(W) Dan Abnett (A) Bruno Redondo (CA) Mico Suayan RATED T In Shops: Feb 13, 2019 SRP: $3.99
“INTO THE BLEED” part two! The Titans are trapped on the perilous Unearth, far from home and standing in the face of not one but two evil armies. But hey, no sweat, right? Then, things take a turn for the worse when the commander of the opposition turns out to be one of their own, and the Titans will need to make some hard choices on the path to victory. Plus, what is Mother Blood’s connection to the Totality?
(W) Dan Abnett (A) Bruno Redondo (CA) Mico Suayan In Shops: Jan 16, 2019 SRP: $3.99
“Into the Bleed” part one! Raven’s soul-self has been trapped in “Unearth” for months, and the team finally figures out a way to return and save their teammate. Not only that, but the formerly fictional fantasy realm holds a crucial key to finally unlocking the mystery of the Source Wall energy-so they may be saving the entire Earth in the process! Only one problem: the Blood Cult may have beaten them to it.
(W) Dan Abnett (A/CA) Clayton Henry
In Shops: Jan 02, 2019
While the Titans have spent months responding to Source Wall-related threats, Mother Blood and the Blood Cult have been studying that energy and learning to harness it for their own malevolent purposes. In this special villain-focused issue, discover what the Cult has been up to and why everything the Titans have done up to this point may have been for naught, and how they just might be playing into the ultimate trap!
Luke Cage Season 2 – In what would be its “swan song”, the show comes into its own, telling a unique story, subverting a horrible stereotype, and giving the hero a transition, which fans were sorely cheated out of.
Iron Fist Season 2 – Just like Luke Cage, this series also found its way in its sophomore outing, fans can only speculate where the show would go with two Iron Fists
Timeless – Over its two seasons, the show has more than made fans worldwide, it has given the time travel genre, a few new twists
Daredevil Season 3 – Though the season started slow, it had a ton of revelations and pushed its titular hero to his limits, as fans got to enjoy the show at its zenith, before its cancellation
Sense8 Series Finale – In this show’s swan song, we get one last team-up that truly puts all other finales to shame, as this particular episode I watched three times just to catch all the things they put in it.
Krypton – Kudos goes out to SyFy for doing a prequel show right, despite one of their earlier attempts, Caprica, failing. They took those lessons learned and applied it to this show, where we get to meet Kal-El’s grandfather and a Back To The Future version of Adam Strange
Titans – In a fine fist season that will be ending soon, this series gives us a gritty yet fun version of the characters have grown to love and this shows properly ”adults” them up
Black Lightning – As the newest show to be part of the CW’s DC TV Universe, this show strikes the perfect balance between character development, superhero action and tackling relevant issues, even better than its counterparts in its freshman season
The Tick – As beloved the comic, the cartoon and the first live action version of the show are, this version more than sets itself apart, as this one finally gets the humor from the comic.
The Haunting Of Hill House – As a fan of Shirley Jackson, I could not wait for this show, as it more than delivered in spades, and happened to be scarier in places where I least expected it
(W) Dan Abnett (A) Minkyu Jung (CA) Giuseppe Camuncoli
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
If you want blood, you got it… but the Titans may not like it! There’s a new leader of the Blood Cult, and her name is Mother Blood! Their mission? Kidnapping the best scientific minds from around the world to perfect their emergent-energy weapon. Their next target? Steel! And the Blood Cult has an ace up its sleeve: weaponized Source Wall energy that turns its victims into blood zombies. (As if there weren’t enough blood motifs in this ish…) In the Titans’ blackest night (wink), a new hero has arrived to help turn the tide.
(W) Dan Abnett (A) Minkyu Jung (CA) Ben Oliver
In Shops: Nov 28, 2018
“MAROONED” part two! Stranded on an alien world with no means of travel, Beast Boy finally succumbs to his more monstrous tendencies and could become the most dangerous thing on an already dangerous planet. The Titans are forced to square off against a savage and gargantuan Garfield! Will the Titans be able to maintain their fractured team in the face of extraterrestrial adversity and sinister secrets coming to light? And even if they can, how on Earth will they ever get back home?
Welcome to “Around the DC Universe,” Graphic Policy’s weekly guide to the best comics and shows on DC Entertainment’s premium subscription service.
After a week away from this column I had a bit of catching up to do with Titans. The show continues to be one of the best that DC has ever produced, finally bringing the team together in one episode and introducing the second Robin, Jason Todd in another. With the series entering its second half the characters are really starting to gel as a group. It’s a lot of fun to see the chemistry between them at work and watching Dick take on the villainous Nuclear Family as Robin was tremendously satisfying. Jason too is very well done. There aren’t many portrayals of the character to hold up against Curran Walters’ for comparison but he does a good job defining him nonetheless. Walters’ Jason evokes the blend of sympathy and disdain that the character demands with a screen presence that is magnetic. He’s a great addition to the regular ensemble and I hope to see more of him as the series develops.
One of the earliest series I recommended through this column was Kevin Smith’s run on Green Arrow. This time around I call your attention to another classic story featuring the emerald archer: The Longbow Hunters by writer/artist Mike Grell. From the same era as Miller and Mazzuchelli’s Batman Year Oneand Tim Truman’s Hawkworld, this three issue mini series reintroduced Oliver Queen to the post-Crisis DC Universe. Grell’s Ollie is a grounded, urban vigilante on the hunt for a serial killer who stalks the streets of Seattle amidst a much larger affair involving rogue intelligence operatives and mysterious assassins. Fans of the TV show Arrow will recognize many familiar elements in the mini series itself and the follow up ongoing series with artist Ed Hannigan, several issues of which are also available on DC Universe in Green Arrow (1987). While the art is gorgeous and the stories compelling in their own right I do think this run is missing something. A notably conservative creator Grell never fully embraces the liberal politics that have been one of Oliver’s trademarks ever since Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams got their hands on him in the late seventies. One might expect a critique of the lefist point of view, coming as the series does at the height of the Reagan era, but ideology is mostly ignored to the detriment of the characterization of comics’ proudest liberal. While it does strike slightly right of the bullseye, The Longbow Hunters is still a high water mark in Green Arrow’s career and is worth the attention of anyone who is interested in his adventures.
The addition and subtraction of new comics remains the biggest problem with the DC Universe service. As I reported several weeks ago, the powers that be seem to be discussing how to improve the comics portion of the site by changing how the library is curated. What this means is still being left vague by the moderators of the community forums but the sense of disaffection among users is palpable. Nothing has been added to the comics library to replace Dark Victoryafter that title expired on November 12th and there have been no announcements about any forthcoming special features.
While I appreciate DC’s commitment to using subscriber feedback to improve the user experience, by not continuing to rotate new special feature titles while they discuss a fix they’re giving the impression to anyone who doesn’t follow the community forums that they’ve abandoned comics streaming as a feature. Coming on the heels of the demise of Filmstruck it doesn’t breed confidence in Warner Brothers’ long term commitment to this product or its users. I for one think that there is a lot of untapped potential in DC Universe and would hate to see it fail to live up to it.
(W) Dan Abnett (A) Minkyu Jung (CA) Brandon Peterson
In Shops: Nov 14, 2018
“MAROONED” part one! After their battle with Storrm above the Drowned Earth, the Titans find themselves lost…in space! Stranded on an alien planet-far away from their Earthbound responsibilities, with no means of getting home-they’re forced to fight against an enemy that has been lurking in the shadows since the inception of this version of the Titans: their own inner demons. And maybe some outer demons as well!
Welcome to “Around the DC Universe,” Graphic Policy’s continuing feature that helps you get the most out of your subscription to DC’s premier comic book and video streaming service.
This week Titans introduced their version of The Doom Patrol. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about any of the comic book versions of the team but I did enjoy watching this episode. Brendan Fraser especially stood out as Robot Man, striking a perfect balance between goofiness and pathos that made me want to watch more.
I hate to say it but the one part of this show I’m not loving is Starfire/Kory Anders. Anna Diopp does a fine job of portraying the character but I don’t think the writers really know what to do with her. Her costume is also completely ridiculous. I was willing to accept it in the beginning since it made sense in the context in which she’s introduced but four episodes (and a transatlantic flight) later the fact that she’s still wearing it stretches the bounds of credibility by making her stick out like a sore thumb. Hopefully the whole crew will be due for a change of clothes soon.
Last Tuesday Batman: Dark Victory was added to the service for a limited time (they’ll be taking it down November 11th). This sequel to The Long Halloween, which features the fallout of the Holiday murders on the Gotham underworld and a version of Robin’s origin, is an improvement on the original but it does rely on it rather heavily for the purposes of continuity. It’s probably not the best choice if you steered clear of The Long Halloween and its not good enough in my opinion to make reading The Long Halloween worth it. If you ignored my advice or if you’re only discovering this column after learning that the original was not your taste, then check it out. It’s by far Jeph Loeb’s most readable epic.
If you were hoping for some Green Lantern comics to go along with the release of the first issue of Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s run, then prepare to be disappointed. DC Universe’s current selection is rather spotty and missing some well regarded material including most of the classic runs by Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams and Geoff Johns. The best stuff currently available to binge are the first twenty issues of Hal Jordan’s original series from the 1960s with stories by John Broome and art by Gil Kane. While these comics are plenty goofy (as well as being full of the casual racism and sexism of the silver age) they are still worth reading as historical documents. It was editor Julius Schwartz’s reinvention of Green Lantern (along with The Flash) that set the tone for a new generation of comics. Gil Kane is perhaps the best representative of DC’s silver age style with his dynamic sense of motion and more modern page layouts (though he would not really hit his stride until later in the run when he began to ink himself) and Broome managed to weave entertaining science-fiction yarns that saw Hal adventuring across both time and space, introducing key concepts and characters along the way.
Stuff is finally starting to come together on Titans. This week saw Starfire and Beast Boy pulled into the main thread alongside Dick and Rachel. I like how they’re using Starfire to add an element of real mystery to Raven’s story line. Just about everyone knows what Rachel’s big reveal is but it will be interesting to see exactly how Kory fits into it. That said, after the Hawk and Dove episode I’m worried they won’t keep her core background as an alien intact. The juxtaposition of sci-fi and fantasy elements is a feature of superhero comics that has been largely neglected on TV and it would be nice for Titans to break the mold.
Between Halloween and recent casting news regarding the upcoming Swamp Thing series, this is the perfect time to read some of the best horror comics ever published by DC or anyone else. Alan Moore‘s run on The Saga of Swamp Thing is one of the high water marks of the medium as groundbreaking as The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen and maybe even more influential by virtue of the fact that it was an ongoing monthly series. The earliest issues with art by Stephen Bissette and and John Tottlebein are currently on DC Universe and it actually stands apart from the bulk of the run quite well though you do miss out on the early appearances of John Constantine. What’s here is more than worth it, a look into some of the murkier corners of the DC Universe including a guided tour of Hell itself. Be warned that there are many uncomfortable themes including rape, incest and necrophilia. These are not comics for the squeamish either. No evokes the corrupting atmosphere of body horror quite like the team of Bissette and Totlebein. If you’re a big fan of movies like John Carpenter’s The Thing or David Cronenberg’s The Fly, then The Saga of Swamp Thing is a must read. Available on DC Universe in The Saga of The Swamp Thing (1982) #21-34 and Swamp Thing Annual (1985) #2. Read the Swamp Thing Annual between issues 31 & 32.
After almost 2 months since release it’s time for an update on technical issues. Overall I’d say DC Universe has gotten a lot better. The community portion of the site has added moderator tags and restricted one of the boards to moderator posts so it’s much easier to get official announcements.The inability to directly interact with other users remains a stumbling block but there has been improved functionality in terms of what you can post and the ability to bookmark threads. Communication is greatly improved but there are still blind spots. Death of Superman was up for the better part of October missing key issues in the story. This was never addressed despite the fact that this was pointed out by myself and other users in several spots on the community and through direct communication with customer service using the form available through the app itself.
The rotation of special feature comic titles continues to prove frustrating. While DC has mostly been adding worthwhile titles on a regular schedule, the rate at which they rotate out is inconsistent and you have to dig to find out how long a given issue will be available. It would be nice to know in advance how much time there is to read a given special feature without have to trawl through a message board. Similarly three out of four issues of Batman: Year One, which I had thought would be part of the regular library until at least the end of this month, mysteriously vanished while issues of Batman ’66 seemed to appear without warning.
To add a further wrinkle to the matter DC originally stated that their full digital library would be available for purchase in October, presumably at a per issue price similar to ComiXology (though DC has stated that the two services’ libraries will not sync meaning you would need to purchase a book twice to read it on both apps). This note has now been replaced with one that states more comics are coming soon. Whether this means that DC is planning to retool DC Universe to have an unlimited library similar to Marvel’s remains to be seen. It does seem unlikely that DC, a company that relies far much on “evergreen” trades like The Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen, would want to hazard risking those sales by making such titles available digitally for such a low price point (especially given the cost of producing their original shows) but there is also a lot of discontent in the community with the current vault approach. If anyone from DC is reading this I would suggest a hybrid approach: regular monthly titles released in a style similar to Marvel Unlimited with a six month or even a year lead time to preserve comic shop sales and a rotating, themed selection of the best selling boutique material in trade. This should allow for a better value for money for readers who are primarily interested in new material while DC is able to maintain the value of their older titles.