The Beat posted a breakdown of the “DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels” promotional magazine that came out recently. It contains 25 titles in the list and is full of titles that deserve the “essential” tag (“Sandman” vol. 1, “The Dark Knight Returns,” “Saga of the Swamp Thing” vol. 1), some that are just good (“American Vampire” vol. 1, “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” “JLA” vol. 1), and some that make you go “Really?” (“The Flash: Rebirth,” “Superman: Earth One” vol. 1, “Identity Crisis”) It’s clearly a promotional tool and if DC wants to create an entryway for readers who aren’t too familiar with their wares or the medium itself then more power to them. Personally, I can’t put too much stock in any “Essential DC” list that doesn’t include the likes of “Preacher,” “Transmetropolitan,” “100 Bullets” or any of Paul Pope’s work in it. (Yes, that’s almost all Vertigo right there. Why do you ask?)
Justice League of America #7: Okay, I missed this last month but it’s good to see that DC is keeping Doug Mahnke (formerly of “Green Lantern”) on an A-list title. Seeing an artist of his caliber continue to get high-profile work such as this is reassuring in its own way. That said, I can’t imagine that this title will give him the chance to draw the really weird and out-there stuff that he specializes in and got to do all the time with “Green Lantern.” Maybe in the future.
Batman, Incorporated Special #1: As you know, I REALLY liked the latest volume of this series and am thoroughly anticipating the next volume at the end of the year. However, even though Morrison’s Bat-epic will be over soon, it looks like DC wants to keep the party going for just a little longer with this special. It’s an anthology showing what the members of “Batman, Inc.” are up to in the wake of the battle with Leviathan, and that includes Bat-Cow in her solo debut. Morrison isn’t involved, but series artist Chris Burnham is, along with the likes of Ethan Van Sciver, Joe Keatinge and Dan Didio. This doesn’t sound like something I’d go out of my way to pick up, but it may make for a nice extra if DC decides to include it in the second volume.
Dial H #15: Not cancelled with #16 as Bleeding Cool predicted, but getting a double-sized issue to wrap things up. Considering how goddamn weird (in a good way) that this title was, I can’t imagine that stopping it early is going to end in a way that wraps up nicely. I will be picking up the concluding volume, so I’ll be finding out in due course.
DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe #1 (of 6): I don’t know what your personal preference is, but this comic is about 25 years too late for me to think that it’s the most awesome thing ever.
Justice League vol. 2: The Villain’s Journey: I borrowed the hardcover edition of this from my buddy who loaned me the first volume a couple weeks back. While it was an improvement over the previous volume, it unfortunately did a pretty good job of underlining why the whole “reboot” aspect of the New 52 just doesn’t work. The title story focuses on an individual who wants to tear the team apart for a perceived wrong done to him and sets about trying to pit them against each other and ruin their integrity on the world’s stage. It’s a nice idea for a story had it been set in the time of the previous volume when they were just getting to know and trust each other. Doing this to a team that has been working together for the past five years just feels “off.” At least the art from all parties involved -- Jim Lee, Gene Ha and Carlos D’Anda -- was excellent and the two single-issue stories that lead off the volume were fun. I didn’t dislike this volume but I am glad that I borrowed it rather than bought it.
Green Lantern vol. 3: The End: As the title implies, this collects the final issues of Geoff Johns’ run on the title. I’m wondering how it’ll read since it’s collecting issues from two separate crossovers. Johns is nothing if not a crafty plotter so I’d like to think that everything will read just fine if I buy this and not the crossover collections. Expect a podcast summing up his run when this volume arrives.
DC One Million Omnibus: Collecting one of the two DC crossovers that Garth Ennis actually bothered to participate in! You could buy this $99 collection which will get you over a thousand pages of comics in addition to the “Hitman” story, or just pick up vol. 5 of the collected editions to read it instead.
Animal Man vol. 3: Rotworld -- The Red Kingdom: Considering that this collects not only the crossover issues from this title, but also issues #12, 17 & 18 of “Swamp Thing,” you wonder why they didn’t just make one big collection with both titles? Oh wait, because they’ll make more money selling two volumes to readers like me who will buy both. That explains everything.
World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria HC: They’re still doing WoW comics?
Trillium #1: It’s a love story written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire of “Animal Man” and “Sweet Tooth” fame about two people in different eras who fall in love. Keep in mind that these two eras are 3797 and 1921 and that this is billed as not the greatest love story ever, but the LAST one as their romance is said to bring about the end of the world. Okay, I’m interested. After all, it can’t be any worse than the romantic shenanigans (or lack thereof) that I’ve had to endure in “Bakuman.”
American Vampire Anthology #1: Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque keep the home fires burning during the title’s hiatus. While I could take or leave the “Batman, Inc.” special mentioned above, I will be VERY disappointed if this isn’t collected in the volume’s next title. I mean, look at the creators they have lined up for this: Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla and more! This isn’t optimism you’re getting from me, this is excitement!