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Shadowhawk takes a look at the top titles from DC to look out for in the holiday month.
So the final month of the year is here and its a 5-week month for DC. Lots of cool titles getting released this month, although things on the graphic novel front are very light it seems. I picked out only like 2-3 titles for this month, compared to the 1-2 every week that I usually do for these posts. The entire Forever Evil event finally hits its half-mark this month, which is just as well given the grand sweeping nature of the event, and there are a ton of shake-ups going on in this book. So there’s that.
And there aren’t going to be any special tie-in events for a while as well, given that Zero Year tie-ins too are behind us now, which too is just as well since the quality of those issues was all over the place sadly. Now we get back to the regular programming, despite some recent interruptions and December promises to be far better than November.
DC Universe vs The Masters of The Universe #3
After the shocking ending to issue #2, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe find themselves hunted by the Justice League. In the midst of the chaos, Skeletor’s plan moves into its next, dangerous phase!
Writer: Keith Giffen| Art: Dexter Soy | Cover: Ed Benes | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: And another issue of this series is delayed, again. When will this end? Either way, as I said last time, this book is silly fun and I’m enjoying the hilarity of it, much like Larfleeze but a bit more… out there.
Batman works to contain a swarm of genetically altered killer bats, as well as She-Bat and other humans who have been mutated into bat-people.
Writer: John Layman | Art: Aaron Lopresti | Cover: Jason Fabok | Variant: Jason Fabok | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: For me, John Layman and Jason Fabok have made Detective Comics a must-read and their Wrath arc that recently concluded was an extremely good story that I wanted more of. Aaron Lopresti is taking over art duties from Fabok for now and I am quite excited for this issue since I read Layman/Lopresti’s Catwoman #25 this past week and it was pretty damn good. Plus I want more of She-Bat.
The new Batman of Earth 2 tries to turn the tide in the war against the forces of Darkseid and Apokolips, but even as new allies reveal themselves the planet trembles before its new rulers.
Writer: Tom Taylor | Art: Nicola Scott, Trevor Scott | Cover: Ethan Van Sciver | Variant: Ethan Van Sciver | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Ok so #17 wasn’t all that good, because Taylor is no James Robinson, but I’m quite intrigued by the “new” Batman on Earth 2 and what role he is playing in events as the forces of Apokolips once more make their play for Earth.
“THE OUTSIDERS WAR” begins here! Oliver Queen finally knows the location of the Outsiders’ base, but first he must return to the place where Green Arrow was born: The Island! Secrets are revealed, new villains introduced, and a mind-blowing final page kicks off this new storyline with a bang!
Writer: Jeff Lemire | Art: Andrea Sorrentino | Cover: Andrea Sorrentino | Variant: Andrea Sorrentino | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: I’ve read the last four issues of the series and they have all been excellent. Lemire and Sorrentino are a very in-sync team and they’ve been delivering on this series non-stop. This issue begins a new arc and I’m very, very excited for this.
The Movement has been taken down, and only the powerless Vengeance Moth is left to protect the streets from the Graveyard Faction!
Writer: Gail Simone | Art: Freddie E Williams II | Cover: Howard Porter| 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Gail has been showing off a very dark side of this setting for the last couple issues and things are really heating up left and right for The Movement and its allies. Lots of sudden changes in status quo and all the confusion is an excellent place to tell these kinds of stories.
Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #14
A FOREVER EVIL TIE-IN! John Constantine, Swamp Thing and Nightmare Nurse have a plan for how to stop FOREVER EVIL—to destroy the embodiment of Evil Itself—and they intend to draft Phantom Stranger into their war. But the Stranger has no intention of joining the new Justice League Dark—until Constantine opens a door into the Stranger’s past, revealing secrets that make him question everything he’s ever believed about himself…
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis | Art: Fernando Blanco | Cover: Guillem March | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: J. M. DeMatteis has been knocking it out of the park on this series since he took over from Dan Didio (I’m now fully caught up on this series) and he’s one of the major writers for the entire Forever Evil: Blight arc since he’s writing no less than two titles for it. His Phantom Stranger is an excellent character and I can’t wait to see what he has in store next.
Nightwing Volume 3: Death of the Family
In this title collecting NIGHTWING #13-18 and BATMAN #17, The Joker returns to Gotham City, and he’s more dangerous than ever! The Joker sets his twisted sights on the members of the Bat-Family and hits them where it hurts—and for Dick Grayson, that means going after the family he’s built up for the past year at Haly’s Circus!
Writer: Kyle Higgins, Tom DeFalco, Scott Snyder | Art: Andres Guinaldo, Eddy Barrows, Juan Jose Ryp, Greg Capullo | Cover: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira | 176pp | $16.99
Why is this on the list: I read the entire thing individually and in these issues Kyle Higgins did some of his best work. The rotating artists kind of made the visuals a bit confusing but the overall story itself is pretty good!
The shocking conclusion of “Batgirl: Wanted”! Can Barbara save her father’s life without compromising the truth about her brother’s death?
Writer: Gail Simone | Art: Fernando Pasarin, Jonathan Glapion | Cover: Alex Garner | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Gail Simone has excelled herself with each issue on the series and as she closes out the Wanted arc, I’m very tense since this is going to be a pretty big moment for Barbara, given everything she’s been through lately. This one promises to be an absolute cracker.
ZERO YEAR continues! With Gotham City thrown into total chaos by The Riddler, Batman and Jim Gordon must learn to work together! This issue is also offered as a combo pack edition with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.
Writer: Scott Snyder | Art: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki | Cover: Greg Capullo | Variant: Dustin Nguyen, Greg Capullo | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: The last issue wasn’t all that good, and is the weakest I’ve read yet from the Snyder/Capullo duo so my excitement for this one is a bit hampered but nevertheless they are a strong team and they have been incredibly consistent so far, so I’m not giving up any hope yet.
With the events of FOREVER EVIL looming, Nightwing enters the final stages of life as he knows it!
Writer: Kyle Higgins | Art: Will Conrad | Cover: Will Conrad | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: It seems that after the prequel stories of the last two issues the series has finally caught up to the opening gambit of Forever Evil, which marked a huge change in status quo for Nightwing. I’ve been expecting more on that front for a while now while this isn’t it exactly, I can’t wait to see how Kyle sets up what Geoff Johns has already written!
A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! The survivors of the Crime Syndicate’s attack now face a world where Earth’s most dangerous criminals are in charge. Can they bring a new team together in time to combat them?
Writer: Matt Kindt | Art: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira | Cover: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira | Variant: Dale Eaglesham, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: The last two issues have been a bit meh, but I remain hopeful for this series. Geoff Johns is certainly being missed, and Kindt has faltered here and there but the story has nevertheless been very promising, and after the events of the previous issue, I’m very intrigued where things go next.
FOREVER EVIL continues as the Crime Syndicate hunts down the few heroes left foolish enough to challenge them—including Batman’s protege, Dick Grayson. But Owlman has other plans for Nightwing…and Owlman’s teammate: the most deadly being on the planet: Ultraman!
Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Variant: Aaron Kuder, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: This issue too was delayed for some unknown reason, so as I said last time: Kind of funny that I’m enjoying tie-in issues far more than the event book for Forever Evil itself. But then, that’s what a pairing of Geoff, Ivan and Joe is all about. They are pretty much a perfect team!
Justice League 3000 #1
The new series starring the heroes of today—tomorrow is resolicited, now with legendary artist Howard Porter (JLA) on board! But what are these heroes doing in the year 3000? And who (or what) brought them there? Get ready for a dose of wonder from the writing team of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis!
Writer: Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis | Art: Howard Porter | Cover: Howard Porter | Variant: Howard Porter | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: A Justice League of the future with the same characters, in a way, as the current League for the most part? Yeah, I definitely want to know more about all these characters. And I have to say that I really like Flash and Green Lantern’s costumes.
Who is John Constantine? Lost and confused now that he’s sold himself out to the Cold Flame, John becomes vulnerable to attack by Spellbinder! What secrets will be revealed when John is forced to travel though his own mind?
Writer: Ray Fawkes | Art: Aco | Cover: Howard Porter | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: I’m finally caught up on this series as well and after a few early missteps, Fawkes seems to be getting back on track. Not to mention that I’m really enjoying Constantine on DeMatteis’ Justice League Dark, and I want more of him. He is a delightful anti-hero.
Smallville: Alien #1
A new SMALLVILLE miniseries begins! Superman has barely adjusted to his new status quo when he finds himself racing against time (and Lex Luthor!) to uncover the secret behind a Russian meteor strike. Something has fallen from space—and it looks an awful lot like a Monitor! Don’t miss “Alien” part 1 of 4!
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller | Art: Edgar Salazar, DYM | Cover: Cat Staggs | 40pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: The digital battle between Lex and Clark continues and I continue to lament that I’m so far behind on this series. But, never say never, and this arc looks really interesting, so yeah.
The Joker! Grodd! Darkseid! Lex Luthor! These and dozens of other DCU evildoers took center stage in September’s giant Villains Month event! This incredible book collects JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.1-23.4, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7.1-7.4, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #23.1-23.2, AQUAMAN #23.1-23.2, EARTH 2 #15.1-15.2, THE FLASH #23.1-23.3, GREEN ARROW #23.1, WONDER WOMAN #23.1-23.2, ACTION COMICS #23.1-23.4, SUPERMAN #23.1-23.4, BATMAN/SUPERMAN #3.1, BATMAN #23.1-23.4, BATMAN AND ROBIN #23.1-23.4, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #23.1-23.4, DETECTIVE COMICS #23.1-23.4, GREEN LANTERN #23.1-23.4, SWAMP THING #23.1 and TEEN TITANS #23.1-23.2.
Writer: Various | Art: Various | Cover: Various | 1184pp | $150.00
Why is this on the list: Some of these were good, some were bad. Some of them made sense, some did not. There are some gems here, that’s for certain, but there also quite a few duds. But, a lot of these stories did well to focus on the characters they did, giving us a really wide scope on all the characters involved!
Harley is set to begin her new life, but she needs a job first! Enter the Coney Island Roller Derby! It’s game time as Harley sets out to destroy her competition—literally!
Writer: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti | Art: Chad Hardin | Cover: Amanda Conner | Variant: Adam Huges | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: The zero issue last month was excellent as the writers broke the fourth wall and had Harley try out a multitude of artists before settling down on one of them. Chad Hardin is the honoured chap and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of his art, plus whatever Conner and Palmiotti have up their sleeves.
Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #3
The Rogues continue their flight from the ruthless Crime Syndicate, who have put a bounty on their heads. But en route back to Central City, Mirror Master’s powers malfunction, and they land in the middle of the events of ARKHAM WAR with pretty much every Bat-villain around going after the bounty!
Writer: Brian Buccellato | Art: Scott Hepburn | Cover: Declan Shalvey | Variant: Declan Shalvey | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: While the writing on this series has been very good, the story is a bit aimless at the moment with the departure of Captain Cold. Still, this issue is pretty much a villainous free-for-all banquet and there’s no way that I’m missing out on it.
A FOREVER EVIL TIE-IN! Pandora seeks answers from the one man who seems to have them…Earth-3’s The Outsider! But first she must make it past a rabid Vandal Savage, who wants revenge for what Pandora has done to him! All this, and an unexpected visit from the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine!
Writer: Ray Fawkes | Art: Francis Portela | Cover: Julian Totino Tedesco | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: As with Constantine, Fawkes seems to have improved on this title as well and since this is another part of the Forever Evil: Blight arc, I’m excited for this one.
Following the stunning conclusion of “Krypton Returns,” Supergirl arrives back on Earth with a new mission and a clearer understanding of her place in the universe. But a striking new foe prepares to welcome Supergirl home: LOBO! What could the mysterious new character want from Supergirl? Find out as the hot new creative team of writer Tony Bedard (GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS) and artist Yildiray Cinar (EARTH 2) launch Supergirl into the next stage of her life in the DC Universe!
Writer: Tony Bedard | Art: Yildiray Cinar, Ray McCarthy | Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Supergirl has been going through some extremely tough times recently and it doesn’t look like there’s any let-up for her. I haven’t read last month’s issue, frankly because I have no interest in reading something that Lobdell has written and I’m a bit apprehensive about this one as well since Tony Bedard is like the fourth writer on the series in 26 issues and I’m getting sick of the revolving door policy. But, we shall see.
It’s all-out chaos as the DC Universe continues its march through darkness! War erupts across the Earth between the villains! Allegiances are formed! Rivals are murdered! And at center stage it’s Lex Luthor versus Batman—and their fight couldn’t come at a worse time as Deathstroke’s Hunting Party closes in on the world’s only hope against the Crime Syndicate!
Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: David Finch, Richard Friend | Cover: David Finch, Richard Friend | Variant: Ethan Van Sciver, David Finch, Richard Friend | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: Trust DC to put out an issue on Christmas Eve. At least they’ve made it a heavy-hitter, potentially. The story and the art have been a little all over the place since the start of the series but this is DC’s BIG-BIG event of the New 52 continuity and there’s no advantage in not reading this series. Still, there have been some fun things happening lately and I want to see what this new issue brings.
A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! Why has the Crime Syndicate really come to our Earth? What are their darkest secrets? And how will their actions fundamentally change the Justice League as we know it? Meanwhile, Grid controls the world’s power and communications, but what does he truly want from the Syndicate? Plus, a member of the League struggling to survive plots a path of return…and revenge.
Writer: Geoff Johns | Art: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | Variant: Aaron Kuder, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: No cover image for this one this time around, which isn’t all that surprising, but is disappointing all the same. But, this issue promises a lot of revelations and I totally want to see all the tough stuff happen.
Superman and Wraith form an alliance to rescue a hostage and strike at the heart of Ascension, but the mission goes awry when it becomes clear the Man of Tomorrow and the soldier from beyond the stars have very different methodologies—and objectives! Plus, secrets are revealed about Wraith’s people!
Writer: Scott Snyder | Art: Jim Lee, Scott Williams | Backup Art: Dustin Nguyen | Cover: Jim Lee, Scott Williams | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: I’m finally warming up to this series in earnest and given how Snyder has built up everything so far, this one promises to be a real firebrand. Snyder and Lee on Superman, doesn’t get any better, not now.
“Sea of Storms” begins with the debut of new AQUAMAN writer Jeff Parker! The Earth’s crust is grinding to life, releasing deadly volcanoes and bizarre creatures…so humanity’s first instinct is to blame Atlantis! And as the plates pull apart, the pressures of ruling a kingdom under siege are weighing on Aquaman and Mera as well!
Writer: Jeff Parker | Art: Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons | Cover: Paul Pelletier | Variant: Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list:. This is Parker’s first issue in the series for New 52, what with Geoff Johns finally bowing out last month with #25, so this is a fresh start for the character after the big change in status quo from the previous arc. I’ve read some of Parker’s interviews on the series and he has gotten me really excited for his run.
A FOREVER EVIL tie-in! The Crime Syndicate’s Sea King, last seen at the end of “Trinity War,” has cheated death and plagues the JL Dark team!
Writer: J. M. DeMatteis | Art: Mikel Janin | Cover: Mikel Janin | Variant: Mikel Janin | 32pp | $3.99
Why is this on the list: The Sea-King got a very lackluster entry in Justice League #23 at the end of the Trinity War but now he is back, and better than ever it seems, so colour me interested. A villainous version of Aquaman? Hell yeah I’m down for that.
Now that Larfleeze is a living power battery, how will his former corps recharge its rings! The Orange Lanterns are prepared to pry open Agent Orange to find out!
Writer: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis | Art: Scott Kolins | Cover: Tyler Kirkham | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: Simply put, this is not a book to be missed. At all
In this special standalone story, The Flash loses someone important to him. To catch the villain responsible, The Flash must figure out how to use his powers in the one place where they do him little good: the sky!
Writer: Christos Gage | Art: Neil Googe | Cover: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund | Variant: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: With the exit of the Brian Buccellato/Francis Manapul team from the title, Christos Gage and Neil Googe are stepping in for this intermediate issue, and I have to say that I’m interested to see what kind of a style they bring to a series that has been defined by Buccellato/Manapul for all of New 52 thus far. Flash has been a consistently good series for the last few issues, and this should be good too.
Kate Kane’s life has always been one of intrigue and adventure, but since she took on the mantle of Batwoman, things have been in overdrive with no sign of slowing down! Join us as Batwoman starts her next chapter and faces a threat that might just have her rethinking her career as a hero!
Writer: Marc Andreyko | Art: Jeremy Haun | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: This will be Andreyko’s second issue on the series and I’m somewhat intrigued by how he’s going to approach the character. Aside from last month’s issue, I haven’t read any Batwoman comics to date, but she’s an interesting character, so I’m definitely of a mind to check out more.
A sweeping visual tale of Gotham City’s forgotten citizens: the abused and the voiceless. Will these desperate souls find their angel in The Dark Knight? Find out in this special mostly silent issue.
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz | Art: Alex Maleev | Cover: Chris Burnham | 32pp | $2.99
Why is this on the list: I’m not reading this series right now, but going through the solicit, I just have to get this title based on the premise.