WildCATs #1 (of 6)
This shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been reading this blog for any length of time. Warren Ellis may be wrapping up “The Wild Storm” in a few months, but he’s not done with his new take on the Wildstorm Universe. We were already reintroduced to the new Wild Covert Action Team in the pages of the main series and their status as one which worked independent of either Skywatch or International Operations. Why are they doing this? As Ellis put it in his most recent newsletter, “To save the human race from the human race.” Which is certainly a thing that needs doing.
I’d originally heard that Ellis had been tasked with coming up with a number of spinoffs when he was approached about doing “The Wild Storm.” “Michael Cray” was one, and that was handled by Bryan Hill. I don’t know if this is going to be the final miniseries set in the new Wildstorm Universe, but I wouldn’t be surprised given that the main series didn’t set the sales charts on fire. Still, I enjoyed it and this new “WildCATs” mini sounds promising in that it looks to use the single-issue adventure approach that made the writer’s runs on “Global Frequency,” “Secret Avengers,” and “Moon Knight” work as well as they did.
Batman/Superman #1: The latest in a long line of series that have teamed up the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. What’s the occasion this time? The solicitation text mentions that it’s spinning out of the events of “The Batman Who Laughs” so it’ll probably involve the two of them teaming up to fight more nightmare versions of them(selves). What really makes this series noteworthy in the here and now is that it’s being illustrated by David Marquez. He first came to prominence working on “Ultimate Spider-Man” at Marvel before going on to illustrate “Invincible Iron Man,” “Civil War II,” “The Defenders,” and lots of notable one-offs and short runs. While I can’t say exactly what caused him to sign up with DC, it’s probably worth mentioning that all the series I named were ones that he did with Bendis. Speaking of the writer…
Action Comics #1014 & Superman #14: Lex Luthor comes back to Metropolis with an offer for its criminal underworld… and Lois Lane. On one hand I’m really interested in seeing what Bendis does with the villain. Luthor is the kind of cerebral villain that he loved to write at Marvel (see: Norman Osborne) and I’m sure he’s got some long-term plans for the character given that he’s the main “Superman” writer right now. On the other hand, the version of Luthor that’s going around the DCU is one that has been mutated into an “Apex Predator” version of himself as part of the “Year of the Villain” storyline. So the real question here is whether or not Bendis will actually try to acknowledge any of this in these titles or just write his way around it. Like he did with just about all of the continuity stuff he didn’t want to engage with over at Marvel.
Batman vol. 10: Knightmares: So, remember how I mentioned that “The Tyrant Wing” left off on a cliffhanger that was rife with dramatic potential? About that: Apparently writer Tom King felt that cliffhanger was soooooooo good that he wanted to stretch out the audience’s anticipation for how it was going to be resolved. How long did he stretch it out for? Nine issues -- seven issues that he wrote plus two issues of a “Heroes in Crisis” tie-in-crossover with “The Flash” from Joshua Williamson. The seven King-written issues are effectively all one-offs that have Batman dealing with the side effects of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. Where he found the time to hit Batman with it, I don’t know. People have had good things to say about some of these issues, and I’m looking forward to reading the Amanda Conner-illustrated take on Catwoman’s bachelorette party, but the overall vibe was that this was a filler arc. That’s not a good rep to have, but we’ll see if it goes down better when you read it all in one sitting.
The Batman Who Laughs HC: Scott Snyder and Jock, together again for this solo outing about the breakout character from the “Metal” event. Breakout character for everyone else -- I wasn’t quite won over by this walking answer to why Batman shouldn’t kill the Joker. (The answer being because it’ll release a special Joker toxin that will turn Batman into the Joker. Ha ha.) Still, it’s hard to turn down Snyder-written Batman and Jock always turns in great art. I’m even interested in reading the James Tynion IV-co-written and Eduardo Risso-illustrated “The Grim Knight” issue included here which will show us how Bat-Punisher came to be.
Heroes in Crisis HC: I was looking at the bottom of this solicitation and noticed that its suggested retail price was $20 for 240 pages. It’s a price point that seemed to be too good, in fact. Checking on Amazon proved it as the cover price was listed at $30. Why am I going into such detail about the pricing of this collection? Because it’s the most worthwhile thing I can think to talk about in regards to this Tom King-written event series. I never thought that its exploration of post-traumatic stress disorder sounded like a good thing in the context of superhero comics. Everything I’ve read about the series as it has come out didn’t do anything to change my mind, and that’s before Wally West’s role in the murder that kicked off the series came to light. This series still sounds like a huge mistake in my opinion and unless it manages to become surprisingly integral to the DC series that I read, I’m just going to forget about it from here on out.
The Sandman: The Dream Hunters 30th 20th Anniversary Prose (or) Graphic Novel Edition: The solicitation says “30th,” but the story was originally published in 1999, so… Anyway, this is the newest edition of the “Sandman” story with illustrations from legendary Japanese fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano. 20 years later and I STILL can’t believe that this is a thing that happened. The graphic novel adaptation was done for the 20th Anniversary by P. Craig Russell. While I like Russell as much as the next person there is only room for one version of this story on my shelf. And it’s from the co-creator of “Vampire Hunter D” and character designer of the first six “Final Fantasy” games.