And the announcements keep on coming, though it’s fair to say that DC are keeping us in the dark. It’s DC’s new Weirdoverse! Actually, I probably shouldn’t use that term, as DC attached it to a bunch of Nineties launches that all skewed towards the dark side of the superhero universe, then fell right off the edge. None of those books – Scare Tactics, Challengers of the Unknown, Night Force and Book of Fate – are in the latest batch of comics announced for a very crowded September, but the wholesale introduction of a DC dark side reminds me of that time.
And you know what? At least two of those books were pretty darn good.
But that was then, let’s look at now. Or rather, soon.
Swamp Thing #1 by Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette and Franco Francavilla No surprise here, after Swampy was reborn in the recent Brightest Day series. I never read those appearances but heard he was no longer the Swamp Thing as reimagined by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben. Not good. Further, he was given a mission to save the planet or something. Ho hum. Happily, Scott Snyder is the Anti-Ho-Hum. He’s shown horror form with Vertigo’s American Vampire, and Detective Comics demonstrates that he can play well in the DCU, so I want to see where he takes Swamp Thing. Paquette makes any script look good, while alternating artist Francavilla has partnered with Snyder to stunning effect in Detective. This comic looks to be unmissable.
Resurrection Man #1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Fernando Dagnino One of the best, most original comics of the Nineties returns, with his creators at the writing helm. Mitch Shelley, lawyer, gains new super-powers every time he dies. It sounds cheesy, but DnA, along with artist Butch Guice, spun that simple concept into a compelling drama over 28 issues. The series was set firmly in the DC, as the immortal Shelley fought eternal adversary Vandal Savage and the likes of Major Force, and teamed up with the Justice League, while staking a claim for the most off-the-wall superhero comic out there. Supporting villains the Body Doubles – a pair of female assassins – even won a one-shot and a mini-series on the back of Mitch’s book. Resurrection Man has barely appeared since the comic’s 1999 cancellation, representing an awful waste of potential. Maybe I should have seen this one coming … after all, coming back from the dead is Mitch’s game. DnA are two of the most consistently good writers in comics, so I’ve no doubt this will be a rewarding read, and with Dagnino – late of Justice League: Generation Lost – drawing, it’s going to look great. If you never read the original run, I’d recommend grabbing a trade, but I don’t think DC ever put one out. They will now.
I … Vampire #1 by Josh Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino The vampires are back, and they’ve forgotten their clothes. I dunno, when Andrew Bennett and Mary, Queen of Blood were sparring in House of Mystery back in the day they had a certain sartorial style. Look at ’em now. Tarts. Still, I’ll give the comic a try as Bennett bids to prevent one-time love Mary from leading her fanged horde to dominion over the Earth. Josh Fialkov has written a lot of comic books and graphic novels and I’m mildly embarrassed to admit that I’ve missed them all. Well, apart from Rampaging Wolverine. Any day I can avoid a Wolverine comic is a good day. I’ve seen covers by Andrea Sorrentino and they have a richly realistic style; I imagine a simplified approach will be required for monthly strip work, and I look forward to seeing it. I suppose not drawing clothes saves time …
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #1 by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Poticelli One of the more entertaining entries of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers event, Frankenstein returns as an operative of the Super Human Advanced Defence Executive. With big guns blazing and, hopefully, the beehived Bride at his side, this could be great fun. Especially as it’s being written by Sweet Tooth writer Jeff Lemire, who’s been making his Superboy scripts more weirdly diverting by the issue. Albert Ponticelli, probably best known for his Unknown Soldier work, promises to bring an interesting European vibe to the book.
Animal Man #1 by Jeff Lemire, Travel Foreman and Dan Green It’s that man Lemire again, on another character redefined by Morrison. Animal Man is fighting for his family life in this new series, as daughter Maxine’s developing abilitiy to tap animal powers cause problems. I’ll be there, as Buddy Baker, wife Ellen, son Cliff and the aforementioned Maxine are some of my favourite DC characters. This looks a great fit for Lemire, while Foreman, who made a big impression on Iron Fist, pencils and the great Dan Green brings his fine lines to the project. While you’re waiting for this, you could do worse than check out the trade collection of last year’s The Last Days of Animal Man by Gerry Conway and Chris Batista. The six-issue series went under the radar, but it’s a beautifully crafted, charming story that will delight all Animal Man fans.
Demon Knights #1 by Paul Cornell, Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert Medieval sword and sorcery superheroics. Sold. With Cornell writing we’re guaranteed sharp tales featuring splendid character dynamics. I don’t know who series headliner The Demon will interact with, mind you, as so far Cornell (Captain Britain & MI13, Action Comics. Knight & Squire, Doctor Who) is keeping his cards close to his chest. But last year’s Camelot 500 story in DC Universe: Legacies #7 did see the Demon teaming with the Shining Knight and the Silent Knight, so they could show up alongside the new players Cornell plans to populate the book with. I do hope that the Demon’s old enemy Morgan Le Fay is in there as she’s always great value and has a brilliant Jack Kirby visual. I’m not actually a Demon fan, but find him bearable when his rhyming scans. I’ve no doubt that a wordsmith as proficient as Cornell can give us terse verse, but he doesn’t really have to try – Etrigan spoke like a regular fella centuries ago. It’s only in recent years that a promotion poshed up his speech patterns. Former Green Arrow artist Neves and Green Lantern inker Albert should make a great team on the book Cornell describes as ‘