THIS WEEK: The DC Round-Up team convenes for a monthly roundtable discussion checking in on a number of new DC titles, including Superman #2, GCPD: The Blue Wall #6, and Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #13.

Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of each discussion for our final verdicts.

Superman #2

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Cover Artist: Jamal Campbell

Zack Quaintance: Hey all! Welcome back to another monthly DC Round Table. This time out we’re going to do something slightly different. Usually, we do these chats around new #1 issues, but this week, we’re going to check in with a handful of books mid-run or at their ends, starting with Superman #2. We were all really high on the first issue of this new run, so I’m curious, where are we all at with the second issue?

Cori McCreery: I don’t think it let up on the gas at all. I’m still all in on this new series. Doesn’t hurt that this issue had one of my favorite Superman rogues at the front and center with Parasite.

Joe Grunenwald: Agreed that that first issue doesn’t appear to have been a fluke. I’m really enjoying this new twist on Parasite. He’s always been one of the scariest Superman villains in my book, and I feel like that’s amped up here.

Quaintance: I’m going to make it unanimous and say that I too felt like this was a worthy followup to a great #1, one that managed to both introduce interesting new elements — a clever new use of parasite, and the new character we haven’t mentioned yet — while also keeping up things I liked from the debut — the Superman-Lex relationship, as well as the absolutely stunning Superman art.

Grunenwald: I’m surprised how instantly interested I am in Marilyn Moonlight. I’d assumed she would be a new villain but at first glance it doesn’t appear that way, which is a nice surprise. And Jamal Campbell absolutely brings her to life visually.

Quaintance: Yes, I really like the character design as soon as I saw it, but the use of the character here is really intriguing too.

McCreery: Jamal just knocks everything out of the park in these first two issues. Everything is so dynamic, so over the top.

Quaintance: There was one page in particular I enjoyed during the Marilyn Moonlight sequence. On the top, light blinds Superman, and when he opens his eyes, he sees what seemed to be an Old West approximation of Metropolis. I thought that looked great in a comic, and was a very intriguing way to clue the audience in on something more going on with the character. Just great visual storytelling.

McCreery: I also really appreciated the other full introduction we got this issue. We found out what Lex’s rogue’s gallery looks like.

Grunenwald: Yes, those characters are immediately a lot of fun. Then again, I always enjoy a good group of quirky mad scientists.

Quaintance: Nothing like a good group of quirky mad scientists.

McCreery: Yeah, the fact that it’s just other mad scientists jealous of Lex’s “successes” is just a brillaint move.

Quaintance: And that Lex being free and operating keeps them in check, just a great dynamic.

Grunenwald: This is just a really clever, fun book. Exactly what I want from a Superman series.

Quaintance: Some other small things I really liked in this one was a lowkey Red Cloud appearance in the jail, and the interaction between Supes and a newly-powered up Mercy, who got those abilities in the Lazarus Planet event.

McCreery: And the cliffhanger is definitely setting up momentum for another issue.

Grunenwald: It was nice to see some follow-up on Cyborg Mercy. Having her at Supercorp is a great way to keep her in the spotlight.

Quaintance: She seems poised to keep being relevant too, sort of Lex’s proxy on the outside, which I think is a cool choice. But that ending was great, another fantastic-looking page, too. Anything else we want to highlight here before moving onto our next book? I think we’re all in agreement that while it’s still early, this run is really feeling like something special.

McCreery: Yeah this definitely remains a BUY from me.

Grunenwald: Definitely. You can feel the ’90s animated series influence on this book in the best way. It’s a BUY from me as well.

Quaintance: And a BUY from me, too.

GCPD: The Blue Wall #6

Writer: John Ridley
Artist: Stefano Raffaele
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Cover Artist: Reiko Murakami

Quaintance: Next up, we have a finale — GCPD: The Blue Wall #6, which is tonally about as different as it gets from Superman #2. I know I’ve found this series to be really strong throughout — just incredibly smart and character-driven in the best way — but I’m curious to know, where do you all land on it now that it has concluded? And what did you think of this finale?

Grunenwald: I know we’re both huge Gotham Central fans, Zack, and I feel like Blue Wall is the first book to really feel like a worthy successor to that series.

McCreery: I think this series as a whole threaded a very tight needle. It was able to continue the feel of Gotham Central without actually feeling like copaganda in a world that has substantially shifted on police procedurals since that first series came out.

Quaintance: Yeah, I absolutely love Gotham Central, and I’ve thought of this throughout as sort of an evolution of the ideas in that series for our current era. This finale in particular felt that way, with its intense and, honestly, heartbreaking focus on Renee Montoya.

Grunenwald: This final issue could have gone a lot of different ways, and I’m really pleased that it didn’t go in any of the directions I expected it would. John Ridley‘s DCU work has been kind of hit or miss for me but this is by far his strongest work.

Quaintance: This is truly an unflinching finale, and I can’t imagine it was an easy one to write, given how much the book clearly empathized with its characters.

McCreery: I’ve liked most everything he’s done at DC so far, but I’ll agree this was by far the strongest, and most emotional.

Quaintance: I’m also an big fan of Ridley’s DC work, but this is another level. It’s one of the smartest DC Comics I’ve read in many years. It’s an old writing adage that you put your characters through the ringer to see how they react and find out what they’re made of, and this book really does that in an incredibly poignant way, just really holding Montoya and others in her position to account. Also, I thought this finale in particular looked absolutely fantastic.

Grunenwald: Yes, there’s so much emotion in Renee’s face throughout this issue. It’s incredible work from Stefano Raffaele and Brad Anderson.

McCreery: It really is. What a great team, I hope they work together again soon. I like that it doesn’t end on a complete downer either. Montoya is definitely at her lowest in a long time, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. (Also the names she’s debating for the pup just crushed me).

Grunenwald: Agreed, Cori, that the place this book left Renee is pretty perfect. So much potential for future stories there.

Quaintance: I wanted to ask if you all had any ideas for how or where you’d like to see Renee Montoya show up next. It feels like a big narrative mistake to not followup on this and show whats comes of it for the character.

Grunenwald: I would enjoy seeing her get a story in the upcoming Brave and the Bold anthology (maybe with Batwoman?), or maybe in a backup story in Detective Comics.

McCreery: Those are both fantastic ideas Joe, that or another mini would be my preferred ways to go about it.

Grunenwald: Alternately I think it would be interesting to take Renee out of Gotham and see how she does in another city like Metropolis or Central City.

Quaintance: She did just stop by New York for a bit in I Am Batman, which was interesting, so I’d be game for any of that. Well, I think as is obvious by now, I’m a BUY on this one.

Grunenwald: Yes, a definite BUY for me, and yet another recent DC book I look forward to having a collection of on my bookshelf.

McCreery: Also BUY.

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #13

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Steve Wands
Cover Artist: Dan Mora

Quaintance: To finish up this week, I wanted to do a general check in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest. This week was the 13th issue, and it was an interesting one, giving us an issue driven my Metamorpho of all characters. What did you all think of this issue, and where are you at with this series generally?

McCreery: This series for me is a never miss. Dan Mora is one of the best artists in the business, and letting Mark Waid play with stories set in the past of Superman and Batman’s friendships is an ideal spot for him to have a lot of fun.

Grunenwald: The opening pages of this latest issue made me laugh out loud multiple times. Having that reaction to a high-profile Batman and Superman comic continues to delight me. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Metamorpho (and all of the Outsiders, really), so having him front and center in this issue was very welcome. I’m pretty sure Waid wrote a Metamorpho mini in the ’90s so he clearly has an affinity for the character, too.

Quaintance: It’s always nice to see a deep bench DC character get such a fun and attentive spotlight. I agree (yet again…sorry folks, we really dug this week’s books) about this series, too. It’s also taken what’s often a sort of throwaway concept — the Batman/Superman team-up — and used it to build out DCU mythology in super fun and interesting ways.

McCreery: It was also really important that Waid did a great job of retelling Metamorpho’s origin in a fun way, because let’s be honest, how many people know that origin?

Quaintance: That’s a good point. Ahem, I didn’t.

Grunenwald: I remembered the broad strokes – man finds ancient artifact, turns into monster – but not the fine details. I had no idea he was limited to just the elements found in the human body, for example.

McCreery: I mean, I did, but I’m a big nerd.

Quaintance: A DC Comics thing I love happened in this issue too — Bruce Wayne accused of murder. I never get tired of it.

McCreery: That was pretty great, and I also loved that it was Jimmy who brought him down. Feel bad that Jimmy’s first big scoop is going to turn out so bad though.

Grunenwald: That was a great twist ending. It’s always fun when the secret identities get involved. And Cori, maybe this storyline is the secret origin of why Jimmy never advanced beyond being a photographer and social media stuntperson.

McCreery: Incredible Joe. Take a Baldie.

Quaintance: Well, I for one hope this series runs for 100 issues. This issue is a BUY for me, as are the trades of this one for anyone who has somehow missed it.

Grunenwald: 100s and 100s of issues. The most emphatic BUY possible.

McCreery: BUY this and every other issue of the series.

Quaintance: And that’s it for us this week everyone. Go forth and read some DC Comics, it’s a strong batch this week!

McCreery: See y’all next time. Maybe we’ll find something to complain about then! 

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