“Rebirth.” That’s the buzzword from DC publisher Dan Didio on Twitter, leading most everyone to think that the company is planning ANOTHER relaunch later this year. Rich Johnston seems to think that this will involve another round of new #1 issues and a tighter focus between the company’s TV and film projects. This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the “New 52” and I can’t say that the idea of the company doing it all over again is all that appealing. “An exciting new jumping-off point” is how I saw it described on Twitter and I fear that’s only the tip of the cynicism iceberg that DC is going to have to surmount here. Still, one of the rumors from yesterday involved Scott Snyder moving from “Batman” to “Detective Comics” and I can get behind that. As good as the man’s work on “Batman” has been, he got his start on “Detective” and it should be interesting to see what kind of stories he’ll come up with while working outside of the spotlight of the company’s flagship title.
Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #1 & Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad April Fool’s Special #1: In case you needed any more proof that Harley is to DC what Deadpool is to Marvel, here you go. Along with the holiday special, we’ve got a new ongoing series focusing on her-alike gaggle of misfits as they try to figure out who has kidnapped their boss and targeted them in the opening arc. One of these days I’ll give the main ongoing series a shot. The ongoing series is written by Frank Tieri, whose work I’ve never really been into, but the holiday special features art from none other than Jim Lee. That’s certain to raise its profile even if I’m not sure that he’s a good fit for this type of story. Lee’s specialty is big, bold superhero action, not comedy. This could wind up being a misfire for fans of the creator and character, unless Lee has been holding out on unleashing his mad skills in wacky hijinks until now.
Bloodlines #1: DC is reviving “Bloodlines?” Seriously? The original event ran through a number of DC annuals in the early 90’s and involved an alien invasion where some very rare victims of the aliens wound up getting superpowers. The only, and I mean ONLY, good thing that came from this event was “Hitman” and he’s nowhere to be seen for this J.T. Krul-written and V. Ken Marion-illustrated revival. This time around, the alien menace is contained in a meteor that strikes near a small town with the humans who survive winding up in a battle for their own bodies and minds. Nothing in the solicitation text gives me any reason to think that this will be worth overcoming my cynicism to check out.
Batman #51: In which the title character faces the one problem he has no real way to handle -- a quiet night in Gotham City! Because even crime takes a night off now and then. Also, if Snyder does make the leap to “Detective,” Greg Capullo won’t be coming with him as the artist has a new creator-owned project in the works with Mark Millar. Sad to see them breaking up the band, but it was going to happen eventually. At least Capullo deserves the big paycheck he’ll get from doing creator-owned with Millar regardless of how the comic turns out.
The Joker: Endgame: Huh. I guess I bought the wrong version of “Endgame.” Not only does this collect the main story from “Batman” it also collects the tie-in issues from the other Bat-titles. So unless I can find this collection for dirt cheap somewhere, it’s going to be a while before I read about the “Scary Joker Stories” the cast of “Gotham Academy” told to each other.
Dark Knight: A True Batman Story: Everyone knows how great “Batman: The Animated Series” was, and writer Paul Dini was a key part of its success. What you may not know is that while he was working on it, Dini was mugged one night while coming home from work and beaten within an inch of his life. This is the story of his recovery from that incident. Where does Batman come in? Due to his work on the series at the time, Dini kept imagining that he was being hounded by the hero’s rogues gallery which hampered his rehabilitation. He pulled through, though, because he also imagined that Batman was beside him along the way. This is clearly a story that Dini has been waiting a long time to tell and I’m sure that’s because he wanted to get it right. I’m interested in seeing if he did, particularly since the immensely talented Eduardo Risso will be illustrating it.
Hellblazer vol. 13: Haunted: So there was this time following the Paul Jenkins run on this title that the staff at Vertigo had a plan to jumpstart renewed interest in it. It started with getting former writer Garth Ennis to come back and do a story (collected in the previous volume) which would then be followed by Warren Ellis’ debut as the new regular writer. What looked great on paper didn’t turn out so well in real life as the entirety of Ellis’ run, plus the two-issue fill-in by Darko Macan that followed, is collected here. This wasn’t due to a lack of quality, as the opening six-issue arc involving John Constantine tracking down the bastard who ruined the life of and murdered a former girlfriend of his was followed by four strong one-offs spotlighting his talent for macabre weirdness. No, Ellis left because they spiked a story he wrote about gun violence in schools in the wake of the shootings at Columbine. The Phil Jimenez-illustrated story was eventually published in the “Vertigo Resurrected” special over a decade later. Having its new writer depart so soon into his run should’ve been a crippling blow to “Hellblazer,” but that turned out not to be the case. Brian Azzarello took over as the new writer, put Constantine in an American prison, and delivered a run that was both critically acclaimed and was the title’s best-selling one until it wrapped up about a decade later. As Constantine would (not) likely say, “Funny world, ennit?”
The Twilight Children: A group of children in a Latin American village poke at an orb that washes up on a beach and wind up blind. A woman who might be an alien is taken in by the (same?) village. A couple of CIA agents and a scientist also have their own business with this woman. Will all of these disparate story elements come together in a coherent and satisfying whole? It’s debatable since I’ve heard that writer Gilbert Hernandez, best known for his “Love and Rockets” work with brother Jaime, isn’t too big on the former element. But hey, it’ll at least look great since Darwyn Cooke is illustrating it. Illustrating this, as opposed to the new volume of “Parker” that was promised in 2015 at the back of “Slayground.” Just a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get that last year…