While I haven’t been actively looking for info on DC’s latest event “Dark Nights,” it’s hard to miss the articles about it which begin with the exclamation that the DCU will be invaded by seven evil alternate-universe Batmen this summer. Honestly, I think it’s a solid setup for the event. If our “good” Batman can take on the Justice League singlehandedly, then how is everyone going to cope when seven “evil” Batmen come knocking on the DCU? It does remind me of “Invincible’s” classic done-in-one crossover event issue where all of the Image superheroes came together to take on evil versions of the title character. “Dark Nights” certainly won’t be able to match it for economy, but they can probably top it for scale. Particularly with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo masterminding the main event.
Also, has anyone noticed how slim the Vertigo solicitations have been in recent months? This month there are only four items solicited: The third issue of John Ridley and Georges Jeanty’s new “American Way” series, the penultimate issue of Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Moustafa’s “Savage Things,” the third and final volume of the new “Lucifer” series, and a new one-volume repackaging of Grant Morrison’s “Sebastian O” and “The Mystery Play.” Without any new announcements soon (though Comic-Con is just around the corner) Vertigo will cease to exist as a creative entity by the end of the year. The imprint’s best days are certainly behind it, but it’s just sad to think about it fading away after all it’s given us over the years.
Suicide Squad #26: Not only is Stjepan Sejic still providing art for the now-monthly “Aquaman” title, but he also found the time to provide the art for this issue of “Suicide Squad.” Of course, I’m sure the chance to finally draw Harley Quinn in an actual DC comic was a big incentive for him here. This is also the concluding issue of the three-part “Gotham Resistance” crossover tying into “Dark Nights” with “Teen Titans” and “Nightwing.” Even though I really like Sejic’s art, I don’t read any of these titles (yet, keep reading…). Ditto for “Aquaman.” Still, it’s easier to pick up the next volume of “Aquaman” with his art than to figure out how these three issues will be collected.
Action Comics #987: In which Mr. Oz’s identity is revealed. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is of the opinion that he’s actually Ozymandias from “Watchmen.” So either Dan Jurgens, the writer of this issue, is going to play it straight and reveal to us what we already know or he’s got one hell of a twist lined up for us. Well, Jurgens and Geoff Johns, really, since the latter is the mastermind behind “Watchmen’s” infiltration of the DCU. I’d like to think they’ve got a twist lined up, either in the revelation of Oz’s identity or what his presence actually means for the DCU. The latter being there to make everyone who was sure he was Ozymandias still feel like they got their money’s worth by picking up this issue.
All-Star Batman #14: Scott Snyder’s “Batman” victory lap comes to a close with this issue. In its current form, at least. It was previously said that he’d be on this series until issue #25, but the monthly title is wrapping up so that the writer could do something in a new prestige format with the other artists he has lined up to work with him on this title. While the “prestige format” is one indicator of what to expect, there’s also talk of a different paper size and a style that “really foregrounds the art.” I kinda want to know more about this format before I commit to collecting it, which I will do eventually because more Scott Snyder-written “Batman” adventures are always a good thing.
Superman #31: Normally when something compares itself to “Game of Thrones” my first instinct is to roll my eyes. That’s because comparing yourself to George R.R. Martin’s massively popular fantasy series has become something of a trope in my eyes. Still, when the “GoT” comparisons were raised again with this issue, they managed to break through my ennui. That’s because they involve the warlords of Apokolips competing for the right to rule that planet along with… Lex Luthor! Now, the solicitation text tells us that Luthor is going to need Superman’s help to reclaim(?) a crown he didn’t ask for… but Ol’ Big Blue should watch his back here. An Apokolips ruled by Luthor isn’t just bad for him, it’s bad for the universe!
Wonder Woman #31: James Robinson takes over as the new writer for this series and kicks off his run with a story about the title character’s… brother? Uh… I guess it’s possible given her revamped origin in the Azzarello/Chiang run, but I’d heard Rucka reinstated her classic origin in his? Also, the solicitation text makes it sound like this character, Jason, has already been in the series before. So is this something from the Meredith Finch run I didn’t read, or something that’s coming up in Rucka’s? So many questions. I may have to pick this up when it’s collected just to see if I can get any answers.
Dastardly & Muttley #1 (of 6): Garth Ennis writes Hanna Barbera? I can only think this came about by Dan Didio asking the writer if he wanted to write any of the company’s characters and then letting Ennis do what he wanted when he said yes. The good news is that he doesn’t seem to be taking this seriously at all as it involves the country of Unliklistan and their ultra-rare radioactive element unstabilium. With Col. Rick “Dick” Atcherly and Capt. Dudly “Mutt” Muller being tasked to put things right, it’s possible we could get some decent war-comics parody out of the concept along the lines of “Adventures in the Rifle Brigade.” Worst-case scenario is that Ennis phones it in and we get a straight-faced war comic that hits all the tropes and nothing else.
Wonder Woman/Conan #1 (of 6): Now here’s a crossover that makes me go, “What took so long?” Wonder Woman’s origins within Greek mythology allow her to mix perfectly with the sword-and-sorcery world that Conan inhabits. Granted, she’s far more powerful than Conan will ever be, so it’ll be interesting to see how writer Gail Simone manages that particular dynamic. Given her experience writing both characters, and with the art from Aaron Lopresti, this should be one to watch.
Suicide Squad: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book One HC: While I was interested in checking this series out, its first arc was an eight-issue epic and wound up being collected over the first two paperback volumes. Now you can get the entire arc, plus the “Rebirth” and “Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad April Fool’s Special” all in one go. Sounds great, save for the fact that as I started writing this I decided to check on Amazon and found that you can get the first two volumes for a little over $22. This HC which collects both has yet to receive any discount. So unless you can find the HC at a discount of 40% off or greater, you’re probably better served just picking up the paperbacks.
Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner vol. 1: Kyle Rayner’s tenure as the main Green Lantern was marked with controversy from the get go. Even though the title experienced greater sales with him in the lead, DC pissed off a lot of longtime fans by turning previous GL Hal Jordan into a crazed psycho killer who called himself Parallax (which was all retconned by Geoff Johns much, much later). However, the one bit of controversy, or infamy at this point, that has followed him for years is how he inspired the “fridging” trope after he came home one evening to find his girlfriend dismembered in his fridge. The reason I bring this up is because that little bit of comics history is included in this first volume of his exploits.
The Wild Storm vol. 1: Warren Ellis returns to (most) of the characters that he made his name with as a writer. While I’ve got plenty of good memories regarding his work on “Stormwatch,” “The Authority,” “Planetary” and more for the imprint, anyone expecting the writer to do the same thing he did on those series again here are going to be disappointed. Also, I hear that anyone who doesn’t have a whole lot of patience is going to be disappointed with reading the issues collected here in single issue form. Just pick this volume up and experience “The Wild Storm” the way it was meant to be read.