The Dreaming vol. 3: One Magical Movement
Vol. 1 was basically everything I wanted to see in a return to the world and characters created by Neil Gaiman. Vol. 2 showed us what had been going on with Daniel and gave us an enchanting journey through the realms of fantasy while establishing the stakes at the heart of this story. Vol. 3 looks to bring it all together as the entity known as Wan sits in control of the Dreaming and tries to do what it things is best for the realm. This is in spite of the fact that it is unaware that it is part of a play by some corporate entity to take control of the Dreaming. Oh, and Wan also has a shadow personality that can wipe any concept from existence that it is completely unaware of as well. So it’s up to the likes of Dora, Matthew, Abel, and company to find a way to fix this or at least stall Wan long enough so that whatever Daniel’s planning can come to fruition. After the first two volumes, I’m expecting the very best from this one and I’m sure that writer Simon Spurrier and artist Bilquis Evely (and company) will be able to deliver it.
DCeased: Dead Planet #1 (of 6): Some might see this and say, “BOY HOWDY is DC picking the wrong time to launch this sequel to a superhero zombie apocalypse story!” Speaking as someone who has been fighting off zombies and the blood plague that some of them have been spreading for the past week in “State of Decay 2,” I’m not one of them. That’s because there’s little to no similarity between these things and the ongoing coronavirus epidemic happening outside my door. I see this and think, “The first one was alright. Let’s see if writer Tom Taylor and artist Trevor Hairsine can do it better this time around.” Sure, the story hook for this sequel is as simple as it gets -- one year later the survivors living on Earth 2 get a distress call from Earth and decide to investigate -- but it still gives the creators plenty of leeway to deliver some dark and gruesome fun.
Batman: Three Jokers #1 (of 3): Oh Geoff Johns. It’s one thing to try and write a sequel to “Watchmen” that brings it into the DCU. It’s another to write a story that tries to explain the Joker. While this miniseries is being published under the Black Label imprint, it’s actually a follow-up to Johns’ “Justice League” run. Towards the end of it, various members of the League got the powers of the New Gods, with Batman getting access to Metatron’s Mobius Chair and all-encompassing knowledge. What was the first thing he did with these things? Try to find out the Joker’s real name.
The answer he got… is in the title of this miniseries. Apparently these three Jokers hail from different eras of the Dark Knight’s real-time history: The creepy smiling clown of the Golden Age, the wacky homicidal trickster of the Silver Age, and the psychopathic agent of chaos of the Modern Age. Okay, sure. I just think it’s a BAD IDEA to try and apply any kind of logic or reason to explain either the Joker’s actions or his history. Frankly, I’m hoping that this setup is just one big swerve on Johns’ part and the Clown Prince of Crime will emerge from this storyline more unknowable than before. Jason Fabok has been taking his time to illustrate this, which means it should look incredible if nothing else.
Justice League #’s 48 & 49: The third volume of “The Dreaming” isn’t the only big comic that DC is releasing with Simon Spurrier’s name on it this month. He’s also writing a three-issue arc on “Justice League!” “The Rule of War” has the League answering a distress call in space, where they find an abandoned cargo ship filled with young aliens. While the team’s first instinct is naturally to return these kids to their home planet, the response they get upon doing so is not what they were expecting. Given the writer’s track record at doing things in a decidedly different way during his tenure at Marvel (see his runs on “X-Men: Legacy,” “X-Force,” and “Doctor Aphra”) I’m VERY surprised to see him get a very high profile gig like this. Unless DC is planning on relaunching this title after it hits issue #50. In which case, giving him three issues to do something appropriately crazy with DC’s premier superteam makes a little more sense. Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan are onboard to make what is likely to be a very abnormal superhero story look as normal as possible.
DCeased: Unkillables HC: Call me crazy, but I think this spinoff miniseries might have just a little bit of relevance to the storyline in this month’s proper follow-up to “DCeased.” Where the original series showed what all the heroes (and a few A-list villains) were up to when the Anti-Life virus infected the world, “Unkillables” is all about showing us what the rest of the villains were up to during that time. While I’m guessing that “survival” was the answer for most of them, I doubt I’ll be surprised by who chose “profiting.” Tom Taylor wrote this spinoff, so I’m expecting a comparable level of quality from this, even if it has a new artist in Karl Mostert. Actually, let me say that I’m expecting this to be a better read than the original. Because we all know that the villains have more fun -- even during the zombie apocalypse!
The Joker: Killer Smile HC: When it comes to doctors who have treated the Joker over the years, I’m willing to bet that Dr. Harleen Quinzel is an exception. In that she actually survived the experience. All those others? Either some variation of gibbering, comatose, or dead via suicide -- and those are just the ones who the Joker didn’t just straight up murder because he was in a hurry to get out of Arkham. Why should we think that Dr. Ben Arnell’s attempt should end any differently? I mean, really. Is there an actual reason? I say this because “Killer Smile” is coming from Jeff Lemire. When he’s on his game, Lemire can deliver characters that are interesting enough so that you’ll want to follow them regardless of how conventional the story they’re in winds up being.
I learned that by reading “Sweet Tooth” and saw what happens when he fails to deliver interesting characters with “Descender.” And “Black Hammer. And his already-forgotten run on “Extraordinary X-Men.” However, “Killer Smile” has a secret weapon: Andrea Sorrentino. He’s a stylish artist who was easily the best part of Lemire’s “Old Man Logan” run, and their ongoing creator-owned title “Gideon Falls.” If there’s a reason to buy this oversized hardcover, it’s to see how Sorrentino will have the Clown Prince of Crime terrorize this foolish doctor.
John Constantine: Hellblazer vol. 1: Marks of Woe: Oh yeah, we’re not done with Spurrier this month. He’s also bringing Vertigo’s prodigal son back where he belongs: In a mature-readers title that’s not part of any superhero universe. *deep breaths* Everything is as it should be once again. While it’s likely not the only story in this volume, the synopsis in the solicitation text sounds like vintage “Hellblazer:” A down-on-his-luck John takes a job performing an exorcism from a small-time gang lord. If dealing with a jumpy up-and-comer and his thugs wasn’t bad enough, there’s the possibility that this exorcism might be a bit more complicated than advertised. Kind of like how Newcastle was. Remember that John? Good times…
Legion of Superheroes vol. 1: Millenium HC: Hrm. Well, if Bendis is writing this I guess it’s worth checking out at least. After it arrives in softcover, of course.