REVIEW: "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 Makes the Future of DC Comics Look Genuinely Bright
After a relatively quiet Wednesday last week, comics strike back with a vengeance, unleashing misfit superheroes, a giant robot, stolen armor, a Superman gone bad, a renegade angel — oh, and Mayhem, of course.
It’s not just Spandex and metal men, though. There’s also the Abstract Comics Anthology, another issue of Anders Nilsen’s Big Questions, and a second Jaime Hernandez omnibus. If the supernatural is more your thing, tomorrow also sees the release of new issues of Witchfinder and House of Mystery, and a collection of Locke & Key.
To see what other releases have Chris Mautner, JK Parkin and me talking, just keep reading. And, as always, let us know your picks in the comments below.
JK Parkin’s pick of the week: Doom Patrol #1
Keith Giffen and Matthew Clark take a shot at DC’s resident team of misfits, picking up from the threads of, I believe, Infinite Crisis and issues of Teen Titans. If I understand it correctly, the Doom Patrol’s memories were restored after the events of the John Byrne reboot, so they all remember their previous lives and adventures, even the Vertigo stuff. Or something like that.
Honestly, I don’t know exactly what happened; this all could get Hawkman-complicated if you think about it too much. I do trust Giffen being at the helm, though, so I’m expecting the overriding factor in the book will be fun, weird adventure stories versus trying to make sense of continuity porn.
The book also features a Metal Men back-up story by the former Justice League team of Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire. As luck would have it, the Metal Men trade by Duncan Rouleau is also released this week. Combine that with the Metal Men strip running in Wednesday Comics, and that’s three separate Metal Men projects all in one week. Now who could have ever seen that happening?
Chris Mautner’s pick of the week: Abstract Comics Anthology hardcover
Making this my pick of the week isn’t going to do anything to alleviate my reputation as Snooty McSnootenstein, mayor of Snobville, but this is one hell of a gorgeous book. Answering the question, “Do comics need to have a narrative or be representational in order to still be comics?” with a decisive “Hell, no,” editor Andrei Molotiu has put together a stunning collection of work from folks like Robert Crumb, Mark Badger, Gary Panter, Patrick McDonnell and Lewis Trondheim. A full review will appear here sometime soon, but in the meantime I’ll just say I liked this book very, very much.
Kevin Melrose’s pick of the week: The Gigantic Robot hardcover
Although it debuted two months ago at MoCCA, Tom Gauld’s 32-page book is only now hitting comic stores. The Gigantic Robot is a fable about a massive, yet secret, weapon who doesn’t fulfill the purpose for which he was built. At $16.95, it’s a tad on the pricey side, but if you’re familiar with Gauld’s work — Guardians of the Kingdom, Robots, Monsters, Etc., The Iron Man (with Ted Hughes) — you know what to expect in terms of art and sensibility. If you’re not, you can take a peek at the book here.
Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #2 (of 5)
Kevin: The adventures of Mike Mignola’s Victorian occult investigator continue as Sir Edward Grey seeks answers from a mysterious medium in London’s shadowy underworld. You can see a brief preview here.
Greek Street #2
Kevin: I love the art of David Gianfelice, and I generally like the writing Peter Milligan, but I couldn’t finish the first issue of this Vertigo series. I want to like it, I really do. But …
House of Mystery #16
JK: I loved the end of the last issue, from the cliffhanger about the house to the return of a certain character we haven’t seen since Issue 1. So I’m pretty excited to see what happens next.
North 40 #2 (of 6)
Kevin: On most days, vaguely Lovecraft-inspired comics — or, well, anything — send me running in the opposite direction. Tentacled ancient horrors rank just behind “dark reimaginings” of Wonderland and Oz on the list of subjects I’d rather avoid. Still … there’s something about North 40 that intrigues me. Maybe it’s the hickish Midwest setting — versus, say, a storied New England village. Or perhaps it’s the artwork of Fiona Staples (you can see her North 40 process here). Whatever it is, it has me itching to check out this Wildstorm miniseries.
Red Circle: The Hangman #1
JK: DC’s relaunch of the Red Circle characters kicks off, as J. Michael Straczynski, Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz bring the Hangman back to life.
Secret Six #12
JK: This is probably my current favorite title coming out from the DC Universe proper, and I love how the writer wrote Wonder Woman last issue. I mean, it’s like she knew her inside and … uh, what? Oh, yeah. Gail Simone pits her two current projects against each other, and the results are pretty awesome. I simply love this page from the preview.
Wednesday Comics #5 (of 12)
Chris: Almost at the halfway point now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still digging this series, but I’m a little disappointed at how spot-on my initial impressions of the series were. The great parts are still great, the mediocre ones remain mediocre. And then there’s that Teen Titans story. Perhaps it’s naivete on my part, but I was kind of hoping to be surprised.
Chew #1 (third printing)
Chew #2 (second printing)
JK: The Chew steam train continues, as the third issue of John Layman and Rob Guillory’s remarkable title comes out this week, along with a second printing of the second issue and a third printing of the first issue. After years of seeing titles I like canceled after just a few issues, I’m really, really glad to see a book I enjoy get this much attention.
Tyrese Gibson’s Mayhem #1 (of 3)
Kevin: The miniseries that’s taken Twitter, and a few comments threads, by storm finally hits the stands, courtesy of actor/singer/model Tyrese Gibson, co-writers Mike Le and Will Wilson and artist Tone Rodriguez.
Agents of Atlas #9
Agents of Atlas Premiere Hardcover: Dark Reign
Kevin: As we learned a couple of weeks ago, fans of this series can breathe a little sigh of relief: Agents of Atlas hasn’t been canceled — yet. If you haven’t been reading the title, here’s your chance to get started as both a hardcover collection and the latest single issue ship this week.
Captain America Reborn #2 (of 5)
Kevin: You know what I like most about this whole thing? It’s not that Steve Rogers is returning (I’m quite happy with Bucky Barnes, thank you). It’s that the who’s-gonna-return/get-their-head-punched-off-next? element of event comics is stripped away — we already know he’s coming back — and we can just settle in for some good storytelling.
Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire #1 (of 6)
JK: Jason Aaron’s run on Ghost Rider is speeding toward its big conclusion, as the story he’s been telling jumps into one big, final miniseries. Note the plural on “Riders,” too.
Invincible Iron Man #16
JK: The Eisner-winning title by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca had a bit of a heartbreaking moment last issue, where Tony, slowly losing his memory, asks Pepper Potts who Happy was. That scene kind of got me. In this issue, “World’s Most Wanted” rolls on, and will likely have more moments like that as we watch Tony’s mind unravel.
Iron Man & The Armor Wars #1 (of 4)
Kevin: I initially thought this tied into the Iron Man Amored Adventures series on Nicktoons; it doesn’t. It’s an all-ages miniseries, but it involves an adult Tony Stark battling all of his (stolen) Iron Man suits.
Luke Cage Noir #1 (of 4)
Kevin: I haven’t been following Marvel’s Noir titles, in which notable character are reimagined in a film noir-inspired setting, but seeing artist Shawn Martinbrough’s name on this miniseries definitely piques my interest.
Big Questions #12
Chris: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Anders Nilsen is close to wrapping up this ongoing serial about a group of birds happening upon a plane crash. That means those who haven’t been following it can feel good knowing a trade collection is on the horizon. And you should want to check out this series because, despite that horrid attempt at plot description, this is a very good series.
The Boys #33
Chris: Butcher beats four cocky superheroes to death. Carnage prevails. Looking forward to it.
The Complete Jack Survives hardcover
Chris: This collection of full-page painted strips by artist Jerry Moriarty has “art-comix crowd” written all over it. And not just because the strips originally appeared in Art Speigelman’s Raw anthology back in the ’80s. They’re great little deadpan comics, though, full of surreal piss and vinegar. Chris Ware provides the introduction.
Irredeemable, Vol. 1
JK: A 99-cent issue plus a cheap trade equal BOOM!’s “Get caught up on Irredeemable for $11” promotion, giving everyone an excuse to catch up on Mark Waid’s “Superman gone bad” tale.
Locas, Vol. 2: Maggie, Hopey & Ray hardcover
Chris: The second big Jaime Hernandez omnibus, collecting material previously found in Dicks and Deedees, Locas in Love, Ghost of Hoppers and The Education of Hopey Glass. Oh, and the Maggie and Hopey Color Fun is in here, too, but in black and white. That’s a lot of really, really great comics for a pretty decent price. Hoppers in particular is one of the best things Hernandez has ever done.
Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
Kevin: The Eisner-nominated haunted-house tale, by author Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez, at last gets the softcover treatment from IDW Publishing.
Love and Capes #11
JK: Thom Zahler had copies of this in San Diego, so I’ve already had a chance to read the penultimate issue in his fun superhero romance. The plot centers on Abby finding the perfect wedding dress and coming to terms with her arch-nemesis, and sets things up for the big wedding issue. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything plays out.
The full list of items arriving in stores this week can be found here.