DC Relaunch: Recommendations

DC Comics has released the full set of solicitations for its fall relaunch. I’ll be sampling a bunch of the books for a few months at least. One of the big deals about this initiative is that all of the titles will be for sale on the iPad the same day they hit the newstands. Online prices will be the same as print for the first month (so the rather steep $2.99) but will shed a dollar after a month. Here are my recommendations for the relaunched books with DC’s solicitation copy linked in the title and reprinted further below, going loosely by the categories DC placed the books in (Justice League, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Dark, and The Edge).

  1. Action Comics: Grant Morrison writing Superman. The book will be set in the past with Superman just starting out, but I think in the overall relaunch Superman is Earth’s first superhero, not a Smallville-esque rookie.. Presumably George Perez’s Superman book will tell more of his current status quo which most people are guessing won’t include a marriage to Lois Lane. This piece on Bleeding Cool excerpts a few interviews Morrison has given over the years about what he’d like to do with Superman. Also worth reading might be the “Superman 2000” pitch that Morrison did along with Mark Millar, Mark Waid, and Tom Peyer for a reboot that was never given the green light. Tim Callahan and Chad Nevett wrote about it at length a few years ago. Much of that pitch found its way into All Star Superman, one of the very best comics of the 2000s, that Morrison did with Frank Quitely, so I’m interested to see where he’ll take the book on an ongoing basis.

  2. Justice League: The flagship of the relaunch by DC Co-Editors-in-Chief Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. Everyone’s putting money down on how many issues Lee will actually be able to draw before the schedule slips or they get a replacement artist. Still, it should be good. This is probably the one book to get to see the new DCU in place. Johns and Lee said at an event over the weekend that the first story arc will flash back to how the League formed before moving to the present. Lee’s art will look exactly how you expect it to, and Geoff Johns will do the standard superhero fare with his usual aplomb. Also in the “Justice League” category I’ll be checking out Aquaman and Wonder Woman, and Mr. Terrific, if only because his solicitation copy reads, “The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in this new series from Eric Wallace (TITANS) and Roger Robinson!” There’s nothing there not to like.

  3. Batman: I’ve really enjoyed Scott Snyder’s work on Detective Comics. He’s done this great thing where he ran a Commissioner Gordon backup strip in the book and then occasionally switches the Batman and Gordon stories when one plot needs more pages to move the story forward. I don’t know that he’ll do that in the new book, but I’m happy DC is keeping him on. It seems like Batman’s status quo won’t be changing much, except that Bruce Wayne will be firmly back in Gotham as Batman and Dick Grayson will be Nightwing again. I’ll also be reading Batwoman, and will sample Batgirl and maybe Batwing.

  4. All Star Western: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have written Johan Hex before but I haven’t checked any of it out before. I like the idea of a western comic succeeding and am going to give it a shot.

  5. Swamp Thing: Scott Snyder has proven himself as a great mystery writer on Detective Comics and Yanick Paquette can draw real good, so I’m interested to see how they do with a horror comic, especially working in Alan Moore’s shadow here. Similarly Jeff Lemire on Animal Man, which brought Grant Morrison to fame, is intriguing. I’m also going to check out Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli’s Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE and Paul Cornell writing Jack Kirby’s The Demon in medieval times in Demon Knights.

  6. Green Lantern: What’s interesting about this relaunch is that DC isn’t dumping everything and starting over. Green Lantern has been one of its best sellers for a few years, so writer Geoff Johns and penciller Doug Mahnke are staying right where they are. I expect the book will expect (hope) readers to come knowing just what the movie told them about the character but to continue more or less from where it has for the past five or six years. The other GL books will probably do the same but are considerably much less required reading.

I think that makes a solid top six. It’s heavy on the superhero stuff, but that’s sort of the point. I’m genuinely very curious to see how well DC does by selling its books on the iPad at the same time as in stores. My hunch is that most people won’t switch to digital if they already buy printed comics. I think $2.99 is too expensive for a downloaded comic; $1.99 after a month waiting period is better. Ideally I’d like to see subscription prices. $24 or even $20 for a year would be fantastic. And most of all I’d like to see the official app revised a bit to load a lot more quickly and fix a few navigation and zooming issues.

DC’s full set of solicitations are on its Source blog:

  1. Superman books
  2. The Edge
  3. Young Justice
  4. The Edge
  5. Batman
  6. Green Lantern
  7. Justice League

Here’s the ones for the comics I mention above:

Action Comics 1 coverAction Comics #1
Written by GRANT MORRISON, Art by RAGS MORALES and RICK BRYANT, Cover by RAGS MORALES, Variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

Justice League cover

JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS, Art and cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS, 1:25 Variant cover by DAVID FINCH
RETROSOLICITED • On sale AUGUST 31 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US RATED T • Combo pack edition: $4.99 US

Comics superstars Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history! In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World Greatest Heroes!

This spectacular debut issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of the issue.

Batman cover

BATMAN #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER, Art by GREG CAPULLO and JONATHAN GLAPION, Cover by GREG CAPULLO, Variant cover by ETHAN VAN SCIVER
On sale SEPTEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Be here for the start of a new era for The Dark Knight from writer Scott Snyder (AMERICAN VAMPIRE, BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM) and artist Greg Capullo (Spawn)! A series of brutal killings hints at an ancient conspiracy, and Batman learns that Gotham City is deadlier than he knew.

All-Star Western cover

ALL-STAR WESTERN #1
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI, Art and cover by MORITAT
On sale SEPTEMBER 28 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+

Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Find out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!

Swamp Thing coverSWAMP THING #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER, Art and cover by YANICK PAQUETTE
On sale SEPTEMBER 7 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+

One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth! Alec Holland has his life back…but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!

Green Lantern cover

GREEN LANTERN #1
Written by GEOFF JOHNS, Art by DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMY, Cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO, Variant cover by GREG CAPULLO
On sale SEPTEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for more information. The red-hot GREEN LANTERN team of writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke introduce an unexpected new Lantern.