The Roundtable

NOTE: The individual opinions of each Roundtable contributor is their own, and is not representative of anybody but that contributor.

Geoff Johns will be the writer and Carlos Pacheco will be the artist (with Ethan Van Sciver on fill-ins) of a new Green Lantern series in 2005 starring Hal Jordan; The Green Lantern Corps will return in some form next year

Jesse Baker (The World’s Angriest Comic Book Reviewer): Yeah Hal’s Back! BOOO, the GLC is back. And both Kyle Rayner and John Stewert are apparently safe from death. Why can’t they just kill at the very least John Stewert so that they can give the JLA Token GL spot back to Guy Gardner? Especially given how the JLA DESPERATELY NEEDS someone like Gardner to make things interesting in the book?

Ben Morse (Co-Editor-In-Chief of The Nexus & Writer of The Watchtower): I’ve never been a huge GL fan, so the upside is I’m not married to any particular guy wearing the ring; if this new series is good, I’ll enjoy it with no bias going in (except the bias that I love the creative team). The only GL/Hal stories I’ve really ever enjoyed were JLA: Year One and The Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold, so I’ll be interested to see where they take the concept that Hal is younger again.

And I’ll second Jesse: give Guy back a ring and get him back in the JLA, ASAP.

Manolis Vamvounis (Writer of Leave Your Spandex @ the Door): I’ll join my voice in this! Guy Gardner is by far the most interesting GL to read, I miss him terribly…

WildC.A.T.S will return in 2006

Jesse Baker (The World’s Angriest Comic Book Reviewer): UGH…. They should just pay Joe Casey whatever it takes to come back and do a series of OGNs to resolve all of the dangling plots he had leftover when the series was cancelled before they even THINK about re-launching the book….

New Avengers roster will include Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, The Sentry & Wolverine

Jesse Baker: I give this line-up one year tops before this line-up get dumped in the toilet. And Bendis a year if he’s lucky before he mysteriously comes down with a case of “exhaustion” just like he did when Ultimate Fantastic Four came out and was reviled…

Manolis Vamvounis: On the face of it, this looks like the most uninspired Avengers roster in quite some time. Wolverine? Spider-Man? The oversaturation theme has been mentioned by everyone, and they’re not wrong. This will just raise hell with all the titles these two appear in, unless the Avengers suddenly mutate into a band of renegades, in which case I don’t see the point of them being called the Avengers anymore.

I remember Bendis commenting that when he was a kid he would get the book because it had all his favourite characters and he could get them in one title instead of buying all the solo ones. I had the same thinking when I was young, but nobody thinks like that after a certain age. Spider-Woman is a great choice, as is the Sentry. These are characters that deserve to be in the Avengers roster, and Jessica is an old favourite of mine. But when you take away all the Avengers mainstays, like Hawkeye, Pym, Vision and the Witch, you only keep Cap and Stark and you add Cage in, you have something dangerously similar to the undercover ops Secret War cast. Jessica/Jewel is essentially a Jessica Drew copy, as Drew was the original star of Alias.

I’m only interested in this because of Jess and the Sentry, and I don’t think even Bendis can make this work for more than a year, before the fan-favourite Avengers return.

Tim Stevens (Writer of DC News & Views & Nexus Reviewer): Well, I for one, care about Sentry. They might have marketed the miniseries with a hoaxy “he’s the first hero ever and we forgot all about him” thing, but the mini was no joke. Well written by Jenkins and beautiful art by Jae Lee. Not sure about him in Avengers, but hey, anything is worth a shot once.
Ben Morse: My initial reaction was one of annoyance, but rational Ben remembered that he has to give everything a chance before hating it.

I’ve stated my main problem with this team elsewhere: not enough women, Avengers should not be the JLA. All the characters have the potential to be interesting given the right story…the same way the characters who may die to make room from them can be killed off given the right story. Wait and see…

RUMOR: Thor may die during Avengers Disassembled

Jesse Baker: Who cares?

Manolis Vamvounis: Yeah, and ”Dead means Dead”. Is anyone actually falling for that stuff anymore?

The Ultimate Nightmare trilogy will finally address the conspiracy in the Ultimate Universe hinted at back in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up

Jesse Baker: Wasn’t the Ultimate Conspiracy supposed to be the fact that America was in league with Kree and the Nazis in league with the Skrulls? Or am I mixing up aborted Ultimates storylines that Millar has talked about in various interviews?

Manolis Vamvounis: Ultimate continuity is getting pretty damn tiresome. There’s not one book that isn’t linked to the rest in some weird conspiracy way.

A new series featuring Etrigan the Demon called Blood of the Demon will be co-plotted by John Byrne & Will Pfeiffer and feature art by Byrne

Jesse Baker: I’d love to see what pornographic photos John Byrne has on the brass at DC to keep up his string of hack jobs. Byrne really should have just retired after canceling The Next Men….

Jerry Ordway will draw two issues of Tom Strong written by Michael Morcock and is also at work on a mystery Wildstorm project

Manolis Vamvounis: But when is Alan Moore coming back on the title? All the guest writers so far have been excellent, but I miss the old fluffy bear (hordes of fans will likely lynch me after referring to Moore like that, and he is likely to cast an impotence spell on me! But he’s so cute and wuvable!).
Jerry Ordway produced the best work of his career during his previous stint on the title, with Crisis of Infinite Hearts, I’m anxiously waiting to see the new run! And Moorcock: what can be said? Bring it on!

The “Young Guns,” a group of up and coming artists Marvel plans to promote heavily, was announced as Steve McNiven, Adi Granov, Trevor Hairsine, Olivier Coipel, Jimmy Cheung & David Finch; all six have signed exclusive contracts with Marvel

Manolis Vamvounis: Jimmy Cheung was working full-time with Marvel on Force works and X-Force 10 years ago. Only after he left for Crossgen did they appreciate him. It’s ridiculous that they would promote him as a ”young gun” now, when he is a Marvel staffer with a proven track record.

Well, he surely deserves the extra attention in any case, and all the others too. Steve McNiven and Finch especially have got superstar written all over them!

Ben Morse: I’m with Manolis: Cheung is great, but promoting him as a “Young Gun” is kind of silly.

I dig Cheung, McNiven & Finch and I’m impressed by Granov’s work, though it’s not my bag. I think Coipel can be a very lazy artist who got a big reputation quick and then went downhill and I just don’t care for Hairsine’s work, it seems rushed.

What about Joey Q’s new favorite, Travel Foreman?

A fifth week What If? event was announced for December, 2005 with “What If Jessica Jones had joined the Avengers?” by Brian Michael Bendis, “What If General Thunderbolt Ross had become The Hulk instead of Bruce Banner?,” “What If Professor X and Magneto had started the X-Men together?,” “What If Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben?” by Ed Brubaker, “What If Karen Page had not died?” by Bendis, Kevin Smith and Alex Maleev with cover by Joe Quesada and a What If? humor special drawn by Jim Mahfood with stories by Bendis, Mark Millar, Robert Kirkman, Mark Waid & Brian K. Vaughan.

Manolis Vamvounis: Great move from Marvel!! What If? has the potential for greatness with the right creators on board. But seriously, Kevin Smith is undertaking a new project, with two half-finished series in waiting? What is Joe Q smoking to let him prance around in Marvel like that?

Ben Morse: Glad the concept is coming back, but I wish they’d done some stories they’d think fans would actually be interested in rather than just letting creators do what they want, which seems to be the case here. Are there really that many people outside of Alias’ niche audience clamoring for the Jessica Jones story?

Frank Cho has renewed his exclusive contract with Marvel and is still at work on his Shanna The She Devil series

Manolis Vamvounis: ‘What project has Frank Cho done with Marvel while under the exclusive? I only remember a Spidey issue and some covers.

Hulk: Tempus Fugit, a six-issue limited series written by Peter David with art by Lee Weeks will debut in January, 2005

Manolis Vamvounis: There is no doubt that nobody will ever be able to usurp PAD’s claim as the definitive Hulk writer. It’s good to hear this news and I’m hoping they will lead to a second run for him on the monthly title.

Jean Grey will return in February in a five issue Phoenix limited series written by Greg Pak with art by Greg Land that will involve Emma Frost and possibly the return of Dark Phoenix

Manolis Vamvounis: Why can’t let her die in peace? If you’re gonna kill her, have the balls to let her stay dead, despite your money-hungry appetites. I just hope this doesn’t mean Jean getting back with Scott again; he and Emma are too right for each other right now.

The story planned for the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Justice League mini-series will officially be incorporated into JLA Classified

Manolis Vamvounis: This is the last story Giffen will ever do with these characters, so it’s something to cherish, but I’m looking forward to his creator-owned endeavour in the same comical vein.

Alex Ross will be co-plotting and painting the twelve issue Justice limited series written by Jim Krueger and drawn by Doug Braithwaite

Manolis Vamvounis: And this is likely to be followed up by a fourteen issue Punishment limited series and a sixteen issue Purgatory book-end… -sigh-

RUMOR: there will be an “Ultimate DC” line, edited through Wildstorm with twelve to six issue arcs by creative teams with the initial launches being Superman by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely, Batman by Jeph Loeb & Jim Lee and Wonder Woman by Geoff Johns & Adam Hughes (Credit: All The Rage)

James Hatton (Writer of Diner Talk & Nexus Reviewer): Two things:
1 – Good, DC should have been doing something in an Ultimate style awhile ago. It helps bring in them new readers, and Ultimate Spidey & X-Men did hit a younger audience. As long as they don’t bail on it, and can make it consistently enjoyable like the Ultimate Line then they might have a hit. I would have given it some kind of precursor name though like ‘Ultimate’ or ‘Renewed’ or something – just so people don’t start getting all continuity nuts on it.

2 – On a sadder note, at press time of this Roundtable, Wizard Magazine has officially written at least ten more ‘SHOULD DC GET ULTIMITIZED?’ and ‘SHOULD ULTIMATE CONTINUITY BE REAL CONTINUITY?’ articles.

Ben Morse: I really don’t see the need for any sort of Ultimate DC as it muddies up the nice streamlined shared universe that Crisis worked so hard to create. Also, everybody knows these characters, they’re not terribly mired in continuity to the point where they are not new reader accesible like Spider-Man and X-Men were when the Ultimate line launched.

As far as the proposed creative teams: Morrison would be fabulous on Supes, but I can’t stand Quitely; Loeb/Lee Batman is kind of a no-brainer; and while Hughes can draw a great Diana, I honestly there are few character Johns doesn’t write that well, but Wonder Woman is one of them (given her appearances in Teen Titans and JSA).

Manolis Vamvounis: Lots of fans are put off by the ridiculously tight inter-continuity in some of DC’s titles. Having these three titles be completely independent from each other and from the rest of the DCU seems like a smart move. Let it just be Grant Morrison re-imagining Superman for the new millennium, and once he leaves don’t give it someone else to continue, but cancel it and let another guy pick up from scratch!

RUMOR: Zeb Wells & Skottie Young are the creative team making a pitch to do a New Warriors series (Credit: Lying In The Gutters)

James Hatton: The moment I read this, I felt a thousand screams of ecstasy all shouting ‘YES’ at once…then I realized that somehow, in some way, it was just Ben.

Ben Morse: Here’s a curveball for you: I’m not terribly excited by this.

Much as I want to see the Warriors back, I cherish the characters and don’t want them to return unless it’s by creators who will do them justice. I’d rather read my volume one back issues then suffer through another disaster the likes of volume two.

I know next to nothing about Wells, but I hear he’s much more comedy than serious stuff; the Warriors need a balance. Young’s artistic style can be fun, but it’s the last thing Warriors needs in order to be taken seriously.

I had previously heard Todd Nauck’s name attached to the proposal and that would make me oh so much happier. Seriously, just get Fabian Nicieza back if nobody else with some major ideas steps up to the plate; don’t treat Warriors like a second rate property when it has so much potential.

Manolis Vamvounis: I agree AGAIN with Ben? Someone check my temperature, I fear I’ll spontaneously combust!

Zeb Wells did some Tangled Web stories and some Spectacular Spidey issues, most notably a two-parter with Sam Kieth, showing great promise. But when you partner him with someone like Skottie Young.. -mneh- The New Warriors were such a big hit because Fabian and Mark took a group of teenaged unknowns and B-string characters from around the Marvel U., and forged them into a team of young heroes whose actions defied expectations: instead of having mindless fun lite adventures, they found themselves knee-deep in a heavy sea they had to master… or drown in. They faced environmental issues, war and the repercussions of their actions. From within their ranks, tragedy struck and we saw one of their members jailed for murder! Bringing back this great property as a ‘fun adventure’ book with ‘kool’ art is missing the point, and is one of the reasons why vol.2 fell flat…

As Ben said, get Fabian in, or Busiek or Vaughan and an artist like Todd Nauck and you’ll have a hit in your hands, Marvel…

RUMOR: If Venom does appear in Spider-Man 3, he’ll be appearing in the new Terry Dodson-designed outfit debuting in Marvel Knights Spider-Man, not his classic costume (Credit: Lying In The Gutters)

James Hatton: First, why? Why Venom? I know why, honestly.. but good jumping jehosevat, let us have Goblin Two, possibly a secondary cameo and stay away from Venom. Why? Because the fallout of comic purists who screamed about Spidey’s web shooters are going to be TWICE as vehement as the people talking about how Venom’s not true to his comic origins.

Add to this the fact that every schmuck who picked up a McFarlane book in the 90’s also is going to become a genius of comic knowledge and let us know that they thought the movie was fantastic except ‘THAT’S NOT THE WAY VENOM LOOKS’. I have loved the Spidey franchise, but I know Venom will, no matter how amazing this movie is (and I have little doubt), tolerating the uber-geek when they just don’t care that these things are done for a REASON will be exhausting.

Ben Morse: Good lord does that costume look hideous…

Manolis Vamvounis: When I had first seen the image, it was late at nigh,t and I thought they had given Venom an Aliens-like empty face with 5 gleaming white spider-like eyes (remember the next-generation N’Garai demons from Joe Kelly’s X-Men #75? ) which I thought was an excellent change. And now, it’s daytime and I see the actual design… lol

Will Pfeiffer to end run on Aquaman, H-E-R-O cancelled

Paul Sebert (…something): Another year, ANOTHER new team on Aquaman that will allegedly “FINALLY draw the much needed attention the book needs and tweak the character enough to be relevant.” *yawns*

As for H-E-R-O, well I find the loss of this book to be sad, but understandable. I think no matter what spin you try the whole Dial H for Hero concept is one with a limited lifespan.