DC News & Views

This week sees several articles about the post-Countdown DCU, specifically those miniseries that are supposed to launch out of it. The only one not showing up for the party this week is Day of Vengeance, but we covered it last week anyway.

I’ve also got some info about the other big DC undertaking, Seven Soldiers.

Plus, because it just isn’t a DCNV without it, we’ve got some sold out book news.

Let’s do it!

WHAT COMES AFTER ZERO?

Why Can’t Rann and Thangar Just Get Along?

Continuing our look at the miniseries coming from DC following Countdown, we touch on the cosmic side of the DCU with the May debut of The Rann/Thangar War, written by Dave Gibbons, with art by Ivan Reis.

Unlike The OMAC Project, Rann/Thanagar doesn’t spin directly out of Countdown – it’s a more thematic follow-up, as DCU Executive Editor Dan Didio has said it will be where DC re-establishes the “cosmic” side of its universe, something that’s been slightly to largely neglected of late.

Hire a mediator for those two crazy planets at Newsarama

As noted before, this is probably the least intriguing of the new minis, so there is not much here for me to sink my teeth into. However, there is one quick note that kind of left me disappointed.

“As Kyle was finding, even before Rebirth, his destiny lies increasingly off-world.”

I knew that the new GL series was Hal’s but I was still kind of hoping that we’d see Kyle stick around. “Kyle in Space” most likely indicates “Not a whole lot of Kyle” which is disappointing. Plus, even if him in space means that he is still about a lot in the DCU, space stories don’t generally interest me and I think some of the most disappointing entries in Kyle’s canon have involved him in outer space.

Then again, his last trip to Rann, when he battled Grayven for the first time, was one of the best and that happened in space. Huh”¦maybe this is like divine providence or something then. Maybe I am more interested in this series than I thought.

We’ll see.

Suck on This MODOK!!!

Legacy-wise, it was originally part of Jack Kirby’s surge of creativity when he came to DC in the early 1970’s. Under Kirby’s pen, OMAC: One Man Army Corps was a tale set in the future (somewhere before the atomic war of 1986 in Kirby’s alternate earth timeline), where the World Peace Organization wields this massive powerhouse of a man to take down groups that are using technology to evil ends. Linked to an orbiting satellite (“Brother Eye”), OMAC received information for his missions as well as his powers via a linkup disc he wore on his chest. When he wasn’t OMAC, he would revert to the fairly nondescript Buddy Blank, a factory worker.

His original series only lasting eight issues, the character resurfaced in later years, with appearances in Kamandi and Warlord as well as a four-issue prestige format series by John Byrne in 1991.

So what does all that have to do with The OMAC Project, a spin-off from DC Countdown coming in April? Not a whole heck of a lot”¦or maybe it does. Writer Greg Rucka was rather mysterious about the whole six-issue miniseries.

It turns out Rockwell was right. Find out why at Newsarama

Now this is a mini that I am most certainly looking forward to (although not as much as the one in the article to follow”¦don’t be impatient, you’ll see when you get there). Rucka writes a very good Batman: angry and standoffish enough to still fit in with the current vision of Bats (the @$$h0!e Batman, some might say), but retaining a humanity that makes him a more layered character. Just look at Rucka’s ‘Tec work to see for yourself. Plus, the themes of paranoia and a man with a Mohawk (what can I say, it is a bitchin’ hairstyle) are both ones that I think Rucka can get a lot of mileage out of.

For those who are looking for more info than you already have, I should warn that this probably is not the article for you. Rucka is historically closed mouth and he goes great lengths in this interview to prove that preconceived notion.

Bad Guys A Go-Go

What happens when villains get together, and (for them) start being polite, and start being real? Villains United, starting in May, written by Gail Simone, with pencils by Dale Eaglesham.

One of the four miniseries coming after Countdown, Villains United puts the major villains of the DC Universe on the same side, working towards the same goal.

Flash your villain ID at Newsarama for entry. It will also get you 25% off any purchase on Wednesdays at Dunkin’ Donuts.

This”¦this is what I am talking about! Bar none, the post-Countdown mini that I am most excited for. Why?

Well, let’s see:1.) Gail Simone on writing
2.) Dale Eaglesham on art (loved his No Man’s Land stuff)
3.) So many bad guys.
4.) It picks up the ball Meltzer got rolling and runs with it.
5.) A bad @$$ Catman? That I’ve got to see.
6.) The promise of a Lex Luthor not hopped up on Kryptonite and kissing on Amanda Waller.
7.) The Secret Six? That’s something I barely remember.
8.) Trying to make Crazy Quilt work grants you my respect, instantly. If she carries it off”¦wow”¦just wow.
9.) This quote: “And with these guys, friction leads to bloodshed.
“And bloodshed leads to darn good entertainment.”
10.) Did I mention all the villains?

Trust me, bad Real World joke in the opening line of this story or not, this is going to be one very good (or should I say “bad”? No, no I shouldn’t) mini.

Ole!

Although the Devin Grayson and Brian Stelfreeze collaboration Matador was announced a few years ago, the project is just now on the WildStorm schedule for release this summer. The story concerns an urban legend who a cop is sure is responsible for a slew of murders, but the cop seems to be one of the only ones who sees a viable connection between the deaths. Grayson and Stelfreeze worked hard to make sure this miniseries would be worth the wait. The two have been cryptic about the ins and outs of the story since its announcement – on purpose. They both don’t want to spoil any surprises or give too much away, but we did get some answers that should tempt people to give Matador more than a passing glance.

Charge the flapping red flag on your way to The Pulse

Wow”¦can that be right? Stelfreeze penciled, inked, colored, and lettered all the pages in this book? Oh”¦and plotted? Wow, that’s”¦that’s a lot of work.

“I feel like it’s a trite attempt to make the story something it’s not.”- Devin Grayson, ladies and gentlemen, being mad harsh. Although, in fairness to both she and Stelfreeze, the interviewer does seem really wrapped up on Matador being a Batman analogue.

“When you take an existing character and change it slightly to make it more “edgy,” that’s not creativity, that’s plagiarism.”
I don’t necessarily agree (I like Authority and Planetary and Astro City and Supreme Power, to name a few that use the analogue approach), but that is a great quote from Stelfreeze.

Beautiful looking preview art. I remain psyched for the project.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all About It! Newspaper Has Own Superhero!

Continuing our talks with the artists of DC’s upcoming Seven Soldiers event (written by Grant Morrison), we sat down with Cameron Stewart, artist on the upcoming four issue, bi-monthly Seven Soldiers: The Manhattan Guardian miniseries.

The story follows Jake Jordan (not Jim Harper – named after Jack Kirby’s original Guardian character), a former cop who takes on the mantle of the Guardian after accidentally shooting a child and dealing with his own personal demons. Set in Manhattan, the story takes a typical Morrison turn, as the new hero finds himself battling the likes of the Subway Pirates in a search through the Masonic tunnels under New York City in a quest for the radioactive gem known as the Foundation Stone of New Manhattan – an object of power that the mysterious Sheeda seek to gain and control.

For Stewart, joining with Morrison was a little easier than falling off a bike – in fact, he was on board from before the word go.

See why the Hartford Courant just can’t compete (despite being the older continuously published paper in the US) at Newsarama

I might not have loved Seaguy (or liked it, really, after the first issue) but Stewart definitely has talent. If Seaguy isn’t your taste, look to his issues of Catwoman or his recent fill-in on Human Target for further proof. The black and white previews here also confirm that the man has much game. And, as he so humbly points out, the bi-monthly schedule (once every two months) means that there is no risk of him falling behind. Good news all around, near as I can tell.

He’s a Cat Person, Really

There’s an old adage “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. It’s origin may be lost in the annals of time, but it’s message is as clear and resounding as it ever was: many tasks can be accomplished in several ways. Following in the artistic footsteps of Darwyn Cooke, Cameron Stewart and Paul Gulacy might seem like a daunting task for some, but for one intrepid artist he’s taking it in stride.

Artist Pete Woods, along with writer Will Pfiefer, hit the ground running on their debut issue on Catwoman, #44. Although it was previously announced at 43, DC has pushed it back one issue to assist in the transition to a new paperstock to accomodate “something new”, style-wise, that Pete has in store. Will Pfieffer’s already talked with Newsarama about his thoughts on the upcoming run, so now we looked to Pete Woods for his part of the equation.

See the proud condition of cat skinning (sorry PETA) carried on at Newsarama

I like that Woods has gotten to illustrate several major players in the Bat section of the DCU. He seems as though he might be the go-to penciller for them and I think it is a position he is definitely worthy of. He’s very adaptable (as he describes in the interview) and although he is not aping any of the artists that came before him on the title, he is creating a Catwoman that does fit with the tone that the book has established for itself. You can tell it is Woods work, but it is distinctive from his work of ‘Tec or Robin. He’s not a headline grabber, but he is a strong artist that deserves high profile projects like this.

First We Save ‘Em in WWII, Now We Steal Their Heroes

IPC, Publisher Andrew Sumner is excited about introducing some of the United Kingdom’s classic comics characters to whole new audiences this summer when their first collaboration with DC Comics/WildStorm, Albion, debuts. Although most of these characters haven’t seen print since the mid-’70s, Sumner believes them to be a “truly weird, fascinating bunch” that will find lots of new comic readers. Sumner told us how IPC teamed with DC, what’s special about some of the characters involved, and the creators involved, as well as some other details about IPC.

Is there no limit to our shaming of Britain? Check out The Pulse and find out.

This article is a pretty cool history lesson, but I’m not sure if it made me anymore interested in picking up the book. Personally, I’m looking for plot description, sketches, finished art, something. Then again, I was not born and raised in England and therefore I have no particular emotional connection to (or knowledge of, really) these characters. Perhaps if I hailed from the other side of the pond, I’d feel differently.

A Lee Book Sold Out? Boy, That Sure is a Surprise!

As SUPERMAN’s “For Tomorrow” storyline rockets toward its dramatic conclusion, DC Comics announces that issue #213 (NOV040250) is sold out at the publisher. Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Jim Lee & Scott Williams, the issue sold out twelve days after arriving in stores on February 2.

To read the craziest, most unexpected news ever, why not look at Newsarama

So I kid DC, but actually, if you think about it, this is a little bit of a surprise. Azzarello’s Superman arc is widely bashed on the ‘net (except for good man Mathan, who seems quite taken with it) and while that is not the end all be all for measuring comic book response (see sales on New Avengers for an example from the other side of the aisle), it does seem worth mentioning. Plus, the book hasn’t sold out an issue since the second or third of this arc. People coming back for the conclusion? A smaller print run? I expect that is a bit of both, actually.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

I picked up most of what I was looking forward to this week in the DC preview pack (see below for reviews FROM THE FUTURE!!!), but here’s one I missed.

TWILIGHT EXPERIMENT #2

The Palmiotti/Gray team’s past effort (Monolith) was a good one if cancelled too soon. The first issue of this book was good”¦but not great. Strong art to be sure, but story-wise, well, the tale felt like it had not yet truly come together. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was just a first issue, after all. I am hoping that this issue will give me a better feel for what’s to come, even if the true nature of the storyline remains unrevealed.

OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

I already reviewed NIGHTWING #104 for the main page so do feel free to check it out there. You get to watch me obsess over the loss of the good ol’ blue and yellow. I think you’ll find it very sad and very disturbing.

RICHARD DRAGON #10

Not to be rude to the fill in artist, but when is Scott McDaniel coming back. I was excited to see his rendition of Connor Hawke, but, wouldn’t you know it, no McDaniel on hand for this issue or last.

Overall, I’ve become bored with this book. I’m sticking with it to the end out of loyalty to Dixon and McDaniel and the fact that it only has two issues left. No real thrill for me here though.

SEVEN SOLDIERS #0

I know this is unlikely to make me popular on the boards, but I enjoyed this maiden effort from the Seven Soldiers mega event. Williams has a great artistic style that, for some reason, reminded me of Gibbons’ work on the pirate story in Watchmen. It is not as though it was identical stylistically or anything, there was just something there that made me think of that earlier effort.

On the writing side I was similarly (and perhaps, unsurprisingly) impressed. I have no clue where this is going from this one shot (or how it will fit in to the whole mosaic of this event) but I was definitely hooked in by the story. The Whip’s narration allows an interesting look at an adrenaline junkie and nicely sets us up for the fall, which comes quick and ugly in the final pages.

Not a lot of happiness or good times to be found here, but I think I’m onboard for whatever ride Morrison has planned.

BATMAN #637

This book continues to surprise me. I really had written it off, but the Batman-Nightwing face-to-face with Amazo is one of the better nearly issue long fight scenes that I have seen depicted in comics in awhile. I enjoyed the “take one power away” at a time approach they employed and even though Amazo should have had they headless with little effort and time expended, Winick still convinced me that the Bat team’s victory was entirely possible.

The Red Hood’s identity remains unrevealed, but I do not feel as toyed with as I expected. I am guessing it is because this book has not been entirely focused on that. Instead, beyond the hint dropped in issue 1 of this arc, the story is treating Red Hood as yet another one of the book’s villain subplots.

And again, I mention every time, but I still feel it bears mentioning. Winick actually makes me not hate the ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT Black Mask, the same villain that drove me up a wall in War Games.

SLEEPER SEASON TWO #9

This book is nearly impossible for me to review on an issue by issue basis. It is damn good and I love the machinations and how clear it is that Holden is a little boy playing in the big leagues but that he is still powerless to step away from the table. However, if I am honest, the whole thing reads better in chunks. Thus, I just don’t view each single issue as an accurate representation of the series as a whole.

****REVIEWS FROM THE FUTURE****

LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL #!

I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite sometime and it has been worth it.

My prediction has come true. Although Azzarello and I have yet to see eye to eye with any of his previous efforts, his writing of Lex Luthor is spot on the mark with the mold of Lex Luthor that I so enjoyed. His approach, Luthor as the hero of his own story, is a smart, sound one. It is reminiscent of one of the single best moments of Smallville (I know, I know, other medium. Bear with me here) where Luthor theorizes that perhaps the villain prophesied in cave drawings is in fact the hero for facing off against an impossible to defeat and powerful nemesis that most of the people would call hero.

The other great news is that Berjemo delivers an incredible looking book. His work in near photo realistic without appearing stiff or doughy. Throughout all the interviews for this book, he purported his intent to make Superman look the villain and wouldn’t you know it? He does just that. Truly gorgeous work.

The coloring provided by Dave Stewart serves to enhance that effort. Superman’s costume is both vibrant and dark and appears to be made of a substance far more sturdy then mere spandex. The steely grey tone does a great job of alluding to the title of the book while also revealing Lutho’s view of humanity in comparison to Superman. Superman is a colorful, attention grabbing figure that leaves the rest of humanity in monochrome.

A great beginning.

DEADSHOT #4

Another issue another strong showing from the Deadshot team. For those who have been digging on this series, congrats, you’ll dig this one too. For those that haven’t”¦well, I guess I just will never understand you.

And that last page has me practically giddy for next issue.

It’s late and it is snowing here in Wu-ington, CT so I am done here and out to frolic in the wintery mix. See you next time.

Un Gajje: Big Proponent of the Wintery Mix

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!