October solicitations dropped last week, and there are some interesting reveals… A number of books appear to be heading in an interesting direction, and I’m especially curious to see what they do with Grifter in Batman. I can’t say that I like that new costume design they featured for Batman though. It… is awful. DC also announced they are ending Batman & the Outsiders and Batgirl. I’m sad to see Outsiders go. It’s one of the few books in the main continuity that is actually delivering in my opinion. As for Batgirl… Well, I’m not too sad, and I have suspicions that we’ll see the title again soon. I also suspect that it won’t be Babs under the cowl. There’s no substance to back that assumption up, just a hunch.

Last week I said I was going to deliver a piece discussing various aspects of the state of the industry. That’s still coming, I promise, I’ve just had a combination of my day job kicking my ass, and my topic of conversation growing to be something larger than I’d originally intended. But, as I said, it will be coming soon, and will most likely be a small series of articles.

AND… I can’t forget! ComicCon at Home is this weekend! I’ll be there virtually and will share any news or updates that come from it. With FanDome right around the corner, I’m not expecting much from DC, but they will have a very small comics presence there. Anyone else attending virtually? If so, hit me up on Twitter. I’d love to have chat with some of you! (Or, you can just reach out in general. I always respond.)

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 the 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.

JULY 21st

INTRIGUED

Batman Beyond #45
Batman Beyond and Damian Wayne are going to have to join forces in order to stop Mr. Zero and his radical faction from turning Gotham City into an ice-covered hellscape. Damian will have to put his disrespect for the “pretender” that is Batman Beyond aside if they’re going to stop this mutual foe-and even then Mr. Zero’s power and influence might prove too much for this pair!

Written by Dan Jurgens
Pencils by Paul Pelletier
Inks by Norm Rapmund
Colored by Chris Sotomayor
Cover by Dan Mora

Josh’s Stance: Clearly, I’ve caught up on Batman Beyond. And thank you to all of you who called me out for ranking it too low. Honestly, when the amnesia storyline hit, I had to back out. I just couldn’t do it. But, Jurgens has recovered quite well, and is doing some really interesting things here. I also love the inclusion of Damian. That really helps this title feel as though it’s staying true to the “classic” stories we know and love, while also taking the book in a new direction. Anyway, it’s not perfect, but it is entertaining and a worthy, fun read.

Batman News Critic: Michael

 

MIXED

Batman #95
It was always going to come to this. The Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight Detective go head-to-head for the last time. The Joker has never wanted to win before, he’s never wanted his battle with Batman to end, but now his motivation has shifted. He has decided that one way or another, this will be the final chapter to their story. “Joker War” begins here!

Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Jorge Jimenez
Colored by Tomeu Morey
Cover by Jorge Jimenez and Tomeu Morey

Josh’s Stance: I’m crossing my fingers and taking a deep breath, but I don’t have much hope. I’m sorry, I’m just being honest with how I feel. I know many of you like what Tynion is doing – and I’m genuinely glad you like it – but I’m not one of those people. There’s just key pieces to his craft that are lacking, and I started seeing the cracks form in his Batman months ago. And, if you’ll remember, I was this way with King’s run as well. I started speaking out early, and then suddenly post-wedding, everybody caught on to what I’d been complaining about. So, I’m not saying I’m right, but I am saying that time will tell…

Anyway, enough negativity here. I am extremely excited that Jorge Jimenez is joining the book! I love his work and think he’s an incredible storyteller. I’m hoping Tynion can cut back on the exposition and give the characters some room to breathe so Jimenez can really create some great moments.

Batman News Critic: Josh

 

Detective Comics #1024
The story of Two-Face reaches its end, and Harvey Dent will at last find peace after decades of schism. But will that peace be in death, or in the chance at a new life? All along, The Joker has been the puppet master behind the torment of Two-Face, and he knows how to make an entrance! Don’t miss the final battle between Batman, Two-Face, and Lincoln March, with a shocking conclusion that will split you right in two!

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils by Brad Walker
Inks by Andrew Hennessy and Norm Rapmund
Colored by Brad Anderson
Cover by Brad Anderson, Andrew Hennessy, and Brad Walker

Josh’s Stance: Going into this, I was really looking forward to Tomasi picking back up with his Two Face story from years ago during the New 52’s Batman & Robin. It was one of the few “reimaginations” that I thought was handled incredibly well. And I was really enjoying this current arc until “Joker War” had to derail it. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it is clear that this wasn’t the original idea. It’s just frustrating. For the life of me, I don’t understand why DC couldn’t let Tomais and Walker tell their story, then catch up to “Joker War” afterwards. It’s a shame.

Batman News Critic: Casper

 

Joker/ Harley: Criminal Sanity: Secret Files #1
Harley Quinn is hunting two serial killers: The Joker, a brutal psychopath who murdered her roommate and disappeared years ago, and the unidentified killer currently terrorizing Gotham City.

In this one-shot, see pieces of the puzzle on Harley’s investigation board and steal a glimpse into John Kelly’s high school notebook—a book he still carries today. Kami Garcia has been consulting forensic psychiatrist and behavior analyst Edward Kurz, MD, throughout the series to ensure the accuracy of the story and of Harley’s methodology. In this special issue, Dr. Kurz’s work is spotlighted as we reveal secrets from Harley’s past, hidden details of crime scenes, and a real-life profile of The Joker that has driven the progression of his murders in the story!

Written by Kami Garcia and Edward Kurz
Art by David Mack, Jason Badower, and Mico Suayan
Colors by Annette Kwok
Cover by David Mack

Josh’s Stance: Criminal Sanity is fine. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. There are aspects that I really like, and some that I don’t necessarily care for. I think my biggest problem is that neither Joker nor Harley feel like Joker or Harley. That prevents it from resonating as much as it could or should, and knocks the book down a few pegs for me. The art is gorgeous, however, I do agree with Nick on his criticisms of the whole uncanny valley aspect.

Batman News Critic: Nick

 

 

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO THANK US”

Batgirl #47
Knock knock! Who’s there? The Joker. The Joker who? The Joker who’s here to have a nice chat with Barbara Gordon! Don’t miss this devastating tie-in to “Joker War”!

Written by Cecil Castellucci
Pencils and Inks by Robbi Rodriguez
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Cover by Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Josh’s Stance: *Sigh* You know, I already wasn’t fond of the current Batgirl run. Then the whole Scott drama was revealed – which is just a shame. Because of that, I can’t help but think how great she could have made this title had she actually been given the proper chance. Now we have news of the book’s cancellation, so that kind of kills any intrigue that may have remotely been there… But the greatest crime is this damn solicitation. I don’t know who writes the solicits for DC, but they desperately need to hire someone else. One of DC’s greatest villains at the moment is this person. Or people. Whatever. I just know they’re not doing DC any favors.

Batman News Critic: Matina

Additional releases from DC Comics: Action Comics #1023, Amethyst #4, Books of Magic #21, The Flash #758, Justice League Dark #24, The Last God #7, and Shazam! #13.

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL WATCH:

Batman Beyond Vol. 7: First Flight – Who is Batwoman Beyond? With the Caped Crusader missing and Neo-Gotham facing the threat of one of the deadliest villains it’s ever known, a new hero is needed! Bruce Wayne will turn to friends both old and new in order to keep his city safe, but that won’t be enough. Fortunately, a new and mysterious protector will arrive on the scene, taking flight to save the city! But the new Batwoman better be ready- the villainous Blight is back, and he’s bringing the fight to her! Collects Batman Beyond #37-43.

Additional trades from DC Comics: Green Lantern/ Green Arrow: Space Travelling Heroes