Thursday, September 29, 2016

On The Shelf: New Riverdale expands, and two DC teams come together

We'll get to the news later, but let's get to some reviews.

A few years ago, writer-artist Matt Wagner put Batman, Superman, & Wonder Woman together in a miniseries entitled, Trinity, which was a big seller. With all that has happened at DC since then, the Rebirth initiative seemed like the right time to do a new, this time ongoing, Trinity book, one that doesn't require the reader to also invest in the heroes' individual books or Justice League.

As you probably know by now, the Superman we're seeing now is the one that existed prior to the New 52 era (2011-6), as the Man of Steel we read about the last five years has passed on, or so we think. This is the Supes who married Lois Lane, and, wonder of wonders, they have a son, Jonathan, named for Superman's adoptive Earth father. What writer-artist Francis Manapul is attempting to do is establish the theme of family in this book, with Wonder Woman & Batman, or, in this case, Princess Diana and Bruce Wayne, on a getting-to-know-you mission with Superman & Son. He's off to a good start.

We'll reserve a rating until later.

Speaking of Justice League, DC screwed the pooch with the last incarnation of Justice League of America, pulling writer-artist Bryan Hitch off that book to draw Justice League: Rebirth and script the subsequent ongoing relaunch of Justice League. Unfortunately, the central theme here is so confusing, I can't quite get on board with it. Not feeling it in the least bit. When you consider that for his comics debut, writer John Semper, the producer of the 1990's Spider-Man cartoon, is tweaking Cyborg's origin, perhaps in line with the storyline in Justice League, well, let's just say the books are better off in more capable hands, like those of Cyborg's co-creator, Marv Wolfman, who barely got started on the last Cyborg book before that was rebooted.

Justice League: Rebirth gets a C-. Justice League is worth a C.

As we're getting caught up with Green Arrow, some of you might be a wee bit confused about Oliver Queen's sister in this book, Emiko. Is she meant to be an analogue for Thea, from Arrow? Can't say for sure. I wasn't too thrilled with the conclusion of the first arc, as it got bogged down with supernatural themes that don't belong with GA. The 2nd arc is spotlighting Emiko and her mother, Shado. I guess then that Emiko is really Ollie's half-sister or something. Yeah, kind of like Thea.....!

Green Arrow's rating falls to a B-.

The other day, we found ourselves scoping out Afterlife With Archie 10, an interlude issue that shows us what writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has done with Josie & the Pussycats. Judging from the Francesco Francavilla cover, I'd think they were turned into werewolves or something, but, well, not quite. They're vampires in this continuity, all of them over 100 years old. Aguirre-Sacasa has created his own pocket universe with the horror line, but as we've noted, he refuses to share his vision with others, otherwise the book would be further along than it is. Aguirre-Sacasa has been spending the bulk of his time in Hollywood working with producer Greg Berlanti on Supergirl and the forthcoming Riverdale. At least Afterlife can be considered a bi-monthly title, with the next issue scheduled for October, and issue 12 in time for the holidays. Luckily for Pussycats fans, the band now has their own "New Riverdale" book, which launched this week. We'll scope that another day.

Meanwhile, we speculated last time that the next "New Riverdale" book after Josie would feature Sabrina, off her appearance in Jughead. Nope. December sees the relaunch of a long dormant series, Reggie & Me, the "me" in the title being, most likely, Reggie's dog, Vader, something he didn't have in the original Reggie & Me back in the day. That series ended years ago, as did a companion book, Reggie's Wise Guy Jokes, and reprints from those books will be collected in a 1-shot special debuting a week after Reggie & Me volume 2 bows.

When ABC had The Bionic Woman & Wonder Woman on the air back in the 70's, no one gave a thought that there'd ever be a crossover, especially considering the two shows were produced by two different studios (Universal and WB, respectively). The success DC & Dynamite enjoyed with Wonder Woman '77, a sporadic series of specials, and The Bionic Woman: Season 4 miniseries, respectively, has led to the two iconic heroes coming together for the first time, under the Dynamite banner this time. Andy Mangels is writing the miniseries, also launching in December. That may be worth a look.

Meanwhile, DC finally pulls the trigger on a miniseries featuring two of their biggest teams, in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, a 6-part weekly mini launching right before Christmas. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's overpriced at $4 per issue. The "Suicide Squad" DVD should be out by then, so maybe if you know someone who is a fan......!

DC & Boom! Studios' Batman '66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel wraps in December, so what could DC do for the next Batman '66 miniseries? Well, there hasn't been any word that I've picked up on at present, so let's just speculate. DC & IDW are doing a sequel to their popular Star Trek-Green Lantern miniseries, also in December. Since the Dynamic Duo have been meeting with well known TV spies, that gets me thinking.

What if Batman & Robin were to meet The Saint? or Maxwell Smart (Get Smart)? Or you could have Batgirl meet the Girl From U.N.C.L.E.. Yeah, that'd be along similar lines to Wonder Woman '77-Bionic Woman, but still.......! Now, can someone ask DC real nice about a series set in the universe of the Adventures of Superman.....?

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