As you all know, I loved Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang’s “Architecture and Mortality.” I loved it so much I paid $3.99 per month for 8 monthly installments of 16 pages each. (I’m completely discounting the Spectre stories which headlined Tales of the Unexpected.) Even with sales tax and local-store discount, that’s still over $30.00 out of my pocket already. Heck, I was such a sucker I paid 24 cents a page for “A&M’s” 128 pages of story.
I repeat: twenty-four cents a page. I didn’t know whether it would be collected.
Now I’ll gladly pay $14.99 — half again as much — for the convenience of having “A&M” in paperback form, because I know the only real vote which counts with DC is my wallet’s. Clearly I want more metatextual wackiness from Azzarello & Chiang, but I can’t do it alone. Please, if you don’t intend to do so already, give the Architecture & Mortality paperback a try. It’ll cost you a third of what it’ll end up costing me.
And by the way, DC, if I’d pay 24 cents a page for a monthly 16-page backup, I’d definitely pay 14 cents a page for a monthly 22-page Team 13 ongoing.
With that out of the way, let’s cruise on. DC did announce some other books….
OH LOOK, IT’S 1983
Not that I’m complaining. Sword of the Atom gets a paperback and Batman and the Outsiders and Captain Carrot both get the Showcase treatment. All are good examples of DC in the pre-Crisis early ‘80s.
OH LOOK, IT’S 1995
If Batman/Lobo: Deadly Serious #1 teamed the Dark Knight with an “interstellar madam,” instead of an “interstellar madman,” I’d be more inclined to buy it.
OH LOOK, IT’S 1998
Remember Chronos? Don’t feel bad if you don’t — it was one of many short-lived series (along with Aztek, Chase, Takion, Scare Tactics, etc.) DC launched in the mid-to-late 1990s. The new Chronos stole the old one’s time-technology and went bopping through DC history … not unlike a certain 52 spinoff starting in August. Chronos lasted a year. I suspect the new Booster Gold series will be more popular, because it’s a 52 spinoff, it promises more superhero cameos, and it doesn’t sound so intellectual.
I don’t envy Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, and Eric Powell , because their 3-part Bizarro arc will almost surely be compared unfavorably to All-Star Superman’s Bizarro two-parter. These are the wages of late issues. If “Last Son” had wrapped up on schedule, Action’s Bizarro arc might have been published before All-Star’s.
August will in fact see three issues of Action, with the first two written by Kurt Busiek and tying into Countdown. Busiek also writes Superman #666, in which he and Walt Simonson send Supes to Hell. Oh my yes.
TURN, TURN, TURN
Is DC giving Michael Turner the cold shoulder? Alex Ross provides the two-part cover for Justice League of America #12 (also Brad Meltzer’s last issue), with Turner relegated to 1-in-10-variant status. Moreover, Ross’s black-box Justice Society cover for August features Power Girl, depicted more realistically (and arguably more in character) than on Turner’s now-infamous JLA #10 cover.
WAY TO COORDINATE
The aforementioned JSA #8, with the Power Girl cover , is apparently a “spotlight” on Liberty Belle. The Showcase: BATO listing refers to New Teen Titans #16 (the Captain Carrot preview, reprinted in Showcase: Captain Carrot), not #37 (the Outsiders crossover). The 52 Vol. 3 paperback lists Vol. 2′s issues.
Outsiders gets a five-week Bat-influenced makeover, but raise your hands if you think Captain Marvel, Martian Manhunter, or Wonder Woman will be joining the book anytime soon. I am intrigued by Mike W. Barr coming back to write the Katana special. The Metamorpho/Aquaman special also might be fun (although I haven’t heard of anyone involved with it), and Marc Andreyko writes a fabulous Wonder Woman. Overall, though, it looks like an unnecessary shakeup for a title that probably won’t profit by it. If anything, I’d expect Nightwing to be “out” so he can appear in the rumored “adult Titans” title.
GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL
I gotta tell ya, if I didn’t feel obligated to read this book [edit - Countdown, that is] for this here column, I’d be wondering seriously whether I’d make it to these issues. It hasn’t been appointment reading so far.
However, tie-ins of any stripe are not easy to avoid in August. Out of (by my count) 54 issues’ worth of DC superheroes this month, 26 — or almost half — are part of some kind of crossover or event. (Oh look, it’s 2005.) Countdown sees 5 issues and reaches into 2 issues of Action and one each of Atom and Countdown To Adventure. Outsiders has that 5-issue revamp. Amazons Attack comes out twice and spreads into Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Supergirl. Teen Titans and Blue Beetle cross over (again with Lobo!), as do Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. 52 is kept alive not just by Countdown To Adventure, but also Booster Gold, Black Adam, and the Four Horsemen miniseries.
About that Mary Marvel/Zatanna cover: why is Zatanna worried? She can still cast spells, assuming there’s nothing wrong with her voice.
And about Countdown To Adventure … “Forerunner,” for a female character related to the Monitors? Really? Would “Harbinger II” have been too obvious, or (shudder) is that still reserved for Donna Troy? Oh well … if she works for a Monitor named Bob, I suppose she shouldn’t have too highbrow of a codename.
In Supergirl #20, “Supergirl learns a terrible lesson that will follow her the rest of her days.” I’m sure teenage girls can relate to the accidental destruction of Air Force One somehow….
I hope the Black Adam miniseries leaves Adam a villain, so that it can then explore how conventional notions of justice are tested by horrific abuses of power. If I had to bet, though, my money would be on another attempt at rehabilitation, and another opportunity for Adam to be all edgy, anti-heroic, and vaguely sympathetic. I think DC sees him as its Hulk — weak human transforms into p.o.’ed monster — but Bruce Banner always regretted the Hulk’s rampages, and there’s no such disconnect between Adam’s normal and super selves. Instead, Black Adam is, as always, a corrupted Captain Marvel … which DC appears to find more fascinating than the regular Cap, more often than not.
The Four Horsemen is a 52 spinoff, sure, but it’s an intriguing spinoff because it offers a chance to see how DC’s Big Three would tackle a threat subdued during their collective vacation. Having Keith Giffen write it clinched the deal for me.
The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #15 has a great cover, and I have to say, the hype is working on me. Of course, the hype’s opacity lets me project my own suppositions about the book. Even despite all the abuse DC has taken over Bart-Flash, I’m still surprised that this storyline seems to allow for his ouster. DC gets nervous whenever anyone mentions Barry Allen, and won’t say much about Wally West either. In the end I don’t think Bart is going away — at least not completely — but that doesn’t mean other speedsters aren’t coming back.
I want to support the Metal Men, and I like Duncan Rouleau’s art, but he doesn’t have the strongest writing resume.
Monster Society of Evil and Darwyn Cooke’s Spirit both get hardcovers, and Absolute Sandman Vol. 2 is solicited for Halloween.
HOW DOES SHE FEEL ABOUT SUPERGIRL?
Louise Carey, Mike Carey’s 15-year-old daughter, co-writes Minx’s Confessions Of A Blabbermouth.
SINGS AND ARROWS
Back in the dizzay, I would have been rooting for these two crazy kids … but you know, I’m just not excited about the prospect of a Black Canary/Green Arrow marriage. Put simply, she is now too good for him. However, because DC’s current attitude seems to say “look how far she’s come,” it implies that she’s come up to his level. Personally, I think she did that somewhere around her Justice League International stint in 1987 — and that was with the headband-and-shoulder-pads outfit. Ever since Birds of Prey, she’s clearly been ahead of Ollie, and we’ve all learned that she can live without him. Remember when she almost hooked up with Ra’s al Ghul? If he weren’t currently dead, I’d be lobbying harder for Dinah to marry him.
In any event, this is very much a fish-and-bicycle situation. I liked Dinah with Doctor Mid-Nite, but now that I think about it, I’d buy a Black Canary/Jack Knight miniseries in a heartbeat. (They have so much in common…!) Even the hint of Dinah/Nemesis in this week’s Wonder Woman was more appealing.
Anyway, who — I mean, what looks good to you?