I could talk about the latest PR landmine that went off in DC’s face over the past week with the allocation of the 3D covers for their “Villains Month” titles. Except that Brian Hibbs has already done a far better evisceration of the company for their antics than I ever could over at his site.
Instead, I read last night that one of the titles I’ve really enjoyed over the years from Vertigo is falling prey to the omnipresent “relaunch with a new issue #1 gimmick.” It was just announced today that “The Unwritten” will be relaunching with a new #1 in January which just seems... wrong to me. Yes, they’ll probably be doing the same with “American Vampire” when it returns, but since the alternative was to see it spiral off into scheduling hell while Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque took on work from other superhero titles, a hiatus with relaunch is preferable. With “The Unwritten,” it just feels like desperation. The current crossover with “Fables” was ostensibly meant to provide a new influx of readers to offset its slowly declining single issue sales and the results were apparently not quite what they were expecting.
So it’s relaunch time at the end of that arc and I can only hope it works for them or else Mike Carey, Peter Gross and co. will have embarrassed themselves for nothing. Marvel and DC have run this tactic into the ground over the past few years and the only time I can enjoy it is when it’s used as a joke, like in “Skullkickers.”
Batman #25: “Zero Year” continues on and even crosses over into several other titles this month. How does that work? While Batman himself won’t be showing up, we’ll be getting stories from various characters’ “zero year” of their superhero careers. It’s a clever “thematic” crossover, but it also involves titles that I’m not buying at the moment. So don’t expect to see any discussion on how it plays out when they’re collected next year.
Harley Quin #0: Who likes Harley Quinn? Darwyn Cooke, Tony Daniel, Paul Pope, Walt Simonson, Art Baltazar do. They’re the credited artists for this issue which kicks off the Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti-written series. I can tell you that I like one of these guys enough to consider picking this up. Then I realize that he’s likely only doing a couple pages and the New 52 version of Harley Quinn isn’t the one I’ve enjoyed seeing in “Batman: The Animated Series” or her previous appearances in the DC Universe. I’ll pass.
Animal Man #25: Going back to the impending relaunch of “The Unwritten” for a moment, here’s another title that used to be selling well and has been in a sales freefall since the end of the “Rotworld” crossover. The reviews for the title have continued to be good, but I’m morbidly curious to find out what’s driving everyone away. Was the crossover that bad? Keep watching this space when vol. 3 comes out in September so I can share the details.
The Planetary Omnibus: Yes, I’m going to keep plugging every re-issue of this series they do in these solicitations. It’s that good. Still, if I had to re-buy the series, it would definitely be in the Absolute format. You can’t beat the size of that for appreciating John Cassaday’s art. Unfortunately vol. 1 is really goddamn expensive so that’s completely off the table for now.
Doctor Mid-Nite (New Edition): Okay, Amazon tells me that this series originally came out back in ‘99 so it’s not as old as I thought it was. While I’m not a particular fan of the character outside of his involvement in the Geoff Johns-era of “JSA” it is coming from two creators, Matt Wagner and John K. Snyder, who have done work that I’ve really liked over the years. Maybe I’ll look for it at the next convention I attend...
Dead Boy Detectives #1: The late Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland get their own ongoing series... about a decade later than I would’ve expected. They originally appeared in a memorable Matt Wagner-illustrated issue of “The Sandman” when we saw one aspect of what happened when Lucifer sent the damned out of Hell. They’ve popped up in various other projects over the years, an Ed Brubaker/Bryan Talbot mini-series, a manga-style story from Jill Thompson, and I suspect that they’re being brought back now to see if the concept can resonate with the same audience that’s fueling the young adult book boom right now. I’m not familiar with the writer, Toby Litt, that they’ve chosen for this, but it does have a strong art team in Mark Buckingham and Gary Erskine. Even if I did buy single issues on a regular basis, I think I’d still take a “wait for the trade” approach with this one -- but the Brubaker/Talbot story is quite good and worth picking up.
FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics #5: Or, the series formerly known as “Collider.” It was forced to change its name due to another web/comics series that was already using the title. Reviews for the first issue have been quite good, so I hope that the name change doesn’t cut the title’s sales off at the knees.
DMZ Deluxe Edition Book One HC: If you’ve been putting off checking this series out for one reason or another, now you have no excuse. Well, I’m sure that if you’re clever enough you could find one. But it would make you a bad person. That’s right, BAD! This represents the start of my pick for the best title of last year, and it is very much worth your time.