Look, I’m going to be honest, I’m not completely certain what DC is or isn’t releasing because their marketing has been… well… to say it’s been poor would be an understatement. So, take everything below with a grain of salt. For example, for their solicits and on their website, they have Batgirl and Teen Titans releasing, but it wasn’t in their review package. Also, they have Justice League: Vol. 5: The Doom War slated for release this week… But I can say with certainty it was at my LCS last week. So, again… If I miss anything, or if one of these titles doesn’t release, I apologize.

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.

JUNE 23rd

TAKE MY MONEY

Batman: The Smile Killer #1
It wouldn’t be a Joker story without a surprise…and right on cue, here’s an unexpected one-shot epilogue to Joker: Killer Smile! Young Bruce Wayne grew up watching The Mr. Smiles Show-and the show might have been watching him back! And not only was young Bruce watching, he was listening…listening as Mr. Smiles spoke across the airwaves only to him…

The Eisner Award-winning creative team of writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino land one last gut-punch-turning the mythos of the Batman on its head in the most devastating trick The Joker has ever devised!

Written by Jeff Lemire
Pencils and Inks by Andrea Sorrentino
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Cover by Andrea Sorrentino

Josh’s Stance: Take my money! Dolla, dolla bills, y’all! I’m throwing some cash!

Batman News Critic: Casper

 

Suicide Squad #6
The hunters have become the hunted! Task Force X is the world’s most wanted-on the run from heroes and villains alike and no closer to taking down the puppet master who’s been pulling their strings. But even if they go to ground, there’s no hiding from the World’s Greatest Detective, and it’ll take every deadly trick in their playbook for the Squad to escape the wrath of Batman!

Written by Tom Taylor
Pencils and Inks by Bruno Redondo
Colored by Adriano Lucas
Cover by Marcelo Maiolo and Bruno Redondo

Josh’s Stance: I’m not happy about DC or Tom Taylor spoiling an upcoming plot – that readers deserved to experience – and while I’ll have my soap-box moment when that issue comes around, for now I’m going to say that I’m really enjoying this title, and you should read it… But it’s still a disgrace that DC can’t just let things happen without ruining for the fanbase. And they wonder why people don’t want to invest in titles anymore…

Batman News Critic: Josh

 

INTRIGUED

Harley Quinn & the Birds of Prey #2
Over the course of her illustrious and very high-class career, Harley’s met pretty much every super-villain who ever worked in Gotham City. Some hate her. Some love her. But none of that’s gonna matter once they see how many zeroes there are on the bounty The Joker’s offering for her head! Sorry, Harley-it’s just business. Your next of kin will understand, right? Meanwhile, Cassandra Cain finds herself in the unenviable position of being Harley Quinn’s bodyguard…but this could be her opportunity to learn a little about, y’know, loosening up? If she’s currently wound too tight, then just sit next to Auntie Harley…she’s got more than her share of loose screws!

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

Josh’s Stance: For me, nobody can deliver this iteration of Harley Quinn like Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, so, yeah, I’m actually excited about this. I thought the first issue was decent, and it was clearly building to something fun and zany!

Batman News Critic: Josh

 

Justice League #47
“Vengeance Is Thine” conclusion! The Justice League battles through the dreaded Pit of Tartarus, mythological prison to the most wretched creatures imaginable.  Batman, Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman must resolve their long-held grudges while they still can-and before the world burns. Yet even if they succeed, they must still defeat the monster that lives and rules at the dark base of Tartarus.

Written by Robert Venditti
Pencils by Eddy Barrows
Inks by Eber Ferreira
Colored by Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Cover by Brad Anderson and Gary Frank

Josh’s Stance: I’m really enjoying what Venditti is doing with Justice League, but it also feels like everything is uncertain. Not the plot itself, necessarily, but more like Venditti was brought on for an arc, and then it got extended because of… well… reasons (Didio, Corona, potential 5G, etc). So, now it’s almost as if DC is like, “Hey, just throw a few more issues out.” And Venditti is like, “Ok… Yeah. How many?” And then DC just kind of laughs nervously because it doesn’t really seem like there’s much of a concise direction and nobody really knows what’s going on… For instance…

Batman News Critic: Nick

 

MIXED

Batman #93
Batman faces off with the Designer as “Their Dark Designs” reaches its epic climax! In the last year, Batman has lost more than he could have imagined, and now he faces a cost so dear it will change the course of his life. And there is worse on the horizon. In the midst of all the horror, he can feel the drumbeat of battle. “Joker War” is coming, and Gotham City will never be the same.

Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Javier Fernandez and Guillem March
Colored by David Baron and Tomeu Morey
Cover by Tony Salvador Daniel and Tomeu Morey

Josh’s Stance: The cynic in me sees “epic” and thinks, “yeah… sure.” But it’s only because I’ve been burned by that promise too many times with comics. Plus, Tynion rarely blows me away, and I already haven’t been feeling this arc.

Batman News Critic: Josh

 

Batman Beyond #44
Batman brings a wounded Damian Wayne to base, only to discover that Damian has been dethroned as leader of the League of Assassins and left for dead by a former acolyte of Ra’s Al Ghul’s called Mr. Zero! Batman, Bruce, and Damian will have to join forces to stop Mr. Zero from eradicating humanity!

Written by Dan Jurgens
Pencils by Sean Chen
Inks by Sean Parsons
Colored by Chris Sotomayor
Cover by Dustin Nguyen

Josh’s Stance: Full disclosure, I still need to catch up on Batman Beyond. I just haven’t had the time. And before anyone makes a snarky remark about the quarantine, I never stopped working… I’ve actually been working more. But, yes, I dropped the book during the entire amnesia bit, but last month’s issue caught my intention and I do plan on jumping back in.

Batman News Critic: Michael

 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO THANK US”

Red Hood: Outlaw #46
Red Hood, Artemis, and Bizarro have their hands full-and until now they thought the biggest problem they had to face was the uprising of the Untitled during the political protests in Qurac! They’re about to learn this ancient race might very well be the lesser of two evils when the Outlaws square off against one of the oldest and most dangerous threats in all the DC Universe! (We’re not kidding-we know better than to say his name out loud! Yeah, he’s that scary!)

Meanwhile, Artemis has united with Mistress-but at what price? Bizarro meets…his mother? And Jason is forced  to choose between Essence and Isabel if he’s going to defeat the Untitled once and for all!

Written by Scott Lobdell
Pencils by Travis Mercer and Paolo Pantalena
Inks by Livesay and Paolo Pantalena
Colored by Arif Prianto
Cover by Sunny Gho and Paolo Pantalena

Josh’s Stance: I mean… I guess if you don’t have anything better to do, then you might want to pick this up… But, Red Hood hasn’t been great lately.

Batman News Critic: Matina

  • Additional releases from DC Comics: Aquaman #60, Books of Magic #20, The Flash #756, Green Lantern 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1, John Constantine: Hellblazer #7, The Low, Low Woods #6, Plunge #4, and Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #11.

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL WATCH

Justice League Vol. 5: Justice/Doom War – The Justice-Doom War approaches! This is the culmination of the Legion of Doom’s master plan, and some may not survive. Eons ago, the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, and the World Forger stopped the rise of Perpetua. Now Lex Luthor is trying to empower Perpetua, turning the world toward doom. The Justice League must race through the past, present, and future to gather pieces of the Totality if they want to stop Lex Luthor’s plan from coming to fruition. But the Legion of Doom will stop at nothing to unleash Perpetua on the Multiverse. Collects Justice League #29-39.

 

Legends of the Dark Knight by Matt Wagner – Writer/artist Matt Wagner’s noir tales of the Dark Knight are collected in a single volume for the first time! Batman has spent his first year fighting organized crime-but nothing in his early career as the Caped Crusader has prepared him for the new menace facing Gotham City: super-villains! Plus, Two-Face creates an army of deformed slaves! Collects Batman and the Monster Men #1-6, Batman and the Mad Monk #1-6, Batman: Riddler: The Riddle Factory #1, Batman #54, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #28-30, and a story from Batman Black and White #3.

 

Year of the Villain: The Infected – Relive these tales of heroes who were reborn as the Infected…corrupted versions of some of DC’s greatest heroes, now gifted with new powers, but whose souls have been blackened by the Batman Who Laughs. Supergirl, Hawkman, Shazam, Blue Beetle, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and former Teen Titan Donna Troy are all transformed-and now they are pawns in the Batman Who Laughs’ efforts to destroy the heroes of the DC Universe! Collects Supergirl #36, Hawkman #18, The Infected: King Shazam #1, The Infected: Scarab #1, The Infected: Deathbringer #1, and The Infected: The Commissioner #1.

  • Additional Graphic Novels from DC Comics: Primer