My apologies if any of you felt last week’s column was…lacking. I was cold and nervous and thus irritable. For those of you who have already told me you dug it, thanks.
Big ups to all the Patriots fans in the house. And tough luck to all you Eagles fans. Better luck next year, right? (Except that next year is the Giants year. GO GIANTS!)
Alright, let’s hit the headlines!
And There Came Seven Soldiers, And As Prophesied, Williams Drew Them
It all starts at the end of this month. On February 23rd, Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, something which DC’s Dan Didio has described as a force of nature unto itself, starts rolling with Seven Soldiers #0, illustrated by JH Williams.
While the 48 page one shot doesn’t feature the seven DC characters Morrison is resurrecting/reinterpreting in his own way, it does set the stage for what’s to come, all thanks to a girl answering a want ad.
As DC’s solicitation reads: “Shelly Gaynor is the grand-daughter of Golden Age hero the Whip. She’s revived the old family business and is turning her experiences as an urban crime-fighter into a best-selling book.
“But when Shelly answers an ad to join the aging crimebuster Vigilante and his new team of ‘Seven Soldiers’ in the hunt for an ancient monster haunting the deserts of the southwest, her super-hero dream becomes a terror-trip into the heart of an undying nightmare.”
We sat down with Williams to talk about the experience of starting off what looks to be one of Morrison’s most ambitious projects.
Witness the prophecy became reality at Newsarama
First, before I even get into any of Williams’s comments, how great is that solicitation? It reads like the book jacket to a Stephen King novel. Good for DC, outdoing themselves on that one.
The art looks fantastic, but that should come as no surprise. I’m very excited for this one to hit shelves so I can see what Morrison’s got up his sleeves on this one.
SO MUCH DICK!
Misery…and the Woman Who Brought it to Nightwing’s Life
Life has not been good for Dick Grayson AKA Nightwing. Batman’s former sidekick has lost his girlfriend, his job on the BlÃƒÂ¼dhaven police force, the apartment he called home and the circus that was the only link to his childhood. He’s also been wracked by guilt and self doubt because he stood by while his archenemy, Blockbuster, was murdered. In issue 100 of “Nightwing,” Dick hit rock bottom and turned in his Nightwing uniform. Currently in “Nightwing” writer Chuck Dixon and artist Scott McDaniel are telling the flashback story “Nightwing: Year One.” Regular writer Devin Grayson, along with the new art team of Phil Hester and Ande Parks, return to “Nightwing” with April’s issue 107. CBR News spoke with Grayson via e-mail about her plans for the title and her other projects, which include a novel featuring Nightwing and a number of DC Universe characters.
Watch as Devin outlines her plans to make Mr. Grayson scream and blubber in agony at Comic Book Resources
I like the undercover angle that Grayson is taking NW in, post-hiatus. I think we’ve only seen Dick go undercover for an extended period of time once before (in one of those Pulp annuals) and, in much the same way Ms. Grayson is predicting here, he had an increasingly difficult time not empathizing with the woman he was supposed to be investigating. Of course, in that case, if memory serves, she turned out to be innocent. It will be interesting to see how that empathy will work when he is living with a mob family that is very much not innocent.
I am glad that she has further long term plans as well, to be culminating in Dick’s redemption. It can be frustrating to all parties involved when a writer gets to tear down a character but not rebuild him or her, but it does not sound like that is the case here.
The DCU novel Grayson is working on also sounds interesting to me. The father-son angle can be fruitful one creatively and the combination of Batman-Nightwing, Green Arrow-Arsenal, and Aquaman-Tempest is an inspired one. Plus, I already know that Grayson can write a great Arsenal thanks to the Batman Plus special from a few years ago.
Still no specific news on what Matador is though. Very frustrating to keep hearing of it, but not about it.
High Atop Bludhaven, Hester Watches All
The solicitation text for April’s Nightwing #107 says it all:
Written by Devin Grayson, art and cover by Phil Hester and Ande Parks.
Featuring the new Nightwing creative team of writer Devin Grayson and artists Phil Hester and Ande Parks. Dick has left BlÃƒÂ¼dhaven, and the only people he can trust are those who’d kill him if they knew his secrets. He’s in over his head, alone, and itÃ‚Â¹s only going to get more dangerous.
32 pages, $2.25, in stores on April 13.
We caught up with Hester for a quick chat
Bring a basket of “Welcome to the Neighborhood” muffins across the hall to Newsarama
I thrilled with this call art wise and I applaud DC for it. I admit, I was half hoping that the next Hester/Parks joint would be some Daredevil work, but this is such a great fit that I don’t really mind at all. Plus, with Bendis/Maleev still not out for several more months, maybe I can leave my figures crossed for that Hester/Parks/Murdock collaboration after all.
Anyway, more on to the matter at hand.
Yay, it all looks so good. I like Hester’s approach (the whole “dark intensity of Batman doing battle with the light, playfulness of Robin” thing that he mentions) as well as how he compares it to his previous project, Green Arrow. Plus, Hester drawn covers sound most excellent to me. Nightwing is going to look very good this year.
Rags Bound for the Amazon
It’s like the question usually asked of winning quarterbacks after the Super Bowl: Rags Morales, you just finished drawing Identity Crisis. What are you going to do next?
He’s moving to Wonder Woman. With April’s issue #215, Morales, and Identity Crisis inker Michael Bair will slide into the seats as the regular penciller and inker of the series, written by Greg Rucka.
Newsarama had a chance to talk to Morales about the move, and what he’s looking to achieve while drawing DC’s Amazon Princess.
Hop on board the ferry and take the ride to Paradise Island along with Newsarama
The debate of Identity Crisis as misogynistic storytelling continues in the talkback thread for this article which is a shame. 1.) Because I think everything that can be said about it already has been and 2.) Because poor Rags is trying to hawk his new book, not his old one, and people just aren’t as interested, seemingly, in that new effort.
The sample pages look great too, so that is another reason it’s too bad no one seems to be paying attention. Hopefully by the time the first issue comes out, that’ll change.
How Can a Man Named Floyd be So Deadly?
Floyd Lawton, A.K.A. Deadshot, is one of the deadliest assassins in the DC Universe. He could also be a candidate for a Father of the Year award, if not for all the killing. In the current “Deadshot” mini-series from DC Comics he learns that a night spent with a prostitute years ago resulted in a daughter. Deadshot tracks down his daughter and her mother living in one of the worst neighborhoods in Star City, a slum over run by warring gangs. When his child’s mother turns down the money he offers them to move, Deadshot does what he does best, he uses his marksman skills for a little urban renewal, declaring war on the gangs that populate the neighborhood. CBR News caught up with series writer Christos N Gage to learn more about what makes Deadshot tick.
Support another member of the Gage club at Comic Book Resources
I really enjoyed the latest issue of this book and I am thrilled with Gage’s own enthusiasm for the subject matter. His teasing of the next two issues has definitely got me excited for those as well.
I just wonder what the Legends of the Dark Knight story is going to be about? And when will Gage do more writing for the DCU? These are questions that I hunger to have answered.
Santa Cruz Braces for Twilight
Just because you have super powers, do you have to be a hero? Do you have to be a villain? Do you have to be anything? In the Twilight Experiment, writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray along with artist Juan Santa Cruz are showing the world of powers, but with a very human point of view.
Take that moon rocket to The Pulse
Huh. That’s interesting. Santa Cruz has a very different interpretation of the where this title is going then I do/did. I am/was expecting a book that explored what the ramifications were of the return of superpeople to a world that had them up until a cataclysmic battle wiped them all out. Now, obviously, Santa Cruz is more familiar with where this story is going then I am and thus probably knows what the themes of it will be.
I am hoping, however, that perhaps, in some way, we are both right. Not because the themes of the hero’s/villain’s journey are uninteresting ones, they aren’t. However, I know they aren’t because I have seen it done before. I cannot recall ever seeing a story cover the theme that I mentioned above and thus I was more excited to see it. If the storyline can somehow hit both bases, I will be a happy guy. If ends up only hitting one of them, I can live with the “decision to be good or bad” theme, but would much rather see the other. Time will tell if I get my wish.
Camuncoli, Hold Me Tight
When Jim Lee and Giuseppe Camuncoli were looking in Reggio Emilia, Italy for some studio space (the place that would eventually become Studio Goico Duro “where the magic happens”), Lee mentioned to Camuncoli a potential new WildStorm project and asked if the Vertigo Pop: Bangkok artist were interested in tackling the assignment. Camuncoli explained, “Jim told me that he had created some new characters with Joe Casey and that he had shown Joe my Vertigo work and they both thought I had the right look stylistically for The Intimates.”
Get all cuddly with the Cam Man under a blanket at The Pulse
I think Camuncoli has a great art style. That having been said, I couldn’t read Intimates past the first issue. The pop up video style infomacs at bottom seemed cool to me until I read the comic and then they were wildly distracting and very interruptive of my reading experience. I still like the idea, but perhaps there would be a better way to use it in the context of storytelling? I don’t know, just kind of thinking out loud on this one.
As our time with this title grows short, every issue becomes precious. Last month’s was the best of the series so far so I’ll definitely be reading to see if Jolley can maintain or top the quality of that one.
The Mr. Terrifics meet? Two of the coolest heroes with one of the worst names in the history of the DCU? And it is all part of the surprisingly strong “JSA/JSA” storyline? I am SO there for that.
I know next to nothing about this one. I know it is sort of like an Indian musical on the comic page (if I recall that Morrison quote correctly) which is certainly one of the odder pitches for a series that I can remember. So, that’s interesting.
Then, of course, we throw into the mix that it is a Grant Morrison original and you just know that I have to at least try the first issue. I mean, I’d have to be crazy not to, right?
OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I
As I mentioned last week, I was hoping that this would be the month that this miniseries “blew up” (in much the same manner as JC Chasez did when he received Tara Reid’s love). My wish is fulfilled. Sort of.
The first seven pages are dedicated to a fight between Deadshot and Green Arrow that is every bit what I expected. Trick arrows, deadly accurate bullets, shattered glass, flaming cars, and poor innocent mailboxes caught in the crossfire all figure into it. And then, the fight takes an unexpected turn. I liked it.
Then the fight took a different turn. That’s when I had to love it.
I am not referring to the neighborhood sticking up for Deadshot. That moment was “eh” for me. However, what happens next…I am a sucker for. I love scenes when two rivals lay down arms and just shoot the breeze. Heat, for example, has that great scene between Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in a coffeeshop. Sure, it makes no sense in the context of the film, but it was so cool, it was difficult to resent. This time out, it is Deadshot and Green Arrow playing darts at a greasy spoon. I know others might find it difficult to swallow, but for me…well, like I said, I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.
Ronnie’s back. Yay? A decent issue, but I didn’t get a feeling for Ronnie at all which undermines that potential rush of having back amongst the living (albeit in a very different form). Jason’s quick decision as Firestorm bringing about Killer Frost is an interesting one, but the ultimate ending of the fight is a bit weak. A very uneven issue, in my opinion.
It is sad to say, but the continuance of last month’s plot is a bust to me. The dirty cop scheme is wrapped up to easily and Alice’s efforts to kick heroin fell similarly flat to me. The second half of the book, however, which portray Alice, Tilt, and Monolith’s first Christmas together is what makes the end of this series so bittersweet. Slow, sweet, and gentle, it captures the heart without being syrupy. The last page is a great way to draw the story to a close. Hope to see these guys again, but if I don’t, I think the book was given a fitting send off.
It was also nice to have Winslade back for the end of the series as well. After last issue’s fill in I was concerned that Winslade would miss the last issue, but thankfully, I was wrong.
TWILIGHT EXPERIMENT #1
See my review of this book here.
****SPECIAL TREAT: ADVANCED REVIEW****
I was able to secure an advanced copy of this book and I happily pass along that benefit to you, in the form of an advanced review. See, everyone wins.
The first issue (that being last month’s) left me split. I would the art to be arresting, having an almost Chiang (he of Human Target) quality to it that I enjoyed. I liked the basic premise.
However, I found myself frustrated with a.)the seeming inability to nail down the protagonist’s name (was Adams, Zanetti, or Porter, as it was listed in the solicitations) and b.) the numerous clichÃƒÂ©s that undermined the more creative parts of the script.
The second issue, while not winning me over totally, makes headway. I still find myself choking on clichÃƒÂ©s (the best friend married Zanetti’s wife? Did he set up his friend to get to his friend’s wife? Oh goodness!), but the villain, the Kinsman, is so undeniably creepy that I find myself willing to forgive a lot. Not all mind you, but a lot.
I also was impressed the script’s handling of Zanetti’s dawning horror with himself. While he is obviously concerned with his literal loss of humanity, what really appears to take a chunk out of him is the moment when he feels his own power and experiences an emotional loss of humanity. His reaction, understated enough to make it clear that he is in shock, could easily have been blown up to epic proportions. By going the quieter route, the moment is much sadder and more disconcerting.
A stronger second issue is a good sign. Hopefully subsequent issues maintain this trend.
Before I go, I just want to take this moment to remind all of you that next Monday is Valentine’s Day. Get your gifts, reserve your restaurants, and get yourself all beautified now. Sure, it is a Hallmark Holiday, but love’s so grand, why shouldn’t it have a holiday?
See you next week.
Un Gajje Loves to Get His Valentines On