Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!
So, a lot dropped during DC Fandome this week… though, if I’m gonna be frank, I wasn’t really as charmed by this time around. It’s no one’s fault, really: 2020 was sort of an interim year, and it’s understandable that not much has progressed on account of the pandemic. It was nice to see glimpses of Black Adam, Aquaman and Shazam, but none of it really fuelled my enthusiasm. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League came close, because I’ll buy anything Rocksteady puts out! That said, even that didn’t have a single glimpse of gameplay.
The obvious elephant in the room is the new trailer for The Batman, which I thought was pretty good. There’s some discourse online about the value of an even more “realistic” Batman, but I think it has a visual style that’s distinct enough from the Nolan movies for it not to be a problem. I think people forget how charming and fun the Nolan movies are a lot of the time – realism wasn’t their primary goal, I don’t think, and they certainly never looked this gritty. Colin Farrel looks like a wonderful Penguin, and I’m really curious about Paul Dano’s Riddler. I think what has me most intrigued is how the plot seems to relate to possible corruption within the Waynes of yesteryear, and having loved that in Telltale’s Batman, I’m happy to see it again.
Anyway, here’s what we’ve got for this week!
Batman and Miracle Molly are all that stands between Gotham City and absolute insanity! But an unhinged Simon Saint brings all the resources of the Magistrate to bear on the Dark Knight…is victory at hand for the Scarecrow?
Back-Up: Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown have each other’s backs no matter what—even if it means punching some Magistrate soldier butt, and putting an even bigger target on their backs. Meanwhile, a mysterious Anti-Oracle character finally makes contact directly with Babs and has a few things to say about the unethical nature of Oracle’s powers, and what they think should be done about it.
Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils and Inks by Jorge Jiménez
Back-up Written by Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Back-up Pencils and Inks by Jorge Corona
Cover by Jorge Jiménez
Josh’s Thoughts: Batman… Back on a double-ship schedule… When I could honestly just do without. Maybe something will actually happen in this issue.
Pulled apart and torn together!
Setting new boundaries in their relationship leads to conflict at home and on the mean streets of Gotham for Batman and Catwoman. With opportunists like the Penguin waiting in the wings to strike, our hero becomes more vulnerable than ever. Meanwhile, Phantasm locates her target—The Joker!
Written by Tom King
Art by Liam Sharp
Cover by Clay Mann
Michael’s Thoughts: Liam Sharp’s first issue on the series resulted in one of its stronger outings so far. I still don’t entirely know where this book is heading, but that’s exciting in its own right and Sharp’s art has given the series a much needed shot in the arm. I think this series will read much better in the trade, however my general opinion on it has been trending upward.
Batman Secret Files: Peackeeper-01 #1
Picking up after the events of Fear State: Alpha, follow Sean Mahoney, a.k.a. Peacekeeper-01, in the wake of his exposure to highly potent Fear Toxin at the hands of the Scarecrow! Now, dosed with terror and facing a lifetime of fear and insecurity, Mahoney has found himself frantically reflecting on his past as a GCPD officer, and then as a prison guard at Arkham Asylum—all while desperately attempting to keep his mind from fracturing. Will Peacekeeper-01 give into fear…or become terror incarnate?
Story by James Tynion IV and Ed Brisson
Pencils and Inks by Joshua Hixson
Cover by Rafael Sarmento
My Thoughts: I was actually really big on Peacekeeper-01 when I first met him in Future State – I thought he was a strong and intimidating presence, who acted as a great foil to the characters in a cyberpunk version of Gotham. Recent issues have hurt how I feel about him, though, so we’ll see if this book salvages it.
Batman vs. Bigby! A Wolf in Gotham #2
Taking down the big bad wolf is at the top of Batman’s agenda, but the Dark Knight is the least of Bigby’s concerns. He has the pulse of more sinister forces at work when he takes to the streets to track down a magical book that’s gone missing from Fabletown!
Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Brian Level and Jay Leisten
Cover by Yanick Paquette
Jay’s Thoughts: To be honest, I have no idea what this book is meant to be. It doesn’t seem to be aimed at Batman fans, and it really doesn’t seem like it’s for Fables readers either. The first issue went down a little easier on the second read through, but it’s nowhere near what I would call great, or even compelling. Maybe things will settle a bit in the second issue, or maybe they’ll double down on the weirdness. Either way, it’s a thing that’s coming out.
The Gotham City Sirens reunion no one saw coming! As Ivy senses Queen Ivy’s presence and her behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Catwoman decides that she is too vulnerable to keep in Alleytown and a plan is hatched to get her out of Gotham. But to do it, she’s going to need the help of The Riddler—but even after Selina saved him from certain doom, can he be trusted? Meanwhile, the flickering assassin known as the Wight Witch, flanked by Magistrate soldiers, has arrived to return Ivy to Simon Saint! Harley Quinn and The Gardener join the fight against Wight Witch and the Magistrate! Also featuring…Ghost-Maker!
Written by Ram V
Art by Nina Vakueva
Cover by Yanick Paquette
Michael’s Thoughts: While I was okay to play along with my favorite DC series being stuck doing an event tie in arc, I’m disappointed this will essentially be the end of Ram V and Fernando Blanco’s run. Even with this abrupt change of creative teams, I consider this run to be one of the strongest in recent history. It’s just a shame it’s ending right when I was getting comfortable with it.
Catwoman: Lonely City #1
Ten years ago, the massacre known as Fools’ Night claimed the lives of Batman, The Joker, Nightwing, and Commissioner Gordon…and sent Selina Kyle, the Catwoman, to prison. A decade later, Gotham has grown up—it’s put away costumed heroism and villainy as childish things. The new Gotham is cleaner, safer…and a lot less free, under the watchful eye of Mayor Harvey Dent and his Batcops. It’s into this new city that Selina Kyle returns, a changed woman…with her mind on that one last big score: the secrets hidden inside the Batcave! She doesn’t need the money—she just needs to know…who is “Orpheus”?
Visionary creator Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman, Paper Girls) writes, draws, colors, and letters the story of a world without Batman, where one woman’s wounds threaten to tear apart an entire city! It’s an unmissable artistic statement that will change the way you see Gotham’s heroes and villains forever!
Story by Cliff Chiang
Art by Cliff Chiang
Cover by Cliff Chiang
My Thoughts: This is the book to look out for, this week – I have Paper Girls on my bookshelf right now, and while I haven’t gone through all of it yet, this might inspire me to do just that.
Legends of the Dark Knight #6
Two Gotham City horror stories! One following a possessed Solomon Grundy and the other a story where Batman is forced to join forces with Killer Croc!
Written by Becky Cloonan and Matthew Rosenberg
Art by Dike Ruan and Cian Tormey
Cover by Dike Ruan
Matina’s Thoughts: I’ve really been enjoying this series a lot! The variety of stories, artists, and writers we’re getting with each installment makes it exciting to pick up every new issue, and just right for when you want a Batman tale anyone can pick up. And this month we get double that, with two stories packed into this issue!
Babs takes the Anti-Oracle attack on her Oracle Network personally, and she suits up as Batgirl, accompanying Nightwing and Tim Drake to track down who is responsible. But with fear consuming the streets of Gotham, Batgirl and Nightwing accidentally get hit with something that reveals their deepest fears…and it involves each other.
Written by Tom Taylor
Pencils and Inks by Robbi Rodriguez
Cover by Bruno Redondo
Michael’s Thoughts: Time has not been kind to my opinion on Tom Taylor’s Nightwing run up til now and this Fear State arc isn’t doing it any favors. I don’t think I’m a huge fan of Robbi Rodriguez’s style and while I am a fan of Dick and Barbara becoming closer romantically, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for these next couple of issues.
Suicide Squad #8
Squad in Hell!
“Hell and Back” Part 2! Stuck in Hell, the Squad’s only chance for survival is…Ambush Bug?! While one Squad deals with its newest fourth wall-breaking member, Peacemaker and his crew fight for survival as they hunt for the Swamp Thing!
Written by Robbie Thompson
Art by Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira
Cover by Eduardo Pansica
Cam’s Thoughts: I thought this issue was going to be a heist on Oa, which made me really excited, but then I remembered it got delayed, so now I’m excited for next month instead.
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.
Most Excited: Catwoman: Lonely City #1. It’s always a treat to see someone writing an illustrating their own entire book, and when done right, I feel it paves the way for some of the most authentic comic book storytelling there is.
Least Excited: I was going to say Suicide Squad, but honestly, Michael’s reviews have also definitely impacted my opinion on Nightwing.
Wild Card: Batman #115. I definitely have more positive opinions towards this book than others, but even I can see it’s kind of… dawdling. Let’s hope this changes here.
Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch