DC News & Views

This week DC went on a news frenzy, perhaps because of the scolding I gave them over last week’s relative quiet. Or perhaps not. Who can say, really? Not I, not I.

While we contemplate that, let’s get us some news!

Your Favorite Character Got Capped? Heck, I’d Seek Counseling, Too.

DC Comics would no doubt acknowledge following all of the tie-ins and mini-series leading up to October’s Infinite Crisis 7-issue limited series event by Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez may be too much to ask of any one comic book fan. So the publisher is taking the unusual step of posting a weekly up-date of all the happenings across their universe that somehow involves the storyline.

Called “Crisis Counseling”, the first edition hit Monday (and will be updated every Monday) on Dccomics.com and the following is what the publisher thinks you should know about what’s happened so far.

Sneak into the therapist’s office at Newsarama

This is an appreciated move on the part of DC. Publishers have, since the beginning of time, said, “You don’t need to buy every issue to make it work,” but more often than not, you kind of did. With this approach, even if they are being less than legit with their “no need to buy it all if you don’t want to” statements, they have this website that makes those statements legit. For me, that means not having to pick up Rann/Thanagar (I know, I know, Adam Strange is great, etc, etc. Nothing personal against Zeta Beam Man, but I’m just not interested) and Day of Vengeance if that first issue disappoints. Not to say that I would have picked them up anyway, but now I can actually stay abreast of things while saving money. Best of both worlds, I should say.

American Isolationism Rises Anew

Their absence in the July solicitations was duly noted by the respective fans of the UK and France-based publishers, and DC late today issued an explanation for the missing 200AD/Rebellion and Humanoids solicitations: the publisher has ended its relationships with the European publishers, and will no longer publish their material in North America.

Do the jitterbug all over again at the Roaring ’20’s party I call Newsarama

Well this is too bad. Granted, I didn’t do my part to help…in the least. But, as always, diversity on the market is a good thing and it is a shame to see DC retreating on this front. From a business end, I’m sure I can’t blame them, but…it’s just too bad, I guess.

SWF Seeks Definitive Origin That Makes Sense

DC’s family of “Justice” expands again in July with the addition of JSA Classified, a companion book of sorts to main JSA title. It’s a series – like JLA Classified – where creators can tell finite stories or shine the spotlight on certain characters.

Case in point, the series first arc, “Power Trip,” which sees JSA writer Geoff Johns team with Amanda Conner on pencils and Jimmy Palmiotti on inks to tell Power Girl’s origin. The real one. The one that will work without invoking too much hand-waving and decades worth of continuity re-jiggering. It’s been a long time coming, given the convolutions her history has gone through, as well as the timestream irregularities that seemed to be focused on her in this week’s JSA #72.

We caught up with the writer for a look at the series and some hints as to just what is going on with Power Girl.

Peruse the newspaper at Newsarama to see who exactly that SWF is.

Power Girl is a character that has worked for me in JSA, but really not anywhere else. As far as I can recall, my favorite Power Girl moment comes from her role in the JSA/JLA one shot crossover a couple of years back. So, her origin story (however convoluted) does not interest me, per se.

What does, however, is the concept of JSA: Classified. Johns mentions that when he gets back to Classified he is considering writing stories concerning Stars and STRIPE or Crimson Avenger (amongst others) and either of those I’d be thrilled to see. I’d also dig any stories featuring Doc Midnite or Mr. Terrific as I think those who are my favorites from the JSA series. I suspect this book will be like the other Classified to me, I’ll pick it up if a specific story intrigues, but I see no need to collect it month to month without fail. It’s nice to have a few comics like that out there. At least, I feel like it is.

“God” Paints His Idol

With the new GREEN LANTERN #1 just over a month away, DC Comics announces that this hotly anticipated debut issue will sport a spectacular variant cover painted by superstar artist Alex Ross!

Check out the new (old) face of order in the galaxy at Newsarama

Finally, Ross gets to paint Hal Jordan. And by finally, I mean, not counting the 85 other times.

Sorry…Alex Ross talking about Hal Jordan always seems to bring out the worst in me. But credit where credit is due. It’s a good looking piece and one that shall no doubt be showing on posters shortly.

Breach on, Reverend, Breach on

What does the average man do when he finds himself trapped in a containment suit and not able to do anything “ordinary” again? How does he react to this insane and extraordinary situation? What happens when Tim Zanetti loses it all? Can he find a new place in the world trapped in a suit that makes human contact impossible? In Breach writer Bob Harras said the creative team is “trying to tell what is essentially a classic superhero story-that of a man whose humanity is ripped away from him, yet finds himself in the unlikely role of earth’s defender — but we’re trying to tell it in a more personal, intimate manner.”

Dim the lights and prepare for a more personal, intimate manner at The Pulse

This book has one of the creepiest, indescribable vibes amongst the “mainstream” superhero stories on the shelves today. It was really brought to the forefront in issue #2, but it has boiled below the surface to some degree or another in all the issues to date. Beyond the Herdsman, I can’t quite put my finger on the why of it, but I do that I kind of dig on it. I have an incredibly hard time selling Breach to anyone else, but for me, that vague sense of unease is what brings me back. I don’t want all of my comics to make me feel uneasy. In fact, I’d prefer that blessedly few of them do. However, in this case, it is definitely a good thing.

Not Reading Manhunter is Like Eating Babies

In their song, “City of Angels” punk rock band The Distillers sing, “They say this is the City of Angels. All I see is dead wings.” Federal Prosecutor Kate Spencer has grown tired of seeing dead wings and has decided to do something about it. Spencer is the star of “Manhunter,” a monthly DC Comics book written by Marc Andreyko with art by Javier Pina and Jimmy Palmiotti. Spencer is not the first person to assume the identity of Manhunter; an upcoming story line in the book will force her to examine the identity’s legacy. CBR news spoke to Andreyko via e-mail for the scoop on Manhunter and her deadly quarry.

What is it? Do you like to eat babies? Didn’t think so. Show your allegiance to the anti-baby eaters (and fans of good comics) by joining the rally at Comic Book Resources

This is a great book. I’ve told you that since day 1. John Babos has told you that from day 1. Tim Sheridan has told you that from day 1. Andreyko has offered and continues ot offer a buy back policy to anyone who gives this book a shot and doesn’t enjoy it. With all those recommendations and zero financial risk, how can you not pick this book up?

Willingham: A Fable-ous Man
2004 was a busy one for Willingham who added the monthly Robin series to his work pile and has catapulted the book to the front of the line of the 2004 Batman Family Crossover, “War Games.”
But it is his monthly Vertigo series, Fables that is one of the shining gems of the industry capturing the imagination of many who recover a deep-pitted love for classic literature. It is a series that cannot be classified into any particular genre and has one of the broadest appeals amongst readers since Sandman.
It is a contemporary satire that builds upon classic literature while maintaining the warped taste of devilish fun that the Vertigo line has paved the way for. Imagine all of the fairy tales, fables, limericks, and nursery rhymes you read as a youth lived in one world, a world ruled by a mysterious dictator known only as the Adversary who is attempting to conquer every fable town. Driven out to New York, many of the Fables live amongst humans, known also as mundys. They do their best to hide away from the mundy world, with their respected enchanted powers or curses they hope to take back their land and defeat the Adversary and regain their kingdoms.
One issue is a mystery, the other is a crime caper, the next is a love story, and then a tale of war. Each issue Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha and others have playfully redefined page layouts month-to-month. Finally each issue is capped off by one of the more imaginative cover artists today in James Jean. Fables has it all and ranks up there as one of the most ingenious concepts in comics and should be on everyone’s must-read list!
On the heels of winning two Eisner Awards for Best New Series and Best Serialized Story in 2003, I was thrilled to talk with the creator behind Fables. His enthusiasm radiates like a proud parent whenever he talks about his work. We delve into some of his travels, his opinions and finally, into his finest creation, Fables.
Visit the all-new, all-different Buzzscope and enjoy the interview.

I had never heard of Proposition Player until I read this interview, but it sounds kind of cool. Have to see if I can get a hold of the trade to at least flip through to see if my first impressions are anywhere near correct.

Overall, there are no real glimpses of the future that we haven’t already heard, but it is a good interview that provides a nice overview of where Fables came from and where it is headed.

Too bad they didn’t get into Robin. I would’ve liked to have seen Willingham talk about the events in that book and perhaps…I don’t know… justify them. Still, the guy does write Fables, so I am inclined to cut him a generous bit of slack.

Eisner Nominees All Up In This Piece

THE PULSE has compiled a list of links to some former PULSE stories about many of the Eisner Award nominees, so that interested readers can learn more about the comic creators and/or their works.

Guess at who’ll be “happy just to be nominated” and who will be actually happy at The Pulse

I’m liking the field of nominees. On the DC side of things, it is very good to see Vaughan getting all sorts of attention for Y and Ex Machina. Fables and WE3 certainly deserve any and all awards they might pull down as well.

But Planetary?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the book. I’m just surprised it published enough issues this year to even earn a look from the “academy”.

WELCOME TO SELL OUTS COVER

Like Every Hood When They Achieve Mainstream Success, This One Has Sold Out

BATMAN #638, the stunning conclusion to the “Under the Hood” storyline, sold out at DC Comics on March 30, the day it arrived in stores.

Now, DC rushes this issue back to press. Written by Judd Winick with art by Doug Mahnke & Tom Nguyen, BATMAN #638 Second Printing features a startling new cover painted by Matt Wagner that reverses the point of view of the original cover art, showing it from the perspective of the Red Hood.

I remember when the Red Hood was street. But now… well just take a look at Newsarama to see what a sell out he is.

Neat new cover. Unlike a lot of people (including some in our very own Roundtable) I have no problem with this one that “gives away” the shock ending. Why? Well, because if you are a “fanboy” you already know the shock ending. Either you read it online, heard about it in your local comic shop or saw it when you flipped through/read the book. If you are a casual fan, the cover might not mean much in and of itself. And if it does, it might be enough to make you pick up a book you wouldn’t otherwise. If we are arguing a casual fan would not know the “shock ending” when this hits shelves, I would argue that they probably didn’t know there was going to be a shock ending in the first place. Thus, they see this second print and think, “is that Robin (or Jason Todd)?” and maybe, just maybe they pick it up. That being as opposed to the much less likely, “I am here to pick up Batman #638 with the surprise ending. I understand there is a shock ending, but, as a casual fan, I have no clue what that might be or might it might concern. Oh wait…this is obviously Jason Todd. Thanks for ruining the surprise DC.”

At least, that’s how I see it. Maybe I’m wrong.

Looks Like Degaton Loves OMAC

The horse race shaping up between Marvel and DC Comics for summer sales chart supremacy got off to a nice start for DC this week. The publisher has confirmed for Newsarama that The OMAC Project #1, the 6-issue monthly “Countdown to Infinite Crisis” limited series (and first of 4 “Crisis” related minis) by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz has already sold out through Diamond Distributors, this despite the issue not going on retail sale until April 20th and an “aggressive” overprint by the publisher of nearly 50% above retailer initial orders.

What? Like you have a better explanation on how a book sells out before it hits shelves? Thought so. Anyway, check out Newsarama for their theory, which does not involve time travel at all and is therefore cockamamie.

Don’t worry if you don’t a have a time machine as The Pulse promises that a 2nd Printing is on the way.

Yay for The Rucka!

Moving At Twice the Speed of Commerce

THE FLASH #220 (JAN050301), featuring the first chapter of the “Rogue War” storyline, sold out at DC Comics one day before arriving in stores on March 30.

This issue kicks off the dramatic 6-part “Rogue War” story, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Howard Porter & Livesay.

The Scarlet Speedster’s just hitting his stride at the Newsarama track.

Two sold out issues of Flash in a row. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. No sir, nothing wrong with that at all.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Big week for DC (in terms of what I am excited for) but I’ll just focus on a few.

MANHUNTER #9

This is a GREAT book and it is about time that everyone acknowledge it. For one thing, you’ll actually be reading a book worth your time and money. For another, it will be cutting poor John Babos a break, as he’s been working overtime to sell the Nexus community on Manhunter.

Plus, if you are being swept up in Crisis fever, this is a book that is playing nicely into it. For one, it is currently concerned with the fallout from Identity Crisis and Firestorm’s killing. For two, the Villains United cast has made a few small but important appearances that bear the promise of things to come in that mini.

The writing is excellent, the art perfectly suited. This is THE monthly book you need to be picking up.

OMAC PROJECT #1

And speaking of Crisis fever, wouldn’t you know it, the first of the miniseries leading to the Infinite jobber hits stands this week and it looks more than a little promising. The most tied into the events of Countdown, this one has a seriously pissed Batman (is there any other kind these days) going up against Checkmate over the use of a satellite it seems likely that Bruce himself launched (did he learn nothing from Tower of Babel?). Plus, Jesus Saiz (from Manhunter) is on art and his stuff…beautiful.

TRIGGER #5

DC just announced that this, like so many books in recent months, will be drawing its last breath soon. In the meantime, there is one crazy, spooky mystery being unfurled. All that it only running for 9 issues means is that it will be easy to catch up with now and keep up with to the end. If you like your sci-fi paranoid, threatening, and intensely psychological, you owe it to yourself to check out this book.

OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

BLOODHOUND #10

A good issue, but not a good FINAL issue. Of course, with only a 10 issue run, I suppose it is tough to do a good FINAL issue. Not impossible (see the closing issue of Stars and STRIPES) but tough. Still, it seems wrong to fault the book for turning in an issue that would have been great if it wasn’t the last of the series. The abruptness is too bad, but good reading is good reading.

I hope Clevenger, Saffron, and the rest will continue to pop up under the DCU because there are some great characters that I would hate to see go untapped forever more.

By the by…what’s up with the pink blood on the cover? Was that supposed to be a stylized thing?

JSA #72

After all the build up, I guess I am a little disappointed in the climax. Atom Smasher achieving some level of redemption by defeating Degaton (and empathy from Stargirl because of the “death” of her family) was a strong bit, but the rest of the endeavor felt a bit perfunctory. Still looked and read great, but the conclusion just didn’t make use of the legacy issue (except for the great scene of Jakeem and Johnny punching and laughing alongside each other) or character interactions that drove the past issues of this arc. That’s the stuff that I was really digging on and to have it shuffled off for “the big fight” failed to bring the arc home for me.

NIGHTWING #107

How great are Parks and Hester? I mean, really…how great are they? My guess? Pretty damn great.

As far as Dick as mafia strong arm? I’m not sure I buy it yet. I get that he’s messed up, but that messed up? Seems unlikely. I smell a Bat presence here. That’s just me though.

Besides that, (and the continuity question of it all: is it before the events in Batman happening now? If so, when did Dick and Bruce reconcile? If not, when do they split and why? Does Dick really still need crutches? Etc. Don’t think too long as they things, you’re head may burst), I think this was quite a coming out party for the “bold new direction” (patent pending). The art is excellent and Grayson’s choice of making the first issue a simple single, rather violent but not explosive, day in the life of the new Dick Grayson is an effective way of setting the scenario up without going overboard on hyperbole.

Oh, the dialogue though…a bit on the obvious/clichéd side. If Grayson does not get that under control by next issue, it could get annoying.

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

EX MACHINA #10

The “Tag” killer stands revealed this week and… things get a bit…. gruesome. Not in a bad way. Just in a “whoa…was not expecting that” sort of manner. The nice thing is that despite the blood and guts, Vaughan still manages to make it all feel tragic. Who the killer is and how the situation came to be is shocking and disturbing. However, if we did not have a feeling for the characters involved, that’s all it would be. Instead, there is a surprise feeling of sadness that permeates the whole situation. Any scene that makes you feel for a jetpack is an impressive one.

I am a little divided against myself on the final scene. On the one hand, it would be great in a sort of “we are all equals” sort of way if Hundred’s answer to the question he is posed is “yes”. On the other hand, it also makes his recent decisions seem self-motivated and not motivated by his belief in equality or “doing the right thing”. Granted, he is a politician, but still. Plus, it demonstrates a weakness of character that could prove compelling but could also greatly reduce my empathy for Hundred.

That’s it. I’m exhausted and I just don’t have anything else to say. Except that I expect to see all your friends here next week and that you will do the same.

Un Gajje= SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sleepy.