Comic Picks By The Glick

DC Previews Picks: December 2013

September 12, 2013

So are we free to call this “Batwoman-gate” now?

The latest furor to erupt over at DC (and it’s getting hard to keep track of them all these days) involves the exodus of writers J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman from “Batwoman.”  Essentially it came down to their frustration with the company’s editorial directives which nixed their plans to have the title character get married, after they had already cleared the storyline beforehand.  Co-Publisher Dan Didio came out and said that this was down to the company being anti-marriage as that’s viewed as a drama killer amongst most superhero titles.  I don’t think that’s necessarily true as you just have to be more creative with the drama you come up with.  (I’ll be talking about that a bit tomorrow with the third volume of “Animal Man.”)  That said, I wouldn’t worry too much about any of the parties involved as the creators are talented enough to land on their feet elsewhere, “Batwoman” already has a new writer in Marc Andreyko (co-creator of “Torso” with Brian Michael Bendis and author of a well-received run on DC’s “Manhunter” a few years back) and the company still has plenty of creators beating down their doors to write these characters.

I’d say that they can’t keep up alienating creators like this, but at the rate things have been going it’s looking like they can do just that.

Aquaman #26:  That’s because in addition to the many up-and-comers looking to make their name writing superheroes, you’ve also got the odd creator like Jeff Parker crossing over from Marvel.  Parker is an interesting case here because he’s written a lot of comics for Marvel over the years with well-regarded runs on “Thunderbolts” and “Hulk” to show for it.  What he doesn’t is a whole lot of sales success as nothing he did really set the chart on fire.  Now he’s taking over for Geoff Johns, who turned the title into one of the major sales successes of the New 52.  Am I interested in Parker’s take on the character?  Well, I still need to catch up on Johns’ run so there’s that to take care of first.

Harley Quinn #1:  Oh yeah!  Because “Batwoman-gate” wasn’t the only controversy to erupt at DC in the past week.  Turns out that a lot of people took offense to a tryout page for this series that people took offense at because one of the panels apparently centered around the character attempting suicide.  As co-writer Jimmy Palmiotti has since explained, this isn’t going to be the serious psycho-Harley that we’ve seen in the New 52 so far, but a more fun and silly take that sounds in line with how the character has been portrayed over the years.  If nothing else, we at least got this great series of exchanges over Twitter from Gail Simone, Mark Waid and Kurt Busiek about the controversy.

Animal Man #26:  After Rafael Albuquerque was announced as the new artist on this title, we’ve now got Cully Hamner taking over here.  I’ve liked the artist’s work here and I think his animated style will be an interesting fit for this series that I’m looking forward to seeing in action.  Of course, now that he’s here Albuquerque can go back to getting “American Vampire” back on schedule as was the plan during the title’s hiatus.  Riiiiiiiiight?

Batman ‘66 #6:  Not quite the number of the beast, but close.

Villains Month 3-D Motion Complete Set:  So if you’ve got $200 that you don’t know what to do with come February, you can buy the complete set of 3-D motion covers for Villains Month.  That’ll be five months after DC spectacularly failed to meet demand for this gimmick and wound up pissing off a whole lot of fans and comic retailers.  They’re all “second printings,” though.  So for any of you who were thinking about picking these up to resell later on… you might want to give that some extra thought.  Otherwise you’ll just be buying these titles for their intrinsic worth as comics and that would be TERRIBLE!

Demon Knights vol. 3:  The Gathering Storm:  So those last three issues of Paul Cornell’s run on the title that I kept harping about?  Well it turns out they’re being collected along with Robert Venditti’s run which closes out the title.  That’s eleven issues total for $20 which isn’t a bad deal.  If you’re not like me and didn’t make the effort to pick up those three issues, then you’re at least getting a good value for your money as I’m sure (given what I’ve read from the writer) that Venditti’s work isn’t actively awful enough to negate it.

The Demon:  From the Darkness:  Another old-school reprint of Matt Wagner’s DC work.  This collects his miniseries about the character from the dark ages of 1987 and a one-off he did for the character’s ongoing series.  I’m inclined to pick this up not only because I like Wagner’s work, but it may even convince DC that the “Demon” ongoing series that followed after is worth collecting too.  Why’s that?  Because the latter part of that title represents the last part of Garth Ennis’ work with the company that has yet to be reprinted.  They’ve done everything else except for this.  I don’t know what kind of incentive they need to finally get that stuff back into print, but some kind of hint would be nice.

Animal Man vol. 5:  There’s a typo here in the solicitations as this volume actually collects issues #38-50, the back half of the Tom Veitch run.  Can’t say I’m all that interested in it as I’m currently waiting for the collections of Jamie Delano’s run to start next year.  Out of all the writers to tackle this title after Grant Morrison’s definitive run, I’m hoping/betting that he’ll be the one that comes closest to recapturing that original spark of weirdness.

Terra Obscura:  S.M.A.S.H. of Two Worlds:  This collects two miniseries co-written by Alan Moore and Peter Hogan featuring characters from the latter’s great “Tom Strong” series.  I guess my reward for waiting so long to pick this up is a 300-page collection for $25.  Now that’s the kind of value I like to see for something that’s only co-written by Moore.  Not that having Hogan is a mark against it.  The first volume of his “Resident Alien” series was nice, low-key fun that I can completely see as a TV movie or series.  If I don’t get around to talking about it later, then let me say now that I recommend picking it up.

Swamp Thing by Brian K. Vaughan vol. 1:  It’s by Vaughan.  Of course I’ll be picking this up.  Though, it says something that DC didn’t get around to it until “Saga” became a massive success.  Also, many years ago Paul O’Brien gave a memorable review of this series and said that, “Writing ‘Swamp Thing’ and not being Alan Moore is the comic book industry equivalent of walking around with a ‘Kick Me’ sign strapped to your back.”  If nothing else, Vaughan has proved that he’s a good enough writer so that even if he never took the sign off, no one would actually follow through on what it says.

Jason Glick

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