DC Comics Relaunch: Top 19 With Scott Lobdell, Kyle Higgins, Paul Cornell, JT Krul, & Dan Jurgens

Columns, Top Story

UPDATED: With the recently released RED LANTERNS #1 and GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1 covers. Still includes the actual cover to TEEN TITANS #1. See below.

So, we now know what new #1’s will be coming out in August and September 2011. We have over 52 books announced, and I was amazed about how 5 creators are dominating this top 19 list. Yes, there are other top creators on my reading list like Gail Simone, Geoff Johns, Peter Milligan etc., but Scott Lobdell, Kyle Higgins, Paul Cornell, JT Krul, and comics legend Dan Jurgens are working on 10 of my 19 new DC Comics titles. I didn’t see that coming, but I am thrilled!

However, this may turn into a Top 20 list if I end up picking up Action Comics if the macro new DCU history setting story is compelling. The list could even morph into a Top 21 in early 2012 when Batman Inc. resumes.

(BTW, DC, where is writer James Robinson?)

While I am disappointed that Captain Marvel / Shazam , Justice Society of America (JSA), and a Wally West / Flash book didn’t make the cut of this time, all of my other fave DC characters and teams are anchoring their own books: Suicide Squad, Hawk and Dove, Deathstroke, and Green Arrow. Plus we have the integration of Wildstorm characters into the DC Universe which is breathing new life and infusting new energy into my reading list too.

So, here are the 19 new #1’s I’ll be picking up post-Flashpoint. Some were no-brainers. Others were surprises. I’m pretty much reading the same amount of DC titles as I was just before many of my reads were cancelled to make way for the Flashpoint one-shots and 3-issues minis.

What is different with these new 19 is the diversity of tones they add to the DC Comics Relaunch. There is a sense of excitement in many cases AND a mix of anticipation and dread with other books. :)

So, away we go.

Stormwatch #1 (ships September 2011)

I was in at the ground-level when Stormwatch was launched in the 1990s in the Image Comics explosion. I loved the international roster and its more global feel. This is the book I am most looking forward to of all of DC’s September books (I NEVER thought I’d ever type that). The merging of DC proper and Wildstorm characters should prove interesting now and more so in a Stormwatch team that will include Martian Manhunter and other DC and Wildstorm stalwarts.

I am so there for Stormwatch #1.

“Stormwatch is a dangerous super human strike force whose existence is kept secret from the world. Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo. And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds. Featuring a surprising new roster, STORMWATCH #1 will be written by the critically-acclaimed Paul Cornell (Superman: The Black Ring, “Dr. Who”) and illustrated by Miguel Sepulveda.”

Paul Cornell has grown on me and is one of my fave writers after his recent Action Comics run. He is a capable and fresh writer who is working on what I would see as the flagship title of the new DC Comics Relaunch status quo. Not Justice League…. STORMWATCH is the face of the new DCU, thematically anyway. The blending of old and new. Can’t wait!

Suicide Squad#1 (ships September 2011)Ok, I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Suicide Squad since John Ostrander reimagined them in the 1980s. I was so pleased to see a Squad title back in September, but am not sure what I think of this new team.

I’ll pick up Suicide Squad #1, but my initial feeling is that the costume changes for Deadshot and Harley Quinn are unwelcome and very odd. And, King Shark is a hammerhead now???

“Harley Quinn! Deadshot! King Shark! They’re a team of death-row super villains recruited by the government to take on missions so dangerous – they’re sheer suicide! Who will be the first to crack under the pressure? Find out in SUICIDE SQUAD #1, written by Adam Glass (FLASHPOINT: LEGION OF DOOM) with art by Marco Rudy (THE SHIELD).”

I’m looking forward to seeing Amanda Waller back. If this team is in fact a team of 3, that does differentiate it from DC’s other covert ops teams. I do like them going back to the work-for-release-credits concept. I do hope the roster grows.

Deathstroke #1 (ships September 2011)Glad to see Slade Wilson is back in his own series. I’m curious what path writer Kyle Higgins will take with him. In any event, I’m on board with Deathstroke #1.

“A metahuman mercenary who made a living taking out the toughest targets, Deathstroke will reclaim his fearsome legacy by any means necessary in DEATHSTROKE #1, a new series from rising star Kyle Higgins (Batman: Gates of Gotham) and artists Joe Bennett and Art Thibert.”

I’m not sure I like the more metallic looking costume, but I’ll try it. I do love the other aspects of Simon Bisley’s stylized cover.

So, Deathstroke’s back as a merc, not a villain. Hmmm. I hope we get the globe-trotting feel that Deathstroke’s previous series had. And, I’m hoping his confidante Wintergreen is back too.

Grifter #1 (ships September 2011)

The integration of Wildstorm characters continues and brings a shot in the arm to DC Comics. Grifter has been my fave Wildstorm character since I picked up Wild C.A.T.S. back the the 1990’s Image Comics launch.

I’m looking forward to seeing how Grifter #1 sets him up in the DC Universe.

“Ex-black ops agent Cole Cash is a charming grifter that few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see. Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge? Find out in GRIFTER #1, written by Nathan Edmondson with art by CAFU and BIT (the team behind T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS).”

The strength of the Grifter character draws me in. I hope the book is differentiated from the other solo “gray” characters in the DCU in September.

Blackhawks #1 (ships September 2011)This was a surprise pick for me. However, I’m picking this up based on the strength of Ken Lashley’s art. He is a classy professional who can deliver high-quality art on-time.

I’ll be picking up Blackhawks #1.

“Blackhawk is an elite group of mercenaries made up of brave men from around the world equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us. A set of contemporary tales that battle the world’s gravest threats, BLACKHAWKS #1 will be written by Mike Costa and illustrated by Ken Lashley.”

I’m also intrigued about how this book is different from the other covert ops books DC will be publishing.

Could those be more Wildstorm characters peppered into the Blackhawks? Hmmm.

Teen Titans #1 (ships September 2011)This seems to be a major revamp of the Teen Titans franchise. I’ll grab Teen Titans #1. It has the Big 4 (Red Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash) after all.

“Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard when an international organization seeks to capture or kill super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he must team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and a hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash in TEEN TITANS #1, by Scott Lobdell and artists Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund.”

Not sure what the solicit reference to Tim Drake coming out from behind his desk means, but I hope his credentials as a sleuthing Robin remain in tact. The new characters on the cover to the actual #1 cover (attached) don’t seem that compelling, but we’ll see. I’m also curious about Wonder Girl and what is it that brings this particular team together.

I love Brett Booth’s art style. He’s work should add some energy to the franchise with new DC writer Scott Lobdell too.

Hawk & Dove #1 (ships September 2011)Rob Liefeld is back on Hawk and Dove and I’m on board, although, I’m going to miss Karl Kesel on inks. ;) Sterling Gates as writer is a big win as well.

So, I’m hoping Hawk and Dove #1 delivers.

“It’s up to the living avatars of war and peace to root out the hidden forces who look to plunge the country into a deadly civil war in HAWK AND DOVE #1. The exciting new series will be written by Sterling Gates and illustrated by legendary superstar comics artist Rob Liefeld.”

I’m not digging the gray or black of the new Hawk costume. The slight tweaks to Dove’s costume, the more bird-like waist design, seem understated and fitting. I’m hoping the intrigue promised in the solicit sets the tone of the book and that Washington D.C. is still the backdrop. I’m crossing my fingers for Kestrel‘s return as a villain. Here’s hoping.

Legion Lost #1 (ships September 2011)

I did not expect to be intrigued by a Legion of Super-Heroes book. However, I do like the time displaced sci-fi backdrop. Stranger in a strange land thing. So, I’ll try Legion Lost #1.

“Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from total annihilation. When the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in a nightmarish world and an ultimate struggle to survive. LEGION LOST #1 will be written by Fabian Nicieza and illustrated by Pete Woods, fresh off an acclaimed run of Action Comics.”

I enjoyed Pete Woods on Action Comics and I’m looking forward to more Fabian Nicieza DC work. I am intrigued by the virus backdrop for the title.

I was a big fan of the Cosmic Boy mini-series from the 1980s that had him stuck in modern day. I’m hoping Legion Lost captures a similar vein for me.

Demon Knights #1 (ships September 2011)This was another pleasant surprise for me. I love period pieces.

And, Paul Cornell has proven himself to me on Action Comics’s Lex Luthor run. I’ll try Demon Knights #1.

“Set in the Middle Ages, the Demon leads an unlikely team to defend civilization and preserve the last vestiges of Camelot against the tide of history. Critically-acclaimed writer Paul Cornell and artists Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert combine sorcery, swords and superheroes in DEMON KNIGHTS #1.”

It should be cool to see the other period characters that pop up in this book and/or make up the Knights. The solicit seems intriguing.

I like the risk DC is taking on a title like this. It’s likely going to include familiar characters in a new way. And, it’s got Camelot. Very cool.

DC Comics Relaunch Red Hood & The Outlaws #1 (ships September 2011)I do like the odd gray anti-hero. And Red Hood also has an interesting story as a former Robin with a grudge. DC should get a nod for trying something new here. I’m intrigued by how Arsenal and Starfire “fit” here as Outlaws. It seems like a misfit group, but we’ll soon see their purpose. I’ll pick up Red Hood and the Outlaws #1.

“Batman’s former sidekick had put his past as The Red Hood behind him, when the reclusive Jason Todd finds himself unwillingly elected as the leader of an all-new team of outlaw vigilantes. As The Red Hood once again, Jason Todd will lead this new team of antiheroes, including Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal and Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war. RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS will be written by Scott Lobdell and illustrated by rising superstar artist Kenneth Rocafort.”

I wonder who the rest are. Scott Lobdell really has won the DC sweepstakes with Bob Harras at the editorial helm. I’m looking forward to what fresh voice this writer has and what unique spot in the DCU these characters will now occupy. Looks like there will be more than 3 team members too.

DC Comics Relaunch Nightwing #1 (ships September 2011)

I’m a big fan of generational heroes and really have enjoyed seeing Dick Grayson grow from Robin to Nightwing to Batman.

We all knew whether in a new DC universe or not, Dick was not going to be Batman forever. The solicit for Nightwing #1 looks interesting and acknowledges Dick’s tenure as Batman.

“After a tenure as the Batman of Gotham, Dick Grayson resumes his mantle as Nightwing! As Dick embraces his identity, Haley’s Circus, the big top where he once performed with his family, returns to Gotham – bringing with it a history of murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront friends and enemies from his past as he searches for the source of an even greater evil. NIGHTWING will be written by Kyle Higgins with art duties handled by fan-favorite Eddy Barrows.”

I’m looking forward to this. Kyle Higgins is a rising star for DC. I just hope Dick is embracing his Nightwing persona and not just leaving his Batman persona. Those are two very different tracks this book can take; my peference is the former.

Mister Terrific #1 (ships September 2011)I applaud DC for giving a solo book to someone relatively new…. certainly new to anchoring his own book.

In the absence of a Justice Society of America title, confirmed by DC co-publisher Dan DiDio, :( I think I may try out Mister Terrific #1.

“The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in MISTER TERRIFIC #1, the new series from writer Eric Wallace and artist Roger Robinson. The cover to issue #1 is by J.G. Jones.”

This appears like it will be a different kind of super-hero book. My hope is that this might capture some of quirky science of Doom Patrol and make it its own.

I’m also wondering about how this book will be done and how it is differentiated with all the other solo hero titles DC is issuing #1’s for in September.

Well, I’m intrigued by Fury of Firestorm #1.

Fury of Firestorm #1 (ships September 2011)

This seems to be a complete revamp of what it is to be Firestorm. The solicit confirms this, but the cover reveals more.

“Welcome to a major new vision of the Nuclear Man as writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone team up with artist Yildiray Cinar to deliver THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #1. Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are two high school students, worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control. The cover to issue #1 is by Ed Benes.”

Looks like we have Firestorm Red and Yellow, but are there also four more Firestorms in the DC Universe now too? If you look at the “Frankenstein” Firestorm above Ronald and Jason, you’ll notice he has each character’s emblem in the top two spheres on its chest. You’ll note there are four other unpopulated spheres. Hmmm.

So are there seven Firestorms now… Jason, Ronald and six others, plus Frankenstorm :) ? Is this part of the super science conspiracy?

For anyone that knows my tastes, I’ve been waiting for a decent intrepretation of Oliver Queen as Green Arrow for a long time. Green Arrow #1 (ships September 2011)DC’s solicit for its new #1 doesn’t reveal too much, but it seems to be a back-to-basics intrepretation by creators I respect.

Oliver Queen is an orphan who grew up to fight crime as the Green Arrow, a billionaire playboy who uses his fortune to become a superhero – able to fight the most powerful super-villains in the universe with nothing but a bow and arrow. JT Krul will write GREEN ARROW #1 with art by superstar artist Dan Jurgens. The cover to issue #1 is by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund.”

My hope is that the book captures the genuine urban feel of Mike Grell’s classic run with a bit more super-heroics thrown in. Also, if Oliver wears a mask, it should be because his identity is a secret, unlike in the character’s current series.

And, that’s a nice Brett Booth cover. I hope he stays as cover artist in addition to his interior Teen Titans work in the new DC.

Captain Atom #1 (ships September 2011)Captain Atom #1 seems like an overhaul too. And, this is my second JT Krul penned book of September. The solicit confirms the reimagining, but I’m not digging the nuclear mohawk. My hope is that is just the character exuding power.

“Captain Atom has all the power in the world, but no hope of saving himself. Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, he has the potential to be a god among men – a hero without limits. But the question is this: Will he lose himself in the process? JT Krul and artist Freddie Williams II take the character in a bold new direction in CAPTAIN ATOM #1. The cover to issue #1 is by Stanley “Artgem” Lau.”

I’m a sucker for military espionage. If the book has that flavour to it, I may be sticking around. I’m curious about how the character is revamped. I hope he isn’t detached from humanity. That would be too predictable, and unlike the true spirit of the character.

I don’t plan on picking up four Green Lantern books, but I am intrigued by Kyle Rayner’s new role in the DCU leading the New Guardians that seemingly represent each of the emotional spectrum corps. Green Lantern: New Guardians has had a solicit released, but not its cover.

“Who are The New Guardians? The power of Rage, Avarice, Fear, Will, Hope, Compassion and Love combine to be the most powerful (and colorful) team in the corps under the leadership of Kyle Rayner. Beware their power . . . and their volatility! GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS #1 will be written by Tony Bedard and illustrated with cover by Tyler Kirkham and Batt.”

The solicit seems bland, but slightly interesting in the absence of a final cover confirming who will be in the New Gaurdians with Kyle. All that’s been released so far is shaded cover, but there is speculation about who’s on the team. That said, I’m glad Kyle is stepping up again in the DCU.

Red Lanterns #1

Red Lanterns #1 confirms news that this series was coming. I’m intrigued by anti-hero type books and I am hoping this has a different vibe from the other corps books or other books that have starred gray characters. The cover wasn’t released yet, but the solicit has been.

“Going solo. Atrocitus and his Red Lantern Corps return in their own series, battling against injustice in the most bloody ways imaginable. This Lantern Corps takes no prisoners, they are judge, jury and executioners! RED LANTERNS #1 will be written by Peter Milligan with art and cover by Ed Benes and Rob Hunter.”

I’m curious about the hook here and if there will be a recognizable earth born character joining the Red Lantern Corps. Should be a different kind of book I hope. Even I was surprised that I won’t be reading the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps books. However, Red Lanterns and New Guardians should give me my lantern fix. As will the next two books.

Justice League International #1 (ships September 2011)Dan Jurgens writing Justice League International had me sold despite some of the roster tweaks from Generation Lost. However, Guy Gardner satisfies my lantern fix, and the addition of the Great Ten’s August General in Iron has me excited. The solicit and cover have been released.

“A team of internationally-drafted superheroes fight each other and their bureaucratic supervisors as much as they do global crime in JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1 from writer Dan Jurgens and artist Aaron Lopresti. The cover to issue #1 is by Aaron Lopresti.”

My hope is that JLI is a new UN-sponsored Checkmate or original Stormwatch or vintage JLI type team. Would be nice if Wildstorm’s Weatherman was the team’s new coordinator.

Not sure I dig Booster Gold‘s new costume though.

Justice League #1 (ships August 31, 2011)

And, naturally, the new big guns Justice League. Plus Geoff Johns writing and Jim Lee drawing. What more do I need? :) My hope is that it lives up to the hype. And, there’s another Green Lantern in Hal Jordan on my monthly read list. I haven’t seen a solicit for the book, but we have heard from Geoff Johns in various areas including USA Today.

“The first book to be released under this new era: Justice League No. 1, out Aug. 31. The series by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee reunites the famous lineup of Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Johns promises a focus on the interpersonal relationships within DC’s trademark superteam. “What’s the human aspect behind all these costumes? That’s what I wanted to explore,” he says.

Hopefully, the Justice League will be DC’s flasgship title and sales leaders. It should be. Time will tell, but the future looks promising.

So, which new #1’s will you be picking up and why?

John is a long-time pop culture fan, comics historian, and blogger. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief at Comics Nexus. Prior to being EIC he has produced several column series including DEMYTHIFY, NEAR MINT MEMORIES and the ONE FAN'S TRIALS at the Nexus plus a stint at Bleeding Cool producing the COMICS REALISM column. As BabosScribe, John is active on his twitter account, his facebook page, his instagram feed and welcomes any and all feedback. Bring it on!