Welcome back to Upcoming Comics!

I’m finally back from my holiday – which was a little too short, but that’s how holidays always are – and I’m back for a whole new year of DC! I have some interesting plans this year, though several of them are dependent on COVID… so I guess we’ll see if this is the year that we can finally get on top of this virus. I’m of the mindset that we can collectively work together to make this year better despite the curveballs that’ll come our way, and I hope I can keep that energy throughout the year!

With that in mind, here’s what we have for this week:

Upcoming Comics

Robin and Batman #3

To reconcile his trauma and move toward an optimistic future, Dick Grayson must first confront his tragic past. Unfortunately, that step includes a confrontation with an enraged Killer Croc, who is out for Grayson blood! This action-packed issue concludes the epic tale of a young man learning to live and love in a nightmarish world.

Written by Jeff Lemire
Pencils and Inks by Dustin Nguyen
Colored by Dustin Nguyen
Cover by Dustin Nguyen

Batman News Critic: Jay

Detective Comics #1048

“The Tower” part two! The mysteries of Dr. Wear begin to unfold as a new doctor named Frow joins the staff of Arkham Tower. The Bat-Family tries to figure out the best way to infiltrate the facility, but someone may have gotten the drop on them…someone not unfamiliar with psychiatric facilities…one Dr. Harleen Quinzel, better known to you dear readers as Harley Quinn! Backup: “House of Gotham” part two! A boy’s parents were killed by The Joker, and he fell through the cracks of the system. Instead of being sent to a facility that could care for him and his trauma, he was sent to Arkham Asylum! Will the villains inside eat him alive or show him how to survive in a city ruthlessly overseen by Batman??

Written by Matthew Rosenberg and Mariko Tamaki
Pencils by Fernando Blanco and Ivan Reis
Inks by Fernando Blanco and Danny Miki
Colored by Brad Anderson and Jordie Bellaire
Cover by Irvin Rodriguez

Thoughts: I’m very intrigued by the concept of “The Tower” – though obviously not shocked that problems are ocurring the instant the thing was created. The cover art gives me mixed emotions – it’s beautiful, but the faces harken back to the uncanny valley effect I felt with Criminal Sanity.

Batman News Critic: Casper

Batgirls #2

Bondo! Bondo! Bondo! With their new secret muscle car and their new secret patrol route, Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown find moving to their new neighborhood-thanks to Oracle instructing them to “lay low”-that much easier to bear because they have each other. Steph begins witnessing some strange actions through the window of the building across the street and can’t help but investigate if the recent murders are connected to them! Meanwhile, Oracle realizes the most effective way for the girls to wear her newly upgraded comms is by piercing their ears, and Cass freaks out!

Written by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad
Pencils and Inks by Jorge Corona
Colored by Sarah Stern
Cover by Jorge Corona and Sarah Stern

Thoughts: Off to a good start – great for readers who aren’t super familiar with the dynamic of these three just yet. Check out Matina’s reviews!

Batman News Critic: Matina

Batman: Urban Legends #11

BATMAN & ZATANNA: Vita Ayala and Nikola Čižmešija join forces to tell a story that will change Batman and Zatanna’s relationship forever. Every year the two have to come together to defeat an evil curse. This year they fail, and the world is in peril because of it. HOUNDED: Ace the Bat-Hound, the goodest boy in the DCU, has his day in an epic story featuring many DC Super Pets, brought to you by Mark Russell and Karl Mostert. WIGHT WITCH: Catwoman tie-in/“Fear State” aftermath! Aftermath. The mysterious relationship between Ghost-Maker and Wight Witch is revealed in all its horrifying glory here.

Written by Vita Ayala, Mohale Mashigo, Mark Russell and Ram V
Pencils and Inks by Anand RK, Nikola Cizmesija, Arist Deyn and Karl Mostert
Colored by Arist Deyn, Nick Filardi, Trish Mulvihill and John J. Pearson
Cover by Jorge Molina

Thoughts: There are some really talented people working on this book… but good god, the paywall is insane. We’re including tie-ins to event comics in expensive giant-sized issues here, and it feels like a thinly veiled excuse to bleed readers dry.

Review will be covered in a trade release.

The Joker #11

The Joker is about to learn the harsh reality of the motto “Don’t Mess with Texas” as the Sampsons bring him back home to their ranch…for dinner! PUNCHLINE BACKUP: While Harper Row has been making sure that Punchline stays behind bars, her brother, Cullen, has been getting closer to Punchline’s fans. His new boyfriend, Bluff, is hiding a wicked secret that promises to change the shape of organized crime in Gotham, and Punchline’s role, for years to come.

Written by Sam Johns and James Tynion IV
Pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Belén Ortega
Inks by Adriano Di Benedetto, Belén Ortega, Lorenzo Ruggiero and Cam Smith
Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr., Arif Prianto and Alejandro Sanchez
Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Arif Prianto and Cam Smith

Thoughts: I hear equal parts amazing and terrible things about this book, which makes me think it’s worth checking out, at least.

Batman News Critic: Matina

I Am Batman #5

Batman fights for his life against a new breed of Peacekeeper, augmented with his family’s own technology! The only person who might be able to save his life is…Lucius Fox?!

Written by John Ridley
Pencils by Laura Braga, Christian Duce and Juan E. Ferreyra
Inks by Laura Braga, Christian Duce and Juan E. Ferreyra
Colored by Rex Lokus
Cover by Juan Fernandez and Ken Lashley

Thoughts: Bluh. I haven’t read 4 yet – decided to treat myself during my break – but I’m really hoping the change in location gives this book the momentum it needs. Three artists on one issue, though…

Batman News Critic: Myself

Justice League vs the Legion of Super-Heroes #1

One thousand years in the future, a Legion of Super-Heroes comes together to dedicate their lives to recapturing the great age of heroes of the 21st century. When the heroes discover that reality is falling to a great darkness in both times simultaneously, the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes must team up to stop it all. But what is the connection between the secrets of the new Gold Lanterns and the coming of the Great Darkness? A monumental DC epic event miniseries!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Scott Godlewski
Inks by Scott Godlewski
Colored by Ryan Cody
Cover by Ryan Cody, Gabe Eltaeb and Scott Godlewski

Thoughts: If you asked me to look at a roster of DC comic books and to pick which one I thought was written by Bendis, it’d absolutely be this one. Here’s hoping he uses his passion for both teams to his full advantage!

Batman News Critic: Cam

Future State: Gotham #9

Peacekeeper Red teams up with Hunter Panic to learn the origins of the Next Joker from the only person who seems to have answers: Punchline! Can Jason Todd convince her to help in time to stop this deadly new Joker from killing his latest victim? And what will he have to give her to get her to do it?

Written by Corinna Sara Bechko, Dennis Culver and Gabriel Hardman
Pencils and Inks by Gabriel Hardman and Giannis Milonogiannis
Cover by Simone Di Meo

Review will be covered in a trade release.

Pennyworth #6

The pre-Batman years of Alfred Pennyworth are chronicled in this smash-hit series. Now finding himself in a wasteland of a very different kind, Alfred has to show that he hasn’t lost a step when it comes to neutralizing bad guys…but it all might be for nothing when he comes face to face with one of Batman’s most dangerous foes!

Written by Scott Bryan Wilson
Pencils and Inks by Juan Gedeon
Colored by John Rauch
Cover by Jorge Fornés

Thoughts: These covers are some of the most creative pieces I’ve seen in recent Batman history. On the one hand, I feel like I’m doing this book a disservice by not reviewing it month to month… on the other, it’s going to be one hell of a trade review.

Review will be covered in a trade release.

Harley Quinn: The Animated Series: The Eat. Bang! Kill. Tour #5

While Ivy starts reflecting on what’s been happening these last few months after leaving Kite Man at the altar and joining Harley Quinn for a de facto, impromptu honeymoon across the DCU, new villain Mephitic makes himself known to Harley and Ivy at the Black Cat Lounge.

Written by Tee Franklin
Pencils and Inks by Max Sarin
Colored by Marissa Louise
Cover by Max Sarin

Review will be covered in a trade release.

Titans United #5

Black Zero strikes! Superboy has turned on the Titans as Tamaranean forces move to invade Earth. As Donna Troy falls to Conner’s newly restored powers, Raven tries desperately to reach the friend and ally they once knew.

Written by Cavan Scott
Pencils by José Luís
Inks by Jonas Trindade
Colored by Rex Lokus
Cover by Jamal Campbell

Review will be covered in a trade release.

The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #10

An unexpected guest star helps Batman and Mystery Inc. face one of the Justice League’s strangest foes! While the Shaggy Man menaces Scooby and friends (including Shaggy, man) at a seaside resort, only Renee Montoya, a.k.a. the Question, may have the answer to who sent the creature…and why!

Written by Ivan Cohen
Pencils by Dario Brizuela
Colored by Franco Riesco
Cover by Dario Brizuela

Thoughts: Covers like these make me wonder if I’m secretly missing out on the best book of all time.

Review will be covered in a trade release.

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.

This week, we have…

…Nothing.

Yeah, I’m not kidding. Every single DC book out this week is something we would normally cover, or will cover in a later trade release. No wonder we don’t review every issue anymore.

Ratings

Most Excited: Robin and Batman #3. This series has been short and sweet – and it’s better to leave someone wanting more than to give them too much!

Least Excited: Justice League vs The Legion of Super-Heroes #1. I’m trying to be optimistic, but I HAVE been reviewing Bendis’ JL since it began, so.

Wild Card: Detective Comics #1048. It’s been a while since this book has had a dedicated event, and if nothing else, that makes me curious.

Best wishes, and see you in the reviews!

——————

Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch