Having read endless announcements and tons of internet chatter, I decided it was time to weigh in on where I stand with regards to the re-launching of every DC Universe title in September. I’m not sure how I feel about all of this – on the one hand, it smells of desperation on DC’s part, but on the other, I’m willing to support anything that’s going to lead to better comics. I just don’t know if these are going to be those better comics, and I regret that some series that I adore, such as Secret Six and Xombi are ending because of this.
What I have done is go through Previews pretty carefully, and have compiled four lists:
1. The books that I’m ordering from my comic shop.
2. The ones that I’m on the fence about, and will decide on only after I’ve had a chance to flip through them at the store.
3. The ones that I’m maybe a little curious about, but would never pay full price for – these are the books I’ll be looking for at sales, conventions, or in used book stores. If I don’t ever read them, I’m sure I won’t much care, unless of course one of them gets great reviews.
4. The last list are books that I have no interest in whatsoever.
On the Pull-List:
Fury of Firestorm – As much as I loved Firestorm under John Ostrander, and was into the early issues of the Jason Rusch re-launch, I’m really only buying this book because of Gail Simone’s involvement. Sadly, she’s just a co-writer, so I’m not sure if I’ll stick around for long, but I will guarantee that this title has three issues to impress me.
Action Comics – I don’t like Superman, but I’ll buy any comic that Grant Morrison writes, even if I am bitter that it has interrupted Batman Incorporated. Rags Morales is pretty good too, so expectations for this book are high.
Batman – I would be much happier were Scott Snyder continuing his run on Detective, starring Dick Grayson in the bat-suit, and with Jock and Francisco Francavilla trading the art duties, but Snyder has earned my loyalty by now. I think it’s unfortunate that DC is returning Bruce Wayne to Bat-exclusivity, and that we need yet another 90s artist (Greg Capullo) to draw the book. Don’t get me wrong – I loved his run on Quasar back in the day, but haven’t seen anything he’s done since, and am not interested in a new Todd McFarlane style bat-book. I hope Snyder wows me with the writing…
Batman and Robin – Once again, I’d have more confidence in this book were Tomasi and Gleason able to continue with the great dynamic they developed between Dick and Damian; I’m not sure that Bruce and Damian will be as much fun. It gets three issues to impress me too.
Batgirl – Gail Simone is writing Barbara Gordon. Beyond that, I don’t care what happens in this book, I’m sure I’ll like it. That said, I’d rather see her in the wheelchair, as it makes her character more interesting. I’m not sure what type of Batgirl story needs Babs to be in the cowl that can’t be done just as well with Stephanie Brown or with Batwoman.
Batwoman – There is always the chance that DC will have done it’s own version of ‘Heroes Return’ before this comic ever sees print. Since I’m fairly certain that it’s going to ignore continuity completely, and it’s drawn by JH Williams, this is a no-brainer preorder for me.
Swamp Thing – I’m not a huge Swamp Thing fan (aside from Moore’s run, obviously), but I’m willing to give any book by Scott Snyder a try. This is one of the few new titles where DC picked it’s creative team very wisely in order to generate interest.
Animal Man – I love Animal Man (I actually liked Jamie Delano’s run better than Grant Morrison’s), and I really like Jeff Lemire’s work, so this is a definite.
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE – The first issue of the Flashpoint title starring this character was not as good as I expected, but Lemire gets a free pass from me. I’m excited that Alberto Ponticelli, whose work was so great in Unknown Soldier, is drawing this book.
Grifter – I’ve only liked this character in Point Blank and Wildcats 3.0, but writer Nathan Edmondson has really caught my attention with books like The Light and Who is Jake Ellis?, so I’ll give it a try. Also, artists Cafu and Bit have done a great job on THUNDER Agents lately, although I’d rather see them remain on that title (maybe they are – I keep seeing conflicting reports as to whether or not it’s canceled).
Suicide Squad – I can’t believe that DC would relaunch this book without Gail Simone or John Ostrander, and instead give it to a writer I’ve never heard of. Also, I can’t handle how awful the character redesigns are on the cover image (I know everyone is complaining about Harley Quinn, but have you seen what they did to Deadshot?). The thing is, SS has been a favourite concept of mine since I was a kid, and I’ve been touting Marco Rudy as the next JH Williams for a while now, so this book gets three issues to impress.
All-Star Western – I’m not happy that Palmiotti and Gray are having to tie Jonah Hex down to a particular location (but since when is Gotham in the west? can you have Westerns in the east?), and, I imagine, supporting cast. As much as I like Moritat’s art, I hope we will still see other artists rotating in, especially Jordi Bernet. I think Jonah’s title was getting stale, so I’m okay with it being relaunched; at least they aren’t tossing him into the future again…
Possibly Getting After Looking Through it at the Store:
Wonder Woman – I love Cliff Chiang’s art, and I like Azzarello’s work for Vertigo. Together, they did a great job on Dr. Thirteen a while back, but Azzarello’s track record is iffy on mainstream books, and I hate Wonder Woman. In other words, the art will have to be really good.
The Flash – Like with Wonder Woman, the art is the draw here, but I don’t know how Manapul will perform as a writer, and I hate Barry Allen. If this were a Wally West book, I’d be a lot more tempted…
DC Universe Presents – This is a title I’ll be judging on an arc-by-arc basis. Paul Jenkins is an inconsistent writer these days, but I do like Bernard Chang; I’ll see how it looks on the stand.
Nightwing – I never would have considered this before I started reading Gates of Gotham, as I didn’t know who Kyle Higgins was, but now I’m intrigued. Also, since he became Batman, I’ve started liking Dick Grayson for the first time ever; I just hope there is a damn good justification for him going back to being boring old Nightwing.
I, Vampire – I’ve had it up to here with vampires, but Joshua Hale Fialkov has killed it on books like Tumor and Echoes, and I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Artist Andrea Sorrentino is an unknown quantity for me though, so I’m going to reserve judgment for now.
Stormwatch – I have really enjoyed this title in the past, but I’m not sure how the whole thing is going to fit into the DCU big picture. I think a wait and see attitude is called for here; I enjoy Cornell since Knight and Squire, but he’s no Warren Ellis.
Blue Beetle – I loved the Giffen, Rogers, Hamner, and Albuquerque run on this character, and I like Tony Bedard when he writes cosmic books. I also really like the character; something is telling me to be cautious and test it out before I commit though.
Legion of Super-Heroes – I’m sure I’m going to end up buying this book again, because I love the Legion, but Levitz’s return to these characters has been disappointing to say the least. Yet another #1 is the last thing this franchise needs after the last few years.
Legion Lost – I feel like I’ve read this before (oh that’s right, I did), and while I like Pete Woods, I lost interest in Fabian Nicieza years ago.
If I Can Find it On Sale:
Justice League – I’ll admit to being a little curious about the ‘tent-pole’ book, but I’m confident that this title will be running behind within three issues, and won’t really be all that good after all. I’ve lost faith in Geoff Johns, and haven’t been turned on by Lee’s art since the late 90s.
Justice League International – I don’t like Dan Jurgens’s work at all, but am curious about any title using Vixen or August General in Iron; too bad the rest of the book looks dull and redundant.
The Savage Hawkman – If this were written by someone like Eric Trautmann or Nathan Edmondson I’d be all over it, but Tony Daniel? Disappointing choice.
Mister Terrific – I feel the same way about this book. I don’t know why this title exists, and wonder if there is any chance for it sticking around for more than six months without any established names attached to it. I like the character just fine, but only in the context of a group, like the JSA, or even better, Checkmate. On his own, I expect he’ll be boring.
Batwing – I want to want this book. I love the idea of a bat-title set in Africa; I just wish it wasn’t being written by Judd Winick. Imagine if this comic had been given to Joshua Dysart, who showed such clear understanding of the challenges African nations face in his recent Unknown Soldier series at Vertigo. Regardless of who writes it, this book isn’t going to last long, but at least then, it would have been something that DC could be proud of.
Birds of Prey – Duane Swiercyznski ruined Immortal Iron Fist for me, so I doubt I’ll pick this up, even though I do like the characters in the book that aren’t Katana. At first, I thought the tattooed girl is the spirit of killing girl from Stormwatch (Rose Tattoo?), which would have been cool.
Justice League Dark – Were the first issue of Flashpoint: Secret Seven not such a disappointment, I’d be pretty excited about this book, as I love Shade and the Enchantress, but that precursor book really turned me off.
Resurrection Man – I never read the first Abnett and Lanning run on this book, so have no nostalgia for it. I trust them as writers though; I’m just not sure if I’m all that intrigued by the concept.
Demon Knights – I hate the Demon, but Paul Cornell impressed me with Knight and Squire. The Tony Daniel cover image in Previews is really turning me off, but I see he’s not the interior artist for this book. If the reviews are good, I may upgrade this title.
Deathstroke – Normally, this title would be in the section below, but Kyle Higgins has caught my eye, and I’ve always liked Joe Bennett’s art. I deplore that Simon Bisley cover though…
Men of War – Were this not drawn by Tom Derenick, I’d be all over it, despite the fact that I find Ivan Brandon an inconsistent writer. As it stands, no.
Static Shock – This book would have been a definite no (I don’t know the character, and I hate Scott McDaniel) but for the inclusion of John Rozum, whose Xombi is my current favourite DC title.
No Thank You:
Aquaman – I loved Peter David’s run, but Geoff Johns is no Peter David, and so, at the end of the day, this is just a book about Aquaman. Do they think there’s much of a market for that?
Captain Atom – I’ve never really liked this character, and JT Krul is not a draw for me. I liked Williams’s art on Robin a few years back, but not enough to try this.
Green Arrow – See above, but where I praise Williams’s art, replace that with the words: “I strongly dislike Jurgens’s.”
Superman – I’m sure this book is going to be pretty, but I can’t handle the new costume, and my general lack of interest in Superman makes this title unappealing. I can overlook all of that when Grant Morrison is writing, but I can’t for George Perez.
Superboy – Were it not for Scott Lobdell’s name on this thing, I might be interested. Granted, it’s the Eric Canete cover that is drawing my eye to this project, and Canete is not doing the interiors. I’d much rather stick with Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo’s take on the character, as they’ve made me like a character I used to hate.
Supergirl – I’ve never liked this character, and don’t really know the creative team, so there’s no chance.
Detective Comics – I learned my lesson by buying Battle For the Cowl – no more Tony Daniel-written and drawn books for me.
Batman: The Dark Knight – Because clearly, here’s a writer/artist with a proven track record for meeting deadlines and delivering compelling comics. I actually thought it was a late April Fool’s Day joke that this was being re-launched until I saw it in Previews (because, you know, April’s issue of the first run of this title probably isn’t out yet).
Catwoman – This may have been considered, were it not written by Judd Winick.
Red Hood and the Outlaws – Can this sound any worse? Scott Lobdell writing Jason Todd and Roy Harper? Too bad, because the art looks nice.
Green Lantern – I’d lost interest in the Green Lantern franchise a while ago, and see no reason to give it another shot.
Green Lantern Corps – I like Tomasi’s writing, and would consider this title, but I figure that what happens in it is going to continue to be dictated by events in the solo GL title, so no.
Green Lantern: New Guardians – Again, ditto, except substitute Bedard’s name for Tomasi’s. Imagine if it had the New Guardians from the post-Millennium days (like that gay Mexican stereotype guy).
Red Lanterns – I like Peter Milligan (sometimes) but can’t handle Ed Benes or the amount of floating blood this book would require.
Voodoo – Really? I get the feeling that Jim Lee was the only person at DC that wanted to see this book get published.
OMAC – Dear Keith Giffen, You are ten times the writer that Dan Didio is. Stop working with him, and demand that he give you back the Legion of Super-Heroes instead. Maybe in six months, when this book has the lowest sales of all the relaunched titles.
Blackhawks – Who is Mike Costa? Who wants to see Ken Lashley drawing a second-rate GI Joe team? Who else thinks that if this was written by Greg Rucka and drawn by someone like Nicola Scott, it would be amazing?
Teen Titans – Dear 1990s, I think you lost something. I can’t even begin to list all the reasons why I think this book looks like a bad joke.
Hawk and Dove – Take what I wrote above for the Teen Titans, and multiply it by several factors of ten. I do want to flip through this in the comic store, but mostly because I have a mean side. So what are people guessing – four months between issues one and two? More? Keep in mind, Liefeld has another monthly series coming out at Image. Remember when he took Youngblood away from Joe Casey so he could put Barack Obama on the team, and then only published one (or maybe two) issues? I think I’m still annoyed about that.
So in the final analysis, that leaves September looking like this:
Definite Purchases: 12 – about where I am now with DCU books
Possible Purchases: 9 – I guess this is where DC could stand to gain from me, assuming these books are good.
Discount-only Purchases: 12 – Imagine how many books I’d be buying each month if comics were cheaper; I’d probably be spending as much money, or a little more, but I’d be buying just about everything.
Definitely not to be Purchased: 19 – This means that less than half of the line has no interest to me. That’s probably pretty good from DC’s perspective.