DC screwing over Alan Moore is some very old news at this point. Even if they do find new ways to keep doing it, as is currently the case with “Doomsday Clock.” However, screwing with the artists he’s worked with on projects DC has published is new territory for them. Last week it was revealed that Promethea, star of the series of the same name from Moore and artist J.H. Williams III would be appearing in “Justice League of America” in the fight against the Queen of Fables. Only DC didn’t let Williams, who has a creator participation agreement regarding the character, know about this and he’s expressed how upset he is at this on Twitter. Similarly, Tom Strong and the rest of the Strong family are appearing in “The Terrifics” without any prior notice being given to their co-creator Chris Sprouse.
It’s not a good look for DC, but it’s probably less damaging for them than it first appears. Williams’ last project for the company was “Sandman: Overture” and he’s been on vacation from the comics industry ever since. Sprouse, after years of working for the company on a number of projects, has been doing most of his work for Marvel on titles like “Black Panther” in recent years. Given that neither creator is doing any work for DC these days, I imagine the company didn’t give much thought to letting Steve Orlando and Jeff Lemire use the characters they created in “Justice League of America” and “The Terrifics,” respectively. Of course, there’s always the chance that the use of these characters will raise their profile enough to get new readers to check out the original stories Sprouse and Williams did with Moore.
Action Comics #1000: Superman debuted in the first issue back in 1938 and now 80 years later here we are with the thousandth. (Only, what, 822 centuries to go until we get issue one million and it winds up contradicting the “One Million” issue event that Grant Morrison and Mark Waid cooked up back in the 90’s.) Appropriately, this issue boasts a murderer’s row of talent from the likes of John Cassaday, Paul Dini, Oliver Coipel, Geoff Johns, Tom King, Jerry Ordway, Tim Sale, Scott Snyder, and I haven’t even reached the most notable contributors yet! This issue will mark the first post-Marvel DC work from Brian Michael Bendis whose story will be illustrated by none other than Jim Lee. The good news is that if he has a great “Superman” story to tell then everyone is going to see it. Of course, if he has a bad one then… well, you know. Still, even if Bendis strikes out there’s likely going to be enough good material here to make up for it. I also wanted to point out that an unpublished story from the late, great Curt Swan will be included here as well which really seals the deal. It wouldn’t be an anniversary event without some kind of contribution from one of the definitive “Superman” artists.
Damage #4 & The Silencer #4: I’m bringing up these two “New Age of DC Heroes” titles because after three issues they’ve already lost their marquee artists. Cary Nord is replacing Tony Daniel on “Damage,” while Viktor Bogdanovic steps in for John Romita Jr. on “The Silencer.” Nothing against Nord and Bogdanovic, but wasn’t the whole point of this initiative to team top-tier writers with top-tier artists? If the artists leave after three issues, where does that leave the momentum for these new titles? Does this mean we can look forward to similar artist departures in next month’s solicitations? Good writer/artist synergy can really drive a series -- look no further than the Snyder/Capullo run for a recent example of that. It looked like DC was trying to get some of that going for “The New Age of DC Heroes,” but, well…
Deathstroke #30: Beginning the six-part “series within a series ‘Deathstroke vs. Batman.’” Well, that’s one way to boost a title’s sales… Yeah, I couldn’t resist the cheap shot. Which is too bad because I’ve heard consistently good things about this series. I know I’ll have to get around to picking it up eventually to see if they’re all true.
Green Lanterns #45: Guest-starring John Constantine. I was wondering how he’d be able to hang with the spacefaring Green Lanterns, but then I remembered that he has a flying surfboard, astronaut helmet, and Hellblazer laser gun now. I’m sure he’ll be fine.
Astro City #52: The final issue of this iteration of the long-running superhero series. Also, another series that I desperately need to catch up on because the three volumes that I’ve read have done a good job of justifying its status as a modern classic. It won’t be the last we hear from “Astro City” as writer Kurt Busiek has already announced that the series will be transitioning to a graphic novel format. So it lives on, but leaves Vertigo all the weaker in the process given that this series was still its highest single-issue seller.
Doom Patrol vol. 2: Nada: Advance-solicited for May, which still seems optimistic given the title’s erratic shipping schedule. Most of the issues collected here have already been cancelled and resolicited, with #11 scheduled for March. There was supposed to be an issue #12, where something normal happens to the Doom Patrol, but it was recently cancelled and this collection was solicited as containing issues #6-11. That’s one way to make sure your advance-solicited trade paperback comes out on time, I suppose.
Absolute Kingdom Come HC, Batman by Grant Morrison Omnibus vol. 1, and Seven Soldiers by Grant Morrison Omnibus: A few more for the “If you haven’t bought them by now…” category.
Dastardly and Muttley: Garth Ennis writing a couple of Hanna Barbara characters? I’m still trying to wrap my head around how this happened. The two are cast as a fighter pilot team here, which is within the writer’s usual wheelhorse. Yet I’ve been reading that the story is basically about a realistic world that winds up being invaded/transformed by cartoon logic. So… where does he go from there? I’d like to think that Ennis didn’t take this assignment because he has some long-harbored desire to trash these particular characters, but I can’t rule it out either. Everything on the surface tells me that this is something only for the most committed fans of the writer… So expect a review on this site after it comes out.
JLA: Year One (New Edition): What’s new about this edition? It’s ten dollars more than the old edition I picked up back in ‘99! *rimshot* Thank you folks, I’ll be here all night. Is this still worth reading at $30? Debatable, but it still offers some very solid superhero action and characterization courtesy of co-writers Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and great art from Barry Kitson. Essentially, it’s as good as you’d expect from the level of talent involved.
Superman by Mark Millar: While the writer is effectively dead to me as far as his current projects go, I’ve heard lots of great things about his work on “Superman Adventures” which is all collected here. In addition to some odds and ends from the DC Universe and the “Tangent Comics” event from way back. Will I wind up lamenting the fact that Millar never got the chance to have a proper go at one of “Superman’s” monthly DCU titles after reading this? Check back in a few months to see.
The Wild Storm vol. 2: Not much to go on in the solicitation as the main plot thread mentioned in the solicitations involves the extraction of the last member of Jacob Marlowe’s wild covert action team from an International Operations black site. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that it’s Maul since it seems likely IO would keep him in such a place because his civilian status as a genius-level scientist would be useful to them. Double-or-nothing that he’s building Spartan for them. I would’ve included a guess about the members of Gen 13, but their “adult supervisor” John Lynch is turning up in issue #13 which is solicited here as well. Yeah, I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Warren Ellis has planned for his reinvention of the WildStorm Universe. Can you tell?