August will be a busy month for DC's superhero line. Blackest Night rolls on, the Archie/Red Circle characters finally get their moments in the sun, there's an inter-title Superman crossover, and the Bat-line continues to grow. Let's get right to it, shall we?
There's a similarity to the various Blackest Night tie-ins, and it has to do with the "How Can [Hero] Fight [Deceased Loved One(s)]?" theme running through them. BN: Batman and BN: Superman feature dead parents; dead significant others are on the agenda for BN: Titans and Green Lantern #45; and dead Green Lanterns take the stage in GL Corps #39. We've all seen this story before, haven't we? The zombies have the upper hand thanks to the emotional hold they still exert over our heroes. Indeed, these folks' deaths helped shape our heroes' characters -- because that's what death in comics does, right?
Accordingly, there must be something more to these tie-ins than exhuming (pun intended) a hoary superhero-comics cliché. I'd love it if the only thing which could stop a Black Lantern was a superhero who's already been dead. Maybe the longer they were dead, the more toxic they'd be to the BLs. In any event, you could field a pretty decent super-team with folks like Superman, Wonder Woman, Troia, Barry/Flash, Hal/GL, Green Arrow, Jason Todd, Guy Gardner, Ice….
(By the way, the fact that the Flying Graysons show up in BN: Batman seems to confirm the conventional wisdom about who wins the Battle for the Cowl. Having Peter "I Used To Write Nightwing" Tomasi write the miniseries doesn't hurt either.)
As much as I fussed last month about Blackest Night being everywhere, this month it takes the first week off, and there's only one BN book scheduled for August 19. Since it involves at least three titles (the core miniseries and the two Green Lantern books), it seems a little weird to have two of them ship on the same week. Anyway, here's the whole August checklist.
August 12: BN #2, Green Lantern Corps #39, BN: Batman #1August 19: BN: Superman #1August 26: Green Lantern #45, BN: Titans #1
After many of them were canceled over the past several months, the Bat-books start to rebuild in just a couple of weeks. The headliners of Nightwing, Robin, and Catwoman will be featured (in slightly different ways) in Batman And Robin, Red Robin, and Gotham City Sirens. I suppose the new Streets Of Gotham will take the place of the long-gone Gotham Central. August's new Batgirl series doesn't look like it maps to Birds Of Prey; but we can't be sure without more information. However, the upcoming Azrael series (announced at the end of last week's Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #3) pretty clearly brings back the basic idea, if not the original character. In any event, Batgirl will be the eighth ongoing in-continuity Bat-book (not counting Outsiders), and Azrael will be the ninth. That's a lot of books for a line which had cut back significantly after Infinite Crisis.
Since the Streets Of Gotham and Gotham City Sirens books both feature an "evil" Bruce Wayne, and both are written by Paul Dini, who made Tommy "Hush" Elliot into an exact (albeit evil) duplicate of Bruce back in Detective, it doesn't take a you-know-what to figure out who's posing as the lost-in-time billionaire.
Speaking as someone who's bought most of Kevin Smith's Big Two superhero work (Daredevil, Green Arrow, Spider-Man/Black Cat), I felt pretty safe skipping Batman: Cacophony. I hesitate to compare its critical reception to the Bruce Jones run on Nightwing, but it may not have been far off. Still, it must have made somebody happy, because here's Smith and buddy Walt Flanagan on a new Batman miniseries, Widening Gyre, which is twice as long and apparently a harbinger of future Bat-work to boot. Perhaps we can look forward someday to the hardcover Complete Batman By Kevin Smith?
I should have mentioned this last month, but mark next July on your calendars for Batman #700. Maybe Ed Brubaker and Bryan Hitch will come on board for that one….
Apparently Adventure Comics vol. 2 #1 will ship with a 1-for-10 variant cover, re-numbered as issue #504. I suppose DC thinks the only people who care about the original numbering have enough money to pay for the variants. While that might be true, DC doesn't have to rub it in our faces.
According to this convention report, the co-feature will spotlight individual Legionnaires, with an eye towards relaunching Legion Of Super-Heroes if there's enough interest. Frankly, I'd put my money on an ongoing Legion title sooner rather than later. Otherwise, Legion Of Three Worlds -- whose hardcover, we are told, is scheduled for October -- seems like a long way to go for just a co-feature.
With James Robinson and Greg Rucka writing most of it, the various series' regular artists on board, and Superman returning to Earth (however briefly), August's "Codename: Patriot" should be pretty good.
Between Sodam Yat's spotlights in Green Lantern Corps and the upcoming Superman Annual #14, the planet Daxam is enjoying a lot of attention -- which, ironically, I don't think the Daxamites would particularly appreciate….
I liked the earlier Jimmy Olsen Special, and I'm looking forward to August's issue #2 (drawn by Bernard Chang). However, I can't decide if the "Project 7734" codename is delightfully retro or irredeemably goofy.
THIS AND THAT
The Red Circle characters … yeah, I don't know. I am not proud of being a creature of habit, but if DC had stuck with the original plan to showcase these characters in The Brave and the Bold, I'd probably have gotten those issues, because I get B&B already. (Actually, it works out well for me, because I already like the Milestone characters who'll be in upcoming B&B issues.) August's series of standalone specials seems too isolated from the rest of the DC line, and I've never been a big JMS fan. Maybe I'll get the Shield special, but more than likely I'll end up reading a paperback collection.
My expectations for Doom Patrol #1 are pretty high. For whatever reason, I've been on a DP kick the past couple of weeks, reading the Showcase Presents volume and currently re-reading the Grant Morrison/Richard Case issues. I also liked the John Arcudi/Tan Eng Huat series, but it didn't seem to be going anywhere. In short, I've always liked the Doom Patrol and Keith Giffen, and I am a huge fan of the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire team. Thus, DP #1 would have to be pretty doggone bad for me not to like it. (Great, now I jinxed it....)
I was enjoying Steve Gerber's relaunch of Doctor Fate, and I appreciated the way DC treated Gerber's work after his death. Still, as a practical matter, I wondered when (and how) the company would use the character next. Well, I wonder no longer: Fate returns in Justice Society #30.
Looks like a good month for Wonder Woman. She (along with lots of other Amazons) guest-stars in Secret Six #12, and she concludes a team-up with Black Canary in WW #35.
The Spirit is cancelled, but I'm not too excited about the upcoming "radical reinvention." Didn't Frank Miller just try that?
I might be reading too much into them, but the Power Girl and Titans solicits don't sound too promising. In PG #4, our heroine must stop a "trio of sexy alien marauders" out for "the ultimate party"; and in Titans #16, Starfire's "major rage issues" threaten to "rip the team apart." Now, the current Titans arc involves Jericho's "major rage issues," since he wants to rip the team apart in a more lethal sense; but I don't remember seeing it described in quite those terms. Also, not to be facetious, but when was the last time a group of alien frat-boys threatened to destroy the Earth? Still, none of DC's other female-centric titles have solicitations like these, so I'm hoping they're outliers.
The first Flash Chronicles paperback is solicited here, and while I'm glad to see it, I have to wonder why there's no Wonder Woman Chronicles as yet. (Too hot for softcover, perhaps?)
As I understand it, Mike Grell's Warlord started off outside the regular DC universe. It was then brought into the fold sometime before Crisis On Infinite Earths, but lately I thought those ties had been cut. The current series looks like a relaunch, but some parts of it seem like a reboot. Anyway, it all makes me eager for Showcase Presents Warlord Volume 1. The original series ran for over ten years, plus a few Annuals, so this may be the first book of many.
* * *
That's what jumped out at me this month. What looks good to you?