THIS WEEK: The DC Round-Up crew of Cy Beltran, Zack Quaintance, and Joe Grunenwald convene to discuss a trio of titles for the week, including Batman/Dylan Dog #1, Suicide Squad: Dream Team #1, and Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #6.

Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bolded recommendations without our discussion for our final verdicts.

Batman/Dylan Dog #1

Writer: Roberto Recchioni
Artists: Gigi Cavenago and Werther Dell’Edera
Colorists: Gigi Cavenago (Prologue) and Giovanna Niro
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover Artist: Gigi Cavenago

ZACK QUAINTANCE: Hey everyone, and welcome to another packed DC Round-Up roundtable discussion. We’re going to start off talking about Batman’s latest big crossover, Batman/Dylan Dog #1. So, what did we think of this one, generally?

CY BELTRAN: What a blast. I’ve wanted to read Dylan Dog for a while, but hadn’t bothered to order any of the translations, so this was a real treat. It felt like just pure comic book shenanigans and I was here for it.

JOE GRUNENWALD: Agreed, Cy. I came into this with no real familiarity with Dylan Dog at all and was pleasantly surprised by how accessible it was as a new reader. It’s hard to go wrong with Groucho Marx as a character in your ensemble, really.

ZACK: Groucho Marx as Dylan Dog’s butler is a whole lot of fun. Really, all of it is. I think what this comic does really well is not only introduce you to Dylan Dog, but by the end of the prologue, it makes you see why you should like Dylan Dog, too. I thought that was really impressive.

CY: Not only that, but having Gigi Cavenago as the artist here felt like an enormous flex on the part of this creative team. I know he’s the regular artist for the main series, so bringing him in to showcase the specific stylistic quirks that come with this kind of story was the icing on the cake for me.

JOE: The art throughout is beautiful. Super-stylish and just captivating to look at.

ZACK: Agreed. It was really fun to see Batman and The Joker done with this European comics style of art. A lot of the stuff Batman specifically does in this comic — banter with Catwoman, skulk in the shadows, punch Killer Croc — is stuff we’ve seen Batman do over and over, but it’s still interesting to see how these storytellers integrate into their aesthetic and narrative.

JOE: It very much feels like a Dylan Dog comic that just happens to also feature Batman and his cast. It’s super-fun. And the interaction between Batman and Dylan is so great. It’s classic crossover comics.

CY: I love it when superheroes (or in this case, detectives) face off to prove who’s the smarter one. Does a great job of selling the egos that come with the job.

ZACK: Did you all have favorite moments here? I had a thing that really made me laugh, but curious to hear your answers first…

CY: I am a recovering clarinetist (is that a word?), so the scene in the prologue where Dylan distracts Xabaras by playing his clarinet made me chuckle a bit. 

JOE: That part made me wonder if the clarinet was part of Dylan Dog’s powers, but if it’s just a quirk of his I’m even more on board with it. For me the part that made me chuckle the most was when Bruce arrives at Dylan’s house and Selina is there. The weird tension between all of them was played perfectly and to really funny effect. The faceoff between Groucho and Alfred that immediately preceded that was also a real highlight for me.

ZACK: All great stuff. My thing was when they had to make a janky Bat-signal out of office supplies in the police station. That cracked me up. But I do think the introduction with Selina was really clever, kind of a different spin on two heroes fight as their intro in a crossover. Anything else you all want to add before we move to verdicts?

JOE: I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this book and was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Sort of a preview of my verdict, I suppose…

CY: I’ll echo that. I’d only heard good things about the series, but to finally get a chance to check it out was a treat. I’d love to see this become a regular thing.

ZACK: It was a thing for me too where I knew the reputation of Dylan Dog and was really excited when this was announced, but didn’t take any time to read the comics ahead of the crossover — and now will definitely 100 percent be changing that. So yeah, overall I just think this is the kind of fun thing DC Comics excels at from time to time, leveraging Batman to get prestige creators and cool characters into their books. Strong BUY from me.

CY: Ditto, strong BUY from me as well. Gimme more.

JOE: Definite BUY for me as well. And at 80 pages this is a great chunk of story. Excited for the rest of this book, and to check out more Dylan Dog in the future.

Suicide Squad: Dream Team #1

Writer: Nicole Maines
Penciller: Eddy Barrows
Inker: Eber Ferreira
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Becca Carey
Cover Artists: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, & Adriano Lucas

ZACK: Next up, we have Suicide Squad: Dream Team #1, I know earlier we were all getting excited about a banner running across the top. Let’s start by talking about that…what did we think of the Countdown to Absolute Power tease on this cover?

JOE: For me, I have very fond memories of the Countdown to Infinite Crisis period that led up to that 2005 event, so seeing a similar banner on this book gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. 

CY: I’ve been mostly a Marvel guy, so I’ve rarely dipped into DC events, but even I let out a bit of a yell when I saw that banner. I’m excited to see it show up across other books and to see how Absolute Power ramps up.

ZACK: I also got a kick out of it. The Countdown branding makes me wonder if there’s more to this thing than we see on the surface, like if it may be self-referential to other DC Comics events, especially since they’ve billed it as being 30 years in the making…30 years ago being Zero Hour and all.

JOE: We have seen Parallax pop up in Green Arrow not too long ago. Anything’s possible with time travel, though it’s unclear how Amanda Waller ties into that at this point.

ZACK: That’s a good segue. This comic was very Amanda Waller driven, but also with relatively new character Dreamer at the center, facing off with Waller. What did we think of this book?

CY: Not knowing much about Dreamer, I thought she was a compelling lead for this book, and I enjoyed the issue as a whole jumping across the dream realm (as it were). I’m curious to see how this team interacts more with each other, ‘cause the lineup is fairly all over the place.

JOE: Yeah, the character interactions are definitely where the strength of this book lies. Clock King came out as a quick standout for me after reading this book, particularly his conversation with Nia. Her talk with Harley was also a really nice moment. For her first full-length comic as a solo writer, Nicole Maines did a really great job here. (Yes, Cori, I know she’s also written a full Dreamer graphic novel, but that’s not out for a while yet.)

ZACK: Amanda Waller leaning in and screaming at a character who is screaming back — probably over a disagreement over what constitutes doing good — is one of those DC things you know is always going to show up. I also liked the mix of characters here. Any guesses on who dies first?

CY: For all of Joe’s Clock King love, I have the feeling that because he’s so prominent, he’s getting the ax first. Plus, I can’t see Bizarro or Harley Quinn getting taken out, so the choices are a bit limited.

JOE: I suspect you’re right, Cy. Preemptive RIP to William Tockman. 

ZACK: Yeah, Dreamer, Harley, and Bizarro all have plot armor. I thought it was probably going to be Dead Eye, who I guess is Waller’s nephew or something? Seemed to me like, let’s throw this guy in there to die so we don’t have to kill Deadshot. 

JOE: That’d be pretty messed up, but also go a long way toward showing just how far Waller’s willing to go (in case there’s still any question at this point).

CY: Speaking of, what do you both think about Waller’s creeping presence in all of the books we’ve been covering lately? We know she’s at the forefront of Absolute Power, but do you think it’s too much Waller? I’m not sure how to feel about it myself.

JOE: I’ve never been the biggest fan of the character, but I think she’s being used really well lately, going back to the post-Infinite Frontier run of Suicide Squad. Her plans and her vision has just continued to grow and it’s really interesting to see the character evolve while still staying true to what I know about her core.

ZACK: I was starting to get a little burned out on all the Waller machinations before the event got announced. That’s really breathed some life into my interest over what’s going on here. But I think generally it’s varied by book for me. I like her as kind of the main antagonist in Green Arrow, especially after she forced Oliver to go on an involuntary heist at the end of last issue. But yeah, I guess I’ve gone from a little tired to curious now. 

CY: You both make a great point there, I think I’m a bit more interested now knowing that it all ties together into one thing. I wasn’t huge on her a few years ago, but sneaking her into these titles to connect everything together feels like the best part of a shared comics universe. Almost reminds me of Dark Reign to an extent (sorry for all the MU talk!).

JOE: No, I definitely get that. I got real Dark Reign vibes from the conclusion of Beast World as well. All this has happened before and will happen again. Coming back to Dream Team, what did you two think of the art on this book?

ZACK: Glad you brought that up. I’m a big fan of this team — Eddy Barrows with inks by Eber Ferreira — and am always glad when their art pops up. I think they’re a good fit for Suicide Squad, with the other books I most closely associate with them being the James Tynion Detective Comics run and the underrated and seemingly-forgotten Freedom Fighters book written by Robert Venditti.

CY: I was just about to bring up that ‘Tec run, Zack, as it was one of my catalysts for jumping into DC around that time. Barrows’ layouts are phenomenal, with strange angles and interesting uses of objects (living or dead) as panels. I wanna give a shoutout to Adriano Lucas as well for his color work, which straddles the line between reality and the dream world this Squad jumps into.

JOE: Barrows and Ferreira are a consistently great pairing, and I agree that Lucas’s colors complement the linework really well. Those three all worked together on a book I thought was really fun, Task Force Z with writer Matthew Rosenberg. That series was sort of the undead version of the Suicide Squad, so having them together again on this series felt like a nice little bit of visual continuity to me.

ZACK: Let’s move to verdicts now. This one is a BUY for me, especially if you’re keeping up with the wider line.

JOE: It’s a BUY for me as well. Really strong start to a four-issue series that promises to have larger implications down the road.

CY: Going into this, I was expecting to be a browse, but having checked it out, I’m for sure a BUY. I’m wicked excited to see how Absolute Power goes, and this is a great starting point.

Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #6

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Cover Artist: Riley Rossmo

ZACK: Okay, last thing before we go…let’s do a quick run through of our last book, Wesley Dodds: Sandman #6…thoughts?

JOE: I may have said this when we talked about the first issue but either way I’ll say it again: I think Robert Venditti (who you mentioned earlier, Zack) is one of the most underrated superhero comics writers working right now. This series is classic superheroics from start to finish, and the final issue is a strong conclusion.

CY: I’ll admit, I wasn’t able to read the entirety of this series before tonight’s chat, but from what I read, this was a really great read. I believe this is my first brush with Venditti and I gotta say, I enjoyed this a ton. It makes me wanna go back and read the whole series after this (and maybe take a peek at some of his other work). Like Joe said, it felt classic, and that can be hard for writers to pull off without making the story a parody.

ZACK: Yeah, I loved it, too. Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia are so perfect for the way the book can run between classic comics feel and also total nightmare dreamscape. But yeah, just a pristine six-issue miniseries that I can’t recommend enough.

JOE: I say it’s classic superheroics, but as you sort of alluded to, Zack, it also walks that fine line of pulp horror that’s so cool, and so much of that comes from Rossmo and Plascencia’s artwork. Wow did I love this book.

CY: Rossmo and Plascencia need to be on another title ASAP. They’re such an interesting pairing together, and I’d love to see them come together on something new soon.

ZACK: Well, I think we’re in lockstep here. So, I’ll kick off our last verdicts. Another strong BUY for me on this one.

CY: I’m a strong BROWSE for now, only because I need to read the rest of the book first. I suspect it’ll be a buy at the end of that.

JOE: Easiest of BUYs for me. I plan to partake of some Sandman Mystery Theatre now that this series is over.

ZACK: Okay, well that does it for us this month! Thank you everyone for reading.

Miss any of our earlier reviews? Check out our full archive!


  1. Not being snarky – have you all read John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad? Some fans of that like myself have a big problem with DC’s handling of Waller over these last several years. She was written back in the ’80s/’90s as a complicated character. She could be heartless/ruthless, but she was NOT evil and certainly never presented as the BIG BAD of the DCU. But she’s kinda been “Maxwell Lord-ed” by subsequent writers, particularly in the post-Rebirth DC, to the point where there are theories that she’s an Earth 3 double or some other fake and the real one will eventually re-emerge. Unfortunately current DC editorial seems to be leaning real hard into the “Amanda Waller wants to eliminate all superheroes” schtick. I’m hoping Mark Waid can salvage something out of that with his Absolute Power project. But I’m not sure even he can make lemonade out of this. We’ll see.

  2. @Brian You completely nailed it. Waller went from a tough-as-nails, smart, politically-savvy operator to “mean”. That’s her shtick. She’s a mean, one-note character. Although, she is still more interesting than “thin, field agent, action-hero Amanda Waller” from the New 52 launch.

  3. I love the Wesley Dodds Sandman character and have an almost entire run of the Vertigo series from the 1990s. This new series is awesome and reminds me of that era…

Comments are closed.