Wow, this is a big week!

DC’s finally getting back into a rhythm after the mess that was 2020 and the AT&T merger – and while they haven’t pulled me back in just yet, there’s a lot of content that has my attention, if nothing else. Hey, has anyone else noticed that Aquaman’s books have been some of DC’s best and most consistent since 2011?

Batman: Reptilian has its first issue launching this week, and it’s definitely been one of the most talked-about bat-books of the year so far. Ennis is not a fan of Batman as a character, but wrote this story for acclaimed artist Steve Dillon before his tragic passing in 2016. Now, Ennis felt ready to release the book with the powerhouse that is Liam Sharp handling the art – beginning with a tribute to Dillon, which I find really touching. How do you guys feel about Ennis, Dillon and Sharp?

Finally, I just watched an advance copy of The Long Halloween Part One – expect a spoiler-free review of that pretty soon! It’s got me thinking about Jeph Loeb’s Batman stories, and if they’ve aged well after all this time. I read and enjoyed Hush pretty recently, but I wasn’t as hot on Catwoman: When in Rome.

Anyway, let’s see what we’ve got this week!

Upcoming Comics

RWBY/Justice League #3

Ruby and Bruce head to the Faunus Quarter to investigate reports of a red-and-gold blur. But things quickly get out of hand as the blur runs circles around the pair of heroes! Meanwhile, Weiss and Diana infiltrate the Schnee Dust Company and discover a half-man, half-automaton. Can they earn the Cyborg’s trust, or will they be assimilated into the circuitry?!

Written by Marguerite Bennett
Pencils by Emanuela Lupacchino
Inks by Wade von Grawbadger
Colored by Hi-Fi

Matina’s Thoughts: I feel like my initial excitement for this series is waning. The last issue had some interesting moments, but overall I’m still waiting for it to click for me. 

Teen Titans Academy #4

Who is RED X? The students of Titans Academy want to know, and they want to know NOW! After the infiltration of the school by the Suicide Squad, three unlikely students launch their own investigation into the mysterious figure’s true identity and motivation. What they find is shocking and surprising, if any of it is actually true!

Written by Tim Sheridan
Pencils and Inks by Steve Lieber
Colored by Dave Stewart
Cover by Alejandro Sanchez, Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona

Corbin’s Thoughts: So far, Teen Titans Academy has been ignoring its interesting premise and brand new characters in favor of gimmicky mysteries, unnecessary crossovers, and lazy setups for other comics. The series has some serious growing to do if it’s going to earn back any of the goodwill that it has so flippantly pissed away.

Harley Quinn #4

I may be in the sewer, but you better get your mind outta the gutter! That rhymin’ zombie known as Solomon Grundy ain’t happy that I’m in his domain (but to be fair…it’s also Killer Croc’s domain too, there’s a lotta sewer dwellers in Gotham). Grundy’s either going to welcome me with open arms or crush me! And I can’t let that happen, ’cause Kevin’s at the mercy of Hugo Strange. Hugo’s going to do everything in his power to break Kevin and turn him against me, I hope in our brief time together, Kevin’s learned a little perseverance!

Written by Stephanie Phillips
Pencils by Riley Rossmo
Inks by Jay Leisten
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
Cover by Riley Rossmo

Brian’s Thoughts: I’ve been fairly happy with this book, but I’m ready for something a bit bigger to happen. It’s been fun, but it feels like it’s taken maybe an issue too long to get somewhere. We’ll see if #4 gets us moving.

(Note: Harley Quinn will be reviewed by Matina this week.)

Robin #3

It’s a beach party from hell! Robin’s mission to get to the heart of the League of Lazarus’s inner workings has left him once again locked in combat with his fellow fighters, but never did Damian Wayne think it would lead to a beach-blanket cookout. What’s more dangerous than a life-or-death struggle for the all-or-nothing prize of immortality? Well, for Damian, it’s acting like a normal teenager for five minutes. And don’t miss the surprise confrontation with Damian’s number 1 competition, a mysterious fighter trained by the League of Shadows!

Written by Joshua Williamson
Pencils and Inks by Gleb Melnikov
Colored by Luis Guerrero and Gleb Melnikov
Cover by Gleb Melnikov

Matina’s Thoughts: I’m having a blast with this series. Every month it’s the thing I want to read first. This month is no different, I mean the concept of Damian hanging out at a beach party and trying to fit in? Come on, that’s just wonderful.

Me, deciding to butt in because it’s my column: Agreed. Please read this comic.

Justice League #63

The Trial of Naomi commences! After the shocking events of the last few issues of Justice League, the team is forced to confront its larger issues as a group and the responsibilities the League has to the world where they live versus the Multiverse at large. Guest stars galore as Justice League members from the past come to give guidance for the future. Naomi’s fate is revealed. Black Adam joining the Justice League becomes public, and the fallout is surprising. And what cosmic secret is Hawkgirl carrying with her?
Meanwhile, the Justice League Dark must rely on the wit of John Constantine to make their way back to the real world, which is slowly losing its grip with Merlin ready to remake it in his image. Little do they know, a knight from the sorcerer’s past is the key to stopping him once and for all. Will she survive long enough to help our heroes?

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Ram V
Pencils and Inks by Xermanico and David Marquez
Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Ivan Plascencia
Cover by David Marquez and Alejandro Sanchez

My Thoughts: My patience for Bendis’ storytelling is wearing a little thin, so I hope this issue picks up the pace. I’d say the solicitation gives me confidence, but I learned a long time ago not to trust solicits. Meanwhile, I’m liking Ram V’s JLD more and more, which is making me more frustrated that it’s not its own comic.

Batman: Reptilian #1

What strikes fear into the hearts of those who terrorize Gotham? It used to be Batman, but something far more frightening than a mere man stalks the shadows-and it’s after Gotham’s villains. How savage must a monster be to haunt the dreams of monsters? Pick up this dark and bone-chilling tale by comics legends Garth Ennis and Liam Sharp to find out!

Written by Garth Ennis
Pencils, Inks and Colors by Liam Sharp
Cover by Liam Sharp

Brian’s Thoughts: Killer Croc. That’s enough to get me on board to check this one out. Let’s see where it takes us!

Michael’s Thoughts: I love Garth Ennis. I love Liam Sharp. What else can I say?

Me again: I’ve read the opening to this, and it’s a really strong start. Definitely keep an eye on this one.

(Note: Batman: Reptilian will be reviewed by Michael this week.)

Batman/Superman #19

To thwart the apocalypse cascading across multiple realities, Batman and Superman must join forces with their counterparts and sojourn to strange lands! The World of the Knight and the World of Tomorrow are not the only two creations crafted by the sinister Auteur.io – and this nefarious cybernetic despot is hell-bent on at last crafting his own twisted notion of utopia. Join a list of all-star artists as we tour through the ARCHIVE OF WORLDS!

Written by Gene Luen Yang
Pencils by Kyle Hotz, Steve Lieber, Emanuela Lupacchino and Darick Robertson
Inks by Kyle Hotz, Steve Lieber, Darick Robertson, Matt Santorelli and Wade von Grawbadger
Colored by Sabine Rich
Cover by Danny Miki, Ivan Reis and Sabine Rich

Casper’s Thoughts: Everyone should read this series! Every issue of Yang’s run so far has been a well-written adventure with strong art. However, I do notice that Reis isn’t on art duties this month. We’re getting several artists working on this issue, and I’m just hoping it’s not going to be a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” But still, everyone should read this series!!

Detective Comics #1038

An epic battle is taking place in Gotham City…below the city streets?! Batman and MR. WORTH are locked in a deadly duel involving a rocket launcher, a micro-cave subterranean system, and a whole lot of bloody knuckles. Can Huntress save Lady Clayface before the entire city collapses from underneath itself? Plus: the insidious VILE makes his move, and boy is it UGLY…
FEATURING “MARCH OF THE PENGUIN”: Gotham’s seediest gangster is looking to take advantage of the unrest in the city, and the Penguin is finally ready to make his move!

Written by Meghan Fitzmartin and Mariko Tamaki
Pencils by Viktor Bogdanovic and Karl Mostert
Inks by Viktor Bogdanovic, Jonathan Glapion, Daniel Henriques and Karl Mostert
Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Cover by Dan Mora

Casper’s Thoughts: I had mixed feelings about the previous issue. On the one hand, the writing took a dip in quality, which was me slightly worried, because I want this series to be good. On the other hand, Bogdanovic’s art is fantastic, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work on the title!

Checkmate #1

From the award-winning creative team behind last year’s Event Leviathan comes the next surprising chapter in DC Comics’ deadliest saga.
Leviathan has agents and acolytes all over the world-but what is the secret behind its power? The planet’s last, best hope to infiltrate Leviathan may be this motley collection of spymasters, now teamed up to try to take back the world that was stolen from under us all! Green Arrow, the Question, Talia al Ghul and other unlikely allies converge to tackle Leviathan as members of the new Checkmate-but who is the surprise hero behind this team? Big clues to the future of the DC Universe start here!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils and Inks by Alex Maleev
Colored by Dave Stewart
Cover by Alex Maleev

Cam’s Thoughts: The roster alone is enough to get me interested in this book, but I’m interested in seeing how they follow up Event Leviathan. Hopefully it works out into an entertaining book, because these characters deserve the world.

Beyond the Bat

Welcome to Beyond the Bat! Here you can see everything else that DC is releasing this week, beyond the scope of the books we cover on the website.

I think the most important book to check out this week would be the first issue of Infinite Frontier. If it ends up being relevant enough, we’ll cover it, but for now it’s sitting in more nebulous territory. I hope it’s good!

Ratings

Most Excited: Robin #3. This book gets me pumped up in a way I haven’t felt much since I was keeping up with Scott Snyder’s Batman, and it manages to accomplish it with so much less. I feel we’re in the year of the sidekick for Batman comics!

Least Excited: RWBY/Justice League #3. One day, I’ll go off about my problems with RWBY at length. You should fear me on this day. I’m sure this book is harmless, though.

Wild Card: Checkmate #1. I thought Event Leviathan had a fantastic start before fizzling into absolutely nothing, so I hope Bendis manages to find that earlier momentum again.

Poll

Last week, I asked you the best Nightwing Costume – and as expected, it was a landslide victory for Dick’s black-and-blue look! His red and black suit came in second place at 12% of the vote, which is respectable for a suit that tends to get a lot of backlash. Meanwhile, in a separate poll deciding between Nightwing’s black-and-blue outfits, his current look only narrowly defeated the fingerstripes at 51% of the vote.

Today, since The Long Halloween Part One is on its way, our poll is gonna focus on Jeph Loeb’s Batman comics!

Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!

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Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch