Top DC Comics For August [Shadowhawk]
Shadowhawk takes a look at and talks about the top DC comics to watch out for in August, single issues and graphic novels alike.
July has given DC some of its best comics yet, even as its long-anticipated and long-planned “Trinity War” crossover event kicked off to great fanfare and the set up for its next big event “Forever Evil” kicks off in September alongside what is being called “Villains Month“. There’ll be more coverage of that later, but in the meantime, here are all my top picks for DC comics to look out for in August.
Old favourites return of course, and with the second round of “Trinity War” issues to come out this month, I’m even more excited this time around than I was last month. I’ve enjoyed the three core issues released so far and the only way after these is to go up. Then, we have the continuation of Batman‘s “Zero Year” storyline coming up which is said to tie-in after “Villains Month” with Batgirl and Nightwing, and the Green Lantern books move further towards October’s “Lights Out” crossover event, which will shed some light on why all the Corps are experiencing fluctuations in their power rings.
All in all, big things in store for the DCU and a lot of exciting things happening.
Dr. Fate, Red Arrow, The Flash, Green Lantern and The Atom all fall victim to the Hunger Dogs of Apokolips as the war against the forces of Steppenwolf continues!
Writer: James Robinson | Art: Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott | Cover: Juan Doe | Variant: Juan Doe | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: The last issue really knocked the ball out of the park. Its great to see that Robinson is delivering some of his best work before he leaves the title. I loved the cliffhanger of the last issue and I can’t wait to see what he is going to do this time around.
Hal struggles with his new role as leader of the Green Lantern Corps while he tries to solve the mystery of why the universe is atrophying! And an escaped prisoner has gotten hold of a power that makes her nearly unstoppable! The stage is set for the ultimate test against Relic!
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: Larfleeze attacking Oa at its most vulnerable and the power rings of the fallen recruiting new Green Lanterns was a highlight of the previous issue. I’m still in a tentative phase of “yeah, I kinda like this” with Venditti’s work, but I have to say that he isn’t exactly disappointing as yet.
Ollie learns the secret origin of Shado, and Count Vertigo attacks!
Writer: Jeff Lemire | Art: Andrea Sorrentino | Cover: Andrea Sorrentino | Variant: Andrea Sorrentino | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: I keep hearing a lot of positive buzz about this book with Lemire/Sorrentino and it is making me really curious about what’s been going on. Green Arrow’s… simpering attitude in the second arc of Justice League by Geoff Johns really turned me off, but the Stephen Ammell-starring Arrow and what Geoff has done with him in Justice League of America is bringing me around. I just might pick up this entire arc and give it a whirl.
The Movement takes a stand against the police that they can’t come back from, and Coral City is on the brink of war!
Writer: Gail Simone | Art: Freddie E Williams II | Cover: Amanda Conner | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Issue 3 was spectacular. I love the direction that Gail Simone has been taking and I love the entire social dynamic at odds in Coral City. I could not have asked for a better “small-scale” book from Gail and she is continues to exceed expectations as far as I’m concerned. Plus, if the cover is anything to go by, then Mouse is going to be a central figure. About bloody time!
A “Trinity War” tie-in! As both the heroes and the villains continue to hunt Pandora down, she makes a crucial decision involving the Seven Deadly Sins, one that will affect the entire world…
Writer: Ray Fawkes | Art: Daniel Sampere, Vicente Cifuentes | Cover: Ryan Sook | Variant: Ryan Sook | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: To be honest, I wasn’t so taken with the first issue, but the second issue which came out was very impressive and it finally introduced some long-awaited characters for the “Trinity War” crossover. I dearly want more and I’m certainly not going to miss out on this side-story to one of the best crossover events that DC has done in the New 52.
The key to ending “Trinity War” may be the soul of a murdered Justice League member, so the Phantom Stranger must lead a covert team—including Batman, Deadman and Katana—into the afterlife to try to retrieve it! But the Stranger made a promise never to return to the afterlife— and when he breaks that promise, he’ll find that the Hosts of Heaven are all too eager to dish out his punishment!
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis | Art: Fernando Blanco | Cover: Guillem March | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: I took a chance with the previous issue, and against all my expectations, I actually liked what DeMatteis did. I had a bit of a problem with the context of some of the events but it was still a great place to join in on the series I think. Not to mention everything that is coming up and I’m really excited for more!
The new “Batgirl: Wanted” epic begins here, as Commissioner Gordon must track down his son’s murderer—who happens to be his daughter! But has Barbara already given up the Bat?
Writer: Gail Simone | Art: Fernando Pasarin, Jonathan Glapion | Cover: Alex Garner | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Batgirl is easily one of my top 5 titles from DC right now and Gail Simone has been doing an incredible job with the recent issues. Given Gordon’s vow in the last issue, as well as the way that he “deals” with Batman, the only way forward for this series is to go even higher than it already was. This new arc looks set to be spectacular.
“Olympus,” part 1! Twenty years ago, a young boy washed up on a mysterious island and met a princess. Now, that princess has come to look for the mother who disappeared when she took the boy back. But if Smallville is prepared for strange beings, Washington, DC, certainly is not!
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller | Art: Jorge Jimenez | Cover: Cat Staggs | 40pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: Wonder Woman in the Smallville setting? I wouldn’t miss it for the world! The Special #2 issue came out today and I’ll be reading that soon as I can as well. Between that issue and this one, this series is certainly seemingly doing great things with female characters if the covers are anything to go by.
Witness the moment Bruce Wayne becomes Batman as “Zero Year” makes history! And in the backup story, a young Bruce Wayne fights for his life in a death match in Russia!
Writer: Scott Snyder | Art: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki | Backup Art: Rafael Albuquerque | Cover: Greg Capullo | Variant: Gary Frank, Greg Capullo | 40pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: Two really good installments of this new arc so far, plus the brand-new Annual which I just read a few minutes ago, mean that Scott Snyder is on a roll here with this series and that he has a ton of original ideas to develop and add to the Batman mythos.
A city under siege as the Prankster’s attacks take over Chicago! Can Nightwing find the madman before he kills again? And just what is the Prankster’s endgame? Plus, don’t miss Tony Zucco’s shocking decision.
Writer: Kyle Higgins | Art: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund | Cover: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: I quite like how the last issue turned out and so far, I have to say that Kyle is doing some of his best work with the character. I still wish that all this action was happening back in Gotham or even Bludhaven, but Chicago has made for a really wonderful setting and I’m looking forward to Kyle doing more with it all!
John Stewart is the new training officer for the Green Lantern Corps, but he’ll have to put his new job on hold when the Durlans attack! Meanwhile, Fatality’s on a mission of her own—one that could make John’s life even more difficult! And what is going wrong with the Corps’ rings?
Writer: Robert Venditti, Van Jensen | Art: Bernard Chang | Cover: Bernard Chang | Variant: Rags Morales | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: The “Lights Out” event is going to begin soon and I’m looking to see how the entire Green Lantern team plays it all out, which is why I’ll be picking up this issue. Plus it has John Stewart, my favourite Green Lantern and I think that it is high time I got around to reading the GLC book. Reading the old Sinestro Corps event issues in June really got me to want to read more of the larger Green Lantern Corps.
TRINITY WAR CHAPTER 4! The hunt for a murder suspect leads Superman and his new teammates to the secret behind the Secret Society, while Batman finds the key to the crime—and one of the Leaguers will be forever changed by it. Plus, who is the Secret Society of Super-Villains and what are their plans for Pandora?
Writer: Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire | Art: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy | Cover: Doug Mahnke | Variant: Mikel Janin, Doug Mahnke | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: The previous installment was an absolute cracker and delivered on a lot of character-building suspense. I have some theories as to why some of these characters appear to be acting out of… well, character, and it all makes for a thrilling experience. Not to mention the surprise guest at the end of the previous issue, leading to a major cliffhanger.
In these classic tales from SECRET ORIGINS #13 and ACTION COMICS WEEKLY #613-618 and 627-634, Nightwing teams up with his old friend Speedy as they hunt the villain Cheshire and Roy’s daughter, but Speedy has a secret Nightwing doesn’t suspect.
Writer: Marv Wolfman | Art: Chuck Patton, Erik Larsen, Tom Mandrake | Cover: Gil Kane | 160pp | $14.99
Why is this on the list: I’ve been wanting to read more Nightwing comics for a while now and this one seems like a good place to start. That’s certainly a lot of issues there in this collection, rather cheap by today’s standards I must add. A damn good deal!
In this collection of issues #5-8, Superman discovers a vigilante in Metropolis on the trail of a killer—and this mysterious Batman will stop at nothing to find his parents’ killer, even if it puts him on a collision course with The Man of Steel!
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller | Art: Chris Cross, Jamal Igle, Marc Deering | Cover: Mico Suayan | 144pp | $14.99
Why is this on the list: Like I’ve said elsewhere, I’m really late to this Season 11 party, and seeing Superman and Batman going off against each other, I have to say, is absolutely a joy so I will definitely be checking this out.
Despara’s origin revealed! Plus, Hordak tells a shocking story that will change her world forever!
Writer: Keith Giffen | Art: Pop Mhan | Cover: Ed Benes | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: The first four issues have been rather decent but I’m still waiting for Giffen to go to town with this title. As the mini-series showed, he’s certainly got it in him and he just needs to punch above his weight here. Till then, this is going to be a guilty pleasure read for me, of the good variety.
TRINITY WAR CHAPTER 5! The Justice Leagues continues to fracture as the murder of a hero is solved—and the line between justice and vengeance blurs as they head off to find those responsible!
Writer: Jeff Lemire | Art: Mikel Janin | Cover: Doug Mahnke | Variant: Mikel Janin, Doug Mahnke | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: This entire “Trinity War” crossover seems to really be spotlighting the Trinity of Sin (Phantom Stranger, Pandora, The Question), which has been quite fun and the Justice League Dark team certainly made a splash in the previous issue, which certainly did not disappoint. And the special guest from Justice League of America #7 continued to give a strong performance here, so I’m hoping for even more awesome.
Afraid that A.R.G.U.S. has been lying to him, Vibe goes on the run! But he doesn’t get very far before a new villain with ties to his past threatens to turn his future upside down!
Writer: Sterling Gates | Art: Pete Woods, Sean Parsons | Cover: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: There were quite a few interesting revelations in the last issue and they are just about keeping me interested in a title that seems to be somewhat losing steam. I’m not giving up on this yet since this is still quite a bit better than most other DC titles right now. So I suppose that this is another guilty pleasure read for me.
The War of the Justice Leagues is here—and now, DC Comics presents the first chapter in this epic event in a new Director’s Cut, featuring Geoff Johns’ original script from JUSTICE LEAGUE #22 and Ivan Reis’ artwork presented in pencil form!
Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: Ivan Reis | 32pp | $5.99
Why is this on the list: It appears that this is a bigger script than what we see in the actual issue, which should be interesting. I probably won’t be getting it, but it sounds like an interesting idea, so I’ll wait to see what the reaction is before making a final call.
Supergirl struggles to survive against one of the most dangerous villains in the entire universe – Cyborg Superman! But what could superman’s robotic doppleganger want with Supergirl? The answer will blow your mind—and set the stage for a massive story this fall!
Writer: Michael Alan Nelson | Art: Mahmud Asrar | Cover: Mahmud Asrar | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Reading the disappointing “H’el on Earth” crossover has given me a new appreciation for the character and I’m quite closer to my target of reading this book so I can get to the Michael Alan Nelson issues, starting from #20. Plus, Cyborg-Superman making, essentially, his first appearance in the New 52. I wouldn’t miss that!
Superman’s found out the secret the U.S. Army tried desperately to keep from him—or more specifically, that secret’s found him! But with hijacked drone aircraft tearing Tokyo apart, there’s not much time for mystery…and with Lois Lane on the case as well, what’s in the darkness will come to the light!
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: The second issue has begun to turn around my thinking on this series and I’m looking forward to reading this one. As a friend of mine put it, this series has given us a great outing for Lois so far in the New 52 and I loved the interactions between Superman and Wraith in the last issue. This issue is highly promising in that regard!
A deadly virus tearing through Starling City leaves the Arrow frantically searching for Patient Zero! Plus, a powerful flashback reveals Diggle’s search for his brother’s killer—and don’t miss Shado’s comics debut, as drawn by her creator, Mike Grell!
Writer: Marc Guggenheim | Art: Mike Grell, Xermanico, Sergio Sandoval | 40pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: I’m not yet sure that I want to pick up this (actually) episodic book, more so since this appears to be tied into the whole “zero year” theme for Ollie on Arrow so I’m perfectly willing to give it all a chance. The first issue, which I read last year, was quite interesting.
The new series begins here with all-new creative teams and all-new adventure!
Now a freshman at Gotham University, Terry McGinnis’s role as Batman threatens his education and his life as a teenager. And when the Mayor is murdered, Terry’s life is thrown into even greater turmoil! Meanwhile, the Justice League must stop Superman when his powers rage out of control!
Writer: Kyle Higgins, Christos Gage | Art: Thony Silas, Iban Coello | Cover: Sean Murphy | Variant: Rafael Albuquerque | 48pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: Kyle Higgins and Christos Gage, two of my favourite comics writers, tackling the Batman Beyond universe? That’s all I needed to hear!
Relic deals a game-changing blow to the Corps as the final pieces are put in place for the ultimate battle to save the universe! Do not miss this issue!
Writer: Justin Jordan | Art: Bradley Walker, Andrew Hennessy | Cover: Rafael Albuquerque | Variant: Rags Morales | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Same as above with regards to the Green Lantern Corps book.
It’s the middle of summer, so why is an iceberg blocking Gotham harbor? Aided by his new accomplice, Mr. Freeze, the Penguin floats in on a giant iceberg that he declares to be a soverign nation. Now, in order for ships to pass and commerce to continue, everyone is going to have to pay a toll to “Emperor Penguin.” Will the beaked criminal really be able to use diplomatic immunity to pull off this pernicious piracy?
Writer: Jeff Parker | Art: Ty Templeton | Cover: Mike Allred | Variant: Kevin Maguire | 40pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: This is a panel-by-panel comic and when I read the first issue last week I was really surprised by how well it was pulled off. Plus, the Adam West/Batman nostalgia and the silliness of all of that!
This concluding collection, featuring issues #0 and 7-12, begins to answer the questions surrounding Captain Atom’s origin: Why did he sign up for Megala’s experiment? How did he become Captain Atom? Do his powers have any limits? Plus, Nate struggles to relate to those around him as he searches for a way to regain his human form and stop a catastrophic event!
Writer: J. T. Krul | Art: Freddie E. Williams II | Cover: Freddie E. Williams II | 168pp | $14.99
Why is this on the list: Captain Atom has always been a really interesting character for me, ever since I first saw him on the Justice League animated series and James Robinson has done some good stuff with him so far in Earth 2 so I can’t wait to finally tackle the entire series.
Kass Sage, daughter of Vandal Savage, is an FBI profiler—and when she’s on the trail of a serial killer, she must seek her father’s help to put an end to the killings. Also, don’t miss tales of Kid Flash, Hawk and Dove, O.M.A.C. and more in this title collecting DCU PRESENTS #0 and 9-12!
Writer: James Robinson, Dan Didio | Art: Bernard Chang, Keith Giffen | Cover: Ryan Sook | 144pp | $14.99
Why is this on the list: Vandal Savage, a character I love to hate. Frankly, just hearing the words Vandal Savage are enough to get me into a fit. Thank you Justice League animated series for making a character that…. likable! This is almost an automatic-buy for me.
In this new WORLD OF WARCRAFT original graphic novel, the Cataclysm rips through Azeroth as Warchief Garrosh Hellscream orders the best warriors of the Horde to come forward and serve in a new army, lest their foes in the Alliance sense weakness and attack. We meet these warriors as they come forward—from very different lands, backgrounds, traditions. Will they be able to overcome their differences and work together to serve the Horde, especially when challenged by a powerful, unfamiliar race claiming to be the real rulers of Azeroth?
Writer: Doug Wagner | Art: Jheremy Raapack, Richard Friend, Joe Weems, Livesay | Cover: Samwise Didier, Alex Horley | 152pp | $24.99
Why is this on the list: I used to play the game quite a bit back in the day, until just a little over three years now, and I remember all of it rather fondly. To see Garrosh back in action promises to be quite the entertainer. I wonder if I’ll hate his guts any less now!
The critically acclaimed adventures of Aquaman continue! “DEATH OF A KING” comes to a shocking conclusion as Aquaman is forced to fight alongside Mera’s husband Nereus to defend Atlantis from the Dead King—the first King of Atlantis and rightful ruler of the Seven Seas! But what does the Scavenger and his army have to do with this attack? And what dark secret will send Aquaman off on a quest to uncover the truth behind himself and Atlantis?
Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons | Cover: Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons | Variant: Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: Last issue was an absolute kicker and I expect even better from this issue as this arc hits its highest point and begins to wrap up, even now. There has been so much going on here, and so much waiting to happen that all the time in between is driving me crazy. As with a Geoff Johns’ large-scale story, so it is here, with each issue somehow managing to trump the issue before it. Don’t see why this would be an exception.
TRINITY WAR CHAPTER 6! Trinity War concludes! But that doesn’t mean all ends well for our heroes. The secret behind Pandora’s Box is revealed and it means the end of the Justice Leagues!
Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Cover: Doug Mahnke | Variant: Mikel Janin, Doug Mahnke | 40pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: The final issue of the crossover, and leading straight into “Villains Month” and the “Forever Evil” event, this is all promising to be hugely spectacular. After all, looks like Pandora’s Box might finally get opened. How can I NOT be getting this?
Larfleeze and Stargrave find an unlikely ally when the Wanderer comes calling!
Writer: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis | Art: Scott Kolins | Cover: Howard Porter | Variant: Howard Porter | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Like I mentioned for the second issue, this series really knows how to do humour really well. Larfleeze is a mess of contradictions and I love him for that. Certainly getting this title!
Join comics’ finest talents as they celebrate The Man of Steel himself: Superman! This issue features The Last Son of Krypton in timeless tales of truth and justice, featuring appearances by Lex Luthor and Brainiac! Plus: A meteor that’s headed straight for Earth!
Writer: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Tom DeFalco, Rob Williams | Art: Wes Craig, Sean Parsons, Chris Weston | Cover: Bruce Timm | 40pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: Another title that seems to be generating a lot of positive buzz and featuring DnA, who’s work I’ve enjoyed before, so this should be quite good! Perhaps I’ll cave in for the other issues as well.
After narrowly escaping his last battle with He-Man, Skeletor has fled to the most unexpected realm to recover: EARTH! Once there, he sets a plan in motion to siphon off Earth’s core magic. Forging an unlikely hunting party, He-Man and company go in search of Skeletor. Finding themselves at odds with the heroes of the DC Universe, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe must find a way to stop Skeletor and his mysterious new master!
Writer: Keith Giffen| Art: Dexter Soy | Cover: Ed Benes | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: The Justice League and the Masters of the Universe going full-on at each other. This is like a dream match-up for me, honestly. To miss this would be like missing out on a piece of childhood. Now, I can only hope that Giffen turns out a good story here!
In these tales from SWORD OF SORCERY #0-8, Amethyst, lost princess of Gemworld, is back—and she has powerful enemies hunting her! But what role will John Constantine play in her destiny? Plus, don’t miss tales of Beowulf and Stalker!
Writer: Christy Marx, Tony Bedard, Mark Andreyko | Art: Aaron Lopresti, Jesus Saiz, Claude St. Aubin | Cover: Aaron Lopresti | 320pp | $24.99
Why is this on the list: I read the zero issue last year and I thought it was fairly good, but not interesting enough for me to continue on since this was a two-story anthology essentially, with the second story being completely different from Sword of Sorcery. However, having recently watched the Sword of Sorcery DC Nation shorts recently, and seeing Princess Amethyst make a surprise appearance in the recent Justice League Dark issue has proven to be motivating enough.
• Collecting the best-selling run of SUPERMAN/BATMAN written by Jeph Loeb, with art by Ed McGuinness, Michael Turner and Pat Lee!
• The iconic Super Heroes unite when Lex Luthor, now president of the United States, accuses Superman of a crime against humanity, and assembles a top-secret team of powerhouse heroes to bring Superman in—dead or alive. And in the second story, prepare for the arrival of Supergirl! Batman has discovered something strange on the bottom of Gotham Bay, which leads him to a mysterious and powerful teenaged girl bent on destroying Gotham City!
• Collecting SUPERMAN/BATMAN #1-13.
Writer: Jeph Loeb | Art: Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, Pat Lee, Michael Turner | Cover: Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines | 336pp | $99.99
Why is this on the list: All I can say is that this combines two of my top favourite characters against a top favourite villain. And the art just looks smashing.
As a young performer with Haly’s Circus, Calvin Rose was secretly being raised to be a master assassin—a killing machine called a Talon. But when Rose defects from the Court of Owls’ ranks, he is marked for death! Now, Rose returns to Gotham City following the horrors of “The Night of Owls” to investigate what remains of the Court—but will he be able to gain his freedom at last? Collecting TALON #0-7!
Writer: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV | Art: Guillem March, Juan Jose Ryp | Cover: Guillem March | 192pp | $16.99
Why is this on the list: I read the zero and first issues last year but then lost interest, much as with Team 7 by Justin Jordan. With the first arc now out in paperback, and Bane of Kings’ positive thoughts about the series, I’m willing to give this one a second chance.