Monthly Archives: August 2011

The New 52: Which DC Titles I’ll Be Checking Out Come September

I think it’s safe to assume that most people with even a passing interest in comics are aware of DC’s big September relaunch. September will see the release of 52 new first issues from DC, featuring their familiar characters with updated and simplified looks and backstories.

There’s been a lot of grumbling about how horrible this is, which is weird since no one has even read one of these books yet. Personally, there are quite a few titles that look interesting. Now, I’ve pretty much abandoned single issues in favor of easier-to-store trades, but I think I’m going to check out the first issues of some of these new books just to see what they’re all about. Will I like them all? Probably not. What will I do if I don’t like them? STOP READING THEM.

Okay, let’s go…

AUGUST 31:

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1

Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS

Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!

Grant Morrison’s JLA was the book that drew me into the DC Universe. I have a great desire to read good Justice League stories…but they have been hit or miss for a long time. This is where DC’s new status quo starts and I want to give it a look.

SEPTEMBER 7:

ACTION COMICS #1

Written by GRANT MORRISON; Art by RAGS MORALES and RICK BRYANT; Cover by RAGS MORALES

The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

Superman: I love the character; I don’t always love the stories that feature him. If we’re going back and starting everything over, I’ll give it a shot.

BATGIRL #1

Written by GAIL SIMONE; Art by ARDIAN SYAF and VICENTE CIFUENTES; Cover by ADAM HUGHES

Yes, it’s really happening!

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl – and she’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won’t want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!

I’m of two minds about this. On one hand, I adore Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Barbara Gordon as Oracle. On the other, I have faith in Simone; I have faith that she will respect both Barbara Gordon and the fans. This is Gail Simone, people. If she thought there was anything insulting about this relaunch she wouldn’t be a part of it.

DETECTIVE COMICS #1

Written by TONY S. DANIEL; Art by TONY S. DANIEL and RYAN WINN; Cover by TONY S. DANIEL

DC’s flagship title is relaunched for the first time ever, with new Batman adventures from acclaimed writer/ artist Tony S. Daniel!

A killer called The Gotham Ripper is on the loose on Batman’s home turf – leading The Dark Knight on a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Bruce is back and he’s the only Batman. Sold.

HAWK AND DOVE #1

Written by STERLING GATES; Art and cover by ROB LIEFELD

Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war! Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland!

And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefeld (X-Force, Youngblood)!

I’m curious. Hawk and Dove are two characters who I’ve been vaguely aware of for years. Also, Sterling Gates kicked ass on Supergirl, so I know what he can do.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1

Written by DAN JURGENS; Art by AARON LOPRESTI and MATT RYAN; Cover by AARON LOPRESTI

With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International.

Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?

Booster Gold and Guy Gardner? Sold. I really hope that Batman punches Guy in the nose in the first issue.

STATIC SHOCK #1

Written by SCOTT McDANIEL and JOHN ROZUM; Art and cover by SCOTT McDANIEL and JONATHAN GLAPION and LeBEAU UNDERWOOD

The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!

A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!

As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?

I never read Milestone comics and, by the time Static showed up in Teen Titans, I had already bailed on the title. I did, however, watch the Static Shock cartoon, so I’m kinda aware of the character’s deal.

STORMWATCH #1

Written by PAUL CORNELL; Art and cover by MIGUEL SEPULVEDA

They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world. Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds…

Wildstorm’s fascist murderers…er, I mean, “superheroes” never really appealed to me. But, this title has two things going for it: Martian Manhunter and Paul Cornell, who is awesome despite the fact that he wrote two of the worst episodes of Doctor Who ever broadcast.

SWAMP THING #1

Written by SCOTT SNYDER; Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE

One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth!

Alec Holland has his life back…but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it! 

I’ve always regretted never reading Swamp Thing during its Alan Moore-helmed Golden Age–yes, yes, I could read the trades, but there is SO MUCH TO READ and I have not yet unlocked the secret of immortality.

SEPTEMBER 14:

BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

Written by PETER J. TOMASI; Art and cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY

Battling evil with his son, Damian, at his side, Batman now realizes that the hardest part of the job may be trying to work together!

As Batman and Robin try to adjust to their new partnership, a figure emerges from Bruce Wayne’s past: His name is NoBody, and he’s not happy that Batman Incorporated is shining a light on his own shadowy war against evil…

Bruce. Wayne. Also: I know that Bruce supposedly came back a little less cranky than he used to be…but, he’s still Bruce and I’m curious to see how he’s going to deal with Damian.

BATWOMAN #1

Written by J.H. WILLIAMS III and W. HADEN BLACKMAN; Art and cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III

At last! Batwoman’s new series begins, from the multiple award-winning creative team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman!

In “Hydrology,” part 1 of 5, Batwoman faces deadly new challenges in her war against Gotham City’s underworld – and new trials in her life as Kate Kane.

Who or what is stealing children from the barrio, and for what vile purpose? Will Kate train her cousin, Bette Kane (a.k.a. Flamebird), as her new sidekick? How will she handle unsettling revelations about her father, Colonel Jacob Kane? And why is a certain government agency suddenly taking an interest in her?

This title is like the Godot of the DC Universe. But, unlike Godot, it’s finally here!

DEMON KNIGHTS #1

Written by PAUL CORNELL; Art by DIOGENES NEVES and OCLAIR ALBERT; Cover by TONY S. DANIEL

Set in the Dark Ages of the DC Universe, a barbarian horde is massing to crush civilization. It’s fallen to Madame Xanadu and Jason Blood, the man with a monster inside him, to stand in their way – though the demon Etrigan has no interest in protecting anyone or anything other than himself! It’ll take more than their own power to stop an army fueled by bloodlust and dark sorcery, and some very surprising heroes – and villains – will have no choice but to join the fray!

Paul Cornell. Medieval setting. Etrigan. Definitely worth a look.

FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #1

Written by JEFF LEMIRE; Art by ALBERTO PONTICELLI; Cover by J.G. JONES

It’s Frankenstein as you’ve never seen him before, in a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Alberto Ponticelli (UNKNOWN SOLDIER)!

Frankenstein is part of a network of strange beings who work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive! But can he protect the world from threats even more horrifying than himself? And since he’s vilified for who and what he is, will he even want to take on this mission?

A secret government agency staffed by supernatural beings? Done. Sold. Here’s my money.

SUPERBOY #1

Written by SCOTT LOBDELL; Art by RB SILVA and ROB LEAN; Cover by ERIC CANETE

They thought he was just an experiment – and a failed one at that! Grown from a combination of Kryptonian and human DNA, the Clone was no more than a set of data to the scientists of Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. But when the scope of his stunning powers was revealed, he became a deadly weapon! Now the question is: Can a clone develop a conscience?

I’ve always really liked the fact that Superboy was a hybrid cloned from Kryptonian and Human DNA.

SEPTEMBER 21

BATMAN #1

Written by SCOTT SNYDER; Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION; Cover by GREG CAPULLO

Be here for the start of a new era for The Dark Knight from writer Scott Snyder (AMERICAN VAMPIRE, BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Greg Capullo (Spawn)! A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.

Yes.

BLUE BEETLE #1

Written by TONY BEDARD; Art by IG GUARA and RUY JOSE; Cover by TYLER KIRKHAM and SAL REGLA

It’s not easy being Jaime Reyes. He has to deal with high school, family and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. Also, he’s linked to a powerful scarab created by an alien race known as the Reach who seek to subjugate planets – or annihilate them. It’s up to one teen hero to turn this instrument of destruction into a force for good.

I tried Blue Beetle back when DC introduced Jaime Reyes as Ted Kord’s successor. The alien battle armor thing didn’t really click with me, but I think Jaime’s earned a second chance.

DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS #1

Written by PAUL JENKINS; Art by BERNARD CHANG; Cover by RYAN SOOK

It’s the start of a new series spotlighting some of the DC Universes’s most exciting super heroes! First up is Deadman, straight from the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY, in a five-issue epic where the body-hopping hero meets his match in a new foe who wants to make sure the souls that Deadman helps out go straight to Hell!

I’m all for an ongoing anthology series.

NIGHTWING #1 

Written by KYLE HIGGINS; Art and cover by EDDY BARROWS and JP MAYER

Dick Grayson flies high once more as Nightwing in a new series from hot new writer Kyle Higgins (BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM)! And as he embraces his destiny, Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, returns to Gotham City – bringing with it murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront his past, among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while uncovering a much greater evil!

Dick Grayson is Nightwing again. Like he’s supposed to be.

SUPERGIRL #1

Written by MICHAEL GREEN and MIKE JOHNSON; Art and cover by MAHMUD ASRAR

Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!

I’m not sure how I feel about that whole “none of his [Superman’s] affection for the people of Earth” thing…but, I do want to see if she looks like a younger Power Girl for a reason.

WONDER WOMAN #1

Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO; Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG

The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman would dare to protect humanity from the wrath of such strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?

It should not be this difficult to get a good Wonder Woman series. Yet, for some reason, otherwise capable creators seem to drop the ball more often than not. The fact that this series seems to incorporate Greek mythology is a huge draw, though.

SEPTEMBER 28:

ALL-STAR WESTERN #1

Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI; Art and cover by MORITAT

Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!

I love me a good western. Also: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti = automatic purchase.

AQUAMAN #1

Written by GEOFF JOHNS; Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO

The superstar creators from BLACKEST NIGHT and BRIGHTEST DAY reunite to take AQUAMAN to amazing new depths!

Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily. Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them, The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!

Like Wonder Woman, I really want to see a series that “gets” Aquaman. But, I don’t know if this is going to be it. Johns has convinced himself that he is clever and, therefore, has grown incapable of writing comics that are just–what’s the word?–fun.

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1

Written by DAVID FINCH; Art by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND; Cover by DAVID FINCH

The Dark Knight struggles against a deadly – yet strangely familiar – foe in this phenomenal debut issue from superstar writer/artist David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, ACTION COMICS)!

As a mysterious figure slinks through the halls of Arkham Asylum, Batman must fight his way through a gauntlet of psychos, and Bruce Wayne faces the unexpected legal ramifications of Batman Incorporated!

Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1

Written by PETER MILLIGAN; Art by MIKEL JANIN; Cover by RYAN SOOK

The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against this mystical madness?

Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope – but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?

I think DC has a much better handle on how magic works in its books than Marvel does. If this series is half as good as Shadowpact was, I’ll be hooked.

THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN #1

Written by TONY S. DANIEL; Art and cover by PHILIP TAN

Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive! Witness the start of a new action series from writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Philip Tan that will take Hawkman where no hero has flown before!

Hawkman’s history makes my head hurt. But, at the end of the day, I want to like the character. Maybe this is the perfect time for me to check him out…

SUPERMAN #1

Written by GEORGE PÈREZ; Breakdowns and cover by GEORGE PÈREZ; Art by JESUS MERINO

The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!

See Action Comics

TEEN TITANS #1

Written by SCOTT LOBDELL; Art and cover by BRETT BOOTH and NORM RAPMUND

Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers.

As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world! They – along with a few other tortured teen heroes – will be the Teen Titans in this new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

Tim. Bart. Conner. Cassie. Back on the same team. I’m so there. I also have fond memories of Lobdell’s work on Excalibur.

 

WHAT I’M NOT INTERESTED IN AND WHY:

THE FLASH: I just can’t bring myself to care about Barry Allen.

The GREEN LANTERN Line: Maybe if these books got the reboot treatment, I’d be interested. But, I think the whole Rainbow Brite/Crayola Lantern Corps thing is annoying and I want nothing to do with it.

The “Heroes Are Lame Unless They’re Really Villains or Have Big Guns and Kill People to Show How Edgy and Badass They Are” books: Yeah…

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Let’s Cast…BATGIRL

Stephanie Brown, Gotham City high school student, has a secret. Well, she has several, actually. The first is that her father was the criminal known as the Cluemaster. The second is that her new boyfriend Tim Drake is really Robin, the Boy Wonder. The third is that she, Stephanie Brown, is Batgirl.

Pretty simple set-up. We’ll skip the Spoiler stuff (even though I loved the Spoiler years) and have Steph take it upon herself to pick up the Batgirl mantle. She’ll uncover Tim’s secret identity–just like Tim deduced that Bruce Wayne was Batman–and take to the rooftops as the newest member of the Bat Family.

Consider this my celebration of Stephanie Brown’s time as Batgirl.

 

Elle Fanning as Batgirl/Stephanie Brown

   

While I was watching Super 8, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Fanning would make a great Steph. Heck, her character in Super 8 practically was Stephanie Brown.

Autumn Reeser as Oracle/Barbara Gordon

   

I’ve seen Reeser play a scientist and a techie, so I know she’s fully capable of pulling off the intellectual side of Oracle. But, Babs also has a steely quality and Reeser can sometimes come off as squeaky and twee. Eh, whatever. Let’s give her a chance.

Allison Scagliotti as Proxy/Wendy Harris

  

Sorry. I think sarcastic young hacker, I think Scagliotti.

Bryan Cranston as Calculator/Noah Kuttler

  

Oracle’s opposite number, Calculator sells his services as an information broker to supervillains around the world. He’s also Wendy’s dad. There’s something about Calculator that makes me think “IT guy who’s snapped and now eats people’s faces” and, no offense to Mr. C., but he can kinda pull that off.

Sean Maher as Detective Nick “St. Nick” Gage

   

Honest. Earnest. An all-around good guy. That’s Detective Nick Gage. That’s also kind of what Sean Maher specializes in.

Tom Selleck as Commissioner James Gordon

   

I tapped Selleck as Gordon back in my post about a Gotham Central series. Maybe it was the mustache. Maybe it was the fine work he’s done on CBS’s Blue Bloods. Either way, I’m sticking with it.

Now, if you’re going to be fighting crime in Gotham, you better expect to get a visit from the Bat (and the Birds, for that matter)…

Adam Baldwin as Batman/Bruce Wayne

   

Say what you want about Chuck and Firefly, but I’ll take Baldwin’s Casey growl over whatever noises Christian Bale thought he was making.

Joshua Jackson as Nightwing/Dick Grayson

   

Jackson has irreverent snark down. That’s just what you need to play the freewheelin’ Nightwing.

Alex Ferris  as Robin/Tim Drake

  

I dunno…the kid just kinda looks like Tim…

The Bat Family wouldn’t be the same without its “grandparents”: Alfred and Leslie. Michael Caine has done a great job as Alfred, but he doesn’t really have that super-dry, almost snide British butler quality that I associate with Alfred. Cleese on the other hand… And, not only has Stockard Channing played doctors on more shows than I can name, but she was also the voice of a future version of Barbara Gordon on Batman Beyond.

John Cleese as Alfred Pennyworth

   

Stockard Channing as Dr. Leslie Thompkins

  

 

Just for the heck of it, let’s throw in a flashback of Steph’s dad. And, hey, when did the kid from Flash Forward become so creepy?

Ben Foster as The Cluemaster/Arthur Brown