What’s there to look forward to from DC in 2017? Mostly them making good on the plot threads that were set up in the “Rebirth” one-shot from earlier this year. So if you’ve been waiting for them to explain who Mr. Oz (who is totally not Ozymandias from “Watchmen”) really is or where the “Watchmen” smiley-face button that was found in the Batcave came from, then your prayers will be answered. Also if you wanted to know what’s up with Ray “The Atom” Palmer subsequent to his disappearance as well. Having not read “Rebirth,” none of this really appeals to me. ESPECIALLY the “Watchmen”-related bits. I’ll take my enjoyment with the “Rebirth”-related collected editions that will start arriving next month.
Regarding DC’s current hot-button issue -- the cancellation of “The Legend of Wonder Woman” after inker/letterer/colorist Ray Dillon, husband to the series’ writer/artist Renae De Liz, made disparaging remarks about the company on social media -- there’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides. In Dillon’s case, the simple fact is that you DON’T make any kind of critical remarks about your current employer in any kind of public forum. Even if you’re not working for the company under an exclusive contract, you’re still part of the team and have to play together as such. That said, how heartless does a company have to be in order to fire a husband and wife team, where the wife is pregnant, just before Christmas? Would it have killed DC to delay this action by just a few weeks and done it in the first week of January? Then again, it’s not like this is the worst thing DC has done to a creator who used to work for them so maybe whoever handled this just figured it was business as usual.
Superman #’s 18-19 & Action Comics #’s 975-976: Billed as the first inter-title “Superman” crossover of the “Rebirth” era, this looks to be DC making good on their promise to explain Mr. Oz’s deal. Apparently in the one-shot he told the Man of Steel that “You and your family are not what you believe you are. And neither was the fallen Superman.” Amidst these revelations, the life of his son Jonathan hangs in the balance. It all sounds pretty dramatic, to be sure, and while I’m not enthused about anything regarding Mr. Oz (see above) the collected edition of this event will likely wind up in my library as I’m planning on buying “Superman” based on the good word of mouth it’s received.
All-Star Batman #8: Snyder takes on the Mad Hatter, with a surprising artist in tow: Giuseppe Camuncoli. I say this is surprising because while Camuncoli got his start in American comics by toiling for years in the trenches of Vertigo and Wildstorm on “Hellblazer” fill-ins, the latter half of Brian Vaughan’s “Swamp Thing,” and the first half of Joe Casey’s “The Intimates.” Then he decamped for Marvel and ascended through their ranks to the point where he’s now part of their A-list as the regular artist on “Amazing Spider-Man.” It’s probably telling that his first work for DC in years is this kind of high-profile gig. Might there be more of these for the company in the future?
Justice League #17: In which Superman is presented with an impossible choice in part three of the time-travel story “Timeless.” Will he save Krypton from exploding or save his friends in the League? Maybe there will be more to this plot point in the actual issue, but it’s a pretty obvious choice when things are laid out in the solicitation text like this. It’ll be hard for him, but Superman is going to save his friends. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do and Superman always does that, no matter how hard it is. (Even when we’re not accounting for the fact that such a decision would certainly wipe the character as we know him out of existence.) I could be wrong about this, but I kinda doubt it.
All-Star Batman vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy: Scott Snyder’s victory lap with Batman begins with a road trip out of Gotham with Two-Face in tow. While some have said that the return of KGBeast atop an 18-wheeler is the real reason to get this story, I’m still sticking with my original feelings regarding the consistently excellent work the writer turned out with Greg Capullo on “Batman” over these past four years. Meanwhile, over in that title...
Batman vol. 2: I am Suicide: Well, I finished reading all of Tom King’s “The Vision” and I’m still not convinced that he’s the next big thing to hit comics. Still, this volume does offer up a pretty compelling hook. In order to rescue the Psycho Pirate and Gotham Girl from Bane, Batman has to recruit his own Suicide Squad from Amanda Waller. I imagine the most difficult part of the story for King is going to be making Batman interacting with his “team” as dramatic as his interactions with Waller. They’ve got kind of a difficult history after she faced him down in Belle Reeve all those years ago.
Superman vol. 2: Trial of the Super Sons: In which Superman and his son head to Dinosaur Island on the trail of the last of the Losers. Which is drawn by Doug Mahnke and is sure to be awesome. Also, Superman and Batman meet up at the county fair… with their kids in tow. I’m sure that Jonathan and Damien are going to get along just great and in a way that’s more “World’s Finest” than “Batman v. Superman.” I could just be deluding myself there…
Savage Things #1 (of 8): I’m not sure why this new miniseries from writer Justin Jordan and artist Ibrahim Moustafa isn’t coming out from Image, given the writer’s long history there, but here we are. It involves a secret government organization who kidnapped children predisposed to violence and trained them to be agents of chaos to spread unrest throughout the world. Mind you, that would be the kind of unrest that benefits the U.S.A. more than anything else. As you’d expect with this kind of thing, the kids proved to be too difficult to control and were eventually taken out. Or so their handlers thought. Now they’re back and the only hope of stopping the swath of terror they’re cutting through the country lies with the only man who ever walked away from them. Jordan’s resume is one that is long on style and short on substance. That’s fine when he’s working with a talented artist like Tradd Moore, but Moustafa’s an unknown quality with me. Not to put all the burden on the artist, I suppose I’d be more interested in this if Jordan’s previous work had displayed real depth to it.