Birds of Prey & the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn opened over the weekend to some soft numbers. In what appears to be a hail Mary response, Warner Bros. is changing the name of the film to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Am I surprised with the performance and name change? Yes and no. The name change seems a little late, but it can’t hurt. As for the film itself, I thought the marketing was incredibly weak, but I actually enjoyed the movie and assumed good word-of-mouth would drive people to see it. While it isn’t perfect, it’s a lot of fun. I do think the R rating negatively impacted sales more than anything, but I also think that by not taking full advantage of Harley’s brand, Warner Bros set themselves up to take a hit. Then there’s the whole argument of pushing agendas/ containing “off-brand” representations of characters. If you didn’t see it, what kept you? Were you waiting for more feedback? Was it the R rating? I’d love to know. Do you plan on seeing it this week? Perhaps for Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.

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.

FEBRUARY 12th

TAKE MY MONEY

Batman & the Outsiders #10
When Batman recruited Black Lightning to join the Outsiders, he warned him of the dark world he was entering. Black Lightning shrugged it off, but now that Ra’s al Ghul has gone after him directly, the darkness Batman warned of has enveloped him. Will the Outsiders be able to free him from it?

Written by Bryan Edward Hill
Pencils and Inks by Dexter Soy
Colored by Veronica Gandini
Cover by Tyler Kirkham, Kevin Nowlan, and Arif Prianto

Josh’s Stance: Out of all of the in-continuity books DC is releasing, Batman & the Outsiders is the one that I actually look forward to reading. Hill and Soy continue to elevate this book with each and every issue, and I can’t help but feel that enough people aren’t reading or talking about this book.

Batman News Critic: Josh

 

INTRIGUED

Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey #1
The creative team that transformed Harley Quinn forever returns to shake up her world once more-and this time, the gloves are off!

Harley Quinn has avoided Gotham City ever since she broke up with The Joker and found a home, and a kind of family, in Coney Island. But when she gets an offer she can’t refuse, she has no choice but to slip back into the city as quietly as she can, hoping to be gone before anyone-especially her ex-learns she’s been there. But for Harley, “as quietly as she can” is plenty loud…and before she can say “Holee bounty hunters, Batman,” The Joker’s sicced every super-villain in the city on her pretty ombré head-and the only team tough enough (or crazy enough) to come to her defense is the Birds of Prey!

The foul-mouthed, no-holds-barred sequel to one of DC’s raciest runs is here! Get on board early, before we come to our senses!

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

Josh’s Stance: I recently revisted Conner and Palmiotti’s Harley Quinn run from the New 52, and had a blast reading it. That has me excited for this miniseries. May this live up to the same madness and fun that they delivered before.

Batman News Critic: Josh

 

The Batman’s Grave #5
The Batman is summoned to Arkham Asylum, where he is presented with parts of a deadly puzzle he couldn’t see assembling all around him. And he may not make it out alive.

Written by Warren Ellis
Pencils and Inks by Bryan Hitch
Colored by Alex Sinclair
Cover by Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair

Josh’s Stance: While I’m enjoying the technical aspects of The Batman’s Grave, Ellis and Hitch really need to pull the pieces together and start driving the plot. I’m still waiting for the hook, but I suspect a number of people have already moved on.

Batman News Critic: Josh

 

Batman: Pennyworth RIP #1
Alfred Pennyworth served the Wayne family for decades-even through the tragic loss of Bruce Wayne’s parents. His death at the hands of Bane is the only event that could possibly compare to that fateful night in Crime Alley, and it leaves Bruce at a similar crossroads. If Alfred was the glue that held the Bat-Family together, how will Batman deal with that all falling apart? And if the Caped Crusader is to be truly alone, he might either hang that cape up once and for all…or double down and carry on with this vengeful quest forever. Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. #1 celebrates the life of one of the most important people in the history of Gotham City, while also addressing questions about what’s next.

Written by Peter J. Tomasi and James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Eddy Barrows, Chris Burnham, Sumit Kumar, David Lafuente, Diogenes Neves, and More…
Colored by Nathan Fairbairn, Rex Lokus, and Adriano Lucas
Cover by Mat Lopes and Lee Weeks

Josh’s Stance: So, as it turns out, King never intended on killing Alfred, but it was the publishers, instead, that decided they wanted him dead… Yeah, I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I’ll just leave it with, “And we wonder why the DC books aren’t that good right now…” Anyway, I’m not excited for this issue. That doesn’t mean I don’t think it could be good, I’m just not excited for it.

Batman News Critic:

 

MIXED

Gotham City Monsters #6
It all ends here! Melmoth is looking to destroy the world before anyone else gets their evil hands on it, but he better watch out-the Monsters aren’t ready to see their planet die. It may not treat them the best, but it’s home! Frankenstein in particular has a big stake in stopping Melmoth. If he can defeat this diabolical mastermind once and for all, it means he will be free of the curse of their shared blood.

Written by Steve Orlando
Pencils and Inks by Amancay Nahuelpan
Colored by Trish Mulvihill
Cover by Hi-Fi, Howard Porter, and Philip Tan

Josh’s Stance: This is the final issue of Orlando’s Gotham City Monsters, and perhaps his final issue with DC for some time. In case you missed his tweet recently, Steve Orlando is stepping away from DC Comics to work on creative-owned projects.

Batman News Critic: Michael

 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO THANK US”

Catwoman #20
Raina Creel’s thugs are making a move on the pawn shop where Catwoman has set up headquarters, and if Selina can’t stop them, it could cost the lives of the allies she has working there. Luckily, none of them will go down without a fight; unluckily, Raina’s biggest bad may have more fight than any of them can handle.

Written by Joelle Jones
Pencils and Inks by Fernando Blanco
Colored by FCO Plascencia
Cover by Laura Allred and Joelle Jones

Josh’s Stance: I dropped this book with the last issue. The plot has been so inconsistent and all over the place, and considering my schedule is as stacked as it is, I didn’t see much worth in reading the book… Which is a shame because I love Catwoman as a character.

Batman News Critic: Michael

 

Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy #6
It’s the end of the road for our Gotham City sirens…and the revelation of Poison Ivy’s shocking secret will rock you to your core! Will Harley Quinn be able to make the ultimate sacrifice to become the hero she so desperately wants to be? Or will old habits die hard and end Harley and Ivy’s friendship forever?

Written by Jody Houser
Pencils by Adriana Melo
Inks by Mark Morales
Colored by Hi-Fi
Cover by Mikel Janin

Josh’s Stance: I’ve said it multiple times and I’ll say it again. Wasted opportunity.

Batman News Critic: Nick

 

NO!

Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul #4
Deadman’s intervention into Chiaroscuro’s plot to keep Batman out of his home dimension bears unexpected fruit as she reveals a hidden connection! Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has invited Ra’s al Ghul to Wayne Manor for afternoon tea and conversation.

Written by Neal Adams
Art by Neal Adams
Cover by Neal Adams

Josh’s Stance: I know Nick is loving the lunacy of this book, but I just have to shake my head and walk away. Haha! What are your thoughts on Batman vs Ra’s al Ghul? Is it so bad that it’s good, or just plain bad?

Batman News Critic: Nick

 

  • Additional releases from DC Comics: The Dollhouse Family #4, The Flash #88, The Green Lantern: Season 2 #1, Hawkman #21, House of Whispers #18, Supergirl #39, Superman #20, Superman: Heroes #1, The Terrifics #25, and Wonder Woman #751.

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL WATCH:

Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 3: Blind Justice – Batman must confront the evil that he is responsible for creating and personal demons that have haunted him since that fateful night in Crime Alley. Plus, the Dark Knight Detective usually works alone, but the threat of mass murder in the financial district forces him to team up with a bizarre private eye. Then, movies of death are being filmed in Gotham-and Batman may be the next star. This and more iconic stories from the late 1980s! Collecting Detective Comics #592-600.

 

Batman Tales: Once Upon a Crime – Gotham City is filled with stories-of heroes and of villains, of police and criminals, of families both lost and found. But the enchanted short stories in Batman Tales are brought to life with a classic fairy-tale twist that will fill you with wonder. Once upon a crime in Gotham…

Damian Wayne dreams of becoming a real boy wonder-as long as he can avoid telling lies and making his nose grow.

Batman’s butler takes an unexpected trip through the looking glass and finds himself in a topsy-turvy world, for Alfred’s in Wonderland!

Gotham City Police Department detectives interrogate Gotham’s most dangerous criminals looking for the princess who stole the pea.

And Batman meets a snow queen who leads him on a dangerous quest.

Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen, the creative team behind Batman: Li’l Gotham, return to their Bat-roots-this time with a fairy-tale flair!

 

Harley Quinn & the Gotham Girls – Unable to resist a golden opportunity to fund her beloved lion preserve, Catwoman heists a vial of a mysterious formula for a shady company-only to discover she’s actually working for Harley and Ivy! Detective Renee Montoya, investigating the theft of the formula, follows the deadly trail of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, while Ivy tries to convince Catwoman and Batgirl that they should cooperate with her. Then, Harley Quinn gets control of the chemical formula everyone wants, which means that nothing goes as planned-not even for her best pal, Poison Ivy! Collects Gotham Girls #1-5.

 

Justice League: Corporate Maneuvers – For the first time the start of the 1990s, Justice League Quarterly returns to print with quirky adventures from the Justice League International era! In these stories, meet the Conglomerate, a new super-team assembled by Booster Gold! Booster’s new pals and gals include Maxi-Man, Praxis, Gypsy, Echo, Vapor, and Reverb, but Booster has to wonder if their industry backers want them to be heroes…or corporate puppets. Collects Justice League Quarterly #1-4.

 

  • Additional releases from DC Comics:  Animal Man by Grant Morrison Book One, Billy Batson & the Magic of Shazam!: Family Affair, Blackhawks: Blood & Iron, Swamp Thing: Tales from the Bayou, Wonder Woman by George Perez Vol. 4,