It was recently noted by DC co-publisher Dan Didio that it has been almost ten years since the “Countdown to Infinite Crisis” one-shot that heralded one of the publisher’s most successful crossovers. “Success” in this case being defined in the amount of sales it racked up along with the buzz it generated. The actual quality left a bit to be desired, but we did get two good miniseries and (eventually) one good ongoing from it so things weren’t a total wash. Anyway, with all the time that has passed, Didio teased the idea of doing it one better now. Given how we’re still living with the changes from the last universe-altering crossover I can only hope that he’s kidding. Or at least trolling his audience in much the same way that Marvel is trolling theirs with talk about their own reboot.
Meanwhile, Darwyn Cooke delivers double-page covers to a grip of DC comics this month. All of them look fantastic in their artistry and how they suggest a more wholesome and less violent comics universe than what we have right now. It’s odd that the company would commission work like this from a creator whose style is almost diametrically opposed to what they’ve been publishing (and yes, I know that Cooke has illustrated a couple issues of “All-Star Western,” but that’s anachronistic in its own way). Yet the results are undeniably great, so I’ll try to deal with the inconsistency by not thinking too hard about it.
Secret Six #1: Those two good miniseries we got from “Infinite Crisis?” They would be Greg Rucka’s “The OMAC Project” and Gail Simone’s “Villains United.” As for the ongoing series? That’d be Simone’s “Secret Six.” Between those titles, Simone took Catman, a villain who was more of a joke than anything else, and turned him into a certified badass while working on the same team as the likes of Deadshot, Bane, Scandal Savage and Ragdoll. It took a little while to hit its stride, but when it did we got some thrills that were fun and shocking in equal measure. Given that we’ve seen a lot of titles that have had only cult appeal in the past re-launched in the “New 52,” it’s good to see that this title is getting its shot too. (Which is funny because it was effectively cancelled as part of the housecleaning leading up to the relaunch. HA!)
Batman #37: It’s Part 3 of “Endgame” and we still don’t know anything about this arc that’s said to be the most explosive one in the Snyder/Capullo run yet. Man, I’d hate to be a retailer having to try and figure out how to order this title based on that. Being a reader, I can just see that it’s more Snyder/Capullo “Batman” and pick up the collection when it comes out. At which time the actual point of the run will have been explained. That said, “Batman Annual #3” also ties into this run in ways that are not explained here. Unless you’re a big fan of “Batman” by writer James Tynion IV and artist Roge Antonio, I’m betting you can probably skip this.
Superman: Earth One vol. 3: Yeah… If this had come out a year or even two after the second volume, I probably would’ve picked it up just to see if things had gotten any better or worse after the misguided second volume. Now, after having sold the previous two volumes, I can spend my hard-earned cash on something else. Like the next volume of “The Shinji Ikari Raising Project!”
Deathblow: Brian Azzarello sure liked writing about the adventures of immortal black ops agent Michael Cray. In addition to a “Batman” team-up miniseries, the writer also gave us a very short-lived ongoing series featuring the character. Now, the original twelve-issue series back from the days when Wildstorm was still a part of Image is being collected here. While Azzarello has been hit-or-miss over the course of his career, I still trust him to deliver a better script than Jim Lee and Brandon Choi who share writing duties here. The collection is also hyped as featuring art from Lee, Tim Sale, “and others.” I’m interpreting that last part to be either “several artists who were never heard from again” or “artists who became famous at another publisher and we don’t want to promote here.” To be honest, I’m most interested in cracking this open to see who the other artists were and just how much Lee and Sale artwork is here. The best part is that I don’t need to actually buy this to do that!
DC: The New Frontier Deluxe Edition: Speaking of Darwyn Cooke, his miniseries about the early days of the DC Universe gets the deluxe hardcover treatment. While that may not be as snazzy as their “Absolute” format, this edition also collects the “Justice League: The New Frontier Special” for the first time. My years of procrastination in buying this series have finally paid off at last! So yeah, after hearing lots of good things about this series for a while now, I’ll definitely be picking it up in this format when it arrives… in February of next year. (Hey, I’ve waited this long. What’s a few more months after December.)
Batman Black & White vol. 4: Hey, so even though I said that I had EXPECTATIONS for this fourth volume of “Batman Black & White,” I must’ve missed picking up the hardcover when it was solicited. I feel like an ass after saying that stuff back in February, but with this softcover edition coming out in January I think I can wait just a little longer and pick it up in this edition. It’s not like waiting will make me look any less silly at this point.
Animal Man vol. 7: Red Plague: I did pick up the first volume of Jamie Delano’s run on this title (vol. 6) a little while back. It was weird, strange, and with a lot of social commentary that felt very on-the-nose. Yet it was still an intriguing read that held up very well twenty years on from the original publication of the issues it collected. There were also a few bits that made me go, “Hey, I wonder if this is what inspired ‘The Red’?” from Jeff Lemire’s current take on the title. Given that “The Red” is explicitly name-checked in the solicitation here, I think I’ll be picking this up too so I can see what Delano was doing with it back in the day.
The Unwritten: Apocalypse #12: The series finale. From the solicitation text, “Wilson Taylor delivers the apocalypse the only way he knows how: at his son Tom’s expense.” It would appear that some habits can’t be broken. Or can they? There’s always a twist in these things, and writer/co-creator Mike Carey is far too clever to issue a straightforward finale to a series like this. Only two volumes left. I await them both eagerly.
Scalped: Deluxe Edition Book One HC: Collecting the first eleven issues of this excellent crime series set on an indian reservation. If you haven’t bought it by now… you can either get this edition or wait for the inevitable softcover one. But this is good enough that I’d recommend picking picking it up in this fancy edition.