This is an interesting week of releases. For whatever reason, DC is bumping its trend of releasing Annuals on the 5th Wednesday, and they’re dropping some this week. One in particular – Suicide Squad – has me quite excited because it’s substituting the core team for some fresh meat… and it features Swamp Thing! That’s not the only title worth getting excited about this week either. With titles like Detective Comics, Justice League Dark, and Batman: Kings of Fear debuting, there’s plenty to sink our teeth into!

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.

AUGUST 20TH

TAKE MY MONEY

Justice League Dark #2
Plagued by a rash of otherworldly resurrections, the new JLD team begins scouring the shadowy corners of the DCU looking for leads. Turns out, this latest mystery ties back to the Tree of Wonder, last seen laying down roots in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE—and it bears poisoned fruit to boot. The Tree serves as a doorway from the Realm of Magic to our world, and the Upside Down Man is just the first of many all-powerful mystic entities looking for a new haunt. It’s gonna take a major twist of fate for our heroes to get out of this one…

Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils by Alvaro Martinez
Inks by Raul Fernandez
Colored by Brad Anderson
Cover by Brad Anderson, Raul Fernandez, and Alvaro Martinez

Josh’s Stance: I’m not the biggest fan of Tynion, but I thoroughly enjoyed Justice League Dark’s debut last month, and there are a lot of interesting elements teased so I’m excited!

Batman-News Critic: Dan

 

 

INTRIGUED

Batman: Kings of Fear #1
Legendary artist Kelley Jones makes his triumphant return to the Dark Knight in this explosive miniseries written by former BATMAN editor Scott Peterson! Batman’s been overseeing Gotham City for years now and isn’t sure how much of a difference he’s making. Doubt, fear and insecurity are starting to take over. And as all of those negative feelings set in the Scarecrow orchestrates a riot at Arkham Asylum to give the Dark Knight one of his greatest challenges yet! This six-issue miniseries will see the Scarecrow in a horrifying new way that you’ll have to read to believe.

Written by Scott Peterson
Pencils and Inks by Kelley Jones
Colored by Michelle Madsen
Cover by Kelley Jones and Michelle Madsen

Josh’s Stance: I know what I’m getting with Kelley Jones, but I’m not sure what to expect as far as Scott Peterson is concerned… I’m hoping for the best. The whole concept of “doubt, fear, and insecurity” taking over doesn’t excite me though. This seems to be what DC is doing with every character, and it’s already growing old.

Batman-News Critic: Casper

 

Detective Comics #987
Then, the pulse-pounding “ON THE OUTSIDE” storyline hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion! Batman has tasked Katana, Black Lightning, the Signal and Orphan (a.k.a. Cassandra Cain) with stopping a rogue operator using alien technology that can crack into any mind on Earth! What does this case have to do with the Brainiac Files seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #1? And how does Amanda Waller factor in? Guess you’re “outside” of Batman’s circle of trust…for now.

Written by Bryan Edward Hill
Pencils by Miguel Mendonca
Inks by Diana Egea
Colored by Adriano Lucas
Cover by Eddy Barrows and Adriano Lucas

Josh’s Stance: Katana! That’s enough to excite me for now. Plus, Hill has done a respectable job (aside from his last issue), so that’s working in this story’s favor.

Batman-News Critic: Elena

 

Suicide Squad Annual #1
Thrown together to apprehend an escaped inmate, Solomon Grundy, Rag Doll and Merlyn head into the muck surrounding Belle Reve, but no one is prepared for a meeting with the Swamp Thing. Bodies decay quickly in the bayous of Louisiana, and the avatar of the Green doesn’t care if the Squad makes it out alive.

Written by Cullen Bunn
Pencils and Inks by Ronan Cliquet
Colored by Jason Wright
Cover by Hi-Fi, Mick Gray, and Paul Pelletier

Josh’s Stance: I’m quite excited for this issue! For one, I’m super stoked that we have a different lineup of characters, but I’m also excited to see what Bunn brings to the table!

Batman-News Critic: Casper

 

Teen Titans #21
Next up on the Teen Titans’ target list is none other than longtime antagonist Gizmo, whose neighborhood toy store secretly serves as a front for his arms-dealing business. (You can get a Nerf blaster and a rail gun? Cool!) But this whole escapade is about to blow up in their faces when they find Gizmo strapped to an atomic bomb that’s about to go off—right in the middle of New York City. And it’s rush hour to boot? Nice knowing you, Big Apple!

Written by Adam Glass
Pencils and Inks by Bernard Chang
Colored by Marcelo Maiolo
Cover by Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo, and Wil Quintana

Josh’s Stance: I’m fully on-board with Glass’ take on Teen Titans so far. There’s a good balance of tones and themes, and he continues this trend, then we could be gifted with an arc that grows and develops over time.

Batman-News Critic: Josh

 

 

MIXED

Batman Beyond #23
Batman’s got a bull’s-eye on his back in part four of “Target: Batman.” Thanks to the machinations of the Scarecrow, the entire city of Neo-Gotham is looking to take aim at the Dark Knight—including his own partner, Robin! Will hero turn against hero when fear is in the air? Elsewhere, former Royal Flusher Melanie Walker looks to upgrade her image and take on a new heroic mantle, so she seeks advice from newsman Jack Ryder—unaware that he’s a total costumed Creeper!

Written by Dan Jurgens
Pencils and Inks by Will Conrad and Shane Davis
Colored by David Baron and Wil Quintana
Cover by Shane Davis and Viktor Kalvachev

Josh’s Stance: There are pros and cons here. Jack Ryder/ Creeper is a definite benefit to this story, and the new Scarecrow encourages some truly terrifying actions (convincing a child to shoot other people), but there are many cons here as well. Looking at the bigger picture though, Jurgens has struggled to actually take the book anywhere. Each arc has introduced plot points with tons of potential… But none of them have been explored any further. At some point you have to continue one of these, right? Otherwise it’s just a one story after another of introductions that lead nowhere.

Batman-News Critic: Dan

 

The Silencer #8
So far, Silencer’s family vacation gets zero stars on review websites, and things are only looking worse from here on out. Silencer races to stop Talia al Ghul’s loyalists from reviving her in a Lazarus Pit, but she’s got TWO heavy hitters on her tail: meta-hitman Quietus and mystical psycho Wishbone, who’s about to unleash some body-swapping shenanigans on everyone involved with this caper. And are you ready for a trip to Action Land, the Superman theme park? “Hell-iday Road” starts here!

Written by Dan Abnett
Pencils and Inks by Patch Zircher
Colored by Mike Spicer and Dean V. White
Cover by Viktor Bogdanovic, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Jonathan Glapion, and Dean V. White

Josh’s Stance: I like The Silencer, but as I said in my last review, things are starting to become a little too unbelievable. I’m worried this issue will continue this trend.

Batman-News Critic: Josh

 

NOTES:

  • Additional releases from DC Comics: Action Comics #1002, Damage Annual #2, The Flash #53, Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #6, Raven: Daughter of Darkness #7, Scooby-Doo Team-Up #41, The Terrifics #7, and Wonder Woman #53.

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL WATCH:

Batman & the Signal – From the New York Times best-selling author of Batman and All-Star Batman

Gotham’s newest defender steps into the light!

Duke Thomas always wanted to be a hero. During the “Robin War,” he led an insurgency of teen Robins who insisted that their movement’s namesake didn’t really need a partner. In the aftermath, Batman himself has taken Duke under his wing to train him—not to be a sidekick, but to be his own man.

Now, Duke is ready to emerge from his mentor’s shadow and take his place as Gotham’s protector by day: the Signal. But is he ready for what the light will reveal?

Someone has been giving deadly metahuman powers to teenagers living in the Narrows, Gotham’s poorest neighborhood—Duke’s neighborhood. Even stranger, these newly powered teens seem to have some sort of connection to both Duke and his own barely understood abilities.

With the help of the Bat-Family, the Signal and Batman must protect the city from the rampaging adolescents while also keeping them from harming themselves. But when Duke discovers the true nature of his connection to the crisis, will it signal a dark new chapter for Gotham’s bright new hero?

Critically acclaimed author Scott Snyder teams with red-hot rookie writer Tony Patrick to introduce Gotham’s newest crime-fighter in Batman and The Signal! Featuring art by Cully Hamner (Blue Beetle), Declan Shalvey (Moon Knight) and Francesco Francavilla (Detective Comics), this volume collects Batman and The Signal #1-3 as well as “The Cursed Wheel” from All-Star Batman #1-4 and #6-9.

 

Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway Vol. 2 – From the time his first story was published in 1969, Gerry Conway became one of the most prolific and highly regarded comics writers of the era. He wrote for nearly every character being published at the time, and his original creations—including Firestorm, Steel and Vixen—changed comics history forever. Conway’s work had a profound effect on the legacy of Batman, with his creations Killer Croc and Jason Todd becoming mainstays in the legend of the Dark Knight.

Illustrated by artists including, Gene Colan, Don Newton, Klaus Janson and José Luis García-López and featuring guest appearances by Superman, Man-Bat, and the whole Bat-Family, these classic tales showcase one of the greatest talents ever to write for the Caped Crusader!

Collects Batman #337-346, #348, Detective Comics #505-513, World’s Finest Comics #270.