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Grumpy Old Fan | Small print: DC Entertainment solicitations for July 2010

Brightest Day:  The Atom

Brightest Day: The Atom

DC’s July solicitations include such high-profile titles as Brightest Day, Justice League: Generation Lost, three Grant Morrison Bat-books, Neal Adams’ Odyssey, and the 50th issues of Ex Machina and Green Lantern Corps. We’ll touch on some of those in this modest survey.

However, as usual, it was an eclectic group of books which caught my eye … starting with a feature I wasn’t expecting to see.

NIGHT AND DAY

I hate to dismiss a series which I’d like to read before it’s even seen the inside of a comics shop, but I think the Atom Special and its subsequent co-feature may do better in collected form than in single issues. I base this on the quite-possibly-irrational notion that a significant amount of DC readers want to read about the Atom, but don’t especially want to follow the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Like I said, possibly irrational — but consider: the Legion now has its own book in addition to its regular feature in Adventure Comics. Therefore, at some point readers of Adventure will probably need to read Legion in order to be fully in the know. This makes reading Adventure just for the Atom even less attractive, since it likely entails an extra $2.99 commitment on top of the $3.99 for Adventure. The alternative, of course, is to wait for the Atom Special and the first co-feature storyline to be collected — because, inevitably, it will — and hope that enough people buy it, and keep buying Adventure to warrant further collections.

All that said, I will probably get both the Atom Special and Adventure. I like the Legion well enough, but strange as it may seem, the “updated Earth-1″ crew hasn’t turned out to be my favorite. However — and here is the truly weird thing — I suddenly like Adventure more with its original numbering. That one change makes a world of difference for me, and I think I would feel the same if I hadn’t grown up with the original series. It bridges the gap, you know? Now its roots go deeper than Geoff Johns’ Superman work. Now they go back not just through the Legion but through Aquaman, the Spectre, and a vast range of characters and approaches. I look at Adventure Comics vol. 2 #10 and think maybe someday this’ll last as long as its predecessor. Well, with July’s issue #516, it’s all of a piece.

And this is a horrible segue, but as much as I liked the Star City reveal in Brightest Day #0, the new Green Arrow series barely registers on my radar. It sounds hokey, but having the Atom resolve his issues fairly quickly in Blackest Night got me a lot more ready for his new feature than all the sound and fury surrounding Team Arrow.  Yes, it can be exciting to watch one’s heroes struggle through horrible adversity, but haven’t the past six years of struggling been enough?  Accentuate the positive, DC!

And one last bit of Blackest Night bidness:  Lex Luthor didn’t have much to do as an Orange Lantern, but the more I think about it, the more I want Action Comics’ Paul Cornell and Pete Woods to have him design his own power ring. Clearly he won’t be able to duplicate one — it wouldn’t be a ring anyway, it’d probably be the size of a tank — but boy I want to see him try.

GOINGS AND COMINGS

Welcome back, Welcome To Tranquility; and welcome to busy new Azrael writer David Hine.

Ex Machina finishes on time, but The Great Ten wraps up early.  Seems like just last month the G10 miniseries was in fact set for (appropriately enough) ten issues. I’ve liked it pretty well so far, and I know it’s selling pretty poorly — but I didn’t think it was selling badly enough to be cancelled an issue early. Should make the collection that much cheaper, though.

I’ll miss The Warlord, cancelled with July’s #16. I bought it originally to support DC’s attempts at branching into non-superhero genres, and I’m glad it lasted past its first anniversary; but before too long, with every month’s solicits I expected to see that “FINAL ISSUE” notation. Speaking as someone with only a nominal amount of Warlord knowledge (before reading the Showcase Presents volume, that is), I thought it was pretty accessible. It looked pretty good too, especially when Mike Grell illustrated his own scripts. There wasn’t much innovation to it, and it did feature a character unironically named “McBane” — I will never let that go — but it was a reliably diverting fantasy every month.

POTPOURRI

Last month we learned that DC’s readership wasn’t willing to support two Red Circle titles. This month — a month, I might add, which saw the aforementioned early end of another government-sponsored super-team title — DC has decided to put all its red-circled eggs into the Mighty Crusaders basket. As I understand it, the Crusaders are the Red Circle’s Justice League/Justice Society analogue, and that’s too bad for them. Whether they’re the Justice Society, the Crusaders, or the Shadow Cabinet, these all-star teams tend to be compared to the League, because it is DC-Earth’s preeminent superhero team. When these kinds of teams have their own Earths to police, naturally they’re at the top of the organizational chart. Presently, however, they’re all competing for second place; because by definition the JLA is No. 1. Thus, it doesn’t surprise me that the Crusaders have gone the “government-sponsored” route, because they have to distinguish themselves somehow. It probably also means that DC isn’t anywhere near integrating the THUNDER Agents into its regular superhero community, because their acronymic name pretty much requires being sponsored by the United Nations.

I thought Madame Xanadu was getting pretty close to “Mad Men” territory with the tormented Betty Draper-esque housewife in its current storyline, so I’m definitely interested in what issue #25 does with its tormented ‘60s ad exec.

Time Masters: Vanishing Point takes a pretty logical approach to searching through time for Bruce Wayne — namely, going to Booster Gold and his time-traveling associates. I have no illusions that Booster, Superman, and Green Lantern will actually find Bruce in the course of this miniseries, because it seems pretty obvious that Bruce’s story will be resolved in the Return Of Bruce Wayne miniseries, set to wrap up a full three months before this one does. Then again, you’d think Batman would have died at the end of a story called “Batman R.I.P….”

Speaking of ROBW, I’m glad to have Grant Morrison writing the regular Batman book again, alongside his normal Bat-gigs — but with Neal Adams’ Batman: Odyssey miniseries debuting in July, and with Morrison citing Adams’ “hairy-chested love god” as one of his Bat-inspirations, I kinda hope the two find a way to work together.

Yeah, I’m getting the X-Files/30 Days Of Night crossover. The ultimate “X-Files” vampire story will always be the fifth season’s “Bad Blood,” but this should be scary enough.

I am hardly the first to say it, but … J. Michael Straczynski’s all-new Wonder Woman era starts with the destruction of Paradise Island? I trust this will be different from the time Darkseid decimated the Amazons at the start of John Byrne’s mid-‘90s run, or the hiatus the Amazons took at the end of Greg Rucka’s tenure. I did like Don Kramer and Michael Babinski’s work on the JSA Vs. Kobra miniseries, though; so WW #601 has that going for it.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

The solicit for Teen Titans #85 intrigues me, because it seems like a pretty standard superhero story. I haven’t read the book since the Wonderdog issue, so I have no idea why they might be after Raven, or how they got to “the Wyld country.” Still, it’s superheroes fighting dinosaurs and affiliated monsters, which sounds like an attempt to distance the title from its reputation as a regular source of bloody death.

Similarly, I’m getting more interested in Paul Levitz and Jerry Ordway’s literal-hero-worship story in Superman/Batman. Not that S/B has the same ghoulish reputation, mind you — it just seems like a nice, straightforward, World’s Finest-style story.

COLLECTIONS

The concluding volume of The Mighty is on the schedule for August. I never read the series, because it seemed pretty familiar, at least at first. However, I heard good things here and there, and I like Chris Samnee’s work, so I may have to give it another shot.

I’m definitely looking forward to the second Showcase Presents The Doom Patrol volume, primarily to see just how bizarre Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani got with their signature creations. Doom Patrol #121 is one of the most famous — or infamous, perhaps — final issues in all of superhero comics, so I hope it lives up to the hype.

DC might have done it previously, but this is the first time I’ve seen collections solicited alongside their final issues. American Vampire #5 comes out July 21, but latecomers need only wait about two more months for the hardcover on September 29. The wait’s even shorter for Batman: The Widening Gyre Vol. 1 (issue #6 is set for July 28, and the hardcover drops on July 1).

* * *

Well, that’s what stood out to me this month. What looks good to you?

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Comments

29 Comments

Andrew Collins

April 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I shake my fist and say woe to the comic book marketplace that can’t support a Warlord book written AND drawn by Mike Grell. It’s been a fun, consistent title, managing to both harken back to the original stories and also be accessible to new readers. That Bruce Jones/Bart Sears abomination from a few years ago? Sure, let’s all forget that ever happened. But this getting cancelled truly saddens me. C’mon folks! GRELL! Writing and drawing it! *sigh…*

I plan on picking up my usual stash of pull list titles from DC as well as the Cinderella trade from Vertigo. I also find myself almost giddily excited about that Neal Adams Batman series…

I agree with your Legion/Atom comment…but reveresed. I’d rather not have to pay an extra dollar for a backup of the ATOM. Especially RAY. Give him his own book, include the highly interesting set up Gail Simone wrote with IVY Town and add Ryan to the book.

Byte Me Graphics

April 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

“It probably also means that DC isn’t anywhere near integrating the THUNDER Agents into its regular superhero community, because their acronymic name pretty much requires being sponsored by the United Nations.”

After DC announced purchasing the “rights” to the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents last year, it was revealed that the original 1960s run was, in fact, pubic domain. (there are several links at http://pdsh.wikia.com/wiki/T.H.U.N.D.E.R._Agents explaning the matter)
It turns out that Tower’s successor company had sold non-existant “rights” to John Carbonaro, whose estate, in turn, sold them to DC.
So, it seems all DC had actually purchased from the Carbonaro estate was the rights to the short-lived JC Comics version.
BTW, There was no mention at C2E2 about T.H.U.N.D.E.R. at all.
I suspect that DC is trying to sort the legal matters out before proceeding any further.
NOTE: DC HAS taken PD characters (including most of the non-Blackhawk Quality and non-Captain Marvel Fawcett characters and done new versions of them. They could do the same with T.H.U.N.D.E.R.
Or, they could deal with David Singer’s Deluxe Comics to reprint the 1980s Englehart/Perez/Giffen/Cockrum/Ordway/et al material and, perhaps follow up on those plotlines?

I’m also conflicted on the Atom, though for me it comes down to loving Jeff Lemire’s writng on Sweet Tooth and Essex County and really wanting to see what he does with a superhero book vs having no interest in the Legion and finding Paul Levitz’s writing these days dull and dated. I’m sure the special and the back-ups will be collected eventually, but I imagine sales of Adventure Comics are going to dictate whether the Atom gets more than the initial story arc. Personally, I’m picking up the one-shot and waiting for the trade on the rest.

I was pretty skeptical about The Mighty–it seemed, as you said, like something we’d seen before, and with Irredeemable out now, it didn’t even have that niche. But I read the first trade last night and was very surprised by how good it was. I’m in the process of selling a lot of comics, books that I don’t think I’ll reread again anytime soon, and I thought I’d put the first volume of The Mighty in that pile–instead, I added it to my bookshelf and am now ready to order the second volume. I recommend it.

Welcome to Tranquility is back? Man, I was just purging those.

And by purging, I mean 2 years ago, I culled 20 longboxes down to 15.
Just recently, I’ve pared it down to 6 boxes, with 9 plus a bunch of games headed towards eBay (unless anyone has a better selling suggestion).

This Atom cover should have “inspired by new TV show LIFE” written on it. Because they showed that sticky tongue catch thing at least 20 times.

‘This makes reading Adventure just for the Atom even less attractive, since it likely entails an extra $2.99 commitment on top of the $3.99 for Adventure.’ Hmm, I don’t get this – if someone’s reading Adventure purely for the Atom, why would they also buy the Legion solo book?

It’s late, I’m likely being dumb.

A further example of this – I don’t understand the problem with a character named McBane? I know Ed McBain, I know Bane from Batman, but what’s the issue?

From what I’ve read, it looks like Levitz’s initital Legion arc in Adventure will stand on it’s own as a retro-history story, and not tie directly into the Legion ongoing.

And isn’t it a little early to be judging the quality of Paul Levitz’s current work, since we haven’t seen anything from him since he began writing full-time? The only thing to judge by that I am aware of is his JSA run from 3 to 4 years ago, when he was basically moonlighting from a more-than-full-time day job.

I am anxious to see what he can do.

What, no mention of the JMS Superman? LOL, kidding. I’ll take a look at Action Comics, because I REALLY liked the Doctor Who episodes that Paul Cornell wrote. That, ROBW, and Batman look good to me, as well as Jonah Hex!

Curious, though. You called David Hine, the incoming writer on Azrael, busy. What else is he doing?

I think its important for fans to remember they are two separate Legion stories. One taking place when they are kids with Superboy, the other when they are adults. Of course, fans won’t realise this and moan about crossovers. You don’t have to pick up one to follow the other

@ nikki: Congratulations. You’ve just summarized in fewer than three lines, why the LOSH is so inaccessible.

That’s like saying that Silver Age Superman was inaccessible because DC was also publishing Superboy comics.

That having been said, I don’t expect that Adventure will always be about the-Legion-way-back-when; I suspect that after the first arc it’ll jump to the same future as the regular Legion title. Or maybe Levitz will mix it up a bit.

I was going to get Adventure anyway, but I’m glad to have the pot sweetened by the Atom backup. I’d prefer Ryan Choi, but I always liked Ray Palmer too, so it’s fine.

I had the impression that after the origin of the LSH, the title will move to some other feature.

Of course, they could always followup on the other two Legions in Adventure Comics as well. The Threeboot Legion and 90s incarnation are both back in play following Lo3W.

I feel the exact same way as the GOF. I have no interest at in all the Legion, but the Atom is right up my alley. I would buy an Atom solo book, but I won’t spend $4 for, what, 8-10 pages? WFtT, I guess.

@ (other) Tom: David Hine will also be writing The Spirit and will have just finished a Detective arc. Maybe not as busy as it seemed when I first went through the solicits.

@ Martin Gray: I’ll always think of McBane as the cop-who-plays-by-his-own-rules parody on “The Simpsons,” so it’s hard for me to forget that, even in The Warlord.

Can’t express enough how sorry I am to see the cancellation of WARLORD.

Sadly, Grell is woefully underrated by today’s audience. Warlord has been solid sword&sorcery material every month.

Again, sorry to see this book go.

I’m looking forward to JLI. Word on the street is that there might be some deaths, and what comic doesn’t have them, but it’ll mostly due to Winnick.

I can’t believe that Magog is solicited as starting a 5-part story. Man, that’s wishful thinking right? As badly as it’s selling, I can’t see how they think it’s going to last 5 more issues.

Lasso of Truth

April 25, 2010 at 7:57 am

Isn’t it a bit soon to take a shot at JMS’ Wonder Woman run- given that it hasn’t even started yet? (And particularly given the WAY OTT promotion CBR gave to Simone’s dreadful run?)

Oh and…Rucka did not have all the Amazons leave the island. That happened at the end of “Amazons Attack!”, which Rucka did not write.

I have enormous faith in JMS. His “Brave And Bold” issue with Wondy, Zatanna, and Batgirl was absolutely brilliant, and his run on Thor was exceptional.

What gets me is that there’s not one, but TWO more waves of Blackest Night figures hitting within 1 month of each other. So now you can get all of the deputy lanterns that were revealed in BN, including Red Lantern Mera, who comes with Dex-Starr, the rage cat! Crap!! Why is DC so interested in my son not being able to afford college??

@TomB Thanks for the clarification. I’ve only seen a few episodes of the Simpsons, so it was over my head!

Personally I love the Legion but I feel they’re being spread too thin over the two titles. I’d much rather have any of Aquaman, Deadman, Spectre, or even Atom headlining Adventure Comics with a reasonable back-up in tow. As is, I’m considering dropping the title in monthly format and waiting for the trade.

One can only assume that the changes in store for Green Arrow can only improve the situation for the arrow family given Heinberg’s weak run and Robinson’s straight-up awful Cry for Justice.

Couldn’t disagree more with Lasso of Truth about Gail Simone’s run; it has been solid. And there’s a reason why the supposedly novel narrative device with which JMS will launch his run has been met with relative scorn online. It’s bad rehash. That said, I have faith in his ability to tell a good story, so I’m curious to see where he’ll take it.

David M. Singer

May 5, 2010 at 8:54 am

I have recently posted comments regarding the copyright status of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents as public domain characters. My comments were incorrect. I must make the following clarification: John Carbonaro and David Singer, Singer Publishing Company, Inc. and Deluxe Comics, have reached a final settlement in the lawsuit between the parties (entitled John Carbonaro, et. al. v. David Singer, et. al., 84 Civ. 8737 (S.D.N.Y.)). Singer acknowledges Carbonaro’s registered copyrights and trademark in the “T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents®” and has consented to be permanently enjoined from utilizing any of the “T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents” characters, stories or artwork or Carbonaro’s trademark. Under the settlement, Carbonaro will receive, among other things, an assignment of all rights to “Wally Woods T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents,” previously published by Singer.

I’m sorry I’m several months late with this but I only found The Mighty Crusaders reference by digging through the archives.Does anyone know the status of these characters now that issue six is wrapping up the mini?My personal impression was that all of these characters were crammed into this mini to exercise DC’s right to utilize them only because they were already paid for.Too many characters were crammed into this with little regard for story sensibility.The story should have involved only the first four SHEILD,HANGMAN,INFERNO and WEB.At most only FOX and JAGUAR should have come on scene secondarily.The original impression was that FOX and JAGUAR would be the next two ongoings with more characters as back stories or as part of the regular plotlines in the way JAGUAR was introduced in SHEILD.Did the Blackest /Brightest/Death/Return of Wayne tsunami kill this project off or the 3.99 price?This also seemed to suffer from nobody at the editorial helm syndrome as well.What exactly was DC’s point in this project if they were already juggling too many balls at the same time?

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