[Note: I wrote this post before reading this week's ironically big stack of comics.]
Obviously I buy a good bit of DC’s superhero line. (It's somewhere in the neighborhood of eighty percent, although I haven’t run the numbers in a while.) Lately I’ve been buying a nominal amount of Vertigo titles as well (including the might-as-well-be-a-superhero-book Madame Xanadu), and even the odd Wildstorm miniseries which isn’t Astro City. Every month I survey the DC solicitations knowing that a significant number of these books will come home with me on one Wednesday or another. By and large I don’t drop books as often as I add them. At times it makes me wonder whether there will ever be some kind of perfect convergence, where DC publishes exactly what I want out of a shared superhero universe, no more and no less ... but then again, I probably won’t live that long, because it sure hasn’t happened yet.
I say all this because a variety of things have put me in the mood to do some pruning. Keep in mind that this happens sooner or later, but I’m motivated both by the budget and, at the risk of sounding too vague, the need to take a good hard look at what I’m getting out of each Wednesday’s purchases.
Therefore, this look at DC’s August solicitations will be a little different. I’ll run through the things I plan to buy and see where I might trim some fat.
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Brightest Day #7-8 (8/4 and 8/18)
I don’t hate BD (or what it may represent), but I don’t love it either. Honestly, my expectations for it aren’t particularly high. Right now I am reading it for two subplots: Aquaman/Mera, because the idea that Aquaman can only command zombie marine life is truly creepy; and Firestorm, because I think “Ronnie takes over” is a huge fake-out. However, the miniseries as a whole seems like an extended reintroduction to these characters for those who came in late.
The Flash #5 (8/18)
It’s only been two issues, but I’m really enjoying Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul on this title. For one thing, they’re telling what looks like a fun standalone story and have left the emotional repercussions of Barry’s revival with Flash: Rebirth and Blackest Night. I’m hoping this issue’s Brightest Day tie-in is minimal.
Green Lantern #57 (8/25), GL Corps #51 (8/18), GL: Emerald Warriors #1 (8/11)
Geoff Johns isn’t the first writer to try and explain the Predator’s convoluted connection to Carol Ferris and/or Star Sapphire, but he might get in the most trouble over it. I actually think the cover of GL #57 is pretty fair to Carol, since all the other Lanterns are chained in passive, submissive poses and she looks like the only one who can (or wants to) do anything about it. On balance I still like Johns’ GL work. As for the companion title, I’ve always liked the Green Lantern Corps, and I’m glad Tony Bedard is coming aboard, so no qualms about getting GLC #51.
However, Peter Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin’s GLC spinoff, Emerald Warriors, is more of a poser. I like these characters, but Tomasi’s scripts sometimes try too hard to be clever and end up overwritten and clumsy. Ironically, because he has a decent handle on Guy Gardner in GLC, I’m afraid that a steady focus on Guy will bring out those bad tendencies. Plus it’s $3.99 for a 32-page comic.
Justice League: Generation Lost #7-8 (8/11 and 8/25), Doom Patrol #13 (August 4) and Booster Gold #35 (August 11)
No reservations about JL:GL -- I liked the first issue, and I especially like the solicit’s tease of breaking into the Checkmate castle. Also, while we’re in Keith Giffen territory, I’ll just mention that I enjoy his other series pretty well. Still, if I were going to drop one, it would probably be Booster, because it’s more likely to be collected.
Justice Society #42 (8/18), Justice League #48 (8/25)
After too long wandering from crossover to crossover, James Robinson and Mark Bagley have made Justice League of America highly entertaining and frequently satisfying. Expectations are high for this crossover with JSA, but I don’t think they’ll disappoint. Not dropping JLA anytime soon.
Secret Six #24 (8/4), Birds of Prey #4 (8/11), and Welcome to Tranquility: One Foot in the Grave #2 (8/11)
Big Gail Simone fan, so I’m going for the trifecta.
Batman #702 (8/11), Batman And Robin #15 (8/11), and The Return Of Bruce Wayne #5 (8/25)
Likewise, I can’t turn down Morrison on Batman, especially with Frazer Irving drawing B&R and Ryan Sook on ROBW.
Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2 (8/25)
On one level this strikes me as a fairly shameless way to piggyback on ROBW’s goodwill. On the other, though, it certainly seems like a reasonable bit of fan-logic: why wouldn’t Superman recruit Booster Gold and Green Lantern to go looking for their lost colleague? Dan Jurgens’ Supes and Booster credentials aren’t really in question, so even with the $3.99 pricetag I’m overlooking the shamelessness.
Batman: Streets of Gotham #15 (August 18) and Zatanna #4 (August 11)
I liked Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen’s work on Detective Comics, and I was glad that the Bat-makeover left room for them to continue. As awful a character as Tommy Elliott/Hush has been, I’m also nominally curious to see how his “replacement Bruce Wayne” storyline turns out. After that, though, I’ll have to re-evaluate this book. Dini’s scripts haven’t been as consistent as the Detective issues, there’s not as much Batman and Robin as I hoped, and the “Manhunter” backup (which made up for a lot) is now gone. I still like Dini generally, and I’m eager to read his Zatanna series, but I note that it’s up to issue #4 and there’s already a fill-in art team.
Detective Comics #868 (8/25)
As you might expect, I’ve read Detective for so long it’d take a major trainwreck for me to drop it. Fortunately for DC, August’s David Hine/Scott McDaniel 40-pager (Batman must corral rival Batman and Joker gangs) sounds pretty entertaining.
Batman: Odyssey #2 (8/4)
Speaking of trainwrecks, there’s tremendous potential for this miniseries to go either way. Since it’s Neal Adams On Batman, on principle I can’t wait for the collection. In practice, though, that could change.
Batman Beyond #3 (8/18)
The curiosity factor is also pretty high for this miniseries. I still think it will be some kind of Earth-12 story, and not a follow-up to the animated series, but that’s clearly a very minor detail. Regardless, I could very easily wait for the collection here.
Superman #702 (8/11), The Brave and the Bold #36 (8/18), Wonder Woman #602 (8/25), and Action Comics #892 (8/25)
Superman and Wonder Woman are unknown quantities so far. I’ve never been a big Straczynski fan, whether it’s “Babylon 5" or Fantastic Four, and his Brave and the Bold run has been uneven so far (although I do like Jesus Saiz). As with Detective, it would take a lot for me to drop either Superman or WW. On the other hand, I have heard nothing but good things about Paul Cornell coming aboard Action, and I have long been a fan of Pete Woods.
DC Universe Legacies #4 (8/18)
The final issue of The Marvels Project was a little underwhelming, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am a huge superhero-history nerd. Plus this issue features art by Joe Kubert and José Luis Garcia-Lopéz & Dave Gibbons, so there’s that.
Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #1 (8/4)
It’s Cary Bates writing Superman ... but it’s not the Earth-1 Superman with the great supporting cast that Bates wrote so well back in the day. I may have to wait for the collection here.
Supergirl #55 (8/18)
Without re-reading all of the “New Krypton” titles from the past year or so, it’s hard for me to tell whether I keep getting Supergirl on its own merits, or because it tied so heavily into that mega-plot. I did like the ideas Sterling Gates was playing with before the book took its detour, and I’ve liked Jamal Igle since his Firestorm days, so I hope they get back to some good standalone stories now that they have the chance.
Superman/Batman #75 (8/18), Adventure Comics #517 (8/11)
I don’t read S/B regularly (although I may pick up the latest Paul Levitz/Jerry Ordway arc), but the solicit for this anniversary issue sounded pretty good. I’m a sucker for overstuffed celebratory anthologies. As for Adventure, I’m coming for the Atom co-feature and staying for the Superboy/Legion stuff -- but I’m not committed to either.
Sparta: USA #6 (8/4), Joe the Barbarian #8 (8/18), and X-Files/30 Days of Night #2 (8/18)
Here are two miniseries from WildStorm and one from Vertigo. Two wrap up in August, and one is just getting started. Sparta has been reasonably entertaining so far, Joe has been excellent, and the X-Files/30 Days crossover looks promising.
The Unwritten #16 (8/11), American Vampire #6 (8/18), Madame Xanadu #26 (8/25), and Unknown Soldier #23 (8/25)
Here are the four ongoing Vertigo series I read. I’m a little worried about the Unwritten and Unknown Soldier solicits, because they sound like they’re reaching rather climactic (as in series-ending) points. I’m not sure I want Unknown Soldier to turn into some kind of Jason-Bourne-ish super-competent-assassin book. Really, though, I don’t expect that to happen as long as Joshua Dysart is in charge. As for which ones could go, well ... Vertigo’s business model relies pretty heavily on the eventual collection, so in theory they’re all eligible. I would probably drop American Vampire first, since it’s starting a new arc in August.
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So where does that leave me?
Definite: Brightest Day #7 ($2.99), Doom Patrol #13 ($2.99), Secret Six #24 ($2.99), Sparta USA #6 ($2.99) = $11.98Probable: Batman: Odyssey #2 ($3.99)Drop-able: Superman: Last Family of Krypton #1 ($4.99)
Definite: Batman #702 ($2.99), Batman And Robin #15 ($2.99), Booster Gold #35 ($2.99), Birds Of Prey #4 ($2.99), JL:Generation Lost #7 ($2.99), Superman #702 ($2.99), Unwritten #16 ($2.99), Welcome To Tranquility II #2 ($3.99) = $24.92Probable: Adventure #517 ($3.99), Zatanna #4 ($2.99) = $5.98Drop-able: GL:Emerald Warriors #1 ($3.99)
Definite: Brightest Day #8 ($2.99), DCU Legacies #4 ($3.99), Flash #5 ($2.99), GL Corps #51 ($2.99), Joe The Barbarian #8 ($2.99), JSA #42 ($2.99) = $18.94Probable: Batman: Streets Of Gotham #15 ($3.99), Brave and the Bold #36 ($2.99), Supergirl #55 ($2.99), Superman/Batman #75 ($4.99) = $14.96Drop-able: American Vampire #6 ($3.99), Batman Beyond #3 ($2.99), X-Files/30 Days Of Night #2 ($3.99) = $10.97
Definite: Action #892 ($3.99), Batman: ROBW #5 ($3.99), Detective #868 ($3.99), Green Lantern #57 ($2.99), JL:Generation Lost #8 ($2.99), JLA #48 ($3.99), Madame Xanadu #26 ($2.99), Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2 ($3.99), Unknown Soldier #23 ($2.99), Wonder Woman #602 ($2.99) = $34.90
Cripes, that’s a lot of comics! I’d actually like to read more books about which I have heard so much, like REBELS or Jonah Hex or the First Wave titles, but as you can see I’m probably over-committed as it is. Not buying a lot on the first ship week helps the math work out, but at this point I’ll have to start dropping and/or trade-waiting if I want to pick up anything else.
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OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
Magog winds up with issue #12, concluding a two-parter by Scott Kolins. August also sees the final issue of Air, #24.
I suppose the news that CMX is shutting down as of July 1 trumps these (and previous) CMX solicitations.
We know a decent amount about the first Superman: Earth One OGN, but it’s worth noting that it’s on the schedule for October 27. At 136 pages, it’s a little longer than a six-issue miniseries. For the sake of comparison, the 200-page Tony Daniel Batman hardcover collection from these same solicits also checks in at $19.99, as does the 144-page Luthor hardcover, the 160-page Streets Of Gotham hardcover, and the 192-page Red Robin paperback.
I’ll definitely be getting Showcase Presents The Legion Vol. 4, and I’ve heard good things about the Luthor: Man Of Steel miniseries (collected in the aforementioned hardcover).
Glad to see that the Adam Hughes-designed Supergirl statue apparently doesn’t objectify the Maid of Might. Also, I’m glad to see more Ame-Comi figures sculpted by my friend Sam Greenwell. I’ll have to ask him about the teddy bear....
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Well, that's my take on the August solicits. What looks good to you?