DC News & Views

Man, I don’t know what’s up with me, but I’m just not feeling very conversational in this intro for the past two weeks. But I hate to leave you all gypped, so here’s a schedule of what is coming up in the next few weeks of DCNV: a Retro Review of the whole Prodigal crossover (next week), Retro Reviews of some the JLA one shots that were all the rage when the big seven team first reappeared, a retrospective of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Animal Man work inspired by an item in this week’s column (in time for Doom Patrol Vol. 3), coverage of WizardWorld Boston with guest appearances by Tim Sheridan, Ben Morse, Jamie Hatton, and Danielle “Soon to Be the Nexus’s newest columnist” O’Brien (also next week), not one, but two revamps, including my first crack at an entire team (two weeks and four weeks respectively), and, hopefully more letters from you the people being sent to me, the writer, at parallax2@juno.com. I’ve got some good responses the past couple of weeks so I want to go back to making sure that “Shooting Back at the Grimace” is a more vital part of the column. I know the news takes a nosedive in the fall, so those above mentioned items are just a few of the things that I’ll be bringing on board to keep things interesting.

DC Tells Retailers, “FOC You”

Acknowledging that the trail they’re on was blazed by Marvel, DC will institute a “last minute” order adjustment system similar to Marvel’s “FOC” date, first of one specific title and then line-wide by early next year, it was announced by DC’s Bob Wayne at yesterday’s Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore.

Aren’t acronyms that sound like dirty words cool at Newsarama

Frankly, I think DC should have done this long ago. So, although they are way late to the party, I still applaud their choice. It’s a good call that just makes sense. It’s the right thing to do for the retailers and it may help DC acquire some last minute order increases that might otherwise miss out on or have to wait for a second printing to get. 52* is the perfect project to trot it out for too as many retailers were concerned about how the heck you properly order a book that will have about eight issues produced before you can gain use the sales data to figure out how to order future issues of the title.

So, good for DC for adopting this approach…finally.


Justice for All…Provided They Got to Their LCS On Time

JUSTICE #1, the debut issue of the new blockbuster maxiseries by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite, has sold out at DC Comics. The issue arrived in stores on August 3.

Because Justice means never having to say sorry to your giant seahorse at Newsarama Plus, more news!

Good for Alex and Co. God knows he doesn’t receive enough press/cash/credit as it is.


Jim Lee Talks Bat—err—Superman?

How do you follow up a critically acclaimed run on a larger than life character like Batman? If you’re Jim Lee you might try tackling the Man of Steel, Superman. But what happens after that? For Lee, the next thing he wanted to do was “go home again” and take on Batman, but not the Batman we’ve known for over 60 years – or at least since the Crisis on Infinite Earths; Lee and writer Frank Miller are working on a whole new Batman and Robin in the freshman DC All-Stars line. In a two-part interview, we talk with Lee about the end of Superman and his return to Gotham City.

Enjoy another of The Pulse‘s comically late articles.

As I’ve said before, I like The Pulse. They could have been real dicks about the whole “Inside Pulse” thing and been justified in doing so, but they weren’t. I’ve gotta ask though, what is going on with them as of late. In the past four weeks since their site came back online, they’ve had Morrison talking about Seven Soldiers like the first round of minis weren’t just wrapping up (by focusing on those ending series no less), Batista talking about the JLA arc when there is only one issue left, and now Jim Lee giving a wrap up on a book he stopped drawing about six months ago and barely mentioning the project(s) that he is working on (From the article: “As for the future, Lee’s busy working on All Star Batman and Robin as well as a few other projects “include an upcoming Jonah Hex cover, the Infinite Crisis covers and doing design work for my upcoming run on Wildcats with Grant Morrison.””). Apparently they will pick up that thread in the next part of the interview, but that still doesn’t explain the Superman discussion. It’s too soon to do a “remember when…” type piece and too late to do a “as the story winds down” article on it. So…why is it there? Especially when the juiciest it gets is, “I knew Brian had ambivalent feelings about writing such a mainstream character.”


Animal Man? More Like Animal Magnificent!

Animal Man was more or less an afterthought until Grant Morrison decided to return the character to full time status into the DC Universe back in 1988. Morrison, not nearly as popular a writer then as he is now, showed signs of his offbeat yet true-to-life style by reintroducing Animal Man/Buddy Baker as an animal activist and a vegetarian, the latter initially being much to the chagrin of his family. Within his approximate two-year-long run, Morrison would have Animal Man learn that he was a character in a comic book. The character visited interesting locales such as comic book limbo where there would be cameos from the likes of the Inferior Five, Max Mercury and Ultra the Multi-Alien among others. Buddy would eventually break the 4th wall of comics by glaring at the reader and yelling, “I can see you!” (issue 19). Animal Man’s leaping out of panels and dipping back into others, along with his eventual meeting with Morrison (drawn into the issue) for a special chat, adds an incredibly surreal vibe to the book that few writers dare to attempt.

What makes this series even more interesting, or relevant in regards to what is currently going on within the DCU, are the number of ideas, characters and plots in Morrison’s run as writer that are related to stories happening in DC’s present continuity. In fact, the advertisements within the comics will lead you to believe that conspiratorial force were at work within the DC universe 17 years ago to have all of these following events have relevance to modern storylines, all at the same time:

See Buzzscope make me drool with this fine look at definitive Morrison.

This series is excellent. Buy it. Buy each trade of it. Deal with this first four issues or so (they’re okay) because the rest of it is awesome. Truly, completely awesome. Even the non-fourth wall breaking stuff is great. This article is meh, but those issues are…well, I think you get the idea.

Seriously…I quite like it.

A few issues that bear a look if you refuse to buy them all. Issue #5, the Coyote Gospel: to discuss it would ruin it for you. You’ve gotta read it.

Issue #9: Martian Manhunter and Buddy’s son bond over a stolen bike.

Issue #15: The Dolphin issue. Heartbreaking stuff.

Issue #17: Buddy loses his temper on national television, Mirror Master proves to have a twisted sense of integrity, and Hightower finally makes it to Casa de Baker.

Issues #20-26: The apex of the series. I can’t choose a favorite amongst them.


Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number Baby

Should comic book characters age?

And, perhaps more specifically– should Marvel and DC characters age?

There’s been a lot of talk about this over the years and the answer most fans come up with is: yes, they should age.

See if that come on ever works at Comic Book Resources

The first very good column to come out of Larsen since he started this gig over at Comic Book Resources. I agree that characters shouldn’t age (or at least not past a point) and that it is a bit unrealistic to demand that they do. I would add an addendum saying that that shouldn’t preclude things like getting married, etc. Characters can deepen and mature and leave behind past hang-ups without having to enter middle age or anything like that. Thus, Batman can get over being a dick all the time, but he does not need to go gray at the temples to do it.


COMING ATTRACTIONS

BATMAN #645

Yay for no more first installments of what go on to be back up stories (that Killer Croc job; yay for an end to that War Games/Crimes nonsense; yay for the return of the storyline already in progress!

VIGILANTE #1

I approach this book with marked trepidation. Whatever Micah Wright’s faults (and they are pretty well documented, so no need to go into them here) his idea which was the original plan for this relaunch was an interesting twist on the 80’s Vigilante. Then, Vigilante killed the criminals that slipped through the cracks: drug lords, murderers, etc, etc. Wright had this Vigilante go after those that slip through the cracks as well: corporate criminals like Ken Lay and his ilk. It was a neat twist.

Judging by the preview I’ve read, new writer Bruce Jones has ditched that twist and kept Vigilante at his street level perp killing roots. Oh, and did I mention that it is being written by Bruce Jones, who’s run on the Hulk went incredibly and rapidly awry?

It still could be good and thus I am not without hope. We shall see.

OMAC PROJECT #6, JLA #119

If these two issues are eminently important to Infinite Crisis, well, someone just isn’t doing their job.


OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

BIRDS OF PREY #86

I love Bruce Timm, but boy is he out of place here. To make it work the other two art styles had to differ a whole lot more than they did. Since they didn’t, we are left with Timm’s sequence seeming very out of place. Funny, well drawn, but out of place.

Besides that, however, this was a fun, fine “take a breath” issue. I dig that someone has finally formally said, “Birds of Prey” about the group. Not to say that we weren’t smart enough to call them that without being told to, I just like it and I like that Zinda is the one that said it. Barbara’s relocation to Metropolis is a sensible decision to keep her in the thick of superheroics while still honoring the idea that she just had to get out of Gotham. It was great to see Dick acting like himself again, too, even if it completely ignores his whole, “I am the bad guy” shtick he is running with in his own title (see below).

DAY OF VENGEANCE #6

The review is already up. I’m a touch disappointed when all is said and done.

GREEN LANTERN CORPS RECHARGE #1

I could go either way on this. As someone else pointed out, I’m still not convinced that the Guardians would draft the two least cosmic (and least prone to teaching) ring bearers to travel the galaxy and teach other GLs. It is clearly editorial/fan mandate that keeps Hal on earth and Guy and Kyle off planet, but I’d like to see at least an attempt to justify it in story.

I still don’t get Guy’s legions of fans and I am starting to think I probably never will. He was a great gag here with Batman (that actually allows Batman to crack a pretty funny joke too) and a funny exchange with Kyle about pushing buttons, but that’s about it. The rest of the time, when he opens his mouth, I’m just a bit bored. I get it, he’s rude/crude and he doesn’t kowtow to anyone. But that’s probably got more to do with my general distaste for the “outrageous” character than it does with Guy.

On the topic of “I get it” moments, I never ever need to hear “Green Lanterns and Batman don’t mix.” Seriously.

On the positive side of the column (besides those two Guy moments), at least we have a book with Kyle where he sort of sounds like Kyle again. No “Great Guardians” popping out of his mouth this time around. I also appreciate the twist of the Guardians actually liking him/sort of being in awe of him since his relationship with Ganthet never went down like that.

The scope of the book is also to its benefit. I don’t love space operas, but so far this is a book that is getting it right. It’s grounded, but still fantastic. That’s a tough balancing act to nail, but so far this book has.

MANHUNTER #14

Interesting way to keep Shaw around and acknowledge the Manhunter legacy going forward. Plus, I gotta believe that a house with Shaw and Dylan Battles is bound for some Odd Couple level hysterics.

The real treat though is Kate’s continued evolution from pathologically hard as nails workaholic chain smoking “bad” mom to a woman who seems really dedicated to let go of her bad habits. She longs to smoke, but doesn’t. The first thing she does after cleaning up her mess with Shaw is go and check on her child. And the stuff with her ex husband…it’s a bit fairy tale, but it works. I think it will probably set up some interesting complications for the future as well, so I’m all for it.

It’s nice to have this book back on track after last issue’s speed bump.

SEVEN SOLDIERS MISTER MIRACLE #1

Wow. Beautiful art. Gorgeous coloring. Smart twist on the battle of the New Gods. Excellent debut issue for this mini and it keeps Morrison’s hot streak alive and well.

JSA #77

First, this isn’t a Day of Vengeance crossover, it is a Rann/Thanagar War tie in. Second, why didn’t this happen in Hal’s book? Third, the art is competent but empty and weightless. Four, isn’t Airwave’s named Harold or I am nuts? Five…it’s just not good.

NIGHTWING #112

Hester and Parks deserve a medal for being so good. Grayson officially earns a demerit for taking this book too far into the “Dick as mobster” realm to make me swallow it anymore. Remember when she said in interviews that it would be a rebuilding process after the events of issue 100? When the heck is that process gonna start?


SHOOTING BACK AT THE GRIMACE

RE: JLA’s latest issue

Why is J’onn a Rook? Should he be insulted?

-Ben Morse (yes, THE Ben Morse, commence swooning now ladies)

I don’t think J’onn is allowed to be insulted, really. He is kind of like that buddy of yours that no one really gives the time of day to so when he gets anything, a ride, an invitation to a party, etc. he’s so ecstatic he’ll accept the terms no matter how silly or mean. “You can come to our party, but if, and only if, you spend the entire time talking to Jamie Hatton about how awesome JMS is.” “Sure, I’ll give you a ride to the movies, but you have to let Daron call you in the middle of the night and talk about whatever is on his mind.” And so on. So when Despero is all like, “I’ll let you join my bad ass mind controlled superteam, but you’ll have to accept that Aquaman, the guy that talks to fishes is the king and Batman, you know, the powerless one, is my knight and you, are thus, my Rook. Yup, that’s that castle piece on a chess board. Yup, he can only move in straight line. Look are you in or out?” J’onn says yes because, really, when’s the next time he’s gonna get to be this high profile, even if it is playing second fiddle to the two biggest jerks in the JLA.


RE: Cool names for artists

A single word name huh? How about Graphite, like the stuff in pencils or Inkwell.

-Talowolf (from the internet)

That could work. A little more literal than what I was going for, but I like.

As far as one word names for artists, I was thinking maybe Steve might be cool.

-Steve Gustafson

I don’t know…that strikes me as a little self serving.

How about Rhombus? That’s pretty hot, right? You do know what a rhombus is, don’t you?

-MalickLEW (real name not provided)

Do I know what a rhombus is? You doubt me?

Well dig this:

You feel me?


I think that brings this little ditty to a close. Please, as mentioned above, drop us a line at parallax2@juno.com just to let us know what you think or to add your own inanity to all of this. Also hit up the message board for stimulating conversation, debate, and a chance to get your photo taken with the one, the only Jesse Baker (this last statement may not be true). See you next week for news, views, and a Prodigal Retro Review.

Un Gajje Is Going Roll into Beantown in Style