...Or something. That was last year, which with us rapidly approaching March, I think we can all agree is well and truly over. Like I said, its 2009, and there's a whole new roster of comics coming this year.
But what about the months 2009 has already blown through? Well, to be fair, although there were some gems to be found in January and February, they were more transitionary months. For DC, we went through the incredibly boring "Faces of Evil" month in January, where the cover of every ongoing series featured a series-specific villain, and told stories either with that villain in them, or from that villain's perspective. Not giving two florgs about villains, you can imagine that wasn't a very interesting set of Wednesdays for me.
They followed that up with the incredibly depressing Origins and Omens month, where the stories were normal, but followed by back-up stories featuring Origins of the characters along with portents of what would be happening in that book for the rest of the year, with the ending always depressing because, well, the back-ups were being told by a villain.
Meanwhile, over at Marvel, they've been dealing with the immediate fall-out of their 2008 event, Secret Invasion. Which I never read.
Just basically some all-around boring stuff. Its only now that we're hitting March that there's been anything worth talking about. Now, admittedly, I don't know everything coming out in '09, so this list is in no way comprehensive, but let's go down the months for what we *do* know.
R.E.B.E.L.S. - Okay, so February wasn't entirely boring, since this launched. R.E.B.E.L.S. is (hopefully) DC's attempt to flesh out the space corner of their universe, the way Marvel's been doing since 2006 or so. The way it goes is there's this brilliant alien from a planet called Colu (Brainiac's planet), named Vril Dox. Vril formed an intergalactic, private (read: gotta pay for 'em!) police force named L.E.G.I.O.N. (Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network.), but at the start of this series this force has been taken from him, and he creates a team called R.E.B.E.L.S. (Revolutionary Elite Brigade to Eradicate L.E.G.I.O.N. Supremacy) in order to take his organization back.
First issue was a bit slow, but crazy good. And given that writer Tony Bedard has already crafted kick-ass space stories before at CrossGen with Negation, and the beauty that is new artist Andy Clarke's art, I see no reason why I shouldn't be a *little* hyped. I also understand at some point this book's going to be given a companion title and a mini-event later in the year, which you can consider on the list, but invisible, since I don't know the names or creative teams or have an idea of what those future books would be about. (Come back to me in two months or so when the solicits for August or out.)
Battle for the Cowl - As of DC's last event Final Crisis, Batman's gone and believed to be dead. Obviously, Battle for the Cowl is the three issue mini-series of who gets to take his place. Will it be Dick Grayson, the original Robin that now does his heroing as Nightwing? Or will it be Jason Todd, the wayward son of the Bat-Family? Or Tim Drake, the current Robin? Or someone else completely unexpected? (Prolly not.) Who knows? I just wanna see people in tights smack each other around, which is something I'm sure I'll get outta this.
Superman: World of New Krypton - A 12 issue maxi-series being written by James Robinson and Greg Rucka, two of my favorite writers in comics. As a result of last year's completely awesome epic New Krypton story, there now exists a brand-new Krypton on the opposite side of the sun.
World of New Krypton is the story of how Superman interacts with his newly discovered people, and how he tries to be the same example to his own race that he is to Earth, only without the added benefit of being a superhero. (On this planet, everybody has his powers, after all.)
Just thinking about everything Superman will have to deal with in this story, both in terms of villains (Zod and Supergirl's mother Alura) and in terms of internal conflict (is he an Earthling, Kryptonian, or should he even make that choise as Superman) gets me giddy. The next 12 months should hopefully be pure win.
Action Comics - While Superman is busy on New Krypton, Action Comics will become the title of two new superheroes, Nightwing and Flamebird (pictured above on the right side of the image), and taken over by the writer/artist team Greg Rucka and Eddy Barrows. I'm mostly interested in this series because while I was never a big fan of Superman, over the course of 2007 and 2008 I became a fan of Kon-El (Superboy) and Linda Danvers (Supergirl). Two very cool characters who were kinda shoved out of the limelight a couple years ago during the Identity Crisis/Infinite Crisis-era, and I feel like giving them both the identities of these two mystery heroes would be a perfect way of incorporating these wonderful characters into this sweeping Superman epic.
Of course, this isn't completely likely, for a number of reasons that I won't go into here, but even if neither of my guesses turns out to be correct, there's still a great mystery those two characters are dealing with, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
War of Kings - Something I talked about during my SDCC post last year. Marvel's been doing a cosmic epic nearly every year for three years now, and War of Kings is the newest one. There are a lot of reasons why I'm hyped for this one. For one, I love the fleshing out stories like this give the Marvel Universe. It makes it seem like, y'know, an actual universe. Plus this story is going to feature the Starjammers--heroic space pirates! (I don't care for pirates, but for some reason space pirates are awesome. Them being heroes is just a big added bonus.) Lastly, this story is being done by the writing Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, who are responsible for my favorite run on the Legion of Super-Heroes, and being drawn by the amazing Paul Pelletier.
Solicit of the first issue for those who are too lazy to check out the SDCC post:
"In the aftermath of the Secret Invasion, Black Bolt has led the Inhumans on a shockingly savage path to restore their strength and security. But that path has brought them into direct confrontation with the Shi'ar Empire - and their mad ruler Vulcan! Who will get in the first strike? Who will fall on the bloody battlefield? Who will rule? The Imperial Guard, the Starjammers, the Inhuman Royal Family and more of your favorite sci-fi characters are locked on a collision course...and it all starts here! Join the acclaimed team of Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (NOVA) and Paul Pelletier (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) for a pivotal turning point in Marvel's cosmic history!"
I hope the Inhumans kick the Shi'ar's ass all over BOTH galaxies.
Farscape: Strange Detractors - A sequel to the current Farscape mini, both written (or at least, co-written) by series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon. I make no comments on the art--I'm just hyped at the idea of having more Farscape to enjoy after I get through watching all the episodes. Apparently this mini will see the crew dealing with their problems with one another, which I find works out great since some of the series' best moments came from team in-fighting.
The Muppet Show - Yet another project I mentioned in my SDCC post last year that's finally coming out. From BOOM! Studios, writer-artist Roger Langridge is handling the book. First up? A story about Fozzie, Gonzo, and the rest of the Muppet crew trying to cheer up Kermit, who's homesick for the swamp. I'm chuckling already. (FYI, that's the cover to the third issue, 'cause I find it a lot more amusing and typical of the Muppets.)
Captain America Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special - Its just what it says. Really simple, one-shot story with no (near as I can tell) plot developments that will "create widespread reprecussions in the present-day Marvel Universe" or whatever. But writer James Robinson's Starman was absolutely amazing, and artist Marcos Martin's work is equally so. And plus I have a real love for "retro" comics where they tell stories set in the past with modern-day storytelling techniques.
Sub-Mariner Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special - See above, except replace the name "James Robinson" with "Roy Thomas", a man whose love for all things Golden Age knows no bounds. Not sure about artist Mitch Breitweiser, but Namor is (or at least can be) an awesome character so I'm giving it a try.
Flash: Rebirth: I talked about this last year during my SDCC post as well. Now its only months away. Barry Allen's return and re-introduction to the DCU. Admittedly, even though I've seen five pages of the first issue, I STILL have no idea what's going on in this. But [writer] Geoff Johns is almost impossible to match up to in superhero comics right now, and [artist] Ethan van Sciver is one of the best artists in the business. Plus Barry Allen is one of DC Comics' greatest heroes--I see no reason to think this won't kick mucho arse.
Eureka: Dormant Gene: Hey, did you know the guys that made up Eureka own a comic book company called BOOM! Studios? I didn't until a few weeks ago. Anyway, apparently in addition to what airs on Sci-Fi, they're also working on putting out several canon mini-series, this being the second this year, apparently focusing on Zoe and the mystery surrounding her new crush. Little simplistic, but amusing Eureka stories have been known to spin out from stuff like this before, so hey.
Farscape: D'Argo's Lament: A flashback tale taking place during season three. The story focuses on D'Argo (of course) and Jool, who are stuck in the middle of a planetary war. No real comments to be made aside from mild disappointment at the lack of John Crichton in this book, since the dynamic he shared with D'Argo was always priceless.
Muppets' Robin Hood: Yeah, if I haven't made it clear, I love the Muppets. So the idea of a retelling of the Robin Hood legend a la Muppets? There's just no way I'm avoiding this. Life can't always be funny costumes and explosions, folks.
Exiles - The Exiles are Marvel's universe-hopping team. Seeing as how I do so love alternate universes (happy/interesting ones, at least), I've always wanted to read their adventures but for the past couple years they haven't been by the most talented guy. (Well, he USED to be talented, but one can only take so much exposition each issue...) But the book is being relaunched in April with a new direction and a new writer/artist team, and its going to rock. Jeff Parker has already proven to me he can do a good team book with his work on Marvel's X-Men: First Class, another of Marvel's "retro" stories, this time about the original X-Men. Showing himself capable of writing funny and engaging stories, I can only imagine what the guy can do when he doesn't have to run every detail past editorial so that it "fits" in continuity.
Sherlock Holmes - Thanks to a friend of mine, I've developed an affinity for Holmes stories, plus I've always loved Victorian-era stories. (Y'know, when they're not boring.) That plus its being written by Leah Moore, daughter of Alan Moore, and her husband John Reppion, and there's no way I can avoid checking this out.
Human Torch Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special: The specials celebrating Marvel's 70 years of existing continue. In this case though, the hype is a little different. I don't know the writer *or* the artist's work, but I do know the character. See, long before Stan Lee and Jack Kirby ever thought of bombarding a scientist, his best friend, his wife and her brother with "cosmic rays", there existed an android with the power to burst into flames at will. He was called the Human Torch. He's a character that existed primarily in the 30's and 40's, fighting the Axis powers and occasionally throwing down with Marvel's other big superhero of the time, Namor. Once again, I do love "retro comics", so I'm curious to see what will come of this one-shot.
Marvel Mystery Comics #1 70th Anniversary Special: Marvel's superheroes of the 40's team up to smackdown some Nazis. Win.
Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers: All I know about this book is that it features a teleporting dog (Lockjaw), a mini-dragon (Lockheed), a frog with Thor-like powers (yes, you heard), and a cat. And they're going to save the world from...y'know what, who cares? This is ALREADY Awesome Squared! A teleporting dog? Freaking FROG THOR?! Seriously, if they can talk then its already on its way to being one of the coolest mini-series this year. (Also: Too bad there's no hero bunny on this team.)
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight - Mark Waid, one of the coolest writers in comics, doing a Batman one-shot. 'Nuff said.
(...Okay, maybe not. For those in need of more info, a summary from the writer himself:
Essentially, what has happened is Killer Croc has been brainwashed by Scarecrow and the Mad Hatter into believing he is the reincarnation of the dragon that slew St. George in the original myths.
The myth of St. George and the dragon is one of the great stories of all time in Spanish culture. It's about the gallant knight who slew the dragon that was preying upon women of the countryside and killing a woman a day until the great knight showed up to save the country.
So Mad Hatter and Scarecrow convinced brainwashed Croc into believing he's the reincarnation of that dragon, and it's his destiny to kill the great knight, which in his eyes is Batman.
The story takes place in Barcelona because that's where the Festival of St. George is going on. It's a real holiday like our St. Valentine's Day times 10. It's one of the great holidays in Spain and it is a day of lovers, a day of romance, and like I said, it's also a day of honoring the great mythical victory of the knight over the dragon. So Killer Croc is making it all play out in modern times.)
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance! - Six issue mini-series by writer Joe Casey and artist Chriscross, Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance, follows one of the remaining....hm. Its not really a loose end, but it does follow a group of characters who debuted in FC, the Super Young Team are a team of superheroes from Japan. They helped save the world (and existence, really) during FC, but in this mini they've become little more than typical Japanese "idols" to pay the bills.
There are a number of reasons why I'm excited about this. First off, since the beginning I've supported DC's interest in allowing for each country to have at least one superhero team. Its a brilliant idea, and I love to see what heroes get made up for which country. Like it or not, superheroes are America's biggest legends/fables, so taking an inherently American concept and applying it to other countries just seems...intriguing to me. Secondly, Joe Casey is a freaking genius writer, responsible for several classics over at Marvel. (Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes volumes 1 and 2, Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin..) One downside though: The cover artist is NOT the interior artist. Natch!
There are three other Final Crisis Aftermath minis-- Ink (following the Tattooed Man and his struggle to stay heroic), Escape (following Nemesis and a number of other espionage agents captured by the "Global Peace Agency" at the close of FC), and Run (following the Human Flame on the run from all the heroes and villains he pissed off). The short summaries I added should tell you why I have no interest.
Power Girl - This is definitely a case of the creative team making me read a character I normally have no interest in. Power Girl is the cousin of the original Earth-2's Superman, and this is her ongoing series. I'm not really a huge fan of this character--in fact she can be downright annoying. But I'm absolutely in love with artist Amanda Conner's artwork (she does facial expressions like nobody's business) which is pictured above, and writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray were talented enough to keep Hawkman from sucking back in 2003 or so after Geoff Johns left the book, so I figured why not try it out? (And its nice to see a hero not in the JLA get a title.)
The Unknown -
From the solicit:
She has solved every mystery known to man. But there is one mystery that remains unknown! Revered as the smartest person alive, Catherine Allingham is the world's most famous private investigator. Follow her adventures as she sets out to solve the one mystery she's never been able to crack! A new original mini-series from Mark Waid in the vein of Ruse with international superstar Minck Oosterveer.
Mark Waid back when he did Ruse (think Sherlock Holmes, except with an attractive female assisstant in the place of Watson, who sometimes had superpowers) created some amazing stories. If this is more of that? Sweet! (Though I miss the steampunk setting.)
Detective Comics - Like Superman, Bruce Wayne has been taken out of his normal titles for the forseeable future. Who's going to be in Batman is something that won't be known for another three months yet, when the previously mentioned Battle for the Cowl story wraps up. On the other hand though, Detective Comics already has its new star--Kathy Kane, Batwoman. Introduced in DC's first weekly series 52, Kathy's been popping up in Gotham every six months or so, but hasn't really had a chance to shine until now. Writer Greg Rucka and artist JH Williams team up to create 12-14 issues of stories to flesh out one of DC Comics' biggest question marks.
Which is good 'cause at the moment I don't care much about her since all I know is that she's as rich as Bruce, has red hair...and that other thing. But Greg Rucka writes kick-ass female heroes and JH Williams, well....shit man. LOOK at that art!
There's a load of other Bat-Titles coming out in June--Batman and Robin, Red Robin, Batgirl, Streets of Gotham, and Gotham City Sirens, all launching alongside the relaunched Detective Comics and Batman series. But as I have no info on who'll be in them, or even any info on the creative teams, they're barely on my radar.
Superman: Secret Origin - Writer extraordinaire Geoff Johns and legendary artist Gary Frank team-up to give us Superman's origin story for the second or third time this decade. I would go on to call it unnecessary, except in all my years as a comic book fan, I've never read a Superman origin story.
Plus, this one's not only written by my favorite superhero writer, and not only drawn by one of the best artists in the industry, but its also the first origin for Superman in thirty years that's able to use those Silver Age elements (Clark as Superboy, him being friends with the Legion of Super-Heroes, etc..) that make the Super-mythos so rich. Its going to rock.
Adventure Comics - I'm kinda embarassed to put this on the list. All I know is that its a new ongoing by writer Geoff Johns and artist Francis Manapul (Geoff has impeccable taste in artists). The book will supposedly take place in the present, the 30th century, and an as-yet unspecified third time. Its partially a Legion of Super-Heroes book, but they won't be the only ones--in fact, the book will have a (currently unknown) central character. (Character, singular.) I'm not quite "hyped" about this book, but I am crazy curious.
Blackest Night - The culmination of five years of storytelling, starting with 2005's Green Lantern: Rebirth, Blackest Night is possibly DC's most looked foward to series of 2009, and has been since it was teased at the end of the 2007 Green Lantern mini-event, Sinestro Corps War.
As beings across the universe learn to tap into the energy of the emotional spectrum, the prophecies of the Book of Oa one by one come to pass. Writer Geoff Johns and artist Ivan Reis tell the story of the DC Universe's Blackest Night, summed up aptly in the tagline: "Across the universe, the dead shall rise." With the insane number of dead heroes, dead friends of heroes, and dead family members of heroes that have accumulated over the years, I can only imagine the effects this will have on the heroes of the DCU. Hope the Green Lantern Corps can survive... (I can take or leave the Green Lanterns' Guardians, though. Those guys have pretty nearly worn out their welcome.)
Doctor Who - Writer Tony Lee (creator of the brilliant Doctor Who: The Forgotten mini-series) gets to try his hand at a Doctor Who ongoing. Though I'm new to the Who, I've become quite a fan after realizing he was one of The Greatest Fucking Heroes Ever. A Doc Who comic is almost like a dream come true. Hopefully we can get one or two arcs out of the Tenth Doctor before they swap him out for the new guy.
I don't much about what's coming out after July, so I have to sorta stop here. I do know a few things, but either they don't have release dates, or I just know vague details, like the following:
- The Marvels Project - An eight issue mini-series by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. Set in the late 30's/early 40's, it'll be a series about the origins of Marvel's earliest heroes. Apparently "The Right Stuff" with superheroes. Has the potential to be insanely awesome. No release date.
- DC's next two weekly comic series.
- Whatever comic event and companion book come out of R.E.B.E.L.S.
- Whatever Transformers series it is that spins out of Maximum Dinobots.
- Whatever Batman book Grant Morrison ends up writing after Battle for the Cowl in June.
That wraps it up. I've got a few more articles that should pop up over the next couple of days, probably as long as this or longer, so after them I'm going to make a real effort towards shortening these things.