This week, I’m honoring Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti! Why? Well, they don’t need a specific reason because they’re both incredible people, but this week is their final issue of Harley Quinn. It feels strange, and I’ll admit I’m a little sad. I’ve grown to associate Conner and Palmiotti to Harley as much as I associate Paul Dini and Bruce Timm to Harley! I’m not sure if there’s a better compliment than that. With such a beloved character, I was anxious to see if their run of Harley Quinn would stand up to the bar that had been set by Batman the Animated Series, and I think it’s fair to say that it has! What we got, was a fun, fresh, inappropriate, and crazy book that sent the character on an entirely new trajectory. Month after month, they consistently delivered incredible work… And then we started getting Harley Quinn specials from the team… Then we got a number of mini series, and even a spinoff! As we moved into Rebirth, Harley Quinn shifted to double ship, and still, the specials continued. Needless to say, Conner and Palmiotti have worked their asses off over the past few years, and their quality never faulted. It’s been a wild ride, and one that I’ll definitely cherish! If I had to choose a favorite moment, it would have to be Harley meeting Hitler in Harley Quinn & Her Little Black Book! Thank you for your commitment and respect to the character, and thank you for the many, many laughs! You’ll both be missed on Harley Quinn!

Alright, on to business! This week’s releases are listed according to our anticipation scale, with titles listed in alphabetical order within each sub-header. For each title, I’ll include the official solicitation, the talent credits, a random comment (or rant), and the Batman News team member that will be reviewing each book. Following that, you’ll find notes pertaining to other DC Comics titles, as well as our Graphic Novel Watch. And finally, we want to hear from you! What titles are you picking up? Why are you excited? What do you hope will happen in the book? Etc. So, without further ado, review our Anticipation Scale, and comment away!

The Anticipation Scale

NO! – A comic I downright dread reading and if I wasn’t a reviewer, I would never buy it.

“You Don’t Have to Thank Us” – The idea of reviewing it doesn’t make me ill or angry, but it definitely sounds like it’s going to be a chore. Still, I’m reading it for you. I’m putting it at the bottom of the pile, but I’m reading it for you.

Mixed – A middle of the pile comic. It’s probably got the same chance of being dreadful as it does of being stupendous. I’m neither looking forward to it or avoiding it, whatever happens… happens.

Intrigued – I think this comic has potential to be a fantastic read. There’s some slight hesitation there, but it’s definitely going to be at the top of the pile.

TAKE MY MONEY – Everything about this issue has me excited. If I don’t get to read this book on Wednesday, I will be furious. I would pay extra just to have it in my hands right now! That’s how much I’m looking forward to it!

And as a reminder, our review scale is based on a 10-point system. A rating of “5” means the book is mediocre/average, and the more toward “10″ we go, the more awesome/worth buying it is. The more toward “1″ we go the more awful/not worth buying it is. That’s how we rate things. It’s not like most video game review scores where everything under 8 is crap, and it’s not like a school report card where everything under a 7 is failing or close-to-failing. Please keep this in mind when reading our reviews.

January 10th

TAKE MY MONEY

Harley Quinn #34
“GOSSAMER”! Look, we know Harley’s crossed paths with some ridiculous guest stars…but we assure you, this is the looniest one yet! And in the “Secret Origins” backup, see where Harley’s most steadfast companion and tenant, Big Tony, comes from—and why he sticks by the side of his insane (but very charming) landlord!

Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils and Inks by John Timms
Colored by Alex Sinclair
Cover by Amanda Conner and Alex Sinclair

Josh’s Stance: Here it is folks… Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s final issue of Harley! I’m going to savor every single page of this book!

Batman-News Critic: Elena

 

Harley Quinn: Be Careful What You Wish For Special #1
If you thought you’d seen all the mayhem Harley was capable of unleashing with the help of an all-powerful genie and infinite wishes…well, we wish you’d known better!

Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Pencils and Inks by Amanda Conner and Chad Hardin
Colored by Paul Mounts and Alex Sinclair
Cover by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts

Josh’s Stance: It’s a double dose of Harley from Conner and Palmiotti this week as they say goodbye to the character! I’m expecting a ton of laughs, and for the boundaries to be pushed!

Batman-News Critic: Elena

 

 

INTRIGUED

Justice League of America #22
“QUEEN OF FABLES” part one! The Might Beyond the Mirror, the great threat that Batman assembled the Justice League of America to stop, has finally arrived in the form of the Queen of Fables. With her reality-warping power, her intent is to take over the real world and the imaginary and rule over everything—and without Batman, does the Justice League stand a chance against her? Or will reality crumble at the Queen’s whim?

Written by Steve Orlando
Pencils by Neil Edwards
Inks by Daniel Henriques
Colored by Hi-Fi
Cover by Rachel Dodson and Terry Dodson

Josh’s Stance: Orlando has been promising some great things in this story, and I have to be honest, I’m quite excited! JLA has been on a positive trend in terms of quality lately, and I hope that “Queen of Fables” raises that bar even further!

Batman-News Critic: Jay

 

Red Hood & the Outlaws #18
“BIZARRO REBORN” part five! With the H.I.V.E. queen wreaking havoc in Gotham City, Artemis’ growing suspicion about Bizarro’s newfound intelligence could lead to a shocking discovery that will forever alter the future of the Outlaws. Meanwhile, would Bizarro really invite a new member to join the team without running it by Red Hood first? And would that new addition really be the Creeper? (Yes, and maybe…)

Written by Scott Lobdell
Pencils by Sergio Sandoval
Inks by Juan Albarran
Colored by Felix Serrano
Cover by Romulo Fajardo, Jr. and Mike McKone

Josh’s Stance: Oh Lobdell… You had me at Creeper!

Batman-News Critic: Brian

 

 

MIXED

Suicide Squad #33
“THE CHOSEN JUAN” part one! When an apocalyptic new threat threatens the safety of Earth, the Suicide Squad is called into action—and they bring in a new member! But who is the mysterious Juan? And what are his powers? Is there more to him than meets the eye?

Written by Simon Spurrier
Pencils by Fernando Pasarin
Inks by Oclair Albert
Colored by Adriano Lucas
Cover by Eddy Barrows, Tony Salvador Daniel, Adriano Lucas, Danny Miki, and Tomeu Morey

Josh’s Stance: Si Spurrier doesn’t have the best track record regarding quality, but there was a decent amount of buzz coming into this issue. Will it live up to the hype? We’ll have to wait and see… I dig the throwback cover though!

Batman-News Critic: Casper

 

Titans #19
“WHO IS TROIA?” The Titans attempt to regain their balance after their epic clash with Troia—Donna’s villainous future self—and look toward a brighter tomorrow. But the Justice League wants answers about Donna Troy’s true nature, and they’ll get them—even if it means shutting down the Titans for good!

Written by Dan Abnett
Pencils by Paul Pelletier
Inks by Andrew Hennessy
Colored by Andrew Dalhouse
Cover by Brett Booth, Andrew Dalhouse, Andrew Hennessy, Adriano Lucas, Paul Pelletier, and More…

Josh’s Stance: Troia was a bit of a let down. And by “a bit,” I mean huge. Thankfully, Abnett is at his best in Titans when he focuses on character development, and I hope that’s what we get in this issue!

Batman-News Critic: Dan

 

 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO THANK US”

Detective Comics #972
“FALL OF THE BATMEN” part four! Batman might have overpowered the Victim Syndicate, but they had one last surprise for him: a secret weapon that’s made one of his strongest rogues nearly unstoppable!

Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils by Miguel Mendonca
Inks by Diana E. Conesa
Colored by Jason Wright
Cover by Guillem March

Josh’s Stance: My interest in Detective slips each month. Yes, there are typically moments that are decent, but overall the book is incredibly inconsistent and I’m tired of seeing Batman cheapened to make the other characters look good… There’s better ways of highlighting this team, and Tynion desperately needs to become hip to that notion.

Batman-News Critic: Brandon

 

 

NO!

Batgirl & the Birds of Prey #18
“ECO-DEADLY!” Tasked with a new mission by the secretive Spyral, Huntress enlists Batgirl and Black Canary to help infiltrate an exclusive tech conference. Searching for an arms dealer masquerading as a tech investor, the Birds of Prey must uncover the mysterious plans for Weather Wizard’s missing wand before the City of Lights finds itself plunged into permanent darkness.

Written by Julie Benson and Shawna Benson
Pencils and Inks by Marcio Takara
Colored by Jordan Boyd
Cover by Nathan Fairbairn and Yanick Paquette

Josh’s Stance: I’m scared to see how Spyral is portrayed in this issue…

Batman-News Critic: Brian

 

Notes:

  • Additional DC titles releasing this week: Action Comics #995, Deadman #3, The Flash #38, Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps #36, Gotham City Garage #7, Mister Miracle #6, New Super-Man #19, Ragman #4, Supergirl #17, Superwoman #18, Wildstorm: Michael Cray #4, and Wonder Woman #38,

 

Graphic Novel Watch:

Batman: Shadow of the Bat Vol. 3 – Spinning out of BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL, Jean-Paul Valley is a new breed of Batman. Knowing the streets of Gotham wouldn’t be safe without a Dark Knight, an injured Bruce Wayne handed Jean-Paul his cowl. With this cowl comes the responsibility of taking care of an entire city. This is a burden not all are fit to bear.

Unlike Bruce Wayne, Jean-Paul’s brutality towards the denizens of Gotham’s criminal underbelly knows no bounds. Dead set upon both proving himself as the new Dark Knight and seeking revenge against Bruce Wayne’s enemies, this new Batman begins a campaign to clean up Gotham’s streets once and for all. When an epic battle with Clayface begins, Jean-Paul is pushed to his breaking point. Will Jean-Paul’s brutal methods work, or will he his new power drive him to madness?

Writer Alan Grant (DETECTIVE COMICS) continues his celebrated run on BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT, joined by Bret Blevins (New Mutants), Bob Smith (CATWOMAN) and others in these stories about the men and women in the shadow…the shadow of the bat! Collects BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #24-31, #0, and ANNUAL #2.

 

Batman Beyond Vol. 2: Rise of the Demon – The Batman of the future is back. Emerging from the rubble of the cataclysm that nearly destroyed the Earth, Terry McGinnis has returned to Gotham City and reclaimed the mantle of the Bat. He’s fended off some of his deadliest foes to do it.

But he’s about to face an unexpected enemy—an opponent more patient, and more powerful, than any he’s ever known.

When the League of Assassins launches an all-out assault on Gotham, Terry must travel to Tibet in his experimental Batsuit. There, he’ll stop at nothing to rescue his captured mentor Bruce Wayne and take the fight to their leader—Ra’s al Ghul himself.

But when he finally gets his audience with the Demon’s Head, he’s in for the shock of a lifetime.

Can Terry defeat this shadowy figure and free Bruce Wayne from his nemesis? Or will this all-out war—and the twisted technology of his biomechanical Batsuit—drive him into a darkness he can never escape?

Discover the answer in BATMAN BEYOND VOL. 2: RISE OF THE DEMON, from the creative team of Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang. It’s BATMAN BEYOND and Ra’s al Ghul as you’ve never seen them before! Collects BATMAN BEYOND #6-12!

 

Harley Quinn Vol. 4: Surprise, Surprise – Harley Quinn’s got her own definition of family. The gang of misfits, weirdos and two-fisted freaks she’s assembled in her Brooklyn crash pad are all the family a reformed psychotic super-villain could ask for, ya know?

But that’s all about to change. The Mistress of Mayhem is about to face the biggest shock she’s seen in years…a visit from her parents.

That’s right, folks—Mr. and Mrs. Quinzel are in town to take a bite of the Big Apple and meet their li’l monster’s new crew, from her gal-pal Poison Ivy to her super-friend Power Girl and more. And since “alternative lifestyle” barely begins to describe the vida loca that Harley’s livin’, our bat-wielding bombshell’s more than a little mortified.

But it turns out the crazy apple doesn’t fall far from the twisted tree. Harley’s mom and pop have quite a few skeletons in their own closet and no shortage of tricks up their sleeves. And before Harley’s big birthday blowout, every secret’s about to come out!

Harley Quinn super team Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner continue their classic run on one of the most iconic—and ironic—heroines in comics with HARLEY QUINN VOL. 4: SURPRISE, SURPRISE. Collects lead stories from #22-27 and the full HARLEY QUINN 25th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1, where the industry’s top talents—including her co-creator, Paul Dini—salute the one and only Harley!