Robot 6

Grumpy Old Fan | Old growth from DC in May

Take a good look

Take a good look

Not a lot in DC Comics’ May solicitations really strikes me as “new.” That’s due partly to a lot of the new books being set to launch a month earlier. Generally, the superhero line continues to contract, while The New 52 — Futures End kicks off, the New 52 version of Doomsday keeps rampaging through the Superman titles, and Batman Eternal rolls on. Nevertheless, I do have the irrational sense that the line is gearing up for something even more significant, and will be adding new series over the next few months.

Still, if we’re to get excited about the regular fare, we may have to read between the solicitations’ lines — so let’s get on with it, shall we?

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A NEW 52 FOR THE NEW 52

And here it is, Futures End. Last year I wrote the New 52 needed its own version of 52, the year-long miniseries that spanned time and space to focus on the lesser lights of the superhero line. I talked about exploring the geography of the still-new shared universe, doing character studies, and essentially giving the reader a good sense of place and/or connection.

Obviously it’s too early to tell whether Futures End will do that, but by the same token I see a decent amount of scope to May’s four issues. I do note that the “war with another Earth” bit is ambiguous enough to refer either to Forever Evil or to something else — maybe, as I’ve been suggesting for a while, something involving Earth-2 — and that could have repercussions on the next few months’ worth of regular superhero fare.

Indeed, speaking of Earth 2, its solicitation indicates the current total-war/evil-Superman storyline is reaching a climax. If it comes to a head in June or July, it might start crossing over into the regular DC-Earth’s series before the summer’s over. In fact, the Worlds’ Finest listing suggests that may happen, at least in that book, pretty soon.

DOOMBOTS

I’m not sure the New 52 needed a new version of the Superman/Doomsday story. As I understand it, the original Doomsday story was deliberately simple: Something comes out of the middle of nowhere and starts tearing up everything in its path; only Superman can stop it; and it costs Superman his life. It took six issues, and that was apparently the end of Doomsday. Before too long, though, Dan Jurgens put out a few more Doomsday miniseries (including one where Brainiac took over Doomy’s body, and one exploring the post-traumatic stresses on a set of supporting characters). Eventually, the big gray plot device became a pointy punching bag.

In short, Doomsday is a good example of a character created to do a specific thing, and who did that thing, but who DC apparently couldn’t bear to leave in limbo. Moreover, I’d say Doomsday is a character who plays specifically on the notion that Superman has been around for so long that the only thing left to do is to kill him. The New 52 Supes doesn’t have the history that the Superman of 1992 did (and that’s saying something, considering Superman had just been revamped in 1986), so to have an All-New, All-Different Doomsday pop up now, he’d better have a lot more going for him.

GREEN LANTERNS AND OTHERS

The post-Forever Evil lineup of the Justice League includes Lex Luthor and Captain Cold, so you have to think it’s going through a bit of a phase. In that respect, I suppose that putting the new Power Ring on the team (which the solicit seems to imply) makes a certain amount of sense. Still, as the ring apparently houses an evil entity that preys on the wearer’s fears — and probably isn’t too good for the wearer as a general rule — I am not sure how long she’ll be Power Ring. Of course, with most of the Earth-oriented Green Lanterns busy out in space, and Simon Baz’s status unclear, I’m not sure how long it’ll be before she comes in contact with an Oan power ring, either. Hope this doesn’t mean Simon should be watching his back.

After a few months of being fairly interconnected (except for Larfleeze, naturally), the GL books are mostly striking out on their own again. Larfleeze and the new Sinestro are standalone, but I’m a little surprised to see New Guardians distancing itself from the other series. Red Lanterns is connected to Supergirl, and the two main GL titles are crossing over in May, but they’re doing so in ways that don’t feel as forced as they have in the past. I do wonder when GL itself will get back to Earth, though.

Also, I note that the Green Lantern in Smallville Season 11 is/will be John Stewart. I don’t have a problem with it, but I do wonder — and just for curiosity’s sake, not in a “who are these people?” way — who’s reading Smallville Season 11, and if they’d be more familiar with John than with any of the others.

THIS AND THAT

I’m impressed with Jeff Lemire bringing back The Unimaginable in Justice League United #1. It was a Gardner Fox/Mike Sekowsky creation debuting in Justice League of America #42 (February 1966) and returning in issue #44, and it got upset that the JLA turned it down, but offered Metamorpho membership instead. Did you see the Star Trek tribute episode of Futurama? It was like that disembodied being, only not as good a prospect as Metamorpho. Anyway, The Unimaginable apparently showed up many years later in Valor, but other than that has languished in obscurity. Therefore, color me intrigued.

At the other end of the obscurity spectrum, Secret Origins issue 2 will feature the origin of Batman. Way to break new ground, DC! (I am curious to see how this issue handles the New 52 origins of Aquaman and Starfire, though.)

Last week’s Batman #28 revealed that Batman Eternal would shake up Selina Kyle’s status quo pretty significantly. It’s not the kind of thing which would necessarily mean the end of Catwoman, but if she’s going to be a big part of BE, her own series would have to adjust accordingly. I say all that because the current “Race of Outlaws” storyline in Catwoman may turn out to be the last “normal” Catwoman story for a while.

The Flash solicit makes it sound like Future Flash isn’t Wally West. Naturally, this could be deliberately misleading, because Future Flash could well be Future Wally. Regardless, good to know that Wally is still Iris’ nephew.

POTPOURRI

After twenty-plus years, Astro City gets its first guest artist, in the person of Graham Nolan. I always enjoy his work, whether it’s on a Bat-book or Rex Morgan, M.D. He’s a great fit for the world of Astro City, although I hope he doesn’t have to pinch-hit too often.

I haven’t followed Superboy since very early in its current run, so I can’t speak to the current plot, which apparently involves an evil future Superboy who’s replaced the original Kon-El. This plot has been going on for a while now, and it seems to have involved a few different creative teams, or at least a few different writers. Aaron Kuder is the latest one, and while he’s more visible (no pun intended) as the artist of Action Comics, he also wrote a pretty decent Parasite spotlight for Villains’ Month. Again, not sure how much longer the evil-Superboy plot can hang on, but here’s hoping Kuder does well with it.

The April solicits gave me a bit of hope that The Movement would hang on past its first year, but sadly, it’s not meant to be. It ends with May’s issue #12, and as a practical matter, I suppose we won’t see much of its characters outside the work of writer Gail Simone or artist Freddie Williams II. In other words, none of The Movement are going to join the next version of the Teen Titans. There’s good and bad in that — obviously this was a pretty personal project for Ms. Simone, and you might not want these characters released into the wilds of the DC Universe — so on balance, I’d settle for a guest-spot in Batgirl somewhere down the line.

COLLECTIONS

Seems like the Showcase Presents The Atomic Knights collection has been a long time coming. At one point I think the material was solicited as a hardcover, but I don’t remember that ever being published. Anyway, I have heard good things about these stories, which started out as a variation on DC’s Silver Age sci-fi comics. Clearly they couldn’t be too dystopian in the mid-1960s, but when the setting was revisited in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the stories got darker. Along the way they got co-opted into Kamandi’s “Great Disaster” (post-Kirby, I think) and Superman guest-starred, so the reader interested in DC obscura can find some familiar guides.

Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s Doom Patrol gets the Omnibus treatment. This isn’t that surprising, given the popularity of these creators on this book — and by the way, Doom Patrol vol. 2 #19 just turned 25 last fall — but you don’t see a lot of Vertigo in the Omnibus format. I’ve got the singles and the six paperbacks, so I’m not exactly in the market for this big brick of weird; but if you’re so inclined, it’s still one of the best superhero comics ever made.

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

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Comments

13 Comments

Agreed on Doom Patrol by Morrison and Case – it ranks up there in the best runs of all time, IMO.

RE: The Atomic Knights, they did release it as a hardcover, but the Showcase Presents book collects all of those plus the 70s and 80s Great Disaster stories (only some of which included the Knights and Kamandi – happily it does collect the weird Hercules Unbound series in its entirety).

One note on the Showcase Presents issues – my LCS said that the Showcase and Essentials books are basically done. I didn’t believe them. But then I see what’s coming out in the Showcase line recently (Jonah Hex 2, Captain Carrot, Great Disaster, Super Friends) – and they’re all books that were prepared but originally postponed.

So I’m wondering if the Showcase volumes actually ARE cancelled, and DC is simply clearing the decks of what they already have ready to go? Any way to find that out?

Those early Unimaginable appearances were lots of fun, he’s a total pill. Nice to see him resurrected.

Hmm, kind of hope that DC will spend a little time in Opal City and explore Starman and the Shade a bit.

There is nothing whatsoever that suggests that the new Power Ring will be on any team.

Unfortunately, Gail Simone announced on her Tumblr this morning that there she doesn’t think the Movement will be allowed to show up in Batgirl. I can’t imagine why editorial would meddle that much, but that is the way she phrased it.

I think Tom is right, DC is going to ramp up the launches come summer. However they could be holding off until September. I am sure rumors will start flying about DC’s September event. I hope DC decides to diversify their titles because it is sad if they are only publishing Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, and Justice League titles.

P.S. – I did not get much of a buzz this month reading DC or Marvel May Solicitations.

@Samurai- If Power Ring isn’t on any team then the tag line for Justice League #31 seems a bit odd.
“And how will her presence affect the team?”

If she is a standard villain, her affect will be obvious. But if she is a new member or someone that wants to be a member…then the tagline makes more sense.

I was not on board with Futures End in the beginning. I felt it was unnecessary to talk about the future if the present is still, well, alive. Is good for teasers, interests and attention, but I thought the concept behind it was a bit irrelevant. That all changed for me.

I am very intrigued by Futures End, and ironically, I recall just recently how I talked on this forum on another post about how DC should get props for keeping some canceled titles/characters into other important roles in The New 52. And surprise, surprise: Grifter is back. It remains to be seen if this is just a temporarily appearance or a permanent one. ven with Frankeinstein getting on the action(he too will appear in ‘Batman and [insert name]), the title felt a bit misplace, but with another past character coming back, it tells me DC is still looking for ways to bring some of these unsung heroes into the spotlight. I like that. I respect that. I can definitely get on board with it.

There are other titles I will try out and see where is heading(Power Ring finding a host does appeal to me), but with Batman Eternal being my number one priority, I can make room for another title that I will keep my eyes out after Forever Evil concludes. Nothing ‘big news’, but definitely eye-catching. For me.

Baz will be fine. I’m pretty sure that this new Power Ring is the same one that Baz takes as his discipline in the future (Remember the “ending” of GL).

I wonder about some of the Showcase volumes being published just to renew copyright and/or trademark. I mean, I love, the Showcase edition of Tales of the Unexpected and the original Dial H- but I really doubt there was a huge clamor for it. Similarly, while I might buy The Atomic Knights to relive its absolute lunacy which was apparent to me even when I was a lot younger, I doubt DC really expects that many people to buy it. What’s next? Space Museum Star Rovers and Ultra?

I LOVE Showcase and I will be greatly disappointed if future collections are discontinued! I am “that collector” who collects obscure comic books. So Showcase fits me lol

it would be a shame if the Showcase Presents line is finished. There are lots of terrain still to cover. More volumes of JLA/LSH, second volumes of Sea Devils and Rip Hunter, more mystery stuff. i love these SP. it would be great to keep them going into material from the late 70s and early 80s.

The audience may not be great, but there is one, because many of these volumes sell out and become rare collector’s items.

I read the Batman arc of Smallville, and just haven’t had a chance to get back. The introduction of Robin as a girl is interesting. I’m curious about the introduction of Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. There should almost be a companion, like a Who’s Who, or Secret Files and Origins to explain the Smallville Universe. I might have to re-read the arc, but I got no sense of who Bruce Wayne or Barbara Gordon(?) were. I get that these are digital stories first, and they get right into it. But somewhere there should be some background and groundwork…I liked the story and the series, I like the series of mini-series – I also wonder how long Season Eleven will be? What makes up an “episode”? Will there be 22 of these story arcs to make up the Season?

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