A while back, I logged some week-to-week posts on DC’s digital reprint program through Comixology. It’s been a while, and their digital offerings have matured, so I thought I’d take another look at what they’re adding each week. Currently, they seem to be doing about 30 books a week. I might not list all the issue numbers going forward – if the 90s Superman titles continue moving forward at two of each a week, there’s not much value in listing each issue. But let’s take a look at this week’s, and let’s see where the patterns take us, shall we?
90s Superman: DC is following the 90s Superman titles (soon to be the 2000s Superman, as this week’s titles are from December 1999) pretty quickly, giving us 8 issues of the books every week. There’s a lot of material to get through, but that’s still an admirable clip. We may only have a few more weeks of this, judging by Action Comics (the one title of the bunch that doesn’t change its numbering and continues for a long while) – 761 is the most recent issue, and Action already seems to be in the digital library from 769 on. Superman, Adventures of Superman and Superman: Man of Steel have bigger gaps, though.
Action Comics 760, 761
Adventures of Superman 574, 575
Superman 152, 153
Man of Steel 95, 96
Arion: 11, 12
DC has been adding two issues of Arion: Lord of Atlantis a week for the last 6 weeks. There are 35 issues and a special, so there's a way to go before the series is completed.
DC Comics Presents: 75, 76
DCCP started out at a faster pace, but has been going two a week for a little while now. There are about 20 issues to go. Bonus: More Arion this week, in issue 75!
Guy Gardner: Warrior: 33
11 issues to go.
Huntress: 19, 4-issue 1994 series
We wrap up the Cavalieri/Staton ongoing that introduced Helena Bertinelli, and then power through a Chuck Dixon mini from 1994. Will Huntress return next week, or will we move on?
Justice League America (Bwa-ha-ha) 51, 52
This one has a ways to go before having everything available.
Four more issues till it’s all there!
Mister Miracle: 23-25
This wraps up the 70s run – Kirby and then Marshall Rogers, it’s all there! (I think DC also recently wrapped the 70s Return of the New Gods run, too.)
Superman (Bronze Age): 233
This is an interesting one. The Kryptonite Nevermore cover – I’m surprised it wasn’t available before this. Will DC continue from here? Their 70s Superman offerings on Comixology are paltry.
Wanderers: 7, 8
This 80s Legion spinoff ran 13 issues, so we’re almost there.
Wonder Woman (Silver Age): 130, 131
DC has been making silver age Wonder Woman stories available, probably wishing to expand their catalog in anticipation of the movie. At this point the silver age issues go from 112-131, with a couple of gaps.
Swamp Thing (Diggle/Dysart run): 25
4 more issues to go.
This Vertigo sci-fi series lasted 8 issues. I don’t remember it at all.
That’s a pretty exhaustive look at this week’s offerings. Next week, I’ll probably just note new additions (what will replace Mister Miracle? The '89 and '96 series have already been collected, so we might be in for something new. And there might be more Huntress comics that haven't been reprinted yet, but Comixology has a bunch of them listed already, and the Bat-universe is so sprawling it's tough to search), unexpected omissions, breaks from the patterns, and go forward from there.
And to make things easy to follow:
Week 2. (April 6, 2017)
Week 3 (April 13, 2017)
Week 4 (April 20, 2017)
Week 5 (April 27, 2017)
Week 6 (May 4, 2017)
Week 7 (May 11, 2017)
Week 8 (May 18, 2017)
Week 9 (May 25, 2017)
Week 10 (June 1, 2017) -- All the golden age Wonder Woman goodness!
Week 11 (June 8, 2017)
Week 12 (June 15, 2017)
Week 13 (June 22, 2017)
Week 14 (June 29, 2017)
Week 15 (July 6, 2017)
Week 16 (July 13, 2017) -- Our Worlds at War! Underworld Unleashed!
Week 17 (July 20, 2017) -- The Great Ten! More Wonder Woman!
Week 18 (July 27, 2017) -- Batman Confidential and Deathblow? Young Heroes in Love?? Doom Patrol!
Week 19 (Aug 3, 2017) -- Some Bronze-age Batman!
Week 20 (Aug 10, 2017) -- Loeb/Sale Challengers begins!
Week 21 (Aug 17, 2017) -- Silver Age Challs!
MIDWEEK SALE BLAST (Aug 22, 2017): Wildstorm!
Week 22 (Aug 24, 2017) -- Holding pattern...
Week 23 (Aug 31, 2017) -- chugging along
Week 24 (Sept 7, 2017) -- Same old, but with newer Challengers
Week 25 (Sept 14, 2017) -- Baron/Jones Deadman debuts
Week 26 (Sept 21, 2017) -- Holding steady, with more Deadman
Week 27 (Sept 28, 2017) -- Deadman in Action Comics Weekly?
Week 28 (Oct 5, 2017) -- A slow swerve into Batman
Week 29 (Oct 5, 2017) -- Doom Patrol finishes in the smallest week ever
Well, now we've got a much better idea of what the digital team has been up to: DCU Infinite rolled out DCUI Ultra last week, an upgraded level to the service that a) provides current comics only 1 month after newsstand, not 6 months; and b) will be dropping a lot of Vertigo comics in November. On top of the big MAD drop, that really has been a lot of work, probably going on behind the scenes for quite a while.
But for the last couple weeks, here's what they've added. I was swamped last week, so here's both weeks at once.
Stormwatch 23 & 24: By Ron Marz and Renato Arlem. Spartan joins Stormwatch and they fight Despot; leads into Images of Tomorrow event.
Wetworks 3 & 4: By Whilce Portacio & Francise Takenaga. For some reason 3 isn't accessible on the service yet; I'm not sure why, but it's on the schedule. Wetworks disrupts a meeting with Drakken the vampire lord; WildCATS guest-star.
Gen 13 10 & 11: By Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Terry Shoemaker. Gen 13 faces off against the garage-band metahumans, the Liberty Snots. For some reason issue 3 isn't accessible right now. Chapter 9 of the Fire in the Sky crossover.
Secret Society of Super-Villains 6 & 7: By Bob Rozakis and Rich Buckler. In one issue, Captains Cold, Boomarang, and Stingaree plot a deep-space crime; in the next, Luthor hires the Society to use magic villains to take out Superman. (8 issues left.)
Hardware 48: By DG Chichester and Prentis Rollins. Hardware confronts his mother, a congresswoman, about a covert team's activities in Dakota. (2 issues to go)
Deathblow 1: By Brian Azzarello and Carlos D'Anda. Soldier Michael Cray -- Deathblow -- has been assumed dead by the US government, but then is discovered and rescued from a middle eastern prison. But where to his loyalties lie now? This is the 2006 series that ran for 9 issues, not the 1993 series that ran for 30. (8 issues to go.)
Re Secret Society of Super-Villains #5, Buckler used swipes in some of his work and the Funky Flashman panels you posted have some from his intro in Mister Miracle #6. In that issue Flashman is clean-shaven and balding but wears a wig and fake beard. (Lee had a beard for a period.)
I suppose Kirby may have taken the Flashman name from George MacDonald Fraser's novels. "Funky" he may have intended in its negative sense, "having an offensive odor" (Merriam-Webster).
Catching up with Secret Society of Super-Villains #6 today. It's basically a done-in-one, as Captains Cold, Boomerang, and Stingaree go on a kidnapping spree disguised as a hijacking spree, first kidnapping the captain of Spacelab, then kidnapping a sea captain in an act of piracy, and then kidnapping the captain of a football team. As far as I can tell, their motivations are never explained. The best we get is this, at the end of the story:
Seriously. Who can understand the criminal mind?
Anyway, after letting the crooks get away at the space station, Captain Comet enlists the aid of Black Canary in fighting them. (Green Arrow just wants to stay home and watch football.) Check out panels 2 and 4 here, as Dinah takes off her dress, revealing her Black Canary costume that couldn't possibly have been underneath it. Zatanna couldn't make fishnets appear that fast! But for Rich Buckler, it's all in a day's work.
Anyway, they make short work of the capricious Captains. Meanwhile at the Sinister Citadel, Funky Flashman is making a deal with the Wizard, Coppperhead (last seen being broken out of jail in issue 3) shows up...along with a mysterious benefactor.
But maybe the best thing in the issue is the most disingenuous caption of the year. Here, Captain Comet is being picked up on the street by a woman he just met. To say things go well is an understatement.
"And while Adam Blake has lunch..."
Oh, Bob Rozakis, you card!
Another fairly slight story from Rozakis, Buckler, and Layton in Secret Society of Super-Villains 7 -- but this one is definitely more fun than last issue's plot.
Copperhead's mysterious benefactor is Luthor, who plans to take over the SSoSV. He picks a fight with the Wizard, who considers himself the leader now, and whose power is slightly on the fritz. Then he demands Funk Flashman recruit Matter Master and Felix Faust to attack Superman, since their powers are magic-based, and magic works against Superman. Wizard is welcome to tag along.
They go to Sapporo, Japan, where Superman: The Movie is filming, and attack Gregory Reed, the actor who plays Superman in the DCU. The villains don't realize they've got the wrong guy, and they conjure a dragon to fight him. Captain Comet and Hawkgirl leap into action while Hawkman stays in their spaceship making Thanagarian Goulash for dinner. The two heroes who decide to show up defeat the villains, with help from the acrobatic Mr. Reed.
Luthor isn't at all happy with the outcome, leading to this exchange between him and Flashman:
So in one fell swoop, we've got another bald joke aimed at Stan Lee, and Luthor being repelled by someone's baldness. No wonder I felt so self-conscious when I started to lose my hair!
Anyway, Luthor is so angry he storms out of the Sinister Citadel into the arms of the cops. And Hawkman serves goulash.
No more details on Adam Blake and Debbie, though -- that'll have to wait until next time.
I'll have this week's DC Digital Backlist later today or tomorrow, but I just noticed DC has released their plans for November...and it's more of the same. Hardware finishes up, and that's the last we see of Milestone. We get four more issues of Secret Society of Super Villains (out of a 5-week month), and the rest is Wildstorm: Deathblow, Gen13, Wetworks, Stormwatch. And most of them are anywhere near their endpoint. (At the end of December, Stormwatch will still have 20 issues left to go, and that's the original Wildstorm series closest to its end; the 2006 Deathblow revival only had 9 issues, but I've no reason to doubt we'll get the original, 30-issue, series lined up right after that.) SSoSV should wrap up in December; the way things are going, it's entirely possible we won't get any other older books starring DC characters before the new year.
This week's archive comics: This week they also finally fix the missing Wildstorm comics from a couple weeks ago, so we also get Gen13 10 and Wetworks 3 for real this time.
Stormwatch 25: By new team Steaven T. Seagle and Scott Clark. Timespan brings Battalion from one year ago to the present to witness the destruction of Skywatch, then sends him back with that vision.
Wetworks 5: By Whilce Portacio & Francis Takenaga. The team loses Drakkens trail; another adversary picks it up.
Gen 13 12: By Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, J. Scott Campbell, Michael Lopez. Fairchild and her father have been reunited... will she leave the team?
Secret Society of Super-Villains 8: By Gerry Conway (hey, a new writer!) and Rich Buckler. The villains face off against Captain Comet and Kid Flash. This is one of the earliest issues that I bought off the racks as a kid; it led me to believe that Captain Comet was a MUCH bigger deal in the DCU than he actually was. (7 issues left.)
Hardware 49: By DG Chichester and Prentis Rollins. Hardware vs the super-powered dictator Tyrant, who wants to turn Dakota into a military state. (1 issues to go)
Basically another done-in-one: Kid Flash learns about a prism that's fallen from outer space and stolen by a shady rich guy, Andrew Mell (a play on the name (Andrew) Carnegie Mellon, perhaps?).
It turns out the prism was last seen in World's Finest 103, published 18 years before, in 1959! Definitely worth an editorial note. You can seen the tail end of the previous note in the panel above, reminding readers of the Trickster, last seen in Flash 243, published... oh, 12 months ago.
Say what you will about 70s DC comics, but they sure did like a deep cut now and then.
Anyway, the gem redirects any energy directed against it, so we have the problem of superheroes knocking themselves out, but somehow the new Star Sapphire is exempt from this. The crooks steal the gem, Trickster tries to steal it from the crooks, Trickster's kicked out, the crooks go after a glove that's part of a set of space-weapons from WF 103, and then Captain Comet and Kid Flash defeat them.
Also, in the weekly super-villain squabbles, Wizard tries to kill Copperhead, but his magic noose turns into flowers before it can finish the job. Star Sapphire might suspect something? And Funky Flashman has another secret benefactor, as he uses secret funding to refit the SSoSV to being villains for hire.
And then we get a weird epilogue with Debbie (the new Star Sapphire) and Adam (Captain Comet) Blake. They hooked up (or "met") two issues ago, but now Debbie gives Adam a completely different name. I don't know if we ever learn why, but she's Camille now. She later gets killed by the Spectre in Infinite Crisis, who calls her "Debbie Camille Darnell." Weird.
Before the mid-80s when Carol became Star Sapphire she took on a distinct personality, and she didn't remember being Star Sapphire when she returned to her normal self. So perhaps Conway meant to reveal Debbie was the SSoSV Star Sapphire, and had a distinct personality as Star Sapphire. But I'm just guessing. I just saw she called herself Camille when she first appeared in #1. (So does she have a French accent?)
OK, so I've been a little busy -- and three weeks have gone by in the DC backlist! Here's what's cookin':
Stormwatch 26-28: By Jeff Mariotte and Ron Lim. The secret of Battalion's return is revealed; Stormwatch finally defeats Despot..
Wetworks 6-8: By Whilce Portacio & Francise Takenaga. More struggles with Drakken and the Blood Queen.
Gen 13 14 & 15: By Jim Lee, Luke Ross, J. Scott Campbell. For some reason, issue 13 has been skipped. I'll add it to the Gap List. Meanwhile, it's the first day of college -- and it's time to party!
Secret Society of Super-Villains 9 & 10: By Gerry Conway (him again!) and Rich Buckler (then Dick Ayers). In one issue, The Creeper joins the Secret Society as Captain Comet and Kid Flash join with Trickster to take it down. Then Grodd, the Wizard, and Funky continue to steal magical artifacts... what for? Also, Star Sapphire wants to go to Lemuria. (5 issues left.)
Hardware 50: By DG Chichester and Prentis Rollins. A double-sized issue, in which a new, sleeker Hardware design debuts. Final issue -- and with this, the last of the Core Four Milestone books has ended. There's plenty more -- some miniseries, and some ongoings like Shadow Cabinet, Xombi, and Kobalt -- but nothing lasted as long as Hardware. Also: I read recently that there'll be a Milestone Compendium 2 coming out in February 2023, which will include the World's Collide crossover -- so maybe we'll get that issue here as well?
Deathblow 2 & 3: By Brian Azzarello and Carlos D'Anda. Rescued from a Middle Eastern prison, soldier Michael Cray is reunited with his family -- and learns in a debriefing that he's not Deathblow anymore. So who is he? (6 issues to go.)
From the DCUI message boards, member bgs84 explains why we likely won't be seeing Gen 13 #13 (or rather, the three different Gen13 #13 issues, 13A, 13B, and 13C) anytime soon. He's not an employee, so his word isn't official... but his reasoning is pretty sound.
We likely won’t be getting that issue (issues, actually). There are three issue 13s: 13A, 13B, 13C. 13A featured characters from Archie (Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica). 13B included Jeff Smith’s Bone, as well as Spawn. Then 13C had Mike Allred’s Madman character, as well as some characters that I think belonged to Dark Horse. I sincerely doubt that DC is going to broker a deal with all of those companies to reprint three issues of Gen13, unfortunately.
In Secret Society of Super-Villains 9, the villains' ranks have dwindled, and they go to recruit the Creeper, thinking he's a villain. Meanwhile, Trickster approaches Kid Flash. Wally's he's been kicked out of Captain Comet's new apartment because Debbie -- who said her name was Camille in issue 8, but was Debbie before, so maybe they're two different brunettes? I have no idea what's going on with this chick and her names, other than she's almost certainly the new Star Sapphire -- showed up. So Wally's told to "come back in a few hours" and that's that. And now Trickster want's revenge on the SSOSV, and has a computer punchcard that explains all their secret plans!
Meanwhile Grodd breaks out of prison by summoning his Quadromobile, which he says he's used "only twice before" but it looks like it made three non-reprint appearances before then, in Flash 106, 107, and 108.
Anyway, the villains -- Wizard, Grodd, Star Sapphire, and Creeper -- use the Quadromobile to head out to retrieve another magic artifact, the dragon box -- with Funky Flashman sending them off by shouting a coded message at them. (Which would make no sense in audible speech, but heck, it's fun.) Apparently there were details about to code on the letter's page, but that's not in the digital version.
When they go to get the box, they're ambushed by Captain Comet, Kid Flash, and Trickster -- and the box itself winds up changing hands several times in the fight, until Grodd gets hold of it, tries to fly off in his quadromobile and opens it, unleashes a magic dragon that gets defeated by Star Sapphire's light blast, and the villains run and Captain Comet stays behind to take care of an injured Kid Flash.
And that's basically it -- although there's not only a mysterious benefactor of the Secret Society, but also Grodd has his own master plan -- so there's always room for double-crossing. And there's also room for footnotes, like this one, directing readers to a recent appearance of the Wizard on his native Earth 2 -- only three months before!
Anyway -- anyone know how to translate the code? If I have to dig through my longboxes, that could take a while...!