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DC solicitations for July

I’m in the process of moving, so my comics are inaccessible at the moment. Which means that the list of future comics that hit the web are the perfect fodder for blogging; I am required to post my opinions as a comic blogger, and all the research material is right to hand.

Let’s take a look at DC Comics:

(I was rather suprised to discover that DC Comics took the name only relatively recently; I always thought they’d been called that from way back. Not so; they’d been National Periodicals for a long time. I learnt this from reading Gerard Jones’s book, Men of Tomorrow: Geek, Gangsters, And The Birth Of Comic Books, which is a great read, informative and entertaining. Not perfect, but a valuable addition to the library.)

The excitement this month, for me, is in Grant Morrison writing Batman. His Dark Knight in his JLA run was the best interpretation of Bats yet, for my money, so his taking over the writing of a regular series is a perfect fit and a great idea. However, I have no great rush to get these in singles; you know this is getting the trade treatment, and the Kubert art, while technically accomplished and rather snazzy, has never done anything for me (which is going against the grain of public opinion, apparently).

Batman: Secrets #5 – is it me, or does the cover looks like someone is going down on the Dark Knight, to give him a little oral vigilantism? Is that what the secret of the title is? Batman accepts blow-jobs for justice? I can’t decide the gender of the fellator; the pink is ambiguous, perhaps deliberately. I initially thought that it was an attempt to overcome the blatant homoeroticism in superhero covers; apart from having Bats vigorously taking Selina from behind on the bonnet of the Batmobile, this is about as blatant as you can get. However, if the person about to take a shot of Dark Knight shake in the mouth is a man, it would be in keeping with the undeserved reputation that Wertham gave the Caped Crusader.

Crisis Aftermath: Battle for Bludhaven #6 (what a mouthful; no wonder they have to leave so much room at the top of the cover [top left image above] for the title. Where will it end? Covers with just words on them? What are we – ‘normal’ books?) and Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1 (even with ideas from Morrison, this just looks like a failure) have very nice Daniel Acuna covers; they radiate superhero power and a modern fashion-consciousness sets them apart, and he has a smooth touch to his linework, sort of like a slightly jazzier Adam Hughes. I wonder what he’s like with a story?

The other big news is Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco on Superman as of issue 654; that is a salivating combination. I’m drooling on my keyboard as we speak – I hope it doesn’t short-circuit. And I’m not even a great Supes fan. I always thought Busiek would do a good Superman after his first Astro City story. This was confirmed when I read Superman: Secret Identity, which was wonderful. Match him with an artist of the calibre of Pacheco, who is modern yet steeped in classical superheroism, and you’ve got the perfect combination.

This Crisis (much like the last) seems to be introducing new superheroes willy nilly – a new Blue Beetle, a new Spectre, a new Catwoman (hilarious cover, top right image above), a new Nightwing (great cover by Jock) – and now an ‘All-New Atom’. Do we think that people will warm to new versions of their old favourites? Has Firestorm gone down well? I’m not so sure; I think we’ve passed the threshold where people would try new stuff, and now people just want their favourites in place – look at the fuss when Hal Jordan wasn’t Green Lantern, and the efforts made to return him to the job.

Jack of Fables – lovely cover, but do we need it? Do spin-offs really work? The presence of a co-writer makes me slightly nervous; it shows the opportunism involved, rather than the vision of one person requiring the extra space to tell stories. I am willing to be proved wrong, as I enjoy Fables immensely, but I’ll be picking this up in trade if I do at all.

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