DC News & Views


You’ll forgive me if this column is a little short and a bit caustic. I just spent 45 minutes at a literal standstill on 95 North in New York before driving the rest of the way home. I’m hot, sweaty, and generally a bit gruff. So, I hope my poor attitude doesn’t ruin the proceeding column for you. And if it does, well #$%$#@&*^%%# you.

Ahem…see what I mean.

Forget the MLB’s All Stars, Here Comes One of DC’s Finest

Easily one of the most anticipated comics of the year finally reaches stores next week: All-Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder by Frank Miller and Jim Lee. The first of DC’s “All Star” imprint (and featuring a trade dress and logo designed by Chip Kidd), the ongoing series takes the Batman story back to when Batman was young and relatively inexperienced…and taking on a sidekick named Robin.

We sat down for a conversation with Miller about the series, his views of Batman, Robin, and why he can’t stay away from this particular well.

See the Captain of the team swing his bat in the Newsarama dugout.

There was a moment, for about thirty seconds when I thought, “Maybe I’m not all that excited for this.” But I was just being silly and this interview has confirmed that.

The focus on Robin is, I think, a good choice, allowing Miller to flex a different muscle than the one he used for, let’s say, Batman: Year One. Not to say that I wouldn’t love him in that mode (I do), but it is always cool to see a writer challenge himself and I can’t wait to see how his style fits a 12 year old kid in green, red, and yellow in a world that is not a dystopian nightmare.

But remember kids, this isn’t Ultimate, so don’t you friggin’ call it that.


Oh God!

Come August, the skies over the DCU will fill with heroes, villains, and just about everyone in between, courtesy of Justice, the new 12-issue, bi-monthly series coming from Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite.

Previously, the trio had teamed for various Earth X projects at Marvel, telling a story of possible future for the Marvel Universe, and allowing Ross to redesign virtually the entire Marvel Universe to his liking.
While not offering the opportunity to redesign known characters for a future age, Justice is no less an undertaking, especially given Ross’ thumbnail description of the story: “Superhuman war. The superhuman war.”

If you squint, George Burns looks kind of like Alex Ross. Really. Try it at Newsarama

I have such negative feelings towards this creative team (who’s members, taken individually, I tend to like) because of the mess of the Earth/Universe/Galaxy/Infinite Cosmos X minis that it is hard for me to view this book objectively. Besides that, this is Ross in full out “the Silver Age bests all” mode that I find very difficult to swallow. The art looks great and the premise of heroes and villains kicking each others’ heads in for 12 issues is one I can support. So…I find myself sitting the fence. Until this article, I’d have said I wasn’t going to pick it up without a second though. Now though…not so sure.


Oh God! Book 2

In Part One of our talk with Alex Ross about the upcoming Justice 12-issue series, we discussed the series’ origins, its setting, its characters, and battles. In our conclusion, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of working specifics, Ross’ view of the era he chooses to work in, and if he will ever be over this Superfriends thing he has.

The Hall of Justice awaits at Newsarama

Call me stupid, but I have no idea what Ross is on about here: “I really don’t want to get too much into that, but, for example, I would say there’s value in the idea of Aquaman being the parable of the superhero father, just like Reed Richards is to Marvel. Flash is, in many ways, the parable of the superhero husband. But obviously, you could say that it’s the same of Hawkman or Hawkgirl, but that’s more the parable of the superhero couple. The superhero Romeo and Juliet is more Green Arrow and Black Canary. You get the idea. I always appreciated the simple takes on those characters which was always exemplified by them having those extended family members.”

Especially the Aquaman part. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t grow up reading Aquaman nor have ever really considered his prior role as father.

“Ultimately, the break was too much for some, as with the Flash, where the “break” which saw Iris killed led, pretty directly to his death in 1985. He was so broken that they needed to start from scratch. I would call that the failure of creativity, to not make these characters work better, and not know how to make them sell on their own.”

I get what he means with the above quote, but I disagree. As much as I don’t care for Crisis, I have to admit that Flash’s sacrifice is a very powerful moment that, even if it was a mercy killing of a character with no more commercial value (which I don’t believe for a moment), was not a creatively bankrupt move. I do think death in comics can be done well, (yes, even now), and I think this is a prime example of that.

Ah, well, I guess Ross and I will never agree on the evolution of comics. What can you do?


So A Man’s Gotta Die to Sell Out These Days?

Five days before arriving in stores on June 15, HAWKMAN #41 (APR050337) sold out at DC Comics! This issue, written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti and illustrated by Joe Bennett & Ruy Jose, continues the yearlong storyline that leads up to a stunning finale in October’s issue #45.

Sure, dead is dead, but what a way to go at Newsarama

Man, some people really get their hate on for this title. Personally, I don’t quite understand the need for the hubbub. But then, this title really hasn’t moved me one way or another since it launched.


Sadowski Goes Home Again

It wouldn’t be an anniversary without a few reunions and for the 75th Anniversary Issue of the JSA, DC Comics gathered past JSA artists to bring the finale of Black Vengeance to life. Stephen Sadowski signed his name to the pages of JSA # 1 and was happy to put his John Hancock on the final part of issue # 75. Along with revisiting the JSA, Sadowski’s working on some upcoming Manhunter pages. We chat about all these heroes and more.

Welcome him back (however temporarily) at The Pulse

His work on JSA was great. I’m psyched to see what he does with Manhunter. YAY! Manhunter!


On The Outside Now

Do you miss a little Metamorpho, Katana, Black Lightning, and Geo Force in your current version of The Outsiders? Want to see what happens when the Batman and the original Outsiders meet up with some of the new team?

The wait is over in the July and August issues of The Outsiders the past and present collide when an original Outsiders case has some ramifications affecting the modern team. Written by Peter Tomasi with art by Will Conrad, the two-part Tick Tock is an action-packed adventure that should appeal to any Outsiders fan.

And this is where it all begins, on the outside looking in at The Pulse

I never read the original Outsiders series, but this makes sense to me. Heck, I’m a bit surprised that it took this long in the first place. I don’t much about Tomasi’s writing, but he obviously cares for the characters. Plus, the cover and interior art looks great. Should be a solid two issue fill-in.


Because You Demanded it: A RETURN TO WAR GAMES!

Gotham City was rocked to its core by the epic “War Games” story line that ran through out the Batman titles last year. Someone feels Batman’s hands are stained with most of the bloodshed of “War Games” including the death of Stephanie Brown, AKA the Spoiler, who fought along side the Dark Knight for a period of time when she assumed the identity of Robin. That mysterious figure plans to make Batman answer for his transgressions in the four part “War Crimes” story that runs through “Batman” and “Detective Comics” during the month of August from DC Comics. CBR News spoke to Andersen Gabrych, who penned the “Detective Comics” chapters of the story (Bill Willingham wrote the “Batman” issues) about “War Crimes.”

Oooh, oooh, ooh, let just me strap on my happy happy dancing shoes and I’ll meet you over at Comic Book Resources

If you couldn’t tell from that sarcastic teaser or the numerous mentions of my feelings in this column, I am not such a fan of War Games. I expect that I will be similarly enthused (in other words, less than) by this sequel.

“The Reformer” would have been a great role to bring Jason Todd back in, but I’d like to think that DC would not bring him back as Hush, Red Hood, AND The Reformer. You never know, but my guess is that they would recognize that as overkill. So…who might it be.

I’m going to throw my hat into the ring and guess that it is Azrael. Why? Well, he’s the only Bat team member that is dead at this time, besides Stephanie (and Harold, I guess). So, he’s due for resurrection, I figure. Plus, we never saw his body in the first place, right? Be sure to let me know if I’m right, since I’ll be sitting this crossover out.


COMING ATTRACTIONS

ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

To steal from Comicopia, what else could you possibly want?

SEVEN SOLDIERS GUARDIAN #3

Grant Morrison Goodness!


OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

BATMAN LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #193

I’ve reviewed it already and you can read it right here.

GOTHAM CENTRAL #33

Well, this is it, the make it or break arc for me and Gotham Central. And it is a good start so far. I don’t believe the ending for a moment (obviously) but it goes a long way towards demonstrating the state of mind of the character on the “safe” side of that gun barrel. Art was strong, premise is interest, script delivered. Maybe I was being too hasty in my dismissal of Gotham Central.

JSA #75

A great issue, but I find myself disappointed with the end. I’m not a bloodthirsty individual and I generally don’t root for the demise of characters, but the way this particular character’s meeting with the light perpetual is written is so good, so strong, that the true resolution of it really undercut the preceding 22 or so pages to me. I know there are a lot of fans out there who are tired of character deaths so I can sympathize with the choices made here, but for me…I’ll never get tired of demises done with this much respect or intelligence.

VILLAINS UNITED #3

The change in artists is a bit of a distraction and disappointment, (Semekis does fine work, I’m just not sure it fits the mood of the book), but otherwise it is another strong issue of my favorite Crisis mini. A lot of people are finding Catman a bit tough to follow, but whatever. Every DC superteam needs their Batman and for the Six, his name happens to be Catman.

MATADOR #3

This book is not the Great American (Graphic) Novel, but it is a good crime book that could not be better illustrated by Stelfreeze. Don’t believe me, watch Detective Cardona’s face as she finally “gets” her dream man in a motel. If you get feel her shame, boredom, and disappointment, well…you just aren’t human.


If you love Pina Coladas, getting caught in the rain, and this column (or, if you hate it) please visit the message boards and let me know why you feel the way you do. Or, if you are the shy type, why not e-mail me at parallax2@juno.com to tell me what you think of this week’s column. I would be forever in your debt!

Also, I am off to San Diego as of Wednesday of this week. That means daily updates from the belly of the beast for you fine folks from myself, James Hatton, his lovely fiancée Danielle, and undoubtedly a few surprise guests. Take a look at the schedule, and visit our Message Boards to tell us what panels you’d love to see us cover.

Thanks in advance. See you next week. Or, if your in San Diego, see you there. I’ll be the guy with the shaved head in the suit who isn’t Grant Morrison or Brian K Vaughan. If you suspect it’s me, but you aren’t sure, just shout out Gajje! (pronounced Ga-zhay). If the person looks up, it’s me. I’d love to say hi, shake a hand, and hear in person what a weekly disappointment I am.

Un Gajje Hits Cali and Nothing is Ever Going to Be the Same