It almost seemed like pure fantasy at first, but it’s actually happening. After working almost exclusively at Marvel all these years, John Romita Jr. is jumping ship to DC to illustrate “Superman.” The word is that the Distinguished Competition has been wanting to get the artist away from Marvel for a while now and has only managed to pull it off due to two reasons. One, Romita Jr. wanted to do Superman. Two, he wanted to work with an A-list writer while doing it. So he’ll be collaborating with Geoff Johns with their debut issue likely to arrive just in time for Comic-Con. I’ve generally liked Romita Jr.’s work at Marvel, though the promotional drawing of Superman that’s been making the rounds has left something to be desired in my opinion. Even so, with Johns’ involvement I’m willing to be optimistic about this. Picking up the writer’s previous “Superman” work has also been put on my “to do” list as well.
Future’s End #’s 1-4: Batman already has his weekly series, so now the rest of the DCU gets theirs. Or rather, the DCU of five years from now does with a time-traveling Batman Beyond showing up in the wake of a war with a parallel Earth as everyone prepares for an even “greater evil” on the horizon. Expect deaths, Wildstorm castoffs, and more as Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Brian Azzarello and Jeff Lemire plot the course of this title which will “forever alter the direction of the ‘New 52.’” To be honest, I think I’ll be picking up the first volumes of both this and “Batman Eternal” if only to see how they compare to the company’s first weekly event series “52” which turned out much better than anyone was expecting it to.
Superman: Doomed #1: The Man of Steel gets his own event this month as Doomsday makes his first appearance in the present-day “New 52.” We’re told that Superman will have to not only unleash insane levels of power to defeat his opponent, but that defeating him will only be the start of things. Given that the cover to “Superman/Wonder Woman #8” has a very Doomsday-looking Superman on the cover, it doesn’t seem to be hard to guess where this storyline is going. Even so, the state of “Superman” in the “New 52” hasn’t been all that inspiring aside from Grant Morrison’s “Action Comics.” I’m not expecting this to do much to change that.
Damian: Son of Batman Deluxe HC: Andy Kubert’s four-issue miniseries about Batman’s son is collected along with “Batman #666,” the issue he did with Grant Morrison that introduced the Damian of the future. Given what we now know of the character’s fate, this seems like an “imaginary story” in the purest sense. Of course, even though the idea charting the imaginary origins of a character on a timeline that was erased by its creator isn’t necessarily a bad one, I find the idea of “Andy Kubert, writer” to be a dubious one at best. The man’s a good superhero artist, but I’ve yet to hear of his writing being in the same league. Also, he’s stepping into Morrison’s shoes here and that’s a tough act for even an experienced writer to follow. I think it’ll be safe to pass on this.
Swamp Thing vol. 4: Seeder: Charles Soule takes over for Scott Snyder. I’ve heard that Soule has actually done a pretty respectable job of taking the reins from one of the hottest writers in comics. Granted, the “Rotworld” crossover has left a pretty low bar for him to overcome. This is advance-solicited for June, so once it arrives I’ll be podcasting my thoughts on it and vol. 4 of “Animal Man” to compare how both titles have dealt with being kneecapped by a crossover.
Batman Black & White vol. 4 HC: The “Batman Black & White” anthologies boast one of the most impressive hit-to-miss ratios of any anthology series that I’ve read. Vol. 1 is the one you should buy if you can only afford one, but vols. 2 &3 also boast plenty of quality stories here. What I’m getting at is that I have EXPECTATIONS for this fourth volume. Though they’re enough to get me to pick this up in hardcover I’m going to be very upset if it doesn’t live up to them.
JLA vol. 5: Collecting the rest of Mark Waid’s run on the title, which was good fun and featured some great art from Bryan Hitch for a good portion of the issues collected here. This includes the one-shot “Heaven’s Ladder,” which depresses me to see it reprinted here. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad story even if the plot is basically run-of-the-mill “Star Trek” stuff. What elevated it wasn’t just Hitch’s art, but the fact that it was presented in an oversized format that really made the epic scenes he was given to draw stand out. Yes, it was $10 for a 64-page story and it was one of the very rare times when the art alone justified such an expense. I’m sure it’ll still look “nice” when shrunk down to normal comic standards yet the story is worth tracking down to read in its original format.
Stormwatch vol. 2: Collecting the second half of Warren Ellis’ run on the title, save for a key issue. For a while, no one thought that we’d see the final two issues of the second “Stormwatch” series because between them was a crossover. Specifically, “Wild C.A.T.S./Aliens” where Ellis killed off the majority of the characters he’d been writing. The problem was that these aliens were the “Aliens” of the kind that Sigourney Weaver and Predators kept going up against and the common wisdom was that the logistics of licensing would keep DC and Dark Horse from reprinting the issue. That turned out to be untrue and vol. 5 of Ellis’ run did include the crossover, which is not part of this new edition. So if you want to find out why most of the main cast went missing between issues 10 & 11 in this volume then you’ve got an issue or a trade paperback to track down. Best of luck there.
Before Watchmen Paperbacks: Um, no.
Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison Omnibus HC: It’s a tempting upgrade considering that I own the original issues (thanks to my days on Ebay in the early aughts). Not at $150, though. Particularly since I can get the paperback editions for less than 2/3rds of that through Amazon. Maybe I’ll upgrade one of these days, but not now.