In part one of my opinionated rambling about the Big Epic Massive DC Relaunch, I looked at the various wider publishing decisions that were being taken by the company. Now, it’s time to look at each of the 52 new #1s that are being launched in September, and be about the millionth person on the internet to go through and self-righteously declare which ones look worth my hard-earned dosh and which ones look worth chucking in the bin. Some of these are probably a bit predictable for anyone who’s ever read anything I’ve written about comics, like. Grant Morrison on Action Comics? Yeah, can’t see why I’d be interested in that.
You can read the full DC solicitations for September here.
Justice League (Johns/Lee)
As the lynchpin book of the entire line, the #1 of this is going to have to be worth picking up, if nothing else. I wonder about its sustainability in the long-term – do we really expect more than about six consecutive monthly issues from Lee? – and whether Johns can say or do anything new with the “Big Seven” version of the team that were dealt with so definitively by Morrison in the ’90s; but as the first published comic of the new era, this will kick off as a mandatory purchase for anyone interested in the DCU as a whole.
Justice League International (Jurgens/Lopresti)
I do rather wish it were Jurgens drawing this, and someone else with a bit more modern spark and wit writing it; but I’ll definitely give this a shout. I’ve too much affection for this group of characters – and although it’s missing a Blue Beetle, it’s a cracking lineup, complete with Judd Winick(!)’s brilliant new version of Rocket Red – not to give it a chance, at least. This needs to (a) be good and (b) sell well, so that DC can see how loved these characters are.
Wonder Woman (Azzarello/Chiang)
Green Arrow (Krul/Jurgens)
Although top-tier characters, I’ve not got enough ties to any of these to want to jump onboard the series with creative teams this uninspiring. In the case of Wonder Woman, I’d be interested in Azzarello’s take, but I simply don’t care about the character; and with Green Arrow, I like the character but won’t touch anything J.T. Krul does with a bargepole. Given the money being spent on other series, these will all be passes.
Captain Atom (Krul/Williams II)
The Fury of Firestorm (Van Sciver/Simone/Cinar)
The Savage Hawkman (Daniel/Tan)
Mister Terrific (Wallace/Robinson)
DC Universe Presents (Deadman) (Jenkins/Chang)
… and these are all characters that I simply have little to no interest in whatsoever. The creative teams would have to be Morrison/Quitely standard to want to try any of these – and they’re all very, very far from that. Tony Daniel and Philip Tan on Hawkman (the DCU’s most boring character) is just about the most unappealing prospect in the entire relaunch slate.
Action Comics (Morrison/Morales)
Obviously, I’m more excited about Morrison on Action than just about anything else in comics at the moment. Not the biggest Morales fan, but that really doesn’t matter so much – and the rumours about character and setting for the series just serve to further heighten the anticipation. I’ll also be buying Superman, although I’m sorely disappointed that Perez isn’t doing full art chores. I’m not sure his writing will be spectacular, but he’s done solid written work in the past – and I don’t actually mind that it will probably have an ’80s feel to it, because I like ’80s DC comics a lot. That new costume really is appalling, though. As for the “kids”, I’ve very little interest in Lobdell’s Superboy, but will give Supergirl a go as I’d really like there to finally be an excellent comic about the character again – although I’m bitter that it’s not Brian Wood, and sceptical about this untested creative team.
Detective Comics (Daniel)
Batman: The Dark Knight (Finch)
Batman and Robin (Tomasi/Gleason)
With Batman Inc on hiatus, there’s a serious possibility of my not buying a monthly Batman comic at all. I’ll certainly give Snyder’s run on the main title a go to begin with, but if economics become an issue and the book isn’t outstanding, the character might have to be dropped until Morrison makes his comeback. No interest in Batman and Robin if the bald one isn’t doing it, no interest in Tony Daniel’s staid take on the character, and The Dark Knight might as well not exist as far as I’m concerned.
Batwoman (Williams III)
Birds of Prey (Swierczynski/Saiz)
Red Hood and the Outlaws (Lobdell/Rocafort)
Blimey, that’s some extended family, alright. Not sure if any of these are going to be essential purchases, though. Gail Simone on Batgirl is interesting, but as with most people I have serious reservations about chucking out Steph Brown (and indeed Cassandra Cain) and bringing back Barbara Gordon – if that is indeed what’s happening. After all the delays, Batwoman has got to be worth checking out – indeed, it might be the only book in this entire relaunch that will be worth buying for the art alone. Nightwing and Batwing don’t strike me as hugely exciting, while Birds of Prey could suffer from being written by someone responsible for a spectacularly tedious Cable run. And I’m completely disinterested in anything that tries to make out that current-era Jason Todd is any kind of hero. That just leaves Catwoman, which looks like a trainwreck in the making – Selina is a great character, who can make for excellent comics in the right hands. The combination of that Guillem March cover and some appalling solicitation copy (“She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good.”) suggest, however, that she’s currently in the hands of people who don’t understand the character at all. Massive pass.
Green Lantern (Johns/Mahnke)
Green Lantern Corps (Tomasi/Pasarin)
Green Lantern: New Guardians (Bedard/Kirkham)
Red Lanterns (Milligan/Benes)
Although he’s done some decent work on it in the last few years, it sort of feels like Geoff Johns has had enough of a go at Green Lantern now, and that maybe someone else should get a turn. Of far more interest, I think, is a relaunched Green Lantern Corps – now that Guy’s back in the lead, with most of the best supporting cast from the original series, that’ll be the one I think I go for. I’ve not got enough interest in the multi-coloured Lantern Corps to also try either of New Guardians or Red Lanterns, even though Milligan is an interesting choice for the latter.
Justice League Dark (Milligan/Janin)
Swamp Thing (Snyder/Paquette)
Animal Man (Lemire/Foreman)
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (Lemire/Ponticelli)
I, Vampire (Fialkov/Sorrentino)
Resurrection Man (Abnett/Lanning/Dagnino)
Demon Knights (Cornell/Neves)
So what we’ve essentially got here is a return to the early ’90s version of Vertigo, i.e. when the imprint’s titles featured characters who were part of the DCU itself, but not really superheroes. Of these magic/supernatural/horror based books, the obvious standout is Justice League Dark – a fantastic set of characters, with Milligan – although often a patchy talent – the perfect choice to cover them. I’m especially intrigued to see how he’ll work writing two different versions of Constantine simultaneously on a monthly basis. It’s only a shame that Ryan Sook is only doing covers and not interiors for this – I think it’ll be a great book. Of the others, I’ll be interested to see Lemire’s Animal Man – I’ve enough affection for the character to give it a go even though I wonder if there’s really anything of note left to be done with him by now. There’s nothing particularly bad-looking about any of the rest, but I don’t think they’ll be essential purchases with two books out of this “line” already marked out.
Suicide Squad (Glass/Rudy)
Men of War (Brandon/Derenick)
All-Star Western (Gray/Palmiotti/Moritat)
Safe to say I’ll generally be giving the “Edge” line a pretty wide berth – there’s just nothing that appeals to me about early ’90s-style violence/action books. I want to read something of Paul Cornell’s, though, so I think I’ll try Stormwatch – the idea of throwing Wildstorm characters directly together with DC ones (in this case J’onn J’onnz) is intriguing, although I’m not sure about the choice of specific characters. Of everyone in The Authority, Apollo and the Midnighter are the ones with obvious and direct DCU analogues – so if you bring them into the DCU itself, you’ve got to change them (as it appears has been done). And then they’re not Apollo and the Midnighter any more, so it’s kind of pointless. I’d much rather have seen – say – Hawksmoor and the Engineer. Elsewhere, meanwhile, the only thing that jumps out is how utterly wretched, inappropriate and out-of-character that Harley Quinn costume on the cover of Suicide Squad is. Ugh.
Teen Titans (Lobdell/Booth)
Static Shock (McDaniel/Rozum)
Hawk and Dove (Gates/Liefeld)
Blue Beetle (Bedard/Guara)
Legion of Super-Heroes (Levitz/Portela)
Legion Lost (Nicieza/Woods)
Ahahaha. The year is 2011, and still Rob Liefeld is being given work at a major superhero publisher. Amazing. But not if you’re Sterling Gates, who must be wondering why his actually quite good work on Supergirl earned him this. Anyway, of the “teen heroes” line, Blue Beetle is the one I want – I’d still rather one of the creators from his excellent original series were doing it, but there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with Tony Bedard, and it’s really just nice to still have the character (and, presumably, the likes of Paco and Brenda) around. As the only Tim Drake-starring book, meanwhile, Teen Titans should be of interest – but I’m worried about his new status quo/history (if a retcon removes his direct association with Batman, then the character is essentially ruined), and the other characters look and sound terrible. And I wouldn’t have thought I’d have any interest in either of the Legion books, but Nicieza/Woods is a fairly solid creative team, so depending on which Legionnaires they’re actually using, that one might be worth a look.
So there we have it. Fifty-two books, and on a week-by-week basis in September, here’s how “what I think is worth buying” breaks down:
Justice League #1
Justice League International #1
Action Comics #1
Animal Man #1
Legion Lost #1
Green Lantern Corps #1
Blue Beetle #1
Justice League Dark #1
So the w/c September 14th looks like a quiet one, but the one before that should be great fun.
Of the fifty-two books, then, I’m likely to be buying fourteen (probably two of those are “Maybe”s, but the rest are definites) – almost exactly a quarter. That probably doesn’t put me in the upper scale of what DC are hoping for in terms of readers – but it is significantly more of the company’s books than I’m likely to be buying in, say, August, so I suppose it is the sort of effect they’re hoping to achieve. The question, of course, is how many of those will earn purchase of issue #2 – but you can FIND OUT in September, when for the first time in a long time some actual reviews will make a comeback here on Alternate Cover, as each week I’ll be looking at the new #1s and how well they fare. Exciting times.
Standard question to round off a post like this, then – which (if any) of the new DC books will you be buying, dear readers?