Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is It Wednesday Yet? // What's going on with DC books after August 31?

So I've been looking at DC's August solicitations and I have to admit that I'm pretty damn excited about what's going to happen after August 31st. Yes, I know that as a comic book blogger, it is my job to be cynical about the stunts that the big two pull to convince us that their comics are really important and a big deal and that they're going to change everything. Which is pretty much what DC has been telling us lately about Flashpoint, with all the PR and creator interviews and now the solicitations for August, where it is revealed that the only title currently scheduled to be released on the fifth Wednesday of the month is Flashpoint #5, because of the tremendous impact it's going to have on the DCU. I mean, I am fully aware that this is all manufactured hype, but it doesn't mean I shouldn't care. Or even, perhaps, enjoy it? Is that permitted?

Okay, editors and creators and ads constantly telling us that "it's a big deal" gets tiring and needs to be taken with a grain of salt. And only soliciting one book for the last week of August is a bold move, but what I think is much more telling about the solicitations is the fact that pretty much every book in the mainstream DCU in August is either the conclusion of some longer story arc, or what feels suspiciously like a filler done-in-one. It's like all the loose ends are getting wrapped up in August, so that it's really impossible to tell which book is going to continue in September and which book is going to be cancelled or transformed.

Let's take a closer look at the non-Flashpoint August solicitations. JMS's two epic failures, "Grounded" in Superman and "Odyssey" in Wonder Woman, both come to an end. Kelly Sue DeConnick's three-issue story in Supergirl also concludes. Superboy ships twice in August so that Jeff Lemire can finish the Hollow Men story he's been crafting since the first issue. Karl Kerschl's cover for #11 is an homage to Rafael Albuquerque's cover for the first issue (see above), which would gives the whole series a nice symmetry if this turned out to be the last issue. And Teen Titans ships twice in July and twice again in August, all so it can reach issue #100 before August 31. Do they want to end on a nice round number, or start off in a new direction on #101?

In the Bat books: Scott Snyder's long arc in Detective ends (with two issues shipping the previous month so they could fit everything in before August 31). Batman Inc promises a "surprise ending." Red Robin will have concluded its current arc the previous month and in August gets a story about Tim going after Captain Boomerang, the man who killed his father; it sounds like a done-in-one and is thematically appropriate for a final issue, with some payoff for an issue that's been in the background since Brightest Day started. Batgirl has to "put her past behind her" in a story that sounds like the conclusion for the stuff that's been going on for months with the Reapers. Batman and Robin is a done-in-one by David Hine, to kill time after Judd Winnick's three-issue arc that will end in July. Batman also sounds like a done-in-one, this one by Fabian Nicieza, and it hints that Dick Grayson's time time under the cowl might be coming to an end.

So there you have it. There's pretty much no way to predict what September's going to look like. What's going to be interesting is how DC manages to hold the suspense once it becomes time to release those solicits next month. Ideally, they wouldn't tell us anything about what comes next until the last issue of Flashpoint comes out on August 31, but obviously they can't do that. I'm predicting a lot of "top secret" covers in the September solicits. Should be interesting.

New comics this week!
  • Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 (of 5) (DC)
  • Booster Gold #44 (DC)
  • Supergirl #24 (DC)
  • Teen Titans #95 (DC)
  • Amazing Spider-Man #661 (Marvel)
  • Sigil #3 of 4 (Marvel/CrossGen)
  • Silver Surfer #4 (of 5) (Marvel)
Wow. Only Marvel and DC for me this week. That's rare.

I'm super excited about Gates of Gotham, the Batman mini-series written by Scott Snyder. As you probably know if you've been reading my reviews, his current run on Detective Comics is probably the best Batman comic in a long time, so there's little doubt that this is going to be a good story. The wildcard is artist Trevor McCarthy, whose work I'm not familiar with. His covers are definitely nice, though.

I'm adding Booster Gold to my pull list as it seems to be a major tie-in to the Flashpoint event. This will be my first-ever issue of Booster Gold, though he was one of my favourite characters in 52.

I decided to drop Legion of Super-Heroes. Not that it was terrible, but I realized it was always the book I was least looking forward to reading. Sometime the issue would stay on my to-read pile for almost a full month before I'd get around to it. Nothing that's happened in it so far has really gotten me excited. And with Flashpoint and a few other additions to my pull list, this one just had to go.


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