Well, I can’t call these “Previews Picks” anymore…
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen?
I think Matt Fraction is a very uneven writer. His runs on “Invincible Iron Man,” “Uncanny X-Men,” and “Sex Criminals” were marked by parts that were really good, and parts that were really terrible. The one series of his that I, and pretty much everyone else, acknowledge as being pretty great from beginning to end was “Hawkeye.” There, Fraction, artist David Aja (and guests) took the B-lister and gave him a solo series which was so good that Marvel has been trying to recapture the magic it worked for that character ever since.
“Jimmy Olsen” looks to be Fraction’s attempt to get lightning to strike twice, this time with artist Steve Lieber. Working in the series’ favor is that the title character’s history (especially in the Silver Age) has always trended towards “weird” and the fact that no one really cares too much about him these days. That kind of status is essentially a green light for Fraction and Lieber to let their freak flags fly as far as they can on a mainstream superhero comic. The early word is that they succeeded, but I’m very much interested in seeing it for myself. Also, kudos to DC for collecting the entire 12-issue maxiseries in one volume.
Detective Comics #1027: This is another $10 anthology, clocking in at 144 pages, featuring work from Bendis, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Tom King, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Scott Snyder, AND MORE! Why? Because Batman debuted way back in “Detective Comics #27” and DC figured that since it’s been an even thousand issues since then, it’d be another good excuse for those anniversary issues they love to put out. While I still think that the publisher needs an intervention as they continue to pump out these kinds of issues, there’s no denying that the talent list is stacked just from the writing side of things. Which means I’ll likely pick this up if I get the chance.
Dark Nights: Death Metal [One-Shots]: What does every event story need? Tie-in issues to elaborate on plot points that the main series was too busy to dwell on! Also, to fill in for the main series while the creative team busts their ass to get things back on schedule! Trinity Crisis features Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman teaming up for an assault on Castle Bat. This one is written by “Dark Nights” mastermind Scott Snyder, so it’s likely the one most relevant to the core plot. Speed Metal has the best name of these one-shots, and an appropriate one too as “Flash” writer Joshua Williamson shows us what Barry Allen and friends are up to during the event. Finally, James Tynion IV heads into Grant Morrison’s territory as we get to find out what the heroes of the multiverse are up to in Multiverse’s End.
Hellblazer: Rise & Fall #1 (of 3): You wait several years for a Mature Readers “Hellblazer” series and now we’ve got two at once. This miniseries comes to us from writer Tom Taylor and artist Darick Robertson, who hit some nice beats with John Constantine in the few pages they did together for “DCeased: A Good Day to Die.” “Rise & Fall” isn’t picking up on the character’s appearance in that universe, thankfully. It’s an original story about billionaires falling from the sky to their deaths. That alone sounds weird enough, except that all of them are found to have angel wings on their backs. Is this all Constantine’s fault? Probably, but the real question is how well Taylor will be able to tap into the magus’ inner bastard to deliver a convincing take on the character. No worries about Robertson, though.
Batman: The Joker War Zone #1: An anthology one-shot tying into the Bat-centric event storyline that’s running in the reality we’re familiar with. Of note is the fact that Academy Award Winner John Ridley is contributing a story here. This is notable because rumor had it that he was set to start writing “Batman” with issue #100, with Luke Fox assuming the mantle as part of DC’s “Generation Five” initiative. Whether DC got cold feet about the initiative and fired Dan Didio over it, or vice versa, we’ll probably never know. It will be interesting to see if Ridley’s story reads like it was meant to be a part of this event, or like it was setting up a storyline that will never be.
Basketful of Heads HC, The Dollhouse Family HC, The Low, Low Woods HC: Allright! The first miniseries from Joe Hill’s “Hill House” imprint are finally being collected! And… they’re all in hardcover. Which does make me pause a bit because even though I liked “Locke & Key” it took a while for that series to grow on me to the point where I picked up the last two volumes in hardcover. In these volumes favor: “Heads” is written by Hill himself, “Dollhouse” comes from the “Lucifer” and “Unwritten” team of Mike Carey and Peter Gross, and “Woods” is about a place called Shudder-to-Think, Pennsylvania, that has been on fire for years, and has (among other things) a deer woman who stalks hungry girls. So they’ve all got something to recommend anyone who’s interested in picking up these stories in hard or softcover.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight HC: Sean Murphy follows up his critically-acclaimed and best-selling “White Knight” miniseries without reprising its core gimmick. At least, there’s no sign of Jack Napier returning in the solicitation text, just the Joker. This time around, the Clown Prince of Crime is recruiting the Order of St. Dumas’ favorite son, Azrael, to destroy Bruce Wayne and Gotham City once and for all. “White Knight” had its good points, Murphy’s art being the best one, but I didn’t think it went far enough in establishing a new continuity for the Dark Knight. Then again, the creator has the opportunity to do just that in showing us the fallout from Batman’s decision at the end of the previous volume.
Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds: This series and Gerard Way’s “Young Animal” imprint launched with a lot of hype and promise, only to see scheduling issues derail both of these things. Now we’re getting a miniseries that looks to offer some closure to Way’s run as the writer teams up with his brother Mikey, Becky Cloonan, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Nick Pitarra, and original series artist Nick Derrington to send the team on an epic trip around the Solar System. Well, everyone except Flex Mentallo. The solicitation text tells us that he’s seeking Destiny Beach…
Doomsday Clock: Complete Collection: HA! No, this isn’t going to find its way onto my bookshelf. Not even in a one-volume softcover edition.