Home > DC Comics > Solo (2004 Series) #1

Solo (2004 Series) #1

November 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Excellent
Title: Date Knight and other stories

DC’s newest anthology series kicks off with the work of Tim Sale!

Writers: Tim Sale, Darwyn Cooke, Diana Schutz, Jeph Loeb & Brian Azzarello
Art: Tim Sale
Colors: Dave Stewart & Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Richard Starkings
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Tim Sale
Publisher: DC Comics

In a market where anthology titles traditionally don’t sell that well, DC Comics is taking a clever, unique approach to the form. In this new ongoing series, they’re going to offer up 48 pages a month to a different artist and allow him or her free reign to tell some of their own stories, using any DC characters they want or to branch out and tell other stories. Tim Sale, best known for his partnerships with Jeph Loeb on books like Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman For All Seasons, gets first crack.

The book opens with “Date Knight,” written by Darwyn Cooke. In it, Catwoman lays a very unique trap for the Batman, one that even the world’s greatest detective didn’t see coming. The story is a lighthearted chase sequence, a nice little twist on the normal rooftop battles you see in the bat-books.

“Christina” follows, the first of two quick, personal stories Sale writes himself in this book. It’s a creepy little tale of a man and woman on a beach, and the horrible mission the man must undertake.

“Young Love,” written by Diana Schutz, is perhaps the most unique story in this volume, focusing on the Pre-Crisis version of Supergirl and telling the lost tale of her romance with Dick Malverne. It’s done up like an old-fashioned romance comic, right down to a dot-deco color scheme, but the story has something of a modern tinge to it. It’s bittersweet and beautiful.

Sale teams up with Loeb for “Prom Night,” a story that could very easily be called Superman For All Seasons: The Lost Chapter. It’s just what it sounds like, the story of Clark Kent preparing for his senior prom with Lana Lang. Like the Supergirl story, this tale is warm and tender with a sort of heartache lacing the panels, because although the characters don’t know it, the readers know that Superman will soon come between the two young lovers forever.

Brian Azzarello contributes “Low Card in the Hole,” a quick film noir-ish story about a hardboiled gumshoe forced to face one of his own greatest sins. I was not a fan of Azzarello’s run on Batman. I’m not a fan of 100 Bullets. His Superman leaves much to be desired. But this story is great.

The issue ends with “I Concentrate on You,” the second offering written by Sale himself. It’s a soft, quiet piece, largely wordless, that ends with a lovely dedication that really puts things into context.

From month-to-month, the quality of this series is going to depend on the strength of the artist invited to take the helm for that issue and the reader’s own level of appreciation for him or her. This first issue, however, is absolutely wonderful, and anyone who enjoys the work of Tim Sale would do themselves a terrible disservice if they don’t pick it up.

Rating: 10/10

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