DC News & Views


Hey everybody, do you know what yesterday was? That’s right, it was Jack “King” Kirby’s birthday. He would have been 88 years old and probably still be penciling one or two books a month. I might not subscribe to the almost godlike reverence the man commands from many in this industry, (uh-oh, here come the angry e-mails), but I have much respect for him as a father of Marvel Comics and so it is important to mention King every now and again.

In honor of him, this column is very historically based. But good history, not boring history like World History I or anything.


Wait…There are Tie-ins to These Minis?

As the four miniseries leading up to INFINITE CRISIS build toward their spectacular conclusions, DC Comics announces revisions to the recent list of comics that tie in to those projects.

Share in my shock at Newsarama

Hey, Rann/Thanagar finally gets a tie-in! Good for it. Oddly enough, it isn’t Hawkman though. I thought Hawkman was supposed to crossover at some point (in part to explain why he’s dead one place and not the other). I guess not. Unless it is going to be a last second announcement, but I’d hope that DC would have learned from “Sacrifice” that fans get very bent out of shape about that sort of thing. So, for now, I’m going with no such Hawkman tie-in issue occurring.

The only other thing that really stands out about the newbies (besides how many of them there are) is how the JSA issues that were once Day of Vengeance crossovers have changed into other tie-ins. I wonder how that happens. Does that indicate that the story changed? That the “tie-in” part of the issue was so small that it could be easily altered without changing the main part of the series? That DC knew it would crossover, but just didn’t know with what mini? I know not, I am merely theorizing.


Amanda Conners: Profile in Power

Getting back into the mainstream game just before the “Whatever Happened to…?” questions were going to start popping up, Amanda Conner is once again turning heads with her art, currently seen in JSA: Classified issue #2 of which is due in stores this week.

After seeing a sell-out with its first issue, the Classified storyline starring Power Girl, “Power Trip” is a perfect fit for Conner who’s career is filled with strong, female protagonists from Vampirella to The Pro. We caught up with the artist to find out where she’s been, her view on Power Girl, and what’s to come.

See Ladies drawing Ladies at Newsarama

I’m almost tempted to pick up these two books purely so I can understand what people are talking about when they describe the plots/which origins are being removed from the list. No wonder Power Girl needed a clarification. If even the plot description of the book which is discerning her true origin is nigh incomprehensible, her continuity must be an absolute nightmare.

Relating more to this article, I like the art I see here. That’s odd since, when I flipped through issue #1 in the store, I was quite surprised by not liking Conner’s work. I should revisit it, if for no other reason than to figure out why I had that reaction in the first place. Maybe the work has improved or maybe I was just out of my head.

This also explains the large breasted Power Girl phenomenon I was asking about a few weeks ago. However, our reader, Andrew Stuart nailed it about the same time, so I’ll just let him tell you about it:

Un Gajje,

First of, thanks for posting my e-mail. It wasn’t my intention to get on the site, but since Comics Nexus happens to be one of my favorite comic resources, but it’s nice to see my name up there in lights, so to speak. I’m now also the envy of all of my friends.

Anyway, on to the point. Spurred on by your publishing of my partial info, I took the time to hunt down the site that first informed me. Sure enough, it was wikipedia.com, a rather under used site that has tons of comic info, not only on characters, but on authors and artists as well. Here’s the link. To surmise it for you, it’s rumored that Wally Wood (what a name, geez) was the guilty party in trying to push the busom boundries, but left the title before the extreme extremities were noticed. The artist that took over (Joe Staton as the article states) was less of an enthusiast, and just left them the way they were. So I thought I’d pass that info along.

By the by, I’d be heavily inclined to agree with the other reader who wrote in. The way Power Girl’s hair is often portrayed is nothing short of a travesty. She just looks gross most of the time. Anywho, hope this helps.

There you go then. Look, a reader coming through in a pinch and teaching us all something. That’s what DCNV is all about…community.


Huh…People Really Do Care About Power Girl

Both JSA CLASSIFIED #2 and JSA CLASSIFIED #1 Second Printing have sold out at DC Comics, just one day after reaching stores on August 24. These issues present the first two parts of the 4-issue story “Power Trip,” written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti.

Scratch your head and mutter “who’da thunk?” at Newsarama

I like that black and white cover for issue #2. It’s fun/funny. Not sure if it is reflective of the content inside, but it does have a nice energy to it.

I still can’t believe this many people are on board for what is, essentially, a Power Girl book, but that just goes to show you that nearly every character or concept is just one great creative team away from being viable again. Take a look below in Welcome to the Revamping at my vision for another character currently on the ropes. I’m no Johns, but I hope you enjoy it.


Newsarama Bites Off Babos, Part 1 and 2

Among the stronger titles inhabiting the present DCU stands Manhunter. A combination of a strong female protagonist, innovative character work and hard-edged action, the series had an under-the-radar debut but continues to build a loyal following on positive word-of-mouth. It’s not hard to understand why DC decided to go with a new Manhunter title; some iteration of the concept has been present with the company for decades, and fits in very nicely with DC’s emphasis of super hero legacies, right up there with the various Flashes, Green Lanterns, and others.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the previous versions, with information drawn from DC’s seminal Who’s Who, DK’s The DC Comics Encyclopedia (edited by Daniel Wallace) and The Encyclopedia of Super Heroes by Jeff Rovin.

See the copycats do it second at Newsarama

Last time, we tracked the original Manhunters up to the point of The Power Company. Before we get into that segment, let’s skip back a bit and recount the genesis of the robot Manhunters that ended up being responsible for the events of Millennium.

John could do it and be excellent in one column, but Newsarama needs two, apparently.

Linking these two articles is basically an excuse for me to tell you to check out John Babos’ article on the same topic here. If you somehow feel it isn’t enough, feel free to check out the Newsarama articles as a compliment to the Babos piece.


Knowledge of the Oracle

I don’t think folks know enough of Oracle’s backstory, so I figure I should lay it out for you.

Peek Barbara’s early history in the computer world at The Great Curve

This is well done and I thought it might be of interest to everyone consider what Gail Simone is doing with the character right now in Birds of Prey.


NUMBER$

In July 2005, North American direct market comics sales peaked with DC Comics’ ALL STAR BATMAN & ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER #1 by Frank Miller and Jim Lee. Although the publisher managed to place two other titles in the Top Ten and four more in the Top 20, DC’s main competitor Marvel Comics maintained its position as the top direct market publisher.

Apart from ALL STAR BATMAN and a slew of titles tying in with its upcoming publishing event INFINITE CRISIS, notable DC’s releases in July also included the debut of JSA: CLASSIFIED and the Warren Ellis/Jackson Guice arc of JLA: CLASSIFIED, the DC Comics/Top Cow Productions crossover special JLA/CYBERFORCE and the first issue of the WildStorm imprint’s SILENT DRAGON limited series.

Also covered this month are the launches of RED SONJA (Dynamite Entertainment), SERENITY (Dark Horse Comics), GÿDLAND (Image Comics) and HERO SQUARED (Boom! Studios), as well as — among others — HELLBOY: THE ISLAND, HUNTER-KILLER, FATHOM and THE GOON.

As always, thanks to Milton Griepp and ICv2 for permission to use their figures for these calculations. An overview of ICv2.com’s statistics can be found here:

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/1850.html

Sales data for everyone at The Pulse


COMING ATTRACTIONS

FLASH #225

A sad week round these parts because this marks the end of Johns run on the book. However, I can’t help, but be excited to read it. It’s a bittersweet moment, to be sure.

So much is going to happen, probably. Will we find out Boomerang’s true parentage? Why did Linda double over last issue? What’s Zoom’s endgame and does Professor Zoom really know what the plan is (my best guess is no). What of the Rogues? I’m going to guess most, if not all, of those questions will get answered plus some I probably didn’t even think about.

EX MACHINA #14

How can you not be psyched for this book every month. Vaughan, Harris, and the rest consistently deliver one of the best comics available today. Who else could make a story about jury duty riveting?


OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

DAY OF VENGEANCE #5

Nightshade’s narrative voice is, sadly, a bit weak. Thus, I thought the issue itself suffered. There just didn’t seem to be enough to her to justify leaving her in the proverbial voiceover driver’s seat the entire time.

It wasn’t all bad though. The true nature of Black Alice’s powers made sense to me as did the “solution” that Chimp suggested based on those powers. How it all played out was a nice twist and, again, one that made sense in the context of the superhero world. If the narration hadn’t taken me out of it so much, I think I would have been pleased with this issue rather than simply “meh.”

OMAC PROJECT #5

That’s a whole lotta OMACs. I would think like 600,000 would be enough, but that’s why I’m not in charge of Checkmate, I guess.

I didn’t really enjoy Sasha’s transition to metal lady, but at least I am now freed of the burden of trying to figure out which one is her and which one is Midnight in panel. Seriously, I spent the entire month none too concerned about the conclusion of #4 because I thought it was Midnight getting skewered by the OMAC, not Sasha.

Besides that development and the “activation” of all those OMACs, this issue felt very transition-y. Oh, and too bad for Dimitri and all of his fans.

BATMAN #644

I don’t think Willingham or DC are misogynistic, but boy oh boy have they given those “Women in Refrigerator” folks plenty of ammunition between “War Games” and this concluding chapter of “War Crimes”. If anything could make Spoiler’s death seem less palatable to me, this would be it. Ugly, out of character for all involved, and devoid of any weight, I can’t help but wonder what the point of it all was.

The issue has problems beyond its ending though. What the heck is Joker doing here at all? What does he add? Why does Black Mask’s “big plan” make so little sense?

Mathan and I will be getting into this issue big time in Who’s Who, so I don’t want to spoil that goodness for you yet, so I’ll just leave it at that for the time being.

TEEN TITANS #27

Thrill to my first exposure to an issue drawn by Rob Liefeld this Thursday or check out this advanced view (special to my readers) here.


WELCOME TO THE REVAMPING

This is one that I am guessing most of you don’t know very well or, more likely, at all. That’s perhaps because his adventuring days ceased with his demise in the Silver Age. Who the devil could I be talking about? Well, the man of the hour is…

Neon the Unknown

Tom Corbett began his costumed crime fighting tenure in 1940 in the Quality Comics book “Hit Comics”. The man who would be Neon the Unknown was initially a member of the Foreign Legion who was exhausted and dehydrated in the desert. All of fellow brave fighting men had succumbed to the brutal heat and died, but, moments before his own demise, Corbett stumbled upon a shimmery, glowing pond of water. Desperate with thirst, he drank deeply of the pond and was reborn, complete with new duds. These duds looked a bit like this:

Besides the hot threads, he also could now fire bolts of something called “neonic energy” and possessed the ability to fly. He used these gifts in Hit Comics #1-17 before fading away in 1941. He was not seen again until the Silver Age when DC acquired him along with the rest of the Quality Comics stable (Plastic Man, Blackhawk). Sadly, any excitement Neon may have had about joining with the rich, diverse characters of the DCU were quickly dashed as he met his end in “All-Star Squadron” when his submarine fell victim to a kamikaze attack. The powers of neonic energy have remained silent (in the dark?) ever since.

Until now…

Terrence Thornton was infatuated with superheroes in his childhood. He read, watched, and listened to everything he could on the subject. Now, in his early thirties, Thornton is rich, powerful, and handsome. Unfortunately, for people who like good guys, Thornton long ago abandoned his dream of becoming a hero and decided that there was more money to be made in the international crime business. Operating out of Egypt, Thornton tentacles reach far into every continent in the world. If it’s arms or drugs, chances are, Thornton’s organization had their hands in it at least some point in the process.

Like most men on top, however, he has grown bored. The power he wields has grown stale to him and he desires still more. However, he knows he can acquire no more through conventional means. Perhaps, however, a story his grandfather used to tell him could provide the answers.

In 1940, Prescott Andersen, Thornton’s maternal grandfather, was nearly killed by a group of thugs in the streets of Paris. His savior was a man named Tom Corbett, better known to the world as the hero, Neon the Unknown. After much haggling, Andersen convinced The Unknown to let him buy him a drink. Coming out of a local pub with a bottle each, the two sat on a rooftop, drank wine, and regaled one another with stories. As the evening wore on and Neon became freer with his words, he revealed his origin story to Thornton’s grandfather. It was a story that Andersen would never repeat to another living soul…except his grandson. And his grandson listened. And remembered every detail.

Terrence mounts a search party for the magical pond, using the best in state of the art technology. Unlike Corbett, who discovered the pond quite by accident and near death, Thornton set out specifically to find it and was a success. Five days after his journey began, Thornton kneeled at the shores of the pond and drank its water. As he was healthy, not near death like his predecessor, the ensuing power burst not only resulted in the distinctive Neon the Unknown suit, but also wiped out the rest of his search party. Relatively unfazed by the experience (if a little relieved not to have anyone else living aware of the pond’s location), Thornton returned to his empire, excited to use his power to aid his “business”.

However, it quickly becomes clear that the neonic powers have other things in mind. Thornton finds that when he is powered up and in the suit, he can not use his gifts for nefarious ends. It is as if the powers are forcing him to do good with them. Think of it as the opposite effect of being “eclipsed”. Instead of being unable to control the evil within, Thornton finds himself unable to suppress the qualities that he so admired in heroes when he was a kid and had long ago given up on using. Instead of bringing home the most powerful weapon he could to expand his criminal enterprises, he instead has given his life its most dangerous enemy.

Everything he has worked for is in jeopardy. He can no longer sleep with his mistress; he confesses everything to his “rather be in the dark” wife, further damaging their already fractured relationship; he has raided his own interests as well as the interests of other competitors. Worst of all is that his people are slowly closing in on who this “Neon the Unknown” really is. If they find out, everything Thornton has fought for disappears into thin air and his life is all but forfeit. If they don’t…well, that’s not good news for Thornton either.

Can Thornton rid himself of this “curse”? Deep down inside, does he want to? Just how long can he continue to evade the suspicions of his friends, family, allies, and enemies? What will happen when everything comes tumbling down?

These are the questions. This is the quandary of Terrence Thornton, international criminal. This is the world of…NEON, THE UNKNOWN.


There you have it. Could I have been any more obscure? I have my doubts. Please let me know what you thought of the Revamp here and to the column itself in the same old place. E-mail at parallax2@juno.com is always appreciated as well.

See you all next week. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more news to view on then.

Un Gajje Wonders if the “Un” is Getting Between He and His Fans

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