My overview of DC Comics for April 2014
This is an overview of new DC Comics in April 2014. April is a big month for these guys, with it being the aftermath of Forever Evil and all, and a whole bunch of things getting launched and canceled, so I figured a month like this deserves to be looked at. The article is divided into three categories, and it is extensive in my sharing of opinions on things, regardless of whether or not they are empirically terrible. Please give this a look through, and if you want to harass and/or have a rational discussion in the comments, please feel free to do so. Here goes nothing!
Justice League United:
-With JLA ending this is the next logical step for the title. Lemire’s plans sound like a mix of fantastical space adventures and a healthy dose of Canadian praise. The team of characters on the book is excellent as well. Animal Man, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Supergirl, Stargirl, Martian Manhunter, an unknown brand new character, and freaking Adam Strange being on the team makes this worth looking out for. I’ve only seen Mike McKone’s work on Teen Titans but what I have seen of it was very standard superhero artwork with a bit of an anime influence to it. If anything, his work should be evenly consistent on the book. Look out for this one.
Buy, Borrow, or Burn: Definitive Buy on this one. Anything else would be a foolish choice. Great creative team, great characters, and great sounding ideas make this one a keeper for a long time.
Aquaman and the Others:
-It is way cool that Aquaman is getting a second title and that it’s going to focus on the supporting characters introduced in Geoff Johns’ second arc on Aquaman is also very cool. After that second arc, they were exclusively handled by the legendary John Ostrander for a grand total of two issues. As concepts they had potential, but were infrequently used for that potential to be capitalized on. It is sad to see that Ostrander is not writing this ongoing instead of Jurgens, and I don’t know the artists on the book very well. Hopefully this book is good, because both Aquaman and the Others are pretty cool ideas in theory that need more exposure.
Buy, Borrow or Burn: Borrow to a Buy on this one. Aquaman needs all the love, support, and exposure he can get but Dan Jurgens is a middling writer with a bevy of both good and awful work, with nothing standing out in particular. The artists, from what I’ve seen online are both very good at what they do. Give it three issues.
-The work of Cullen Bunn’s that I’ve read ranges from good to bad so I’d be wary about this. Sinestro is a character whose whole persona, abilities, and character arc was/is defined by Geoff Johns going on ten years now, so it’ll be hard to trust another writer with the character, especially one whose work is so middling. Dale Eaglesham’s art is great though, so it’d be worth looking at for his illustrations.
Buy, Borrow or Burn: Burn or a Borrow on this one. I don’t trust Cullen Bunn enough to deliver a high quality title month to month and therefore can’t say I’d recommend this. Give it 4-6 issues if you must read a book about Sinestro, and see if it’s worth reading after that.
-I love the idea of weeklies returning to DC, because these kinds of books always have these huge, crazy, overarching storylines that shock and absolutely blow reader’s minds by taking great risks and chances with the status quo and redefining it. The stuff I’ve heard about this book going in (Return of Stephanie Brown, huge gang war in Gotham, Gordon in jail) sounds like a first-class Batman story through and through, and will hopefully take chances with the status quo and redefine it for the next era of Batman in the new 52. The creative team is really good too (Scott Snyder, John Layman [has left the title as of this post but has written some issues], Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, and Ray Fawkes, with Jason Fabok and Dustin Nguyen on art).
Buy, Borrow or Burn: Definite buy through and through. This is one title you shouldn’t sleep on, unless you don’t care about Batman at all.
Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs. Bane #1:
-This is just a one-shot story, and feels more like an aftermath to Arkham War already than an aftermath for Forever Evil proper. Tomasi is an excellent writer who excels at on-the-fly characterization and singular, focused character moments, and I’m sure Scot Eaton will illustrate a knockdown, drag-out brawl rather well.
Buy, Borrow or Burn: I’d say this is a definite buy (mostly because it’s one issue)
-This is something I cannot tell you whether you should follow it or not because it will have a series of rotating creative teams. What I can tell you is that origin stories, tired as they are, are always cool and fun to read, especially when a different writer provides a different perspective on the matter. For this issue, we have origins for Superman, Robin (Dick Grayson), and Supergirl. It looks relatively solid.
Buy, Borrow or Burn: A six-issue buy, then decide its worth after that.
New Stylistic Changes
-Wally West is coming back, hopefully to do double-duty with Barry as Flash. I always preferred Wally to Barry, and Johns’ run writing Wally was remarkably better than his run with Barry, so this is pretty cool.
-Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, and Shazam on the Justice League is a very exciting proposition and I can’t wait to see where Geoff goes with this, especially if he continues his trend of writing villains as heroic characters in the same great manner he has been doing for over a decade now. The solicitation and interview Johns gave for this book also teases a number of plots for the book, like a new head of ARGUS, and a new enemy for Lex. Also, Ted Kord will be in this, which is a good thing. This is extremely exciting and a great new direction for Johns to take the league in.
Batman line of books:
-The return of Stephanie Brown to DC continuity, a new female Nightwing (?) being teased, and new directions for characters like Jim Gordon is making the Bat-line a radically different place in the world of DC, and it with the new main book being weekly, the hype-train will never stop. This is going to be the most intense moment for cape comics in 2014 (this or Future’s End) so sit up and pay attention. Oh and how cool is it that Manabooch are going to be doing the writing and art on Detective Comics? Hopefully they can come up with title pages worthy of what they did on The Flash.
Books that are ending:
-It is initially weird to see Nightwing end because in a way, this spoils his role in Forever Evil greatly. And if the teaser for Batman Eternal is anything to go by, then Dick either dies or he, ahem, “dyes (as in his hair)”. It will certainly be interesting to see where Nightwing is going forward (or if he’s not going forward at all) but either way, this is a significant moment in the DC Universe not just for the characters in the comics, but to fans of the character as a whole. Who knows, maybe Dan Didio didn’t get his wish after all.
-It’s not surprising to see Suicide Squad go the way of cancellation at all. After Adam Glass’ (in my opinion) mediocre run, a brilliant four issue stint by Ales Kot, and a six issue stint by Matt Kindt that’s not quite over yet, it would be difficult to be surprised at this title’s cancellation given the inconsistencies of the creative teams. What is surprising is that the last issue of this is an over-sized piece written by Sean Ryan, who to my knowledge, is simply an editor and not one of the regular writers. I think DC should just have gotten Kot back.
Justice League of America:
-With Justice League United coming in, this was a mix between surprise and a resounding “I can accept this”. The whole concept of a united Justice League completely defeats the purpose of a Justice League for America, although an interesting scenario could have been created with an All-American Justice League to sort of represent the idea of a nationalistic, jingoistic team but I guess cancellation/ending was the only way they could go. I believe this is also oversized and an extra dollar to boot, so I’d recommend picking it up if you’ve been along for the ride and then carry yourself over into Justice League United.
-The way I understand it, it was entirely Snyder and Lee’s choice on whether they wanted to continue the book or end it. With Snyder being busy on four comics for the rest of the year, I can say the choice to end Superman Unchained at nine issues was a good idea, with it being a singular whole story rather than an ongoing with no ending. Here’s to hoping it goes out strong.
-I do not read Stormwatch, and therefore do not have a say on the matter.
-I dropped this around issue six, but given the underwhelming responses from comic book fans and the general mediocrity of the creative team, I can say it was only surprising to see that it lasted this long. The Titans never have longevity though, so its cancellation was inevitable. Hopefully this leads DC to realizing their mistakes and launching a Young Justice-ongoing with a brand new creative team to set the direction for teen heroes at DC.
Six Books ending in April. Potentially 3-6 new books to launch in May. One of them is Future’s End. Who knows what else is next.
I hope you all enjoyed (or loathed) reading this, and feel free to trash me in the comments section. Cheers!