Before we begin, a couple of stories from my life. Don’t worry, they still involve comics.
Item 1: Kevin Smith came to UConn’s campus last Wednesday (COMIC DAY!!!!) and I was on hand to enjoy the festivities. Resident Nexus Reviewer Tim Sheridan was also supposed to come along but was struck with either Bubonic Plague or Legionnaire’s Disease. I don’t remember which specifically. So, sadly I was the only Nexuser in the audience.
And yes, Mr. Smith was, in fact, late. Oh cruel irony.
Item 2: A temp at work revealed to me today that they call his son “Jack” after “a guy that helped create a lot of Marvel comic character”. I, of course, responded with “You mean Jack Kirby then?” He said yes, but seems surprised. So, of course, I set him straight.
“What, you think you dealing with some amateur here? This is my house, son. My. House,” I explained to him in no uncertain terms.
The start is just over a month away. At the end of March, DC Countdown hits, giving an overview of the current status quo of the DC Universe, as well as pushing the pebble on the top of the mountain that will trigger the coming avalanche. Or…in more chaotic terms, Countdown is the wingflap of the butterfly that ultimately starts a hurricane.
Previously, Newsarama has spoken with DC’s Dan Didio, overlord and master of the DCU (or, in corporate-ese, VP and Executive Editor) about Countdown and the world that follows, and now, we’ve caught up with the three writers of the 80 page one shot special, Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns and Judd Winick.
More akin to talking about the mechanics of the project and general themes instead of story teases, the three nonetheless offered up perspectives on DC Countdown that have been hitherto unheard.
Counting down is way more than counting up and clicking links to Newsarama is a lot more fun than, say, not. So just do it.
In conclusion: it’s 80 pages, it’s a dollar. Buy it. Or so help me God, Geoff Johns is gonna come to your house and explain the whole dollar for 80 pages again to you. Over and over again. I know, you’re thinking he’ll have to go home eventually to write again. But you’re wrong. The man has written every issue of every comic has he to write for the next 15 years. And that includes stuff that he didn’t even know he was going to write. That’s how good he is. Getting you to understand that it is a dollar for 80 pages of comic-y goodness is his only job now.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Rann vs. Thanagar: One-on-One
One of the miniseries spiraling out of the upcoming DC Countdown event is the Dave Gibbons penned Rann/Thanagar War. The miniseries will be drawn by Ivan Reis. While Gibbons remained mostly tight-lipped about the tale, which features several heroes – including a Green Lantern – gathering because of an interplanetary conflict between Rann and Thanagar, THE PULSE did manage to coax some details from the famed penciller of Watchmen. Readers, Gibbons urged, shouldn’t wait for the trade on this one because it’s part of a bigger picture and “it’d be like taping the middle of a game to watch later!”
The complete “game” Gibbons refers to was revealed (in Wizard # 161) to include four new miniseries – all a part of the DC Countdown event tearing through the DC Universe this year. Day of Vengeance, written by Bill Willingham with art by Justiano; The Omac Project written by Greg Rucka with art by Jesus Saiz, Villains United written by Gail Simone with art by Dale Eaglesham, and the Rann/Thanagar War by Gibbons and Reis, all tie into Countdown.
Dodge the feathers and the rocket fuel on your way to The Pulse
Space opera does not tend to be my genre of choice. However, I have to admit the presence of Gibbons gives me pause. Gibbons writing mainstream DC? That’s pretty damn cool. That, combined with this being part of the whole Countdown event, might just make me suspend my general avoidance of space operas. We shall see.
I just noticed that DC solicitations have undercut surprises once more. Without giving it away myself, let me just point you in the direction of the cover of the first issue of the Rann/Thanagar miniseries. Gibbons makes sure not to reveal which GL(s) are being used in the mini and then there, right on the cover, you’ve got at least one answer to that question. Bravo solicitations department…bravo.
Jenkins on Jekyll (and Other Works)
The human psyche holds the potential to create acts of heroism and kindness and acts of evil and depravity. In his two latest projects, Paul Jenkins tries to discover what exactly causes the dark side of the human psyche to hold sway over the light. In “Batman: Jekyll and Hyde,” a six issue mini-series from DC Comics starting this April, the writer along with artists Jae Lee and Sean Phillips examine the dark past of Batman’s foe Two-Face and his relationship to the Dark Knight Detective. In the music video for “Get Your Dead On” by the band Scum of the Earth, which Jenkins and his partner Rob Prior co-directed, a young girl is transformed into something vicious, supernatural and evil. Jenkins spoke with CBR News about both projects.
Splash some acid on your face and get your flipping coin over to the analysis couch at Comic Book Resources
Boy, this is a story firmly in my wheelhouse. Two-Face, a Jekyll and Hyde element (meaning psychology), Batman as a tragic character who is one step away from the line that his villains stand on the other side of, Jae Lee art, Sean Phillips art, and the reteaming of Paul Jenkins with them both. I think I only would need one or two of those elements to persuade me to give the book a look, but all of them? I’m there like…yesterday.
Miller is an All-Star
Last month, word broke of Frank Miller teaming with Jim Lee for All-Star Batman and Robin. Jim Lee took some time to chat about the upcoming project, and now, we have a few words from Frank Miller himself regarding the book, how it came about, and where he hopes to go with it.
Read a few words the reveal near nothing at Newsarama
I wonder what shape this series is going to take. Everyone invokes the Dark Knight Strikes Back in the talkbacks as their reason for being trepidatious about this new book, but I can’t imagine a less apt comparison. I have seen nothing to indicate that these two stories will have anything the slightest thing in common beyond Frank Miller’s name. Similarly, the tone would seem to be wildly different than Batman: Year One. Perhaps that’s just the Jim Lee art making me think that though.
No revelations or hints really offered beyond Miller revealing he has a special plan for Dick Grayson, Boy Wonder. Miller making Robin the “hero” of the piece? Huh…could be interesting. And probably another sign that this won’t be a DKSB redux.
Ooo, Ooo, Ooo. New McDaniel Assignment!
With Richard Dragon as well as his six-issue stint on Nightwing wrapping up next month, artist Scott McDaniel was looking for a new home to hang his pencils. Geographically, and character-wise, he didn’t have to go far. While his Nightwing arc with Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty was a story of Nightwing’s origin, that is, Dick Grayson’s transformation from Robin to Nightwing, McDaniel’s upcoming gig will stay with that same family of characters.
Okay, we’re being too cryptic, even for ourselves. Starting with June’s #139, McDaniel will be the new regular artist on Robin. We caught up with him for a chat about the gig, and his seeming inability to leave Gotham City behind.
Before watching me geek out, why not read the article at Newsarama
So my first reaction to this news was this: YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then I remember I dropped the book: BOOO!!!!!!!!!
But I could start picking it up again: YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But do I want to: Confused.
After much thought…no, I don’t. I love McDaniel’s art, but Willingham’s work on Robin has consistently let me down. His Fables remains excellent, his Robin is just short of blegh almost every issue. So, Scott, I got much love for you, but I don’t think I can follow you on this one.
God…I feel so dirty.
DC BOOKS DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST: FLYING OFF SHELVES
Three issues of the 8-part JLA story arc “Syndicate Rules,” written by Kurt Busiek with art and covers by Ron Garney & Dan Green, are now sold out at DC Comics. The issues are JLA #107 (AUG040395), #109 (OCT040292) and #110 (NOV040275).
See the evidence that a slow burn is still a burn at Newsarama
I was very excited when this story began. I loved Garney’s work on Captain America. I loved most of Busiek’s Avengers run (the less said about that Kang piece that ended things, the better), his Astro City work, and his work on the Darkman ongoing (okay, maybe not that last one). Earth 2 remains one of my favorite OGN and I am so glad that I snagged it in hardcover even if I was hesitant to plunk down the money at first. So a JLA story with the CSA written by Busiek and drawn by Garney seemed a match made in heaven.
And then I read it.
I have not read the most recent issue, (and probably won’t be picking it up any time soon, regardless of this news), because I was just done after the first three issues. I don’t know why exactly, but it just clicked for me and I found myself scanning the issues rather than reading them. That’s usually a sure sign that I am reading a comic just to finish it and if I am reading it just to finish it, then it is a story I don’t need to be reading it.
I remain optimistic for Slott’s arc and then Busiek’s return, but the excitement for that is just a bit more guarded now.
In the 30th Century, Everyone Can Hear a Book Sell Out
The acclaimed debut issue of LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (OCT040295) has sold out at DC Comics. The issue, written by Mark Waid with art and cover by Barry Kitson, reintroduces the greatest heroes of the 30th century in spectacular fashion.
Follow the sound of cash registers to Newsarama
A Legion book selling out? Do my eyes deceive me?
I guess not. Wow…cool.
There’s actually a ton of stuff that has got me very excited this week coming from DC’s and its imprints. I am sticking with the usual 2-3 book setup I have already established, but let is be known that this is the biggest week for DC that I am looking forward to since I started doing this.
A great new book and one that I am hoping breaks out of the mold of “good short lived series” that a lot of current favorites have fallen prey to (Human Target, Bloodhound). This issue continues the Trial of Shadow Thief arc that is most excellent thus far. Give this book a shot this month and I guarantee you will not regret it.
HUMAN TARGET #19
Here begins the final arc of what we called the Best Series of 2004 and my, Janelle’s, and Mathan’s personal favorite. You just know it’s gonna be great so step aboard and watch an amazing book go out in style.
EX MACHINA #8
Politics, superheroics and one of the best creative teams (from writer on down to letterer) in comics. In its second arc, this series is only getting better.
OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I
BATMAN LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #188
Wow…Riddler out thought Batman. That hasn’t happened for awhile. Best issue of the arc with Riddler finally getting the spotlight that he should have had throughout the arc. The whole slain father figure/hunchback looking for vengeance angle still is not working for me though. It’s going to have to pay off huge to convince me that it was worth including at all.
BATMAN THE MAN WHO LAUGHS
An excellent cousin (of sorts) to The Killing Joke and Batman: Year One. Great script, great art, but what impressed me most was Brubaker’s ability to make the threat of the Joker feel new. By now, his murderous exploits, no matter how random or dangerous, have become a bit old hat. However, in this throwback story, Brubaker wonderfully conveys the absolute panic of Gotham’s first encounter with the Clown Prince of Crime.
See my review here. Good issue, just not the greatness I had come to expect.
GOTHAM CENTRAL #28
Jason Alexander is out (again, not of North fame), and Stefano Gaudiano is in (although I don’t believe permanently) and it is certainly a change for the better. Gaudiano’s art is just stronger and easier on the eyes. On the story side of things, Rucka’s script provides a strong opening and I like the integration of a Flash villain for a change of pace.
I’d love to tell you about this issue, I really would. Sadly, I got a defective copy that repeats pages, omits pages (I would assume), and has placed them all together in seemingly random order. So, I can kind of guess at what’s going to happen this issue, but that probably is not the best way to go about reviewing it.
Boston Brand is a character that I can never imagine ever buying a series of, but whenever he interacts with Batman, I do get a kick out of it. I like the dichotomy between the two that some writers have played upon, (particularly post Crisis), but, more than anything, I think I just get a kick out of Deadman’s attitude. He’s a lot of fun.
For you Jason Todd fans, (the eight of you), you also get a JT appearance, so there you go. The real news though is the first appearance of Nightwing’s groozy disco era costume in this Year One tale. Sadly, it just ain’t the same without that sweet gold piping. Why mess with a classic, Mr. McDaniel?
Hopefully, I should have a review for this up Thursday. To summarize it in a word though…fuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!
For those of you who have not seen the solicitations yet, it is official: Fallen Angel’s last issue is #20. And so the dwindling continues.
In good news though, Manhunter continues to hold on.
This is Un Gajje’s World, Son. Un Gajje’s World.