I knew it would come eventually, a big, big week. The fairly small ones leading up lulled me into a sense of security...now smashed.
Batman #704 ($2.99)
Art and cover by TONY DANIEL
Welcome back Tony Daniel as regular writer/artist on BATMAN!
Bruce Wayne may have returned, but when an aging but wealthy technology developer comes to Gotham with his beautiful daughter, it turns out he's in search of a joint project with WayneTech. DNA tracking is the name of his game, and there are others interested in his proposal. But when the developer goes missing, Batman finds that his tracks stop in the city's violent Chinatown neighborhood, where a new deadly Triad gang has taken root. Guest-starring I-Ching!
So, here we go. Bruce is back, but running around the world recruiting an international team of "Batmen," and Dick Grayson is continuing as the Batman of Gotham City. Apparently, Batman and Robin, Batman and Detective Comics will continue to be about Dick's work in Gotham, while Batman: The Dark Knight and Batman: Incorporated will be about Bruce globe-trotting. I have to tell you, I'm fairly tempted to just keep buying the titles I'm following already, The Dick Grayson books, and ignore the Bruce titles. I can just pretend Bruce is still dead, and wait until Morrison leaves, or he gets a wild hair up his rear to go back to status quo, then follow Bruce again. Mainly because you KNOW that's exactly what's going to happen.
On the positive side, this issues marks the return of Tony Daniel as writer/artist. I was pretty happy with his work on this title prior to the Return of Bruce Wayne stuff. It wasn't mind-blowing, but it was good Batman stories month-in, month-out. He keeps a schedule and tells solid stories. That might not sound exciting, but I'll take it over one hyper-incredible issue followed by eleven that are just above dreck, or worse.
Batman: Incorporated #1 ($3.99)
Art by YANICK PAQUETTE
Cover by JH WILLIAMS
Variant cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
Grant Morrison continues his earth-shattering run on the Batman titles with this exciting, new ongoing series! Featuring; Art by the remarkable Yanick Paquette (SEVEN SOLDIERS: BULLETEER), BATMAN, INC. marks the next stage of evolution for The Dark Knight. This can't-miss series will star not just Bruce Wayne as Batman, but also a huge number of guest-stars! Don't miss out on this all-new start to a stunning direction for Batman!
I know what you're thinking, I bitch about this concept constantly, but I'm planning to buy it. Let me make one thing clear, I am planning to buy the first issue. I am open enough to allow Morrison the chance to sway me to his idea. His run of Batman and Robin, and his non-Batman work allow him a chance at drawing me in.
In short, I am willing to be wrong.
Again, the real annoyance here is that this new method of operation for Bruce is never going to stand. It just isn't. It's especially annoying when DC stated policy for every other hero is to "use the most known and iconic version," hence, Wally West is consigned to...wherever he is, and Barry Allen is the Flash. So, Morrison gets to create a bunch of crappy (if Knight and Squire are any indication) versions of Batman, and indulge himself, even while the rest of the writing staff is falling back to characters that, in some cases, are not nearly as interesting as their replacements. In a year or two, Bruce will be back in Gotham, Dick will be Nightwing, I suspect Damian will remain Robin, leaving Tim as Red Robin (which I'm fine with), and this will all be quietly swept under the rug.
Y'know, way back in 1992, when they killed Superman, the creative team was almost immediately saying, "of course he's not going to stay dead, but we think we have a good story to bring him back." I like that, it's honest and it allows the creatives to play freely. I kinda hate how everything now is "changing everything," when it clearly won't.
Brightest Day #14 ($2.99)
Art by IVAN REIS, PAT GLEASON,
ARDIAN SYAF, SCOTT CLARK and JOE PRADO
Covers by DAVID FINCH
1:10 Variant covers by IVAN REIS
Don't miss the hottest event in comics as BRIGHTEST DAY continues with the search for a new White Lantern. And Martian Manhunter returns to Mars as we discover the origin of the creature mysteriously stalking him. Plus, the evil within Firestorm now haunts Professor Stein! And Hawkman: betrayed!
I am really this series' bitch. It's like Brokeback Mountain, "I wish I could quit you!!"
I need to drop the book, but every damn time I think I'm ready to, BAM! Oh, look Batman White Lantern!! Gotta see that!!
Sometimes I hate being a fanboy. I do swear, if I even think of staying with Batman: Incorporated, or Batman: The Dark Knight, this thing is the first to go.
The Flash #6 ($2.99)
Art and Cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL
1:10 Variant cover by ALE GARZA
& SANDRA HOPE
BRIGHTEST DAY dashes on with the stunning conclusion of "The Dastardly Deaths of the Rogues!" With Barry caught between the Rogues and the Renegades, the resurrected Captain Boomerang's role in the adventure is revealed! You won't believe how this leads to the upcoming FLASHPOINT…
I am a big Flash fan. Huge, actually. This series, and Flash: Rebirth, however, will be looked upon in future decades as the template for how to shoot yourself in the foot during a major reboot of a character.
Rebirth was painfully late, and this series seems like it's on anything but a regular schedule. I almost forget it's out there before a new issue shows up. You cannot build excitement if the book isn't shipping on a concrete schedule. I have to be waiting to see what happens next. As it is, I can hardly remember what happened last!
Top that off, the re-introduction of Barry Allen has done absolutely nothing to distinguish the character from any number of others. When Wally West was The Flash, and, to be fair, he is the Flash I grew up with, the writers immediately set about distinguishing him, not only from his former mentor, Barry, but from every other hero on the stands. Wally was a broken person, he needed to find the hero and the strength within himself, and the creative teams weren't afraid to make him look bad on the way there.
I'm sorry, because I know there's a ton of Barry Allen fans out there, but Barry is boring. I enjoy Geoff Johns writing, but his Barry is just...the Barry from the 80's, the major character that actually had his book cancelled because of disinterest. There were a ton of mis-steps with Wally late in his run, with the whole "family" angle, but it just needed the right writer to get that hook and run with it effectively (excuse the pun). There really was no need to drop back and punt, especially when the punt was executed so poorly.
Green Lantern #59 ($2.99)
Art and cover by DOUG MAHNKE
and CHRISTIAN ALAMY
1:10 Variant cover by GENE HA
BRIGHTEST DAY blazes on as the New Guardians seeking the Indigo Entity are shocked to discover a sedated Black Hand. Can Hal Jordan trust the Indigo Tribe to house the herald of Nekron?
Is it just me, or are the solicits for Green Lantern just getting shorter and shorter? I suppose it makes sense, the books is pretty much the linchpin for the entire direction of the line, right now. If you're into DC right now, you pretty much have to be reading Green Lantern.
Thank God the book is still pretty damn solid.
I've given a lot of crap to Geoff Johns-written books today, but that's mainly because I know what he can do, how good he can be. Green Lantern is where you find it, each month. Yeah, currently it feels a little disjointed because of the deep tie-in to Brightest Day, and that associated stuff. Even with that, Johns has an ultra-solid handle on exactly who Hal Jordan is, and how to best use him.
Justice League of America #51 ($3.99)
Art by MARK BAGLEY,
ROB HUNTER & NORM RAPMUND
Cover by MARK BAGLEY & ROB HUNTER
1:10 Variant cover by DAVID MACK
In "Justice League: Omega" part 2, as the battle between the JLA and the Crime Syndicate within the Hall of Justice explodes into the streets of Washington D.C., a new villain bent on his own form of conquest prevents any other heroes from helping save the nation's capital. It's up to five members of the Justice League to save the city's people, with serious repercussions for one Leaguer, who may turn to the dark side. In order to help their teammates, Bill and Mikaal must begin an odyssey across the world that will evoke memories of Prometheus.
Why do I have a sinking feeling? The last issues was pretty damn solid, and did a great job of making me want to read this series again. Then I see the solicit for this issue, and I feel my optimism may have been premature.
This is another series that is on the chopping block if I pick up anything new. Of course, I've been saying that for a while.
The Spirit #8 ($3.99)
Co-feature written by WALTER SIMONSON
Art by MORITAT
Co-feature art by JORDI BERNET
Cover by LADRÖNN
The widow Ophelia Ottoman is the drop-dead gorgeous heir of one of the most powerful crime families in Central City. So why did she ever marry a loser like Jimmy Bauhaus? And why does she creep into Wildwood Cemetery each night to speak to his corpse? There's a mystery buried with that dead man, and it's The Spirit's job to dig it up!
And in the SPIRIT: BLACK & WHITE co-feature, modern masters Walter Simonson and Jordi Bernet bring you "Gemini," the tale of twin sisters nobody could tell apart...but where one is a good girl, the other is very, very bad indeed!
As with anything published that doesn't involve the mainstream heroes of the DCU, I get the feeling this is a "quiet book." One that falls under a lot of people's radar. It's worth seeking out for the Spirit Black & White
back-ups alone, honestly.
Eisner set the bar high with his own work, and, really, only Darwyn Cooke's run a few years back has come close. The teams on this series have done good work, if not "blow-up-your-skirt" brilliant. Much like Tony Daniel on Batman, it's solid storytelling. I admire that.
THE "MAYBE" PILE
Batman: The Return #1 ($4.99)
Art by DAVID FINCH and SCOTT WILLIAMS
Cover by DAVID FINCH
1:25 Variant cover by TBD
1:200 Variant cover by TBD
The event of the year is here! Bruce Wayne made his long journey back through the timestream in RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, Dick Grayson and Damian uncovered important secrets in BATMAN and ROBIN, Gotham City's bravest heroes made their mark in BRUCE WAYNE – THE ROAD HOME…and now it's time for BATMAN to return! What happens to Dick Grayson now that the "real" Batman is back? How will Bruce Wayne handle a reunion with his son, Damian? This special one-shot bridges two exciting eras of The Dark Knight and sets up a surprising new status quo that's just on the horizon.
Featuring the talents of Batman mastermind Grant Morrison and superstar artist David Finch providing interior art, this issue is a can't-miss for comics fans!
Don't we know the answers to these questions from recent issues of the regular series? It's a "maybe" because I'm a fan, and I've managed to skip all the other one-shot tie-ins. This one seems the most on point. That said, it's five frakkin' bucks. Couple that with the fairly certain feeling I have that it's not essential, at all...and the best I can give it is a maybe. If I flip through it, and something grabs me, I may drop the cash, but I think it's unlikely.