Friday, December 31, 2010

January Pull List


Action Comics #897
Adventure Comics #522
Birds of Prey #8
Detective Comics #873
Flash #9
Knight and Squire #4 (of 6)
Legion of Super-Heroes #9
Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1
Red Robin #19
Steel (one-shot)
Superboy #3
Superman/Batman #80
Teen Titans #91
Weird Worlds #1 (of 6)

(Notice that there's no Batman Inc on the schedule for January. Issue #3 has been delayed until February.)


Northlanders #36
Sweet Tooth #17


Astonishing Thor #2 (of 5)
Invincible Iron Man #500
Secret Avengers #9
Thor #619


Casanova: Gula #1
Superior #4

Dark Horse

Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead #2 (of 2)


Halcyon #3
The Infinite Vacation #1
Marineman #2

(Not sure if any issues of Orc Stain and Meta 4 are coming out this month.)


Neonomicon #4


Soldier Zero #4
Starborn #2
Traveler #3

12 Gauge

Magus #2

Five Images

Galactus by J.P. Leon

Superboy by cris-art@DA

Superboy and Krypto by Stanley Lau

Supergirl by Amy Mebberson

Captain Marvel by Michael Avon Oeming

Monday, December 27, 2010

Is It Thursday Yet?

(Books are shipping on Thursday this week, due to the holidays.)

Here are the books I'm getting this week:

Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead #1 (of 2) (Dark Horse)

A two-part story with art by Scott Hampton. Sounds good to me. Here's a preview.

Action Comics #896 (DC)

I'm enjoying Paul Cornell's ongoing Lex Luthor story in Action Comics, but it's a bit uneven. The first two issues were great, then we had a bit of a dud with the Deathstroke issue, followed by the ridiculously awesome Grodd issue and the fascinating Death issue, and then another let-down featuring Vandal Savage. If the pattern holds up, this issue featuring the Secret Six should be full of awesome.

Detective Comics #872 (DC)

The new creative team on Detective (Scott Snyder and Jock) knocked it out of the park with their first issue last month. In fact, I loved it so much, I'm considering dropping all other bat titles and just concentrating on this one instead.

Flash #8 (DC)

Like the last issue that shipped earlier this month, this one features Scott Kolins on art, while regular artist Francis Manapul gets a head start on the new story arc that starts next month. This one focuses on Reverse Flash.

Teen Titans #90 (DC)

After the last issue, which I thought was terrible and featured a completely out-of-character Damian Wayne, I decided to drop this title and never again pick up a book by J.T. Krul. Now I'm having second thoughts. I really want to enjoy this. I really do! There's a crossover with Red Robin - another book I'm considering dropping from my pull list - coming up, so I think maybe I'll give it a few more issues. I hate myself for spending money on this, though.

Bulletproof Coffin #6 (of 6) (Image)

Bulletproof Coffin has been one of the best series of the year and it's sure to make my top-10 (which I'll be posting in January). I just can't wait to see how it all wraps up in this final issue.


I thought I should point out that the highly anticipated new series written and drawn by David Finch, which was originally supposed to be released on November 24, is finally coming out this week, and I won't be buying it. I personally don't care for David Finch's art at all. I hate his covers for Action Comics, and his interior art in Batman: The Return was just awful. As for his writing talent, I really wouldn't know, since I've never read a word he's written.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Quick Reviews: Secret Avengers, Neonomicon, Traveler, Superior, Superman/Batman, Batman Inc

Secret Avengers #8 

I never seem to have anything to say about this title, but it's pretty solid, in terms of both story and art.

Neonomicon #3

I really wish this book wasn't published by Avatar. Rick Johnston's infantile attempts at hyping it up on Bleeding Cool annoy the hell out of me. It's disgusting that he's using rape as a selling point for this title, while simultaneously denouncing the popularity of rape as a plot device in contemporary super-hero comics. Regardless of what Alan Moore's intentions are with this title, there something really disingenuous about this sensationalistic promotion that relies on shock value while at the same time claiming that there's more going on than just sensationalism.

I realize that none of this actually has anything to do with the quality of the comic book itself, but it does have an effect on my enjoyment of it, because I'm not reading this in a vacuum. As for what it all means and whether or not it's any good, I'm going to continue to reserve judgement until I've seen the conclusion, in the next issue.

The Traveler #2

This second issue is a lot less confusing than the first one was. Plot and characters are starting to fall into place, hinting at a larger mystery that's probably going to to be gradually revealed as the series continues. I like the fast pacing of it and the story, but some of the dialogue really grates me. Especially when the protagonist is speaking out loud about what is happening during the fight scene. "And now I will punch him while slowing down time. Oh, I see that didn't work. In that case, I will try this different approach - speeding up time while kicking him in the face! Yes, that seems to work better." I'm paraphrasing, of course, but it's almost that hackneyed. Is it because the art is so bad that the fights wouldn't make any sense without this kind of exposition? Or is it some kind of self-conscious meta-commentary on comic book conventions and the type of dialogue Stan Lee used to write? I'm not sure.

Superior #3

This is good. I want to write more about it later, but for now I'll just say that I'm really enjoying it and, after the twist on the last page, really looking forward to the next issue.

Superman/Batman #79

I was disappointed that Robot Robin from the future only makes a brief appearance in this, despite being prominently displayed on the cover. But otherwise this was really good. And I love the old-fashioned thought bubbles! I wonder if these are coming back in style. Anyway, conclusion in next month's issue.

Batman, Incorporated #2

Still not convinced. Not that this is a bad issue. Nice art and nothing blatantly wrong with the writing. I'm just not sold on the Batman going international premise at all. Something about it stinks. The American hero going to other countries to show local heroes how it's really done. "My people have to be better than that." What does this all lead to? Some kind of global homogenization of super-heroes? Batman is not just hiring heroes to join his team. Mr. Unknown ceases to exist and is replaced with Batman Japan. It all makes me kind of uncomfortable. I'm giving this a couple more issues, but I think I might drop this one. I think Detective Comics is the only Batman book I'm really interested in at the moment.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter has started posting a series of lengthy interviews with comics creators. (The first one is with Joe Casey, the second with Karl Stevens, and the third with Matt Seneca.) This is apparently a yearly tradition around the holidays. I've only had time to read the first interview, but if the others are as good as that one was, then I've got a lot of great reading ahead of me. And so do you! Here's Joe Casey on Wildstorm:

The loss of Wildstorm and what it meant within the overall DC brand could -- and probably should -- be seen as a cautionary tale. When Wildstorm was making some cutting edge comics, they were vital. They were important. They were alive. They helped make DC a lot cooler than they would be without them. But, as they say... when you snooze, you lose. When Wildstorm stopped being cutting edge, they were instantly a millstone around DC's neck. They brought nothing to the table, creatively. The fact that their videogame tie-in comic was reportedly DC's biggest seller didn't even register, because what does that have to do with Wildstorm as a brand? Now go even wider and consider Warners in general. They just had that shake-up at the highest levels of management. A big-time studio head is basically pushed out, and it's been suggested that it was possibly in part because he couldn't get his shit together when it came to exploiting DC properties in the wider mediaspace, where billions of dollars in profits are at stake. When you don't know what to do with the assets you've got, when it comes across like you're too paralyzed to take action (for whatever reason), it's time to step aside and let the adults take the wheel. Or, in the case of Wildstorm, it's time to be taken back behind the barn and be put out of your misery.

Meanwhile, at Comics Alliance, Laura Hudson interviews Mark Waid, and he's got some things to say about digital comics.

Kelly Thompson at She Has No Head! writes about her 20 favourite female creators of 2010 (part one, part two). And speaking of Kelly Thompson, you should really be listening to her podcast 3 Chicks Review Comics, in which the other two chicks are Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Maddy from When Fangirls Attack. These are three of the smartest comics bloggers I read and it's always fun to hear them each bring their own unique perspective on the comics they discuss in the podcast. There are four episodes so far and the podcast is on hiatus until after the holidays, so that should give you enough time to catch up.

Finally, my pal Mike Muller shares his five favourite Eightball covers over at his blog, It's a Bit of a Shame. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is It Wednesday Yet?

Here's stuff I'm considering picking up this week.

Batman Incorporated #2 (DC)

I thought the first issue was all right, although I'm still not 100% sold on this new status quo. But Grant Morrison seems really to have some big plans (as he always does) for it, so I'll give him a chance. Yanick Paquette's art is pretty nice, although the cheesecake in the first issue was a bit intense. Hopefully that gets toned down a bit. But with a cliffhanger involving tentacles at the end of the first issue, I'm not sure what to expect.

Legion of Super-Heroes #8 (DC)

I'm having a hard time catching up on this series. I think it's because I'm simultaneously (and very slowly) making my way through the deluxe hardcover collection of The Great Darkness Saga I recently bought. So I haven't yet read LOSH #7, nor the latest Adventure Comics, which now ties into the same continuity. But I keep buying them because I have faith in Paul Levitz, or something. Which I may end up regretting somewhere down the line.

Superman/Batman #79 (DC)

Superman/Batman is a title that I don't buy religiously, but since the story arcs are usually stand alone and feature different creative teams, I pick it up once in a while when it happens to catch my interest. This issue is the first in a two-parter written by Chris Roberson, set in the 853rd Century, featuring Robin the Toy Wonder, and with a beautiful cover by Fiona Staples, so that's a lot of very good reasons to get it.

Teen Titans: Cold Case #1 (DC)

Art by Sean Murphy is pretty much all you need to convince me here.

Secret Avengers #8 (Marvel)

This continues. I don't really have anything to say about it, but I'm reading it.

Superior #3 (Marvel)

I've enjoyed the first two issues of this mini-series by Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu, though I haven't been writing about it yet. I think I'm going to wait until the mini-series ends before reviewing it. But so far the story's been good and the art is phenomenal.

Neonomicon #3 (Avatar)
These issues are coming out painfully slowly. Thank God there are only four issues. I have no idea what to make of the first two installments. I am simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by the depth of depravity that was reached in the final scene of the previous issue, and I can't help but wonder where this could possibly be going next.

The Traveler #2 (Boom)

This is probably the weirdest and most confusing of the three new Stan Lee series from Boom Studios. The first issue was a bit of a mess, I thought. But I decided to give each of these new series a full arc before deciding whether or not I'm going to keep reading them.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Does DC see controversy as more profitable than diversity?

If you've read the DC solicitations for January, then you know there's a Steel one-shot coming up. For all intents and purposes, when it was first announced, this seemed like a somewhat unimportant book, written by DC newcomer Steve Lyons, featuring a character who isn't appearing in any other books these days, and not tying into any bigger event. But it seems now that most of the info in the original solicitation has changed.

Back in November, DC announced an upcoming event called The Reign of Doomsday, which kickstarts with the Steel one-shot and will continue in the pages of Outsiders, JLA, Superboy and beyond. The villain changed from Metallo to Doomsday, and the artist changed from Sean Chen to Ed Benes.

In an interview at Newsarama last week, Lyons explains that he'd originally pitched the story as a stand-alone issue, but that editorial later decided to change the villain and tie it into a larger event. Sean T. Collins at Robot 6 wrote an interesting piece about the interview and the status of the character in the DC Universe.
Steel is one of the most undervalued characters and designs in DC’s pantheon. Iron Man’s powers, Thor’s hammer, Superman’s cape, and an African-American folk hero’s name? That’s pure gold. And seriously, what a great design: The Alex Garner cover to the issue — itself part of DC’s genuinely awesome iconic-cover line-up for the month of January — is practically payoff enough. Plus, in a genre often (and accurately) decried for its lack of strong non-white heroes, John Henry Irons is an armor-clad, hammer-wielding, ‘S’-shield-wearing super-genius whose role in Metropolis’s scientific and business community is basically “the anti-Lex.” Tough to top that.
Okay. But Sean and others have also picked up on the rather ominous way in which Lyons avoids talking about the future of the character after the one-shot. From the interview at Newsarama:
Nrama: Will Steel's role in the story continue into the other issues involved in the story? Or is he pretty much relegated to this one issue?
Lyons: Um. that would be telling, I think.
DC has a long-standing tradition of starting big events by killing off a character, to show how serious they are. (Ugh!) The death of Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) launched Infinite Crisis, the death of Metron launched Final Crisis, and most recently the death of Ryan Choi (Atom) launched the new direction of Titans. So I wouldn't put it past them to pull something like this off again. But considering how much controversy there's been this past year about the whitewashing of the DC Universe and the death of minority characters, could they really be planning to kill yet another one of their increasingly rare non-white heroes?

I realize this is a lot of speculation based on what is essentially a writer refusing to tell us how his story ends. But on the other hand, considering the precedents, it's not entirely crazy to jump to that conclusion. I just find it difficult to believe that after all the criticism DC could still be so stubbornly unwilling to admit that there is in fact a staggering lack of diversity in their books to the point that they would continue to make it worse, instead of doing even the slightest effort to remedy the problem.

At this point, killing off another non-white hero could only be interpreted as a provocation. The cynic in me is even tempted to suggest that the line from the interview may have been deliberately planted to stir up exactly this kind of speculation and discussion about the title, to generate interest and (presumably) drive up sales. I'll confess that I wasn't all that interested in the one-shot when it was first solicited. Not because I dislike the character or don't support books featuring non-white heroes, but mostly because I'm not familiar with the writer's previous work and lately I haven't had much luck with one-shots from DC. But now my curiosity has definitely been piqued. I don't know if it'll be enough to get me to buy the book, but I'm definitely paying more attention than I was before.

We'll have to wait and see, of course. Maybe this time it really is a tempest in a teapot.

The Steel one-shot hits stores January 5.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is It Wednesday Yet?

As you may or may not know, I recently deleted my tumblr account in an effort to get away from all the petty drama and to focus on this blog instead. I hope this will mean more regular posting here. I have several ideas for weekly and monthly features I want to do, but there's going to be a period of adjustment where I try things out and figure out what I'm comfortable with in terms of workload.

"Is It Wednesday Yet?" is my weekly preview of comic books, but I find myself always torn between featuring the comics that potential new readers out there might be interested in, or just posting a list of the stuff that I personally am interested in. Previously, I tried a top-10 approach, but I've decided to abandon that. For now, since I'm kind of assuming I don't really have any regular readers who come to this site to find out what to buy on a weekly basis, I'm just going to go with what's basically my pull list, plus whatever else catches my attention for whatever reason.

So this week...

Birds of Prey #7 (DC) - This has a new story line starting, the provocatively titled "Death of Oracle" (which I'm willing to bet will not actually involve the death of Barbara Gordon). But what's most exciting, though, is that there's a new regular artist on the book. And let me just say, about freaking time! Since the title relaunched earlier this year, Ed Benes (who was supposed to be the regular artist) suffered some health problems which resulted in the use of several fill-in artists who rushed to complete or take over the issues. And while none of those fill-in artists were bad, the result was a bunch of patched up issues from multiple artists with different styles. The series hasn't had a consistent issue yet. Hopefully that's about to change with Adrian Syaf and Vincente Cifuentes taking over art duties this month.

Meta 4 #4 (of 5) (Image) - Wow, this book is coming out really slowly. I don't even remember what happened in the first three issues. In fact, I'm not even sure I ever got around to reading the third issue. (Or was that the one Mike and I reviewed in Comic Carnage a few months ago? I could check, but I'm too lazy.) in any case, here's the penultimate issue.

Magus #1 (of 5) (12 Gauge) - I just sent an e-mail to my comic book store asking them to put an issue of this aside for me if they happen to get one, but since I didn't special-order it, there's a good chance it's not gonna happen. This looks pretty cool and it features art by the very awesome Rebekah Issacs. There's an interview with writers Jon Price and David Norton at Newsarama.

Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #3 (Boom) - It's only a matter of time before I drop the ball on this one. After the very problematic first issue and the rather lackluster second issue, I thought that would be it, but now I find myself considering giving it one more chance. It'll probably be a spur of the moment decision at the store.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Best and worse DC Comics covers of 2010

I have compiled my favourite and least favourite comic book covers of the year from DC. The rule I followed was that I couldn't feature the same artist of book more than once per category.  Vertigo and Wildstorm were not eligible.


1. Phil Noto's Superboy #2

Phil Noto draws a very pretty Superboy. Add to that a nice restricted colour scheme, a stylish composition, and a little bit of bondage sexiness with Poison Ivy's vines, and you've got a clear winner. This is my favourite cover of the year.

2. Gary Frank's Atom Special

I love covers that depict the characters in action or in peril. This cover is full of movement and danger and it's visually striking.

3. Stanley Lau's Superman/Batman Annual #4

It was really hard to decide which of Stanley Lau's covers to pick for this list. His Batgirl covers are all stunningly beautiful and so is his double-cover for the Detective Comics and Batman annuals. But in the end I had to go with this one, because it features probably the best-looking Batman Beyond I've ever seen.

4. Amy Reeder Hadley's Supergirl #56

Amy Reeder did four or five Supergirl covers this year and they're all really nice, but this one was the most striking, making great use of the mirror imagery of the Bizarro world. Using the capes to emphasize the yin-yang motif was also a great idea.

5. Frazer Irving's Batman and Robin #13

It was a tough decision to leave out all of Frank Quitely's covers for Batman and Robin in favour of this variant by Frazer Irving, but ultimately this one wins hands down.

6. Cliff Chiang's Birds of Prey #3

The cover was so much better than this short fantasy scene was in the book. Cliff Chiang also did some really nice covers for Justice League: Generation Lost.

7. J.H. Williams III's Detective Comics #862

Wow. I don't really have to say anything else about this one.

8. Dustin Nguyen's Batman: Streets of Gotham #11

Picking only one Dustin Nguyen cover was torture. All of his covers for Streets of Gotham are amazing. He also did great cover for Detective Comics #866 and the first issue of his run on Batgirl.

9. Jesus Saiz's The Brave and the Bold #33

Although a lot of people had issues with the actual story in this issue, the cover is undeniably great in my opinion. It hinted at a lot of ass-kicking from these three great female characters, which unfortunately wasn't quite what we got.

10. José O. Ladrönn's The Spirit #1

And finally this one. Ladrönn's covers for The Spirit are all absolutely amazing. They're stylish, beautifully rendered and exciting. Unfortunately, the interior art by Moritat can't even compare. I got the first three issues of this new series before dropping it from my pull list and they were some of the worse comics I read all year. Which is proof that you should never judge a book by its cover.


1. Rodolfo Migliari's Green Lantern: Emerald Warrior #5

It was very easy to pick the worst cover of the year from DC. God, how much I hate this! Not only is it fucking disgusting and totally inappropriate to have a character puking blood and bleeding from his eyeballs on the cover of a DC book, but this is also terribly ugly art in my opinion. I hate absolutely everything about this.

2. Felipe Massafera's Superman: Last Family of Krypton #2

No. This is just wrong. First of all, Felipe Massafera is an obvious Alex Ross wannabe. I'm not even a fan of Alex Ross, much less some second-rate imitation. Second, flying babies are creepy. This cover is almost as repulsive as Guy Guardner puking blood, which is a remarkable feat in itself.

3. Billy Tucci's Red Hood: Lost Days #5

What the hell is this? I don't know whose arms these are, but they are surely not Jason Todd's. Billy Tucci is very hit and miss. Some of his other covers for this mini-series are actually quite nice, but this pumped-up-on-steroids version of the Red Hood is just gross.

4. Doug Mahnke's Green Lantern #57

The less said about this one, the better.

5. John Cassaday's Superman #706

And finally, a cover from what I consider the single biggest failure of the year from DC - the disastrously boring, delayed, critically despised, and ultimately abandoned "Grounded" storyline from superstar writer J. Michael Straczynski. On this ridiculous cover, I'm assuming that Superman is doing his best Dracula impression. It's an awful cover for an awful comic book. (At least it's not misleading, like some of those covers in my top-10 list.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quick Reviews: Superboy, Starborn, Northlanders, Hellblazer, Flash, Red Robin

Superboy #2

So apparently a lot of people don't like this art. I think it’s all right. The colouring’s really awesome, though. As for the story, I’m enjoying it also. I’m surprised that the purple mind-controlled frogs showed up so quickly, though. I thought Lemire was going to save those for later. Anyway, the point is, I think this is a good book and I really want people to give it a chance. Jeff Lemire is a brilliant storyteller and I’m fascinated by the way some visual motifs are already starting to find their way in the book, despite the fact that he’s not drawing it himself. I really wish I could read his script and find out how much direction he gives the artist. Those last few pages with the teaser for what’s coming up are creepy.

Starborn #1

I appear the be the only person I know who is reading these new Stan Lee books. It’s kind of astonishing. You’d think that a bunch of new characters by arguably the most important comic book creator of our generation would attract a bit more attention.

Anyway, the other two (Soldier Zero and The Traveler) both had interesting elements but didn’t really click with me. I think this is the best of the three so far. It certainly has the best art (by Khary Randolph, whom I’d never heard of before). Or, maybe not necessarily the best, but just the one that appeals to me the most, stylistically. The story is intriguing, based on interesting concepts, and not as confusing as the first issue of The Traveler was. Chris Roberson wrote the script and did a pretty good job. If I only end up following one of the three new series, this might be the one I decide to stick around with.

Northlanders #35

The first issue of a two-part story called “The Girl in the Ice” is beautifully drawn by Becky Cloonan. And Brian Wood is a really amazing writer. I need to check out more of his work. (I want to read DMZ, I think.) If super-hero comics are like big Hollywoood action blockbusters, then this series is like a really good European art film. Quiet, subtle, beautiful, restrained, a little stark. But not pretentious. I love it.

John Constantine: Hellblazer: City of Demons #5 (of 5)

Oh, my God. This issue, which is the last of the mini-series, has two climaxes. And while they’re both pretty good, it’s the first one that really blew my mind, with all its tentacular goodness. Constantine is such a badass! I absolutely loved this series. Writing and art both fantastic. Now I want to read more Hellblazer, but I’m almost afraid it’s not gonna be as good as this. Anyway, I hope somebody else out there read this. If you did, let me know what you thought of it.

The Flash #7

Okay, I usually don’t like it when books get fill-in artists, but when it’s Scott Kolins, I don’t mind! Francis Manapul’s art is so beautiful, I’d forgotten that Kolins’ was almost equally formidable. (I can’t believe I just used that word.)

I think the Rogues are incredibly silly, but I’m sort of learning to just accept that as part of their charm. This issue is all about Captain Boomerang, a character I actually don’t know that much about, so it was interesting to get his back story. And it looks like the next issue (coming out in just two weeks) is gonna be pretty good, too. Reverse Flash is kind of scary.

The only thing I didn’t really about this is the same thing I don’t really like about all the other Brightest Day books - i.e., the tie-in elements to Brightest Day. I just don’t care, and none of it really makes any sense to me. I wish this could just be a book about The Flash and his rogues and tell its own story instead of plugging that annoying crossover event that’s never going to end.

Red Robin #18

I was kind of avoiding this one, because I said this would be a rant-free evening and I knew this book was going to make me want to rant, but I read it anyway. And, really, I don’t have much to say about it, except that it nearly bored me to tears. I don’t even have anything to complain about anymore. I’m just bored by this story. And Tim Drake’s incessant internal monologue is annoying. I think I’m starting to dislike his character, which is a pretty good sign that I should stop reading this series before I completely forget what I used to love about him.

Sorry, Marcus To. I love your art and you’re an awesome dude and I wish you a lot of success. But I don’t think I’m going to be reading this book anymore. I guess I’m just not a fan of FabNic. I wish Chris Yost had never left.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Read in November 2010

Batman and Robin #16
Superboy #1
Generation Hope #1
Sweet Tooth #15
DC Presents: Young Justice #1
Thor #617
John Constantine: Hellblazer - City of Demons #3, 4
Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #6
Birds of Prey #6
Red Robin #17
Batman: The Return
Batman, Inc #1
Flash #6
Legion of Super-Heroes #7
Superior #2
Soldier Zero #2
Action Comics #895
Batwoman #0
Detective Comics #871
Teen Titans #89
Secret Avengers #7
The Traveler #1
Astonishing Thor #1


1. Sweet Tooth #15 -  It might seem like an obvious pick, since this is generally my favourite book, but this issue was particularly rewarding. Perfectly structured, with a brilliant last page. Mind blown.

2. Detective Comics #871 - The surprise hit of the month for me. With two Grant Morrison Batman runs coming to an end (B&R and Return of BW), a big one-shot introducing the new status quo (Batman: The Return) and the launch of a new series (Batman Inc), I was really surprised that the new team on Detective Comics, Scott Snyder and Jock, delivered the best Bat-book I've read in months. As much as I love Grant Morrison and have been enjoying his shenanigans, this felt like a breath of fresh air in the form of a return to basics, with solid storytelling and amazing art. An instant win. This is my new favourite bat book.

3. Superboy #1 - The much-awaited debut of the new Superboy book didn't disappoint.

4. Batman and Robin #16 - Of all the Grant Morrison bat books this month, the final issue of his run on Batman and Robins was my favourite - even if it was itself very flawed due to the massive delays resulting in three artists with wildly different styles sharing art duties on a title that was supposed to be fully drawn by Cameron Stewart. Still, this was a satisfying end to the saga of Dr. Hurt.

5. Hellblazer: City of Demons #3 and 4 - I'm loving the hell out of this mini-series, written by Si Spencer and drawn by Sean Murphy. Only one issue left and I'm really looking forward to it.

(aka disappointing books, to varying degrees)

1. Batman, Inc #1 - Yeah, I liked it. But it didn't rock my world. I'm waiting to see where it's headed.

2. Batwoman #0 - Amazing, beautiful art. And if that was the only criteria, this book might have ended up in the top spot this month. But the story was not very substantial and the decision to have it told entirely from Bruce Wayne's perspective, with Kate Kane not even being given a voice, was disappointing. The ladies at 3 Chicks Reviewing Comics did a great job deconstructing the issue.

3. Red Robin #17 - Wow, this book really took a plunge into mediocrity this month. It was among my favourites for a while, but that scene with Lynx turned me off completely. (And led into a stupid Tumblr argument that lost me a few followers - oh well.) Marcus To's art remains nearly flawless, though, and the full page spread of Bruce and Tim hugging was one of my favourite pages of the year! This book is now on probation. I'm giving it one more issue to convince me that it's still worth following.

4. Teen Titans #89 - Last issue marked the start of a new run by writer J.T. Krul and artist Nicola Scott, and after reading it I was cautiously optimistic. It didn't take very long for it to go south, though. This issue featured Damian Wayne written completely out of character to such an extent that I decided to immediately drop the book from my pull list. It's a real shame, though, because Nicola Scott's art sure it pretty.

5. Batman: The Return - This stank. I've realized that I'm not a fan of David Finch's art at all. And this was by far the weakest Morrison bat book of the month.

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