REVIEW: "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 Makes the Future of DC Comics Look Genuinely Bright
Lock up your non-geeky people! It’s time once again to venture into the heart of darkness – it’s Previews #269!
The always-superb and always-attractive Mike Sterling pointed this ad out on his round-up of weird things in Previews (it’s on page 13):
He wondered what would happen if you wanted your “one other person” in the photo with the Shat to be … Stan Lee! I think the universe would implode from so much concentrated awesome in one photograph (you may have to be more of a nerd than usual to cancel them out).
Dark Horse Presents returns on page 26. Stories by Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, Richard Corben, Paul Chadwick (a new Concrete story), and some of Miller’s Xerxes. It’s eight bucks, 80 pages. Not bad at all. (20 April)
On page 41, there’s a hardcover of Citizen Rex by two of the three Hernandez brothers. I may have to wait for the softcover, because this sounds pretty good, but I wasn’t too impressed with Speak of the Devil. It’s a pickle, say I! (29 June)
Unlike Other Greg, I’m not a total sucker for the whole Wold Newton thing, so The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde #1 on page 44 isn’t a complete must-have for me, but an inspector who needs help catching Jack the Ripper and decides to ask Henry Jekyll for help isn’t the worst idea in the world. I do like how after the solicitation text that explains the premise, Dark Horse feels the need to put, underneath it, a bullet point that reads, “Weaving together the Jack the Ripper legend with the elements of the classic tale of Jekyll and Hyde.” Yeah, I think we got that. Thanks! (27 April)
I don’t think I’ll pony up 50 bucks for The Brides of Mister X and Other Stories on page 56, but it is tempting (it’s 320 pages, after all). Lots of cool creators, and who doesn’t love Art Deco? (8 June)
Jimmy and Danny (they really ought to pitch a comedy series to CBS – it could be about two dudes trying to run a comic book company and all the hilarity that ensues, and it could air right after Two and a Half Men!) have a letter about dropping the Comics Code at the front of the DC section. I’m really curious to see if the ratings are essentially meaningless like the MPAA’s ratings, or if they’ll be ballsy enough to stick a “T+” on some of their more graphic comics [Yes, as it turns out – see below!]. I would bet good money that every comic about “Blackest Night” would have been “T” because of all the “mild violence” contained within. I’m really curious about it, because it would be kind of neat to have an “M” on some mainstream superhero comics. I doubt if that’s ever going to happen, but it would be neat to see!
I know Loren isn’t around to let us know about bows and arrows anymore (was that Loren, or one of his blog pals?), but I can’t believe Ollie is holding that correctly (page 70; 27 April):
Please tell me that Brett Booth isn’t the new regular artist on JLA (page 73). Dear sweet Jeebus. (20 April)
Superman is back in Action Comics with issue #900, as we knew he had to be, but it’s kind of a strange solicit, as it seems to imply that Cornell has been building to a showdown between Luthor and Supes. I mean, I guess he has, but is Superman just going to fly in and decide to beat on Lex? I’m sure it will all be explained!!! (27 April)
I’m not sure why DC is soliciting Batman, Incorporated #6 (page 77) for April as the book is already behind, but maybe they’re going to release two in February or March to make up for it. I can’t remember where I read this (Kelly’s post about DC covers, maybe?), but that buffalo does look pretty sad:
You’d think this situation would make a buffalo just about as happy as it can be. I guess not. (27 April)
I was a bit disappointed that David Finch’s Batman: The Dark Knight didn’t come out in January, because I’m perversely curious about it. I do like the solicit text for issue #5 (page 78): “David Finch’s brilliant take on Batman continues.” Um, “brilliant”? Really, DC? It’s striking because it’s kind of rare to see the solicit texts praise the creator that specifically. Usually it’s more as if the book is fantastic just for existing, not because the creator is making it so.
Yes, it’s another superb cover by Jock (page 80):
I know, shocking. (27 April)
DC doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing with covers. On page 83 we get a reprint for Detective Comics #876. I mean, it’s a good cover (the one with Batman facing down a killer whale’s mouth), but it’s been in Previews before. (27 April) Then on page 84, we get a cover for Batman and Robin #22 that was obviously supposed to be for this Cornell storyline. DC knows they had to push the Tomasi/Gleason beginning back, and they relate the information that this issue will have two different covers, but are neither of them done yet? (13 April)
You know, Neal Adams may have gone “Frank Miller batshit insane,” but this cover ROX!!!!! (Page 85; 6 April)
So, apparently, I’m out of the loop, as the “FIRST DATE you’ve been waiting for” occurs in the pages of Birds of Prey #11 (page 86), as Huntress goes out with Catman. I wasn’t waiting for this. Was anyone else? (13 April)
J. G. Jones writes a six-issue arc of Doc Savage starting with issue #13 (page 92). Does anyone know if Jones is any good as a writer? (13 April)
I like the solicitation for R.E.B.E.L.S. #27 (page 97). It reads, “The behemoth known as Tribulus is unleashed in a last-ditch gambit to save team leader Vril Dox from the mind-slavery of Starro the Conqueror.” Got that? The very next sentence reads “Can the combined might of Lobo, Adam Strange, Starfire[,] and Captain Comet be enough to stop Starro’s latest bid for conquest?” So is Tribulus the last-ditch gambit or are the others still in the fray? They seem to be mutually exclusive. Is Tribulus saving Vril Dox and the others are stopping the little Starros that multiply all over the place? Beats me. (13 April)
The planet on which Lobo is hanging out in Weird Worlds is not named in the first issue (it’s just a mine in the Antares system), but on page 100 we learn it’s called Phu’Barr. That’s pretty funny, actually. (6 April)
Now that we’re through the mainstream stuff, I should point out that DC has listed Green Arrow, Jonah Hex, Secret Six, Titans, and Zatanna as “T+.” At least they’re doing it for some books! I wonder if the contents of the rest of the line (all rated “T”) will actually be less horrific than those books. We shall see!
DC Comics Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes – Legion of the Damned (page 102) might be a mouthful, but I think I’m going to get it. I’ve been curious about Legion Lost for years (and DC is bringing out a new hardcover on page 109), and according to the solicits, this leads into that. What say you, Legion fans? Is it any good and is it necessary? I try every once in a while to get into the Legion, so I’m trying it again! (20 April)
Wow. A hardcover of the early Infinity, Inc. issues (page 107). I suppose if you want to see really early Todd McFarlane art, you could pick this up. I can’t believe it’s worth 40 bucks, though. (22 June)
DC has the “Joe Kubert Library” on pages 112-13, with trades of Yossel, Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965, and Jew Gangster. I haven’t read the first and last of those. I’m sure they look good, but are they good reads? Anyone?
If you’re interested in some excellent superhero comics, check out Batman: The Brave and the Bold – Emerald Knight, the trade paperback, on page 117. It features issue #21, the best single issue of 2010, and a bunch of others, some of which I’ve read and enjoyed. You know you want to! (25 May)
There’s a cool-looking Vertigo Crime book on page 121 called 99 Days. It’s about a Hutu in Rwanda who flees the country and becomes an LAPD detective, but if you think his past won’t come back to haunt him, you’ve obviously never read a crime novel! It’s drawn by Kristian Donaldson, so it’ll look good, but it sounds pretty keen too. (1 June)
I’ve been waiting for the trade of Hellblazer: City of Demons, and it’s offered on page 124. Does anyone want to bet that it will be out before Joe the Barbarian #8, which was supposed to be out before the first issue of this series even shipped? That would depress me. (18 May)
The final trade of Unknown Soldier is out on page 129. Read it!!!! (25 May)
I don’t really want to get the hardcover of We3 (page 130), but then DC tells us it features new story pages. Damn you, DC!!!!! (15 June)
There’s a new hardcover of Deep Sleeper on page 161 – I guess IDW did well with a new printing of The Coffin, so why not this comic? Deep Sleeper is a tremendous book – very good writing, excellent art, cool oddball story. What’s not to love?
I don’t know if Miss Fury (page 162) is any good, but it sounds pretty wacky! A female superhero from the 1940s, written and drawn by a woman, engaged in all sorts of lurid adventures? I suppose I could look this up, but if anyone knows anything about this, let us know.
Bloom County gets a fourth giant collection on page 163. Hot damn, I love these books.
Blue Estate #1 on page 170 sounds intriguing. It’s a wacked-out noir heist comic, from the solicitation, but the creators are neat: Viktor Kalvachev, Nathan Fox, Toby Cypress, Robert Valley, and Andrew Osborne. It might be too many cooks spoiling the broth, but we’ll have to see, won’t we? (6 April)
There’s a new giant Madman special on page 182. I don’t know exactly why I don’t love Mike Allred (especially his writing), but for those who do, there it is! (6 April)
I have no interest in reading Marijuanaman, the new over-priced graphic novel from the mind of Ziggy Marley (page 183; it’s 48 pages and cost $25 – really?), but I wonder if Chad Nevett will, as it’s written by Joe Casey. And drawn by Jim Mahfood. So the talent is there, but I can’t see this being any good. Who knows? (20 April)
I’ve heard that Bulletproof Coffin works really, really well in single issues, but I didn’t get it that way, and now there’s a trade (page 186). I’m always curious about books that get so much praise heaped upon them – either I’ll love it, which would be nice, or I’ll be really puzzled about why so much praise is getting heaped upon it. That’s kind of fun, too. (27 April)
If you get Dynamo 5 in trade form, “Sins of the Father” is offered on page 186. I know some people here didn’t like it because it was a bit more violent than usual, but I think the violence is handled pretty well. You be the judge! (27 April)
Golly! is also out in trade on page 187. You might recall that this won my coveted “Fell” Award for 2009, but if you read all the issues together in this handy format, it’s a pretty fun story with decent art. It’s too bad Hester won’t be continuing the story, but at least we got this! (27 April)
I like how the solicit for Fear Itself #1 (page 1) doesn’t really tell us anything at all about the comic. Marvel has reached a point where they simply know people will buy this just because it’s an event. I’d call it ballsy except for the fact that it works. (6 April)
Marvel must really hate retailers. Thor has become Journey into Mystery (page 7) but keeps the same numbering and brings back the creative team that was on the book before Fraction and Ferry. Meanwhile, Fraction moves over to a new title and a new #1 (page 29) without Ferry, but with returning artist Coipel. Retailers have no idea where to put the back issues. Confusion reigns throughout the land! (Hey, Marvel should do an event series about all their re-numberings and how comic nerds and sellers are dealing with it when they store things. That makes as much sense as some of their other events do!) (13 April)
The solicitation for Avengers #12.1 (page 19) cracked me up a bit. They describe Bryan Hitch as a “modern master.” Wow. I mean, I like Hitch and all, but … wow. (27 April)
Over on page 26, the solicitation text for Captain America: The Fighting Avenger is actually obscured by the variant cover. Now, only a few words are blacked out, but that’s just weird. (13 April)
I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that Marvel (and DC, to be fair) occasionally solicit books without knowing who the creative team is going to be. Does Vampire #1 (page 28) really need to be released in April so they must solicit it without knowing who the artist is? It’s a one-shot, after all. I guess it ties into Fear Itself, but then shouldn’t they have locked down an artist by now? (6 April)
Speaking of The Mighty Thor #1, what happened to Ferry? Wasn’t that supposed to be a Thor Dream Team for decades to come? When it’s all said and done, will Ferry have done even six issues on the book? (27 April)
I know other people have commented on this cover and I know it’s a homage, but it really is terrible (page 33):
Page 34: Spectacular Spider-Man #1000? Double-U Tee Eff? I would just love if Marvel didn’t even care about numbering any more. They should just put a huge set of numbers up on the wall and throw darts at it every month to determine issue numbers. That’s what they seem to be doing anyway, so why not admit it? (6 April)
On page 40, we get Incredible Hulks #626 and #627: “See the Hulk as you’ve never seen him before: as an international super-spy!” I don’t know how the story would have gone, but I’d like to point out that fifteen years ago, just before he left the book, Peter David was going to have Bruce Banner work for S.H.I.E.L.D. So while we didn’t “see” it, it was still on the table! (13 and 27 April)
I’m a bit wary about Herc, the first two issues of which are offered on page 46. Van Lente and Pak have written one of the best Marvel books over the past few years, so the fact that they’re continuing with it makes me happy. On the other hand, Amadeus Cho is apparently not in the book (he’s over in Incredible Hulks), which is stinky, and the solicit text promises an “all-new, all-dark” ongoing saga. I don’t know how honest those solicitation texts are, but I really don’t want to read the adventures of Dark Herc. That would be depressing. I’m going to give it a try, but that doesn’t fill me with confidence. (6 April)
If all the “Thor Goes Hollywood” variant covers are as excellent as the one for Heroes for Hire #5 (page 49), then I want them ALL! (6 April)
I like that on page 67, the text for Age of X: Universe #2 claims the cover is by Simone Bianchi what they show us is very clearly labeled “Yardin,” as in David. Shit like this cracks me up. Yes, I’m childish. (27 April)
Jinx gets a hardcover printing on page 78 – it’s $25, but it’s also 480 pages of noiry goodness! If you’ve always wondered why on earth Bendis has such a good reputation, this is not a bad place to start, as it’s pretty damned good. (4 May)
Have you ever woken up and thought, “You know what I need in my life? A 100-dollar hardcover collecting 752 pages of late 1980s comics that were part of the ‘Acts of Vengeance’ crossover!”? Well, good people, Marvel can read your thoughts, and they have obliged, on page 81. Step right up and plunk down your hard-earned cash! (6 July)
If you’ve been waiting for the trade of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel has a hardcover on page 84. Or you could wait for the softcover! (20 April)
I’m very tempted to get the hardcover of Thor: For Asgard (page 89), but I think I’ll wait for the cheaper flimsy trade. (4 May)
Marvel is printing all of Barry Windsor-Smith’s X-Men work and calling it Lifedeath (page 94), which is a bit odd but not overly so (the most famous issue is titled that, hence the name of the entire collection). I’m kind of curious about this mainly because of the presence of issue #53, which is from years and years earlier than the others, so it’d be neat to see the changes in BWS’s art. Plus, issue #205 is one of the top ten single issues in X-Men history. Yeah, I said it. (6 July)
On page 111, we get a reprint of Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne … which has been around for years (but is really worth a look, if you haven’t done so already). The fact that it’s “volume 1″ gives me hope that they’ll get a trade out of the stuff from when Byrne returned to the book a few years later. Get on it, Marvel! (27 April)
Shall we see what’s in the back of the book? You know you want to!
Echo is ending with issue #30 on page 216. I suppose I need to go buy all the trades now.
I don’t really want to read a zombie book, but Zombies Calling from SLG (page 218) is by Faith Erin Hicks, who’s awesome. This book has been out for a few years – any opinions on it?
Oh dear sweet Lord. On page 224, Arcana has a trade paperback of Demonslayer. Yes, that Demonslayer. Someone needs to buy this for me (as I would never buy it myself) so I can witness the sheer craptitude of an entire trade paperback of Demonslayer. Who’s going to step up?!?!?
Boom! has a trade of Die Hard: Year One, volume 2 on page 250. I suppose you’ll probably need that volume 1 on page 252, too.
On page 253, Boom! offers Malignant Man #1, a series about a dude with a parasite inside him that gives him weird powers … which he uses to fight evil, of course! It sounds fairly twisted, but who doesn’t love twisted stories?
Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness #1 shows up on page 264 from Dynamite. If it’s possible, I have less than no interest in this, but I like the fact that J. Scott Campbell is quoted as saying, “This will be an incredibly compelling series!” I mean, what the hell else is he going to say?
On page 294, Atomika #12 gets resolicited after taking 2010 off. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time, because Atomika is pretty danged keen. On the same page, Mercury offers the second trade, which is not a bad move. I really hope this comes out when it’s supposed to!!!!
Oni offers up The Tooth on page 300, which sounds kind of wacky. It’s written by Cullen Bunn (and Shawn Lee) and drawn by Matt Kindt, so I really don’t see how I can pass this up.
As we all know, I’m partial to noir detective fiction, so Liar’s Kiss from Top Shelf (page 312) seems like a good book to me. A detective is surveilling the wife of a man who believes she’s cheating on him, which she is … with the detective. But then the client is killed, and everything goes a bit fubar. Everyone likes fubar!!!
Well, that’s all I got this time around. There’s nothing too weird in the deeper back of the book, so it’s a good place to stop. As always, ask your retailer to give you Previews so you can order stuff and make him (or her) more money! It’s a win-win!
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