DC News & Views

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BOO!

In November, DC completes the set, launches the previously-announced Tales of the Unexpected miniseries, and looks to its legacy of horror.

The eight issue miniseries will follow the same format of Mystery in Space, that is, a lead, 22 page story – starring the Spectre, and written by David Lapham with art by Eric Battle; and a second, back-up story in each issue, by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang; and James Peaty and Yvel Guichet. As Dan Didio told Heroes Con attendees in Charlotte, Azarello’s story will look to reinvigorate and return “as many obscure horror characters as he can.”

That was surprising of Newsarama, wasn’t? Unexpected, even?

Oooh, this sounds good, doesn’t it?

I am a little sad to see that Eric Battle is doing the lead story and Cliff Chiang is sent to the backup considering what a bang up job Chiang always does (in general) and is doing at this very moment with Spectre and Battle’s work that I’ve seen, which amounts to a Batman fill-in, was problematic. Decent, but in need of improvement.

On the other hand, Chiang is working with Azzarello on a Doctor Thirteen story! That’s just crazy cool. (see below for a reprint of my Doctor Thirteen Revamping from way back). Hard to complain in light of that, you know?

On an only semi-related note, I think the goateed Spectre has grown on me. I still thinks its silly that he has facial hair, but I don’t find myself distracted by it anymore.

The Prodigal Father Returns

As DC Executive Editor Dan Didio revealed at Charlotte’s Heroes Con, a change is in the air for Nightwing.

Beginning with issue Octobe’s #125, Marv Wolfman and Dan Jurgens step in for an (at least) four issue arc. The low cheering you hear are the longtime Nightwing fans, ecstatic that the Wolfman – the characte’s co-creator (along with George Perez in 1984) is coming back to the one of the only heroes to have an “on-screen” promotion – that is, Dick Grayson gave up his Robin identity to become Nightwing, graduating, in a sense, and coming out from under Batman’s wing.

Take a swing on the flying trapeze underneath the Newsarama bigtop.

This could be very good and I’ll certainly pick it up. It’s great to have Jones leaving. I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth here or anything, but”¦

What happens in four issues? Let’s say Wolfman isn’t hired on to continue to pen Nightwing going forward after that? I’m okay with the rotating creator approach sometimes, but what Nightwing really needs right now is stability. To jump from Jones to Wolfman to whomever, all with a different idea of who Dick Grayson is or what stories they want to tell, all taking a shot at the book within the calendar year, just cannot be a good idea. Especially if OYL Guy #3 only stays for a four or five issue arc.

I’m excited for Wolfman’s return to the character, sure, but I’d like to DC be more worried with the long term health of the series than with a sudden burst of interest generation. And who knows, maybe they are. But the four issue arc thing does not exactly fill me with confidence of that.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Shamelessly Plug

Yesterday, we spoke with Jim Starlin about one of his upcoming cosmic projects, the Kid Kosmos Kidnapped graphic novel coming from Dynamite Entertainment. Today, we hit the legendary creator up with some questions about Mystery in Space, the eight-issue, September-launching miniseries starring Captain Comet and the Weird, and illustrated by Shane Davis.

Watch out! Newsarama is bursting out of your chest!

I love how dismissive Starlin is about Comet’s use of “Captain”: “(no longer Captain Comet. The man was never in any military outfit and obviously just gave himself the title).” It sounds sort of like he’s talking about some idiot he used to go to school with who really bothered him. He’s moved on from that, but he still thinks the guy’s an idiot.

Or maybe I’m the only one who gets that read on that statement.

In general, actually, I like his tone. He’s excellently blunt about himself and most other things. He’s selling his book, sure, what he’s not nearly as blatantly fake as some in that position.

Wacker-ing It

And we’re back for week 10. Week 10? Sheesh”¦

Anyway – you know the drill – we ask 52 editor Stephen Wacker 5 questions about this week’s issue of 52 (#10), and he hits us with at least two teases.

Enough preamble – on with the show.

It’s 5.2 Time again at Newsarama

Whoa! Who’s that fella with the horns?!

WELCOME TO THE REVAMPING

NOTE: THIS IS A REPRINT OF A PREVIOUS REVAMP FROM 2005.

Welcome to installment #2 of this semi-regular feature. This time we go way obscure to bring you the relaunch of”¦

Doctor Thirteen

Terrence Thirteen comes from a long line of those who were labeled practitioners of the Black Arts. He’s a natural for DC’s magic club, right? Well, no, not really. Instead, raised by a father who elevated rational thought above all else, Doctor Thirteen became a professional skeptic, a man who’s very existence was defined by debunking what others believed to be true. He was later portrayed as delusional madman in a Vertigo one shot involving Artificial Intelligence (lord know why) and cannon fodder in issue #1 of Seven Soldiers Zatanna. For the sake of our little endeavor here, we’ll label those two stories “non-canon” and they shall never be referenced again.

The world of magic in the DCU is currently being ripped apart by the tag team of the Spectre and Eclipso. Of course, we as fan, know that this is a temporary state of affairs and, ultimately, Spectre will come to his senses somehow, Eclipso will be defeated and many of the big players in the world of magic will be spared or restored.

However, there will be an inevitable gap between what is and what was. The magic community will be diminished, even if its big names are still walking about. And what does nature abhor? A vacuum. So into those voids will rush all manner of person: rogue, villain, reluctant hero, egomaniac, and starry eyed dreamers. Amongst them, there will no doubt be tricksters and grifters looking to exploit this moment for their personal gain.

That’s where Dr. Thirteen comes in.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the underpinnings of the character and with the world of magic in upheaval he is a natural for revisiting. He will become the Arthur Conan Doyle of the modern world. A man both fascinated and repelled by the spiritual, the magical, the initially unexplainable. A man forever driven by his desire to know the absolute truth of all things.

Thirteen will come across as a bit brusque. He is wholly dedicated to his “calling” and has little to no ability to temper that. His belief in the truth blinds him to the fact that sometimes people prefer the lie or even need it to live day to day. He believes himself to be their crusader, protecting them from scam artists and a life of believing in what isn’t real and sometimes he will be. But others, in his hurry to reveal, he’ll wrought more damage than he could imagine.

Of course, the DCU is a world where magic exists, we the readers know this with absolute certainty. In this way, it is inevitable that Thirteen will encounter what is, in fact, real, true magic. What happens then? What does the rational man who no doubt embraces Occam’s Razor as his personal mantra in the way some people embrace the Lord’s Prayer do when the simplest explanation comes from the spiritual world. Does he accept this or will it disgust him too much? Does he truly hold logic above all else or is he only dedicated to the wholesale debunking of anything spiritual or supernatural. Is this a selfless quest or is it motivated by a desire to see the generations of his family accused of witchcraft exonerated? After all, if there is no such thing as magic, then there is no way that his ancestors were witches and warlocks, now is there?

The ongoing saga of Doctor Thirteen would tell the story of a man who looks for the truth everywhere but refuses to acknowledge what the truth about himself might be. He gives himself over to this crusade because it provides order to his life and leaves him too busy to face what he fears within his own life. Doctor Thirteen is Batman turned about 8 degrees. There’s no costume, no utility belt, no mask, but the same obsession with the past and unwillingness to let anyone in lest be made vulnerable is part of both of their DNA. Doctor Thirteen could be the world’s most rational man or the world’s biggest fool, but as long as he doesn’t stop running, he’ll never have to face that fact.

BEWARE THE FUTURE’S AWESOME MIGHT

From the brand new solicitations comes”¦MY THOUGHTS!!! Form your own by checking out Comic Book Resources

Batman #658I’m really excited for this run, but is it just me or are these covers just really”¦flat.

Except for the first cover (and even then, his brothe’s variant was better), Kubert’s cover work on this title is lacking a spark.

Detective Comics #824

Bianchi’s covers, on the other hand, just keep being creepy. Oh, and didn’t he sign a Marvel exclusive deal?

Nightwing #125A pretty standard story for Wolfman’s opening salvo on the title (see also Batman: Devil’s Advocate, plus about one hundred more). Still the proof is in the pudding, as they say, so how Wolfman tells the tale is far more important than what the tale is. Also, speaking of bland covers”¦

Robin #155This cover,

however, is awesome. Can’t wait to see it with color.

Superman/Batman Annual #1Wait”¦don’t we already know all this “the first time they met” stuff? Ahh, the beauties and wonders of the “new” DCU.

Checkmate #7BRONZE TIGER ALERT. For the six of you that care.

Ion #7RADU ALERT. You should all care.

Hawkgirl #57Chaykin’s on covers only for this assignment. Those of you tired of gritted teeth can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Green Arrow #67Wait”¦is this still a flashback to the year leading up to OYL? Oh, who cares? Connor Hawke’s in it and that’s what’s important.

JLA Classified #28I pronounce this cover to be “ugh”.

Justice League of America #3

Oooh”¦pretty.

Mystery in Space #2Is Comet a Captain again already?

Seven Soldiers #1And the masses rejoice.

Teen Titans #40Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Ben Morse’s girlfriend.

Except, you know, greenier.

Astro City: The Dark Age Book 2I was wondering what happened to this book. Nice to see it back on the schedule.

Ex Machina #25Sweet Metropolis homage.

Also excited to see Bradbury take the spotlight for an issue. Supporting character focused issue are usually fun, and especially so with Vaughan at the helm.

A Nightmare on Elm Street #1On the heels of the special edition DVD? As in the ones that were released like two or three years ago?

Planetart #26WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

COMING ATTRACTIONS

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #0

JLA was the first comic to fully draw me into the hobby. Let’s see if this effort can live up to that history. Very excited!

MANHUNTER #24

The diminutive doctor takes center stage it looks like (and it is about time too!) and with how cool Psycho been as of late, I can’t help but be excited by the news.

Also, if you didn’t already know, this is Manhunter. Of course it is on my “most looking forward to” list.

ROBIN #152

Great looking cover. Now to see if the story is equal to it.

OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

52 WEEK 10

Clark Kent is having a hard time dealing with life without superpowers, 10 weeks after he lost them, and it is effecting every aspect of his life”¦especially his job. So he makes the smart choice and steals a page from Lois’s playbook, saving his job and reinvigorating himself in the process.

The first time one of the big three step onto the 52 stage achieves what is probably the best issue of 52 to date. Clark’s characterization is an excellent peak into what happens when Superman ends up shellshocked.

The secondary story this week, that of Black Adam’s evolving coalition of non-American superheroes is intriguing as well, but still very much in its infancy. The third plotline, which we catch nary a glimpse of, concerns the disappearance of the DCU’s mad scientists and more of Magnus and T.O. Morrow talking to one another through glass. It’s a lot cooler and more interesting than my description would suggest. In fact, it is easily my favorite part of this issue.

Un Gajje, Rising Like the Phoenix

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