DC: The More Things Change...
So. Much. News!
DC's plan to relaunch their entire line has led to a lot of chatter, positive and negative. Love it or hate it, though, all eyes are on them--and they're taking advantage of that, rolling out new press releases on a daily basis. It's always a treat to wake up and learn what new titles we'll be getting. I'm not sure of the current count, but we're probably halfway there, no?
Some more big news came yesterday with announcement of DC's new Bat-books. Tony Daniel writes and draws Detective Comics, DC's namesake title, dealing with a new threat known as the Gotham Ripper. I'm a total sucker for riffs on Jack the Ripper, and Tony Daniel has actually really impressed me with his recent arcs, including his handlings of the Gotham criminal families, as well as the return of Hilda Dent. I'm very interested in seeing where he goes with this. That's all secondary to Scott Snyder taking over Batman (I'm kind of curious, though, why they essentially just swapped Snyder and Daniel's titles, especially given that Batman is more associated with superhero action, while Detective is more mystery oriented, and the original assignments played to each writer's strengths.) Snyder is joined by Greg Capullo, a real catch for DC, and one that they allegedly had to fight Marvel for. While I can't say that I think Capullo is the best fit for Snyder's work, he does draw a dynamic Batman, as shown in the attached cover. Impressive, right?
From there, DC rolled out other Bat-announcements. Some were more of a surprise than others--as expected, DC kept to a winning formula by relaunching Batman, Inc. by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham for a twelve-issue conclusion to the Leviathan saga, and Tomasi and Patrick Gleason return to Batman and Robin, pairing up Bruce Wayne (now, incidentally, the only Batman) and Damien on a regular basis for the first time. Father and son, Batman and Robin. Should be a fantastic dynamic. Dick Grayson isn't gone, though--he's back as Nightwing, in a redesigned costume and a new ongoing series by Kyle Higgins (?) and Eddy Barrows. Honestly, not a creative team that thrills me...who's Higgins? Quite a bit of red in Nightwing's costume, too--but it's definitely Grayson. Oh, and David Finch relaunches Batman: The Dark Knight with fill-in artist/collaborator Jay Fabok. This series was a big deal when it first launched, but with the delays and DC's recent acquisition of Greg Capullo, who draws an equally dynamic Batman--on a monthly schedule, no less...yawn.
The women of Gotham are getting just as much attention, though. The biggest news is the announcement of a new Batgirl series...starring Barbara Gordon in the role for the first time in, what, two decades? This is going to be a seriously controversial move for some, but DC seems ready to fight that with an excellent creative team. Ardian Syaf, one of DC's most reliable artists, is on pencils, while Adam Hughes paints stunning covers--but most importantly, Gail Simone is writing, and there's nobody fans trust on the character more than her. I'm curious as to the behind-the-scenes, given that she was a fervent supporter of keeping Barbara in the wheelchair, but her statements on the new series are encouraging, to say the least. Personally, I'm all for it. I loved Cassandra Cain, and I was enjoying Stephanie Brown's series, but if you're going for iconic, it's Barbara Gordon all the way. I didn't even grow up with her as Batgirl, and she's still Batgirl for me. Sure, I'll miss Oracle, and one might argue that getting an iconic Batgirl in no way makes up for the loss of Oracle to the DCU, but in a way, Simone already set that up in her "Death of Oracle" storyline, removing the character. I just wish I knew what this meant for the other Batgirls--I'd like them to remain a part of the DCU, one way or another.
Moving on to the other female characters--Kate Kane finally gets her long-promised ongoing Batwoman series by already-announced creators J.H. Williams III, W.Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder, which will be well worth the price in art alone. Judd Winick returns to the Batman universe with Catwoman with art by Guillem March. She's back on her own--no more Sirens. Poison Ivy hasn't gone anywhere, though, as she's apparently starring in the relaunched Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz, for a covert-ops team. Who else do we have? I believe that's Black Canary, with a redesigned outfit that still manages to keep the fishnets. Could that be Katana? It's not a costume I'd expect from her, but who else would be so clearly Japanese-inspired and wielding, well, a Katana? As for the final character--it could be Huntress, but I'm more likely to believe Rose and Thorn, the dual-personality character that Gail Simone revamped and tied to the Birds several years back. The tattoo is what's leading me to that conclusion--otherwise, I'm drawing a blank.
The last two Bat-books announced seem rather random--but very intriguing--to me. The first, Red Hood and the Outlaws. To start, I'm astonished that they're not going with "Outsiders" here. It's so similar and would fit the characters perfectly, while still being an established franchise. I guess it's had too many failures in recent history? Anyway, Jason Todd leads a team of DC's less savory heroes, including Arsenal (who, incidentally, seems to have both arms--I wonder how much of Cry For Justice remains in continuity?) and Starfire, written by Scott Lobdell and illustrated by Kenneth Rocafort. Impressive. I know that I'm intrigued. Potentially more interesting, though, is the acknowledgement of Jason Todd, while Tim Drake still remains unseen. Has that generation of heroes been removed? Remember, we haven't seen any of them so far. Or will he show up in the Teen Titans and be exclusive to that title? I'm really hoping for the latter. The other surprising title is Batwing, starring the Batman of Africa (as introduced in Batman, Inc.) by Judd Winick and Ben Oliver. All I can imagine is that Winick must've had a really interesting pitch, because this seems to be too odd of a concept to fit in with DC's "new reader friendly" approach--but hey, I guess I'm intrigued here, too.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that some of DC's new books are just renumberings of the old books, with the same creative team, stars and premise. After all, if something is working--and I mean working really well, as in "consistently in the top 10"--why change it? That's why Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke remain on Green Lantern starring Hal Jordan. Peter Tomasi goes back to Green Lantern Corps. with Fernando Pasarin, taking Guy Gardner with them from the now-defunct Emerald Warriors. Here, we'll see Gardner and John Stewart lead the rest of the Corps in a series that Tomasi obviously knows how to write. Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham, meanwhile, hop on over to Green Lantern: The New Guardians with Kyle Rayner and a Lantern from every Corps, while Peter Milligan and Ed Benes give us Red Lanterns, starring Atrocitus. What's the over/under on how long Benes stays on this title, folks? While I like his art, he hasn't been able to do a full arc on a title recently, and I don't really see him as a good fit for Milligan, either.
I'm tempted to split the rest into a second post...but I won't. We've had teases of DC's new Dark line for awhile, without any hints of what it might be. Today, that all changed. It looks like DC has reclaimed not just their Vertigo characters, but also the same territory--weirder books with a supernatural theme that just don't fit in with the standard superhero line. To start, Scott Snyder teams up with superstar artist Yannick Paquette to launch Swamp Thing, for the first time in years, with occasional artist Francesco Francavilla coming along to help out. I don't know how much of the White Lantern mythology will stick around in the new series, but this is basically the best creative team I could've hoped for on the new book. Meanwhile, Peter Milligan and artist Mikel Janin launch Justice League Dark, the newest collection of supernatural heroes. For this outing, we have John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man, Deadman and Madame Xanadu--perhaps others as well? The cover seems to suggest Black Alice and Enchantress, perhaps. It's interesting that DC has attached the Justice League name here--in the past, they've gone with random names (Primal Force and Shadowpact, to name two) for this concept, and the titles inevitably attracted few readers, even with a big push off of major events. Here, they're tied to a flagship, which will inevitably help. Look, they're learning!
I suppose it was only a matter of time before Paul Cornell got his next British-themed title. He's the writer for Demon Knights, starring Etrigan and set in the time of ancient Camelot. Art is by recent Green Arrow artist Diogenes Neves, and this title actually sounds...really, really interesting. If nothing else, Cornell has earned more than enough faith to warrant a look. Have there really been any stories that truly explored Etrigan's ties to Arthurian legend? Madame Xanadu over at Vertigo gave us hints, but that's all that comes to mind immediately. Others might find Animal Man by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman more interesting (the cover certainly is, if nothing else). Given that Lemire's Superboy excelled at the weirdness of Smallville while playing Superboy as the straight man, this is likely an even better fit, and one that will continue to stress the importance of Buddy Baker's family. Lemire isn't just on Animal Man, though--he's also writing Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE, spinning out of both Flashpoint and Seven Soldiers. Art is by Alberto Ponticelli, a name that sounds vaguely familiar, even if I can't place him immediately. Again, though--this is the kind of title Lemire was made to write. It's just far enough from the main superhero line that he should have excellent creative freedom, too.
As is only appropriate, Resurrection Man is back! Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning return to the character they made famous about, what, ten years ago? And they're joining up with a very reliable artist, Fernando Dagnino. Yeah, I'm excited. A bit less excited for the new I, Vampire though--nothing against the character, but I have no idea about either member of the creative team (Josh Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino). Could be worth a look, I suppose. Perhaps the most significant announcement of the day, though? Voodoo, by Ron Marz and Sami Basri. First of all--that's a fantastic creative team, and Marz's star is pretty hot, coming off of a very successful Witchblade run. More than that, though, this is the first official announcement about a relaunch of the Wildstorm titles. We don't know if they'll be truly integrated into the DCU, but it's looking that way--the solicit suggests that Priscilla Kitain is just now learning about her alien heritage. This could be one of the areas of the new DCU that gets rebooted, rather than simply tweaked. I wonder if this, along with the rumored Grifter, might be a miniseries that leads to a WildC.A.T.s ongoing? Just speculation on my part.
So. What are you getting? Who needs to eat, right?