Inside Pulse » JLI A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Sat, 25 Oct 2014 04:13:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » JLI Demythify: The Top 10 DC Comics New 52 Time Anomalies For The New 52: Futures End 2014 Weekly Series Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:30:52 +0000

As you may know by now, DC Comics has announced a new weekly series for 2014 called The New 52: Futures End that explores that past, present and future of the current DC Universe (DCU). It will kick off with a Free Comic Book Day 2014 issue. This series will bring Batman Beyond into continuity, create new characters and concepts and presumably tackle the several anomalies currently present in the DC New 52 (the series is called “Futures End” after all as in plural futures).

Below are the Top 10 timestream anomalies that are present, and in one case that “should be” present (cue fans rejoicing), in the DC Comics New 52.

(10) Justice League 3000

The Justice League 3000 just debuted as a team and as New 52 ongoing series occupying the 31rst Century playground previously enjoyed by DC’s storied Legion of Super-Heroes. There were some interesting revelations in the Justice League 3000 debut issue about who the team’s benefactors are and who the JL3K are really.

In an interview about the series, co-writer Keith Giffen shut the door to the Legion of Super-Heroes being used in any capacity in Justice League 3000 by saying:

    “If I need a guy who can throw fireballs around, you can guarantee it’s not going to be Sun Boy. Let’s think of somebody new. I’m tired of treading old ground. I have as much affection for the Legion of Super-Heroes as anybody — maybe more than most, since I kept returning to the book like a mental patient. But this isn’t the Legion. And it shouldn’t be judged on Legion of Super-Heroes terms. Sorry Legion fans, but you’re going to have to wait until somebody comes up with a take on the Legion. This is not a Legion of Super-Heroes book. They’re not going to be going to Braal.

Alrighty then onto the…

(9) Legion of Super-Heroes

Well, after the climactic end to the LOSH series with teases that they may not have been in Prime Earth’s future, but perhaps another Earth’s, where does the team fit into the DCU?

The Legion of Super-Heroes is still important and relevant for the DCU as seen in the cliffhanger to the recent Superboy #26 issue.

(8) Teen Titans’ Kid Flash

Bart Allen is from a/the future of the DC Comics New 52. He is a boy out-of-time and member of the modern-day Teen Titans.

He’s recently ventured into his future where he has had to take responsibility for his… crimes… as seen in Teen Titans #25?

(7) Captain Atom

You may wonder why Captain Atom is on this list. Well, at the end of Fury of Firestorm #15, sadly another book you weren’t reading alongside the cancelled Captain Atom, he absorbed the powers of Firestorm and exploded into three shards that spread across the timestream. One of those shards landed in the future and became Nathaniel Adym a character that tangled with the Legion Lost. The other two time-lost Captain Atoms have yet to be revealed.

The New 52: Futures End takes place over the past, present and future of the DC New 52. Well, Nathaniel Adym seems to be a “future” Captain Atom. Will past era and present era versions be next to debut?

(6) Legion Lost

The premise for Legion Lost was that members of the Legion of Super-Heroes travelled back to the modern-day DCU to capture an infectious fugitive. That threat was neutralized, but the team is still “stuck” in the modern-day New 52… with Superboy?

(5) All Star Western’s Jonah Hex

Another character-out-of-time is late 1800s / early 1900s bounty hunter Jonah Hex stuck in the modern-day New 52 because of the time-lost hero Booster Gold. Despite Hex’s efforts, a mysterious force is keeping him from returning to his own time in the past of the DCU.

Co-Writer Jimmy Palmiotti did say they were building to something big after all. New 52: Futures End me thinks. Will that be the vehicle to get Hex home?

(4) Booster Gold(s) / Justice League International (tie)

We’ve seen Booster Gold pop into All Star Western for a spell and then travel through the timestream with Jonah Hex, trapping the latter in 2013. However, Booster hasn’t been seen since.

Prior to his Hex encounter, Booster Gold’s older future self – a member of ARGUS – popped up at the Justice League International Annual #1 to try to avoid “something” on a mission and then saw Superman and Wonder Woman getting together. Was that his mission; to foil the budding romance that may just spell doom for the DC New 52? That older Booster simply vanished in that same Annual.

How many Booster Golds will show up in Futures End? Will the Justice League International be far behind?

(3) Superboy(s) / H’el(s) (tie)

A future son of Lois Lane and Superman, the evil Jon Kent whose origin is revealed in the WTF Certified Superboy #19 and Teen Titans Annual #2, has taken over the DC Comics New 52’s Superboy series while Kon-el is elsewhen. Is Jon Kent’s future assured?

We’ve also seen H’el, a new villain for the Superman Family, make life hell – pun intended – for Superman, Superboy and Supergirl. In trying to re-write Krypton’s past he created new timestreams stemming from events he changed. More than one timestream and seemingly different H’el(s). However, the Superman Family was able to travel to three different time periods in Krypton’s past to avert incursions by H’el. While they succeeded in stopping him, the price for victory was too high.

Could Jon Kent and/or H’el be primed for bigger things in Futures End?

(2) Batman’s Robins

Perhaps Futures End can explain how Batman can have had some many young Robins in under five years? ;)

This was thrown on the list for fun because if you’re tinkering / exploring time, why not finally explain the most glaring head scratcher of the DC New 52.

(1) Wally West, (A) Flash

Wally West fans have been waiting patiently since the DC New 52 began to see their era’s Flash make his New 52 debut. One of things DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has said in the past that made Wally compelling was his family man status; a husband and father. And DiDio teased last Christmas that we may see him this past year; and then nada this year. Well, with his pre-Flashpoint mentor Barry Allen as a younger solo Flash, is this the time to bring in Wally and his family? He could be explained as having been Barry’s first partner who through some quirk of fate, traveled into the past and was stuck there and aged to the point where is older than Barry.

This would be similar in concept, but not execution, to the Supergirl / Superman dynamic; she is technically Superman’s older cousin, but due to quirks of science and space travel came to Earth years after Superman. She did not age, but her younger cousin did and now is chronologically older. I’m suggesting something similar for Wally akin to Superman being the younger-yet-older hero.

Well, unless of course Wally West is actually the Justice League 3000’s Flash. Fun times ahead!

(BONUS) Art Teaser for Futures End

On the cover to The New 52: Futures End teaser art, we see OMAC’s Brother Eye – the red symbol everywhere – seemingly having taken over all of the core DC New 52 heroes in the 5-year forward future.

CBR talks with artist Ryan Sook about his concept art including the first one on the left captioned as “Cyborg Superman”. Is that Superman who has been mechanized or is it actually the villain Cyborg Superman?

A freakishly mechanized Hawkman follows to the right, then Wonder Woman, and finally a mock-up for a cover to New 52: Futures End.


I would also like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays. For those of you dealing with ice storm, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Stay safe and be warm. Happy ho ho!

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Demythify: Is A New Justice League International JLI Series Coming After Forever Evil? (DC Comics New 52) Mon, 07 Oct 2013 04:00:10 +0000

Before I get into this week’s abridged Demythify column, I want to congratulate my Comics Nexus colleague James Fulton whose The Weekly Round-Up column will reach #200 later this a.m. We’ve been doing Monday comics related columns here for years, but I bow to James who is our site’s iron man (more like Baltimore Oriole baseball great Cal Ripken Jr. than Marvel’s Tony Stark). Cheers James! I wish you all the best as you embark on your next 200 columns!

Ok, onto this week’s Demythify!

We’re looking at the previous Justice League International tease by artist R.B. Silva and how it actually materialized at your local comic book store. A bit of a slight pivot first; in other “Justice Leagues” news, DC Comics has finally revealed the covers for October’s Justice League family titles that they had kept under-wraps until recently. We now know what the Forever Evil related covers for Justice League of America #8, Justice League #24 and Justice League #24 look like. Interesting stuff.

With regards to the JLI, in January 2013, around the time Trinity War was being teased, the internet was swept up by some pretty cool DC Comics New 52 art by artist R.B. Silva formerly of the current Superboy ongoing DC series.

As I wrote at the time:

    Well, it does appear that R.B. Silva is on such a project featuring Shazam, Nightwing, Black Canary, Batgirl, Red Tornado and a previously spoken for Hawkman. Check out the pic from Silva’s Instagram below.

    BTW, did you notice the Justice League International hashtag in the second pic above? Hmmm. With that, here are some of those JLI heroes as drawn by Silva on his instragram: Shazam, Booster Gold and Black Canary.

The images and the “JLI” reference was just enough to get fandom frothy. And, at that time, the post Trinity War DC Comics New 52 wasn’t known yet; Forever Evil hadn’t been announced. A new JLI series with R.B. Silva seemed very plausible.

Well, it seems that if there is a Justice League International series coming after Forever Evil, this isn’t it.

Turns out R.B. Silva did the package art for DC Comics New 52’s “DC Comics Deck-building Game: Heroes Unite” from Cryptozic Entertainment.

The game is billed as follows:

  • Play as Shazam!, Hawkman, Red Tornado, Nightwing, Black Canary, Batgirl, or Booster Gold.
  • Each Super Hero has a unique special ability that will open up different strategies to the player. Follow that strategy or break away with a plan of your own!
  • Card combos, strategy, and fun abound in this game where every card is a well-known, fan-favorite card with amazing art.
  • This is a standalone game, but also an expansion to the hit DC Comics Deck-building Game released in late 2012. Mix the two sets together for the ultimate showdown!
  • Easy to learn, entertaining and engaging gameplay.

More on this announcement and on the new deck-building itself here. Plus check out the art and game below.

Very cool that DC Comics New 52 is also having its top artists do some of the ancillary products as well. That is a pretty neat spread by artist R.B Silva.

I actually like that rag-tag crew though. Will we have art inspiring art? Will deck game concepts make their way into the comics the same way CW’s Arrow TV show recently inspired the introduction of a character in the Green Arrow comic book.

This edition of DC’s deck-building game, follows the previous version – still available – that had the New 52’s A-Team Justice League depicted by several top artists, including DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, as the packaging art.

Anyhow want to share their DC deck-building experience with us? Feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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Demythify: Piecing Together The Top 10 Puzzle Pieces Of The Post Trinity War & Forever Evil DC Comics New 52 (SPOILERS) UPDATED! Mon, 26 Aug 2013 04:00:44 +0000


The number one spot on this list has been updated based on news from DC Comics through media today. All I can say is that we weren’t far off with point numero uno below. :) Or maybe DC released a red herring? Read on!

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I last shared my comic book musings with you. I’ve had a life changing event in my real-life and that means for the last few months and the next few months, I will not be posting as prolifically as before. I hope to get back to some semblance of “regular” output at the beginning of 2014, but until then I plan to at least try to post monthly and, if I can, bi-weekly, but monthly seems like a safer promise. :)

With that out of the way, we’ve had a lot transpire since last we spoke. DC Comics in particular is in the full swing of Trinity War – well it ends this week with Justice League #23 – with the fate of Justice League(s) and even Prime Earth – the main DC New 52 Earth – in the balance. Also, this past weekend, DC Comics made some interesting announcements and teases concerning the post Forever Evil DC New 52 Universe in the Spring of 2014 that we’ll get to.

There be SPOILERS below. So, read with caution.

(10) What we thought about Forever Evil was wrong

IGN – getting a nice scoop from DC herself – was the first to reveal the true villains behind Trinity War who will play a big part in DC’s Forever Evil maxi-series… Earth 3’s Crime Syndicate. That team includes the classic 1960’s line-up of Ultraman (Evil Superman), Superwoman (Evil Wonder Woman), Owlman (Evil Batman), Johnny Quick (Evil Flash), Power Ring (Evil Green Lantern) and a new addition in Deathstorm (Evil Firestorm).

Instead of Secret Society of Super-Villains being the main foil for Forever Evil, Lex Luthor and those Prime Earth villains that don’t join the Syndicate, fight for our Earth’s survival… so it can one day be pillaged by her own villains.

(9) Trinity War leaves the Earth in shambles with Lex Luthor left to clean it up

In the same IGN scoop, Geoff Johns reveals the following tidbits about the how Trinity War ends and how Forever Evil begins:

    “As far as the world knows, the Justice Leagues are dead. What happened to them and where they are will be revealed within the pages of Forever Evil, which is focused squarely on the greatest villains in comics.”
    “We start literally, in the first issue, when the whole world goes dark; communication and power are gone. And as our Earth is plunged into darkness, the Crime Syndicate begins their plan for conquest.”
    “[Lex Luthor will] form his own version of a Justice League to take them [Crime Syndicate] down.”

That certainly explains why Batman and Catwoman are fighting alongside the villains. The enemy of my enemy is my friend… for now. Although while we see Batman around, we don’t see his former teammates? And is that really Batman under the cowl? I have a theory on that. Stay tuned for #2 on this list below.

(8) The Outsider as Refugee from an Earth 3 destroyed

Tuesday Night Movies had a theory about who the Outsider was. He’s the character who has been pulling the strings of the Earth Prime’s Secret Society of Super-Villains. And it seems that recent Director’s Cut of Justice League of America #1 confirmed that theory.

Alfred Pennyworth, Earth 3’s ally of Owlman, has been laying the groundwork for the arrival of Earth 3’s anti-Justice League, the Crime Syndicate. His is the identity of the leader of Earth Prime’s Secret Society.

And, in JLA #5, after Martian Manhunter reveals himself to the leader of the Society, we learn that they both were witnesses to the destruction of their world. The fate of Earth 3 has yet to be revealed, but taking over Prime Earth after Earth 3’s get broken, seems like a good reason as any for the Crime Syndicate to undertake manifest destiny.

(7) When is Pandora’s Box, not really Pandora’s Box?

Pandora’s Box in non-comic book folklore is about opening it and bringing evil to the world. In the comics, we already have the Seven Deadly Sins running amok in the world.

So, does opening the box bring those Sins back into the box… unlikely since without sins in the world, there would be no need for heroism… and comics with super-heroes for that matter.

Perhaps opening the box brings the Crime Syndicate onto Prime Earth? It is revealed to be a “doorway” afterall if the last two pages with The Outsider to Justice League Dark #23 (composite panels to your right) are to be believed.

And, as an aside, if the box isn’t the prison for the Seven Deadly Sins, how will Pandora conquer them or round them up? Seems like a pointless mission if we want DC to continue to publish super-hero comics. ;) Perhaps her raison d’etre changes with Forever Evil?

(6) If not Pandora’s Box, is it a Multiversity Key?

Cementing itself as the most important book in Trinity War so far, Justice League Dark #23 also teased more about the true nature of Pandora’s Box. When know its a doorway, but what else?

When Shazam grabs the box, his possession of it leads to a very Black Adam like transformation for Billy Batson as well as sending ripples to Earth 2, Gemworld, and impacts the avatars of the Green and Red on Prime Earth.

Not only is Pandora’s Box – do we even call it that anymore (?) – a multiversity key, that likely will lead to the Crime Syndicate’s arrival on Prime Earth, it also has sway over magic, nature and more.

(5) Justice Leagues as Villains United?

In the ninth point above, we learned that Lex Luthor will form his own Justice League(s?). Well, we don’t see covers for any of the October solicited Justice League titles. Is that the reason?

Could that mean that each of three core books feature teams of heroes and villains together? Different missions to take on the Crime Syndicate?

The solicits for November may not include “real” covers, and if they do, and the solicits themselves certainly don’t reveal who make up the teams in each book.

(4) Nightwing joins Cyborg on DC’s A-List?

At Fan Expo this past weekend, DC Comics Editor John Cunningham promised that on September 4th, the internet would be abuzz about Nightwing:

    “…the internet is going to explode on September fourth, and it’s all going to be about Nightwing .”

What exactly does that mean? Keep your eyes on Forever Evil #1 for the answer since it ships on, wait for it, September 4th.

Nightwing is also featured in November’s Justice League #25, which sports 4 covers. Who are the remaining members of the Justice League and is Nightwing the ragtag group’s leader? The solicit reads:

    “FOREVER EVIL continues as the Crime Syndicate hunts down the few heroes left foolish enough to challenge them—including Batman’s protege, Dick Grayson. But Owlman has other plans for Nightwing…and Owlman’s teammate: the most deadly being on the planet: Ultraman!”

The blood soaked Forever Evil teaser related to Nightwing has many speculating about something tragic happening to Nightwing. My money is on that blood being someone else’s. I think Nightwing will actual kill or maim a big bad of the Crime Syndicate. Maim Ultraman or kill / maim Superwoman. THAT would elevate Nightwing big-time. He can join Cyborg as a graduate to the big leagues (pun intended).

I’m so glad that Nightwing is central to DC again. He did a great job as Batman pre-Flashpoint and he deserves to be prominently spotlit in the DCU.

(3) Four Justice League Titles Post Forever Evil?

In the news out of Fan Expo about Justice League of America being rebranded as the Justice League of Canada in the Spring 2014, many missed a little tidbit revealed by JLC writer Jeff Lemire (see the bolded part, emphasis was added BTW, below):

    “As a result of that [the end of Forever Evil], without spoiling any of that story, there will be major changes in the Justice Leagues, and in the spring, the current Justice League of America team goes through a dramatic change and some of the pieces that are left behind will evolve into this new Justice League Canada team”

The “some of the pieces” comment has me believing there will be another new Justice League title, likely from writer Geoff Johns or perhaps Matt Kindt, after Forever Evil. That make the four JL books a Jeff-Lemire-less Justice League Dark, a Geoff Johns Justice League, a Jeff Lemire JLC and a mystery fourth Justice League book. Maybe a new JLA or even a Justice League International, with the world wanting to unite having learned lessons from the global threat the Crime Syndicate played in Forever Evil?

JLC does seem pretty interesting the way Lemire describes it. A team of A-list DC characters – some of whom we haven’t seen in the New yet – with a new Canadian teenage hero created for the series alongside Adam Strange, who is Canadian in the New 52. The other team members have not been revealed, but the book will span Canada, with a team base in Northern Ontario, a lot of exploits in Toronto, and will be drawn by Mike McKone. Looks good!

(2) Where are the Justice League heavyweights during Forever Evil?

In Justice League #22, Madame Xanadu opens the book with visions of the future. We see what appears to be DC’s super-trinity in Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman surveying devastation. Could this be what happens to the big guns of the Justice League after Trinity War? Do they – and perhaps some other heroes – swap places with the Crime Syndicate when Pandora’s Box is opened? Are they stuck on a desolate Earth 3?

The silhouettes can’t be the Crime Syndicate as we know how they appear in Forever Evil and that isn’t it. It must be the DC New 52’s “proper” Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

While Batman is on the cover of Forever Evil #1, I can’t imagine he’d play second banana to Lex Luthor. Could that Batman be Jason Todd or Dick Grayson? Could the real Batman be “stuck” on the wasteland that is Earth 3 with Superman and Wonder Woman?

Could the “him” Batman wants to get back to save Nightwing because of something the first Robin does in Forever Evil #1? We may know more soon!

(1) What follows Forever Evil?

We know that Forever Evil will also have ramifications for Green Lantern and the Teen Titans, but what about the DC universe? Maybe even the multiverse?

Over the last few years, since the post-Flashpoint launch of the New 52, we’ve seen a growing number of multiverse incursions. From New Gods – a universal constant in the DC multiverse they are a one-of-a-kind pantheon – tangling with the Justice League and later with the heroes of Earth 2, more New Gody goodness in the pages of Wonder Woman, Earth 2’s Supergirl and Robin trapped on Earth Prime as Power Girl and Huntress in Worlds’ Finest, Batman/Superman meeting Earth 2’s Batman / Superman in the same named Greg Pak written series, and now Earth 3’s Crime Syndicate popping up as the villains behind Trinity War and the leads for Forever Evil. We also still have writer Grant Morrison’s Multiversity maxi-series to come and a Darkseid spotlight Justice League one-shot for Villains Month in September.

Does Darkseid hold the key to defeating the Crime Syndicate? Will he seek Pandora’s Box so he can use the doorway to bring back his forces from Earth 2 and across the multiverse to be united together again? Will the box be Darkseid’s way to conquer the multiverse? Is that the fate of the multiverse in 2014? It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the multiverse incursions have grown over the life of the New 52.


DC seemed to have confirmed that Darkseid will be in the pages of this week’s Justice League #23 marking the end of Trinity War and the beginning of Forever Evil. Check out the interior art from the issue to the right.

Is it a “live” shot or a flashback to the first Justice League New 52 arc a few years ago?

Regardless, when the multiverse is involved, all roads lead to or through Darkseid. I’m confident we’re barking up the right tree!

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DC Comics August 2013 Solicitations’ New 49 With 4 More Cancellations & 7 New 52 Ongoing Series To Debut In Fall (Update) Tue, 14 May 2013 02:15:46 +0000 DC Comics New 52 comic book solicitations for August 2013 are out and we have the New 49! We have 4 more cancellations leaving the overall New 52 deficit at 7 series.

August 2013 features the following 4 cancellations: Legion of Super-Heroes (LOSH) #23, Demon Knights #23, Dial H #15 and Threshold #8.

That’s 4 more series DC needs to replace on top of the 3 they already needed to for a few months anyway.

There is a rumoured Villains Month event for September, DC New 52 kick-off anniversary month, where each New 52 series will be renumbered as #1 for a month and be named after the villain of the book. Will some villain-centric series continue into October? I think so, but certainly not 7.

Short-list of “likely” New 52 series:

  • Booster Gold
  • Justice League International or Global Guardians (1rst New 52 JLI cancelled for creative not sales reason)
  • Justice Legion of Super-Heroes or simply “Justice Legion” (a likely replacement for LOSH)
  • Plastic Man (written by Gail Simone?)
  • Shazam and/or Black Adam
  • Trinity of Sin: The Question

Not sure about any Villain-Centric books or other likely hero titles. What do you think?

Also, I have read rumors that DC may be toying with the idea of replacing several titles with 1 or 2 or even 3 weekly series featuring the New 52’s stronger sales performers, e.g. Batman, Green Lantern, etc. However, to do so would require DC to abandon its “New 52″ branding.

DC Co-publisher Dan DiDio has noted that the New 52 refers to 52 ongoing series in terms of the branding; while 52 is also a special number for the company in-story as it is the number of universes in its multiverse.

Mathematically, a weekly comic book series is still 1 series; it wouldn’t count as 4 series in a given 4-week month. So, will it be New 52 for DC Comics into the Fall of 2013? If so, DC needs to launch 7 new ongoing titles in its “New 52″ core super-hero line.


It appears writer Paul Levitz will not be part of whatever is next for DC’s 31rst Century. Here is his farewell message on Faceback to his many fans:

    DC’s officially announced the end of the current run of the LEGION with #23…sad to see my old friends go, and hoping my tale for that issue with Kevin Maguire illustrating will be an honorable end. As a reader, I’ll miss them until their next incarnation, whenever and however that may come. As a writer, I’m privileged to have gotten three chances to work with this vast and wonderful cast, and now on to other projects and other worlds.
    To those of you who have supported my tales of the future since back when WONDER WOMAN debuted in prime time, Joe Namath played his last as a Jet, and the US thought Nevada was a reasonable place to test nuclear weapons…my thanks. Few of us get to play for so long in a world we loved as a child, and I’ll always appreciate the readers who made it possible.
    Long live the Legion!

A big thanks to Paul Levitz for several years of great LOSH stories. I’m loving his Worlds’ Finest too, so Levitz fans can rejoice.


In response to fans worried about the future of the LOSH, DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio assured fans via his facebook by indicating that:

    The cancellation of this series does not signify the end of the 31st century. More to come.

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Demythify: Justice Leagues Trinity War, Top 5 April 2013 WTF Certified Covers, Earth 2 New Batman & Red Arrow PLUS Requiem For Robin For DC New 52 Supergirl? Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:00:36 +0000

Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.

With the DC Comics New 52 entering April 2013 and its month-long WTF Certified initiative – gatefold covers with a job dropping second half – we also see Trinity War taking shape. I had written extensively on the various credible Trinity War scenarios, as seemingly seeded in the New 52 so far, and a few seem to be bubbling to the top of the leaderboard. I’ll walk you through that, a new Batman and Red ARROW, the Top 5 WTF Certified Gatefold Covers revealed so far that are truly “WTF” moment worthy, and much more.

Beware, some SPOILERS may follow. You have been warned. ;)

Trinity War: All About The Justice Leagues?

March’s Justice League Dark #18 seems to have put another piece together for the Trinity War scenario that sees a battle of the Justice Leagues at its forefront.

Justice League Dark #18 finally sees John Constantine say enough is enough and walk from Steve Trevor and ARGUS. In a “you’re with us or against us” type retort from Trevor, Constantine seem hardly worried. This Steve Trevor rebuff follows a similar one from Wonder Woman and the Justice League in that series issue #12. And, we learned from the recent Justice League of America #1 that the whole reason Director Amanda Waller, of Suicide Squad infamy, created the JLA – which includes Steve Trevor – was a countermeasure against the Justice League “in case” they ever go rogue.

We also saw in the cliffhanger to Justice League #16 and in the recent issue #18, that Zatanna seems to apparently leave the Justice League Dark or be a duel member? Zatanna doesn’t seem to complimentary of her JLD crew afterall. We have also seen Black Orchid be revealed as an agent for Steve Trevor earlier in Justice League Dark as well. More roster inter-justice-leagues roster switches coming?

Maybe we’ll have a new Justice League International (JLI) at one point soon too based on the R.B. Silva art and hashtag. Which means we’d have a quad not trinity of Justice Leagues.

All About The Multiverse? Supergirl Requiem & A Growing Earth 2?

Paul Levitz’s Worlds’ Finest has been all-star New 52 series. In issue #6 we saw Damian Wayne / Robin confront his Earth 2 “sister” Helena Wayne / Huntress. It was an interesting confrontation ending with a tender détente. March’s Worlds’ Finest #10 was a Robin Requiem issue with Huntress, for a small part of the issue, mourning the passing of Damian.

Now it is Power Girl’s turn! Starting in April’s WTF Certified issue of Supergirl #19, it looks like PG and the New 52’s Supergirl come to blows. And, in two months in May 2013’s issue #20 Power Girl dons her Earth 2 Supergirl costume to fell or avenge the New 52 Supergirl? Requiem for Supergirl a la Requiem for Robin? Likely not, but I am intrigued by the next few months of Supergirl.

Writer James Robinson, during this weekend’s WonderCon 2013, dished A LOT about Earth 2 happenings coming up. We have a new Batman and Red Arrow among other roster growth, a Crisis of sorts between the Prime Earth heroes and Earth’s Wonders, and more.

May 2013’s Earth 2 Annual #1 debuts a new Batman for that Earth since the original Bruce Wayne version died years earlier. Writer James Robinson has described this New Batman as “…a huge part of ‘Earth 2,’ he’s going to be a huge part of the DC Universe, and everything he does from the Annual onward will have huge implications for the DC Universe.” It is interesting that the character will be important to the broader DC Universe based on the latter part of Robinson’s statement. Maybe culminating in a Trinity War involving the multiverse? Interesting that this new Batman has similarities, visually anyway, to the Flashpoint Batman. Revealing or red herring?

Earth 2 writer James Robinson also revealed that we’ll be seeing an Earth 2 roster growth alongside Batman with Red Arrow (a.k.a. Roy McQueen), Starman (Ted Knight), Wildcat and Hourman. Plus Big Barda joins Mister Miracle as Earth 2 Wonders.

DC also did a multiverse feature recently on their website so I think there’s a method to their madness.

All About Sinners? A Question Series Coming?

With June 2013 sees the debut of two “Trinity of Sin” titled comics with Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1 while Phantom Stranger #9 gets the Trinity of Sin added to it. Could the last member of the Trinity of Sin The Question get a #1 issue in advance of 2013’s Trinity War? Afterall, he does seem to be returning in a WTF covered title this week.

Could Trinity War involve more than one trinity?

WTF Certified April 2013 DC Covers: Top 5 Really WTF New 52

At the time of the writing of this column over Easter weekend, DC has released some, but not all, of the full-versions of their April 2013 shipping WTF Certified “wow” gatefold covers. Here are the truly OMG worthy covers for WTF… so far.

(5) Dial H #11

Wow. Dial H #11 has our everyman dial into the… Flash? Now that is interesting.

(4) Threshold #4

Superman arch-villain Brainiac traps the Hunted on his trophy case of planets in Threshold #4? F-U-N.

(3) Earth 2 #11

Loving, loving, loving writer James Robinson and penciller Nicola Scott’s Earth 2 series. You love the New Gods? Check out Earth 2 #11.

(2) Suicide Squad #12

Writer Adam Glass leaves Suicide Squad with a bang! Big c-c-changes coming starting with the Unknown Solider in Suicide Squad #12.

(1) Talon #7

Pre-New 52 Secret Seven and Batman back-breaker Bane tackles Talon in Talon #7. Now THAT should be cool.

Well, that’s it so far. However, I can’t wait for the color version of Red Hood and the Outlaws #19 to come out because the WTF black and white version is WTF and OMG-worthy, and terrifying.

I also hope you all had a Happy Easter and pleasant Passover.

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome. :)

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Demythify: 2013’s Top 3 With Post Young Justice Cartoon Network, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, DC New 52 Trinity War & Neil Gaiman (G.I. Joe 2 Retaliation, Star Wars 7) Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:10:36 +0000

Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.

I have spent most of the last five months mourning my fandom due to the ending of the “all-ages” cartoon era at Cartoon Network. The network has cancelled or not-renewed (same outcome either way) several shows that had cross-family, multi-generational appeal with shows like Young Justice Invasion, Green Lantern The Animated Series (GLTAS), and Star Wars The Clone Wars tossed from CN’s 2013 line-up. (If you would like to see more Young Justice, let DC Entertainment know HERE and filling out a related Change.Org petition here can’t hurt.)

This is on top of CN’s cancellation of ThunderCats last year and HUB’s similar dismissal of G.I. Joe Renegades.

In the case of G.I. Joe Renegades and Star Wars The Clone Wars, The Hub and Cartoon Network may have been dealing with the wishes of the properties’ respective owners choosing to go in new directions: Hasbro’s G.I. Joe Renegades cartoon appears to have directly inspired the live-action silver screen G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation film (out March 28, 2013) and Lucasfilm / Disney appearing to move in a new direction cartoon property-wise.

In the end, I have lost 5 TV cartoons I enjoyed watching in less than a year. That is on top of cancellations of comics I have enjoyed from DC Comics New 52 effort including: Deathstroke, Team 7, Justice League International, Legion Lost and others. Luckily there are some DC titles doing well that I can still read monthly from DC like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Suicide Squad and others. Plus Marvel is back on my radar with books like All-New X-Men and Cable and X-Force, so the future doesn’t look too dim for the future especially if you factor in the fact that every book Valiant Comics publishes is AMAZING.

So, this week, instead of mourning the past, we look to the future with my 2013 Top 3 pop culture offerings in film, TV and comics.

Beware, some SPOILERS may follow. You have been warned. ;)

TV: Scooby Doo Mystery Inc., Good & Going Too

While we await a new G.I. Joe cartoon on HUB or elsewhere to follow the G.I. Joe Retaliation film, assuming it is succesful and not Battleship-like, and a new Star Wars animated series to follow Clone Wars likely on Disney XD, the only cartoon on Cartoon Network that I see for 2013 that remains all-ages is Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated (or simply Mystery Inc.). However, it too is ending with its second season in April 2013! Wow, that’s six (6) cartoons I enjoyed being cancelled in 12-month span.

The series has an ongoing mystery in the treasure hunt guided by the Planispheric Disk, simmering character based subplots like Fred and Daphne’s romantic tension, comedy relief with Shaggy and Scooby, with Velma the odd brilliant person out. The added history of several other mystery solving teens over past generations is a cool twist as is the current Mystery Inc. competing with the preceding original Mystery Inc. The series has kept true to the original “mystery of the week no-such-thing-as-real-ghosts” formula that made the first season in 1969 so compelling and successful, but also brought it into the modern age.

However, Season 2 seems to have the team questioning whether a real terror can exist with the mystery of “Niburu” being foretold. It is unclear what Niburu stands for in the Scooby Doo series, but it could refer to the Niburu Cataclysm or doomsday scenario that is said to happen in the 21rst century with a large planetary object colliding with the Earth. Or in Scooby Doo fashion it could be a (faux) Demon. We’ll have to wait and see.

While I remain very disappointed in Cartoon Network’s Fall 2013 offerings, I will sample the new DC Nation Block of Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go. However, they do seem more kiddie in nature than the Young Justice Invasion and Green Lantern the Animated series they replace.

I’m also curious what will happen with Scooby Doo next with no Season 3 on the horizon. Another reboot maybe? There seem to have been a Scooby Doo series on television in some fashion for the last 40 years: 24 seasons and over 420 episodes.

Film: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Conquers Hollywood

Dwayne Johnson is not only the current WWE Champion headlining Wrestlemania 29 against John Cena on April 7, 2013, he is also set to have his biggest career movie year with at least 5 films being released in 2013 PLUS his active lobbying to get a role in a returning film franchise.

2013 already saw the release of Snitch in February 2013, a film about “A father goes undercover for the DEA in order to free his son who was imprisoned after being set up in drug deal.”

Then we have March 28, 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a film that sees G.I. Joe “not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence.”

On April 26, 2013 we get Pain and Gain that sees Mark Wahlberg team with Dwayne Johnson and others that see “A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.”

Sometime in 2013 we will get Empire State, a film “drama centered on two childhood friends who plan to rob an armored car depository, and the NYPD officer who stands in their way.”

Lastly, for now, May 24, 2013 brings fandom Fast and Furious 6 where Dwayne’s Johnson’s “Agent Hobbs enlists the aid of Dom and team to help bring a rival gang, led by Owen Shaw, to justice. In exchange for clear records, they must put an end to their schemes, no matter how personal the cost.” The film apparently ends on a cliffhanger that sets up Fast and Furious 7 so there seem to be a few franchises that the Rock will be a part of going forward: Fast & Furious, G.I. Joe, Journey and maybe… Star Wars?

Dwayne Johnson has announced that he is keen on joining the cast of Star Wars Episode VII (Star Wars 7) under the stewardship of J.J. Abrams. It has been reported that at the March 13, 2013 Sydney Australia premiere of G.I. Joe Retaliation that the Rock let it be known of his interest in a Star Wars role.

    “I played with two lines of action figures when I was a kid: G.I. Joe and Star Wars.”

    “By the way, because we didn’t have a lot of money, I used to steal them. I’d just rip open the packages and shove ‘em in my pockets … like a lot of kids. I got caught a couple of times, got my ass kicked by my parents.”

    “So when I got the call saying, ‘How do you feel about becoming the leader of the G.I. Joes?’, it was like if I got a call from George Lucas saying, ‘I want you to be in Star Wars‘.”

    “I’m gonna call J.J. (JJ Abrams is directing the next Star Wars film) and you’re gonna help by printing it and I’m gonna be in Star Wars!”

Add with constant fan demand for Dwayne Johnson to play villain Black Adam in any upcoming Shazam or Justice League feature film from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, it seems that The Rock’s geek credentials are well established.

Certainly looks like its Dwayne Johnson’s world, and we’re just living in it.

Also on the movie front, I remain also excited for other non-Rock 2013 films: Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013), Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17, 2013), Man of Steel featuring Superman (June 14, 2013), The Wolverine (July 26, 2013) and Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013).

Comics: DC’s Trinity War, Valiant’s Harbinger Wars & GAIMAN!!

Since 2012’s Summer of Valiant, the company has been putting out quality book after quality book, month in and month out. In April 2013 we see the beginning of a 4 month long “family” cross-over event that pits Bloodshot against the Harbingers. Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong are my top 2 fave Valiant titles, but X-0 Manowar and Shadowman are solid, with Harbinger not appealing to me conceptually despite solid art and writing.

That said, I am intrigued by Harbinger Wars as it seemingly will bring Bloodshot face-to-face with his past actions as a Harbinger Hunter. I’m not sure where this cross-over event will go, but am pleased it will feature the debut of another Valiant property with the H.A.R.D. Corps in June. The Harbinger Wars 12-issue checklist is available here. 2013 just got a whole lot more interesting.

This year will also likely see the debut of the DC Comics New 52’s much teased Trinity War. I’ve un-puzzled the various Trinities in DC’s pantheon, but it is still anyone’s guess who or what is going on with Trinity War.

In 2013 we will also get to read more of Neil Gaiman in comicdom. Not just with his Sandman Zero Vertigo prequel series, but also at least one issue of Marvel Now’s Guardians of the Galaxy featuring a guest-star in the Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman created Angela (for Image Comics’ Spawn). The Associated Press reported the following last week:

    Neil Gaiman, Angela character are Marvel-bound

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Writer Neil Gaiman is returning to Marvel Comics this summer, and he’s bringing the red-haired heavenly bounty hunter Angela with him.

    The publisher announced Thursday that Gaiman’s angel will return first in the pages of “Age of Ultron” No. 10 in June. She’ll appear again in Marvel Entertainment’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” No. 5 in July that Gaiman will co-write with Brian Michael Bendis.

    Gaiman’s previous comic outings include revered runs on “The Sandman” and “Marvel 1602.”

    He created Angela in “Spawn” No. 9, and she was one of three characters who formed a long copyright dispute between Gaiman and Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane.

    The pair reached a confidential settlement in early 2012.

What Gaiman’s ownership stake in Angela is unknown, but Marvel Comics has pitched Angela as a “guest” in the Marvel Universe. Take that as you wish.

Rumors are also surfacing that Marvelman or Miracleman, whose rights were tied up in part by the McFarlane / Gaiman legal dispute, may actually make his Marvel Comics debut soon. If Age of Ultron is Marvel’s answer to DC Comics’ Flashpoint, perhaps Micky Moran and his alter ego will become a founding Marvel 616 Universe character if time is bent and remade at the end of AU?

Well, that’s my 2013 watch list.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome. :)

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Demythify: A Fourth Justice League DC Comics Title & Five Trinities For 2013’s New 52 Trinity War? (Geoff Johns, Jeff Lemire, R. B. Silva & More) Mon, 28 Jan 2013 05:00:34 +0000

Thanks for popping by and checking out my weekly Monday Demythify column.

This week marks the one year anniversary of this column. While I’ve been writing various columns over my decade plus as a blogger, this one is… the least jaded. I want to thank all of our regular readers for checking us out weekly. I also want to thank our topic-specfic visitors for their patronage too. In addition, those of you who have gone the extra mile and taken the time to provide feedback also deserve acknowledgement. Your feedback here, on Facebook and/or Twitter (my coordinates are located at the end of this column BTW), have always been passionate and insightful. I also want to thank the head honcho here at the site Jonathan Widro and the Nexus EIC Graham Scherl for letting me do my thing. You all make it easy to come to work. Ok, with the thank you’s out-of-the-way, if any readers have ideas for future columns let me know.

Before I get into this week’s column, I’d like to bring to your attention three other regular features here at the Comics Nexus.

On Mondays, along with my Demythify column, James Fulton brings us The Weekly Round-Up where he dissects the best of the best comic books from the week that was. On Wednesdays Mathan Erhardt brings us Wednesday Comments where he puts his wealth of comic knowledge to good use plus provides a unique analysis on today’s industry. And, our EIC Grey Scherl does a column called The Gold Standard that gets published whenever he wants. Currently Grey is counting down the Top 50 comic books of 2012.

Ok, now onto this week’s Anniversary Edition of Demythify. Instead of doing a retrospective of the last year, I’ll do what we’ve done for the last 40 columns, and that’s move forward. With that, this week, we discuss the DC Comics New 52 “Trinity War” promised for 2013.


What is 2013’s Trinity War?

It was in last year’s DC New 52 Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) issue where we were introduced to something called “Trinity War” from DC Comics. As part of that free comic book we had a 3-page gatefold Jim Lee spread showing heroes vs. heroes and a strange new Green Lantern who we would later know as Simon Baz.

Since last year, and with 2013’s FCBD coming up on May 4, 2013, we have not heard a lot about Trinity War. Since last year, there has been a lot creative changes on DC titles with cancellations and new books popping up too. While there are rumors that DC is still finalizing Trinity War, we know there have been a few changes already with the original 2012 FCBD Jim Lee popping up on the internet (see below).

With the original plan seemingly having Hal Jordan and not Simon Baz in it as Green Lantern.

So, despite a lack of any new formal information on what Trinity War is, there were teases in some books and comments from creators that point to at least five “trinities” that could be part of the Trinity War together, in part or singularly.

Here they are.

5. A Multiversal Trinity of Worlds

Now this trinity only came to me this past week when I started reading how CW Arrow’s Andrew Kreisberg, and co-writer with Geoff Johns on the DC New 52’s new Vibe series, started talking about the Multiverse. The hispanic hero Vibe gets his vibrational powers from the mutliversal vibrations that spring from the weakness between worlds that resides in Detroit. Almost like TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Hellsmouth. Detroit on Prime Earth is where Darkseid punched through to tangle with Justice League on Prime Earth and seemingly on Earth 2 when he and his New Gods decimated that world’s “Wonders”. Earth 2 has its own New 52 series, two refugees from that world in Power Girl and Huntress anchor the Worlds’ Finest series from Prime Earth, and now we have Vibe a character who acts as the Guardian of the Multiverse Gateway.

Perhaps Huntress and Power Girl in their efforts to get back to Earth 2, as has been established in their series, get past Vibe and pop up on another Earth, one we haven’t seen, and trigger the War? Then the Justice League of Earth Prime get pulled in?

And, could Grant Morrison’s Multiversity maxi-series play into all this?

4. Trinity of Timelines

In the last issue of Flashpoint we had Pandora appear. She was instrumental in deconstructing the Flashpoint world into the New 52. Interestingly it wasn’t three multiverse worlds she pulled together, but three timelines as she noted herself. Despite Wildstorm being established as part of DC’s Multiverse as Earth 50, it seems it was retconned to a timeline not a world that was merged with the Vertigo “timeline” and the main DCU timeline into the DC New 52 timeline. Retconning this kind of stuff is not surprising. DC did something similar confusing the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, an evil Justice League. There were two iterations floating around the DCU pre-New 52: one from an alternate multiverse Earth and another from the Anti-Matter Universe. They were virtually the same, except for where they came from based on editorial and/or writer whim.

Anyhow, three timelines into one when we have a Trinity War on the horizon does seem too convenient to be coincidental.

Plus, in relation to the Superman / Wonder Woman duo (read on), in Justice League International Annual #1 a Booster Gold from the future came to the past to avert a tragedy. He starts to dissipate at the end of the issue and wonders if SuperWonder (a la Brangelina) is what he came back in time to unmake.

Trinity War may have an impact on the trinity of timelines that lead to the creation of the New 52? Could it somehow play into the Vertigo imprint (and/or “timeline“) 20th anniversary celebrations of 2013?

I know many fans think DC has a backdoor plan to bring back some of or all of the old DC Universe. I don’t share that view, but “three timelines” coming into one New 52 timeline does seem interesting in light of this upcoming war involving a trinity or “three”.

3. Trinity of Sin

As part of 2012’s FCBD we saw the debut of the Trinity of Sin. We saw the mysterious Pandora also seen in Flashpoint, as noted earlier, and in all of 2011’s New 52 #1 issues. On FCBD we came to learn more about her and the other two that make up the Trinity of Sin.

All three committed transcendent sins and were punished by the SHAZAM pantheon. We have Pandora, joined by the Phantom Stranger and a mystical Question that appears a lot like Vic Sage pre-metamorphosis. Poor Renee Montoya.

This Trinity likely will have a large role in Trinity War since the 2012 FCBD cover featured Batman holding “Pandora’s Box” and he also has it in that Jim Lee Trinity War spread above.

2. Battle of the Trinity of Justice Leagues

In the recent Justice League #16 we had a call for reinforcements by Cyborg to assist the League in the War with Atlantis. Many of those faces were on the Justice League #1 teaser cover from 2011.

Slight spoilers below. You have been warned.

Not sure who Goldrush is, but everyone else are known quantities to fans of DC Comics.

End of spoilers.

Interestingly, when looking at the 2011 Justice League #1 Jim Lee spread, we see the core Justice League in the middle bordered by other heroes with the ones on the left in red and the ones on the right in blue.

Could those bordered heroes actually represent other Justice League rosters yet to coalesce? Deadman on the left is clearly one of writer Jeff Lemire’s Justice League Dark heroes. Could the rest on that side represent the JLD? The Atom, as Dr. Ray Palmer, on that side has appeared sans costume in the now cancelled Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. series. While DC creators has said that the Atom in the JL #1 Jim Lee picture is not Ray Palmer, but Ryan Choi a younger Atom, we’ll see.

On the right we have Hawkman, Green Arrow and others. Could this side represent Justice League of America? It even has Mera it seems at the bottom and we know she is as aggressive as the rest of the “heroes” on that side.

In addition, that 2012 FCBD gatefold Jim Lee spread has Black Adam in it instead of Shazam. Could Black Adam be joining the JLD or JLA or JL?

We’ve had four Justice Leagues in the New 52: Justice League, Justice League of America, Justice League Dark and the recently cancelled Justice League International. However only a trinity of Leagues exists today. Could another JLI emerge from a Justice Leagues Civil War?

Well, it does appear that R.B. Silva is on such a project featuring Shazam, Nightwing, Black Canary, Batgirl, Red Tornado and a previously spoken for Hawkman. Check out the pic from Silva’s Instagram below.

BTW, did you notice the Justice League International hashtag in the second pic above? Hmmm. With that, here are some of those JLI heroes as drawn by Silva on his instragram: Shazam, Booster Gold and Black Canary.

Fun times ahead.

1. DC’s Traditional Trinity

Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. These characters have been referred to as DC’s Trinity for decades. Two of them are now a couple and the other one knows and knew the moment the relationship started. In Justice League #14 Superman and Batman Wonder Woman embraced with Batman looking on from the Justice League’s monitor.

In a tease of things to come in 2013, we see that Superman and Batman come to blows. Could this be a key part of Trinity War? Is a plausible scenario that Batman and Superman exchange blows over Wonder Woman? Is there a super-break-up in the cards? Superman and Wonder Woman have gone toe-to-toe before. What happens when that kind of battle is loaded with emotion?

And, why are Superman, Wonder Woman and Shazam fighting in the earlier teaser?

In that same teaser, Pandora hands her box to someone. Is it Batman who has it as per the many other images we’ve seen or did he steal it from whomever Pandora gave it to?

Lastly, in relation to the preceding Trinity section of this column regarding a Justice Leagues Civil War, the teaser above also includes Cyborg noting that their core JL membership drive let in a traitor. Who among the newbies are a traitor to the League? That doesn’t mean they’re evil. Maybe they are doing it for JLD or JLA? A distrust of the powerful Justice League does seem like a motivation for the creation of the new JLA. Interesting.

Whatever it is made up of, I’m looking forward to Trinity War. Any other theories that YOU have to share?

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Demythify: Damian Wayne vs Harper Row & Ex-Robins (Batman #12, Batman Inc #3, Batman and Robin #12) Spoilers Mon, 13 Aug 2012 04:01:29 +0000 The Batman family titles remain the strongest among the DC Comics New 52 franchises. A big part of that I think has been due to their embracing of the “Robins” fraternity.

The last week in DC Comics news has been a-buzz by the spotlight issue of writer Scott Snyder’s Batman #12 on a relatively new character the Batman lore: a female tech-erchin named Harper Row.

Along with that, the postponement of Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc. #3 from its July release date to August 22 has also garnered attention due to some likely graphic imagery in the title that DC Entertainment seemingly thought may be too soon to see so close to the Aurora Dark Knight Rises shooting tragedy. That said, many retailers have honored DC’s request to postpone release of the issue, but many also did not. I picked up the title on its July release date and am only know writing about it.

While writers Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison suck most of the oxygen out of fandom concerning the Dark Knight, Peter J. Tomasi’s current Batman and Robin arc should not be overlooked. While Batman Inc. #3 advances Damian Wayne’s (not Robin’s) story and Batman #12 gives Harper Row screen time signalling big things for the teen’s future, Batman and Robin #12 plays with Damian and all the ex-Robins: Nightwing, Red Hood and Red Robin (who was now never an adjectiveless Robin, but still part of the fraternity).

I’ve been intrigued by how DC Comics over the last few months have unveiled the complex relationships of these boys since in the New 52 Stephanie Brown was never a Robin which now males it 4 not 5 ex-Robins in current lore. The relationship building started with the reveals of 3 of the 4 Robins associations in Scott Lobdell’s Red Hood and the Outlaws series and the more recent Batman and Robin series reveals in recent months that make it 4 for 4 Robins kinships explained.

With that, let me walk you through the most recent significant Robins-centric reveals in the DC Comics New 52’s Batman and Robin #12, Batman Incorporated #3, and Batman #12; the latter was reviewed favorably here at the Comics Nexus.

    (From left to right: Regular cover to Batman and Robin #12, regular and variant cover to Batman Incorporated #3, plus regular and variant cover to Batman #12.)

…Beware SPOILERS ahead!… ;)

Batman and Robin #12: Damian’s Ex-Robins Quest Ends

Despite Grant Morrison’s introduction of Damian Wayne pre-New 52 and his indication of his big plans for the character in Batman Inc., writer While Peter Tomasi has been like a stepfather for the character and dealing with his emotional and intellectual growth in the pages of Batman and Robin. Damian is actually the biological son of Batman, he clearly has his mother’s aggressive streak, Talia Al Ghul, who is the big bad behind the nefarious organization Leviathan in the pages of Batman Incorporated and who also popped up in the recent The Dark Knight Rises hit movie.

Certainly when Damian was introduced he was portrayed as rough, with a chip on his shoulder, but more skilled in the Batman-like dark arts than any of Batman’s other Robins.

At the opening of the current Batman and Robin arc, the ongoing subplot behind the villain Terminus’ battle with Batman, has been Damian’s attempt to overcome his inferiority complex by pledging to defeat each of the previous Robins. In the first issue he tackles Tim Drake, Red Robin, and succeeds in showing Tim through a battle of wits – distracting Tim through a battle of brawn – that young master Drake, um, Drake-Wayne has his own dark side despite his squeaky clean persona.

Damian then tackles Jason Todd, Red Hood, in the next issue – a character most like Damian certainly at each’s opening Robin years – in a more traditional winner-takes-all-fight where Damian may get his Red Hood mask souvenir, but readers also see that Jason has matured beyond his original petulant, impulsive, Robin beginnings.

    (From left to right: First two panels from Batman and Robin #10, third panel from Batman and Robin #11 and final panel from Batman and Robin #12.)

Lastly, in the pages of Batman and Robin #12, Dick Grayson, Nightwing pre-empts Damian by proactively offering his fighting stick as a trophy to the boy and indicates that Damian is a legit Robin and THE Robin of the family. Nightwing certainly demonstrates his maturity here and it does feel like a passing of the baton both figuratively and literally from the iconic pop culture Robin, Dick Grayson.

This has been a really fun arc by writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason. I wonder what the future holds for father and son, Batman and Robin, in light of the developments by Damian’s literary father Grant Morrison in the pages of Batman Inc.

Batman Incorporated #3: Damian Nests Or Flies The Coup?

Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc. series has been less about the INC and more about the family feud. The writer describes the series as follows:

    This is Batman, Talia and Damian, caught in the middle of this gigantic global war. It’s really about parents falling out with each other — only these parents have the power to crack the world in half. [Laughs] One side has a supervillain army with assassins and Man-Bats and genetically engineered troops. It’s kind of the horror of what goes wrong in a family just expanded to a global scale.

This is pretty Shakespearean with Damian having to forgo his Robin identity in this title, since mama has a bounty on his head.

So, does Damian hire Redbird to do his bidding? Or is something else at play?

Well, with Batman Inc. #3, Damian finds a creative way to honor his dad’s wish to not be Robin right now so he is not a target. What does Damian do? Well, he dons the Redbird sidekick gear and it seems he’ll be fighting alongside the new Wingman – a mystery those still about who is under the mask – per the cover to Batman Inc. #4. The Comics Nexus’ EIC has speculated that it could be Jean Paul Valley, formerly Azrael in the pre-New 52 DC universe (DCU), under the Wingman mask. Who do you think it is?

    (From left to right: Two panels from 2012’s Batman Inc. #3, cover to 2012’s Batman Inc. #4, plus Batman and Wingman panel from 2011’s Batman Inc. #6.)

Will Damian stay as Redbird? It would make some sense since Tim Drake-Wayne’s Red Robin costume changed in the New 52 and Damian’s Redbird costume is very similar to that old costume that was designed by Alex Ross as part of the classic Kingdom Come series where the painter partnered with writer Mark Waid. In Kingdom Come’s then future of the DCU, Dick Grayson was Red Robin, but DC liked the costume so much, they gave it and the mantle to Tim Drake when Damian became Robin. Anyway, DC can’t have two like costumes in the Batfamily – Redbird and the classic Red Robin feathers. ;)

What is the future of Batman Inc. after Grant Morrison’s final issue with series with its issue #12 expected in 2013? Certainly DC Comics has not capitalized on its previous Knight and Squire mini-series that spun from the INC concept. In addition, while its ongoing DC New 52 Batwing series is intriguing, it is not lighting the sales charts on fire.

It would appear that Grant Morrisons’ years in the Batverse are coming to end and all his threads will be tied up. In describing Wingman and Redbird from the upcoming Batman Inc. #4, he teased his own end to the book and the culmination of his years with Batman was follows:

    But they’re obviously the end game of “How many iterations of Batman can we get to?” The whole idea of “Batman Incorporated” will start to fold back in on itself as Leviathan’s schemes become more and more evident. We wanted to create a finish for that, in a way…

    …Every little thread we’ve had for the past six years gets a payoff. As I’ve said all along, it’s kind of a heartbreaking story ultimately because it has to be. But I can’t say in what way it’s heartbreaking. We’ve seen a little bit of this in the first issue, with Bruce Wayne under arrest. Things are happening here that will change things forever, as we always say.

Certainly, since Morrison had described the book as a family feud between Batman and Talia with Damian in the middle, folks are speculating a tragic end for Damian. That is difficult to contemplate since he’s been shown to be alive in the pages of Batman #666, an issue that included intel of Damian Wayne’s past and future written by Morrison, but something about this family will see tragedy likely in the future. Perhaps Talia kills and replaces her father – Ra’s Al Ghul – as THE prime Batman immortal rogue? Nah. It’s probably something else. Do you have any thoughts on the “game changing” end to Grant Morrison’s Batverse odyssey?

Since Batman Inc. is showing to be a successful book sales-wise, I can’t see DC cancelling it after Morrison departs. Could a Batman Inc. anchored by Damian Wayne’s Redbird alongside Batwing, the Knight and maybe the new Wingman be a compelling evolution of the series? I would actually prefer a Batman Inc. without Batman so we can see these other characters solve and defeat threats out from under the shadow of THE Bat.

The INC part should be focussed on after Morrison, and hopefully, Batman will leave the title.

Batman #12: Harper Row Gets Prepped For Prime Time

The much buzzed about Batman #12 retraces story beats all the way back to Batman #1 through to Batman #11. By the end, we know who Harper Row is in current Batman lore, but we’re not clear on what’s next for her. When you consider what just happened concerning Damian Wayne in Batman Inc. #3, it does seem to be interesting timing for Harper’s vault to prominence.

Writer Scott Snyder has indicated that Harper Row is a big deal and that we’ll be “seeing more of her in Gotham soon – she has an important role to play in upcoming stories”. It is not clear if that will relate to Snyder’s upcoming “Death of the Family” arc featuring the Joker or beyond that as we know DC plans a few years out.

I quite enjoyed Batman #12. The story was compelling despite not having a lot of Batman in it, but it was nice going back and reliving some of the events from Batman #1 to now through Harper’s eyes. I think artist Becky Cloonan has a clean manga style to her art which felt fresh and I tip my hat to her for being the first female to provide art on the Batman title. However, while I liked her style, I’m not necessarily sold on it for the Batman anchor series. Andy Clarke’s artwork in the back part of the book, with James Tynion IV co-writing with Snyder, felt more like an authentic Batman story visually. DC Comics NEEDS to get Andy Clarke on a New 52 title… STAT!

Writer Scott Snyder has also revealed that:

    BATMAN #12 properly introduces a character I care a lot about, Harper Row. You saw Harper briefly in BATMAN #1 and in BATMAN #7 (when she basically jump-started Batman’s heart), but her story – her relationship to Gotham and Batman – has yet to be told. So this is where you’ll learn all about her, and why she seems so familiar with the Dark Knight. Hers is also a story that matters a lot to me.

He sure seems like he has a master plan. It was nice going back to see those olde Harper Row panels in issues #1 and #7. See below.

    (From left to right: Panel from from Batman #1 and two panels from Batman #7 with art by Greg Capullo.)

So, what are the big plans for Harper? Is she a future Robin? Although, I do think Ethan Van Sciver does a very nice depiction of Stephanie Brown as Robin. ;) That said, what plans do you think Scott Snyder has in store for Ms. Harper Row?

I’m intrigued by the future of Harper and all of DC’s current and ex-Robins.

DC needs to get that rumored The Robins series off the ground as part of the company’s inevitable Wave Four after a few more New 52 series are ended. I think a Robins-centric series would do well. Don’t you?

Till next week, thanks for reading. As always, all feedback welcome.

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Justice League International Spoilers: Major Roster Shakeups! Who Dies? Thu, 08 Mar 2012 01:30:46 +0000 When you think of ways to take apart a super team it generally involves super villains, or traitors, or some random act of super misunderstanding. Pretty much super powers against super powers, and a team winds up crumbling. It’s the easiest way to do it, it works. It’s not what Dan Jurgens did with the JLI.

The team is in utter shambles, with only Booster, Guy, Batman, August General, and Godiva in any sort of reasonable shape.

Fire is in a coma.

Vixen suffered spinal damage, she may never walk again.

Ice has multiple fractures in both legs, not to discount the internal injuries.

Rocket Red, as well as Andre Briggs and Emerson Esposito (the liaisons from the UN to the JLI) are all dead.

All because someone set off a bomb and then sent in a super villain to keep everyone off balance after the fact. The villain, Lightweaver, goes after Booster after everything else, but Booster is saved by someone who I can only presume to be the newest member of the JLI.


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DC Comics Relaunch: Batman Family Atmospheric Continuity: Detective Comics, The Dark Knight, Justice League, Etc.? Mon, 31 Oct 2011 04:00:26 +0000

WARNING: This column contains SPOILERS for recent Batman issues.

We’ve written before about the logic bombs in DC Comics continuity concerning Batman three confirmed ex-Robins (Nightwing / Red Hood / Red Robin) and even Stephanie Brown a.k.a. Spoiler, (maybe) Robin, and Batgirl.

Batman is one of DC Comics most successful franchises pre-DC Comics Relaunch / New 52 and post. As such, a lot of the old elements still exist, despite causing one headaches if we think too hard about them. However, that’s just related to the past. It doesn’t impact today’s stories too much in terms of enjoyment. So, we can give DC is a bit of rope on the continuity challenges concerning at least 4 Robins in 5 years, during which a Robin graduated to Batman at least once (although you’ll note Dick Grayson was technically Batman at a point after Azrael relinquished the mantle during Batman’s spinal issues, plus Dick’s most recent role after Bruce Wayne’s presumed death).

Detective Comics #1 cliff-hanger (September 2011)So, I’m wondering based on today’s Bat-books, whether DC is letting the writers just plain old write without any sense about how each book’s portrayal’s fit with the broader Batman narrative. It would be great if Batman sneezed in Detective Comics, that he’d have a cold in Batman, and perhaps eat chicken soap delivered by Alfred in Batman and Robin. However, I do “get” that once a story starts, the pace may be different from one to the other in this era of decompressed story-telling. Detective Comics’ first arc could be over a span of a few days, while Batman could be a few weeks, etc. So, I do know tales need to unfold at a reasonable pace letting the story roll out in an organic way.

However, when in issue #1 of Detective Comics we have a facial scalped Joker as the key hook in the book, why exactly would the Joker be hearty and hale in Batman: The Dark Knight #2, one month later? While some editorial gaffes might help advance Bruce Wayne’s playboy persona, namely all of the women he had sex with and/or made dates with in September 2011, the Joker plot point / misstep seems a bit glaring. Why do the writers all have to feature Joker and Two-Face in some capacity in their books? Batman has the best Rogues Gallery in comicdom. Its not like there aren’t other characters that could be used that would have almost as much of an impact as Batman’s numero uno nemesis.

Three scenarios come to mine: Either (1) Batman editorial are having a deliberately loose editting style that contributes to what I would term “atmospheric continuity”, namely that the key elements of the Batman Family lore / atmospher are consistent, e.g. Batman is Batman, no major injuries, etc. Alfred is the butler, etc. while everything else is up for grabs in the efforts to tell a good story… or (2) Batman editorial are making mistakes by not cross-reading books and these Joker missteps should not be happening… or (3) the role of Batman editorial in the New 52 are as spell-checkers and grammar police only. ;)

(Now, there is a possibility that the ending to Detective Comics #1 didn’t happen as we believe it, but if that’s not the Joker’s face, then I think readers will feel cheated.)

Batman: Dark Knight #2 cliff-hanger (October 2011)Putting that niggling, cheated feeling aside… I’m not a continuity czar by any stretch of the imagination, but the Joker plan / gaffe IMHO, is a bit distracting when one reads that the New 52 are being heavily managed and manicured. It would seem the Joker is playing a KEY role in Detective Comics arc while seemingly a plot footnote, like Two-Face was, in a broader White Rabbit story in the Dark Knight. If that’s the case, as an editor IMHO, Detective Comics takes precedence. It gets Joker.

To be fair, the Batman Family of books are the strongest all of the DC’s New 52 families, so some latitude makes sense, but I think greater efforts to ensure a more consistent portrayl of Batman and key rogues and key supporting characters would go a long way. Or, if we must, why not use those old blurbs from the editor to say “This takes place before/after/whatever the events of issue #X of Detectice Comics #Y” when a head-scratcher emerges. If not on the issue’s cliff-hanger page, perhaps in the next issue’s opening scenes that continues from said cliff-hanger?

With all that considered, many of these elusive new readers and lapsed readers may not be as well versed in comic book time or comic book logic as us grizzled veterans, so every little bit will help to make as many of DC’s books as accessible as possible going forward.

The problem can be exacerbated with a character like Batman who is a regular in several ongoing titles in the New 52:
– Justice League
– Justice League International
– Batman
– Batman and Robin
– Batman Incorporated
– Batman: The Dark Knight
– Detective Comics

That’s a minimum of seven books that Batman is guaranteed to be in. That doesn’t include books he will visit like Batwoman, Batgirl, etc.

Ensuring some level of consistency across his appearances, including his rogues, would only help readers appreciate and understand the new DC Universe and Batman’s important place in it.

Happy Halloween.

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