Top DC Comics for July [Shadowhawk]

He-Man Volume 1

Shadowhawk takes a look at and talks about the top DC comics to watch out for in July, single issues and graphic novels alike.

July marks the start of DC’s highly anticipated Trinity War crossover across its Justice League books – Justice League, Justice League Dark and Justice League of America – and the release of the second wave of Before Watchmen graphic novels. Quite possibly, this is the biggest month for DC since, well, let’s not get into that. New 52 has been defined by one crossover after another, whether big or small, and the time in between crossovers seems to be rather short. As far as I can tell, given the incredible turnover of titles since New 52 launched, DC is definitely struggling to keep its smaller titles afloat, and rather than focus on their big titles and properties all the time, they could benefit far more by devoting serious resources to the smaller books.

In either case, July looks to be a pretty exciting. Other than Trinity War and Before Watchmen, several of their newly launched titles are getting their second or third outings, so it promises to be a fun time. One can hope. Here’s my rundown of the top monthly comics and graphic novels from DC you should be picking up for July.

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July 3rd

Earth 2 14Earth 2 #14

The bells of war ring loudly as Green Lantern, The Flash and Doctor Fate attack Steppenwolf head on— with the future of Earth 2 hanging in the balance!

Writer: James Robinson | Art: Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott | Cover: Juan Doe | Variant: Juan Doe | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: Well, currently this is one of the best monthlies from DC right now. Up until now, I’ve really enjoyed Robinson’s take on all the characters, many of whom I am unfamiliar with, such as Mister Terrific, Atom, Jay Garrick, Dr. Fate etc. Things are about to get really heated up on all fronts and I’m really looking forward to this.

Green Lantern 22Green Lantern #22

Larfleeze arrives on Oa to find the Corps at their most desperate, while Hal is forced to throw new Green Lantern recruits into a battle they might not win! And don’t miss the birth of a brand new threat.

Writer: Robert Venditti | Art: Billy Tan, Richard Friend | Cover: Billy Tan, Richard Friend | Variant: Rags Morales | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: Robert Venditti had a decent enough start with the previous issue, which followed from Geoff Johns’ blockbuster #20 which ended his almost a decade worth of issues with Hal Jordan. I’m cautiously optimistic about Venditti’s run and he seems to have a good handle on the various characters, especially on Hal Jordan.

The Movement 03The Movement #3

The Movement takes on the entire police dep| Artment in an attempt to rescue one of their own!

Writer: Gail Simone | Art: Freddie E Williams II | Cover: Amanda Conner | Variant: Amanda Conner | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: More superhero comics from DC, what’s the fun of that, you ask. Well, this is a very different sort of super-powered book, and given that Gail Simone is one of my current top favourite writers in comics, I’m always up for more. Not to mention the fact that I’ve enjoyed the first two issues and really like where the story is going.

Pandora 01Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1

The mysterious woman connected to the creation of the New 52 gets her own series! Pandora is on an action-packed, blood-soaked mission to hunt down the horrors she inadvertently unleashed upon the world. Can she save the DCU—and redeem herself in the process? A prequel to the upcoming “Trinity War”!

Writer: Ray Fawkes | Art: Daniel Sampere, Vicente Cifuentes | Cover: Ryan Sook | Variant: Pascual Ferry | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: This is a tie-in comic to Trinity War and thus not central to the actual crossover, but all the same, there’s only going to be three issues of this from what I’m given to believe. All the buzz about Pandora herself really has my interest piqued as well.

Phantom Stranger 10Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #10

On the eve of “TRINITY WAR,” the Stranger is forced to make the most difficult choice he’s faced in thousands of years walking in the wilderness. What or who could pose such a challenge?

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis | Art: Fernando Blanco | Cover: Jae Lee | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: I’ll be honest. I read the first issue of this, and I wasn’t too impressed with it, despite wanting to like it. I haven’t read another issue in the series till now. But, this is a Trinity War tie-in, like Pandora above, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Plus, this is NOT a Dan Didio issue, so I’m hoping it is quite a bit better!

Green Lantern Corps Volume 1

Green Lantern Corps Volume 1: Fearsome

In this collection of GL CORPS #1-7, Guy Gardner and John Stewart lead a squadron of Green Lanterns to fight a mysterious force marching across the space sectors and devouring not only their natural resources but their entire populations! Then, on a mission to rescue John Stewart and Vandor, Guy Gardner assembles the nastiest Green Lanterns to ever put on a ring!

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi | Art: Fernando Pasarin, Geraldo Borges, Scott Hanna | Cover: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy | 160pp | $14.99

Why is this on the list: I’ve enjoyed the Dave Gibbons/Patrick Gleason issues that tied into Sinestrop Corps War, and I’ve wanted to read more Green Lantern comics than the ones that are just about Hal Jordan. With the release of the trade collection, looks like a good time to catch up.

Team 7 Volume 1

Team 7 Volume 1: Fight Fire With Fire

In stories from TEAM 7 #0-7, Team 7 follows the deadly team as they travel into the He| Art of Darkness to battle the evil Black Diamond. The dark secrets of The New 52 are found here including the secret origin of Eclipso and the beginning of the Black Room from Justice League.

Writer: Justin Jordan | Art: Jesús Merino, Pascal Alixe, Ron Frenz | Cover: Doug Mahnke | 208pp | $16.99

Why is this on the list:  This was sadly a short-lived series, despite a hell of a promise, being a story set in the earliest days of the New 52. But it got cancelled due to lack of enough sales. I read a few issues last year and they were decent enough. With the tpb, I can finally read the whole story in one go and I’m looking forward to that.

July 10th

Batgirl 22

Batgirl #22

Following the recent massive trauma she’s suffered, Barbara Gordon tries to move on with her life—without Batgirl!

Writer: Gail Simone | Art: Fernando Pasarin, Jonathan Glapion | Cover: Alex Garner | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: At this point, almost a year on, its quite guaranteed that if a comic has the words “Gail Simone” on it, I’m going to like it. Gail’s run on Batgirl has been phenomenal and this is going to be an emotionally bumper issue, so I’m pretty much chomping at the bit to get to read this.

Batman 22Batman #22

The second chapter of “Zero Year” delves into Bruce Wayne’s past with the Red Hood Gang and his run-ins with aspiring District Attorney Harvey Dent! And in the backup story, a secret moment from Bruce’s training abroad is revealed for the first time!

Writer: Scott Snyder | Art: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki | Backup Art: Rafael Albuquerque | Cover: Greg Capullo | Variant: Mikel Janin, Greg Capullo | 40pp | $3.99

Why is this on the list: Scott Snyder delivered an almost perfect issue with the previous issue, which started the Zero Year saga for Batman, and the follow-up promises to be just as great. Snyder, Batman and Zero Year. Great stuff.

Justice League 22

Justice League #22

TRINITY WAR, the action-mystery event of the summer, begins with a full-length epic adventure! The death of a hero ignites a violent war among the Justice Leagues! It’s League vs. League vs. League as an impending darkness approaches the DC Universe. But the truth behind it all will lead to an evil that threatens every hero on the planet. And what does the Secret Society of Super-Villains have to with this? Everything.

Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Variant: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | 40pp | $3.99

Why is this on the list: With the Throne of Atlantis crossover issues, Geoff Johns finally hit his stride on this series and he’s been mostly great since then. I haven’t read #21 yet (will most likely have read it by the time this goes live), but I can’t wait for this, since Trinity War is finally going to start. They’ve been teasing this for months now, and its finally here!

Nightwing 22

Nightwing #22

Nightwing takes on Ghostwalker, and the Prankster finds a surprising ally!

Writer: Kyle Higgins | Art: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: Dick is still in Chicago and is still after Tony Zucco. There have been some really interesting developments in the series of late, and Higgins seems to be finally getting back into the groove of things with Nightwing. Should be great!

Superman Unchained 02

Superman Unchained #2

The technological terrorists called Ascension are growing bolder with every attack, creating problems only can solve—and that’s with help from the world’s greatest detective, Batman! But the mystery that’s really got them both worried is the unknown figure that’s been shadowing Superman! And in this issue’s backup tale, Jimmy Olsen takes center stage as Metropolis reacts to an event that’s shaken the city to its core!

Writer: Scott Snyder | Art: Jim Lee, Scott Williams | Backup Art: Dustin Nguyen | Cover: Jim Lee, Scott Williams | Variant: Jim Lee, Scott Williams | 32pp | $3.99

Why is this on the list: I wasn’t too happy with the first issue, but still, it is Snyder on Superman, so not much that can go wrong really. One of DC’s best writers on their most iconic hero? I can’t be grumpy for long!

BW - NO DrM

Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan Deluxe Edition

Writer J. Michael Straczynski is joined by | Artist Andy Kubert in flight with the gadget-savvy hero known as Nite Owl, as Dan Dreiberg inherits the role from Hollis Mason…but can Dreiberg work with the vigilante called Rorschach?

Then, JMS teams with fan-favorite | Artist Adam Hughes for a tale of Dr. Manhattan. For Dr. Manhattan, past, present, and future are one and the same. But as he observes the events of his life, do they remain the same?

This volume collects BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL #1-4, BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #1-4 and BEFORE WATCHMEN: MOLOCH #1-2.

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski | Art: Adam Hughes, Andy Kubert, Joe Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz, Eduardo Risso | Cover: Adam Kubert, Joe Kubert, Adam Hughes | 288pp

Why is this on the list: I read some of the earlier issues last year from both mini-series, and what I read, I really liked. These comics are what got me hooked onto Straczynski’s writing as well, so that’s something. I already own all the individual issues so I most likely won’t be getting the deluxe edition, but I would definitely recommend it. Some really fantastic stories and art here.

He-Man Volume 1

He-Man and The Masters of The Universe Volume 1

In this first He-Man collection featuring issues #1-6 and digital chapter #1, Prince Adam sets out to reclaim the mantle of HE-MAN. But around every turn the evil Skeletor seeks to destroy the young hero and keep him from finding his fellow Masters of the Universe.

Writer: James Robinson, Keith Giffen, Geoff Johns | Art: Philip Tan, Howard Porter | Cover: Dave Wilkins | 160pp | $14.99

Why is this on the list: The series started off with a disappointing first issue but quickly got better. Perhaps the change from James Robinson to Keith Giffen as series writer helped as well. This isn’t the best that DC has put out in the last year or so, but I’m a He-Man fan from early childhood, so I’m not going to complain all that much. Geoff Johns’ one-shot also makes sense in the context of the entire series, so its worth a read.

July 17th

He-Man 04

He-Man and The Masters of The Universe #4

Eternia has been defeated! After capturing He-Man, Despara is ordered to bring him before Hordak! Is this the end of the Prince of Power?

Writer: Keith Giffen | Art: Pop Mhan | Cover: Ed Benes | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: Issue #3 is waiting to be read, and I’ve mostly enjoyed the first two issues, so I’m looking forward to this one. Keith Giffen has a good handle on the characters (could be better) but he’s been doing some fun things in Eternia and I really want to see more.

JLA 06

Justice League of America #6

TRINITY WAR CHAPTER 2! The War of the Justice Leagues continues as one hero is arrested and another goes rogue. Who is responsible for the evil that has infected the League? And who is the true killer? Only the Question knows the answer.

Writer: Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire | Art: Doug Mahnke Christian Alamy | Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Variant: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | 32pp | $3.99

Why is this on the list: Justice League of America is one of DC’s better titles right now and there has been a slow buildup to Trinity War in the first five issues, with lots of intrigue and revelations across the board. It all makes me really excited for this. I wonder how Pandora is going to fit in here.

Vibe 06

Justice League of America’s Vibe #6

Being chased by bounty hunters? The guns of A.R.G.U.S. aimed at your head? It’s a typical day for Vibe!

Writer: Sterling Gates | Art: Pete Woods, Sean Parsons | Cover: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: This has been developing on its own, aside from whatever has been happening in Justice League of America, so there’s a bit of disconnect there, but this is still one of the most fun books from DC. Vibe is a character is one of my favourites, mostly due to his fresh-faced enthusiasm and cynicism. Plus, he really gets under Amanda Waller’s skin without meaning to. Good stuff.

Pandora 02

Trinity of Sin: Pandora #2

As “TRINITY WAR” erupts and battle lines are drawn, Pandora finds herself standing alone against The Secret Society of Super-Villains!

Writer: Ray Fawkes | Art: Daniel Sampere, Vicente Cifuentes | Cover: Ryan Sook | Variant: Ryan Sook | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: A double-ship on the title? Well, DC doesn’t do that too often. And that blurb there definitely makes this an issue worth picking up.

Dark Knight Volume 1

Batman: The Dark Knight Volume 1: Knight Terrors

Batman battles the Scarecrow and Bane in this title collecting BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1-9, and delves into the mystery of The White Rabbit!

Writer: David Finch, Paul Jenkins, Joe Harris | Art: David Finch, Ed Benes, Richard Friend | Cover: David Finch | 208pp | $16.99

Why is this on the list: After having read so much Batman from Scott Snyder, I’m ready to try something different, and Finch’s first volume looks like an excellent place to start.

July 24th

Aquaman 22

Aquaman #22

Writer: Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates | Art: Geraldo Borges | Cover: Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons | 32pp | $3.99

Why is this on the list: Aquaman is a top contender for DC’s best book right now, alongside Batman and Earth 2. The book has caused me to fall in love with Aquaman and he is one of my favourite characters without a doubt. Reading this book has made me realise that if DC did an animated series with Aquaman, or even gave him his own movie, it would be awesome.

Batman Superman 02

Batman/Superman #2

Batman and Superman travel to Earth 2, where they find familiar heroes who are trying to kill them!

Writer: Greg Pak | Art: Jae Lee | Cover: Jae Lee | Variant: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jae Lee | 32pp | $3.99

Why is this on the list: I read #1 this weekend and I thought it was pretty terrible. I put #2 on this list before I had read #1 so I’m not sure anymore if this is going to be worth picking up. Let’s just call this one a “maybe”.

Justice League Dark 22

Justice League Dark #22

TRINITY WAR CHAPTER 3! A member of the Justice League defects to Justice League Dark. But what does Constantine know about this murder that he isn’t telling? And what dark secret does one of our Leaguers hold that could turn the tide of this Justice League War?

Writer: Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes | Art: Mikel Janin | Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Variant: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | 32pp | $3.99

Why is this on the list: The cover has The Question on it, how could I not like it? And there’s Hawkman as well, who has been quite the badass, in dialogue and action, on Geoff’s Justice League of America. I’m actually planning on doing a bit of catch-up with JLD in anticipation of this, so we’ll see how that works out. Any team with Zatanna and Deadman on it should be good!

Larfleeze 02Larfleeze #2

Larfleeze faces the celestial being known as the “Laord of the Hunt”! Will our Orange Lantern end up stuffed and mounted on the wall of a cosmic lodge as a trophy?

Writer: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis | Art: Scott Kolins | Cover: Howard Porter | Variant: Howard Porter | 32pp | $2.99

Why is this on the list: When I read #1 a couple days ago, I thought it was one of the most hilarious comics I’ve read. Larfleeze is just too awesome in that regard. Even in a serious scene, you want to laugh out because the character is just so funny. Serious funny, but still funny. #2 should be quite good!

Nightwing Volume 2

Nightwing Volume 2: Night of The Owls

In this collection of issues #8-12 and 0, Dick Grayson must face a deadly adversary as he learns of his connection to the mysterious Court of Owls. But even if he can stop an undead assassin, he’ll still have to deal with an anti-Gotham City army—and the mysterious Paragon.

Writer: Kyle Higgins, Tom DeFalco | Art: Eddy Barrows, Andres Guinaldo | Cover: Eddy Barrows | 144pp | $14.99

Why is this on the list: I’ve already read this as single issues last year, so this is more of a recommendation. Higgins explores a lot of back history here, and draws a lot of threads between the Court of Owls and Nightwing here. Definitely worth checking out.

July 31st

Batman Annual 02

Batman Annual #2

A special ZERO YEAR tie-in! Bruce Wayne’s first year as the Dark Knight has just barely begun…and already dangerous elements are coalescing, leading Bruce toward his final destiny.

Writer: Scott Snyder | Art: Wes Craig, Craig Yeung, Drew Geraci | Cover: Jock | 48pp | $4.99

Why is this on the list: Last year’s Annual, with Mr. Freeze was extremely good, and helped to flesh out one of my favourite DC villains. I don’t see any reason why the new Annual should be any different. Especially since this one is a Zero Year story.

Smallville 11 Special 02

Smallville Season 11 Special #2

When Lois Lane accepts an assignment outside of Metropolis, she gets more than she bargained for. Follow the Daily Planet’s star reporter to the Congo as she investigates the Angel of the Plateau! “Valkyrie” reintroduces Lana Lang to the series!

DIGITAL FIRST!

Writer: Bryan Q. Miller | Art: Cat Staggs | Cover: Cat Staggs | 48pp | $4.99

Why is this on the list: I haven’t read any of the Smallville comics as yet, but this one sounded too good to pass up on. Not to mention, given my lack of enjoyment of the main Superman title, I want to read something different and generally Smallville has had a very positive reception. I just might start on the series even though the catch-up is going to be long.

Superman Annual 02

Superman Annual #2

What repercussions lurk beneath the surface from Brainiac’s first attack—and how does it all set the stage for the battle of Metropolis? Plus, how can the Man of Steel fight something he can’t physically stop!

Writer: Scott Lobdell, Frank Hannah | Art: Pascal Alixe | Cover: Andy Kubert | 48pp | $4.99

Why is this on the list: The first year’s worth of Superman comics were mostly all terrible. Lobdell was the third writer on the series across 13 issues, not a good sign for the health of the series. But, he’s managed to stick around for close to a year now and that says something. I read #13 a few days ago and it was better than any that had come before, with the exception of #0, so, once again, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Flash Annual 02

The Flash Annual 02

Find out how The Flash and Green Lantern first met when a case they teamed up together to solve years ago rears its head again in the present! It involves a foe neither of them can defeat on their own, and they might not have much luck together either! The outcome of this will affect The Flash for years to come… Plus, a backup story by Nicole Dubuc (the Young Justice cartoon)!

Writer: Brian Buccellato | Backup: Nicole Dubuc | Art: Sami Basri | Backup Art: Cully Hamner | Cover: Francis Manapul | 48pp | $4.99

Why is this on the list: The Flash is one of my favourite characters in DCU but the early comics with Manapul didn’t make me want to stick around at all. An Annual sounds like a good place to get back into the groove, especially since the writer is different than the one I’ve read.

Green Lantern New Guardians Volume 1

Green Lantern: New Guardians Volume 1: The Ring Bearers

The New Guardians struggle with their new mission and battle the evil of Invictus in this title collecting GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #1-7!

Writer: Tony Bedard | Art: Tyler Kirkham, Batt, Harvey Tolibao | Cover: Tyler Kirkham, Batt | 160pp | $14.99

Why is this on the list: Well, nothing to say about this one really, nothing that I haven’t already said about Green Lantern Corps Volume 1.

Shadowhawk is a regular contributor to TFF. A resident of Dubai, Shadowhawk reads, reads and reads. His opinions are always clear and concise. His articles always worth reading.

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