DC Comics' promised line-wide relaunch is upon us. But don't let the wince-worthy ad campaign fool you: There are some good books, original stories, and fantastic creator combos in here.
So let's take a look at 'em.
Before we dig in, let's go over the basics. 25 of DC's books this month are returning titles (you'll be seeing a lot of issue #41, for all the titles that have been around since the launch of the New 52). 24 of them are brand new launches. Most of them represent a shakeup or new direction for the book. Since they're all coming out this month, we can take things week by week (or Wednesday by Wednesday) and highlight the titles worth your close attention, and the runners-up. Finally, if you're curious about more any of these titles, you can find an 8-page standalone story from each of them available for free right here. Many of these are brand new stories that won't require any back-reading, but for those who're interested, DC is running a massive digital comics sale all month, slashing prices on comics with a connection to this month's new titles.
But Midnighter isn't for every reader (Orlando promises that it'll live up to Wildstorm's standard for blood and beatdowns), and among DC's new lineup are some long overdue all-ages titles for the company. The first installments of two six-issue miniseries, Bat Mite and Bizarro hit shelves this week. The former follows the omniscient imp as he travels the DC Universe "helping" other superheroes, while the latter, well...
He's going on a road trip to Canada (or, Bizarro America) with Jimmy Olsen. The creative teams on both books promise adventure and comedy appropriate for kids and adults alike. Also, chupacabras.
Week One Runners-Up: Batman Beyond fans (you know who you are) are going to want to give Batman Beyond #1 a look: In a future DC Universe where the villains have won, Terry McGinnis is dead and both Bruce Wayne and the Justice League are missing, a time-lost Tim Drake takes up the mantle of Batman and tackles the job of pulling humanity back from the brink. It's not exactly the cartoon you're familiar with from Saturday morning in the early '00s, but the premise certainly seems interesting.
Week Two Runners-Up: Commissioner Gordon prowls the streets of Gotham in a weird-looking Bat-mech suit in Batman #41. In Detective Comics #41, the cops of Gotham struggle to find purchase in a city with a strange new Batman, and Detective Renee Montoya makes a long overdue return to current continuity. A mysteriously resurrected Damien Wayne joins the cast of Gotham Academy, a series that offers tales of the spookiest scholastic experience in the DC Universe, for its seventh issue. And the adventures of Harley Quinn continue in her eponymous series, as she puts together an entire team of crime-fighting Harley Quinn knockoffs... including one scantily clad man.
I understand that Prez is a title that's difficult to describe without making it sound like a handwringing screed against wired culture. America's new president is a 19-year-old woman, elected by Twitter. Anonymous is the first "non-geographic" nation to get a seat at the UN. When asked how he feels about the future, a three-star general responds "Hashtag scared clammy, Amber." But beneath those trimmings is a setting in which America is involved in forty-seven global conflicts simultaneously, using an army of robotic drones piloted by sweat-pants-wearing gamers on HUD displays that automatically replace enemy combatants with seasonally appropriate cartoon characters in order to reduce the need for psychological counseling. The series seems aware of what's genuinely good fodder for the dark heart of a cyberpunk story, and what's just so much more anti-Millennial think piece-ing.
Week Three Runners-Up: Black Canary #1 spins out of Batgirl for the sort of story where our heroine gets smacked several stories up with an electric bass/mace, supersonic-screams the bad guy through a skylight and onto the stage where her band is setting up, and then just plays her set. In Dr. Fate #1, the helm of Fate has passed Khalid Nassour, a mixed-race almost-medical student, making him the a new avatar of the DC Universe's most supreme sorcerous power. And if you like Harley Quinn and Power Girl, well, you'll probably like Harley Quinn & Power Girl, a new six-issue team up miniseries from the creators of Harley Quinn.