DC News & Views

First, let’s get the obligatory “where have I been” explanation out of the way. I recently got a promotion at work (which is a yay!) from Behavioral Health Specialist to Case Manager of the veterans arm of my organization. It means more money, a shorter commute, a larger number of clients, and a new type of client entirely (veterans with co-occurring disorders who we are helping to become reintegrated into society over a two year period, as opposed to mostly schizophrenics who may or may not eventually graduate to a housing situation of less supervision). So again, that’s great. I’m pleased.

However, the position I’m leaving behind is overflowing with work. I’m the only full time Specialist in a house that should have at least two. Plus, two of my part time co-workers are on vacation. So, I’m going nuts trying to make the transition and cover all the work.

All of which is a long way of me saying that it’ll be better soon but for now it’s nuts. And please, don’t send me e-mails expressing sympathy for me. I appreciate it, but I really don’t deserve it. I’m busy, yes, but I’ve still been slacking. If you can find it your heart to forgive me, that’d be cool though.

Hopefully this week’s extra (and I mean EXTRA!) long edition will serve as a suitable payoff.

Proof of God’s Existence

Thursday we spoke with creator Howard Chaykin about his upcoming new limited series putting a supporting member of the Green Lantern cast (Guy Gardner) in the spotlight, today we check in with writer Chuck Dixon who has plans to shine the spotlight on a supporting member of the Green Arrow cast….

Connor Hawke: Dragon’s Blood is an upcoming six issue limited series written by Dixon and penciled by Derec Donovan tentatively scheduled for a November debut that will thrust Oliver Queen’s son and one-time star of the previous Green Arrow ongoing series back into a lead role.

If you think that that headline is overblown, you clearly have not visited Newsarama

Chuck Dixon. Connor Hawke.

Oh man! I am so there!

Seriously, I’m having a hard time explaining my excitement at this very moment, but rest assured, it’s huge. Massive. Humungous.

Proof That There is a God, He Just Takes His Time Sometimes

Please note that all orders for SEVEN SOLDIERS #1 (FEB060290) have been cancelled. This issue will be resolicited at a later date.

That’s basically the whole announcement, but I’m sure Newsarama would still appreciate your hits.

Well, that’s too bad.

On the other hand, it means more time for me to go back and read the whole thing before the last issue comes out. I mean, sooner is better, but I’ve gotta look on the bright side here.

A Manhunter Gets (At Least Part) of Her Due

Its fans wailed and gnashed their teeth the announcement that DC’s Manhunter was ending with August’s issue #25.

For a little over a two years, writer Marc Andreyko had been chronicling the life of a new hero – Kate Spencer, who, for her own reasons and motivations, took on the mantle of Manhunter in the DC Universe. The series was a cult favorite, its audience small, but wildly devoted to the new heroine as she made her way in a world filled with costumed heroes, villains, madmen and monsters. During her run, the Manhunter legacy was explored, Kate made mistakes along her path, other heroes were met, and a network of supporting characters was fleshed out. The book won acclaim from virtually all corners, from fans to critics, pros to other publishers.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough. Live by the numbers, die by the numbers.

Sometimes though, wailing and gnashing of teeth are heard by the right people, and those right people do take action.

In terms of “right people” thing DC Executive Editor Dan Didio, and in terms of “action” think five more issues of Manhunter by the same creative team, helmed by Marc Andreyko.

That headline does not show my bias too badly does it? Ahh, no matter. I’m so happy, I could kiss Newsarama right now

Woohoo! This is great news. And to think, I was being sort of flip when I mentioned that Spider-Girl thing. Just goes to show you, huh?

Is This Manhunter Getting His Due?

DC’s Brave New World special will be hitting comic shops in just a few weeks, so it’s time to continue our preview looks at the starring characters and titles that will be kicking off in the $1.00, 80-page one-shot. Today we talk with AJ Lieberman, writer of the Martian Manhunter story and the eight-issue limited series that begins in August with Al Barrionuevo on covers and pencils.

We also preview the first good look at J’onn J’onzz’s new look, designed by a familiar artist…

That headline does not show my bias too badly does it? Well, regardless, Newsarama’s got the scoop

I think the jealous of Superman angle is an interesting one and worth exploring. I just hope they don’t push it too far. No one wants to read a catty Martian.

Besides that bit though, my enthusiasm for this project remains low. Not helping matters is this new costume.

Goodness that’s not pretty. On the right it looks passable, but between the image on the left and the picture of it at the end of IC, I vote thumbs down.

They are the Omega. Not So Much the Alpha Though

As a concept, DC’s Omega Men are a full 25 years old, but the property’s been slowly and steadily making a comeback. The push goes full speed in October with a new six issue miniseries by Andersen (Batgirl) Gabrych and Henry Flint, pitting the Omegans against a new religion sweeping through the Vegan galaxy, with the mysterious “Lady” at its lead.

Learn other thrilling Greek letters through the Newsarama tutorial

That guy in front there, the one smoking the cigar…is that just the Thing in a cat mask? Also, I thought the Omega Men were outer space folk. Do outer space folk really have cigars available to them? And if so, would they really smoke them?

Oh, so many questions.

As maybe you can tell by now, I’m not say an Omega Men fan. Or, more accurately, I have zero idea who they are.

Since they are a space team, my interest in rectifying the situation is pretty low though.

Still, much respect to them for not playing the Lobo card. That, in my eyes, would prove unforgivable.

What Happens When a Comet Stops Being a Captain

Jim Starlin told us what it was like returning to the vastness of DC’s space with an eight-part Mystery In Space thriller that has Comet (don’t call him “Captain) and The Weird hopefully not “losing their religion,” as they face off against a corporate church called the Eternal Light Corporation.

The Pulse strips heroes of their ranks this week.

I believe Shane Davis is the fill-in artist on Winick’s Batman run that I liked (as opposed to Battle who’s work was not so hot), so its nice to see him getting work.

Hardcore Station was a comic book series that ended up being a terrible mess after other people added their two cents to my initial ideas.

Nice to see that Starlin’s not angry about the past or anything, huh?

I do like that people in the talkback seem genuinely bothered by Comet’s new lack of Captain-ness. Who’d thunk there were enough fans of the character (with or without his title) in the first place? I agree that it is a bit silly to drop it, but it’s also a bit silly to give it a second thought once it has been dropped.

Overall, despite myself and my usual space opera aversion, I find myself quietly interested in this title. Don’t know why at all, but it’s true. I might just find myself buying this book. Crazy, no?

Superman…on the Hush-Hush

As we already reported, DC will be kicking off two new series in November, focusing on the early days of their most popular heroes. While Batman Confidential will focus on the early days of the Dark Knight, Superman Confidential will examine the earlier days of the Man of Steel through the eyes of rotating creative teams.

First up on the series – a six issue arc written by Darwyn Cooke and illustrated by Tim Sale. We caught up with the artist for more on the arc.

Newsarama‘s got your secrets. It’ll meet you in the alley behind the old warehouse.

I don’t tend to be drawn to Superman, but with Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale aboard, it’ll be hard to not at least give this one the flip test. Even if the whole “the first Kryptonite encounter” angle holds little pull for me.

And to those talkback folk who question either Sale’s art, Cooke’s writing or both…you so crazy.

Diggle Has the Secret Microfiche

Early days, early days.

That’s the focus of two new series form DC, recounting the early days of both Superman and Batman – Superman Confidential and Batman Confidential. Both series launch in November, and aim at showing key moments of the heroes earliest’ days as heroes -first meetings, critical decisions, the forging of alliances, and laying the roots of friendships.

As the series will tell individual arcs, both will see rolling creative teams pass through, with Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale launching Superman Confidential and Andy Diggle and Whilce Portacio handling the opening arc of Batman Confidential.

We spoke with Diggle about how he landed the gig, and what he’s bringing to the table with his story.

Peek Batman’s unknown history in Newsarama

Does anyone else miss microfiche? I loved using those machines, made me feel all spy like.

Which, I suppose, has nothing to do with anything. Moving on then…

I like the Batman/Bruce Wayne v. Lex Luthor angle quite a bit as the limited number of times I’ve read it I’ve enjoyed it (the Morrison JLA Injustice Gang stories, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, that ‘Tec/Superman crossover from a few years back). Also, I’m a big Lex Luthor and a big Batman fan, so there you go.

I’m not totally onboard with the idea that Batman should be a “traditional superhero” with giant robot fights, flashy colors, and oversized insanity (then again, are giant robots ever a bad thing?). That said, Diggle knows how to write and Batman does seem to malleable enough to fit into any number of scenarios, so I remain confident that I’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane.

And to answer the question on everyone’s lips, no, I don’t think DC is canceling Legends of the Dark Knight yet. No, I can’t imagine why that would be.

Wacker Time!

Normally – well, yesterday actually, we’d be running 5.2 About 52 #5 With Stephen Wacker, our weekly catch-up with the edtiro of DC’s 52 series for a look at the week’s issue.

Well, best laid plans and all…

This past week all the 52 creators came to New York, and, well, meetings all day, conversations all night (the comic book version of the KISS classic “Rock and Roll All Night, and Party Every Day” except with superheroes), left Wacker without his normal time to spare to hit the weekly questions.

He did, however, offer up a double-page spread from next week’s issue, as well as his normal teases, and a previously unseen cover, which shows JG Jones’ take on Batwoman.

First off, a note from Steve…

Because there is just no good way of making that sound appropriate, why not visit Newsarama

Holy $#!+! Is Kate Kane making her debut by fighting a bear and Spider-Man villain Vermin?! Wow…all that and being a lesbian? When does she find the time to sleep?

Titans…Apart?

Far more than any other team in the DC Universe, the Teen Titans went through the wringer between the end of Infinite Crisis and the start of their One Year Later storyline.

Meet the man who tore them asunder at Newsarama

Wow…this reads a lot like a Pulse interview. And if you’ve read this column for any period of time, that should make sense to you.

On the other hand, at least Newsarama is showing tease images from the issue currently on shelves as opposed to one from a few months back.

Still it is interesting to see why the Titans look like they do now from a writer’s motivation side.

Oh Goodie!

Little did Howard Chaykin know that a cover he produced years ago would lead to work today. That’s the base story behind how the creator landed on Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage a two-issue (48 pages each) miniseries debuting in November.

“Dan Didio had approached me and said that, for him, the archetypal image of Guy Gardner was a cover that I’d done for Andy Helfer years and years ago[Green Lantern #196],” Chaykin said. “He felt that was the pivotal image in his head to what the character was all about – as a character, not necessarily as a drawing, but as a character. He asked if I’d be interested in returning to it.”

So Chaykin started turning the idea of the character – as well as his place in the current DCU – over and over in his head.

If you are a Guy Gardner man, well, I don’t understand you. But if you are, Newsarama is the website for you this week

Two things about the above image. First, it looks great. Gorgeous really. It is definitely Chaykin, but it does not reach the point of self parody I think his Hawkgirl work is dancing on right now.

Second, can we stop with the projected Green Lantern symbol? I liked it in Rebirth, it was cool and it worked. Van Sciver also made it work in his subsequent GL issues. Gleason sort of kind of sold it. Everyone else though…not so much. It looks flat, static. It becomes the focal point of the art and robs scenes of their immediacy. If Van Sciver wants to keep it up, I’m fine with that. Happy even. In general though…let it go.

It’s like when Breyfogle depicted Mr. Zsasz with bizarre black triangles for eyes in the final pages of the first Shadow of the Bat arc (was it called The Last Arkham? I forget) for effect. Soon, it was The Look for the character. The problem was though that Breyfogle made it work (even when he used the technique for full issues at a time) and most everyone else didn’t. So it is with the projected GL symbol. Let it be a technique to be brought out every now and again or let only Van Sciver pull this signature move. Either way, it works for me.

As for the book itself, congrats to all you Guy Gardner boosters out there. Now you have two books with him as lead (Corps being the other). Bravo.

Justice Society: The Choice of a New Generation?

October sees the starts of one of DC’s worst kept secrets as Justice Society of America launches, following the end of JSA with July’s issue #87. Making good on teases that he wasn’t done with the team, Geoff Johns will be returning to write the series, with Dale (Villains United) Eaglesham coming onboard as the regular artist. Alex Ross will be back as the series’ cover artist, as well as “creative consultant,” though as far as he’s concerned, it’s kind of just “kibitzing.” The series will be edited by Stephen Wacker.

Visit the family reunion (of sorts) being held in the Newsarama ballroom.

I was sad when my interest in JSA plummeted as IC rolled in. Between the Champagne fill-in (which, to be fair, was very good for half of the time) to Levitz’s stuff, I dropped the title with nearly zero reluctance. However, this revamp has me interested and I’m pleased by that.

What I’m not thrilled by is how much Damage’s costume looks like Atom Smasher’s. You want to update his look (I think he was still rocking the leather jacket a la the Ray and Superboy), I’m down for that. He could use it. But updating his look by more or less giving him the same costume as another hero with a different color scheme? That I won’t support.

Anyway, besides that complaint, I’m there.

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

What’s the Difference Between a DCU Panel and a DC Nation Panel?

Moderated by DC’s VP – Sales, Bob Wayne, the DCU panel was made up of Executive Editor Dan Didio, Shane Davis, Rags Morales, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert. Wayne began the panel by showing the third trailer for Superman Returns, which was met by applause from the audience.

Moving into the slide show, Wayne started off talking about 52, showing the cover to issue #18, featuring Dr. Fate. When asked for a comment about the series, Didio advised the audience that issues #5 and #6 are where the story really takes off and starts running. Issue #5 deals with the direct ramifications of the return of some of the space heroes, as shown on the last page of #4.

I shall never tell you, but Newsarama might

Not to be that guy (and yet, fully aware that I am being that guy) but can Detective Chimp really be investigating Dr. Fate’s location as this cover implies and still be gone for a year in Shadowpact? Is DC having continuity issues with OYL already?! (Yeah, I like to stir things up.)

This is another beautiful Quietly cover for All-Star Superman.

Didio also mentioned that in comics developments, J’onn J’onzz learns that he may not be the only surviving green Martian.

I assume that the above quote is referring to Miss Martian. Since the character is named for and based on, in appearance (I think) former Nexus-er Ben Morse’s better half, I’m officially for it. On the other hand, I sort of wish DC would stop making all their “Last of” characters (like Superman) into the “Last of…well, if you don’t count that teen girl version over there”. But that’s probably me just being a sourpuss.

There is a plan in regards to the future of Superboy Prime, Didio said.

I liked IC, but I’d be perfectly happy never seeing Superboy Prime again. It’d be especially disappointed if I saw him again with the next two years or so.

Prior to the start of DC: One Year Greater, DC Nation buttons and coupons for a mystery prize were offered (the prize was a S-shield pin in the design of the Superman Returns emblem). The presentation began headed up by Bob Wayne with panelists Dan DiDio, Shane Davis, and Rags Morales (which prompted a joke by DiDio that Shane and Rags would have to pick up the slack of missing panelists and field their questions). They were eventually joined by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, and later still by the Kubert Brothers (Adam and Andy).

The Pulse‘s lips are sealed on the matter.

What will become of members of the JSA that don’t make it into the new Justice Society of America? Nobody cares, dead, or they join another team.

Ouch! Harsh! I care…sort of.

Android Hourman? “No plans”.

I’m not sure, but I think my heart is broken. Shattered, really.

It’s a DC Nation, You’re Just Paying for It

Hosted by a caffeine-fueled Dan Didio, DC’s “DC Nation” panel wrapped up the panel programming for WizardWorld: Philadelphia’s first day with insights into the post-Crisis DC Universe. Joining Didio were Geoff Johns, VP Sales Bob Wayne, 52 Assistant Editor Jann Jones.

The panel began with Didio’s description of his goals of the panel, to have an interactive forum between DC and fans, a place where questions for DC panelists came with a cost – the panelist was able to ask a question back. Additionally, Didio’s larger goal was also mentioned – to give away 500,000 “DC Nation” buttons away. Those wearing the buttons on the floor at San Diego will be given free goodies from DC during that show.

Johns was in town, Didio explained, to help put the finishing touches on the script to 52 #26, the halfway point of the series.

See what DC has your dollars earmarked for over the summer at Newsarama

DC (and Didio) have been teasing the lack of New Gods in IC with this “look to the sky” thing and “isn’t it weird they weren’t in IC” at every convention from what seems like the dawn of man. Here’s the thing though. Since they never offer anything further, my interest is never increased. It has gone from a tease to something to be expected. It’s like Men in Black II. In the first one, that pug dog alien was cool and got a chuckle. So, in the sequel, he’s in the thing the whole time because hey, if they liked him a little, they’ll love him a lot. Except it never really works that way. Thus, a little “look to the skies” is a good tease. The same response every time for the better part of a year (if not more)… too much!

Speaking as one who does tend to prefer a healthy helping of angst in his superhero books, I’m still a bit disappointed to see that DC is currently shutting the down to more lighthearted humorous fare. I think there’s room for everything, or else there ought to be, and anytime a company says that they are just not bothering with a particular approach, it makes me sad and nervous. Sad because where’s the fun in not trying different things. Nervous because people will only embrace the same across a line for so long (X-books being the exception that proves the rule, of course).

Geoff Johns, Dan DiDio, Bob Wayne, and Jan Jones talked everything from Crisis to 52 in a packed panel at Wizard World Philadelphia. One of the biggest announcements that should have fans pleased, and that was met with a very positive response, was the news that Manhunter would be extended another five issues.

The panel consisted of a one hour long Q&A session where fans were able to bounce their opinions of the current DC lineup off of the panel hosts.

The Pulse has that loan information you were looking for.

Dido stated that were three major changes to the continuity as a result of Crisis: 1. Wonder Woman is re-established as a founder of the JLA. 2. Joe Chill is apprehended by Batman. 3. Superman’s childhood.

I know it is jus the Post Crisis environment I grew up in (whatever that means), but I am not the slightest bit thrilled to see the Superman’s childhood thing. #1 I can deal with because it makes some amount of sense in terms on the icons beginning the League (still minus Bats and Supes of course) although I think it introduces as many problems as it fixes. #2 is pretty fine with me too. I can’t think of a good reason for it, but I can’t think of a good reason not to have it either so I accept it. That Superman thing though…I just can’t embrace it. Sorry. Maybe blame John Byrne? People seem to like to do that.

When asked if there was a character that he would have liked to see killed during Crisis, Didio pointed to Nightwing as his choice. He felt as though the natural progression of the storyline should have lead to his death. Geoff Johns was vehemently opposed to killing Nightwing.

Much hay has been made of this, so I’ll keep my piece on it short and sweet. I just don’t get what about IC made Didio feel it should “naturally” end with Nightwing’s death. Maybe I’m just not reading the book right. But besides him getting zapped by Alex, there really isn’t any point where I can point to and say “ahh, foreshadowing!” or show where the story tipped towards his demise. Is it just because he has hanging with Superboy for awhile? I know not.

Mas y Menos will be in the Teen Titans comics.

I’m sorry…who? Mathan?!

Black Adam will kill at least 52 people by the end of 52

Huh…well…alright.

Can I Do a Vertigo Panel Without a “Dizzy” Reference?

Moderated by Bob Wayne, DC’s final panel of the day, focusing on Vertigo also featured Editor Will Dennis and Associate Editor Pornsak Pichetshopd highlighting upcoming Vertigo projects and making a handful of announcements.

After five minutes of trying, the idea of beginning the panel with footage from V for Vendetta (coming to DVD on August 1st) was scrapped, and Wayne moved directly into the slide show, highlighting upcoming projects.

Why don’t you just dress in black and slink your way over to Newsarama to find out. (YES, I DID IT!)

The Other Side has me very intrigued. It is definitely something different, even by Vertigo standards, and I am all for that.

I know there’s usually a bunch of other stuff at the end of these, but this week, I’m just plum tuckered out. Hope you enjoyed our nonstop carnival of news this week. See you next time.

Un Gajje Cannot Believe Anyone Would Use the Phrase “Plum Tuckered Out”