One of the key components from DC’s “Rebirth” initiative has seen them publish fewer individual titles, but double-ship their biggest ones. This is because it’s a far safer commercial bet to publish two issues of “Batman” or “Justice League” than to take a risk on a lesser-known or all-new property. To be fair, DC is still taking risks like that with the likes of “New Super Man” and Gerard Way’s “Young Animal” imprint. There are a few other advantages, for the publisher and for the reader (me) to this approach. For the publisher they’re likely thinking that this approach helps with reader engagement. After all, a reader will be less likely to drop a series when they’ve read six issues over three months than three issues over the same period of time because they’re invested in the title. Sales in the coming months will likely reveal if this approach is successful. As for me, more issues of a particular title each month means a shorter wait for new volumes of a series. This is especially great news since it appears DC is eschewing the hardcover first mentality for most of the “Rebirth” series.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, the double-shipping approach has worked so well for DC that they’re going to continue it through next year. I’m all for this approach, even if it means I’ll have to be a bit more discerning when it comes to what series I follow. My wallet isn’t bottomless after all.
The Wild Storm #1: Once upon a time, back in that era we call “The 90’s,” there was a series from Jim Lee’s WildStorm imprint called “Stormwatch.” It was a second-tier superhero title that no one really cared much about after Image’s white-hot streak had started to cool. Then Warren Ellis took it over and made it into a smart, clever, and fun title that started to treat its premise of superheroes working for the U.N. with a modicum of seriousness. It eventually mutated into “The Authority” while Ellis also delivered “Planetary” for the imprint as well. While he’s not the reason people have fond memories of WildStorm from that era, Ellis is a big part of it. Which is why his return to rebuild the universe from the ground up is kind of a big deal. Even though I am (obviously) on board for this, I’ll acknowledge that the premise behind this is somewhat problematic. Talented writer returning to the characters and universe that he made famous is not an automatic recipe for success. Just ask Frank Miller. The good news is that Ellis is smart enough to realize this and anyone expecting him to simply remake the above-mentioned titles in this series had better check their expectations at the door. However, the writer has already stated he’s on this project for two years (and he has ideas for a third). So if you’re expecting that he’ll hit the ground running and not pace things for the inevitable trade paperback, you might have some cause for concern there.
Justice League of America: Rebirth & #1: My first thought upon reading this was, “They’re relaunching Bryan Hitch’s run on the title already!?” Then I realized he’s writing “Justice League.” This is something completely different as writer Steve Orlando has Batman leading an eclectic team made up of Black Canary, Vixen, Killer Frost, The Ray, Atom, and Lobo. As to the reasons why Batman’s leading his own Justice League, they’re said to be found in the finale of the “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad” series. Or you could just assume that the Caped Crusader got tired of working with his current team and decided to form a league to do things his own way. ...Except that makes no sense because Lobo’s on his team. I’m gonna have to go think about this for a while. Or maybe actually read this when it comes out.
Super Sons #1: Originally scheduled to launch with “Rebirth,” we’re finally getting this series now. I’m guessing the reason this was postponed was because DC wanted to see if fans actually liked Son of Superman Jon Kent. The answer is apparently yes and now he’s getting a team-up title with Damian Wayne. This should be fun if only for the idea of seeing Superman and Batman’s kids keep up their parents’ friendly rivalry, but with less maturity.
Deathstroke vol. 1: The Professional: Until now, Deathstroke has only been notable in my book for the oblique role he played in the creation of Deadpool. It’s not coincidence that “Wade Wilson” sounds a lot like “Slade Wilson,” but it is likely proof of Rob Liefeld’s creativity. The thing is that I’ve been hearing lots of good things about Christopher Priest’s take on the character in this new series. Instead of focusing on continuously re-affirming Deathstroke’s badass credentials, Priest has decided to take a closer look at the man’s tangled family life. I’m intrigued by this approach. It’s just that the last time I heard lots of good things about a Priest-written series it was his run on “Black Panther” which has been… alright so far. This will probably have to wait until I can find it at a deep discount, unless it’s the only noteworthy title on the shipping lists the week it comes out.
The Hellblazer vol. 1: The Poison Truth: Do I pick this up in the hope that writer Simon Oliver has delivered a take on the character in line with his classic Vertigo series? Or do I just resign myself to the fact that the previous three-hundred-issue run of “Hellblazer” is the be-all, end-all version of Constantine’s adventures. Decisions, decisions…
Batman by Brian K. Vaughan: Originally released as “Batman: False Faces.” Likely being re-released under this title after DC realized it’d sell a lot better if they put the name of the writer of “Y: The Last Man,” “Ex Machina,” “Saga,” and “Paper Girls” on the cover. I have “False Faces” and it’s not bad. It’s not proof that we missed out on something great by not getting more “Batman” stories from Vaughan, but he did at least give us the genius idea of having Wonder Woman take on Clayface.
Zatanna by Paul Dini: Collecting the ongoing series (mostly) written by the writer, the Vertigo one-shot “Everyday Magic” and some strips from DC holiday specials. While Dini’s legacy is assured mainly through his animation work, his comics have actually been pretty good too. Whether or not they’re good enough to justify paying $40 for more than 400 pages of comics is a personal decision that you’ll have to make for yourself. Also, if you’re wondering why she was in a one-shot from Vertigo, it’s likely because it hails from the days when John Constantine (Zatanna’s ex) was exclusive to the imprint. The more you know, and all.