind of a "Detroit League" vibe (no pun intended) off the whole transition.
Between reprinting Batman In Barcelona and Batman: The Scottish Connection, the Batman International paperback looks pretty good. (The Legends Of The Dark Knight reprint is "Tao," by Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson, which involves -- get this! -- a flashback to his days training in China!)
Meanwhile, that new Brave and the Bold paperback includes the Batman/Hawk & Dove issue of the original series (#181), written by Alan "I Never Wrote A Bad Batman Story" Brennert, as well as a Flash/Captain Marvel story (set during 1995's Underworld Unleashed crossover) from Flash #107 and an Impulse/Zatanna story from Impulse #17. As for B&B's more recent reprints, the Superman/Catwoman story from issue #16 is especially good.
I notice that the third JLA Deluxe Edition doesn't include the DC One Million miniseries. That's unfortunate, since it was practically an extension of Morrison's JLA, and honestly, JLA #1,000,000 might not make much sense without it.
By contrast, the worst thing about the second JLA By George Pérez hardcover is that it won't be out by Christmas. This volume contains a pretty good Red Tornado story -- and no, that's not a backhanded compliment -- but I'll be getting it pretty much for the phenomenal JLA #200. Although Pérez penciled the main story, featuring the League fighting off a very familiar alien invasion, the other chapters were handled old-school Justice Society style, by artists synonymous with the characters. Gil Kane drew Green Lantern vs. the Atom, Joe Kubert drew Hawkman vs. Superman, Carmine Infantino drew the Flash vs. the Elongated Man, Dick Giordano drew Wonder Woman vs. Zatanna, and Brian Bolland drew Batman vs. Green Arrow and Black Canary. JLA #200 isn't just a landmark for the Justice League, it's one of the most beautiful superhero comics DC has ever published.
I am happy to be wrong about the Wednesday Comics hardcover. How wrong was I? Well, back in April, I supposed -- rather testily, I must admit -- that "[a] complete Wednesday Comics collection [probably] won't retail for less than $50.00 ($75.00 if it's still 14" x 20") and probably won't be out until next summer … that is, if it's collected at all." In fact, it'll be out around Memorial Day (which might fit your definition of "summer," but is still, strictly speaking, spring) and it'll retail for $49.99 (oh! that cruel penny). It will be smaller than the original issues (11" x 17.5", not 14" x 20"), but bigger than either an Absolute book (8.5" x 12.8") or those oversized Paul Dini/Alex Ross specials from ten years ago (9.5" x 12.8"). In other words, I think I lost a bet to my LCS' owner. And yes, I'll want one for my coffee table.
Glad to see the first Hardware collection on the schedule -- but finally there's a Wonder Woman Chronicles series! Now I can enjoy psychosexual superheroics on a budget!
Ironically (in light of the above), maybe inflation has gone to my head, but you know, $150.00 seems pretty reasonable for two volumes of Absolute Planetary. It'll probably be closer to $100.00 at a lot of places, so about $4.00 or $5.00 an issue.
Does it seem to anyone else like the Batman And Robin hardcover was produced rather quickly, while the Mysterius and Tor paperbacks took a long time coming out? Yeah, I know, priorities….
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Anyway, that's what jumped out at me this month. What looks good to you?