DC is making good on their promise to deliver more “Watchmen”-related stories in the DCU with these solicitations. A four-part crossover between “Batman” and “The Flash” called “The Button” has the “World’s Greatest Detective” and the “Fastest Man Alive” teaming up to find out the mystery of the iconic bloodstained smiley-face button and how it found its way into the Batcave. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that DC is being very tight-lipped over the details of this story, though the button is said to attract the interest of an unwelcome third party, “and it’s not who anyone suspects!” I was more interested to see that DC used the same solicitation text for all four issues of this crossover. Usually, in these kind of events, there will be some kind of vague hinting at what happens in subsequent issues, but not here. So if you’ve been anticipating (or like me, dreading) the further integration of “Watchmen” into the DCU, then your wait will be over come April. Best of luck to writers Tom King and Joshua Williamson in making this story work -- they’re going to need it!
Harley Quinn #’s 17-18: Yeah, I had to go down a ways to find something that caught my attention. It’s not that all of the solicitations before this look bad, just that everything looks to be ticking along with the usual amount of timeliness and hyperbole. Which isn’t very interesting to write about. Where was I going with this? Oh right, Paul Dini is writing Harley Quinn again. Well, the backup story for these issues, and he’s doing it with the title’s regular co-writer Jimmy Palmiotti. What’s the hook? Harley accidentally gives away the location of the Joker’s hideout. I imagine Mistah J is going to be pretty angry about that. It’s bad news for Harley, but a solid hook for a story featuring her. Which is all you really need when doing a backup story.
Wonder Woman #’s 20-21: Okay, the alternating stories each month for this title made sense when one of them was the flashback “Year One” arc. Now we’ve got “Godwatch” and “The Truth” running concurrently. I’ll admit that I haven’t been paying attention to how these arcs are structured (Are they both taking place in the present? Is “Godwatch” another flashback arc?) but I’m more surprised writer Greg Rucka isn’t just telling one story with the twice-monthly format. Anyway, I have faith in him and the format of these stories will make more sense once they’re collected. Speaking of which “Wonder Woman vol. 2: Year One” is solicited here as well.
Batman/The Shadow #1 (of 6): Wait, are you telling me that these two characters haven’t teamed up before? They’ve been published for over 75 years (each) and the former even served as an inspiration for the latter. How has this not happened already! Well, come this April DC and Dynamite will have addressed this great cosmic irregularity with the killer creative team of writers Scott Snyder (likely just onboard as a co-plotter) and Steve Orlando (likely co-plotting as well, while doing the heavy lifting of scripting each issue), and artist Riley Rossmo. The plot bringing these characters together also sounds pretty cool: A murder in Gotham points to one Lamont Cranston (The Shadow’s civilian identity) as the culprit… only he’s been dead for the past 50 years. As Batman tries to unravel the mystery of Cranston’s life, The Shadow has his own plans for the Caped Crusader.
Doom Patrol vol. 1: Brick by Brick: After the first two volumes of “The Umbrella Academy,” I was really looking forward to seeing more comics work from Gerard Way. However, his work since then has been relatively sparse, likely owing to his day job as a rock musician. Now he’s overseeing the Young Animal imprint and writing this latest iteration of “Doom Patrol” which is said to be drawing from many previous runs (particularly Grant Morrison’s defining one), new directions, and things that cannot be. I’m all for that, but I’ll be reading this to see if the promise of Way’s early creator-owned work can carry over to work-for-hire superhero product.
Batman: New Gotham vol. 1: Hrm… I’m frustrated by the issues collected here, which consist of the start of Greg Rucka’s run post-“No Man’s Land” on “Detective Comics” #’s 742-753. The reason for this is that DC published a similar volume years ago that only collected issues 742-750. There was even a “vol. 1” tag on it, indicating that they were likely going to collect the rest of Rucka’s run, but that came to an end with the crossover “Officer Down” in vol. 2. Anyway, it looks like if I want to support the collection of the rest of the writer’s run then I’m going to have to buy a collection featuring a lot of issues I already own. Or go out and find issues 751-753, which is more appealing to me at this point.
The DC Universe by Mike Mignola HC: Mignola doesn’t have too many fond words for his work with Marvel and DC before he went the creator-owned route and gave us “Hellboy.” So the existence of this collection is likely going to cause him no small amount of personal pain. Or, he’ll just shrug, roll his eyes, and get back to refining his current style when he’s not busy writing. If you’re a fan of the man’s work, however, then this volume will likely prove irresistible to you. Mainly so you can have objective proof of how much better he became as an artist over the years.
Suicide Squad vol. 6: The Phoenix Gambit: The most recent volume, “Apokolips Now,” was another fun collection of the team’s classic adventures which provided further evidence of how well this series has held up since it was originally published in the 80’s. It ended with Amanda Waller in jail and most of the team’s surviving members scattered to the four winds. We all know that status quo isn’t going to last very long. What gets my attention here is that the solicitation text tells us that Waller is going to have to team up with Batman to bring the team back together. What the hell kind of threat could be big enough to have these two team up to resurrect the Suicide Squad? That’s something I’d really like to know.
Everafter vol. 1: The Pandora Protocol: I thought I knew what I was going to write about regarding the first volume of this latest spin-off from “Fables.” Then I saw that it was being co-written by an unfamiliar name -- Lilah Sturges. The fact that Matthew Sturges, frequent collaborator with Bill Willingham on a number of “Fables”-related projects, was the main selling point for me on this project. So what happened here? It’s a sign of the times that my first thought was that Sturges had come out as trans, and a quick internet search confirmed that. This doesn’t affect my decision to pick up this volume in any way, but I will say that to anyone who is interested in this series and would like to see future volumes, you should do the same as soon as this comes out.
Hellblazer vol. 16: The Wild Card: And we go from the best “Hellblazer” run (Azzarello’s) to the least, written by Mike Carey. I was expecting a lot more from the writer’s run than what I wound up getting. Mainly because Carey approached the title like a superhero story, bringing in lots of guest stars at certain points, and making lots of callbacks to prior events. That’s not what I wanted to see in “Hellblazer” with the callbacks being awkwardly done, at best. Carey’s a good enough writer to provide some memorable stories, but the writers who followed him -- Denise Mina, Andy Diggle, and Peter Milligan -- all did better justice to the character and his history afterward.