Here’s another installment where someone as unqualified as I am makes judgments about upcoming books that we’ve only seen promotional art for and some creative teams. These are all judged on those factors, the strengths and weaknesses of those factors, and on the predicted premise of each. These are the books coming out in July for DC, which looks to be a huge month for the publisher. So please, read along, and hopefully I can influence your judgment on whether or not to pick these up. This is an overview of DC in July.
Star-Spangled War Stories featuring G.I. Zombie
Written by: Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Scott Hampton
- I’ll concede, I was never much of a fan of war comics or stories that centered themselves on war or the very ideological concepts of war. Then I read a large number of war-centric stories written by Garth Ennis, whose work simultaneously embraces the idea of war as a powerful narrative tool to tell human stories and as a horrifying, glory-less component of life. I don’t expect Star-Spangled War Stories to be as thought provoking or as human as a Garth Ennis war comic (especially because it features a zombie as its lead character) but I can hopefully expect powerful but fun stories about a zombie living in a cycle of war. Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti deliver punchy western-pulp in All-Star Western so both writers are suited to telling satisfying genre-bound stories. I don’t know much about Scott Hampton’s art, but the stuff I’ve seen on Google reminds me a lot of Dave McKean’s photo-realistic embracing of the weird and gothic so that could be an idea of the tone of the book.
-My Verdict: Check out the first 3-6 issues
Written by: Tim Seeley and Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
- I have a feeling that the Thanksgiving teaser for Batman Eternal has slightly changed plans. On that teaser, we saw what looks a lot like Nightwing, with a remarkable amount of blond hair. Is that how Dick Grayson was going to go undercover? Or it could be a completely new character, but with the advent of Grayson being announced, I can’t help but feel there was a major change of plans along the way. Either way, Dick Grayson as a secret spy working for Spyral (way to keep Batman Inc. in continuity guys) is an exciting and refreshing new direction for the character. We’ve seen him before as Batman (which while leading to some wonderfully fast-paced, action-movie type stories, felt inherently contradictory to the ideologies and methods of the character), and with Nightwing being the usual go-to direction for the former Robin, I can’t help but feel that this is what the character is all about: Stepping out of Bruce’s shadow as Batman. This is an escalation of that concept because it drops the idea of a superhero/vigilante completely from Grayson’s life, and establishes him as someone working in loose boundaries of the law. This is him really stepping out from Bruce’s shadow, more so than the Nightwing persona. That it’s being written by one of the best writers in the biz right now (Seeley) and a new writer with a CIA background (King), the book already has established credibility behind it. The only thing to be wary of is Janin’s art, which isn’t terrible, but the work exhibited on Justice League Dark felt very stiff and mechanical, with the use of digital modeling not looking very natural at all. Dick Grayson is an inherently dynamic and kinetic character, and I’m hoping Janin can put forth his best effort into making Grayson feel that way.
-My Verdict: Put it on your pull list.
Written by: Will Pfiefer
Art by: Kenneth Rocafort
- There’s been a lot of controversy over the cover of this, and I almost certainly agree with the criticisms regarding it (and this is speaking as a lover of Rocafort’s art – I read Red Hood and the Outlaws specifically to look at his art and admire it) but I’m actually excited at the prospect of reading a potentially good Titans comic again. I haven’t really read much of Pfiefer’s work, but the things I’ve read about it range from calling his work overtly terrible to simply putting it on the level of average. Amazon’s Attack is just about one of the worst things put out. Still, I have more hope for it than I did Lobdell’s run on the book, and I’ve heard H.E.R.O. is one of the most underrated titles DC has put out. Rocafort’s art is usually wonderful, even though that cover is just plain ugly in my opinion, so it might be worth checking out just to admire his art. I have to hear more about the premise of the book before I can give it a real recommendation.
-My Verdict: Be cautiously optimistic and wait for reviews.
Written by: Sean Ryan
Art by: Jeremy Roberts
- This is a case where I haven’t read any of the writer’s work, so I’m going in just as blind as some of you are. The promotional image by artist Jeremy Roberts really evokes a Jim Lee-esque sensibility in the artwork, with distinct manga influences and lots of crosshatching to cover up disproportionate, cartoonish anatomy. And since I don’t know much about what the writer is doing here all I can say is I’m excited about all but one of the characters involved. I predicted Black Manta being on the Suicide Squad as far back as Forever Evil #1 (in hindsight, this bit of foreshadowing was extremely blatant), and it’ll be interesting to see the dynamic between him and the rest of the group, especially Deathstroke and Deadshot. The last piece I have to really say is an open message to DC: Quit trying to make this horrendous Joker’s Daughter character work, even if you can work in a rivalry between her and Harley Quinn. The look and concept of this particular iteration of the character is so intrinsically stupid there’s no way this can work.
-My Verdict: Give it the first 15 pages. If it can’t hook you in that, don’t bother.
Robin Rises: Omega
Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Andy Kubert
- I’m excited for the return of a Robin (let’s face it, it’s probably Damian. Anything else would be disappointing. If it’s Carrie Kelly it’ll be disappointing for sure). I get that Tomasi is trying to throw a bit of misdirection our way as to the identity of the returning Robin, but with all of the build-up since his death, it can’t not be Damian. If it somehow theoretically isn’t Damian, all of that foreshadowing will be wasted.
- I’ve become a fan of Damian over the past couple years, with a good chunk of that fanboyishness coming from Tomasi’s excellent Batman and Robin. Damian is one of the few examples where you can actually chart and track the character’s growth over the years in the static nature of superhero comics. Maybe Damian had to die because of this, so that he could be brought back with his old character. The superhero medium hardly changes, and this could be a sign of that. People (referring to regular readers) probably want consistent characterization as opposed to actual character growth, and that potential fact is a saddening notion. If anything, it’ll be an event to look forward to. Andy Kubert’s art, to me, represents the pinnacle of above average superhero house style. Nothing too different but never quite familiar enough. The Omega at the end of the title makes me think some Darkseid shenanigans are going to be involved.
-My Verdict: Get hyped and get involved.
There you have it, a look at DC in July and their new books.