Welcome back to our monthly look at the top 10 DC solicitations for November 2011. Click below for more beautiful Francis Manapul art, Marvel's recent decimal issue numbering spreading like a virus across to the Distinguished Competition, two very welcome reprints and Gotham City's first drive-by shooting.

10. BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #3


Written by PAUL JENKINS

Art by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND with JAY FABOK

Cover by DAVID FINCH and RICHARD FRIEND

On sale NOVEMBER 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

A wave of fear washes across Gotham City as a mysterious toxin radically alters the bodies of its criminals, sending crazed villains into the streets and stretching the resources of the police department. Can Batman and his vigilante partners follow the clues and uncover the perpetrator's real identity? And when one fabled hero is stricken by the poison, the trail will point to the mysterious White Rabbit.

So basically this book has traded the first volume's slippery schedule for a wildly mercurial creative team. The first issue is solicited to be written by David Finch; the second, co-written by Finch and Jenkins; and now this third issue is credited solely to Jenkins, implying that Finch isn't even co-plotting anymore. While the idea of Paul Jenkins on an ongoing Batman comic is hardly unappealing, I do wonder how much he'll still be set with Finch's creative vision. I also have to wonder how long Finch will stay on the book, especially since he's already brought in Jay Fabok as co-artist -- especially since the entire selling point for this book originally was "David Finch writes and/or draws Batman."

9. SUPERMAN: SECRET ORIGIN TP


Written by GEOFF JOHNS

Art by GARY FRANK and JON SIBAL

Cover by GARY FRANK

On sale DECEMBER 7 • 224 pg, FC, $19.99 US

Writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank bring you a startling new look at the beginnings of Lex Luthor, The Legion of Super-Heroes, Lois Lane, Metallo, Jimmy Olsen, The Parasite and more of your favorite characters from the Superman family in this new trade paperback collecting the acclaimed six-issue miniseries!

While Secret Origin was a really well-done story -- Superman always brings out the best in Geoff Johns -- it's hard not to comment on the fact that this story was fully retconned away before the trade paperback hit. Granted, the hardcover came out earlier, but Geoff Johns's secret origin of Superman, in the end, didn't really last much longer than Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright.

8. SPIRIT WORLD HC


Written by JACK KIRBY, MARK EVANIER, STEVE SHERMAN and SERGIO ARAGONES

Art by JACK KIRBY, VINCE COLLETTA, MIKE ROYER and SERGIO ARAGONES

Cover by JACK KIRBY and NEAL ADAMS

ADVANCE SOLICITED • On sale APRIL 11 • 108 pg, 10" x 13.5", B&W/FC, $39.99 US

After leaving Marvel Comics at the end of the 1960s, Jack Kirby came to DC Comics, where he soon created the series of superhero comics known collectively as "The Fourth World." But before that came SPIRIT WORLD, a magazine that delved into the occult and the supernatural.

Now, DC reprints that hard-to-find title for the very first time in this new hardcover, including four stories completed for the second issue that appeared in WEIRD MYSTERY TALES 1-3 and FORBIDDEN TALES OF DARK MANSION #6, plus a pin-up version of the striking cover image by

Kirby and Neal Adams!

Kirby says: DON'T ASK! JUST BUY IT!

7. DC COMICS PRESENTS: ELSEWORLDS 80-PAGE GIANT #1


Written by CHUCK DIXON, KYLE BAKER and others • Art by KYLE BAKER, AARON LOPRESTI and others • Cover by TY TEMPLETON

On sale NOVEMBER 30 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US

A legendary "lost" comic is back! Don't miss President Superman confronting the indignities of "Scandalgate," the return of the Super- Sons, the Birds of Prey newspaper comic strip, the adventures of Superman's babysitter, a classic KINGDOM COME parody, and more!

Previously only available as an extreme rarity and a gray-area Internet piracy phenomenon, Elsewords 80-Page Giant was originally pulped for having a story called "Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter" about Superman as a baby, where the Baby of Steel annoys the living hell out of his babysitter. Former DC Publisher Paul Levitz felt the story was so inappropriate -- in part because the invincible infant wanders into a microwave at one point -- that printing was halted and the issue destroyed, even though the story would later go on to win two Eisner Awards. As far as I'm concerned, denying Baker a chance to do whatever he wants is damaging to us all, so I'm excited to see this back in print. While many joke one-shots are good, this one is pretty much completely excellent, and Mark Waid and Tom Peyer's joke Silver Age covers have to be seen to be believed. I'm glad to see this finally seeing the light of day legally.

6. THE UNWRITTEN #31.5


Written by MIKE CAREY

Art by MICHAEL WM. KALUTA, RICK GEARY and BRYAN TALBOT

Cover by YUKO SHIMIZU

On sale NOVEMBER 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

MATURE READERS

"Tommy Taylor and the War of Words" continues! Throughout history, a mysterious group of men and women has shaped the stories that humankind tells. Who were they? Where did they begin? What were their motives and their strategies? From ancient China to Medieval Germany to turn-of the century America – in the pages of Wilson Taylor's journals, the real story unfolds...

The Unwritten is a great comic, and this is a murderous art team, but I swear to God, somebody needs to bring back the Comics Code Authority to nip this obnoxious trend of decimal-numbered comics in the bud. This is less egregious than Marvel actually putting out Fear Itself #7.3, but I'm generally confident this isn't how periodical numbering works if you don't want to give your readers a headache.

5. CHASE TP


Written by D. CURTIS JOHNSON and J.H. WILLIAMS III

Art by J.H. WILLIAMS III, MICK GRAY, CHARLIE ADLARD, YANICK PAQUETTE, BOB HALL, ERIC CANETE, EDUARDO BARRETO, RICK BURCHETT, GREG SCOTT and others

Cover by J.H. WILLIAMS III

On sale DECEMBER 21 • 352 pg, FC,

$29.99 US

Collecting a cult favorite series from the 1990s spotlighting the amazing artwork of J.H. Williams III, CHASE stars Agent Cameron Chase. On field assignment for the Department of Extranormal Operations, a government agency with jurisdiction over superhuman activity, she's about to encounter some unexpected surprises, as her own mysterious powers come into play – powers she doesn't fully understand.

This spectacular collection includes appearances by Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Teen Titans, the Justice Society of America and more, in stories from CHASE #1-9 and #1,000,000, BATMAN #550, #1-9, DC UNIVERSE SECRET FILES #1, SECRET FILES GUIDE TO THE DC UNIVERSE 2000 #31, SUPERMAN: OUR WORLDS AT WAR SECRET FILES #1, JSA SECRET FILES #2, THE FLASH SECRET FILES #3, THE JOKER: LAST LAUGH SECRET FILES #1, BATGIRL SECRET FILES #1 and HAWKMAN SECRET FILES #1.

I've never read Chase, but it's an oft-complimented and admired series that was largely responsible for making Batwoman artist J.H. Williams III a big name. It's also really nice that it's including not only the nine issues of the main series but all the short stories and other comics where she guest starred. It's rare and welcome to see this much care put into assembling a collection.

4. WONDER WOMAN #3


Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO

Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG

On sale NOVEMBER 16 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons, has kept a secret from her daughter all her life – and when it's revealed, Wonder Woman's life will shatter like brittle clay. The only one more shocked than Diana by this revelation? Bloodthirsty Hera herself – so why is her sinister daughter, Strife, so eager for the truth to be told?

This looks good, and has a great creative pedigree, but seriously, with #1 still over a month away, I'm really at a loss as to what to say about this other than "yeah, Cliff Chiang's art sure is pretty." It looks like DC has ultimately settled on a pantsless look for Wonder Woman too, after some back and forth between that and her 2010 redesign by Jim Lee.

3. ACTION COMICS #3


Written by GRANT MORRISON

Art by RAGS MORALES, BRENT ANDERSON and RICK BRYANT

Cover by RAGS MORALES

1:25 Variant cover by MIKE CHOI

1:200 B&W Variant cover by RAGS MORALES

On sale NOVEMBER 2 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.

"Superman, Go Home!" In a startling tale only Grant Morrison could bring you, the people of Metropolis turn on their new champion! But why? Plus, shocking secrets from Krypton revealed!

People who read my interview with Grant Morrison can probably guess why I'm excited about this -- well, for reasons other than "it's a comic by Grant Morrison." It sounds like he's revving up for an epic Superman tale that will rival his grand Batman saga, and his description of Krypton -- a world where intelligence and science are so admired and championed that even the children are allowed to run around on building ledges unsupervised -- seems very fresh and fascinating. And if the book has to have a co-artist to keep deadline, the world could do way worse than Astro City artist Brent Anderson.

2. THE FLASH #3


Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL and BRIAN BUCCELLATO

Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

1:25 Variant cover by JIM LEE

1:200 B&W Variant cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL

On sale NOVEMBER 23 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.

If the Fastest Man Alive is going to capture Mob Rule, he must first tap into his new amped-up super brain to save the citizens of Central City from the EMP that has blacked out the city. Witness a spectacular sequence of out-of-control cars, trains and even airplanes that must be stopped from destroying the city!

Look at that cover. Look at that solicitation. I don't even care if this book has nothing but farting for dialogue at this point; Manapul has been vaulting himself to the Quitely/Williams/Aja level of superhero art mastery recently, and it looks to only accelerate with this. Yeah, Manapul and Buccellato are unknown quantities as writers, but I've got hopes that he'll fall into the Frank Miller or Walt Simonson school of artists-turned-writers rather than the Tony Daniel or Rob Liefeld, largely because while his work looks very nice, it never loses track of the importance of storytelling. Overall, this is the book I'm most looking forward to in the relaunch.

1. ALL-STAR WESTERN #3


Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI

Art by MORITAT and JORDI BERNET

Cover by MORITAT

On sale NOVEMBER 23 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+

The Gotham City Police Department teams up with the vigilante Jonah Hex to bring a serial killer to justice, setting a dangerous precedent – but even that won't stop the Religion of Crime from staking its claim on these streets. Will Hex ever get away from this place that makes the Wild West seem tame – and can he survive Gotham City's first drive-by shooting? Plus: Will El Diablo's rampage against a zombie horde be halted by the bloodthirsty White Arrow?

However, this is the best actual solicitation I've seen in this cycle. I'm not a big Western fan, and while I understand I've missed out on a really good comic that I intend to catch up on in digital or trade form sooner rather than later, I never really got into Jonah Hex. I'm pretty sure the secret ingredients to make me more interested in Jonah Hex are the Religion of Crime and the amazing promise of "Gotham City's first drive-by shooting," and putting Moritat on the main story and Jordi Bernet on the backup means this book's going to be utterly gorgeous. Very excited for this.