Welcome back to Soliciting Multiversity! DC isn’t launching any new ongoings in August, but they are doing a lot of interesting stuff around the fringes, and are really leaning into the same strategy they’ve had in place for nearly 30 years: more Batman, yes please. Let’s get to it.
I think it is very smart that DC is working to introduce more Batman stories from international creators into the marketplace, and I think that this is the perfect pilot program for that. The question is whether or not DC will continue with any of these creators or stories beyond this one book.
Batman: The World
Stories and art by:
BRIAN AZZARELLO (writer)/ LEE BERMEJO (artist) – USA, MATHIEU GABELLA (writer)/THIERRY MARTIN (artist) – France, PACO ROCA (writer/artist) – Spain, ALESSANDRO BILOTTA (writer)/NICOLA MARI (artist) – Italy, BENJAMIN VON ECKARTSBERG (writer)/THOMAS VON KUMMANT (artist) – Germany, STEPAN KOPRIVA (writer)/MICHAL SUCHANEK (artist) – Czech Republic, TOMASZ KOLODZIEJCZAK (writer)/PIOTR KOWALSKI, BRAD SIMPSON (artists) – Poland, ERTAN ERGIL (writer)/ ETHEM ONUR BILGIC (artist) – Turkey, ALBERTO CHIMAL (writer)/RULO VALDES (artist) – Mexico, CARLOS ESTEFAN (writer)/PEDRO MAURO (artist) – Brazil, INPYO JEON (writer)/JAE-KWANG PARK , KIM JUNG JI (artists) – Korea, XU XIAODONG, LU XIAOTONG (writers)/QIU KUN, YI NAN (artists) – China, Writers: KIRILL KUTUZOV, EGOR PRUTOV (writers)/ NATALIA ZAIDOVA (artist), OKADAYA YUICHI (artist/writer) – Japan
cover by LEE BERMEJO
ON SALE 9/14/21
$24.99 US | 160 PAGES | FC | DC
ISBN: 978-1-77951-227-7 HARDCOVER
DC takes Batman’s war on crime worldwide in a new hardcover anthology, Batman: The World. This 160-page book will feature Batman stories by creative teams from across the globe, taking place in their home countries. This original Batman project launches worldwide on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 and the complete anthology will be localized to the following international territories: North America, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, China, Korea, and Japan.
This global collaboration is the first of its kind for DC, so join us for this phenomenon, proving that Batman is a true pop culture icon–and that the call for justice knows no borders.
9. This has a very strange title
It should never – ever – be surprising that DC is publishing a Joker-focused book. That is doubly true for a Black Label title, so “The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox” should elicit nothing but head nods from the DC faithful. And while the story has an interesting enough hook, with the success of James Tynion IV’s “The Joker” series right now, it seems silly to try to flood the market with yet another Joker book. Also, it is very funny to describe Jesus Merino as a ‘magnificent’ artist in the PR for this. That’s not a jab at Merino, but it’s just a funny adjective to use. “Next month, enjoy the scrumptious art of Dan Jurgens!”
The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox #1
Story by MATTHEW ROSENBERG
Pencils by JESUS MERINO, JOSHUA HIXON
Cover by CHIP ZDARSKY
Price: US $4.99 pages: 40
FC|DC On Sale Date: 8/3/21 1 of 7
CARD STOCK OPEN ORDER Variant by RICCARDO FEDERICI
Price: US $6.99
CARD STOCK OPEN ORDER Variant by CHRISTOPHER MOONEYHAM
Price: US $6.99
CARD STOCK 1:25 Variant by JESUS MERINO
Price: US $6.99
It’s story time! The G.C.P.D. discover a mysterious corpse, a magical box, and a murderer’s row of the city’s most dangerous villains sitting in a jail cell. Now all they need to figure out is what exactly happened. Fortunately, one suspect is willing to talk. Unfortunately, it’s The Joker. Now, superstar writer Matthew Rosenberg, magnificent artist Jesús Merino, and a multitude of rising-star artists invite you to spend a night in the Gotham Central interrogation room for a dozen tales of murder, mayhem, and mystery as told by the Clown Prince of Crime himself. Can you solve this puzzle before the sun comes up?
8. Thanks, Epix
Tom King unceremoniously killed Alfred in his “Batman” run, and it looks like Al is going to be gone for at least a little while. I can hear what you’re thinking already. “But Brian, we are huge fans of Pennyworth on Epix. How can we get that sweet, sweet Alfred content while we wait to see if it is picked up for Season 3?”Continued below
Well, have I got a seven issue series illustrated by the magnificent (see what I did there?) artist Juan Gedeon for you! This series, set between the show and the comics, is probably going to be fine, but it still sucks that a cornerstone character of the Bat family is only getting his own comic because someone, likely drunk, at a TV meeting said, “What about a show about Batman’s butler, but if he was sexy?”
story by SCOTT BRYAN WILSON
pencils by JUAN GEDEON
inks by JUAN GEDEON
cover by JORGE FORNES
Price: US $3.99 pages: 32
FC|DC On Sale Date: 8/10/21
1 of 7
CARD STOCK OPEN ORDER Variant by JUAN GEDEON
Price: US $4.99
Spanning the years between the hit TV show and today, Pennyworth tells the continuing adventures of Alfred Pennyworth as an MI6 counterintelligence agent—this time in Cold War-era Soviet Russia. When Alfred and his partner receive intelligence that nuclear weapons are being manufactured near the Arctic Circle, they’re off to infiltrate the remote military base to learn more. But things don’t go exactly as planned, and the ramifications of this mission may be more far-reaching than anyone could have guessed, as our present-day butler gets dragged back into his past…
7. I would to hear a whale sing “Happy Birthday to You”
Aquaman is currently without a title, but that isn’t stopping DC from rolling out the red carpet for his 80th anniversary. These issues are usually a mixed bag, though they have been quite good lately. The talent on this includes some familiar names from the Aqua-past, specifically Dan Jurgens, Paul Pelletier, Jeff Parker, and Geoff Johns. But what has me most interested is that the solicit teases not one, but two Aquaman miniseries launching in September. Based on the creators listed, I’m going to guess that one is by Brandon Thomas and Valentine de Landro, and the other is by Michael Moreci and Pop Mhan. We’ll see if I’m right [checks calendar] next month.
Aquaman 80th Anniversary Special #1
story by DAN JURGENS, GEOFF JOHNS, BRANDON THOMAS, CHUCK BROWN, STEPHANIE PHILLIPS, MICHAEL MORECI, MARGUERITE BENNETT, DAN WATTERS, JEFF PARKER, SHAWN ALDRIDGE, AND FRANCIS MANAPUL!
art by STEVE EPTING, PAUL PELLETIER, VALENTINE DE LANDRO, HENDRY PRASETYA, POP MHAN, TRUNGLES, MIGUEL MENDONÇA, EVAN “DOC” SHANER, TOM DERENICK, FRANCIS MANAPUL, AND MORE!
cover by IVAN REIS & JOE PRADO
ON SALE : 8/31/21
$9.99 US | 96 PAGES | FC | DC | Prestige format
After defending the seven seas for eight decades, it’s time to throw Aquaman a party! This all-star-filled anthology spans across the ocean king’s legacy, not just celebrating his own triumphs, but also those of his greatest allies and enemies. We look at his ongoing romance with Mera, his bitter rivalry with Black Manta, his brotherly conflict with Ocean Master, and the inspiration he lends to younger heroes like Tempest and Jackson Hyde, the newest Aqualad.
It would not be an Aquaman celebration without also looking at how he’s changed over the years, including a brand-new tale of Bombshells Aquaman.
This special brings together Aqua talent past, present, and future, including reuniting fan-favorite creative teams such as Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier, Dan Jurgens and Steve Epting, alongside Dan Watters and Miguel Mendonca. Plus, two of the stories are prequels to two new Aquaman miniseries launching in September, kicking off another 80 years of undersea adventure!
6. New middle grade adventures
I was torn with whether to include either this or the new Amethyst OGN, both of which are featured as one of DC’s Free Comic Book Day offerings this year. Both look really fun, and I think it’s important, as often as I can in this column, to shine a light on all the work that DC has been doing to improve its offerings that don’t come in the standard floppy, monthly format. While these books may not be what gets me reading each week, there are legions of kids for whom these are a much clearer entry point into these characters than “Action Comics” #1036.Continued below
Batman and Robin and Howard
Story by JEFFREY BROWN
Art & Cover by: JEFFREY BROWN
ON SALE : 11/9/21
$9.99 US | 160 PAGES | FC | DC 5 1/2″ x 8″
To Damian Wayne, there is nothing more important than protecting the streets of Gotham City as Robin. But when he makes a critical mistake while out on patrol, Damian finds himself benched. And what’s more, Damian’s dad, Bruce Wayne—a.k.a. Batman—decides that starting over in a new school will be just the distraction Damian needs from his superhero routine.
Certain that Gotham Metro Academy has nothing to teach him, Damian is completely unprepared for the challenge he finds in Howard—the smartest and most athletic kid in school. The boys’ rivalry is instantaneous and fierce…and both are sure only one of them can be the best in their class.
5. You’ll believe this is a comic about a movie that would make you believe a man could fly forty-three years ago
“Batman ’89” and “Superman ’78” both start up this month, and I am very amped for both of these. The films that these are based off of hold special places in my heart, and for many fans these were the introductions to superheroes. DC relaxing its rigidity to allow for titles like this to exist, taking place in a different universe than their monthly offerings, is a really smart thing. The last year or so has seen DC embrace more books like this, and it’s a very good thing.
SUPERMAN ’78 #1
story by ROBERT VENDITTI
art by WILFREDO TORRES
Cover by WILFREDO TORRES
ON SALE 8/24/21
$3.99 US | 32 PAGES | FC | DC 1 od 6
CARD STOCK OPEN ORDER Variant by EVAN “DOC” SHANER Price: US $4.99
CARD STOCK 1:25 Design Variant by WILFREDO TORRES Price: US $4.99
Fly into director Richard Donner’s Superman once more in Superman ’78! Written by Robert Venditti (Superman: Man of Tomorrow) and drawn by Wilfredo Torres (Batman ’66), Superman ’78 tells a brand-new adventure in the world of the beloved film. A bright, shining day in Metropolis is interrupted by a mysterious drone that crash-lands in the city and starts wreaking havoc. This looks like a job for Superman! But where did the metallic menace come from, what is its purpose, and who is Brainiac?
4. The thrilling conclusion
DC has done two things in ‘Infinite Frontier’ that I am really enjoying: they brought back backups and they rethought annuals. First of all, the numbering of this as “Midnighter 2021 Annual” warms my collector’s heart, but the annuals seem to be considered in more thoughtful and important ways than in years past. This month, we see a Green Lantern annual that looks to both spin out of the ongoing series but also be a stand alone Jessica Cruz story. In June, we are seeing a “House of El” focused annual, returning to a ‘Future State’ issue.
But also, allowing the “Midnighter” backup from “Action Comics” to conclude in an oversized annual is fantastic, as it gives the story time to build to a conclusion without having to be broken up into tiny segments. While this may not be a huge selling issue, it will give the story the time for a satisfying conclusion.
Midnighter 2021 Annual
story by BECKY CLOONAN & MICHAEL W. CONRAD
art and cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMING
ON SALE 8/31/21
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES | FC | DC
Card stock variant by ACO
The big finish to the adventure starting all the way back in the conclusion of Future State: Superman: Worlds of War. Midnighter traveled into the future to help get himself out of a jam, only to swap places with his future self. Now, the Midnighter from the future finds himself trapped in a paradox, working his way back to his onetime present to swap places again. Don’t worry if you’re confused—so is he!
The key to this whole thing is Andrej Trojan, the nefarious industrialist who tried using Superman’s mission on Warworld to his own end. Midnighter has been carrying Trojan’s robotic skull with him, hunting for the 2021 iteration of the man, and shutting his whole company down before any of this trouble even starts. Finishing the serial, which runs in the back of Action Comics, this time-travel escapade also leads into Superman and the Authority
3. The Main Man’s Money Shot
Vault Comics’ “Money Shot” has been a really fun series, written by Tim Seeley and comedian Sarah Beattie. Now, that writing team is tackling a Superman/Lobo series, and while I have almost no idea what to expect from it, based on the writers and the magnificent artist (callback! Two times two times!) Mirka Andolfo, this is going to get picked up.
Superman vs. Lobo #1
story by TIM SEELEY & SARAH BEATTIE
art and cover by MIRKA ANDOLFO
ON SALE 8/24/21
$6.99 US | 48 PAGES | FC | DC BLACK LABEL
1 of 3
Prestige Plus format
variant cover by SIMON BISLEY
variant cover by TONY HARRIS
1:25 variant cover by PHILIP TAN
8 1/2″ x 10 7/8″”
What happens when an indomitable force meets an irritating object? That’s what readers find out when Superman runs into Lobo. Think of it like a boy scout joining a biker gang. What will be worse, the damage Lobo causes on his own, or the chaos of trying to stop him? I smell a team-up, fanboys!
Numen is the most popular being in the universe, a god clogging all social channels. And he does not like competition. This means Superman and Lobo must go. Further complicating things is Dr. Flik, a scientist determined to study the last sons of Krypton and Czarnia respectively. What can she glean from the hero who lost everything as a baby and the bad, bad boy who made it all go away just for the heck of it? From writers Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie the team behind the indie hit Money Shot and Punchline artist Mirka Andolfo comes a hilarious new superhero epic!
2. All hail Gene Luen Yang
“Batman/Superman” has been such an unexpected delight thus far, with its truly unique ‘Batman and Superman from alternate worlds are trapped in the grasp of a film-obsessed robot’ story. And while the series has remained fun, the first issue, with its alternating stories, stands apart as one of the most exciting comics of the year. This annual is presented in a similar way, with different stories running front to back and back to front, meeting in the middle. Plus, Yang is paired with Paul Pelletier and Francesco Francavilla, so this is going to look like a million bucks.
Batman/Superman 2021 Annual #1
story by: GENE LUEN YANG
art by: PAUL PELLETIER (Superman Side), FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA (Batman Side)
Connected Flip Covers by BRYAN HITCH
$5.99 US |48 PAGES |FC |DC
FC|DC On Sale Date: 8/31/21
Connected Flip Variant Covers by FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
Price: US $6.99 (Card Stock)
The epic epilogue to the Archive of Worlds saga! In his pursuit of perfection, the godlike Auteur.io sought to create and destroy worlds with the wave of a hand and a flair for the dramatic. But against all odds…the World of the Knight and the World of Tomorrow live on! The Batman of the noir-tinged streets of Gotham City finds himself stranded in the sunny, retro-futurist World of Tomorrow—and Superman discovers himself in the opposite predicament. With their home worlds in decay and only one chance to save them, the key to preserving their very existence is but the flip of a coin. Or the flip of this book!
This special flip book is two times the story, with one full comic on one side and one full comic on the other, meeting in the middle! Follow Superman’s journey on one side of this epic flip book annual, and turn the adventure over to crusade with the Batman and his trusty sidekick, Robin!
1. A new state
James Tynion IV has been doing some of the best work of his career in ‘Infinite Frontier,’ both in “Batman” and in “The Joker.” DC giving him the reins to a Bat books event this fall is not surprising at all, nor is it surprising that it is Scarecrow based, as the character has been a part of “Batman” since March’s (slight) reset.Continued below
The Gotham books have been really interconnected through all of ‘Infinite Frontier’ and, it seems, like that will continue throughout ‘Fear State,’ with the possible exception of “The Joker,” as that is not taking place in Gotham. Regardless, while I really don’t need event comics, this should be fun.
Batman: Fear State: Alpha #1
story by JAMES TYNION IV
art by RICCARDO FEDERICI
cover by BEN OLIVER
ON SALE 8/31/21
4.99 US | 40 PAGES | FC | DC
card stock variant cover by DYLAN TEAGUE
US $5.99 US
1:25 card stock variant cover by JORGE JIMENEZ
Foil Team Retailer card stock variant by FRANCESCO MATTINA
The event over a year in the making begins Fear State settles upon Gotham City, and no one is safe! Overwhelmed by the dual threat of the Scarecrow and Peacekeeper-01, Batman and his allies have been one step behind since the events of Infinite Frontier #0 and with the arrival of a mysterious anti-Oracle and the return of Poison Ivy, Batman might have more than he can handle!
For the full solicits, check out Newsarama.