DC News & Views

DC Declare Mahnke The Man

Doug Mahnke, acclaimed artist of the current maxiseries JUSTICE LEAGUE ELITE, has extended his exclusive agreement with DC Comics by two years. Mahnke, whose previous assignments for DC Comics include JLA and SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL, will become the regular artist on BATMAN with December’s issue #635, joining writer Judd Winick. He is also slated to draw the upcoming JLA/CYBERFORCE Special, co-published with Top Cow, and has contributed to the lead story in JLA SECRET FILES 2004 (JUL040627).

See the artist behind guaranteed blockbuster JLA/CYBERFORCE at Newsarama

Wait a sec here”¦Cyberforce? Who the heck was screaming for that one? Oh well, I am sure it was only green lit because it was a story that needed to be told. Crossovers like this (and the now classic Superman/Thundercats) are never done for the wrong reasons. Or whatever.

Anyway, that really is not the point of this little article is it? No, the point is to welcome Mahnke to the fold again. And we do so with arms wide open (not unlike Scott Stapp”¦oh God”¦I miss Creed so much sometimes.). Welcome”¦back? still?…Mr. Mahnke.

Don’t Call it A Crossover

As IDENTITY CRISIS #4 (JUL040630) reaches stores tomorrow, the events of this blockbuster miniseries continue to affect other DCU series.

“Anyone who’s reading IDENTITY CRISIS won’t want to miss these tie-in issues,” says Bob Wayne, DC’s VP – Sales & Marketing. “That’s why we’re reminding retailers to make sure they’ve ordered enough copies of these books for the customers who are picking up IDENTITY CRISIS.”

Read all about the cros”¦err”¦tie-in issues at Silver Bullet Comics

Since I am already picking up 4 out of the 6 titles here, I’ll obviously pick up the issues that are part of this tie-in thing. As for the others”¦well, we’ll see. I will not be a slave to DC’s sales agendas. On the other hand, it really is only two more books. On the other hand, one of them is a Superman book and I haven’t bought a Supes title since Action Comic #775 and, before that, since Reign of the Supermen.

Ugh. Decisions, decisions.

I Guess The Only Energy At DC These Days Is Potential

KINETIC will end with issue #8 (AUG040400), scheduled to arrive in stores on October 27. Issues #9 (SEP040334) will not be published; all orders are cancelled.

Show Mathan some support and go on over to Silver Bullet Comics to help him mourn the continuing disintegration of the Focus line. The poor bastard.

This is a shame. However, I’d like to use this time to do as I must always what a critically well received but largely fan ignored title is cancelled.

Does this mean it is time for an Aztek relaunch now?

Nothing Quite Like Intimacy, Comic Book Style

It’s that school – the one you go to in the Wildstorm Universe if you’ve got the powers, and you want to be the hero. It’s The Seminary, and it’s the central location of the November-debuting The Intimates by Joe Casey, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Sandra Hope, and Jim Lee.

Starring young heroes going by code names of: Punchy, Destra, the Duke, Empty Vee and Sykes as heroes-in training, the series, co-created by Casey and Camuncoli will show just what it takes to be a hero in the WSU. In addition to the ongoing storyline, Lee will draw a “comic within a comic” in The Intimates as well as provide character designs and the covers for the series.

Jim Lee first told Newsarama readers about The Intimates back in January during Newsarama’s Lee-a-Rama week, but now, with the release a couple of months away, we caught up with Casey and Lee for some more, as well as some sneak peeks at art by Lee and Camuncoli.

Who wouldn’t want to study at The Seminary? You certainly do. Which is why you are heading on over to Newsarama right now. Don’t act like you aren’t.

Wildstorm has provided Newsarama with three pages from The Intimates #1, written by Joe Casey, with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Jim Lee.

Only thing better than studying at The Seminary? That would be preview art at Newsarama

Casey compares artist Camuncoli favorably to both Frank Quitely and Paul Ryan in one of the questions in this interview and that is some pretty high praise indeed. His work in Robin was certainly quite good, but it did reveal one aspect that I find worrisome. His Tim Drake looked basically the same age as Dick Grayson. Not a big deal, I suppose, but in drawing a book almost entirely about young up-and-coming superheroes, the ability to differentiate between teens and those in their mid to late 20’s becomes an issue of importance.

However, in reviewing the sketches which reveal that the age gap between student and professor will be enough that a Robin/Nightwing age comparison in unlikely, and the three preview pages, which show Camuncoli utilizing a somewhat more loose and cartoony approach (I do not mean that in a pejorative way), I have to say my concerns will probably be unnecessary.

I like the Pop Up Video esque device that Casey is utilizing to tell the stories behind the characters without having devote issue time to them. I expect that it will be used less and less as the series goes on and there is less that need be revealed in that bulleted form, but for now I think it is a pretty inventive way to get around all that without straight exposition or expository dialogue. Could be Casey’s time to have another hit book.

Prepare to Weather a Firestorm of News

November may be unbearably cold to some, but for DC Comics and writer Dan Jolley, they got plans to heat things up for DC fans- namely a crossover between “Firestorm” and the critically acclaimed “Bloodhound” series. With the attention surrounding his work seemingly increasing daily, Jolley spoke to CBR News about the crossover and explained how it all came to be.

Jolley comes on like a hurricane at Comic Book Resources

DC Comics has provided THE PULSE with two pages of Jamal Igle art from issue # 8 of Firestorm. Igle is the new regular artist and issue # 8 is his debut. Igle told us he’s “having a blast!” Just looking at the pages, it’s easy to see that.

Igle is in there with some pressure, like a tornado, at The Pulse

When CBR News last spoke to overseas artist sensation Liam Sharp, he hinted at a number of projects he had in development with DC Comics and fans now know one of them: a fill-in issue on the popular “Firestorm” series.

Liam Sharpe is a no’easter of art at Comic Book Resources

I don’t read Firestorm. Not anything against Senor Nuclear, I know he (or the Ronnie version of him anyway) has plenty of fans out there, but I just never read anything with him (except for the huge DC crossovers in which he had a line or so) and thus a new book staring a character with the same name just did not interest me.

However, in the light of this crossover with a book I am digging (Bloodhound), an upcoming crossover with a miniseries I am digging (Identity Crisis), and strong word of mouth, I might just go back and pick it up from issue #1 on. Why not? I am man enough to admit when I have made a mistake.

The Legion Comes to Baltimore

The Baltimore Comic-Con programming schedule concluded with a Legion of Super-Heroes panel featuring Mark Waid (writer of the upcoming Legion series and former LSH editor), Paul Levitz (former LSH writer and current DC Comics President & Publisher), and moderator KC Carlson (former LSH editor).

To check out what kind of hotel rates Karate Kid got, travel on over to The Pulse

Legion: The Book DC Love’s To Relaunch.

Near as I can tell (remember, I liked the last series but never actually bought it myself, just borrowed it. Yes, I am part of the problem. Of course, I am not a rich man, so I thought reading it was a nice sign of support that didn’t overburden my poor poor bank account.) almost every relaunch succeeds in some way (most often, fan appreciation) before folding and being set up again. DC thinks it is an issue of continuity. I don’t really know. As some have pointed out, continuity does not seem to bother Pokemon fans and there are about a billion of those critters running around. Then again, Pokemon does also focus on a few characters while the rest of the little monsters sort of float through the book.

My thoughts: perhaps Legion is just too Silver Age, too Cosmic Opera, too big”¦almost too everything really. Relaunch or not, the idea of an 18 lead character book is intimidating, especially when none of those characters are named Batman or Superman. The idea of a planetary police force made up of kids is, in some ways, a creative child’s dream. I think we have all imagined being part of such a thing. But I don’t think that, generally speaking, Legion goes after those fans. They go after the adults, who they probably get, and the teens who they will probably miss. The reason being on the latter is the Robin Phenomenon. Robin is often more appealing to those who are farther away from his age, especially when he was first introduced. For younger kids, they could aspire to be Robin, but for kids his age, well, it was basically too late. Hence, they preferred Batman. As an adult, you are kid of removed from that whole “aspiring” thing and can appreciate or dislike a character largely on his or her own merits. A teen reader might look at Legion and blow it off as being kiddie because he or she “knows” what it means to be a teen and sure as heck doesn’t mean enforcing the law. Adding in the intergalactic aspect of it, and the issue of being perceived as “kiddie” only grows.

I don’t know if that is indeed the case, that is just one theory and a particularly underdeveloped one at that. After all, the “adult” Legion did not exactly set the world on fire either. But hey, if anyone can sell it is it is Waid, so we shall see.

This Article Is So Elite, It Feels Like a Republican Fundraiser

With the “Justice League” animated series so popular in all its television incarnations, it isn’t a surprise that DC Comics would launch another Justice League series, chronicling the adventures of Earth’s greatest super heroes. Fans’ wishes for another League series arrived this summer in the form of “Justice League Elite,” a series chronicling the darker side of the DC Universe and showing how the League deals with far more sinister elements than a big killer robot. Writer Joe Kelly took some time to talk to CBR News about the series and explains it originated from his desire to do a darker take on characters with the level of power found within the Leage.

For an article that contains no blatant, inappropriate political cracks like the one above, but does have plenty of undercover superheroic goodness, pay a visit to Comic Book Resources

I know there are people digging this book. I know it. But I just cannot motivate myself to pick it up. The concept is interesting enough, the art looks good, I like the characters I know, but”¦it is like some sort of mental block. Nothing I read or see on this book gets me excited.

Still, this is a good piece and worth a look if you are interested in the book or thinking about picking it up.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK!

Readers of DC Comics’ “Hawkman” have noticed that a lot of things have changed about the series of late. Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have provided the book with a decidedly different tone, while a new artist has been brought onboard and has a style very different from predecessor Rags Morales’ work. That artist is Ryan Sook and the fan favorite is on the verge of completing his five issue commitment to the series, so he took a few minutes to speak to CBR News about working on “Hawkman.”

To see how far some people will go far a pun (and a good Sook article besides) drop on by Comic Book Resources.

Much praise for Sook for, as he puts it, keeping his art from becoming static. He does some very nice penciling and has done it for a few books. It is nice to see that even with that being the case he is not resting on his laurels but still actively molding his style to match different books and feels. I am definitely interested in where he is going to end up next.

Modell: Legend

Real men do not wear galactic ring-weapons of impossible power – certainly not on a daily basis, at least. And real men, to the best of my knowledge, are seldom ever find mystic, jade meteors, serve as red-and-green clad vigilantes, or draw energy from lanterns. Rather, I do know one man who has accomplished the latter: absorbed the power of a normal-looking lantern and channeled it into creation.

Enjoy a little sit down with one of comics’ Golden Age living legends at The Pulse.

Great interview with one of the least well known fathers of DC Comics. Worth a read if you dig the history of comics. Or if not. Maybe this will encourage you to dig it more in the future.

NOSTAGLIA TIME (Sponsored by that excellent Starbucks’ commercial featuring the band Survivor)

Chase #1-9

Sadly, even I occasionally let a series fall through the cracks. Chase was such a series. I had read the “prologue” to her book over in Batman and I remember wanting to pick up the book. But then I didn’t. Why, I cannot say. I expect it would be the gulf between what my finances could handle and what my comic desiring mind wanted. It would seem Chase was one of many to fall victim to that battle. Still, a year or so later, I set about to fix my transgression and scooped up the books. Perhaps the following review will encourage you to do the same.

What I Liked

This book just has a great sense of history to it, without it every being intrusive. Rocket Red, Suicide Squad, Firehawk, Hal Jordan, Teen Titans, Mr. Bones, Booster Gold”¦ all these characters show up and are utilized. To big fans, these are cool moments of, “wow, I can’t believe they used so and so,” and for more casual readers they were written in such a way as to make their history evident without making it a focal point. In other words, you need not know or love Booster to dig his appearance in issue # 4. If you do know and love him though, his appearance will make you smile all the wider.

Another example of its sense of history has nothing to do with existing (at the time) DC continuity, but one that is rather created for this book (if I am wrong about this, I am SO very sorry). In the later issues, for reasons I will not ruin here, a 60’s superhero team named the Justice Experience is introduced. They were the team that kind of filled the gap between the JSA and the JLA. Not only does their introduction work in the context of the story being told, but it also successfully fills some holes in DCU continuity. If the JLA is just over 10-15 years old and the JSA closed up shop in the late 40’s, early 50’s, who were the heroes in between. For us, obviously, it was the JLA since we don’t live in a world with DC’s ever evolving timeline. However, in the DCU that team would be the Justice Experience.

J.H. Williams, who would go on to do such great work on Promethea, cut his teeth on this title and it is easy to see all the talent he possesses. Great art and well suited to the book. Mick Gray’s inking was also par excellence.

Finally, I need to mention Johnson’s depiction of Batman as I think it is incredibly well done. Additionally, how he figures into Chase’s life, both in the real and figurative sense (again, I won’t spoil his sort-of connection to her), is very subtle and very well done.

What I Didn’t Like

The most obvious response is that it ended too soon. Now, that is not any of the team’s fault at all, so this is not a criticism of them. However, in the 9 issues of Chase you get a great sense of the world she lives and works in and a strong sense of the people around her. Around issue #7 it seems like that world is finally formed enough for the storytelling to really take off. And it does”¦to be stopped dead in its track 2 issues later. Like I said, no one’s fault, but it can make for a frustrating reading experience. My only other real complaint is that the last issue is just another issue of Chase. It is not a “final” issue and while it tells a great story of Hal Jordan, it is just another day in the life of Chase. It is a great approach to a last issue (cause the story never really ends, and so on, blah, blah, blah, etc) and if I can divorce myself from my desire to see just a killer last issue, I do get that. But, sadly, I can only divorce myself from that desire for so long. And I really would I have loved a huge last issue. On the other hand, by not doing that Chase is still very much available to be utilized in the DCU.

Bottom Line
A comic book for comic book fans. Smart writing, intriguing plots, strong art. Total package, but, sadly, none of the fans showed up. More than worth a troll through the back issue boxes.

Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you all about my current stint on Marvel News and Views with some of my famous friends. Worth a look, if you can handle having your mind expanded.
Otherwise, that is all for me this week. Until next week, please leave the light on for me

Here Comes Un Gajje, He’s a Berzeker

Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!