You know, I’m looking at the slate of books releasing this week, and despite getting review copies to read for free, I still have no desire to read half of these titles. I don’t want to purposely be negative, but DC has a problem on their hands when people have a chance to legally read something for free and still choose not to.

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 22nd

INTRIGUED

Batman #87
The Riddler has been lying low since his humiliating defeat as part of Bane’s army- but as costumed assassins start to make their way into Gotham City, Edward Nygma may have the answers he’s been looking for. Or at least, the answer to why Deathstroke is trying to kill him! Is it possible that Batman’s tussle with Slade Wilson was all just a ruse to get the killer closer to his true target?

Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Guillem March
Colored by Tomeu Morey
Cover by Tony Salvador Daniel, Danny Miki, and Tomeu Morey

Josh’s Stance: Tynion delivered a solid debut last month, and dangled enough intrigue that I’m looking forward to this issue. The key will be execution though, and, in general, DC hasn’t been performing very well on that front.

Batman-News Critic: Josh

 

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #6
Gotham City’s crushing curse is uncovered! Everything Batman thought he knew about the Wayne family secret is turned upside down as Azrael and The Joker usher anarchy into Arkham-and after a final word with Jack, Harley faces an impossible choice!

Written by Sean Murphy
Pencils and Inks by Sean Murphy
Colored by Matt Hollingsworth
Cover by Matt Hollingsworth and Sean Murphy

Josh’s Stance: Murphy’s storytelling has been a little uneven in Curse of the White Knight, but it’s still a solid story. I’m not quite sure why Bane is on the cover though since he was decapitated in the last issue though.

Batman-News Critic: Brian

 

Batman/ Superman #6
The Secret Six may have met their match when they faced the combined might of Superman and Batman, but don’t count these infected heroes out yet. With the Batman Who Laughs freed from his prison at last, the clock is ticking for the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel to track down the escaped Deathbringer, Sky Tyrant, King Shazam, Scarab, and the most tragic to Superman…his cousin Kara.

Written by Joshua Williamson
Pencils and Inks by David Marquez
Colored by Alejandro Sanchez
Cover by David Marquez and Alejandro Sanchez

Josh’s Stance: The infected heroes have provided a rather entertaining read, but it’s the only thing I’m enjoying from the current Year of the Villain event. While every other Year of the Villain story has been all over the place, this story has been rather consistent in just featuring Batman and Superman’s struggled against the infected and the Batman Who Laughs.

Batman-News Critic: Casper

 

Detective Comics #1019
The Dark Knight is on the trail of the figure behind a brutal series of murders across Gotham City-and what he finds will send a cold shiver up his spine! A public attack on Bruce Wayne has brought the possible perpetrator of these murders to light…so what is an axe-wielding cult leader from the 1600s doing in present-day Gotham? Find out for yourself in the conclusion to Batman’s “Silent Knight.”

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils and Inks by Scott Godlewski
Colored by David Baron
Cover by David Baron, Rafa Sandoval, and Jordi Tarragona

Josh’s Stance: This is an interesting story – a little odd – but I can’t help but think, “Why is this publishing after Christmas?” I know it shouldn’t get to me, but it does. I also have to wonder what Tomasi’s plan would be if he didn’t have to accommodate these events. Based on his first two arcs, it appeared as though he had a solid vision for his run, and now I can’t help but feel that we’re mainly getting filler stories so he can bide his time and wait for all of this Year of the Villain nonsense to end.

Batman-News Critic: Casper

 

MIXED

Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2
Apex predator Lex Luthor is on the hunt for the Batman Who Laughs. To catch his prey, he must follow a trail of broken heroes…leading him to Jim Gordon, one of the victims of the Batman Who Laughs’ deadly virus that turned the heroic police commissioner into the worst version of himself. The trail leads Lex to a lonely cell in the Hall of Justice-but it’s not the good guys who come to stop him. It’s more of the Batman Who Laughs’ dangerous operatives! And if they couldn’t resist the influence of the Dark Multiverse, then how can Lex?

Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Steve Epting and Javier Fernandez
Colored by Nick Filardi
Cover by Steve Epting

Josh’s Stance: You know what I was saying about the Year of the Villain stories being all over the place? Well… Prime example right here. So many writers are doing their own thing with this Doom War/Year of the Villain/ Dark takeover, and it doesn’t feel as though anyone is actually communicating. Snyder is kind of going his direction, while Bendis is doing his own thing, and now Tynion has this… and they’re all contradicting each other. What’s sad, is that this all could’ve been really good, but it seems egos are preventing people from playing nice, while the editors aren’t (or perhaps can’t) appropriately call any shots. And then there’s Didio… Enough said there. Anyway, this is the result. A freaking mess.

Batman-News Critic: Josh

 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO THANK US”

Batgirl #43
After her disastrous dust-up with Oracle, Batgirl needs to regroup. But when Barbara Gordon’s boss sends her to Chicago, she must confront the city’s greatest threat…her estranged mother! Luckily, a dangerous new villain called Opus distracts her from that unhappy reunion by threatening to bury Batgirl in the Windy City-forever!

Written by Cecil Castellucci
Pencils and Inks by Cian Tormey
Colored by Chris Sotomayor
Cover by Steve Buccellato and Carmine Di Giandomenico

Josh’s Stance: I haven’t been impressed with Castellucci’s run on Batgirl since she started, but the addition of the Year of the Villain nonsense with Oracle hasn’t been much better. Now we’re taking a slight side-step, and I can’t say I’m excited because it just feels like stalling.

Batman-News Critic: Matina

 

Batman Beyond #40
Batwoman is doing her best to find Blight, but time is running out. The evil villain is looking to take Terry’s body for good, which would give him a whole new lease on his criminal life. And rather than wait for Batwoman to come to him, Blight takes the fight to her! Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is surprised to find a blast from his past has returned.

Written by Dan Jurgens
Pencils and Inks by Sean Chen
Colored by Chris Sotomayor
Cover by Elizabeth Breitweiser and Lee Weeks

Josh’s Stance: Yeah… I’m still not reading this. It doesn’t appear to be getting much better either, so I don’t really feel bad about it.

Batman-News Critic: Michael

 

Red Hood & the Outlaws #42
No one was harmed in the making of this issue! Red Hood is thrilled Artemis and Bizarro are back…but so much has changed for the Outlaws. For the moment they’re mentors to the next generation of super-villains, and if you don’t think the kids are going to challenge their new teacher, Bizarro…then you don’t know Generation Outlaw! Plus, Jason and Artemis finally follow up on that kiss (you know the one!)…but their feelings surprise them both! In the meantime, an unspeakable darkness reveals itself…did the Outlaws finally come together just in time to watch helplessly as the world ends around them?

Written by Scott Lobdell
Pencils and Inks by Paolo Pantalena
Colored by Arif Prianto
Cover by Paolo Pantalena and Arif Prianto

Josh’s Stance: We’ve now reached full-fledged, New 52 Red Hood & the Outlaws status at this point. If you don’t know what that means, than I’ll remind you that during the New 52, Lobdell’s Outlaws (and Teen Titans) was so bad that he was considered by many to be the worst writer in comes…. So, yeah… I doubt I’ll be reading this issue.

Batman-News Critic: Matina

 

  • Additional releases from DC Comics: Basketful of Heads #4, Books of Magic #16, Far Sector #3, John Constantine: Hellblazer #3, Looney Tunes #253, Metal Men #4, Shazam! #10, Superman #19, Wonder Twins #11, and Wonder Woman #750.

 

GRAPIC NOVEL WATCH:

Batman & the Outsiders Vol. 1: Lesser Gods – Several years ago, Batman put the Barrera family of Gotham City into hiding after rescuing them from an organization called the Ark. Now all but one of them has turned up dead… and Batman needs to locate Sofia Barrera before the wrong people get their hands on her-and her surprising power! And when Black Lightning, Katana, the Signal, and Orphan find out what Batman is really up to, their true loyalties will be called into question. Collects Batman and the Outsiders #1-7.

 

Birds of Prey: Harley Quinn – When Gotham’s favorite sociopath inherits a building on the famous Coney Island boardwalk, she feels right at home in the (literal) freakshow. Unfortunately, the legion of bounty hunters after the price on her head seem to know it, too. Who else but Harley Quinn could handle all that Brooklyn’s criminal underbelly has to offer-Russian spies, senior citizens, and rival roller derby teams included-and still have time for a double chili dog! Collects Harley Quinn #1-7 and Harley Quinn: Future’s End #1 and a story from Secret Origins #4.

 

Justice League International: Born Again – In these 1980s tales, find out what happens when Batman, Superman, and the Justice League face a galactic invasion fleet known as the Cluster, exchange harsh words with Lobo, track Mister Miracle back to Apokolips, and then battle yet another invasion fleet! Collects Justice League #1-6, Justice League International #7-17, Justice League Annual #1, Justice League International Annual #2, and Suicide Squad #13.

 

The Huntress: Origins – These are the 1970s stories that first introduced the Huntress: daughter of Batman and Catwoman of Earth-2! But after her mother is murdered, Helena dons a costume of her own. With her crossbow as her weapon, the Huntress vows to avenge her mother’s death. This title collects stories from DC Super Stars #17, Batman Family #18-20, and Wonder Woman #271-287, #289, #290, #294, and #295.

 

  • Additional releases from DC Comics: Green Lantern: Legacy, Lucifer Vol. 2: The Divine Tragedy, Scooby-Doo Team-Up: It’s Scooby Time,