DC News & Views


What if there was a convention and no one seemed to care? Well, that’s apparently what happened this week. Wizard World descended on Texas to a collective sigh of indifference from the online community. For the most part, Monday was the first day any major website posted a thing about it. They were even beaten to the punch by the Nexus’s very own Patrick Rodriguez, better known as Talowolf, poster extraordinaire. He was nice enough to send along some notes from the DC panel which are reprinted below in their entirety, followed by the work from those “other” guys.

Don’t worry though, we have content enough this week, even without convention coverage. You’ll even get a “Welcome to the Revamping” for the price of admission. So strap yourself in and prepare to feel the NEWS!


EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS…EXCEPT THE NEWS

An Emissary of the Nexus Brings the Coverage

Our hosts were Bob Wayne of Sales and Dan Dido of you know where.

The Perez cover for IC #4 is not the final one.

When asked if there would ever be a new Starman series Mr. Dido said only if James Robinson was involved

The “S” on All Star Superman was changed back to the more classic look since they are planning to reinforce that image over the next couple of years, both in the comic and movie.

A Spirit movie is in the works but DC is not involved.

Jeff Smith is working on a Capt. Marvel mini dealing his origins.

There will be two Fables spinoffs. One is a hardcover trade with all new Fables. The other is a series based on the character of Jack.

Absolute Sandman will be announced next week…don’t tell.

There is another Authority series in the works.

We will see Brave and the Bold mid next year.

After One Year Later, one current member of the Bat Family will not be one.

After IC the focus hopes to move away from death to its effects.

Kyle Baker won’t be doing anything at DC in the foreseeable future after Plastic Man wraps.

There will be extra features in 52. Dido let that slip earning an ugly face from Wayne. Still no price announced.

Doom Patrol will make sense after IC.

Teen Titans Archive number three will not be out next year.

A sequel to Bite Club is in the works.

A Danger Girl story and a new Team Zero story will be out next year. One features an all girl biker gang, the other is set in WWII. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

DC Direct will be offering a new line of toys called Who’s Who Mystery Box. Each box holds a secret popular character and each character comes with a piece of the Batmobile.

A new Shazam Deluxe statue is on the way with light up lightning bolt and thunder sounds.

A new Warlord series with Bruce Jones and Bart Sears is coming February.

Jonah Hex will have a different cover artist every issue.

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy will have three different covers by all the Kuberts. 50% will be Joe’s. Adam and Andy will have 25% each.

Other than Flash, Wonder Woman, the sequel to Batman Begins, Superman Returns and V for Vendetta, no other movies based on DC properties are in development.

Three new DC Showcase collections coming out are Green Arrow, JLA, and House of Mystery.

Some minor musings:

Dan Dido can only hope for a Detective Chimp movie.

When asked why bring back Jason Todd, Dido replied that his death was “stupid” and a “gimmick” since it didn’t come from the writer’s story, it came from a vote. However he does admit the end results have been very good as it serves as a failure for Batman and now that failure is being rubbed in his face.

When asked about The Flash’s children, Dido replied, “Who? You mean the orphans?” Many similar grim Flash jokes followed.

Dido said the Stephen King signing by Marvel is good for business exposure.

One last note. Dido called working at DC the last stop not the first. He looks at over 300 indie and rival books a month looking for the next big writer of artist and only considers those who have published works out. This came on the heels of a barrage of questions by a certain young fan who came dressed as his own creation, implied that his creation had ties to the Teen Titans and wanted a job interview that very minute. He was also obsessed with Raven’s age.

First, a big heap of thanks, again, to Talowolf for sending these notes on to me. With the rest of the coverage being so anemic, it was nice to have another perspective. Especially one from “in-house” as it was.

Hmm…the cover to IC #4 is not the “real cover”.
Here it is:

Commence the photoshopping and guessing about how it is different…NOW!

My personal guess? That pinkish hole in the center? Something tells me that that won’t be so empty when the “real” cover hits stands.

I always get nervous about spinoffs of titles I enjoy. Fables is no different. We’ll see.

Absolute Sandman? I’m sure no one cares about that so we’ll move on.

Place your bets right now about who will not be a member of the Bat family after OYL. Remember “no longer a member” does not mean dead.

Still no price on 52? Come on now. I think it is pretty clear by now with all this dragging that it is going to be a normal cover price. Maybe a deeply discounted first issue, but overall, get that 156 dollars ready. Just a guess, but I think it is a good one.

Nothing will ever make Doom Patrol make sense to me. There, I’ve said it.

On a selfish note, it is too bad about DC not considering anyone who is not already “published”. I understand the why of it (especially when faced with a face who has taken the time to dress up in his creation…usually a sign of, let’s call it, zealousness), but it’s still too bad. Other writing industries you have a chance to break into as an unknown and make a big splash without necessarily needing exposure elsewhere. It might take years, but it still can be done. It’s a shame that DC does not allow for that “catching lighting in a bottle” type possibility. Again, completely sensible, but still a bit sad.

The News: Quickly Summarized

This past weekend marked the last stop on the “Wizard World Tour” for 2005, as Wizard World Texas rolled into the Arlington Convention Center. Attendance was a bit sparse on Friday and Sunday, but picked up Saturday, as people were no doubt drawn in by appearances by Sean Astin, Margot Kidder and Ron Perlman.

And while Marvel and DC had multiple panels during the con, they mostly focused on projects that had already been announced earlier in the convention season. Both companies did let a few new tidbits slip out, though.

Newsarama has got no time for multiple articles on this convention so you’ll get only one and like it. DC’s stuff is the second half of the article.

Wolfman collaborating with Geoff Johns on a couple of Titans issues? That’s cool. And hey, this news is just in time for my retro review of Teen Titans Annual #2 and The Judas Contract. How’s that for synergy? Oh, and check out those reviews below.

Captain Carrot in Teen Titans is brilliant. I have zero idea how it will work, I’m just excited someone is trying to do it at all.

I cannot decide if the four 52 writers writing every issue together is a good or bad thing. I suppose it will make the flow from issue to issue seamless but I worry that it will result in each of those issues being an awkward muddling of styles. Kind of a “too many cooks spoil the soup” thing.

I love how DC is just teasing everything these days. Didio just mentions backup stories in 52 and he gets shut down. It is a pretty brilliant way to build anticipation for something.

Can a Crisis That Is Infinite Ever Truly Be Solved Through Counseling

The packed room was filled with laughter and excitement at the first panel of this year’s Wizard World Texas. Newly appointed Senior Vice President and Executive Editor of the DCU, Dan DiDio and DC Comic’s VP of Sales, Bob Wayne were in charge of the hour of Q&A’s. Right off the bat, the hyper DiDio set the upbeat tone, flurry of silly jokes and a warning to everyone that he will be as vague as possible with the information revealed and may choose to lie at any given time.

The Pulse takes they’re first whack at Wizard World.

I know plenty of people who will be less than pleased to read that “iconic heroes become ineffective” bit. There are also plenty who will say be questioning the use of the word “become” when “remain” would be more effective. Me, I like my heroes with feet of clay, so it does not bother me. However, others might reach their breaking point if DC does not give the icons their heroic moments soon.

I have to say that, while I hate to admit it, I think Didio has a point. Most fans, more often than not, really do not have an interest in free standing new characters. It is a shame but the market does seem to reinforce that idea.

Not a fan of “multiples”? Does he mean titles for one character or versions of a character. In other words, should I be concerned for Connor Hawke’s safety?

There is No Basement to the Alamo But There is Another Wizard World Article

We’ve got a few more details from the Wizard World Texas panel about the Infinite Crisis, including Dan DiDio and Bob Wayne’s answers (though sometimes cryptic) to questions audience members posed about the future of the DCU.

The panel was hosted by Dan DiDio and Bob Wayne. This PULSE reporter tried to get everything as word for word as possible, but that was tough at times, so some of the quotes below may have been paraphrased.

The Pulse gives it another shot.

I’m puzzled by the actual wording of the new character question. Since when is the return of Deathstroke a sign that DC won’t be creating new characters? Seems like too disparate thoughts can randomly tossed together for that one.

50-75% new creative teams just sounds crazy to me. Not crazy bad, just crazy…high, I guess. I wonder if that includes cancelled/brand new books or they just do not figure into those numbers.


The Zero Game Continues in the DCU

In a quick write-up in that comic book newspaper, the Arts section of The New York Times, it was reported that Brad Meltzer has signed an exclusive contract with DC Comics for “work to be published next year.” Meltzer, of course, wrote Identity Crisis, which served to metaphorically push the snowball off the top of the hill, and begin the cascade of events that is currently playing out in Infinite Crisis.

Smell that New York Times Bestseller prestige at Newsarama

This is one of the most rare of animals: an exclusive contract that I am excited for. Most of the others I could either see coming from a mile away (Geoff Johns) or I just did not care about one way or another (pick one). This one, though, pleases me.

I know there is a lot to Identity Crisis that bothered people. I know some were underwhelmed by his Green Arrow work. However, I found both of Meltzer’s forays into the comic industry to be very entertaining.

The rap on him is often that he is “embarrassed” or “self loathing” about comics. Well, you might not agree with the way he views comic characters and the crimes he chooses to depict villains participating in, but having met him and watched him debate, discuss, and joke about comics with Judd Winick and Geoff Johns in San Diego, I can assure you that that is a bum rap. He clearly loves the characters, the concepts and the medium. Again, you might not like what he does with them, but never doubt that this is a man who’s heart firmly dwells in the right place on these matters.


Didio Graduates From the Man in Charge to…the Man Really in Charge?

Dan DiDio has been promoted to Senior Vice President — Executive Editor, DC Universe, it was announced today by Paul Levitz, DC Comics President & Publisher. DiDio will continue to report directly to Levitz.

Puzzle out the differences between his new and his old job (besides the title) at Newsarama

The real fun stuff in this article has nothing to do with Mr. Didio (or DiDio…would someone definitively tell me?). Congratulations are in order though so congrats. I am sure that, roughly, half the comic community is pleased about this. The other half is horrified and cowering from the “darkness” that is rolling into the DCU unabated.

Anyway, the real fun is that Black Canary cover for All Star Batman and Robin. Boy…that sure is something, isn’t it. Nothing against Frank Miller who remains a genius writer and artist in my eyes, but egads is that unattractive. Just…ugh.


A Legendary Art Team…And I Don’t Care

In January, the long-promised Gail Simone JLA story finally begins in JLA Classified with José Luis García-López and Klaus Janson on art, and a topic that’s…well…current at least.

To sum up the solicitation for issue #16, where the story begins, the JLA is sent by the United Nations to an emerging country to take down the nation’s leader, General Tuzik, a dictator and warlord.

Stories of this ilk rarely have happy or simple endings, and the JLA learn this when Tuzik dodges international law and escapes to enlist the aid of the Hypothetical Woman to help him create his own Justice League to face off against the real deal and in turn, bring the world to its knees.

We caught up with the writer to talk about the arc, her art team, and more.

Fight through my indifference at Newsarama

Is it wrong that I respect every member of this creative team and yet could not be less interested in this story? Maybe it is some residual negative energy from the rotating creators on JLA idea (terrible, terrible idea), but I really cannot muster the least bit of excitement for this. Even with a legendary penciller, a legendary inker (quite possibly my favorite inker ever), and a writer who has rarely tossed out a bad pitch in my opinion (Teen Titans being that bad pitch)…I got nothing.


Titles that Play With Fire

Captain Atom: Armageddon hit the stands last week. Amid a major storyline in Infinite Crisis featuring the Superman of Earth-2, Superboy of Earth Prime returning to the DC Universe, the first issue of the miniseries was unique in that the hero left the DCU. We talked with Captain Atom: Armageddon writer; Will Pfeifer about what is happening and how this series fits in with what is happening in the DCU and the Wildstorm Universe these days.

It always strikes me as a bad idea to name a story for a world ending event. It is just asking for witty reviews using that title against the project. Find out why Pfeiffer does not have the same worries at Newsarama

Remember when Marvel had a few of their characters crossover into their newly acquired Malibu (Prime, Hardcase, etc) universe? If you don’t, don’t feel bad. A lot of people are trying to forget that.

Anyway, this reminds of that. Also, this project has some nice looking covers.

That is all.


COMING ATTRACTIONS

BREACH #11

This is the end of Breach. Probably forever. Maybe he’ll get long and go out like a hero in Infinite Crisis. We are still waiting for that big Breach/IC connection after all. And no, having Talia in the book three times does not constitute a “huge link” so do not try and tell me it does.

Anyway, sorry to see it go, but I suspect I will enjoy this issue as I have the previous 10.

INFINITE CRISIS #2

Hmm, I wonder why I would be featuring this. Could it be the return of Superman from Earth-2? Or Superboy Prime? The earth shattering cosmic battles? (Did that phrase make sense at all?) The culmination of two years worth of track laying?

Nah. I just desperately need to know what happened to Uncle Sam and Damage. Them my boyz!

Yes, with a “z”.

TEEN TITANS #29

Yay! Geoff’s back! Plus, Drake is about to get his face beat in by the guy that used to have his job, the Red Hood. Man, Bat Family Reunions are weirder than mine.


OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

JSA #79

I reviewed this fella yesterday. I think, “I liked it less than the previous installment” is a fair summary of my feelings, but read the review for the long form.

SEVEN SOLDIERS THE BULLETEER #1

Who are these people complaining about the cheesecake/objectification/porn stuff in this issue? Plenty of folk on the net seem to be talking about “them” but the closest I could find to any sort of complaint came from The Fourth Rail in reference to the art. So, where, exactly, is this invisible outrage?

Anyway, this was the first Seven Soldiers that I did not have a firm reaction to after the first chapter. After I read the inaugural issues of Guardian, Zantanna, and Klarion, I was onboard and I knew it. After I read Shining Knight #1, I was disappointed and befuddled by too dark artwork and bland storytelling. Along the way, I pretty much stuck to those initial opinions. I liked each of the first three mentioned minis pretty much straight through (although each had a misstep or two along the way). With Shining Knight, I’d liked certain ideas. Guilt reimagined as a shambling monster was a great touch and Morrison choosing Galahad as the knight to be corrupted, instead of Lancelot like most would have (look, Lancelot is cool, but he is essentially the Arthur Dimmesdale of the Round Table. He does bad, feels awful about it, but never stops doing bad. Galahad was truly pure), are two that stick out in particular. However, overall, the mini just did not click with me.

Here, however, I am not sure what I think. The nonlinear storytelling, which I usually greatly, enjoy left me disconnected from the tragedy of Alix Harrower’s transformation and the lies of her husband. I thought Morrison’s twist on “the relationship destroyed by one partner fantasies” was a smart one given that this is a world of superheroes. The art was largely okay with me. I am waiting to see how well Paquette can render action sequences before I’ll feel comfortable saying for sure.

So far, I guess it is best to say I am intrigued by the plot, but the execution was bit lacking this time.

VIGILANTE #2

I bit the bullet and decided to try the second issue of this title. I’m not sure if I made the right call, but I definitely preferred this effort to use #1.

It is still not perfect, of course. Jones again succeeds in writing some very bad dialogue for his characters. Last time out it was the crime photographer, this time it is the wildly drunk Detective Sovereign. It might have been a moment intended as comic relief, but instead it just came across as clichéd and over the top in the worst way.

However, the Vigilante is all sorts of creepy. How Jones can script such bad dialogue for large chunks of the book and still nail this character baffles me, but he does. I could almost hear Vigilante’s flat affect in my head every time he spoke. That’s impressive for any writer to pull off so props awarded where props deserved there.

My concern/theory is that the conversations between Dr. Powell and the Vigilante are not real. Rather they are his split personalities “discussing” things. Why? I don’t know, it is just something that popped into my head and re-reading the issue did little to dissuade me. Plus, silly as it seems, there is the small issue of Powell’s tie on the cover. My concern is that it is too easy a device. There have been too many “the killer was really him all along!” revelations the past few years (Hide and Seek and Secret Window to rattle two off the top of my head) that were obvious from almost step one of the story. It is a cool device if it works but, well, let’s just say there is a reason that the idea of it was parodied in “Adaptation”. Vigilante, if my hunch is correct, would be another example of a failed attempt at this plot twist and so I am hoping that I am falling for red herrings here.


WELCOME TO THE REVAMPING

So, two weeks ago, Talowolf (there he is again) wrote into this edition of Who’s Who in the DCU to inquire about Aquaman’s villains. After providing a brief rundown, Mathan threw it to me and asked if any could be revamped. I thought to myself, “Sure, how hard could it be?” I tend to have an easier time with villains anyway because all you have to do, really, is turn up their nastiness just a little bit (see: Captain Cold) and you’ve got a bona fide rebirth on your hands. Then, I looked at Orin’s villains. Oops…spoke to soon. But, I am a man of my word. So, two weeks later, here it is. The revamp of…

The Un-Thing

I know, I know…who? Or what?! Or “he’s got to be kidding?!!!” Sadly, no. Back in the 60’s Aquaman tangled with this gem once. The Un-Thing is, judging simply by appearances, a see through scuba diver.

Dig this cover to his only appearance where he is helpfully labeled:

He has basically zero continuity and has never been seen beyond this one Silver Age foray. So why should you care about him?

For me, it came down, as it often does, to his design and his name. “The Un-Thing” is just a crazy great name for any character, way too good to fall by the wayside. And his look, that near invisible scuba outfit was, for some reason, very striking. Silly, yes, but easy to imagine as legitimately eerie too. But a look and a name means exactly nothing without a compelling story. See the 90’s if you do not believe me.

That story: where has The Un-Thing been since he Aquaman locked horns? What happened to him during that time? That’s our hook.

His first unsuccessful mission against Aquaman was team effort that saw him passed off the authorities. However, there was a second, untold battle between Un-Thing and Aquaman. Armed with a new suit capable of achieving transparency on its own (instead of an ink covered suit) Un confronted Aquaman once more and was, for his effort, soundly whupped. Following this defeat at the hands of Aquaman Un did what any respectable super villain does. He slinked away to make plans and some day take his vengeance on the King of the Seven Seas. Things, however, did not go as planned. Lost, confused, and suffering from nitrogen narcosis, Un, little more than a man in a suit, attempted to commune with a mystical object in the ocean’s depth. Taking off his mask, his first salt water filled gasp made it clear what a mistake he had made.

Yet, miraculously, days later, Un awakened in the harbor of a small fishing town. His mind remained befuddled and he had difficulty recalling exactly who he was or where he had come from. The town kindly took him in, asking no questions, even about the tattered scuba suit that he seemed to never let out of his sight.

As Un tries to recall what exactly led him here, the town becomes stranger and stranger. The murder rate spikes, people begin to grow increasingly paranoid, become mysteriously ill, or even see things that are not there. One night, a mother tosses her child off the dock in a burlap sack. Un, happening to be nearby, dives in after the boy and finds that he can both breathe underwater and his skin becomes transparent upon being submerged. Frightened and excited by this development, Un keeps the incident secret.

Meanwhile, the town continues to degenerate. Within three weeks of his arrival everyone who lived there, all 6,500 of them, has died or been driven mad beyond all hope of returning to normal. Un fixes his scuba suit (the only fabric that also goes transparent in water, like him) and leaves the town behind. As he travels, he finds the same thing happening everywhere he stops. He spreads “sickness” to everyone and every living thing he encounters. Horrified, he banishing himself to the solitude of the ocean. This is where he has dwelled for ten years (40 years real time equals approximately 10 years DC-time).

In those years, he has much time to think and to recall his past life. He still does not remember much, but what he does recall is Aquaman. Aquaman trouncing him. Aquaman mocking him. Aquaman thinking too little of him to even bother to have him arrested. This is the last thing Un can recall before the fishing town. Surely, Aquaman must be the source of this.

So after ten years of isolation, Un-Thing ventures forth, spreading his “disease” to all the sea life around him. Whether or not his curse has driven Un-Thing mad as well is unclear; it might very well have just been his isolation. What is clear, however, is that he is turning the sea into a death pool as he marches, slowly, to Sub Diego. Can Aquaman stop him from destroying this underwater town that is only just beginning to come together? Can Aquaman stop him from decimating the oceans? Can even Aquaman resist The Un-Thing’s “disease”?


There you have it. An Aquaman villain who would be freaking scary and an interesting foil for our hero. Would you buy that book? I mean, sure, it is Aquaman, but still, does it sound interesting? Let me know at parallax2@juno.com or do us all a favor and step up to the plate called our message boards. And while you are there, why not let us know how you feel about Didio’s new title and Meltzer’s new exclusive contract. Good things for DC? Bad? And title, exactly, do you think Meltzer will be working on? Or do you think it will be another mini? Let me, and the rest of the Nexus community know. Also, if you want to only comment on the Revamping and/or make suggestions for future revamps, hit this page hard!

See you next week with a Teen Titans retro review and all sorts of news. Plus, because this week’s Un-Thing update was no great shakes continuity wise, another Revamping.

Un Gajje, So Fierce on the Mic