Going by DC’s latest round of solicitations, the last two installments of Final Crisis should just about bookend the last days of the Bush (43) Administration. Naturally, though, DC follows up with “Faces Of Evil,” and, well … make your own jokes, folks. I’ve had a long day.
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IT’S REIGNING ART
At least Bush’s deadline is definite. If the last two parts of Final Crisis – namely, Superman Beyond #2 and the last issue of the main series — actually do appear on the second and fourth Wednesdays in January, I suppose we will have Doug Mahnke to thank. Whether this will destroy the work’s artistic integrity remains to be seen. I thought Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino’s work blended pretty well with Jones’ in this week’s issue #4, so maybe the transition from Pacheco/Merino to Mahnke and Christian Alamy will be smooth too.
Final Crisis doesn’t have a monopoly on artistic platoons – Reign In Hell #7 and Tangent Comics: Superman’s Reign #11 each have two sets of pencillers and inkers as well.
FACES OF EVIL
Yes, the “FOE” (ha!) specials do seem a lot like the “New Year’s Evil” fifth-week event from (gasp!) 1997. (In fact, I especially remember getting that batch of “New Year’s Evil” comics and then catching a matinee of Tomorrow Never Dies. Ah, Pierce Brosnan … so much potential.) Really, none of the four bad guys spotlighted in their own specials has any particular cachet. Each has been better before: Solomon Grundy in Starman, Prometheus in JLA, Deathstroke back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and Kobra most recently in Checkmate. I suppose I am curious about where each of these specials lead, since only one promises to be continued but you know they all will be. Grundy probably ties into Justice Society and Deathstroke into at least one of the Titans books, but I’d kinda like to see Kobra fight Green Lantern.
– “Kobra?” (Faces Of Evil: Kobra #1)
– “Superwoman?” (Supergirl #37)
– “the new muscle behind Calculator?” (Birds Of Prey #126)
– “the KDRA?” (Blue Beetle #35)
– “one step closer to consuming the sun?” (Starbreaker, in Justice League of America #29)
– “Wonder Woman?” (coming to paperback on February 4)
(Yes, I cheated; the original Starbreaker quote wasn’t a question.)
THIS AND THAT
January marks the last month in Trinity’s second third. You know, I got into blogging because I thought there would be no math.
I’m guessing that The Brave and the Bold #21 will involve some duplicate of Hal Jordan himself. By now you’d think he’d be used to “bizarre alien counterparts.”
As we all know, the bell tolls for Manhunter and Legion of Super-Heroes. Guess which one Geoff Johns will help relaunch next summer.
It occurs to me that both of Black Lightning’s creators, Tony Isabella and Trevor von Eeden, are still available to do an origin story, so I’m a little disappointed that they won’t be involved with Black Lightning: Year One.
I’m pretty excited about the Milestone characters coming back, but not even Static will get me to buy Terror Titans. Wasn’t there a better way to reintroduce someone who had his own TV show than to make him a prisoner in this cheap-thrills spinoff?
Cool, a new Jeff Parker series (Mysterius: The Unfathomable)!
“Has a former member returned” in January’s Secret Six? Don’t know, but I like Brainfreeze’s guess: Black Lantern Knockout.
BATMAN — REMEMBER HIM?
I realize that it probably involves Catwoman’s tragic spiral into the “anti” side of her anti-heroic career, but as long as it features her beatdown of Hush, the two-part Paul Dini/Dustin Nguyen story running in January’s Detective Comics and Batman should be greatly entertaining.
Hey, the Kevin Smith Batman miniseries is supposed to conclude on the same day as Final Crisis! It’s a race made in blogging heaven.
So far the two Superman/Batman Annuals have been either wildly entertaining (the first one, featuring evil duplicates in a bedroom farce) or scattershot and confusing (the second one, featuring unusually murky artwork from Scott Kolins). S/B Annual #3 has to break the tie, and with Len Wein and Chris Batista presenting a new/old Composite Superman story, I have hopes. Still, with a cover by Berni Wrightson, why isn’t it coming out at Halloween…?
The latest Brave and the Bold hardcover includes Alan Brennert’s classic Hawk & Dove story from vol. 1 #181, a Flash/Captain Marvel team-up, and a fun Impulse/Zatanna story. Except for the Brennert story, they’re all written by Mark Waid.
Speaking of (one) Scarlet Speedster, I suspect the latest Flash Archives might be one of the last; and the latest Justice League International hardcover does represent the last of Kevin Maguire’s work on the series.
Regarding the “improved production values and coloring” on the V For Vendetta collections: I thought the point of coloring the original British black-and-white artwork was to preserve its monochromatic feel, and I thought the American continuation was supposed to fit with that aesthetic. I’ve just got the monthly issues — how do the new editions compare?
It’s good to see a relatively obscure part of Jack Kirby’s career collected (in the Losers hardcover) and it’s nice to see a Joe Kubert miniseries (this year’s entertaining Tor) solicited in the same month.
The Tales of the Green Lantern Corps and Vigilante collections are clearly designed to tie into Geoff Johns’ and James Robinson’s current superhero work, but they’re probably worthwhile on their own. (I haven’t read Robinson’s miniseries, and it’s been a while for the GLC stuff.)
THINGS I AM JUST NOW NOTICING
You know, I haven’t mentioned Cartoon Network Block Party at all in my little solicitations roundups, but I notice that more often than not, it features a “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends” story. Since I can’t remember the last time I saw a new “Foster’s” — or any “Foster’s,” for that matter — on Cartoon Network itself, am I gonna hafta get my fix from these comics?
Also, as a fan of John Rozum’s work on Topps’ X Files comics, it’s a little odd to see his name printed so close to a new one. I suppose Scooby-Doo is pretty close.
ON THE OUTSIDE
Maybe it took the franchise-altering events of “Batman R.I.P.” to make me realize this, but never has The Outsiders seemed less vital to DC’s shared universe. While I am all for a wide array of superhero team books, I just never got their appeal. Batman got them together as a more down-to-earth alternative to the Justice League; they continued on their own for a while; and then they returned (with Nightwing and Arsenal) as a more down-to-earth alternative to the adult Titans. Most recently, they came full circle as yet another Batman-led team, but at probably the worst possible time to be led by Batman … and now, barely a year after getting that hot Bat injection, the book must be re-relaunched on its own uncertain merits. Yes, it does have Adam Kubert art, so it will look very pretty — but when I say I’d rather see a new ongoing series in a
non-superhero genre, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about.
The whole process reminds me of Dan Jurgens’ tenure on Justice League America. Jurgens was also writing and pencilling Superman, and the Man of Steel joined the League pretty much when Jurgens did. However, after less than a year, the “Doomsday” crossover took Superman and most of the rest of the team (including Jurgens’ own creation, Booster Gold) out of the lineup. Jurgens stuck around for a total of fifteen monthly issues (plus the introductory Justice League Spectacular), but after Superman’s death the title struggled for about a year to find its center.
Obviously, the best thing Justice League America had going for it was … well, that it was the flagship Justice League title. (This was the ‘90s, when there were still three monthly Justice League books, plus Justice League Quarterly.) By contrast, DC seems convinced that the world needs an Outsiders comic book, but in the most charitable view, circumstances keep conspiring against its existence. First Tony Bedard is dumped as writer before the title even debuts; then Chuck Dixon gets a mysterious boot from DC generally. Now here comes utility infielder Peter Tomasi, who might be the new regular writer but I don’t know that I’d put any money on it. In short, everything about the latest Outsiders relaunch looks calculated to appeal to those people who like the idea of the Outsiders and are willing to sit through various trials and errors until some sort of ideal state is achieved.
Of course, if that ever happens — and I’m not saying it can’t — it’ll probably be just in time for the next wave of Batmania, so everyone’ll just have to start all over again….
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Anyway, that’s what stood out to me this month. What looks good to you?