Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Waiting for Wednesday, Volume 2, Issue 46

Holy return to comics, Batman!

This week marks a landmark in modern comics--it's the official return of Batman to DC continuity, courtesy of a slew of new (and much-delayed) releases from the publisher.

And it's about time. We've been Bruce Wayne-less for over a year now, and Grant Morrison's centuries-spanning tale of a "dead" Batman is now coming round full circle.

So, after a "death" that most certainly did not break the Internet in half when it was announced and a "return" that resulted in pretty much the same reaction, the real Dark Knight is back for good, and he's featured in more books than ever.

Which is kinda cool, I guess.

I have to give DC credit--they stuck with Morrison's grand plans and as a result, there is a huge, new story added to the Batman mythos. Say what you will about how DC handled the whole event (delayed issues, hyped up cross-overs that had nothing to do with Batman or his return), but Morrison certainly had a long-term vision for the arc, and he carried it through.
Sure, it crossed over into too many titles and it became confusing at several points, but hey, it was something big and different. And comics needs big and different.

Despite the "death" being brushed aside by many (let's face it, we all knew he'd be back), the following story is an important one in the history of the character and his world, and as with many of Morrison's projects, I think the whole epic will read better all at once, in a giant trade.

(Hopefully DC recognizes this, too, and creates an omnibus of the important issues so we don't have to buy six or seven different trades to get the whole story.)

Anyway, since I've already dived right in to this week's reading pile, let's keep going. The two big Batman books this week are Batman: The Return and Batman Incorporated, issue one.

Of those two, the one I'm most interested in is The Return. Written by Morrison and featuring art by the great David Finch, this is the book to check out. Finch made his name over at Marvel with amazing runs on books like Ultimate Spider-Man, The Avengers, and my personal favorite, Moon Knight.

His pencils are gritty, his cities are dark and filthy, and his action sequences are spectacular. Finch on Batman is the no-brainer of all time. His Batman is going to be considered a definitive version of the character, so certainly give this book a shot.

Here's the solicitation information from DC:

The event of the year is here!

Bruce Wayne made his long journey back through the timestream in RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, Dick Grayson and Damian uncovered important secrets in BATMAN and ROBIN, Gotham City's bravest heroes made their mark in BRUCE WAYNE – THE ROAD HOME...and now it's time for BATMAN to return!

What happens to Dick Grayson now that the "real" Batman is back? How will Bruce Wayne handle a reunion with his son, Damian? This special one-shot bridges two exciting eras of The Dark Knight and sets up a surprising new status quo that's just on the horizon.

Featuring the talents of Batman mastermind Grant Morrison and superstar artist David Finch providing interior art, this issue is a can't-miss for comics fans!

Next up is a book that is as diametrically opposed to a big, flashy, corporate event book as you can get while still being somewhat int he mainstream.

From Dark Horse and creators Mike Mignola and Richard Corben, the Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil one-shot hits today, and it promises a continuity-free pairing of stories with extra pages for the nice, low price of $3.50.
I've read the entire Hellboy mythos, and I've been following the single issues day and date of release for the past five years or so, and I can honestly say that the character has never been better.

Mignola consistently churns out the best the comics industry has to offer, and I expect nothing less from today's offering. Here's the blurb from Dark Horse:

Eisner Award-winning horror masters Mike Mignola and Richard Corben present this bloodcurdling double-feature comic with Hellboy entering two very different, but very deadly, houses--a carnivorous home and a pagan temple, both hungry for human sacrifices.

There's plenty more stuff coming out today, but I only have so much time, and I want to be sure to mention one of the best new books on the racks today. From Image, Morning Glories, issue four, ships, and with it one of the creepiest, best-written "superhero" stories of the year.
Writer Nick Spencer (who, by the way, just landed a ton of mainstream work) is knocking this book about a group of gifted youngsters out of the park. The story so far has been surprising, scary, and so well crafted that I cannot wait for each issue to ship.

Here's the blurb from Image:

With one of their own in danger, the rest of the Glories come together secretly and hatch a plan to rescue her—and escape from the sinister clutches of the Academy together! The teacher versus student showdown starts here!

There are second and third prints of previous issues readily available, so if you haven't checked this series out, please do so.

Okay, well. I need to run. Before I go, though--what are you Waiting for?

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