Is there anything we can learn from Berganza-gate over at DC? Based on what has happened it would appear that the only way sexual harassers can be dealt with at a comic book company is if their notoriety reaches the mainstream. Superman group editor Eddie Berganza’s behavior was well-known within the industry but he wound up having a 25-year career within it. While many creators refused to work with him as a result and there were repeated calls within fandom for him to be fired, it took that Buzzfeed article for it to actually happen. Berganza, however, was the most notorious example of a sexual harasser continuing to work in the industry and that likely made him an easy target. Whether or not Buzzfeed or some other media outlet decides to dig deeper and uncover staff with behavior as bad or even worse than Berganza remains to be seen.
In more positive news, DC has made Jonathan Hickman an offer to come work for them. This is after they asked him to pitch some ideas to them and he did so. Hickman is one of the very rare creators I follow who has yet to truly disappoint me. If he does decide to write something for DC I’ll be sure to read it, whatever it is. Along these lines, we’re still waiting for word on what Bendis’ first DC title will be. He did say years ago that he’d love to write Zatanna, so that’s a real possibility.
JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1: Part one of the “Milk Wars” crossover between the DC Universe and the Young Animal imprint. An insidious company called RetCo has been stealing stories from the DCU and YA characters and repackaging them for consumption in other dimensions. Worse still is the fact that they’ve been using radioactive milk to curtail the more commercially unappealing aspects of these characters to make them a safer product to sell to the masses. This is all thanks to the heretofore unknown “final” son of Krypton, The Milk Man. Sent to our planet from his dying one and raised by an evil dairy farmer.
In case it’s not readily apparent, this is going to be a very meta crossover. Young Animal founder Gerard Way is co-writing the bookend issues of this five-issue event with current “Justice League of America” writer Steve Orlando. In between are “Mother Panic/Batman,” “Shade the Changing Girl/Wonder Woman,” and “Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing” one-shots written by their respective YA writers. The cynic in me recognizes that the only reason this crossover is happening is because despite good reviews, the YA titles have cratered sales-wise. Still, it does sound entertainingly ridiculous and could wind up being great fun so long as the event takes itself as seriously as these solicitations imply it will.
The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #1 (of 6): While Batman and Wonder Woman have interacted a lot together over the years given their roles in the Justice League (and that time she put her boot on his head for trying to deal with someone under her care in “The Hiketeia”), I can’t recall a time when they’ve ever teamed up like this before. I’m sure they have at some point, but this team-up still feels new to me at least. Former “Wonder Woman” artist Liam Sharp writes and draws this six-issue mini that has Wonder Woman trying to avert a war between fairy folk after the death of a Celtic god and Batman being drafted to help after some strange and probably linked occurrences in Gotham City. Sharp is a great artist, and while he’s an untested writer I’m still interested in checking this out to see how these two heroes work together.
Green Lantern: Earth One HC: I see that Green Lantern is finally getting his turn at the “Earth One” table. That’s good. Who’d they get to chronicle his first adventure in this continuity-free incarnation? The team who brought us the second series of “Star Wars: Legacy?” ...Yeah, I think I can safely give this one a pass.
Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman HC: This is advance-solicited for April, after which the 1000th’ issue of “Action Comics” will have hit stands. It’s meant as a companion to that issue as it will be reprinting various stories from Superman’s history along with essays from the likes of Jules Feiffer and Paul Levitz. The solicitation also promises a heretofore unpublished story believed to be written by “Superman” co-creator Jerry Siegel with art from fellow co-creator Joe Shuster’s studio. I’ll admit that part sounds a bit dubious. This 384-page collection will set you back $30, though there’s no word as to whether or not it’ll contain the actual “Action Comics” #1000 or if you’ll have to go buy it yourself to get the complete anniversary experience.
Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering, “Detective Comics” #975 ships in February. So we’re almost a year away from the 1000th issue of that title, assuming it keeps up its twice-monthly shipping schedule.
New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20: Now this is interesting. “New Super-Man” was originally launched with its focus on Kenan Kong, the Super-Man of China to some pretty impressive sales. For its first issue. Sales of subsequent issues went into a freefall that the series has not been able to turn around yet. Still, the fact that DC hasn’t given up on this series or its writer, Gene Luen Yang, is impressive. As is the fact that, rather than relaunch it, they’re re-branding it with the apparent intent to turn it into an ensemble title. Will this change its sales trajectory? If history is any indication, the title may get a boost for this issue before its regular trajectory re-asserts itself.
All-Star Batman vol. 3: The First Ally: What I’ve heard about the third volume of Scott Snyder’s victory lap of a “Batman” title implies some pretty crazy retcons to Alfred’s history. The writer has done some ambitious stuff with “Batman” history before, and succeeded, though he might have miscalculated with this. No matter, after all he’s written about the character so far I’m still all in for this. My biggest gripe about this volume is actually the fact that it’s illustrated by Snyder’s “American Vampire” collaborator Rafael Albuquerque. Which means that it’ll look great, but also offers further proof that we’ll likely never see another volume of that series from the two of them again.
Dark Days: The Road to Metal: Speaking of Snyder, this volume is meant to act as a lead-in to the well-received event series he’s doing with Greg Capullo. I’d be all for picking it up… if I didn’t already own half the comics it reprints. Designated lead-ins, “The Forge” and “The Casting” are collected here, along with “Final Crisis” #6-7, “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” #1, issues 38-39 of Snyder’s “Batman” run, and issue #17 of the current “Nightwing” run. With a grab bag like this, I think I’ll be better off picking up “The Forge” and “The Casting” individually. That leaves “Nightwing” #17 as the only issue here that I’m not planning to read, but how important can it really be to this event?
Batman: New Gotham vol. 2: So Greg Rucka’s “Detective Comics” run is (finally!) getting a second volume. Guess I’ll finally have to decide whether or not I want to buy the new edition of the first volume of “New Gotham” or track down the issues the original collection didn’t have. First world problems and all.
Ex Machina: The Complete Series Omnibus HC & The Sheriff of Babylon: The Deluxe Edition HC: Normally here’s where I’d say “If you haven’t bought these before now…” with the implication that these editions offer a better value for your money than picking up each volume individually would. Except this time they don’t. The “Ex Machina” omnibus will set you back $150, while picking up the five-book softcover collections will set you back $100 -- less if you shop around online. Same goes for “Babylon” as this edition will run you $40, while the two softcover volumes it collects have a combined cover price of $30 before any discounts. It’s nice to see DC keeping these series in print, but their current prices seem to be fairly punishing towards those who didn’t pick them up the first time around.