This will be the first in what I hope to be a monthly article that looks at DC Comics' latest offerings. Welcome to DC Corner where we give you our take on DC's current comics. We might stray into the movies, animation, TV series, collectibles and other areas of the Worlds Greatest Superheroes, but I really want to focus on the thing that started it all—and one would like to believe continues to be the bread and butter of stories and creativity—the comic books.
I don’t want this to be a negative column. I love these characters and enjoy the many facets of their adventures. It’s why I created my own characters and tell my own stories. The medium offers a vast canvas for writing, drawing and expressing your ideas and sharing that with those who also love the art form. The problem that I frequently face as I pick up the latest issue of DC Connect (the printed version of the month’s solicits), I find less and less that I’m either excited about or even marginally interested in. Each month, I can see a pattern that continuously repeats itself.
There’s an event of some sort.
There’s a character or characters we really want you to care about, but ultimately no one does.
The writers are generally the same people, DC just rearranges deck chairs.
Almost every ongoing book is written for the eventual trade paperback. The events or specials are written for their own trade or destined for some future loosely aligned collection.
Don’t forget we do YA books, too, but none of them are very good.
Unless your favorite characters is Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or whichever character/title we’re whoring this month, don’t get too attached.
There’s a bunch of reprints, so you can usually find solace in re-reading something that we’re a reflection on much better times for DC.
For the past few months, I can look at the solicits and answer or fill in each one of these points. Rather than just doing a paint-by-numbers version of that, I’ll just hit the highlights (and a few low lights).
Justice League vs. Gozilla vs. Kong. This is a one-shot (solicits really don’t say) pitting DC against Legendary’s Monsterverse. The art looks good and it’s unique, so I’ll likely give this one a shot.
Batman #138 continues the Gotham War storyline. I can’t say I’m looking forward to this, but I’ve like Chip Zdarsky’s Batman, so I’m hoping the quality holds. There are a few tie-ins and a finale. I’m crossing my fingers that Tim Drake plays some role and that the crux of the story isn’t just another Batman/Catwoman re-re-retread. Tom King ruined that storyline for many years to come. And by that I mean in the Batman ongoing, I actually really like the Elseworld’s-ish Batman/Catwoman books that King did/continues to do.
I’m tired of the Detective Comics demon storyline and I’ve stopped buying it.
Nightwing #107 features Dick as a pirate. I feel like I buy this because it’s the only Robin-connected series, but I haven’t looked forward to it for a long time.
This will be the second issue of Batman and Robin. I’m not looking forward to it. Cereal Creatures readers may recall my dislike of Damian Wayne and I can’t stand that DC—and now James Gunn in the movie universe—insists on the stupid father/sun dynamic. It doesn’t work. What Batman and Robin does work? I point you to Mark Waid’s World’s Finest (with Dick) and Chip Zdarky’s Batman (with Tim). Bruce Wayne and Damian do no complement each other and it’s so disheartening to see DC continue this absurd agenda time and again.
The only other Bat family book I have any interest in is Brave and the Bold, but my experience six issues in is that there is one decent story and the others are filler or trying to showcase characters no one cares about.
It’s been release extremely inconsistently, but I’ve really like the New Golden Age books. Wesley Dodds: The Sandman, while it’s clearly a ‘destined for a trade six-issue stint’, at least it sounds exciting. And even Riley Rossimo’s art, fresh off of mutilating Tim Drake, looks pretty good here. There’s also a Jay Garrick: The Flash book that I’ll certainly pick up, but the storyline about a long-lost teenage daughter borders on cliché. And the final mini-series debuting from the New Golden Age is Alan Scott: The Green Lantern. Like Sandman, I’m eager for this one, too. I’m a fan of modernizing the character, but even I hope it’s not ninety percent ‘whoa is me, I’m a gay man in the 40’s’ and ten percent ‘doing superhero stuff’. Buried all the way in the back of the solicit ‘zine is Justice Society of America #8 written by Geoff Johns. I assume this is part of the New Golden Age, plus it features something called JSA Dark, which sounds cool. My guess is that DC thinks it will be late like the other issues of JSA, so they’re not heavily promoting it.
Amazons Attack? Good lord.
I’m going to pick up Wonder Woman when it relaunches it’s new #1. Somehow, I think Tom King may actually be a good fit. It’s a prelude to Amazons Attack, but I’m hoping it’s only tangential and doesn’t way the main story King is trying to tell down with crossover bullshit.
I gave up on Flash when they switched to Wally West and the family. No thanks.
Superman and Action—I’ve been picking it up, but like Nightwing, out of habit not because I wanted to read it. Superman is the 850th issue. I love Lee Bermejo art, so I’ll probably pick it up for that cover—maybe the Finch cover, too. I find it funny they couldn’t even get Jim Lee to do a new cover, they’re recycling the “For Tomorrow” art.
Supergirl Special #1 - Probably not on my list. I like the character, but DC doesn’t know what to do with her and if the answer is team up with Power Girl (who I dislike), then this is a “no” for me.
The Mark Waid World’s Finest books (Batman/Superman, Shazam and Teen Titans) are the best thing DC is putting out right now. Mark knows how to tell an engaging story—it doesn’t feel like it’s written for a trade—and Dan Mora’s art is excellent (right up there with Jorge Jimenez). This is what all of DC’s books should be.
I tried one issue of Hawkgirl and it sucked. Moving on.
Tom Taylor’s Titans is okay, now with it’s fourth issue this month. I’m also picking up the Tales of the Titans books, but the only one out (featuring Starfire) wasn’t very good.
Another character DC can’t stop whoring on readers. No one wants your version.
I’m kind of burned out on Green Lantern, so it’s not a comment on the story or art. I’m just not picking it up.
I have a feeling Blue Beetle, like the movie, is going to flame out. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve yet to see anyone get this character right. I may give it a try.
Green Arrow #5. I’m reading this book. We’ll see where it goes, but it’s been pretty average which is a plus for DC.
The Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom special is a prelude to the movie and I’ll pick it up for that reason alone. The movie has really gotten screwed over with the reshoots and delays, so it’s likely yet another check in the failure column for DC. Jason Mamoa wasn’t the right actor for Aquaman—which isn’t a comment on the actor. He’s good, but DC went in the wrong direction with trying to tell the Aquaman story. They do that alot.
I’ll be getting the Return of Superman 30th Anniversary Special that features the creative team from the original Reign of the Supermen and Return of Superman events. Travis Moore is also doing some interior art, so that’s a plus, too. Why does it feel like DC is just burning this one off though? Shouldn’t it be a little more prominent in the solicits?
Batman: City of Madness is a three part prestige book. I’m leery when I see the phrase “cosmic-horror”, but I’ll pick up the first issue to see what it’s about. I’m a sucker for a Court of Owls story, so I’m optimistic there’s some spooky fun here.
I’m also getting Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic #4, but the main cover looks horrible. I hope the interior art is better.
City Boy has been interesting. I’ll keep checking it out.
I’m picking up the White Knight: Generation Joker book because I mostly liked the other White Knight books, but this is getting a little boring.
The rest of the new books are a hard pass.
The trades this month are almost all re-treads of better days, except for Fear State—horrible. I may do the Batman/Catwoman softcover. For $25, it has quite a bit of material. I’ll definitely get the eighth and final volume of the Dark Knight Detective (hopefully Tim makes the cover). We’ll see about the Kyle Rayner Rising Compendium. Same with the fourth collection of Nightwing. I’m surprised DC remembered Kyle existed and the latest issues of Nightwing have been ‘meh’. The final book I’ll probably grab is the second volume of Superman: Son of Kal-El. I’m probably one of the few who prefers the aged up Jon Kent to the Super Sons tween.
And that’s it, folks. Not a whole lot to like. No sign of Tim Drake or Conner Kent. No ‘dark noir’ Batman adventures. Other than a few hot spots like the Monsterverse crossover or the Mark Waid-verse, so much of what DC is putting out feels tired. Filler. Uninspired. I hope I’m wrong, but there was a time when I would pick up nearly every book DC put out. Now, it’s about a fourth of the titles. And I don’t go for the “variant cover trick” anymore either. I get the cover I want and more than likely I get the cheapest one because all of them suck.
But just wait until next month…I’m sure it’ll be a one-eighty turn around and positive as we head into the final months of the year. Or, it’ll be more of the same. See you in thirty…