Everything You Need to Know About the DC Relaunch: Part 2

Wonder Woman

A few weeks ago DC shocked the comic book world with possibly their biggest announcement since 1986. Come the last week of August, almost every single one of their titles will end. They’ll be replaced with a wave of 52 first issues set in a new, post-Flashpoint world. Since that announcement, DC’s slowly been revealing what those 52 titles will consist of. As of last Friday, we got the complete list, so we here at Nerdy Nothings thought we’d put all of them in one place for your convenience.

Besides cover art, creator credits and solicitation text for the 52 #1s, we’ve provided commentary on all the new releases to give you some idea of what you, as a potential reader of each series, might be getting into. We’ve helpfully ranked each release on a 4-point scale (MUST BUY / PROMISING / PROCEED WITH CAUTION / SKIP IT) to provide an early critical barometer. Besides myself and Spaceman Spiff, we’ve got a few guest writers to share their thoughts — Nerdy Nothings podcast co-host and video game blogger Davin Loh, plus podcast guest/friend of the site/comic blogger/DC expert Tom Foss. Each one of us contributed opinions when we had them, leaving no stone unturned and no book uncriticized! For reasons of length/sanity, we’ve broken this up into two posts. Post 1 contains all the info on the rebooted Superman, Batman and Green Lantern families of books, while Post 2 has everything else.

What do you think of the relaunch? Any certain titles you can’t wait for? Any books you’re loathing? Let us know whether you agree/disagree with us in the comments, and keep watching this site throughout the summer and into the fall for coverage of DC’s daring “Flashboot.”

(All text in quotes taken from DC’s Source Blog for promotional purposes)

All-Star Western (W: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, A: Moritat): “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? Featuring back-up stories starring DC’s other western heroes.”

Tom: This is the only one of the 6/9 announcements that has me excited at all. I’m a sucker for Jonah Hex, and while I dropped the book some time ago, it wasn’t because of the quality. Palmiotti & Gray are as good as ever, but it’s the promise of a spotlight for DC’s other western heroes that’s calling me back. PROMISING.

Rikki: I’ve never been too into Jonah Hex, but I think Gray & Palmiotti are a solid creative team. I’m really intrigued by the Gotham City setting… any potential tie-in to Return of Bruce Wayne is one I want to look at. PROMISING.

Tom: Not just Return of Bruce Wayne, but Arkham Asylum as well. I look forward to Jonah Hex vs. Martin “Mad Dog” Hawkins.

Animal Man (W: Jeff Lemire, A: Travel Foreman & Dan Green): “Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers?”

Rikki: Oh my god. To me the whole relaunch is worth it just to see Lemire take on one of Grant Morrison’s greatest achivements. If this isn’t amazing, I think my heart may break a little. MUST BUY.

Tom: Totally agreed. Lemire’s been knocking it out of the park on Superboy, and I’m excited to see his take on Animal Man. MUST BUY.

Aquaman (W: Geoff Johns, A: Ivan Reis): “A thrilling new take on the fan-favorite hero of the sea.”

Rikki: I love me some Ivan Reis, but if Aquaman can be revitalized, Johns isn’t the guy to do it. SKIP IT.

Tom: If there’s any character DC doesn’t know what to do with, it’s Aquaman. People talk about Hawkman being confusing and constantly rebooted, but the last volume of Aquaman’s series had four full-on reimaginings of the character, following the one in JLA: The Obsidian Age. I trust that Johns will return the character to something like his roots, but I don’t trust him to write a book that’s really upbeat and fun–one thing that Aquaman hasn’t been in a very long time. SKIP IT.

Birds of Prey (W: Duane Swierczynski, A: Jesus Saiz): “The Birds of Prey are Gotham City’s covert ops team, taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch.”

Tom: I’ve been reading Birds of Prey for several years now, but I’ve had a really hard time coming up with an opinion for this. Saiz is a good artist, and Swierczynski did good work on Immortal Iron Fist, but I just feel like I don’t know what to expect from this title. “Black ops superheroes” could really go either way, and at the very least this looks like a major departure from the current book. I guess PROCEED WITH CAUTION, based on what little information I feel like we have.

Blackhawks (W: Mike Costa, A: Ken Lashley): “Blackhawk is an elite group of mercenaries made up of brave men from around the world equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us. A set of contemporary tales that battle the world’s gravest threats.”

Tom: The original Blackhawks were an international team, making this an excellent opportunity for DC to display some of that commitment to diversity. And so they put a white guy in charge. Really? The solicit says that their mission is to “kill the bad guys before they kill us,” with no sense of irony whatsoever. SKIP IT.

Rikki: Mike Costa is doing a really great job on IDW’s Transformers, but this solicitation indicates exactly the kind of book I don’t want to see. If this were a year ago, it would’ve been cancelled after four issues at Wildstorm. Will it fare any better now? SKIP IT.

Blue Beetle (W: Tony Bedard, A: Ig Guara): “It’s not easy being Jaime Reyes. He has to deal with high school, family and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. Also, he’s linked to a powerful scarab created by an alien race who seek to subjugate planets – or annihilate them. It’s up to one teen hero to turn this instrument of destruction into a force for good.”

Tom: I’m very happy to see a new Blue Beetle book, and it doesn’t look like they’ve made any major changes to Jaime’s core concept. The only thing keeping this from being a must buy is Tony Bedard, whose writing has always been competent-but-mediocre for me. Hopefully this is his breakout book, but at the very least it should be good entry-level classic superheroics with a compelling, popular character. PROMISING.

Captain Atom (W: JT Krul, A: Freddie Williams II): “Captain Atom has all the power in the world, but no hope of saving himself. Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, he has the potential to be a god among men – a hero without limits. But the question is this: Will he lose himself in the process?”

Rikki: Is this real life? SKIP IT.

Tom: The solicit claims this is a “bold new direction” for Captain Atom, but the rest of it sounds like it’s working to turn Captain Atom into Dr. Manhattan. Not only is that wholly uncompelling, but it’s hard to reconcile “new” with “25 years old.” SKIP IT.

DC Universe Presents (W/A: various): “The anthology series gets a new look in DC Universe Presents, a new series that will focus on multi-issue story arcs each featuring a different superhero from the DC Universe’s rich cast of characters, told by some of comics’ most exciting writers and artists. The first arc of the series: a Deadman story by Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang.”

Tom: I’ve been tooting the “more anthology books” horn for years now, seeing it as a great way to spotlight new creators and characters who can’t support a monthly title. I don’t care for the title, and it’s weird to be starting with a character (Deadman) who’s already in another title (Justice League Dark), but I think this is definitely PROMISING.

Deathstroke (W: Kyle Higgins, A: Joe Bennett & Art Thibert): “A metahuman mercenary who made a living taking out the toughest targets, Deathstroke will reclaim his fearsome legacy by any means necessary.”

Tom: Deathstroke has his own title again, just in case you forgot which decade this is. SKIP IT.

Rikki: Ready for a surprise? My goodwill for Kyle Higgins gives me a positive bias towards this title. Ready for another surprise? I think Deathstroke’s new costume is bad-ass. These are the kinds of titles that can really surprise, IMO. They’ve got a sale out of me for at least one issue. PROMISING.

Tom: I mentioned elsewhere that Higgins is a cipher to me, and the days when “bad-ass costume” were enough to make me buy a comic are the same days when I wore neon shirts and pump hi-tops. Unless Deathstroke suddenly got an injection of interesting in the reboot, I’ve got no desire for this book.

Davin: Did you guys know that Slade has his one remaining eye ripped out by Drago in Titans #33? I wonder if he’ll have both his eyes back on this relaunch.

Demon Knights (W: Paul Cornell, A: Diogenes Neves & Oclair Albert): “Set in the Middle Ages, the Demon leads an unlikely team to defend civilization and preserve the last vestiges of Camelot against the tide of history.”

Rikki: Paul Cornell’s a writer who’s built up great clout with me. If almost anyone else were writing a Demon series, I wouldn’t be interested, but I think Cornell’s got the talent to make this awesome. I should also note I became quite a fan of Oclair Albert through Brightest Day. PROMISING.

Tom: Not just a Demon series, Eric, but a Demon series featuring superheroes in Medieval England. If this were only an excuse to see Cornell inventing new British superheroes, it’d still be a MUST BUY.

Flash (W/A: Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato): “The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens when he faces an all-new villain who can?”

Rikki: Another artist-turned-writer, and the worst part is DC’s benching some of their best pencilers when they could be giving up-and-coming writers a try. Also, the last Flash series became bad enough at the end to make me not care how well Manapul can pull this off. SKIP IT.

Davin: Writers should write, and artists should art. I mean draw. Manapul quickly became one of my favorite artists ever since reading the relaunched Adventure Comics with Geoff Johns. I could forgive his jump to The Flash, but the fact that he’s pulling a Tony Daniel is too much. SKIP IT.

Tom: If they’re handing out syringes of interesting at DC, I certainly hope Barry Allen’s received some. I’m willing to check out this first issue, because Flash (for whatever reason) is like a magnet for talented writers. But I really hope Manapul can make this book interesting and fun, because Johns certainly didn’t. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE (W: Jeff Lemire, A: Alberto Ponticelli): “Frankenstein and his network of strange beings work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive. It’s the breakout hero of Seven Soldiers as you’ve never seen him before.”

Rikki: One might reasonably wonder how DC expects a title about Frankenstein to survive in today’s comic market. But if you read this site you know how much I love Jeff Lemire, and I don’t think he’s ever put out a bad book, so I’ll be buying this series as long as it lasts. PROMISING.

Tom: Between this and Animal Man, DC’s apparently decided that Lemire is the guy to write characters defined by Grant Morrison. Frankenstein was among the best of the Seven Soldiers books, so hopefully Lemire’s up to the task. PROMISING.

Rikki: The first issue of Lemire’s Flashpoint: Frankenstein book has definitely confirmed its PROMISING nature… I’d even say very PROMISING at this point.

The Fury of Firestorm (W: Ethan Van Sciver & Gail Simone, A: Yildiray Cinar): “Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are two high school students, worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control.”

Rikki: There are way too many instances here of DC giving artists writing duties. Can Ethan Van Sciver write? I don’t know, but lackluster recent output from Gail Simone means that for me it doesn’t matter. SKIP IT.

Tom: My take is a little different; I think Simone’s just been writing the same book for too long (I’m way behind on Secret Six, but I still hear good things about it), and this looks like a major change of scenery. It might be just what she needs, and she’s had good luck with super-science characters. Plus, I dig Jason Rusch, the Firestorm concept, and teen superheroes. I’m going to call this PROMISING.

Rikki: Alright, that’s a good point. All-New Atom was one of DC’s best series of last decade, IMO. Bump to PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Green Arrow (W: JT Krul, A: Dan Jurgens): “Oliver Queen is an orphan who grew up to fight crime as the Green Arrow, a billionaire playboy who uses his fortune to become a superhero – able to fight the most powerful super-villains in the universe with nothing but a bow and arrow.”

Rikki: If DC wants to revitalize Green Arrow, why are they giving it to the writer who not only ruined his supporting cast but produced some of the worst comics in recent memory? SKIP IT.

Tom: Not only that, but they’ve swapped out the great Neal Adams-designed Green Arrow costume (tweaked here and there over the last few years) for the Smallville costume? Ugh. There’s really nothing to be excited about here. SKIP IT.

Grifter (W: Nathan Edmondson, A: CAFU & BIT): “Ex-black ops agent Cole Cash is a charming grifter that few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see. Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?”

Spaceman Spiff: Some characters work better in a team setting than they do solo—Wolverine springs to mind—and I think I’d lump Grifter in that category. I’m still happy to see the return of this character, but he always appealed to me more in the WildCats setting. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Tom: Someone on Twitter suggested that this should be They Live with Daemonites, and that’s something I’d like to see. There’s a lot of potential in this kind of story–heck, it worked in Rom: Spaceknight for years–but it really could go either way. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Hawk & Dove (W: Sterling Gates, A: Rob Liefeld): “It’s up to the living avatars of war and peace to root out the hidden forces who look to plunge the country into a deadly civil war.”

Tom: Pity Sterling Gates. He’s a good writer who had an excellent run on Supergirl, and in their effort to be new and daring, DC has paired him with comics’ biggest joke whose last name is not Granito, Rob Liefeld. Sure, Hawk & Dove is where Liefeld got his start, but isn’t this about a “new approach” to comics? Ugh, if this book is still on-time by issue #4, I may have to eat my hat. SKIP IT.

Spaceman Spiff: I’d write something about this, but I’m still too busy laughing from the announcement… SKIP IT.

Rikki: God, really? Sterling Gates deserves better. SKIP IT.

Davin: How does Rob Liefeld keep getting work? SKIP IT.

Tom: Fun fact: the last time Liefeld was on a Hawk & Dove book, I was five years old. Way to court the new audience there, DC.

I, Vampire (W: Josh Fialkov, A: Andrea Sorrentino): “Vampires threaten to bring ruin to the DC Universe. Tortured by his centuries-old love for the Queen of the Damnned, Andrew Bennett must save humanity from the violent uprising of his fellow vampires, even if it means exterminating his own kind.”

Tom: The solicit and cover art make this look like Twilight meets Blade. Maybe it’ll be a good book to lure in new readers, but it doesn’t look like it’s my cup of tea. On the other hand, it’s nice to see DC spotlighting some new talent (too bad there isn’t more of that) and this could turn out to be a sleeper hit. I’m going to SKIP IT, but I think this one really depends on personal taste.

Justice League (W: Geoff Johns, A: Jim Lee): “A contemporary take on the origin of the comic book industry’s premier superhero team.”

Rikki: All the buzz around this book seems to champion it as some great innovation, but I see it more as a victory lap — Lee hasn’t really been a vital comic creator for years, and Johns’ output has definitely suffered post-Blackest Night. That said… I think it would be folly to ignore this series. MUST BUY.

Spaceman Spiff: Jim Lee is 90% of what got me into comic books in the first place, and the prospect of him penciling a series is too much to pass up, especially when he’s working with a writer who hasn’t gone off the rails like Frank Miller has of late. I have my fingers crossed so tightly that Jim Lee will be able to keep the schedule on this book. So tightly. MUST BUY.

Tom: Geoff Johns has only written the Justice League occasionally, but aside from an appearance or two in Green Lantern, those occasions have been pretty positive. I’ve been pretty down on Johns lately, but this title might play to both his and Jim Lee’s strengths. It might also be a chronically late book full of severed limbs and terrible dialogue. I’m hoping for the former, but not enough to rate this book above PROMISING.

Davin: This is a no-brainer. The best writer in DC’s bullpen is finally paired with an artist who still deserves the title “superstar.” Perhaps we’ll finally have a story worthy of those legendary pencils, unlike “Hush” or “For Tomorrow.” And with the rumors that Jim Lee has been working on this secretly since last year, my hopes that a delay-free 12-issue arc burn bright. MUST BUY.

Justice League Dark (W: Peter Milligan, A: Mikel Janin): “John Constantine, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man and Madame Xanadu are Justice League Dark, a band of supernatural heroes united to stop the dark things the rest of the DCU does not see.”

Rikki: Awful title, but solid concept. After some recent letdowns, I definitely don’t have total faith in Peter Milligan, but I’m really hooked by the notion of seeing John Constantine on a Justice League team. PROMISING.

Tom: I have exactly the opposite reaction. The first issue of Secret Seven was a solid awful, and I can’t imagine John Constantine on a team that isn’t all dressed in trenchcoats. This looks like Shadowpact without the whimsy of Detective Chimp. SKIP IT.

Justice League International (W: Dan Jurgens, A: Aaron Lopresti): “A team of internationally-drafted superheroes fight each other and their bureaucratic supervisors as much as they do global crime.”

Rikki: The end of Generation Lost had me all jazzed for this book, but with the announcement of Jurgens as writer all that excitement’s been swept away. Dan writes like it’s still the ‘80s, and I’m not down with that. I do think, however, Aaron Lopresti is the second-best man for this job. SKIP IT.

Tom: I wish more people would write like it’s still the ‘80s. It’d mean less rape and dismemberment, and more use of words like “tubular.” Jurgens actually wrote the very first issue of JLA I ever read, so I might have some nostalgia going here, but I also think he’s an incredibly consistent writer. It’s consistently middle-of-the-road classic superheroics, but in this climate, I have a hard time seeing that as a bad thing. PROMISING.

Legion Lost (W: Fabian Nicieza, A: Pete Woods): “Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from total annihilation. When the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in a nightmarish world and an ultimate struggle to survive.”

Rikki: Nicieza has done some solid fill-in issues lately, but I’m really upset that DC is imprisoning Pete Woods in their inconsequential line of Legion books. He deserves much, much better. SKIP IT.

Tom: I’m finding it hard to disagree more. The idea that some fictional stories are more “consequential” than others is part of what’s strangling the comic market, and a large part of what kills good books like Thor: The Mighty Avenger. Nicieza is a solid, old-school writer, and he’s done some of his best work on teen team titles like Legion. That said, it pains me to see yet more ‘90s-logic in these releases, with a concept pulled from the Legion comics circa 1996 and a writer whose last comparable book was the first volume of New Warriors in ‘94. But I like the Legion, I like time travel stories, I like Nicieza, and Woods is one of my favorite current artists, so this looks solidly PROMISING to me.

Rikki: What I mean is that there are top tier books, and the Legion comics aren’t among them. Woods is one of DC’s best artists; I feel that he should be on one of their flagship titles. Still, out of respect to the creative team, and what could turn out to be a pretty cool concept, I’ll bump to PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Tom: I’d actually like to see a little more of this kind of playing with creators. Batman is always going to sell, no matter who’s writing or drawing it (within reason); give some of those low-tier books a hook with a popular or prominent or up-and-coming creative team. It might help balance out DC’s slow descent toward being “the Batman and Green Lantern company.”

Legion of Superheroes (W: Paul Levitz, A: Francis Portela): “In the 31st century, the Legion of Superheroes is reeling from the loss of seven of their finest — and trying desperately to keep their youngest recruits alive against a series of terrible new threats.”

Tom: The Levitz Legion relaunch has been getting good reviews, and I’ve kicked myself a couple of times for dropping the books. Portela’s an unknown quantity to me, but a quick image search turns up some pretty art that’ll fit in well with Woods on the other title. I’ll probably pick this up. PROMISING.

Men of War (W: Ivan Brandon, A: Tom Derenick): “The grandson of the original Sgt. Rock assumes the command of Easy Company, a team of crack ex-military men financed by a covert military contractor, as they brave the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DC Universe’s super-villains.”

Tom: We live in a time when the actual real-world military is fighting wars with robot drones and many real soldiers must keep their identities secret from a world that hates and fears them. Those are stories made for comics, so it surprised me to see all of DC’s updated war titles about military contractors and mercenaries. Ivan Brandon assured me and others on Twitter that this book was written with a military audience in mind, and wasn’t about DC’s Blackwater, which allays my fears quite a bit. I’m going to give this one a PROMISING, and thank Brandon for being a super-cool guy in the face of fans making snap judgments and criticisms.

Rikki: Well, Brandon and I didn’t have a back-and-forth on Twitter, so I’m going to lean back more on your original assessment. Of course all we’re doing here is making snap judgments, which may not always be fair, but helps us figure out what we’ll be spending our money on come September. Sadly, Sgt. Rock won’t make the cut for me. SKIP IT.

Mister Terrific (W: Eric Wallace, A: Roger Robinson): “The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad.”

Rikki: I think there’s some serious potential here. A young, relatively unknown writer taking on a relatively unpopular character can sometimes produce pure gold (see: Morrison, Grant on Animal Man). But wait: Wallace wrote the Titans: Villains for Hire special. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Tom: I really like Mister Terrific, and I heard good things about Wallace’s other prominent DC work, Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink, so I’m inclined to check this out. And if Wallace can avoid the temptation to end his first arc with someone taking Mr. Terrific, DC’s only prominent atheist hero, to church, then he’ll be head and shoulders above most writers who spotlight the character. Seriously, can you imagine a Kitty Pryde story ending that way? But that Titans pedigree fills me with trepidation. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

OMAC (W: Dan Didio & Keith Giffen, A: Keith Giffen & Scott Koblish): “A man loses control of his life as the omnipresent Brother Eye transforms him against his will into a powerful killing machine.”

Rikki: Dan Didio — you are not a writer. Please stop writing. SKIP IT.

Tom: More than that: you are not as good a writer as Jack Kirby. SKIP IT.

Red Hood & the Outlaws (W: Scott Lobdell, A: Kenneth Rocafort): “Batman’s former sidekick had put his past as The Red Hood behind him, when the reclusive Jason Todd finds himself unwillingly elected as the leader of an all-new team of outlaw vigilantes. As The Red Hood once again, Jason Todd will lead this new team of antiheroes, including Green Arrow’s rejected sidekick Arsenal and Starfire, a former prisoner of intergalactic war.”

Spaceman Spiff: I haven’t been too impressed with any of the Red Hood stories I have read—frankly, I feel Jason Todd should’ve stayed dead. However, what does have me intrigued is the artwork of Kenneth Rocafort. I love his work, and his loose, action-packed style. That might be enough for me to look into this series. Hopefully Rocafort can hold a deadline; I’ve noticed some serious delays with the Velocity series from Top-Cow. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Rikki: I know this is an early judgement, but I really think this has the potential to be one of the worst books of all time. Totally pointless characters, writer who hasn’t done much since the excess of the ‘90s X-Men… oh man. Now, Lobdell could be a perfectly good writer, and I do enjoy Kenneth Rocafort, but I have no faith in this book. SKIP IT.

Tom: Somehow, I don’t think I’ve ever read a Scott Lobdell comic. And while I don’t mind the Red Hood as a character, I don’t think he’s ever been interesting outside of Morrison’s short Batman & Robin arc. But DC has spent a lot of time recently making Arsenal absurdly terrible, and publishing books about completely unlikable people, possibly out of some kind of Warren Ellis-envy. I think the only thing that could get me to buy this is if Starfire retained her Teen Titans, Go! personality and just wandered into the wrong book. SKIP IT.

Davin: Looks like Roy gets his arm back. That’s about the nicest thing I can say about this book. SKIP IT.

Rikki: Davin has the best comment.

Davin: And he got a sweet baseball cap as part of the deal too! Everything’s coming up roses for Mr. Harper!

Tom: Baseball cap? Maybe Arsenal is secretly Rob Liefeld.

Resurrection Man (W: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, A: Fernando Dagnino): “The story of a hero who wakes up with new powers each time he’s killed.”

Rikki: At this site, we really like Dan Abnett. I also happen to like Fernando Dagnino, in my opinion the best artist to work on Justice League: Generation Lost (he should be drawing JLI). The team’s solid, and the character’s interesting, but I just don’t think it can support a series. I guess we’ll see. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Tom: I never read Resurrection Man when it was coming out, but I’ve read most of the series since then, and it’s quite good. Abnett and Lanning are one of the best writing teams in comics, and the original Resurrection Man is one of those books that should be mentioned in the same breath as Chase and Hourman as great, underrated books of the ‘90s. This is a MUST BUY.

Rikki: Alright, fair points. Bump to PROMISING.

The Savage Hawkman (W: Tony Daniel, A: Philip Tan): “Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his cowl and wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive.”

Rikki: Lackluster writer, lackluster artist, relatively boring standalone character. SKIP IT.

Tom: At best, this could be Indiana Jones with wings and a mace. Under Tony Daniel, I doubt it. SKIP IT.

Rikki: I started thinking about the Indiana Jones angle, and it really appealed to me… but then Tony Daniel brought me down to Earth again. I will say that if by some miracle this book ends up really good, I’ll be happy to be wrong.

Static Shock (W: John Rozum & Scott McDaniel, A: Scott McDaniel & Jonathan Glapion): “Virgil Hawkins has been gifted with incredible electrical powers. Adopting the persona of Static, he faces super-powered street gangs, raging hormones, homework, and girls.”

Rikki: Well, you all know how I feel about Scott McDaniel. SKIP IT.

Tom: John Rozum has been getting rave reviews on Xombi, another Milestone crossover title, but yeah. I’ve never seen McDaniel write, and while his art doesn’t bother me, it also doesn’t make me excited about Static. I like seeing Milestone characters making the jump to the new DCU, but I’d also like to see DC treat Milestone as something other than “Static and some other guys.” At best, PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Stormwatch (W: Paul Cornell, A: Miguel Sepulveda): “Stormwatch is a dangerous super human strike force whose existence is kept secret from the world. Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo. And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds.”

Rikki: Titles called “Stormwatch” don’t really appeal to me. But you put Paul Cornell on the book, stick Martian Manhunter on the team and use the characters from the Authority… I don’t know. This sounds kind of cool. PROMISING.

Tom: This actually might be the first Paul Cornell book in recent memory that I don’t want to buy. I like J’onn, I like Cornell, I even have some of the incomprehensible early Stormwatch comics from ‘93, but between the concept and the Authority crossover characters, I just can’t muster up the excitement. PROCEED WITH CAUTION, I guess.

Spaceman Spiff: I loved Stormwatch back in my impressionable youth, and I loved how Warren Ellis was able to remake that series into the Authority. I’m excited for this book, I’ll admit it. Though, I’m more than cautious about lumping Martian Manhunter in with this team. On the other hand, those character designs for Midnighter and Apollo are pretty badass. PROMISING.

Suicide Squad (W: Adam Glass, A: Marco Rudy): “Harley Quinn! Deadshot! King Shark! They’re a team of death-row super villains recruited by the government to take on missions so dangerous – they’re sheer suicide! Who will be the first to crack under the pressure?”

Rikki: Being unfamiliar with the creative team, this is another snap judgment but… that cover is horrible. What did DC do to Harley Quinn? SKIP IT.

Tom: I have some hope that this will continue the high quality of DC’s villain-as-antihero team books (the original Suicide Squad and Secret Six in particular), but I’m also unfamiliar with the creators. Maybe this’ll be a great little sleeper hit, or maybe it’ll be as bad as the cover art makes it out to be. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

Swamp Thing (W: Scott Snyder, A: Yanick Paquette): “For years, one man served against his will as the avatar of nature. And while he may have been freed of the monster, he’s about to learn the monster will never truly let go of him.”

Rikki: When I read about this book and saw Yannick Paquette’s issue #1 cover, my day literally improved. If anyone can be trusted to handle this monumental character, it’s one of DC’s most PROMISING young writers. I trust Snyder and Paquette will do an excellent job of cultivating a character I love very much. MUST BUY.

Tom: I like Swampy a lot. I like Snyder a lot. I like that DC is putting a Vertigo-bred horror writer on Swamp Thing, even with his transition back to the DCU proper. I’ll be checking this one out. MUST BUY.

Teen Titans (W: Scott Lobdell, A: Brett Booth & Norm Rapmund): “Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard when an international organization seeks to capture or kill super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he must team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and a hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash.”

Tom: Looking at the names, you’d be forgiven if you thought that this was a solicit from 1995 that accidentally got released late. I’m a big fan of Tim Drake and Superboy, but this looks straight-up awful. SKIP IT.

Rikki: This solicitation makes absolutely no sense. Why does Red Robin have to “get out from behind the keyboard?” Why is Wonder Girl “belligerent?” The costumes are awful, the creative team’s a joke… this is the exact opposite of how to relevantly relaunch a property. SKIP IT.

Tom: Nothing like relaunching your teen title with a solicit that essentially says “lazy brat gets off his darn computer to go outside for once with his no-good hoodlum friends.”

Voodoo (W: Ron Marz, A: Sam Basri): “Priscilla Kitaen has just found out she’s a monster. A half-alien hybrid, the woman known as Voodoo must confront the secrets of her past to make sense of the nightmare her life has suddenly become.”

Tom: With this book, one-time WildC.A.T.s member Voodoo becomes the first Wildstorm character to be folded into the DCU proper (aside from a flirtation with Mr. Majestic some years back). The solicit sounds like it has some opportunity for good characterization and maybe some Lovecraftian body horror, which is intriguing. I’ve heard good things about Ron Marz’s Witchblade, and this seems like it’ll hit similar themes, and I enjoyed his run on Green Lantern back in the day. Plus, Sami Basri is a hell of an artist. PROMISING.

Spaceman Spiff: I’m just excited to see that Wildstorm isn’t dead. Hopefully this title won’t be the lone foray into the DC universe for those characters, because, I gotta say, Voodoo was never my favorite character. Still there’s hope so… PROMISING.

Wonder Woman (W: Brian Azzarello, A: Cliff Chiang): “An exciting new series starring the DC Universe’s greatest superheroine.”

Rikki: Judging by her recent history, Wonder Woman’s a tough character to make relevant and compelling. To my mind, in recent years Greg Rucka’s done the best job. Call me crazy, but I think Brian Azzarello has a solid shot at revitalizing the character the same way Rucka did. Added to that you’ve got the fact that anything Cliff Chiang draws is amazing. These two knocked it out of the park on Doctor 13 — I expect the same from Wonder Woman. MUST BUY.

Tom: Oh man, I forgot that Azzarello wrote Doctor 13. I think the only Azzarello story I’ve ever disliked is Superman: For Tomorrow, and Cliff Chiang is simply amazing. It would be really nice to see Wonder Woman get the kind of quality and focus that the other members of the Trinity get, and a writer like Azzarello is a big step toward that. MUST BUY.

tags: dc comics, DC Relaunch

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