DC Comics goes back to the drawing board with all new issue ones

It has been a while since The Big Smoke contributed an honest to goodness post about comic books. The time seems ripe, as DC Comics recently announced they are going to reboot their entire line with all-new titles coming September. This means that regular readers will have to take stock of their reading and work out what to drop and what to pick up.

Despite which so many major changes will cause, The Big Smoke can’t stay mad at DC in the face of some of these interesting titles and all the new creative teams. Also, this event provides a much-needed excuse to drop some monthly dead weight and switch to something fresh.

There are a total of 52 titles to wade through, with all sorts of exciting stuff happening. At the end of Brightest Day, a number of characters previously consigned to the Vertigo universe are now being brought back into the main DC universe. This marks the biggest change to the new line-up, as a number of darker and more mystical characters are integrated with the heroes in tights.

In case anyone is interested, this post will provide a summary of changes made to The Big Smoke’s standing order, with some commentary on the rationale behind the choices. This post is based on personal opinion and should not be considered a recommendation one way or the other.

Okay, with that out of the way, here is the current list of titles currently on The Big Smoke’s pull list:

1. Batman Incorporated
2. Batman: The Dark Knight
3. Brightest Day
4. The Flash
5. Flashpoint
6. Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance
7. Green Lantern
8. Green Lantern Corps
9. Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors

Brightest Day just wrapped up with the resurrection of Swamp Thing, so that’s finished anyway. Flashpoint is only running for seven issues, so that will finish soon as well; along with tie-ins like Knight of Vengeance. So onto the new selections.

1. Justice League
By Geoff Johns and Jim Lee

This is obviously one of the biggest new titles coming out of the reboot, with a creative dream team of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. The first story arc is going to be a retelling of the League’s origin, so storywise they are going to be on pretty solid ground at least to begin with.

Judging from the cover of the first issue which DC is proudly displaying, the roster will feature Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. If this is correct, then, well, bleh. The roster for Justice League International seems a little more unusual, and therefore more interesting.

2. Action Comics
By Grant Morrison and Rags Morales

The Big Smoke was never really comfortable with Morrison’s recent work with Batman, but found Morrison’s All-Star Superman extremely satisfying. Perhaps the Superman legend lends itself a little more easily to Morrison’s postmodern stylings.

3. Superman
By George Pérez and Jesus Merino

More Superman, why not? This could turn out to be a mistake, but George Pérez is a legend and The Big Smoke misses reading Superman comics. It seemed to make sense to couple Superman with Action Comics.

4. Batman
By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

Taking a punt on new writer Scott Snyder. The Big Smoke is not a big fan of Greg Capullo’s artwork, but would rather spend money on this Batman title than Tony Daniel’s Detective Comics or David Finch’s Batman: The Dark Knight. Finch comes out of this reboot quite badly, as The Big Smoke is actually dropping The Dark Knight. It looked nice enough, but was a bit of a drag to read.

While on the subject of the Bat books, Gail Simone will be writing a new Batgirl title which has caused a fair bit of controversy. Barbara Gordon is somehow or other going to be stepping out of her wheelchair and will be taking to the rooftops of Gotham City again. She was of course confined to her chair by the Joker in a classic tale by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland called The Killing Joke. Since that time, she carved a new niche as Oracle and became one of the most important disabled characters in comics. The Big Smoke never much liked Batgirl, but thought Oracle was a great character; this revision seems a waste of great storytelling potential.

5. Batman And Robin
By Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason

The only other Batman title on this list is courtesy of Tomasi and Gleason. The Big Smoke enjoyed their short stint on the current Batman and Robin enough to want more.

6. Green Lantern
By Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Geoff Johns will hopefully continue to raise the profile of Hal Jordon in this title.

It’s big news that Geoff Johns is also taking on the writing chores for Aquaman, teaming up with another Green Lantern stalwart, artist Ivan Reis. The Big Smoke has decided to pass this over based on the Aquaman sections in Brightest Day, which were not particularly impressive.

The Big Smoke is also dropping The Flash with Johns’ move away. This was not a difficult decision, as The Flash was pretty mediocre even with Johns’ involvement.

7. Green Lantern Corps
By Peter Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna

It is great to see this team return to the Corps title. Their previous run was ultra-bloody and consistently very enjoyable.

Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham are moving over to Green Lantern: New Guardians. This is a huge relief to The Big Smoke, as he could not stand their work on Green Lantern Corps.

There’s a new Red Lanterns title coming from Peter Milligan, Ed Benes and Rob Hunter, but The Big Smoke is also giving this one a miss for now. The Red Lanterns don’t seem to have a great deal of scope and two Lantern titles a month are enough. However, those assholes at DC no doubt have another multi-part crossover in the pipeline which will force anyone reading the main Green Lantern title to buy a million and one spin-offs in the near future.

8. Swamp Thing
By Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette

Snyder emerges as a big winner in this reshuffle. He will be writing two exciting characters and is definitely established as a rising star. It will be very interesting to see what he does with the Swamp Thing property and how he goes about integrating him into the new DC universe.

9. Justice League Dark
By Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin

Although The Big Smoke has passed over Peter Milligan’s work on Red Lanterns, he has chosen to get in on the ground level with Justice League Dark. The premise is that the world’s greatest supernatural heroes come together to fight mystical enemies. Seems like a great way to mix Vertigo characters like John Constantine and Shade the Changing Man with the likes of Deadman and Zatanna.

10. All-Star Western
By Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Grey and Meridat

Finally, The Big Smoke has opted for something a bit different with All-Star Western. Apparently the early issues will deal with Jonah Hex in the settlement of Gotham, where he will meet the likes of Amadeus Arkham. Sounds like it could be fun for anyone familiar with Batman’s mythos and it comes from the critically acclaimed team behind Jonah Hex, which suggests it will be of a high standard.

For a full updated list of DC’s new titles, check out Bleeding Cool. No doubt you will have your own ideas about what does and doesn’t sound cool.

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6 Responses to “DC Comics goes back to the drawing board with all new issue ones”

  1. I’m going to put my 2 cents worth on DC’s new lineup in this comment. First off, releasing 52 titles in one month is crazy. There are 11 Batman titles alone. 4 Superman titles. If DC want to attract new readers to new characters , which is the main purpose of this feeble exercise, why release 11 bat titles. No way are people going to pick up a title such as Mr Terrific with an ethnic character and a fairly new writer, if they are a bat fan all their money has gone on those 11 Bat Titles. Second point, they’ve decided to cover up the legs of all the women, yet the Harley Quinn cover of Suicide Squad is terrible. Its the worst costume change ever. The Catwoman cover is the most sexist cover I’ve seen in a long time. And there are only 2 women creators out of like 120 plus artists and writers, where is the diversity? Thirdly all 4 Robins get a ‘lead’ title. How the hell is this going to attract people scratching their heads wondering why there are 4 Robins running around? If you look at your pull list DC have failed miserably in their exercise because apart from JL Dark I see no change in your reading pull list. A couple of Bat Books, a couple of Green Lantern Books, a couple of superman books but you haven’t picked up anything from any of the newer writers…Scott Snyder doesn’t count since he’s pretty much going to win an Eisner this year. So major DC fail. In one years time all the books you have chosen will be hitting issue 13, but the others? Probably not. Its as if DC want some of the titles to fail so they can say ha we gave you ethnic characters yet nobody bought them! Finally I, Vampire? WTF? How does that character even warrant a series? Voodo written by Ron Marz, WTF? BLackhawks? OMAC? Why is Tony Daniels given writing duties? What’s going on in DC’s head?

  2. Oh, BTW don’t think I’m criticising your pull list. Mine is exactly the same as yours as you know. Apart form the addition of Mr Terrific. Which just emphasises how much this whole exercise is just plain silly and a big DC cluster f***.

    • thebigsmoke Says:

      I think the reboot has had a much bigger impact on my reading than you say. To comment there’s no change apart from Justice League Dark is ignoring quite a bit.

      I’m back on board with the Superman titles and have totally dropped the Flash stuff. However, I just noticed how weird Perez’s costume design for Superman is, so I hope I don’t come to regret my decision. DC has also managed to persuade me to pick up the Justice League America, which I didn’t think very likely.

      I’m excited about the old Vertigo characters again, which I think is pretty cool. I want to read Swamp Thing and can’t wait to see how characters like John Constantine will fit into the new universe.

      You might not think Scott Snyder counts as a new writer, but I will be picking up two of his books, without having read any of his previous work. The reboot is what has made me pick up his work. Also, I haven’t read anything from Peter Milligan in ages, so will dip a toe into the water with Justice League Dark. If it’s really good, I’ll look again at Red Lanterns

      There are some other changes, like the addition of All-Star Western, which I won’t even bother to dwell on.

      Admittedly, I’m sticking to more established creators and more popular characters. However, with a fair number of titles I’ll see how they make out and then maybe pick them up after a couple of issues. I’m keeping an eye on titles like Animal Man, Mr Terrific and Justice League International.

      I agree there are far too many Bat titles. It’s hard to keep track of the characters, as there are multiple versions of Batman, multiple Robins, a Batgirl, a Batwoman, a Catwoman. I’ll see how it goes, but cannot see myself picking up more than one or two Bat books a month.

      In response to your questions about Tony Daniels, I think possibly he saw David Finch fucking up Batman and wanted to have a go. I feel like there are some writers and artists who are terrible, but the publishers take pity on them or something. Writers like Dan Jurgens and Ron Marz were responsible for some of the worst writing in the nineties, but they keep getting work. Thanks to Geoff Johns, people remember ‘The Death of Superman’ (and his mullet) or ‘Zero Hour’ with nothing but nostalgia. It blows my mind.

  3. The question still remains how many of these books will survive into double digits. Time will tell. I see this more as a lost opportunity, I think some of what DC has done is right like the digital sales but the price point is still an issue. ( Read this http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/06/04/digital-comicsalliance-the-dc-bombshell-dark-horse-digital-exc/ ).

    Anyway we shall see. Also, I’ve been telling you to read Palmiotti and Grey’s Jonah Hex for ages its by far one of the best comics on the market. Especially if you like westerns I have the complete run and it takes pride of place in my collection ;).

    • thebigsmoke Says:

      Who can tell what will be popular? I didn’t think the new Blue Beetle would last, but he seems to have a pretty solid fan base. I guess it depends a lot on the creators.

      I did see that article on Comics Alliance, but didn’t pay too much attention to it. It is quite interesting and I agree that DC will probably have to do a rethink. Would you spend like £30-50 a month to accumulate files on your computer? I wouldn’t. I mean I hate to say it, but there would reach a point where I’d take the easy option of downloading illegally rather than spunk all my money away on digital comics. On the other hand, if the cost were reasonable, I’d try lots of comics in digital form (see Animal Man, Mr Terrific and Justice League International), happy to contribute funding to an industry I love.

  4. “Writers like Dan Jurgens and Ron Marz were responsible for some of the worst writing in the nineties, but they keep getting work. Thanks to Geoff Johns, people remember ‘The Death of Superman’ (and his mullet) or ‘Zero Hour’ with nothing but nostalgia. It blows my mind.”

    Talk about gross exaggeration. They didn’t write mind-blowing stories but they were nowhere near the worst of the decade – especially when you factor in the heaps of garbage put out by Image(early 90s) and Marvel during that period. I found myself digging up a few of my long boxes from the basement and found most of the 90s Spiderman/X-Men stuff completely unreadable(don’t know why I collected those titles as long as I did). Didn’t even bother re-exploring those early Image titles.

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