With some of the kid activities calming down over the next few weeks, I decided to try to get back to updating the page on a regular basis. This week, I eased into it with some comic reviews. Instead of just Spawn, I reviewed two other independent comics on Monday. Today, I return with DC Comics April 2023.
Before we continue, I need to come clean. I skimmed most of the books this month. Almost all of them are in the middle or close to the end of an arc. Therefore, I need to go back and do a little research before reading next month to get a better idea of the quality of the books. Therefore, and I know you all probably do anyway, take this month’s reviews with a grain of salt.
Wonder Woman 798
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I came clean a few years ago as not a fan of Superman. I know that probably pains my brother Tim, but the character just never interested me all that much. I like my heroes with flaws and Superman traditionally has none. Let me tell you something else, though. I absolutely hate Superman when they try to humanize him. But, if anyone can make me care about ole Supes, it’s Williamson. Watch these reviews to see if it comes true.
As far as Wonder Woman and Flash this month. Overall, I enjoyed reading through them. As mentioned above, I only flipped through Wonder Woman because I need context before passing final judgement. The only reason I started collecting Flash was for Aiden, but he seems to be out of his comics phase, so at this point I’m just collecting for collection’s sake. I will say, though, that the concept of the “One Minute War” looked interesting and I want to read that story.
Action Comics 1054
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Well, apparently I lied when I said that only Williamson can make me care about Superman. Because, I thoroughly enjoyed the story presented in Action Comics this month. It revolves around Metallo and offered one heck of a cliffhanger at the end of 1054. Can’t wait until next month.
I flipped through both Bats and Cats this month. Both wrap up their current stories soon and I actually wrote under Batman in my notes that I needed more context because maybe it will be great. Zdarsky is writing it and Chris said he liked the story. I promise to update you next month. Plus, I pine for older writers on these books, so I need to get over that first.
Remember those old writers I pined for earlier? Ram V is absolutely one of them. I love everything he does. He just writes such amazing stories and it doesn’t matter what character he writes for. Similar to James Gunn and super hero movies, every book that Ram V touches is gold.
For me, DC Comics April 2023 was a mixed bag. Part of that, admittedly, is my fault. I need to go back and read the previous books for some context in the stories. Who knew that coming back to review comics would give me homework? Oh well, I promise to be more well versed in the stories by next month. Until then….
Chris clued me into DC Future State. I knew nothing of their plans for…whatever it is. Immediately, we though reboot. DC assured us this wasn’t the case. Okay, must be an event, then. Upon reading the books, I confirmed that with a text to Chris. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I’m pretty sure it was along the lines of, “This isn’t a reboot. It’s not an event, either. The Batman and Aquaman books are just like regular books. I’m so confused.”
Yes, I just dated myself with yet another reference. This movie is so old and there have been so many movie jokers since that I had to use an oddly specific search term. Plus, as you see, I wrote the text under the meme like some sort of plebian. Living in the future isn’t always the utopia they make it out to be in the movies.
And so, faced with my own mortality and bitter that I spent over 100 dollars on what feels ultimately like a failed reboot that they tried to repackage as an event, I read only the writers I like. Okay, that’s not entire true. I eventually finished the other books for the first round, but I haven’t made it there on the second round of books. And, now, before they move on and act like nothing happened, let’s look at the great from DC Future State.
Catwoman (Ram V and Otto Schmidt)
Joelle Jones and Tom King got me to start collecting Catwoman. I almost bailed after Joelle left and they cycled through writers. Then, Ram V came onto the title and I started collecting and reading voraciously again to support one of my favorite comic writers.
He took up the mantel of Future State Catwoman writer, as well. Ram loves him a heist story. Sure, it fits the character, but the same storyline over and over gets old. Well, guess what? Cats and friends board a train with heist intentions. I admit to liking this story very much. I mention that only because very few of the main title Catwoman titles kept my interest like this one. Hopefully Ram V can keep the inspiration and momentum going and bring back Cats in the main.
Dark Detective (Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora)
I’ve made no secret of my fan boy love for Mariko Tamaki’s writing. I don’t remember where I discovered her, but her work on X-23 was top notch. Come to think of it, that might have been the first book of hers I read. I watched Logan, loved the portrayal of our favorite Wolverine clone in that and picked up the book based only on that. Hey, cross promotion works! She brought her talents to DC as writer on Wonder Woman and now Dark Detective in Future State. Surprise! Bruce Wayne is dead. Now, from here, I can go one of two ways with an inside joke. I can either use an overused line that one of the Simpsons Facebook groups I frequent and say, “That’s right! Dead serious about going to Itchy and Scratchy Land!” But, I think I’ll go with family favorite, Voldemort.
Spoiler Alert: Bruce Wayne isn’t really dead. Nevertheless, a sinister and possibly evil (aren’t they always!) police force took over Gotham and rule with an iron fist. Tired storyline to be sure, but Ms. Tamaki gives us a compelling storyline in spite of the limited environment. If DC went ahead with Future State instead of making it a tepid collection of one shots, I’d definitely like to see where this book went.
Justice League (Joshua Williamson and Robson Rocha)
Justice League Dark (Ram V and Marcio Takara)
If I’m being honest, I only got this title because of Justice League Dark. You already knew that, though. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw Joshua Williamson wrote it. I enjoyed his Flash very much and have kept an eye out for his name ever since. This book follows the pattern of the others. We introduce the new Justice League. Some familiar faces in the group, but ultimately it goes nowhere because both DC and Marvel are afraid to take a leap and try something new.
As I wrote to Chris, I get that the market is different, but this whole Future State thing now just feels like the latest 2099 trip, which were simply half assed as a series of one shots. As with that “experiment”, some failed spectacularly. This is supposed to be about the ones that succeeded. This one mostly succeeded. And, Justice League Dark made it worth the price of admission.
Legion of Super Heroes (BMB and Riley Rossmo)
At this point, I only include this one because of BMB’s legacy. After his, let’s say “inconsistent”, runs on Superman and Action comics, I need a break from Bendis. I knew almost nothing about the Legion before this book. I still know very little. I definitely need a break from Bendis.
Swamp Thing (Ram V and Mike Perkins)
I saved this read for last. Chris and I both love the character of Swamp Thing. Honestly, his guest spot in Batman at the beginning of Rebirth cemented my decision to keep collecting DC Comics. You all know that I’m not much of a DC fan, but I always try to give them a chance and the benefit of the doubt.
This title represents all the potential of Future State. It features a lesser utilized character in a bigger role. It gives us a glimpse into a possible future that is both a hopeless post-apocalypse and a hopeful pre-rebirth (pun sort of intended). This is the best title of the lot and it isn’t even close. I can’t wait for the main title.
Wonder Woman (Joelle Jones)
I already said above that the Catwoman ongoing after Rebirth introduced me to Joelle Jones. She wrote the character in such a unique way that it kept me coming back in spite of the fact that I’ve never been a fan of Cats other than maybe Michelle Pfieffer’s portrayal in Batman Returns.
She brings that unique voice and storytelling to a new Wonder Woman. Having little history with the character other than the movie and collecting since Rebirth, I don’t know if this particular Wonder Woman has any history in the series. However, I like the character and wish we got more of her. Oh well, Future State, we barely knew ye.
Overall, DC Future State: The Great delivered. Each writer gave us a compelling story that I wish would be followed up in some form or fashion. You might ask why I only reviewed these books. If you remember, I ordered all of the books. However, other than these and one or two surprises, the books were underwhelming.
I think once I realized that Future State fell into this weird limbo it took some of the luster off of the books. As we all know, don’t count anything as ever completely over in the world of comic books. If DC ever grows a set and decides to follow this thread at some point in the future, it can be great.
Technically, all of these books released in January. But, you know what you get here at 2 Guys Gaming. I’m not part of the comics media elite (yet, and I may never be, but hope springs eternal), so I order my books from Discount Comic Book Service and they arrive all in a big box at the end of each month. And, so, you read the general review of the first month of books DC Future State February 2021 instead.
I originally planned to review each book individually as I do for all of my comic reviews. That plan is unfeasible for a couple of reasons. One, there are a ton of books (my order doubled for this month) and I only give myself a week to read and review the books. Two, none of the books have been very good so far.
I ran the gamut when it came to opinions of Future State. Initially, when I thought DC planned to use it as a reboot, yet again, I met it with my usual cautious optimism. When Chris assured me that DC said it was an event and not a reboot (though that’s looking to be delightfully devilish on their part in retrospect), I jumped all in. I put ever single book on my pull list. I even added a few variant covers by mistake. Now that I read a few of the books, put me on the (spoiler alert) extremely disappointed list. What makes DC Future State February 2021 so disappointing? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with the good news first.
Sorry folks, no great this time. I wager there are more than one or two great books here. They have some of their best writers (Tamaki, V, Jones, Bendis, among others) on the “project”. So, once I get around to reading them on vacation, I might write an amendment to give them their props. Overall, though, as mentioned, the books give me the impression of a failed reboot that they repackaged as an event. It all looks and feels like the next generation reboot that pissed off so many Marvel fans about a decade ago now.
I, personally, would have more respect for them if they just powered through the awkwardness of another reboot until the books got good again. You know it would happen eventually. The hard core collectors would keep collecting because they’d be afraid of missing out. The lovers like me and Chris would grab the books that held our attention and eventually found new books to enjoy. The casual fan (haha), if they still exist, would pop in here and there. Who knows, you might even expand your audience. Again, I mock, haha. Instead, we’re met with this mealy mouthed “event” in which nothing really happens.
That can be forgiven when Bendis writes for a title for 3 or 4 years. There’s bound to be lulls in the story. But, when you give these characters 2 or 4 books in which to be introduced and possibly concluded? Those books had better be damn good. And, quite frankly, they just aren’t.
Marketing – I often say that I’m not very susceptible to marketing. I say it almost as much as I say that I don’t hate Tom Brady. Both come out of my mouth (and virtual mouth) enough that you may think that I’m compensating. Chris has said as much on numerous occasions. Honestly, that may be partly true.
Mostly, I repeat myself because I don’t know which post might lead someone to the page. Therefore, I feel the need to explain myself on as many articles as possible so people know what they’re in for. To make a long story short…
Even though I generally feel like I don’t respond to marketing, of course I do. It’s just that marketing needs to be tailored exactly for me. DC accomplished that with Future State admirably. I went from not caring and maybe picking up a few titles that interested me to ordering every single title they published. Well played, DC.
The Stories: I don’t mean to imply that the books are bad. They’re not. Admittedly, at this writing, I’ve only read three of them. However, the overall trend follows this pattern. They’re DC books set in the future. Sure, Aquaman mentions the multiverse. However, the Batman Superman and The Next Batman stories are just Batman and Superman stories set in a near future dystopia.
Don’t get me wrong. That’s all fine. It’s just not “event” stuff. As I said, it looks, smells, and feels very much like an aborted attempt at another reboot. I give them some credit for trying to switch it up and give the reboot some flavor. However, I have no respect for backing off and then trying to resell it as an “event”.
This is no event. Civil War was an event. Planet Hulk was an event. Secret Empire was an event. This is a well (at least to suckers like me) marketed shift of focus. Again, nothing wrong with that. They invested quite a bit into this and want to see some return. I just don’t understand why they’re being so coy about it. Perhaps their margins are thinner than Chris and I have feared all these years. If so, do what you need to do to keep making comics, guys. I’m 100% behind you.
I will read the rest of the books in DC Future State February 2021. I’m on break next week, so I’ll need things to keep me occupied. Perhaps I will also write an addendum article with some of my free time. I mean, there are some great writers and artists on the project. Almost every one of my favorites is involved other than Tom King and James Tynion. I suppose some had to stay back to hold down the fort when we return to the present. At the risk of sounding like one of those comic nerds, that return can’t happen soon enough. In the meantime, there’s always WandaVision.
We finally finish out comics week and a half for this month with DC Comics January 2021. I planned on posting this article last week on Friday. I had a busy weekend of playing Minecraft, Lego, and board games with my family. Plus the NFL unveiled their Super Duper Mega Wild Card Weekend. Finally, college football played their national championship game. There’s only so much I can be expected to do in a weekend.
And so, it is how I have arrived at nearly a half a week past my self imposed deadline to review DC Comics January 2021. I know you won’t believe me, but I swear it’s not because DC has been a let down these last couple of months. I always go into a new month of comics with an open mind and hope for the best. More often than not, that faith is rewarded. Let’s see if that’s true this time.
Batman 104 and 105 (James Tynion IV et al): I always feel bad when there are numerous artists on a book because I use the et al tag for them all. They all work hard on these books and they should get credit. By the same token, I mostly read comic books for the writing. However, I don’t want my byline to be two or three text lines, either. None of that is relevant to this review. I just want to be as open and honest as possible.
Now, for the review. As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, James Tynion IV on Batman excited me when I first heard the news. Either high expectations or the reality of the situation or both brought me crashing back to earth. Slowly, but surely, the book got better until Joker War. Since then, the book lived up to that promise. Now, comes Future State. I, again, hope that the book survives the hiatus.
Wonder Woman 768 and 769 (Mariko Tamaki, Rafa Sandoval, and Steve Pugh): Similar to Tynion on Batman, Tamaki on Wonder Woman excited me. Honestly, I enjoyed Wonder Woman for most of the last 2 or 3 years since Rebirth. They hooked me with Rucka and then it stayed just above water enough that I don’t think it ever dipped into “Decent” territory for more than a month or two. Now that Tamaki is on the book, she makes even secondary storylines fun to read.
Aquaman 66 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, and Miguel Mendonca): Like Wonder Woman (is the theme of this article going to be call backs to the previous books?), I started collecting Aquaman because of the movie. Also, I wanted to get in on the ground floor of Rebirth with as many titles as possible. This book hasn’t been as consistently good as Wonder Woman and I considered dropping it a few times. My favorite writer is Deconnick, but Lanning is a good stop gap on these titles, too.
Action Comics 1028 (BMB and JRJR): I make no secret of my distaste for the unholy union of Brian Michael Bendis and the Superman titles. At least this book shows promise every so often. I saw the news recently that he’s moving to Justice League after Future State. So, I will spare you the same old story going forward. Maybe, for old time’s sake, we can resurrect it when he writes Justice League.
Catwoman 28 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): I texted Chris about this title last week. I saw that Ram V will be writing for Swamp Thing after Future State. We both agreed that his work on JLD has been solid. I then surmised that perhaps Catwoman isn’t a strong enough character for a solo title because his work on the book is solid, but I just don’t like the stories. How many different “heist” issues can you do? I liked this one, though. More of these types of stories, please.
Justice League 58 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, and Xermanico): I suppose that Lanning was not a stop gap on Aquaman. He and Marz are cowriting the Endless Winter story. I admit to being skeptical when I saw yet another event in DC Comics with Future State so close. However, I enjoyed this story even if it is just a rip off of Frozen. Which, of course, is a ripoff itself. Aiden even liked it. He asked where the missing issues were. So, maybe I’ll have to find them at the LCS.
Justice League Dark 29 (Andy Lanning, Ron Marz, Amancay Nahuelpan): I will be honest. It wasn’t until I saw that Ram V wasn’t the writer on this title that I realized that Lanning and Marz were cowriting all of the titles in Endless Winter. Not sure why they included this title in the event other than as a send off. Which, by the way, I do not approve. The JLD will still be with us, but only as a bonus story on the main title. What are you doing to me, DC?
Detective Comics 1032 and 1033 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): When Tynion wrote this title, I loved it. As soon as Tomasi took over, it dropped to the “Good” category. More and more, my enjoyment of the title eroded over time. Some people might like Tomasi. I just don’t Other than the Joker War issues, this book has been forgettable during his tenure. Williamson is taking over after Future State, though, so that’s something to look forward to.
Superman 28 (BMB and Ivan Reis): Action may have had some redeeming stories during it’s run. I did not enjoy this title after the rebrand from Man of Steel. I simply kept collecting for collecting’s sake. Now I can say I have the entire BMB run of Superman. For whatever that’s worth.
As we head into Future State, I’m tentatively optimistic about DC Comics. They are mixing up creative teams, dropping some books, and folding others into bonus stories on more popular titles. The only decision I’m currently angry about is their decision to make JLD a bonus title. I feel like it has been the only consistently good book for them over the last year and a half. As always, thanks for reading my DC Comics January 2021 review and we’ll see you next week for Future State.
Unfortunately, DC Comics December 2020 is not as good as Marvel Comics this month. I put 4 Marvel books in the great column and I think for the first time ever, not a single book in the decent column. Sure, there are 3 titles in the great column for DC this month. However, there are just as many in the decent and I might have been being generous with a couple of the good books this month.
Granted, I’ve always been more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan. Chris got me into DC when he kept telling me how great Batman was with Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Then, I started collecting Aquaman and Wonder Woman because they starred in the first DC movies that weren’t absolute train wrecks. I mean, you have to collect Superman, right? Right?! Please tell me no. That way I can stop the charade that I believe the Bendis experiment will finally pay dividends.
I feel bad. There are things that I genuinely like about DC Comics. But, I tired quickly of the source wall nonsense. I started reading Metal and then stopped. I haven’t collected any of the Death Metal series. I saw an advertisement in several books for “Endless Winter”. There’s another limited series coming in January and February. I just feel like their core books have been ignored in favor of big, splashy events that never pan out. But, it is almost Christmas, so let’s focus on the positive. What’s “Great, Good, and Decent” about DC Comics December 2020?
Justice League 56 and 57 (Josh Williamson, Robson Rocha, and Xermanico): I’ve already established that I don’t care all that much about Death Metal. It might be (and possibly is) a fine event. So, this isn’t like Detective during Joker War. They just got Josh Williamson writing this book and that’s all I need.
Justice League Dark 28 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): I will spare you my man crush on Ram V. Actually, no I won’t. He is a superb craftsman at the height of his game with this book. Zatanna is probably my favorite character in the book, so it doesn’t hurt that she’s been featured in many of the stories.
Wonder Woman 766 and 767 (Mariko Tamaki, Steve Pugh, and Rafa Sandoval): I fawned all over Mariko last month, so I will spare you my girl crush on her. Nope, I won’t do that, either. I’m a bit slow on the uptake, so I didn’t discover Ms. Tamaki until her run on X-23, which was funny and heartwarming. She brings those same qualities to everyone’s favorite Amazon. This is the most the book has felt like the movie probably since Greg Rucka wrote at the beginning of Rebirth.
Action Comics 1027 (BMB and JRJR): You’d think that comic written and drawn by men known only by their initials would be better than this. House of Kent had such promise at the beginning. I wonder if Future State has messed with the mojo some. Now that I see it written, it’s as likely as anything. I really hope it’s worth it.
Aquaman 65 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): I think I might have mentioned in my article last month that no book had suffered from the Covid hiatus than Aquaman. Kelly Sue Deconnick was building up quite a bit of momentum with the War of Atlantis story and then they had some stop gaps fill in that killed the momentum. Well, she’s back to finish the story with a bang.
Batman 102 and 103 (James Tynion IV, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, and Guillem March): 103 was better than 102. With that being said, neither of these issues blew me away. I feel like Tynion is falling into the Bendis trap of trying to introduce too many new or different characters instead of sticking with the old faithfuls. Especially after the masterpiece that was Joker War, I’m disappointed with the direction of Bats.
Catwoman 27 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): Looking at it again, I might have been a bit harsh on this book. It very well could be in the good category. It’s just that I have such high hopes for a Ram V book at this point and this one doesn’t live up. I get that Catwoman is a thief, but it feels like they’re going to this heist storyline a bit too much in this title. Mix it up a bit!
Detective Comics 1030 and 1031 (Peter J. Tomasi and Bilquis Evely): Broken record time again. I just don’t like Tomasi’s take on this book. I will say that I liked these books more than before Joker War. Isn’t it weird how expectations are a large percentage of the outcome of these reviews? Oops, maybe I just gave away a trade secret.
Superman 27 (BMB and Ivan Reis): I will admit that I didn’t even read this book. I just can’t do it anymore. As I’ve said more than once, I’m not a fan of Superman to begin with. I’ve given the Brian Michael Bendis experiment a year and a half. I’ve threatened it before, but I think this book goes after Future State.
Marvel Comics delivered this month. DC Comics December 2020 provided just more of the same. Under normal circumstances, that would be fine. However, with it being Christmas, DC pausing everything for Future State, and the awesome month that Marvel gave us, I’m disappointed. I mentioned above that Future State might be the reason for the lackluster effort this month. I’ll never know, but like I say, it’s as likely as anything. I just hope it’s worth it at this point. I also hope it’s worth my investment in every title. Guess we will see soon enough.
I finally got around to DC November 2020 review. Though, to be fair, this is actually a quicker turnaround that I’ve been accomplishing recently. I’m not quite back to the point where I can write before multiple deadlines. However, the articles are being written within a week of the deadline at least.
Speaking of running (Actually, this doesn’t have anything to do with running, but I wanted a smooth transition. Nailed it.), Chris and I were texting earlier in the week. He texted to warn me that it looked as if DC Comics might be on the precipice of another reboot. Granted, it’s been about 4 or 5 years since the last one.
But, still, I felt that familiar old irritation. Why do they keep doing this to us? Why can’t they just let the comics evolve for a decade and then maybe decide that it’s time to sell to a new audience? I have to say that I love what both Marvel and DC are doing right now for the most part and don’t think there needs to be a massive overhaul. Thankfully, Future State appears to be simply and “event” right now. Our conversation ended with us both in agreement that it was most likely to test the waters for an eventual reboot. *sigh* Well, while we can, let’s enjoy DC November 2020.
Batman 100 and 101 (James Tynion, Jorge Jimenez, and Guillem March): This issue has been hyped for months. Ever since Tom King was on the title and he promised something completely unexpected. Many assumed that meant that Batman might finally kill the Joker. That’s the ending I hoped for, but it wasn’t quite that. Nevertheless, this encounter has forced Bruce to rethink the way he’s doing things. I’m excited to see what that means. 101 promised to be a letdown after the excitement of 100, but that ending was magnificent.
Justice League Dark 27 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): Like Hulk, I’m running out of superlatives to use for this title. It stumbled slightly when Tynion left, but as I’ve said numerous times, Ram V has proven to be a worthy successor. Also, like Hulk, this is the title that I’d miss the most if they rebooted and it isn’t in the lineup like it looked like might happen.
Wonder Woman #763-765 (Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh): I started collecting WW for a few reasons. One, when it started after Rebirth, Greg Rucka wrote it. Two, I loved the movie version. Three, and not insignificant, it is a core title. For a bit there, it wavered. But, Mariko Tamaki has firmly taken the reigns and made it hers. Good choice, DC.
Aquaman 64 (Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): I started collecting Aquaman for one of the same reasons as Wonder Woman. I enjoyed the movie. The first story arc was interesting. Ever since Arthur returned and there’s only been hinting at a showdown with Manta, the book has bounced between Good and Decent with a few issues close to great. Those issues have been written by Ms. Deconnick who is back after a (covid related?) hiatus. So, the future looks good.
Action Comics 1026 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita, Jr.): Either Bendis or Romita or both of them together figured out how to make a BMB patented “talkie” more interesting. The panel configuration in this book is all over the place. Backwards, upside down, sideways, sometimes all three at the same time. Overall, I’ve enjoyed this title more than Superman, but neither is giving me reason to believe that the BMB hire was anything more than a PR stunt.
Catwoman 26 (Ram V and Fernando Blanco): This had the “Joker War Collateral Damage” and it involved fallout from the last issue with the Joker. However, it served as little more than a set up for the next arc. I had to look up Father Valley. I thought he was a new character, but he’s not. I’m interested to see where V goes with this.
Justice League 54 and 55 (Joshua Williamson and Xermanico): Maybe Death Metal focused the title similar to how Joker War did with Batman and Detective. Perhaps it is Josh Williamson’s touch. Whatever the reason, this title is starting to recapture some of the fun at the beginning of Venditti’s run as writer. They probably just took my advice and read Avengers to see how to write a team title.
Detective Comics 1028 and 1029 (Peter J. Tomasi et al): These issues are better than the title was before Joker War. It’s not as good as it was during the tie in issues. I realized that I think I just don’t like Tomasi’s writing style. Here’s hoping that he and I can find a compromise soon.
Superman 26 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis): At this point, I’m only collecting the book for the artwork. This title might not survive on my pull list after Future State.
Other than Detective–and I’m realizing that probably won’t change unless I come to terms with Tomasi or they replace him–and Superman–which is subject matter and not even BMB has been able to make Superman interesting to me, the DC November 2020 books are very good. I’m still upset that they’re choosing now to take a hiatus and push Future State, but who knows. Maybe that will end up being awesome and I won’t even miss the regular titles. It remains to be seen in a couple of months.
DC Comics 2020 is a bit of a misnomer just as Marvel Comics October 2020. First, it is now technically November. Second, I got behind in my reading and reviewing. These are the comics that I received from DCBS in both September and October.
However, as I wrote in the Marvel Comics review this (technically last) month, I’m committed to getting back on track by the end of the year. While I committed to that last year as well, I learned some tricks during the quarantine that will help this time. The only weird thing is that you will now be treated (?) to two straight weeks of comics. Think of it as a proper reboot of the page. Comics fans love reboots. Right? Right?!
Action Comics 1024 and 1025 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): I’ve made no secret of my severe distaste for Superman. If my younger brother Tim ever reads the page, he might disown me for the amount of times I’ve said it. However, BMB has been doing his best to reverse that opinion. Right now, he is succeeding with Action. This story is fun and focused. That was missing from the Leviathan story.
Batman 96-99 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez): After reading issue 96, I texted Chris and said, “I’m really enjoying Joker War.” He agreed that it has been really good. This is the story that I’ve been waiting for from Tynion since he took over the title. I hope it continues.
Justice League Dark 25 and 26 (Ram V and Amancy Nahuelpan): I wept when they took Tynion off of this title. It was probably my favorite DC book since Rebirth. It took a few issues, but they found a worthy successor. Ram V is great on this book and I want this to be long term.
Wonder Woman 759-762 (Mariko Tamaki and Mikel Janin): I’ve been looking forward to this since I saw the announcement in the previous issue. Then, she wrote one of the vignettes in the Detective Comics 1027 anniversary issue. Now, I finally get to experience Mariko Tamaki on Wonder Woman. It’s worth the wait and hype. Love it.
Catwoman 24 and 25 (Sean Murphy, Blake Northcutt, et al): Catwoman has been iffy ever since Joelle Jones left. Ram V filled in nicely for a few issues, but then it went a bit off the rails. It was just inconsistent. I’m not ready to declare Sean Murphy the savior, but these two issues were fun.
Detective Comics 1025 and 1026 ( Peter J. Tomasi and Kenneth Rocafort): Detective Comics disappointed me more than the main title. I knew that Tynion would eventually find his footing. Not so for Tomasi. However, Joker War has focused him and this book. It might be great if not for the main title, which is absolutely killing it.
Aquaman 62 and 63 (Jordan Clark and Marco Santucci): As I’ve been looking at the books on Previews World (also where I grab my cover shots), I’ve noticed that many of the creative teams have been reshuffled because of the Covid break. It might explain why it has been so inconsistent. This book is a fine War for Atlantis, but it’s not what I hoped from this story.
Justice League 50-53 (Various, but it looks like they might have settled on Joshua Williamson and Xermanico for the DM tie ins?): Perhaps no title has suffered more this year than good old Justice League. Scott Snyder seemed to have put it at the bottom of his priorities. After they took him off the title, it became a fun team title again. Then, it wandered in the darkness for a couple of months. Death Metal might serve to focus it similar to how Joker War did for the Batman books.
Superman 24 and 25 (Brian Michael Bendis and Ivan Reis): BMB has not successfully changed my mind about Supes in the main title. He keeps introducing new characters that should add to the mythos and make the character more appealing. None of them have. I just don’t care. If I get rid of a book (and I have no plans to do so because I get so few books lately), this is the first to go.
DC Comics October 2020 is much stronger than Marvel this month. There were a couple of good books that I considered making great and the only decent book that I truly did not enjoy was Supes. Join us next week as we do back to back comics in an attempt to get the page back on some sort of predictable schedule. See you in a couple of days for Spawn 310 and 311.
As I was looking through my comics to organize them for review purposes, I saw that Detective Comics 1027 was a super-sized anniversary issue. I thought, “What a weird number for an anniversary issue. What anniversary could they possibly be celebrating?” I should have known that it was 1000 issues since the introduction of Batman to the title. Of course, that made me make the mistake of looking for the first Detective Comics.
The typical 1930s racist America displayed in comics form notwithstanding, Detective Comics has been one of the comics that I’ve collected since the beginning of Rebirth and my introduction back into comics. At first, it was James Tynion IV that kept me reading the book. When he left for the main Batman title, there was a bit of a learning curve for the new writer. But, I think that Joker War has focused him and the last two issues I read were great.
As far as Detective Comics 1027, it is a series of vignettes similar to the 1000th issue. Therefore, I will treat this review similar to that one. I will forgo my usual “Great, Good, and Decent” format and simply give a sentence or two review for each of the stories.
Blowback by Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker
This was a fun way to show off some of the most prominent members of his rogue’s gallery. The pay off was kind of lame, though I missed “The End” and thought they were doing a heroes reunion, too.
The Master Class by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez
Instead, it was this story that started with the sidekick reunion. This is a typical BMB “talkie” with a decent ending. Batman even gets “sentimental” with his former sidekicks.
Many Happy Returns by Matt Fraction and Chip Zadarsky
I thought this was Dini. It wasn’t, obviously, but it definitely had his art style and sense of humor. Told the story of the tradition of Joker giving Bats a “birthday” present once a month since the beginning. I have to admit that I like these additions to the mythos.
Rookie by Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso
True to form, Rucka tells the story of a female protagonist. This one is a rookie cop on the Gotham force who ends up quickly making her mark and catching Batman’s eye. This was a good, even if only ancillary Batman story.
Ghost Story by James Tynion IV and Riley Rossmo
A really cool story about ghosts that ties in with Batman’s parents and 2 characters that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I don’t think I’ve said this before (*wink wink*), but I miss Tynion on this series. Sure, his main title run is getting better with Joker War, but I wish he was still here.
Fore by Kelly Sue Deconnick and John Romita Jr.
Typical middle of the issue lull. Not a great story. No real recognizable characters. Especially after the Tynion story, this one rings hollow.
Odyssey by Marv Wolfman and Emanuela Lupacchino
Interesting filler story about Bruce’s grandfather and a ship that his company sailed. It ended up sinking and taking many priceless heirlooms with it. Ever since, Wayne Enterprises has been looking for it. Similar to the Fraction story, I liked the extension to the Bats mythos.
Detective #26 by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham
Not sure I 100% get this story. Seems to be an alternate history (or maybe an alternate introduction of Batman) where an aspiring hero gives up the ghost (pun intended) because Bats comes in to steal his thunder.
Legacy by Tom King and Walter Simonson
I was excited to have TK writing Bats again. I should have known better. He always uses this format to write experimental stories. This one felt arbitrary and disjointed but maybe I just don’t know enough about the character featured.
As Always by Scott Snyder and Ivan Reis
This is more like it. Sort of. This is a dream team and Snyder gives us a glimpse of his both his time on Bats and also the Justice League title. The story, overall, is weak but I did enjoy the little Easter eggs that he included.
Generations: Fractured by Dan Jurgens and Kevin Nowlan
This was an elaborate set up for another comic with the title Generations. That reminded me of the Marvel comics before Legacy. Sure enough, the end of the story showcased an older style art. It’s not quite the same as the Marvel generations, but I’m still intrigued by the idea.
A Gift by Mariko Tamaki and Dan Mora
DC introduced their new Wonder Woman writer in the pages of this book. This is also an introduction to another story, this one continuing in the very pages of this book. Ms. Tamaki knocks this one out of the park. I can’t wait to see her Wonder Woman.
Overall, Detective Comics 1027 is a fun read. There are some lulls, but that’s to be expected with so many writers and artists involved in the book. I didn’t like this one as much as Detective Comics 1000 or even Action Comics 1000, but it was still full of fun stories. It serves as a fitting tribute to the Dark Knight and his 1000 issues of Detective.
Welcome to DC Comics August 2020 review! I mentioned in my last article that we are doing some “retro” content this month and next to celebrate the anniversary of the page. Can you believe that it’s been live for 6 years? Me neither, but here we are. So, how are new comics retro? Well, they’re not. But, comics and Dungeons and Dragons both helped to start me on my journey to geekdom.
So, today we’ll take a look at the latest batch of DC Comics. Then, on Friday, I’m going to give my thoughts about the new season of Umbrella Academy. How’s that for retro content! I promise, it’s coming. Next week, I’m going to revisit DOOM and then I’m going to take a look back at another of the influential companies from my childhood, Nintendo. So, stay tuned for all of that! For now, let’s talk about these DC Comics August 2020 that I enjoyed so much.
Batman 94 and 95 (James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez): Initially, I wasn’t impressed with the great Tynion on Bats experiment. In fact, I dropped the book from Great to Good a couple months in a row. However, that all changed with issue 93. I really enjoyed King’s take on the Joker, but Tynion looks like he’s going to do the Joker War justice. The Bat seems truly broken this time.
Justice League Dark 24 (James Tynion IV, Ram V, and Kyle Hotz): I think that part of the reason that the great Tynion on Batman experiment was floundering was due to the fact that he was also still writing Justice League Dark. It felt like much of his focus was on this title. Now that they have Ram V cowriting, it hasn’t missed a beat. He did great on Cats and now this title. Versatile writer!
Aquaman 61 ( Kelly Sue Deconnick and Miguel Mendonca): Aquaman was good and then it was great for a couple of issues and then it was good. I might have even put it in the decent category a couple of times. I just wasn’t feeling the story. However, it is getting good again. Mera took a DNA test, and she is 100% that “B”.
Action Comics 1023 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): If I was not impressed with the Tynion run on Batman, I absolutely hated the Bendis experiment with Action and Superman. I nearly took both titles off my list. I’m glad that I didn’t. It appears as if old BMB is hitting his stride with both books. This one wasn’t as much fun as the last one, but it’s still almost there.
Detective Comics 1024 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): I was actually more impressed with how Tomasi took over Detective Comics and made it his own than with Tynion and Batman initially. I’m sad that this story is ending. I very much enjoyed Two Face and will miss him. However, maybe Joker War is the unifying force these books need. I’m excited.
Superman 23 (Brian Michael Bendis and Kevin Maguire): Went back and forth on this one from Good to Decent. Probably just my Superman bias and my bias against Bendis on this title to this point. But, I loved the JLD crossover and want to see more.
Catwoman 23 (Sean Murphy, Blake Northcutt, and Cian Tormey): All I wrote was “Bring back Joelle”. The book has been in steady decline since she left, with a brief respite by Ram V. I usually like Sean Murphy, but this story was just weird.
Justice League 48 and 49 (Robert Vendittie, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira): The book is fine. I wrote that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Not sure what I meant by that, but Justice League is probably my least favorite book right now.
Wonder Woman 758 (Steve Orlando and Emanuela Lupacchino): They sucked me back into Wonder Woman with a surprisingly entertaining movie and Greg Rucka as writer. I’ve stuck with the title because I genuinely like the character. This issue is fittingly a fine conclusion to a fine story. However, I’m glad that I stuck around because next month Mariko Tamaki is taking over. Can’t wait for that!
DC Comics August 2020 weren’t as much fun as Marvel. However, they were still very good. I’m excited for Joker War, Mariko, and to see if BMB can continue to improve Action and Supes. I said last time that I wasn’t sure if comics were getting better or I just missed them. Chris insisted that it was because he missed them, but I’m going to err on the side of optimism and say that they’re very good right now. Go out and buy comics!
DC Comics July 2020 was not a disappointment. Well, that’s not entirely true. While there were more books in the shipment than Marvel this month, the books were less than stellar. I will just chalk that up to the mid summer lull that the entertainment industry goes through to give movies a chance to have their blockbusters.
I’m not saying that the books were bad. I’m just not saying that they were good, either. They were, in the immortal words of Magic the Gathering players everywhere, medium. So, I guess without further delay, let’s talk about medium DC Comics July 2020 books! Are you psyched?! Get psyched!
Justice League Dark #22 and 23 (Ram V, James Tynion IV, Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno): There’s only one book in the great section this month. Anyone who’s been paying attention won’t be surprised at the selection. Of course, it’s Justice League Dark. I will say, though, that the book had been falling off a bit before quarantine. I think that Tynion splitting his time between this and Batman wasn’t getting his best for either book. With Ram V coming in to help, the book is great again. Plus, Swamp Thing is back!
Action Comics 1022 (Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.): I have made no secret of my disappointment in the BMB experiment on Superman and Action Comics. However, I can admit when I’m wrong. I mean, it’s my opinion, so it’s not like I can be wrong. Okay, I’m getting away from the point. This issue made it into the “almost great” category. I like this story so far and I hope that the book is finally realizing the potential that DC saw when bringing in Bendis.
Batman 92 and 93 (James Tynion IV and Guilleme March): I have also made no secret of my disappointment with Tynion’s run on Batman so far. However, these two issues were really good. It seems that all he needed was an event to get him started. Joker War is next and I am so ready for the “final showdown”.
Detective Comics 1022 (Peter J. Tomasi and Brad Walker): I very much like this version of Two Face in this story. The Joker, not so much. Hopefully Tynion can do a better job in the Joker War.
Wonder Woman 756 and 757 (Steve Orlando et al): Wonder Woman is facing a war on several fronts. That’s all I wrote for this one. I’m too lazy to go upstairs to get the books and flip through them, either. Seems like this one is close to the Decent pile.
Aquaman 60 (Kelly Sue Decconnick and Migueal Mendonca): Once upon a time, I was close to putting this book in the great category. The quality has eroded gradually over time. However, this issue looks like a decent filler/set up issue for whatever is coming next.
Catwoman 22 ( Paula Sevenbergen and Aneke): This issue had a neat campy retro art style. I wrote that the story was only meh, but in light of the art style, it actually makes sense. I could be persuaded to move this into the Good category. Either way, it seems as if they are just biding their time until the 80th anniversary issue.
Justice League 46 and 47 (Robert Venditti and Xermanico): This has become a good ensemble book since Venditti took over from Snyder. However, I’m not at all enjoying this Spectre story. I can’t wait for them to move on.
Superman 22 (Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Prado): I have no notes for this book. While it would seem that Action Comics is realizing some potential, this one is still floundering under the BMB banner.
See, I always give you the TLDR at the beginning of the article. This month wasn’t great for DC and it wasn’t terrible, either. The books, overall, were just medium. Even so, they seem to be setting up for big things and I don’t just mean their Super Summer Crossover Spectacular, Dark Metal. Each book looks to have some good stories to run parallel to that one. Can’t wait for next month!
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