Lords of the Nexus Talking Comics: DC’s New 52 Vs. Marvel NOW!


Grey: What’s going on everybody? Did you miss me? Did you miss Grey talking comics with someone else? Well, there’s no Glazer here today, but I’ve got someone just as awesome! So let’s have a big Nexus round of applause for the first ever “Lords of the Nexus Two guys Special”, here’s Babos everybody!

Babos: Hello folks. And Grey, be gentle. I’m not as tough as Glazer.

Grey: Please, if anything this is going to be a cakewalk on my end, Glazer is the resident surly SOB.

Babos: Ah, maybe we should call this “Two Gentlemen” then? Nah. Let’s be guys and talk some comics.

Grey: I like mine, “Lords of the Nexus Talking Comics”, we can even get a Justice Lords Superman and Batman for our banner.

Babos: Ok. I call dibs on Superman. I’ve been more of a Superman guy.

Grey: Fine by me, I can be the Bat.

Babos: Though I am loving the New 52 Batman books and all the Robins.

Grey: I didn’t realize John Layman had started his run on Tec, or I’d have picked that up. The Bat books I am reading I love though; Batman, Birds of Prey, Talon, and the remarkable Nightwing.

I do love the usage of the Robin’s, and the fact that DC kept the four core ones. The only thing they should have done differently in the case of the Bat family is have them roll out a few years earlier.

Babos: Yeah. Even though I’m reading the core Superman book, since I’m a Supes guy, I am reading Batman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Batman & Robin, Teen Titans (with Red Robin) and Talon. Whew. And, I’m jazzed about all the NYCC Superman Family news. Should be a good year for Supes. 2013 = 75th anniversary I think.

Grey: I’m reading Teen Titans as well, I don’t enjoy it quite as much as you, but I love Tim, Cassie, and Bart….even if they’re different characters now. I can live with it, I didn’t hate Tim’s new origin, and I think the group is starting to grow on me. How is Batman and Robin? I think I left after the first issue out of protest of Damian being a kill happy psycho.

 Man, Superman is old and timeless and awesome….and I cried reading the Krypto issue.

Babos: I didn’t read the first B&R arc, but picked up the second arc with all the ex-Robins. I LOVED that arc and went back to pick up the first one too. Tomasi and Gleason are doing some great work. Damian is an interesting kid. And teaming with your dad can be a pain, but its well crafted. Action, drama, humor, an awesome art. What’s not to like?

Grey: I may have jumped off of that boat a bit too early. I’ll have to get back on board.

Babos: B&R was the only book I started 6 months late. Every other New 52 book I’m reading I’ve been with since issue #1. I have dropped some books like BoP and Superboy, but have stuck with most.

Plus Red Hood is by far the best Lobdell book at DC. I imagine his Superman with Rocafort will be equally genre bending and entertaining

Grey: I love BoP, but I get dropping some. I’ve cut Catwoman, Batgirl, Tec, and Legion.

Red Hood scares me, you say it’s great but the first two issues were just monks and cheesecake. I’m intrigued.

Babos: BoP I stayed with because it was initially tied to Earth 2. DC teased that we needed to pay attention to he Mister Terrific title and BoP for Earth 2 clues.

Grey: Birds had Earth 2 links?

Babos: Yeah. It was supposed to if the back page editorial by DC was to be believed. I think DC just changed their mind. Likely around Black Canary who pre-COIE was from Earth 2. Anyhow, I think DC changed their minds with BoP and decided a Team 7 connection worked better. Which I can’t say I mind, but I can’t read all of the New 52. So I’ll read Team 7. 🙂

Grey: I do love Team 7, I was drafting a review for it earlier.

Birds is fun and really different from what came before, and I think it’s perfectly suited to Duane Swierczynski (yes, I googled him to spell his name).

Babos: Cool. I like the team of Jordan and Merino in Team 7. Yeah, BoP wasn’t bad, but I just wasn’t in love with it. That said, Duane’s Bloodshot from Valiant is a MUST READ.

Grey: I’m going to be jumping on board some Valiant soon, not sure how I’ve held out this long.

Babos: Re: Valiant, I’m reading Archer and Armstrong and Bloodshot. Both are great books. I read the opening X-O Manowar arc and will read the next arc for Ninjak, but I’m likely be with A&A and Bloodshot or the long term. Other Valiant reads will be based on arcs.

Grey: They send me promo stuff all the time and I love the creators but there’s just a disconnect between me and the characters that makes it hard for me to jump in. I feel deprived not reading Valiant the first time around.

Babos: Although we’ll get to Marvel Now and DC New 52 soon, I do want to give a plug to IDW. Their ongoing G.I. Joe: Cobra book is great. And I recommend the Cobra Civil War and Cobra Command tpbs as great holiday buys for yourself or a loved one.

Grey: We’re plugging? Sweet! I want to plug an IDW book!

Babos: Don’t feel bad about not reading the old Valiant stuff. This brave new world. New continuity.

Grey: Ghostbusters from IDW is fantastic, a must read for any and all fans of the franchise.

Babos: Ok, I now feel unplugged. 🙂 Onto Marvel Now and DC New 52?

Grey: Sounds good to me!

Babos: Cool.

Grey: You can’t have two guys talking comics and not have some wild off the beaten path tangent at least twice.

Babos: It was unexpected yet organic. Always fun to talk comics.

Grey: That’s the magic. So Marvel NOW!, did you read Uncanny Avengers?

Babos: Yes, I did. I should open by saying it is no surprise that I read more DC and independents than Marvel. But I was looking to Marvel Nows Uncanny Avengers to be my gateway book back into Marvel. Get my X-Men and Avengers fix in one book. I did read UA and enjoyed it except for its bookended lobotomies.

Grey: You’re not the first person to say that to me.

Babos: I thought UA, as the Marvel Now kick-off book, should have been more accessible to all readers not just older ones. It was a bit dark with the bookended narratives.

I did the comparison to last year’s Justice League #1.

Grey: I felt they made for cool visuals, but I’m also ridiculously desensitized and didn’t even really pick up on just how much more brain operating we had here than I would expect.

Babos: DC ended their #1 with Superman.

Grey: Superman smirking and getting ready to have some fun punching people.

 “So, what can you do?”

Babos: Marvel ended with Red Skull with his hand in Xavier’s head.

Tone is important.

Grey: You go from bright and positive and the future is wide open with DC, to Marvel doing something brutal and visceral.

Babos: Remender is a great writer. And Cassaday is an AMAZING artist. I just think the standard for a book like UA is different. It should be Marvel’s top team book accessible to all. This isn’t X-Force or Planetary.

Grey: I think the story they did was fantastic, but as the keynote of the line, yeah, I agree with you. This isn’t a book I’d give to kids. 

Hilariously enough, it wound up being both!

Babos: Both great books, but not company flagship titles.

Grey: Whedon did a great job with Astonishing X-Men when it was the flagship, you had a tone that could go dark but really celebrated the characters. It was about life more than death.

Babos: I also think less is more. You can do the lobotomy scenes with more shadow, etc. and let the readers minds determine what the scene is. It would probably be more scary that way. This over the top bloody art misses the subtly of the art form

That worked great with JAWS

Not a lot of shark shots

Grey: Contrast is to Batman this week, where Joker killed a fair amount of people, and we saw? Really nothing.

Babos: But man were you scared.

AgreedOr even the cliffhanger with Alfred. My mind is wandering. I’m worried. I can’t wait for next month.
See what happens with Alfie.

Grey: Personally, I can handle my gore and shock violence, like I said, I’m REALLY desensitized. I see the value of Jaws, but when I want to sit down and watch a fish movie I watch Piranha. For the sheer quantity of death.

Babos: With UA, well I got the bloody pay-off the end of the book. You can’t top that in UA #2’s first page. You can out-gross it though.

Grey: Batman is one of the few books where I get to say thank you to DC for giving me extra pages for my extra dollar. I love that.

Babos: Agreed

Grey: I love commenting that in reviews, “Can I give you an extra dollar for more please?”

I don’t hate $3.99 books, I just want more for them. This goes for Marvel as well.

Babos: I don’t want to come off a codger, but I think most writers and artists don’t get subtle anymore. That is why Batman stand out.

Grey: And you’re right, how do you follow up with UA #2? Do you keep readers jaws on the ground or do you bury the shock in favor of story?

 You’re right, really. There is a less is more approach that a lot of people skip over in favor of beating you in the memory with a visual.

Babos: I was to have an interactive reading experience where my mind wanders as opposed to have all thinking done for me because there is no room for imagination. That is the difference between Batman and UA.

Grey: The scariest visuals are the ones your brain creates on its own.

Babos: Agreed. Again, subtly is a lost art, and when it is used well, the book stands out. Again, Batman, Nightwing and a few others.

I didn’t hate UA btw. Just those bookended scenes.

Grey: Because it’s October and I’m in horror movie mode, it’s the difference between Saw and Hostel. Are both gore movies? Sure. But Saw gives you shots of reactions, of people pleading, but rarely do you get a clear shot of the gore happening. Hostel has everything plastered right in front of your face and tells those with weak stomachs to leave. I hate that kind of movie.

Babos: The character interactions with Havok, etc. were well done

Grey: Rogue is my hero after reading UA.

Babos: Sure. I’ll check out the next issue of UA just b/c first issue’s have to set some much up. I’ll judge my long-term commitment on the book with issue #2.

Grey: I think the big difference between the New 52 and Marvel NOW! is the magnitude.

Babos: I agree.

Grey: When I read Justice League #1 I felt like I was getting a look at a new beginning, but when I read Uncanny Avengers #1 I felt like I was just reading a new book.

Then that first month, every book mattered. From Batman and Superman all the way down to Static and Blue Beetle.

Babos: Magnitude for DC was that it was line-wide and rest everything. So it was more impactful story-wise and marketing wise. Magnitude for Marvel is doing more of what works, e.g.more X-Men, more Avengers, more variants,e.g. 20 for UA, etc.

Both or different yet likely successful formulas

Both companies are different

Grey: Marvel is just doing something that they already do on a regular basis, the only real change in execution is not focusing on just one line of characters.

There’s a reason Captain America is relaunching at volume seven.

Babos: Agreed. Cap is a great example. For that reason, I just don’t think Marvel Now will help Marvel get back to dominating the sales charts.

They will launch great books with great creative teams

The key is keeping the momentum going not restarting with a new #1 in three years

Grey: All Marvel is going to do is keep the current audiences and maybe get some lapsed Avengers readers to return with Bendis gone, or find some readers who think his X-Men is what they need to get back in. I imagine in a years time we won’t be seeing any massive chart smashing titles that they didn’t already have in one way, shape, or form.

Babos: I don’t know, I plan to try a few books. I have already tried Gambit, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier. The first two are really unreadable, but WS is ok.

Grey: Those aren’t even Marvel NOW! books, those are just new ongoings.

Babos: I plan to sample the X-Force books, Thunderbolts an Secret Avengers. They all seem to have a Suicide Squad tone to them.

Grey: Hawkeye I was interested in, but the second issue killed it for me. Clint and Kate kill a bunch of people, make jokes.

Babos: I know. I was just saying that while I read DC a lot, I have Marvel fave characters. I just didn’t like the recent titles I mentioned. I hope Cable and Bishop are portray well in Marvel Now and I also hope the new Thor book is good. Those are probably the ones on my radar with Marvel Now.

Grey: Bishop’s dead, dude. :p

Babos: Those dark team book and Thor – make mine Marvel 🙂

 He’ll be part of Uncanny X-Force in January

Grey: I want Waid’s Hulk and anything Hickman touches.
Wait, what?

Babos: Villain or hero? Don’t know

Grey: The last time I saw Bishop Cable was dumping him in the void thousands of years into the future.

Babos: Yup. Somehow Bishop survived years in a desolate future, but is back in modern day. I do like that Cable is affiliate with one X-Force team and Bishop has the other one.

Check out my Monday Demythify column.I will go over Top 10 NYCC news items. That include Bishop and the new Uncanny X-Force book

Grey: It makes it feel less like someone forgot to read that two year run on Cable.

Babos: I didn’t read all that stuff, but as a lapsed Marvel reader, I remain a Bishop fan.Hopefully he’ll be recognizable.

Grey: I’m a Cable fan, so I was all in on that book even without Hope.

Babos: Waid’s Hulk seems intriguing, but I’m not interested in a Hulk: Agent of SHIELD book. It seems like Marvel is trying to give SHIELD profile in the comics before the new TV show hots the airwaves

Grey: I don’t doubt it, but I have a policy concerning Mark Waid that I have to follow.

Babos: I get the whole cross-platform pollination stuff, but it shouldn’t “feel” like marketing is dictating a book’s premise.

Grey: At least he isn’t writing Agents of SMASH……someone else is.

Babos: Waid is more reliable hand others for sure. And, I’m curious about the SMASH TV show. There isn’t a comic about Agents of SMASH is there?

Grey: Not announced officially, but I definitely saw art that couldn’t be for anything else at San Diego. It’s possible that it’s just going to be a plot in Red She Hulk though. Or that Red She Hulk will turn into Agents of Smash.

Babos: Is the comic tied to TV show continuity or the 616 Marvel NOW!verse?

Grey: Ah, I see what you’re saying. I think we’re going to wind up with two books, one for each.

Babos: Well, that sounds like Marvel.

Grey: Marvel thrives on comics being a means to go into other media.

Babos: That said, while I know we’ll get a gazillion Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man and Wolverine books, I am glad they’re doing other books like Thunderbolts and Guardians of the Galaxy. I just want more risk and diversity from Marvel. DC may have to cancel a few books here and there, but they’re trying to have different sub-genres out there, e.g. All Star Western, G.I. Combat, Sword and Sorcery, Demon Knights, etc.

Not all of those were successful, but at least DC tried. Even there new Threshold book, intended to explore DC’s space characters.

Grey: You know what’s really interesting?

 Track the writing talent.

Babos: What?

Grey: Look at DC before the New 52 and your ‘elite writing talent’ is pretty much just Geoff and Grant, arguably Gail.

Babos: True

Grey: Look at it now and you can add Scott Snyder, Tony Bedard, Kyle Higgins, Brian Azzarello, and even Francis Manapul to the list.

Babos: I’d put Tomasi on that list too pre-New 52

Grey: I’ll agree with Tomasi.

Babos: AGreed totally to your new core. BTW don’t forget Lemire

Grey: Yes! I spaced on him!

Babos: In terms of trying new things, DC’s Red Hood and the Outlaws worked out well for DC while established titles like Superboy from same author not-so-much

Grey: Look at Marvel NOW! and the talent pool and you’ll really just see the same old people reshuffled. Sure, Kieron Gillen on Iron Man is a big deal for him, but he’s been on Uncanny for almost two years.

Babos: So, I get that Marvel wants to do more of what sells, but what about going after their sub-genres like they did with Annihilation?

Grey: Their version of that is give space to Bendis and let Iron Man join the Guardians.

Babos: Talent pool is the same in Marvel Now. Maybe Hopeless is getting a few more project, but a lot of the same talent for sure

Grey: I’m buying all of Hopeless’s books, especially that sexy sounding Avengers Arena.

Babos: I imagine it will be a different person in Guardians’ Iron Man armor
I doubt it will be Tony

Grey: This is Marvel, if you have Tony in it then you can have Downey guest star in the movie.

Babos: Nick Spencer’s Secret Avengers looks like fun as I noted earlier. Dark too

Grey: I’m on board for that, but Spencer right now is a talent they’ve misused so terribly that he REALLY needs a rebuilding.

Babos: Did you see the Iron Man armor in Guardians? It has a like a sun looking design in the middle of the chest
DC should have done more to keep him. Not exclusive, but on a project or 2 in the New 52

Grey: I did see that, and I will reserve comments on the new Nova for a Glazer Two Guys. Because we’ve been really cool and civil thus far, and I might get offensive if I talk about that.

Babos: Ok, I’m gonna have to get for now. Need some zzz’s. What other topics do you want to capture next time?

Grey: I think Marvel just offered him a bunch of ‘top tier’ books and forgot to mention that his name was the only advertising.
You know what? Let’s cross the next time bridge when we get up to it, and call it a night here. From everyone here at the Nexus, have a great weekend everybody!


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