The twelfth and final issue of Steve Niles and Kelley Jones’ limited series Batman: Gotham After Midnight comes out this Wednesday, leaving me no Kelley Jones Batman comics to look forward to in the foreseeable future. This is devastating news. You would think given this twelve-issue series, hundreds of pages worth of Elseworlds stories and a long, late-nineties run with Dough Moench and John Beatty on the Batman monthly, I should have more than enough comics full of Jones’ Batman to re-read, and that maybe Jones has said all he has to say about the wacky world of Batman.
You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. He continues to surprise me with every issue of this series which, okay, isn’t really the greatest-written Batman story ever and, sure, reads a bit like a very poor poor man’s Long Halloween at times, but I still keep coming back to it to see Jones’ increasingly ridiculous Batcave architecture, the many absurd vehicles Batman tools around town in, the Bat-gadgets that look as if Dr. Seuss had a had in designing them and the may over-the-top ways the characters’ costumes, anatomy and whole settings reflect their moods and attitudes.
Hurry back, Kelley Jones Batman!
Luckily, there are many other releases this week with which I can seek to console myself. Let’s take a look at what looks good, what looks bad and what looks really bad, after the jump.
Captain America: Theater of War: A Brother in Arms #1: Paul Jenkins and John McCrea present a $3.99 one-shot set during World War II. That works out to $1.33 per title.
The Collected Doug Wright Vol. 1: Man, Drawn and Quarterly is on fire this spring! This is a 240-page, nine-by-14 hardcover offering “the first-ever comprehensive look at the life and career of one of the most-read and best-loved cartoonists of the 1960s,” and it will conclude with a second volume in the future. It will cost you $39.95, although I imagine it will be $39.95 well spent. More info and a preview here.
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #4: It’s the second-to-last chapter of the series bridging Final Crisis (which wrapped up in late January) and Flash: Rebirth #1, which was released at the beginning of this month. Now no one can accuse artist George Perez of laziness—he is drawing legions of characters on every page—but if it was going to take this long to tell this story, maybe he should have been given more time to work on it? Sometimes I think scheduling comic books must be the most difficult job in the world, and DC is lucky to have such patient, forgiving, devoted fans/addicts.
Justice Society of America #28: Hey, it’s Geoff Johns’ last issue! This is pretty momentous, as he’s been writing or co-writing JSA comics since…the end of World War II, I think. JSoA‘s occasional “regular” artist Dale Eaglesham provides the pencil art for a day-in-the-life type story entitled “Black Adam Ruined My Birthday!” Johns’ best work on the title has always been these little one-issue, status quo reasessment type issues, so this should be a nice note for Johns to go out on. To celebrate, DC’s offering a loud “Screw you!” to fans by putting one-third of a cover image on each issue. There are three covers, but they’re not single images; rather, it’s a single Alex Ross painting of the whole team—including all its past members since the 1999 relaunch—chopped into three pieces. Want the whole image? It will cost you $9 for three copies of the same issue. Thanks, DC!
Muppet Show #2: The first issue of Boom Studio and Roger Langridge’s Muppet Show comic was an enormous hit for Boom, and was probably the best-reviewed comic of the year so far, in addition to selling out (whatever “selling out” means in an industry where comic sales to retailers are pre-ordered and non-returnable). This second issue is Fozzie-focused, and while I expect praise to be a little less ecstatic now that the surprise has worn off, if you loved the first issue, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one too.
Pedro & Me: Friendship, Loss and What I Learned: This is a brand new edition of the graphic novel that probably constitutes Judd Winick’s best work. I complain about his superhero scripting constantly, but it’s as much out of frustration with Winick as anything else. Work like this and Barry Ween prove the guy can make good comics, so when he turns out sub-par work for DC, it’s even more irritating than if he were just some terrible hack who has never proven he can do better, you know? This new edition features a new cover more representative of the work inside, and it’s 192-pages for $17.
The Literals #1: “The Great Fables Crossover” is apparently so big that the nine-part story arc was too big for the two existing Fables titles, so Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges had to go ahead and create a three-issue miniseries to tie into them. Mark Buckingham and Andrew Pepoy provide the art.
Marvel Adventures Avengers #35: Hawkeye is looking for love online through dating service called Lover’s Leap, which turns out to be a scam site run by Batroc The Leaper. That’s exactly the sort of plot that the expression “‘Nuff said” was invented to describe.
Mister Universe: This is a 32-page one-shot about a superhero by writer/artist Vassilis Gogtzilas and co-writer K.I. Zachopoulos. It looks nice.
Proof #19: Bigfoot vs. Springheeled Jack, round two. Preview here.
Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed: I don’t know, but I bet he would have been a great spy. He could just sit at home in his favorite chair and use his super-vision and super-hearing to eavesdrop on the meetings of America’s enemies. Unless they met in rooms made out of lead. Or Kryptonite. But, after years of doing so, they would get lead-poisoning and/or cancer from the Kryptonite radiation. America wins either way! This is the book-version of Brian Cronin’s long-running column devoted to debunking and verifying various rumors, urban legends and old wives’ tales about various comics, their characters and creators. It’s 260 pages for $14, and it features a pretty fantastic cover.
That’s all that jumps out at me, one way or another. What do you guys see in this week’s shipping lists?