The Batman Family of titles have released their advanced solicitations for October, and maybe I'm reading too much into things, but I'm seeing a strong indication that DC continuity has seen some pretty fundamentally changed. While I still see these revisions as a ticking time bomb waiting to blow up in the company's face, it's neat to watch Ultimate DC play out.
Check this copy for Nightwing #2: "When a mysterious assassin targets Dick Grayson, Nightwing must work fast to uncover the killer’s plot before he strikes again. But as Haley’s Circus continues to perform in Gotham City, Dick finds himself torn between two lives: His old one as a circus performer and his new one as a Super Hero. And they may be more connected than he ever realized!" Correct if I'm wrong, but my interpretation of this is that a) Dick Grayson was never Robin, b) an adult Dick Grayson just became Nightwing with minimal to no involvement from Batman & company, c) there were never any Teen Titans, at least not with Dick amongst them. Dick Grayson was the first kid sidekick, and as Robin was one of the most iconic and globally recognizable super-heroes of all time. Now, he's just Nightwing, stripped of everything, essentially a comic adaptation of the Chris O'Donnell character from the Joel Schumacher films. Oh yeah, that'll go over like gangbusters.
For reasons I cannot begin to fathom, noted blogger J. Caleb Mozzocco has been railing against Greg Capullo. Personally, I think Capullo has always deserved to be looked upon as an upper echelon comic artist for years, as he's one of the better storytellers and most distinctive stylists of the Image house graduates. I'm so terribly bored with the likes of Jim Lee, but Capullo on Batman is extremely inspired, and I expect some gorgeously outlandish redesigns (or perhaps some brand new villains) amongst the Dark Knight's rogues gallery. This is one of the few DCnÜ home runs.
Winick is a deal breaker for me as writer on most books, but something else about this book throws me off. I think between the setting and this new villain Massacre, I get a strong Moon Knight vibe. I'm talking about the early Moench stuff, not the full-throttle whackadoo of today. Actually, I must admit that whatever resemblance Massacre has to Bushman is offset by his looking like every third relaunch villain we've seen. Everybody gets a Deathstroke of their own these days.
Detective Comics #2
Batman: The Dark Knight #2
Two artist driven books that look like complete ass. I could kind of deal with Tony Daniel handling Dick-as-Batman, because it was kind of a pairing of two young turks somewhat in over their heads and finding their way under the weight of a heavy legacy. With Bruce Wayne though, both Daniel and Finch are out of their depths. Plus, that steroidal Two-Face on Finch's cover? Two fistfulls of no.
Batman & Robin #2
Show of hands: Who think these books have been in the can for months? Nothing I've seen so far has changed my perception these folks have just been chugging along like the reboot never happened.
I don't see Oracle here. They keep telling us "Killing Joke" and Oracle happened. but exactly how much of it? Did the Joker's bullet veer a centimeter or so to one side, laying up Babs Gordon for a year of recovery spent cyber-crusading, followed by the return of Batgirl?
Red Hood & the Outlaws #2
Again, if there's no Dick Grayson Robin, then there's also no Jason Todd, not a Teen Titans. That means Roy probably never conceived Lian, and I guess just went from a heroin addict former Green Arrow sidekick to this gig. Does that mean Starfire learned the ways of human love from Jason, because I was only just starting to respect the character after thirty years of negative-skewing relative indifference?
Birds of Prey #2
I might be upset about this book if I thought it was actually going to happen. I mean, one look at the new Black Canary costume, and the entire fan community began mentally picture Brian Bolland drawing Dinah burning the thing. I think this title could actually spontaneously abort and end up in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #3.
I could see buying this for the art, and DC gets a new trade out before the movie hits next year.
We'll have to truck off to Newsarama for a final, "exclusive" solicit:
THE HUNTRESS #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by MARCUS TO and JOHN DELL
Cover by GUILLEM MARCH
On sale OCTOBER 5 • 1 of 6, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Look out! By the end of this hot new miniseries, the Huntress will have the largest price on her head in DC Universe history.
What will the Huntress do that warrants such a death mark? And who puts it there? The jaw-dropping events will be revealed as the Huntress heads home to Italy and embarks on a mission that defines her life. Don’t miss out, because this story will tie in to upcoming events in BIRDS OF PREY!
I'm happy to see Helena is back and seemingly even further distanced from the Batman Family. This doesn't sound dissimilar from Ivory Madison's underrated Year One mini-series, so I'm curious where this will go. I'm also very pleased to see the booty shorts and navel-bearing go bye-bye. I always dug this costume, and it's nice to see it returned seemingly unchanged.
Personally, I hope Levitz keeps the mafia ties (seems likely,) but makes Helena a lawyer again. Wouldn't it be awesome if she defended the Gotham mobs as a source of stability amidst the crazies, or maybe as a means to her own ends at cross purposes with Batman's? I'd also really love a Bat-Family schism, with Nightwing, Huntress, and maybe Batwoman or Jason Todd on one side and Bruce, Damian, Babs on the other. It would play out the Earth-1/Earth-2 divide in a bold new context.
Since this has been announced as a mini-series, I expect I'll cross my fingers and trade wait.